Moving forward with plans to continue delineating its deep Utica Shale prospects in Southwest Pennsylvania, Consol Energy Inc. said Saturday that flaring has started at its second well targeting the formation in the region. The company also recently earned approval to drill another deep Utica well at the Pittsburgh International Airport.

The CNX GH-9 well in Greene County, located about four miles away from EQT Corp.'s Scotts Run Utica well, which had initial production of 72.9 MMcf/d last year, is being tested (see Shale DailyJuly 23, 2015). Flaring, Consol said, was expected to last until Monday or Tuesday. The company first tested its Utica acreage in the region with its Gaut 4IH well in nearby Westmoreland County at more than 61 MMcf/d (see Shale DailyJuly 29, 2015). After that test, the company said it would likely turn to the Utica to help grow production in the coming years.

"While it is difficult to predict until the gas begins to flow, all initial indications point to the fact that GH-9 has the potential to be yet another prolific well and could open up an entirely new frontier for Consol due to our substantial Utica acreage position," COO Tim Dugan said in a release notifying local communities of the flaring.

The company said flaring would be necessary because pipeline capacity only exists for a portion of the anticipated natural gas from the well. Using a 175-foot flare stack, the company notified residents that the flame would likely be visible for miles from the well's position on a hilltop. Spokesman Brian Aiello said the company finished hydraulic fracturing over the weekend and added that the well was drilled last year. The company didn't say whether it plans to release test results from the GH-9.

Aiello also confirmed that the Federal Aviation Administration and local officials approved the company's plan to replace one of 12 planned Marcellus Shale wells with a Utica well on one of its pads at the airport. That project, which the company has billed a "flagship endeavor," calls for nearly 50 wells to be drilled from six pads (see Shale DailyApril 25, 2014). Some of those wells have been completed (see Shale Daily, April 2, 2015). While the Utica well has been approved, Consol said it has not determined when it would be drilled.

The company said last week that it would sharply reduce this year’s exploration and production budget from 2015 levels in response to the commodities downturn (see Shale DailyJan. 6).