Seneca Resources Corp., a subsidiary of National Fuel Gas Co., is in the hunt to secure more joint venture (JV) partners to help develop the company's Marcellus Shale portfolio, company officials said Wednesday.

The announcement followed the release of results from two new Marcellus Shale wells in Pennsylvania. A Seneca-operated well on DCNR Tract 100 in Lycoming County, PA, tested at a 24-hour rate of 15.8 MMcf/d on a 28/64-inch choke. A Clearfield County, PA, well operated by Seneca JV partner EOG Resources Inc. flowed at a 24-hour rate of 8.9 MMcf/d.

Seneca and EOG since 2007 have been testing the potential of Seneca's 935,000 net acres in the Pennsylvania portion of the gas shale play (see Daily GPI, Aug. 10, 2009; Feb. 8, 2007).

"The DCNR Tract 100 well was the first test of our acreage in Lycoming County," said Seneca President Matthew D. Cabell. "The high flow rate is one of the best to date of any well drilled by the industry in the Marcellus, and we plan to drill approximately 80 wells in this area over the next three to four years.

"The well in Clearfield County was the first EOG-operated JV well completed using five-and-a-half-inch casing. We had been expecting that this larger casing size, which allows for a higher pump rate during fracture stimulation, would lead to a significant improvement in well performance. This well confirms our expectations for high rate wells on our legacy acreage position."

Jefferies & Co. Inc. has been hired to look for more JV opportunities for Seneca across a "broad portion" of the Marcellus Shale acreage, Cabell said.

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