Seneca Resources Corp., the exploration and production subsidiary of National Fuel Gas Co., said Tuesday that six recently completed wells targeting the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania are among the most productive ever drilled in the play, according to initial test results.

According to Seneca, six wells drilled on a pad within its DCNR 100 tract — located in Lewis Township, Lycoming County — registered 24-hour peak production rates that collectively averaged 17.8 MMcf/d. The company said five of the six wells posted the highest peak production rates of any wells operated by Seneca in the Marcellus.

“These wells represent some of the most productive wells ever drilled in the Marcellus by any operator,” said National Fuel CEO David Smith, adding that “the success we are achieving in Lycoming County validates the prolific nature of the Marcellus in this area.”

Seneca said treatable lateral lengths for the six wells — DCNR 100 Nos. 3H, 6H, 7H, 8H, 9H and 66H — ranged between 4,292 (No. 9H) and 5,101 feet (No. 3H), and were completed using 14 (No. 9H) to 18 (Nos. 3H and 8H) frac stages per well. The company said all six wells would flow into National Fuel’s Trout Run gathering system by the end of January.

“With two drilling rigs running in Lycoming County, and without the production infrastructure constraints facing many other operators in the Marcellus, we anticipate this acreage will be a key driver of Seneca’s production growth over the next two to three years,” Smith said.

Seneca said the No. 3H well had the highest test rate of production, 21.4 MMcf/d, followed by the No. 6H well (20.9 MMcf/d) and the No. 8H well (20.2 MMcf/d). Well Nos. 7H, 66H and 9H achieved production rates of 18.8, 17.7 and 8.0 MMcf/d, respectively.

The company said it expects to have 15 producing wells connected to the Trout Run system by the end of January, including the six DCNR 100 wells. Seneca said it expects to complete an additional 16 wells in the DCNR 100 tract during fiscal 2013, with approximately 25 more scheduled for completion during the company’s fiscal 2014. The company said it would provide additional details over its plans in the Marcellus during an earnings call on Feb. 8.

Last November, Seneca said it was encouraged by test results from a well in Forest County, PA (see Shale Daily, Nov. 29, 2012). The company said initial testing at the well, the name of which was not disclosed, showed a peak 24-hour rate of 3.9 Mcf/d. Seneca said the well is shut in and is awaiting a connection to pipeline infrastructure.

Over the past several years, Seneca has transitioned from an exploration company focused on conventional plays to a development company focused on resource plays.