Magnum Hunter Resources Corp. brought online two new company-operated Eagle Ford Shale wells three days before Christmas. The wells' best-ever results for the company in the Eagle Ford could have Magnum Hunter rethinking its idea of divesting Eagle Ford properties, said CEO Gary C. Evans.

The Rhino Hunter #1 located in Lavaca County, TX, is producing approximately 2,033 b/d of oil and 1,113 Mcf of natural gas (2,218 boe/d) on a 16/64-inch choke. The company has a 48% working interest in the well. The Zebra Hunter #1, also in Lavaca County, was producing 1,995 b/d of oil and 898 Mcf of natural gas (2,145 boe/d) on a 16/64-inch choke. The company has a 45% working interest in the well.

"These two new Eagle Ford wells are by far our best producers since we initiated drilling operations in this play in 2010," Evans said. "We have to date drilled or participated in a total of 42 successful wells in the oil trend of the Eagle Ford. Our net daily production in the Eagle Ford is currently over 4,100 boe/d.

"With these consistent results, and the significant reserve additions we are seeing from new wells that are now exceeding 500,000 boe per well, our management and board may very well have second thoughts about our decision to possibly completely divest these properties at this time."

In late October, Eagle Ford Hunter President Kip Ferguson said the company's Eagle Ford proved reserves and estimated ultimate recoveries were on the rise. "We believe this is a direct result of our careful on-target drilling execution and comprehensive completion process with longer laterals and more frack stages allowing us to more effectively treat the lateral hole," he said (see Shale Daily, Oct. 26).

"Additionally, we are continuing to use electric submersible pumps as part of our reservoir monitoring solution, which allows us to more efficiently produce the wells. The goal is to continue to allow each well to produce 100,000 boe within the first nine-12 months of production, which we determine to be pay-out, with minimal bottom hole flowing pressure decline."

The number of rigs drilling in the Eagle Ford has declined of late, along with much of the rest of the shale-focused industry. Permitting and gas production have declined in Texas, according to the latest figures from the Railroad Commission of Texas (see Shale Daily, Dec. 28).

While the Eagle Ford remains a very hot play, drilling numbers have slumped recently, according to NGI's Shale Daily Unconventional Rig Count. For the week ending Dec. 28., there were 231 rigs drilling for oil or gas, which is down 1% from the 234 rigs in operation the previous week, down 5% from the 244 rigs in operation one month ago and down 2% from the 236 rigs in operation in the play one year ago.

Houston-based Magnum Hunter is also active in the Marcellus, Utica and Pearsall shales and in the Williston Basin/Bakken Shale.