Rex Energy Corp. is reporting results from its first Utica Shale test well that exceed initial results from a Chesapeake Energy Corp. well drilled nearby earlier this year.

The State College, PA-based company completed the Cheeseman 1H well in Butler County, PA, during the third quarter. With a 3,551-foot lateral length and 12 stages of fracture stimulation, the well produced 9.2 MMcf/d over a 24-hour period.

The Thompson 3H well Chesapeake drilled in Beaver County, just west of Butler, peaked at 6.4 MMcf/d with a lateral length of 4,322 feet (see Shale Daily, Sept. 29).

Encouraged by those initial results, Rex plans to bring the well into service once gathering lines are completed early next year and drill additional Utica wells in 2012. The Utica of southwestern Pennsylvania is believed to straddle the wet gas and dry gas phases of the play. The Cheeseman 1H well produced “dry natural gas,” Rex said.

Rex recently closed on an 11,000-acre position in Carroll County, OH, about 90 miles southeast of the Butler, and hopes to increase that to 15,000 by the end of the year. This so-called Warrior Prospect is prospective for liquids in the Utica, Rex said.

Chesapeake completed two Utica wells in Carroll County earlier this year that produced both natural gas and liquids. The Mangun 22-15-5 8H produced 1,530 boe/d (3.1 MMcf/d of natural gas and 1,015 b/d of liquids) and the Neider 10-14-5 3H produced 1,615 boe/d (3.8 MMcf/d of natural gas and 980 b/d of liquids).

To handle liquids, Rex said it secured 15 MMcf/d of firm processing capacity at Dominion’s Natrium Processing Facility scheduled for late 2012, and until then will rely on interruptible service at Dominion’s Hastings Extraction/Fractionation Plant.

Rex is currently running one rig in Butler County, north of Pittsburgh, and through the first three quarters has drilled 29 gross wells in the county. Of those, 16 have been hydraulically fractured and placed into service. The company is currently working though a backlog of 20 wells awaiting completion and four awaiting infrastructure.

The company also owns a stake in wells in Westmoreland, Clearfield and Centre counties in southwestern and central Pennsylvania operated by Williams Companies.