Wells in Columbiana County Strike More Oil

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Horizontal wells exploring the Utica/Point Pleasant shale formation in Columbiana County have struck oil once again.

According to production results reported by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Columbiana County wells owned by EAP Ohio, a subsidiary of Houston-based Encino Energy, produced 457,269 barrels of oil during the first quarter of 2024.

Among the most productive was EAP’s Lehwald well pad in Butler Township, records show. Four wells at the site collectively produced 298,249 barrels over a 90-day period.

All four of the wells – drilled during the last three months of 2023 – were among the 25 best oil producers in the state during the period out of 3,389 wells reporting results, according to ODNR. 

The Lehwald 20H well, for example, ranked as the seventh highest producer – yielding 97,274 barrels over the quarter. The Lehwald 3H ranked the 13th best, with production at 79,812 barrels. The pad’s 5H well yielded 61,618 barrels and was the 19th highest oil producer in the state. The Lehwald 1H well ranked 23rd, with 57,545 barrels during the first quarter, data show.

In all, EAP’s wells in Ohio produced 3,708,011 barrels of oil during the period – or 51.3% of all the oil production throughout the state. Ohio reported its wells produced 7,227,503 barrels of oil in the first quarter, a 10% gain compared with 6,549,638 barrels produced a year ago during the same period.

“Encino produced over half of the entire statewide oil production again this quarter,” Encino spokeswoman Jackie Stewart said in a statement. “The results continue to confirm that the Ohio Utica oil play is real. The continuous significant quarter over quarter growth is undeniable. Encino remains optimistic about the Utica Shale, and we plan to add a fourth rig next month to continue capturing its success.”

The No. 1 oil well in the state was EAP’s Burdette 201H well in Harrison County, which produced 139,413 barrels. Four other wells at that location rounded out the top five most productive oil wells in Ohio.

Columbiana County’s section of the Utica – traditionally known for its high volumes of natural gas and wet gas – has for the past year delivered skyrocketing oil production that is out of character for the northern tier of the play.

First quarter oil numbers for 2024 easily outdistanced previous records achieved in Columbiana County, data show. During the third quarter of 2023, Columbiana County wells yielded a then high of 352,354 barrels. Results for the first three months of 2024 exceed these production figures by more than 100,000 barrels. 

Compared with year-ago numbers, oil production during the first quarter of 2024 increased by 95%, ODNR records show. According to quarter-over-quarter data, oil production increased by nearly 89% in the county.

To place this in perspective, Columbiana wells in 2022 produced just 20,350 barrels of oil throughout the entire year. 

Northern Utica regions such as Mahoning and Trumbull counties produced little oil during the quarter, ODNR data show. Mahoning wells, for example, yielded 1,094 barrels over a 90-day period, while wells in Trumbull County pumped out just 675 barrels.

Three other energy companies with assets in Columbiana County – Hilcorp Energy Co., Geopetro LLC and Pin Oak Energy Partners LLC – reported their wells produced no oil, just natural gas, according to ODNR.

The latest report shows that four companies operate 172 wells in Columbiana County. EAP owns 81 wells; Hilcorp operates 73; Pin Oak owns 10; and Geopetro lists eight wells, according to records.

Collectively, these wells produced 24.9 billion cubic feet of natural gas during the quarter, according to records.

The single largest Columbiana County gas well reported was Hilcorp’s Elk Run Scheel 8H well, which produced 676.5 million cubic feet of gas during the quarter.

Ascent Resources boasted the biggest single gas well in the state during the period, according to ODNR. Its Ruth 5H well in Jefferson County piped out 3.7 billion cubic feet of gas during a 91-day period, records show.

Ohio’s gas wells produced a total of 534.028 billion cubic feet of gas during the first quarter of 2024, down 3% from the same period in 2023.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.