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Same Counties, Operators Drove Ohio's Triple-Digit Shale Growth in 2015

Ohio's unconventional oil and natural gas production skyrocketed in 2015, with each growing by about 100% from 2014 levels. An analysis of the data shows that many of the same operators and counties continue to push those volumes higher.

Operators in Ohio produced 953.9 Bcf of unconventional natural gas last year, up by nearly 111% from 2014, when they produced 452.9 Bcf, according to data from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (see Shale DailyMarch 9). Oil production in the state went from nearly 11 million bbl in 2014 to about 22 million bbl last year. In the fourth quarter, operators produced 303 Bcf of natural gas and more than 6.2 million bbl of oil, up 75% and 80%, respectively, from the year-ago period.

Once again, the state's top three shale drillers were Chesapeake Energy Corp. (588 wells), Gulfport Energy Corp. (165 wells) and Antero Resources Corp. (120 wells). The fourth quarter's top three natural gas producing counties were also unchanged from 3Q2015. The trends have mostly persisted throughout the Utica’s growth.

Belmont County led the way with 85.8 Bcf, followed by Carroll County with 59.4 Bcf and Monroe County with 49.3 Bcf. The same was mostly true for the top-three oil producing counties. Harrison was once again the leader in the category, producing 2.4 million bbl. Guernsey County unseated Carroll County for the second-most oil production at 1.5 million bbl. Carroll County was third highest, though, reporting 1.4 million bbl.

Rice Energy Inc., which has Ohio acreage only in Belmont County, had the three best natural gas wells during the fourth quarter at its Mohawk pad. The leader was the Mohawk Warrior 12H well, which reported 16.2 Bcf of production during the quarter. Another well on that pad was the state's leading natural gas producer in 3Q2015 as well (see Shale DailyDec. 8, 2015). Ascent Resources LLC's Red Hill Farms wells in Guernsey County were the state's three leading oil producers. The No. 1 well produced 59,502 bbl during the fourth quarter.

There were 11 rigs running in Ohio as of Friday, down from 31 at the same time last year (see related story). The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), however, said earlier this month that while it forecasts production declines in the nation's other six major shale plays between March and April, Utica production would grow (see Shale Daily, March 7). EIA expects Utica volumes to increase from 3.62 Bcf/d in March to 3.65 Bcf/d in April.

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