Ohio Drillers Setting Utica Shale Production Records
Amount of Utica Shale acreage also increasing
ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Eclipse Resources officials left a “Purple Hayes” with their 3.5-mile-long horizontal well last year, but their “Great Scott” operation now stretches almost 1,000 feet farther into the Utica Shale beneath in Guernsey County in eastern Ohio.
As Eclipse drills deeper and farther into the shale, fellow operators Gulfport Energy and Rice Energy continue increasing production and adding new acreage for future fracking.
“In the Utica condensate area, I am extremely happy to announce that we successfully drilled what we believe is the world’s longest onshore lateral ever drilled with a total measured depth of 27,400 feet and completable lateral extension of 19,300 feet, almost 1,000 feet longer than the previous record held by our ‘Purple Hayes’ well,” Eclipse Chairman, President and CEO Benjamin W. Hulburt said.
According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Great Scott well is located in Guernsey County, west of Barnesville and south of Cambridge. Industry leaders consider condensate as light form of crude oil.
Eclipse, which also has operations in Belmont and Monroe counties, is benefiting from the recovery in the industry. The company posted net income of $26.8 million for the first three months of this year, which compares to a net loss of $45.5 million during the same time period in 2016.
“This was another tremendous quarter for us as we continued our track record of exceeding production expectations, while expanding our operating margin by keeping our per unit operating expenses and our general and administrative expenses low,” Hulburt added.
Gulfport Energy, meanwhile, grew production to 849.6 million cubic feet per day in the first three months of this year, a 23 percent increase from the first quarter of 2016. The company maintains substantial operations in Belmont, Monroe and Harrison counties.
“We are extremely pleased with the results from these new wells and would expect both of the wells to rank among the top wells completed in the play to date,” Gulfport CEO and President Michael Moore said of the company’s new operations.
Rice Energy, featuring numerous wells in Belmont County, recently set a new company-best mark by drilling 6,170 feet during a 24-hour period, a 15 percent improvement from its previous mark.
The firm averaged 1.27 billion cubic feet of natural gas production in the first three months of this year, which is an 11 percent increase from the 2016 period. The company hopes to reach 2 Bcf per day by 2019.
“Looking ahead, we are focused on generating best-in-class exploration and production results to achieve our three-year exploration and production targeted growth outlook,” Rice CEO Daniel Rice IV said.
Data provided by ODNR show Buckeye State drillers and frackers pumped 1.37 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in 2016, a new record that shatters the previous year’s mark of 955.6 billion cubic feet. One billion cubic feet of gas is enough to provide power to about 24,315 homes for one year.