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Utica Well Yields IP of 30.3 MMcf/d for Gulfport

Gulfport Energy Corp. added a monster well from the dry gas window of the Utica Shale in eastern Ohio to its pen during 3Q2013, a quarter that also saw the company post a substantial increase in total net production, again largely thanks to the Utica.

Total net production in 3Q2013 was 590,187 bbl of oil, 2.98 Bcf of natural gas and 4.48 million gallons of natural gas liquids, for a total of 1.19 million boe, an 82% increase over 3Q2012 (655,437 boe). Of Gulfport's total production for the third quarter, 662,333 boe (55.6%) was produced in the Utica.

Gulfport began 2013 with two rigs and 106,000 net acres in the Utica. Since then the company has added five rigs and increased its leasehold to 147,350 net acres (see Shale Daily,Dec. 19, 2012). The company has the second-largest position in the Utica after Chesapeake Energy Corp.

During an earnings conference call Tuesday to discuss 3Q2013 results, executives with the Oklahoma City-based company said its Irons 1-H well in Belmont County's Washington Township had achieved a record initial production (IP) rate of 30.3 MMcf/d. The well was drilled to a vertical depth of 9,770 feet with a 6,629-foot lateral.

CEO James Palm said the Irons well was the farthest east that Gulfport has drilled to date, and that it had a shorter lateral than many of the other wells the company has drilled in the Utica. He said the well was started at 6,900 psi and was at 3,200 psi at the record IP mark. Palm predicted that the well could produce between 15 MMcf/d and 20 MMcf/d at about 5,000 psi.

"We estimate approximately 44% of our acreage lies within this phase of the play. And our Irons well marks a critical data point in the development and de-risking of the dry phase of the play," Palms said. He added that Irons "is really a strong well. We're really pleased with it."

Gulfport said a composition analysis showed the Irons well was producing 1,072 Btu gas.

Palm said Gulfport had recently entered into a development agreement with Rice Energy, a privately-owned exploration and production (E&P) company based in Canonsburg, PA, that would cover four townships in Belmont County. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

According to Palm, the agreement is structured so Gulfport would serve as operator in Washington and Wayne townships, while Rice would serve as operator in two adjacent townships to the north, Goshen and Smith.

"Combining Gulfport and Rice's position, we together own a vast majority of the acreage available on this area, allowing both parties to optimally drill and complete the wells," Palm said. During the Q&A session, the CEO declined to elaborate on how the agreement with Rice came to pass, but he added, "they have more acreage on the north half, and we have more acreage on the south half. We could all go out there and work separately, but it's more efficient to get together."

CFO Michael Moore said Gulfport plans to spend between $675 million and $725 million of its capital expenditure (capex) budget for 2014 on drilling, about 87% of which would be spent to drill wells targeting the Utica Shale. Another $225 million to $275 million has been earmarked for adding acreage in the Utica in 2014.

"Generally, we're talking about filling acreage, but for competitive reasons we can't be more specific than that at this time," Moore said.

In its guidance statement Tuesday, Gulfport said it plans to drill 85 to 95 gross (64 to 71 net) wells in the Utica during 2014, at a cost of between $594 million and $634 million.

During the Q&A, Moore said most of the new wells for 2014 (50 to 55 net) would target the Utica. He added that Gulfport would deploy seven rigs in the Utica next year: four in the wet gas window, two in the dry gas window, and one in the condensate window.

For 3Q2013, Gulfport reported net income of $40.5 million (52 cents/diluted share), up from $0.5 million (1 cent/share) in 3Q2012.

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