Utica, Marcellus Gas Production Projected to Decrease in April

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Natural gas production across the Appalachian Basin, which includes the Utica/Point Pleasant shale formation in eastern Ohio and the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, is projected to decline in April compared with this month, according to the government agency that monitors output.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects natural gas produced from an aggregate of horizontal wells across the region to drop by 73 million cubic feet per day to a rate of 36.2 billion cubic feet daily, according to its latest drilling productivity report.

Oil production from the region, however, is expected to remain unchanged at 150,000 barrels daily, the report said.

According to the EIA, five of the seven major shale regions in the United States are expected to show declines in natural gas production by next month, the report shows. The Bakken shale play in Montana is projected to boost natural gas output by 15 million cubic feet per day, while the Permian Basin in Texas is expected to increase its yield by 134 million cubic feet per day.

Overall, natural gas output across the U.S. is expected to decline by 167 million cubic feet per day, the report shows.

Oil production, nevertheless, is projected to increase slightly in April from the previous month, as six of the seven shale regions show either a modest increase or no change at all compared with March. In total, oil output is expected to increase by 10,000 barrels per day.

Oil has emerged as a focus in the northern tier of the Utica/Point Pleasant, where wells in Columbiana County operated by Encino Energy have recently recorded strong production numbers.

In 2023, wells in Columbiana County produced nearly 1 million barrels of oil, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. ODNR data show that Encino wells producing from the Utica/Point Pleasant yielded a total of 970,936 barrels during the year.

Oil production last year was driven by a handful of wells drilled by EAP Ohio – a subsidiary of Houston-based Encino – in Hanover and Knox townships, records show.  

The energy company has emerged as the largest oil producer in Ohio – its 78 wells across the state in 2023 produced 13.8 million barrels in 2023, or approximately half of the state’s total production.

Overall, oil production across the U.S. continued to increase in 2023, according to the EIA. Last year, crude oil production hit a record high 12.9 million barrels per day, a 9% increase from the previous year, the administration reported.

Moreover, the United States in 2023 set a record for oil exports – averaging approximately 4.1 million barrels per day, data from the EIA show. The top export regions for U.S. crude since 2018 have been in Europe, Asia and Oceania.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.