Appalachian Basin

Pennsylvania Operators See Strong Utica Well Results

Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale broke production records last year when operators were able to pump four trillion cubic feet of natural gas from the formation.  The continued success of Marcellus Shale development now has operators looking a few thousand feet deeper at Pennsylvania’s Utica Shale.

Some of the first wells developed in Pennsylvania’s Utica Shale were Shell’s Gee and Neal wells located in Tioga County. The Neal well was brought online in February of last year and at peak was producing 26.5 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. According to a company release:

“The Gee well was drilled over 100 miles to the northeast of the nearest horizontal Utica producer, and had an initial flowback rate of 11.2 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. Gee has been on production for nearly one year. Shell began production of the Neal well in February, with observed peak flowback rates of 26.5 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.”

Other companies have also had good results tapping into the play as well. Range Resources developed its Utica shale well in the Southwestern part of the state where it achieved an average 24-hour rate of 59 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. Range’s well, the Sportsman’s Club #11H, is recorded as having the strongest 24-hour rate reported in the entire Marcellus/Utica area and is one of the most prolific onshore gas wells (based on the 24-hour production test) ever drilled in North America. According to Range Resources CEO Jeffrey Ventura:

“Given our 400,000 net acre acreage position in the area, coupled with existing well control and 3-D seismic, we believe this translates into significant potential. Being able to drill additional Utica wells on the same locations as our Marcellus wells should further enhance our capital efficiency for many years to come.”

One of the more recent wells developed in Pennsylvania’s Utica shale was by Seneca Resources an exploration and production subsidiary of National Fuel Gas Company. The Tioga County well is located on state forest land and produces 22.7 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. According to Ronald J. Tanski, CEO of National Fuel Gas Company:

“We are very pleased with the initial production results from our first Utica Shale well in Tioga County, Pa. This well, along with wells drilled by other operators in the area, have de-risked the Utica potential of our 10,000 acres on DCNR Tract 007. We estimate resource potential on this tract alone of approximately 1 trillion cubic feet. With these strong results in hand our team is evaluating options to develop this acreage in the next few years, depending on local gas prices and pipeline take-away capacity. We have additional Utica potential not only in Tioga County, but across much of our large Pennsylvania acreage position. Our next Utica exploration well is planned for fiscal 2016.”

With the success of Pennsylvania’s Utica shale so far, other companies are looking to tap into the formation in the near future. One such company is Rice Energy which recently announced it would begin developing a well in the formation. During their earnings conference call, the company stated that the well would be about 2.5 miles deep and run horizontally for about 6,000 feet. According to the CEO, Daniel Rice IV:

“While we expect the well to be pretty expensive, it’s going to be pretty exciting to see what we can do with this formation at these depths and pressures, and the best time to test an expensive deep well like this one is in the deflationary cost service environment like the one we’re in.”

Production results for Rice Energy’s first Pennsylvania Utica Shale well are expected during the fourth quarter of 2015.

Because of Pennsylvania’s incredible geology, operators have the ability to tap into three different formations and continue to propel the United States towards energy independence for years to come.

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