Hilcorp Secures Three Utica Permits in Columbiana County

Three New Horizontal Wells Sought for Columbiana County

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Houston-based Hilcorp Energy Co. continues to display interest in unlocking natural gas and oil from the Utica-Point Pleasant shale formation in Columbiana County.

According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the company has applied for permits to drill three new horizontal wells in Elkrun Township at the Wertz pad off Daner Road.

The applications – filed on Dec. 28 – still need to be approved by ODNR.

In 2021, Hilcorp was awarded 14 permits from ODNR to drill new wells in Columbiana County and one permit to deepen an existing well. 

EAP Ohio, which acquired most of Chesapeake Energy Corp.’s position in the Utica in 2018, was awarded seven permits for new wells in the county, and five permits to deepen existing wells in 2021.

EAP, based in Houston, also has offices in Louisville, Ohio. 

The company has found a handful of productive natural gas wells in Columbiana County, according to ODNR data.

Production figures for the third quarter of 2021 – the most recent numbers available – show that EAP’s Janie Trust 3H well in Washington Township produced the most natural gas among all wells drilled in the county.  That well produced a total of 1.157 billion cubic feet of gas during a 92-day period.

A neighboring well, the Janie Trust 5H also turned out a strong performance during the third quarter, yielding 707.3 million cubic feet of gas across 92 days. 

EAP Ohio operates 64 wells in Columbiana County, according to ODNR records. It also holds major positions in Carroll, Harrison, Jefferson and Guernsey counties. In all the energy company owns more than 800 wells across Ohio, records show.

“We’ve continued to see year over year improvement in our assets, and given the running room the properties still have, we’re extraordinarily pleased with where we stand today,” said EAP spokeswoman Jackie Stewart. “We knew the Utica play was underappreciated when we entered the play in 2018, but it has turned out better than we expected, so far. With the right people, capital and strategy, we’ve effectively turned this asset around.”

Hilcorp’s best performing well in Columbiana County during the period was its Elkrun – Johnston well, which yielded 319 million cubic feet of gas during the third quarter. The company operates 16 wells in the county.

Oil production from wells in Columbiana County was negligible during the period. 

There were no new well permits issued in either Mahoning or Trumbull counties last year.  Gas production from legacy wells in both counties is comparatively weak. 

The most productive wells are found in the southern tier of the Utica-Point Pleasant formation, data show.  The well yielding the largest output of natural gas during the quarter was Ascent Resources’ Doyen 2H well in Jefferson County. That well produced a total of 2.8 billion cubic feet of natural gas over 68 days.

Oil and gas production from the Utica-Point Pleasant and Marcellus shale formations is expected to increase in January, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The EIA’s latest Drilling Productivity Report shows that natural gas output stands to increase 78 million cubic feet per day by next month in the Appalachia region, which includes eastern Ohio’s Utica-Point Pleasant play and the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.