Consol Energy Inc. announced Tuesday that 11 wells the company has drilled targeting the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania — with shorter stage lengths, reduced cluster spacing and other modifications — have collectively achieved an average initial production rate of 10.7 MMcfe/d. A similar well in neighboring West Virginia was also placed into production.

Meanwhile, the Canonsburg, PA-based company said it has acquired the gas drilling rights to nearly 90,000 contiguous acres in West Virginia — prospective to the Marcellus and the Upper Devonian Shale, with some wet gas — from a Dominion subsidiary for $190 million (see related story).

Consol said the 11 wells in Pennsylvania were drilled on three pads in Washington County, with an average lateral length of 5,300 feet. Initial production ranged from 5.3 MMcfe/d to 18.4 MMcfe/d. The wells were turned into line after flowing back hydraulic fracturing (fracking) fluids.

The company said that while estimated ultimate recovery (EUR) figures still needed to be calculated for the 11 wells, Consol “believes they should easily approach 2.0 Bcfe per thousand lateral feet.”

The single well Consol brought into production in West Virginia — PHL 13F, one of six drilled on the Philippi 13 pad in Barbour County — was placed into service after positive early results. Consol said the PHL 13F well has a lateral measuring 8,733 feet and entered production with a maximum 24-hour flow rate of 13.6 MMcfe/d. Drillout and flowback activities were continuing at the other five wells.

“While Consol Energy has experimented with various components of enhanced completion and production techniques over the past 18 months, these wells represent the first large-scale application,” CEO J. Brett Harvey said. “These results are a splendid example of one of our core values — continuous improvement — that we strive for in all areas.”

Consol said it plans to “make extensive use of these enhanced completion and production techniques” for its 2014 drilling program in the Marcellus. The company announced plans to drill the six wells near Philippi in January (see Shale Daily, Jan. 22).

In a deal with Dominion Transmission, Consol has acquired gas drilling rights in northern Lewis County, WV, and southern Harrison County, WV. The majority of the acreage is associated with Dominion’s Fink-Kennedy, Lost Creek and Racket Newberne gas storage fields. Consol said it anticipates more than half of the acquired acres will contain wet gas.

“This transaction reinforces [our] commitment to being a leading natural gas producer in the Appalachian Basin,” Harvey said. “These parcels represent what could be the largest untapped contiguous acreage in the southern core of the Marcellus Shale. They complement our already significant acreage position in northern West Virginia.

“As Consol Energy accelerates its gas drilling in the next few years, and continues to improve its efficiency through enhanced production techniques, we believe this transaction could provide us with more than 350 risked long lateral Marcellus Shale drilling locations.”

Under the terms of the deal, Consol paid approximately 50% of the $190 million at closing last week, and will pay the other half over time as wells are drilled on the acquired acreage. Consol said it has also committed to be an anchor shipper on Dominion’s transmission system (see related story).

Noble Energy, Consol’s joint venture (JV) partner in the Marcellus, is exercising its right to participate at a 50% level in the transaction with Dominion (see Shale Daily, Oct. 5, 2011).