Gastar Exploration Ltd. achieved its goal of increasing Marcellus Shale production in northern West Virginia this year, and now the Houston-based company is setting the same goal for itself in the coming year.

Gastar recently brought the four-well Corley pad online in Marshall County, WV. The wells are producing a combined rate of 9.9 MMcf/d of natural gas, 680 b/d of natural gas liquids (NGL) and 100 b/d of condensate. Gastar owns a 40.7% working interest in the wells (see Shale Daily, June 3).

That adds onto the Wengerd 1H and 7H wells that Gastar brought online earlier this year. Those wells are currently producing at a combined gross rate of 7.3 MMcf/d of natural gas, 448 b/d of NGLs and 255 b/d of condensate. The company owns a 44.5% working interest in those wells.

Gastar holds nearly 80,000 net acres in northern West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania, primarily in the wet-gas corridor of the play.

With work currently under way at five pads and plans to drill at least 24 wells next year, Gastar appears likely to increase production again in 2012.

Gastar recently completed hydraulic fracturing (hydrofracking) operations on the three-well Simms pad and is in the process of hydrofracking three wells in the Hall pad. The company holds a 50% working interest in the Simms wells and and 40.2% working interesting in the Hall wells.

Gastar recently drilled six Marcellus wells in West Virginia, including the five-well Henderson pad that it expects to bring online in early 2012. The company owns a 40.2% working interest in the Henderson pad. Gastar is currently drilling the five-well Burch Ridge pad and the three-well Accetolo pad.

“We plan to bring on a number of wells over the next several months as we continue to develop these assets and grow production,” Gastar CEO J. Russell Porter said. “We also expect the issues with high gathering system pressures to be minimized as additional compression is installed on the system in the middle of the first quarter of 2012,” referring to problems the company claims to be having on gathering systems in the region.