CADIZ - One Chesapeake Energy Utica Shale well in Harrison County reached a peak output of 9.5 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, encouraging company leaders to make plans for more Ohio drilling.
Companies like Exxon Mobil - via subsidiaries XTO Energy and Phillips Resources - and New York City-based Hess Corp. - via the acquisition of Marquette Exploration - are staking their claims in the Utica Shale in Belmont, Harrison and Jefferson counties. Now, Chesapeake is tapping the rock formation, which lies deep within the earth across much of eastern Ohio.
"We are pleased to announce very strong initial drilling results from the wet gas and dry gas phases of our Utica Shale discovery. Chesapeake has built a commanding presence in the play with 1.25 million net acres of leasehold acquired to date, with our current primary leasing efforts focused in the wet gas phase of the play," said Chesapeake Chief Executive Officer Aubrey McClendon. He noted his company plans to invest an average of $5 million to $6 million per well for drilling and fracking costs.
Chesapeake Energy has drilled 12 horizontal wells in the Utica Shale, including some like this in Harrison and Carroll counties in Ohio.
In addition to the methane natural gas, the Harrison County well - drilled to a lateral length of 6,418 feet - also produced a peak production of 1,425 barrels of natural gas liquids, per day. These liquids include ethane, propane, butane and pentanes.
For some perspective, Chesapeake, the most active natural gas driller in the U.S., posted a company-wide average of only 32,000 barrels of NGLs per day in 2009 for all of its operations combined.
Although not quite as productive as the Harrison County well, two Chesapeake shafts in Carroll County - which lies to the north of Harrison County and northwest of Jefferson County - reached peak performances of 3.1 million cubic feet and 3.8 million cubic feet of natural gas output per day, respectively. A Beaver County, Pa., Utica well achieved a peak output of 6.4 million cubic feet of gas per day. The company has 12 wells in the Utica.
The company's liquids totals assume maximum ethane recovery. Keith Fuller, one of Chesapeake's directors of corporate development, said the company is looking for options on dealing with the ethane.
"Construction of an ethane cracker in the production area is still one of the options under evaluation," he said. "We do expect additional volumes of NGLs that would help support the processing and marketing options currently under consideration."