Utica Oil Production to Inch Forward in May, Gas Output to Decline

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Oil production from the Marcellus and Utica-Point Pleasant shale plays is expected to increase slightly in May, while natural gas output is anticipated to decline, according to the latest report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The EIA’s monthly survey of oil and gas drilling production in the country’s shale plays shows that oil production in Appalachia – considered eastern Ohio, western Pennsylvania and West Virginia – should increase by 1,000 barrels per day throughout May.

The region encompasses the Utica-Point Pleasant and Marcellus shale ranges, rock formations that produce mostly dry and natural-gas liquids.

According to the EIA, the region’s wells produced 127,000 barrels of oil per day in April. That number is projected to increase to 128,000 barrels in May.

Natural gas production, however, is expected to continue to decline as warmer months set in across this part of the country.

EIA reports that natural gas output should drop to 34.14 billion cubic feet per day in May, a decline of about 65 million cubic feet from April.

That’s still less a drop from earlier this year, the EIA reports. In March, natural gas production was estimated to decline by 260 million cubic feet per day, while production was expected to be down by 118 million cubic feet per day in February.

Of the seven major shale plays in the United States, just two – the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico, and the Haynesville in Texas and Louisiana – are expected to increase natural gas production in May, according to EIA.

In addition to Appalachia, only the Permian is expected to increase oil production in May, the EIA reported.

Meanwhile, drilling activity in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties remains quiet. This week, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources reported a single permit issued to Hilcorp Energy Co. to deepen its Elkrun-Baker 7H well in order to drill a new horizontal leg.

Hilcorp continues to be the most active driller in the northern tier of the Utica-Point Pleasant formation. In February, the Houston-based company received 14 permits to drill new horizontal wells in Columbiana County.

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