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Utica Gas Production Climbed Significantly in 4Q, Far Outpacing Oil Volumes

Fourth quarter natural gas production in Ohio's Utica Shale reached 43.1 Bcf, an increase of 28% from 3Q2013, according to a report released Friday by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

The report lists 352 wells that reported production over an average of 62 days in the final three months of last year, up from the 245 wells that reported production in 3Q2013, when operators produced 33.6 Bcf over an average of 55 days (see Shale Daily, Dec. 31, 2013). Forty-five wells were shut-in and awaiting pipeline infrastructure in the fourth quarter, up slightly from the 40 that were shut-in during the previous three months.

Reaffirming the play's status as a gas field, that at the time ODNR's 3Q2013 report came out reminded industry onlookers of the early days of the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania (see Shale Daily, Jan. 2), oil production in the Utica increased by just 103,982 bbls, or 8% quarter/quarter to reach 1.4 million bbls at the end of last year. Ohio law does not require the separate reporting of natural gas liquids (NGL) and those volumes are included in the cumulative natural gas total for the quarter.

Once again, just as in the third quarter report, Gulfport Energy Corp.'s Boy Scout well in Harrison County, located amidst the nine-county sweet spot that's shaped up in the southeast part of the state (see Shale Daily, Nov. 19, 2013), earned the distinction of the Utica's highest producing oil well, reporting 26,095 bbl of oil over 90 days of production.

Gulfport's Stutzman well in Belmont County was knocked off as the highest producing gas well, though, with Antero Resources Corp.'s Gary well in Monroe County earning that distinction with 1.3 Bcf of production reported over 67 days.

Of the 352 wells that reported production in the fourth quarter, the average amount of oil produced at each was 4,089 bbl, while the average amount of natural gas produced at each was 122.5 MMcf.

ODNR began reporting quarterly production data after a new law took effect at the end of 3Q2013, requiring operators to submit their data 45 days after the end of each quarter.

The agency's third quarter report was its first. Data from the first two quarters of 2013 is still being compiled by ODNR because it falls under the old annual reporting requirements, which were due on March 31. It's unclear when production numbers from those quarters will be released.

To date, 1,218 horizontal Utica permits have been issued in Ohio and 829 horizontal wells have been drilled, according to ODNR records.

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