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Shale Production Continues to Drive Ohio Oil/Gas Activity

Shale drillers continued to account for a larger share of Ohio's oil and gas activity last year, with unconventional operators leading the way in the number of well completions, volumes produced and permits issued, according to an annual report from one of the state's leading trade groups.

The Ohio Oil and Gas Association’s (OOGA) DeBrosse Report, which details most aspects of industry activity and gives an areal snapshot of development with data from the state and operators, showed that shale drillers accounted for 61%, or 401, of the 654 wells completed in the state last year. The report also shows that those companies produced 11 million bbl of oil from the Utica Shale in 2014, a significant increase from the prior year, when they produced just 3.7 million bbl and were surpassed by conventional drillers that produced 4.3 million bbl from traditional formations (see Shale Daily, March 10, 2014; April 5, 2013).

The state also produced 518 Bcf of natural gas, of which shale drillers produced 452 Bcf. In 2013, conventional and unconventional natural gas production combined was only 166 Bcf.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. led all producers and was the most active operator in the state, accounting for 44% of all wells drilled at 285, a 77% increase from its activity the year before. Gulfport Energy Corp. was the next most active operator, accounting for 6% of all wells drilled in the state with 37 last year, followed by EV Energy Partners LP, which accounted for 3% of all wells drilled with 24.

In all, the top 12 operators, all of which produced from the Utica Shale, accounted for 69% of the wells drilled in the state last year, according to the report.

Long an oil- and gas-producing state, industry activity in recent years has steadily grown to rival some of Ohio's historic oil booms and milestones that were set beginning in the 19th century. According to OOGA, there are currently more than 50,000 producing oil and gas wells in 49 of Ohio's 88 counties, about 54% of which are 25-38 years old.

The boom in activity, though, has mainly occurred in about 14 counties in the eastern part of the state. The top five counties by rank for completions last year were Carroll, Harrison, Columbiana, Guernsey and Noble. Not surprisingly, the most permitted formation in 2014 was the Utica Shale, for which the state issued 1,055 permits, followed by 259 in the Trenton Limestone and 121 in the Clinton Sandstone.

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