Those who had drilling leases with Oxford Oil Co. in eastern Ohio now have a contract with Eclipse Resources, thanks to a $300 million deal.
Eclipse, based in State College, Pa., acquired the Oxford company's approximately 184,000 net acres in Ohio and 13.8 billion cubic feet of proven reserves throughout the Utica Shale region.
"We are planning a very active drilling program in Harrison, Guernsey, Noble, Belmont and Monroe counties, commencing immediately and continuing for the next several years," Benjamin W. Hulburt, president and chief executive officer of Eclipse. "We plan to grow our operated, Utica focused rig count to up to five horizontal rigs running in the play between now and year-end 2014."
Before the deal, Eclipse owned 41,000 acres in Belmont, Guernsey, Monroe and Noble counties, which is the region with the most productive wells, according to company information. The company now owns about 90,000 acres in these "core Utica Shale counties."
Documents in the Belmont County Recorder's Office show that Oxford held dozens of leases throughout the county.
Generally, throughout the Marcellus and Utica shale formations, the farther east one drills for gas, the more likely this gas is to be of the dry type. As drillers move their operations toward the west, they are more likely to find the liquids-rich wet gas - which, in addition to the dry methane gas, contains valuable ethane, propane and butane.
"We are pleased to have over 50 new Oxford employees join the Eclipse team, and expect to continue to utilize their talents as we grow our business. With the acquisition, Eclipse now has an established operational center in Zanesville, Ohio," Hulburt said.
"We look forward to expanding our activities in that location and continuing to add drilling, completion and production personnel," he added.