Ohio’s unconventional oil and natural gas production held steady in the third quarter despite slowing activity across the Appalachian Basin.
Year/year growth during the period nearly matched increases seen in the second quarter. Year/year oil volumes again increased sharply as more operators target wetter acreage amid persistently low natural gas prices.
Third quarter oil production came in at more than 7.2 million bbl, or nearly 30% higher than in the year-ago period. Volumes were also up by 24% from 2Q2019 production of 5.8 million bbl, according to data released Friday by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
Natural gas volumes continued rising, but not as intensely as they have in years past. The state’s unconventional producers reported 674 Bcf of natural gas, up a little more than 11% from the year-ago period and about 9.7% from 2Q2019.
Operators have been pulling back throughout the year on gas prices that have continued to remain low, while publicly traded producers have come under pressure from investors seeking better returns. As a result, the high double-digit natural gas production growth that characterized the basin over the last decade has been expected to slow and increase at a more modest rate.
A recent report from Pennsylvania showed that unconventional natural gas production hit 1.715 Tcf in 3Q2019, up by 9.1% from the year-ago period and about 3% from 2Q2019.
The bulk of unconventional volumes reported to ODNR are primarily produced in the Utica Shale, but there is limited Marcellus Shale development too. Fifty-one Marcellus wells have been drilled in the state. Ohio law does not require separate reporting for natural gas liquids or condensate, which is included in the oil and gas totals.
ODNR’s third quarter report listed 2,470 horizontal shale wells, of which 2,419 reported production. The average amount of oil produced by each was 2,977 bbl, while the average amount of natural gas was 278.6 MMcf.
The state has permitted 3,217 horizontal Utica wells, while 2,740 have been drilled since unconventional development began in the state. At this time last year, the state had issued 2,953 horizontal Utica permits, while 2,469 wells had been drilled.