Magnum Hunter Resources Corp. is expanding its operations in the liquids-rich Marcellus Shale.

The Houston, TX-based company brought four wells online in the fourth quarter of 2011 on acreage in northern West Virginia that it said "appears to be some of the best in the entire Marcellus," and has built 45 miles of pipeline in the region over the past 18 months.

Magnum Hunter drilled the wells -- the Roger Weese No. 1110 and the Everett Weese Nos. 1107, 1108 and 1109 -- in Tyler County to vertical depths of between 11,033 and 12,343 feet, horizontal laterals of between 4,350 and 5,550 feet and 16-18 stages of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) per well. The wells produced at 24-hour rates of 9.4-9.7 MMcfe/d.

"A combination of longer laterals, more frac stages and certain modifications to down hole equipment has led to consistent new well completions ranging from 8.0 to 10.0 MMcfe/d per well in the Marcellus Shale," said Jim Denny, president of the Appalachian Basin Division for Magnum Hunter, adding that the company has identified 774 net drilling locations across its 369,000 net acre leasehold and believes the acreage provides "economics not seen elsewhere in natural gas development" because of the high liquids content.

Through its midstream efforts in the region, the company's subsidiary Eureka Hunter Pipeline LLC is working on three projects this fiscal year. Eureka Hunter built eight miles of 20-inch mainline across Tyler County; the 14-mile Pursley Lateral, a 20-inch line running from the mainline south to the Ohio River; and built four miles of the Doddridge Lateral, a 16-inch line south into Doddridge County.

In October, Eureka Hunter sold its 200 MMcfe/d Thomas Russell cryogenic processing plant to MarkWest Liberty Midstream and Resources LLC to use at its Mobley Complex. The deal gives third party shippers on the 182-mile Eureka Hunter Pipeline System -- including Magnum Hunter subsidiary Triad Hunter LLC -- access to processing, fractionation, natural gas liquids handling and marketing services. Once "Mobley 2" is in service later this year, Eureka Hunter expects to have more than 90,000 Mcfe/d of capacity on its system (see Shale Daily, Oct. 6, 2011).

Magnum Hunter brought four gross Eagle Ford Shale wells online in 4Q2011, averaging 1,200 boe/d in 24-hour production tests. The company drilled the wells -- the Furrh No. 2H, the Kudu Hunter No. 1H, the Snipe Hunter No. 1H and the Leopard Hunter No. 1H -- to depths of between 15,876 and 19,936 feet, horizontal laterals of between 5,696 and 6,708 feet and 20-25 frac stages per well.

The four wells averaged 1,200 boe/d over 24-hours, with the Snipe Hunter No. 1H producing at 2,033 boe/d, improvements attributable to "our increasing knowledge, improved fracking techniques, and the combination of longer laterals and more frac stages per lateral," according to H.C. "Kip" Ferguson, president of Eagle Ford Hunter. The company has identified 198 drilling locations across its 52,000 gross acre leasehold.

Williston Hunter, the company's subsidiary in the Williston Basin and Bakken Shale, brought three gross wells online in the fourth quarter and two more in the first quarter of this year in the Tableland Field of Saskatchewan. Those wells produced at a 24-hour rate of 590 boe/d.

"We started 2011 with a lot of moving parts due to our acquisition efforts that ultimately gave us the significant drilling inventory that we are exploiting today. We are now beginning to see the fruits of our labor in all three upstream divisions," said Magnum Hunter CEO Gary Evans (see Shale Daily, Feb. 23, 2011). Based on those results, Magnum Hunter increased its 2012 exit rate guidance to 15,000 boe/d.

Magnum Hunter closed out the year producing 9,166 boe/d, up 455% from the end of 2010 and 74% from the third quarter.