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Eclipse's Latest Utica Wells Provide Early Glimpse of WV Tests

Appalachian pure-play Eclipse Resources Corp. said late Wednesday that production has started at two of its pads in Ohio's Utica Shale, including the first in the company's condensate type-curve area and another that provides an early read-through for other operators preparing to test Utica wells in West Virginia.

The company's announcement comes after a slow second quarter in which it tied just three wells into sales (see Shale Daily, Aug. 14). But the two-well Shroyer pad in eastern Monroe County -- just miles west of where other operators are working on some of West Virginia's first Utica wells -- and the seven-well Mizer pad in Harrison County, OH, were completed ahead of schedule, according to company officials.

Although Eclipse produced 42 MMcfe/d last quarter, a sixty-fold increase from the 679 Mcfe/d it reported at the same time last year, its stock took a hit when it reported earnings last month for the first time since going public on the New York Stock Exchange in June (see Shale Daily, June 9; June 23). Thursday's announcement fits more closely with a strategy aimed at growth following that IPO, with a plan for accelerated drilling that calls for spudding 31 operated wells in the second half of this year.

Eclipse said its latest seven wells were producing at a combined rate of 52.6 MMcf/d, mainly due to its dry gas Shroyer pad in Monroe County. After 10-20 days of flowing into sales, those two wells produced at a combined rate of 42.5 MMcf/d, with an average casing pressure of 6,545 psi and an average lateral length of 7,819 feet, the company said. 

Eclipse reported that its five wells at the Mizer pad in Harrison County are producing at a combined rate of 10.1 MMcf/d and 1,800 b/d of condensate, with an average tubing pressure of 2,534 psi. Those wells have been online for between two and 13 days. As water continues to decline, and with ethane recovery, Eclipse said the pad's flow rate will likely increase.

CEO Benjamin Hulbert said laterals at the Shroyer pad are the company's longest to date, while the Mizer wells are the first to be operated by the company in its condensate type-curve area.

Eclipse's acreage position is concentrated entirely in Ohio, where it's primarily focused on 99,300 net acres in Noble, Guernsey, Monroe, Belmont and Harrison counties (see Shale Daily, May 9). The company holds additional acreage that's prospective for the Marcellus Shale and the Utica's oil window.

Last month, Enlink Midstream said it would build a 45-mile, 8-inch diameter condensate pipeline and six natural gas compression and condensate facilities to serve producers in southeast Ohio (see Shale Daily, Aug. 18). As part of that project, Enlink reached a long-term, fee-based agreement with Eclipse. Enlink will purchase two of the company's existing condensate stabilization facilities, which along with new-builds, will help support Eclipse's condensate production, the company said.

Topeka Capital Markets analyst Gabriele Sorbara said Eclipse's latest production results in Monroe County are favorable, adding that they provide an early indication of what to expect in West Virginia, where Gastar Exploration Inc. and Magnum Hunter Resources Corp., among several other operators, are planning to test Utica wells (see Shale Daily, May 16; March 26). Sorbara said Eclipse's Shroyer pad, just 6.5 miles west of Gastar's first dry gas Utica well in Marshall County, is the closest to be drilled yet to prospective Utica acreage in West Virginia.

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