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2012 Utica Shale production numbers place Carroll County on top of list

By Carol McIntire

Utica Shale productionWhat has been known to Carroll County residents the last couple years was reinforced to the state Thursday when the Ohio Department of Natural Resources  (ODNR) released its 2012 Utica Shale production numbers: Carroll County is the leader in Utica Shale production.

During a televised “State of the Play” conference in Columbus last week, ODNR officials released information that places Carroll County at the top of the list for the number of wells in production as well as both oil and gas produced.

Carroll County led the state in the number of wells producing at 50; an additional 99 have been drilled and permits issued for another 108. 

Three drillers reported production numbers for Carroll County: Rex Energy, Enervest Operations LLC and Chesapeake Exploration LLC. Companies are required to report numbers by March 31 of each year for the preceding year.

Rex Energy reported one producing well in Carroll County, the Brace well in Washington Twp.  Enervest submitted reports for one well, the Cairns well in Harrison Twp. The other 39 producing wells in the county (as of Dec. 31) belong to Chesapeake.

Production days ranged from two days on the Scott well in Perry Twp. to 306 days for the Shaw well in Center Twp.

The best producing well in the county was the Burgett well in Center Twp. Chesapeake reported the well produced 46,914.01 barrels of oil, 342,445 MCF (1,000 cubic feet) of gas and 17,082.5 barrels of brine in 206 days of production. A barrel of oil is equivalent to 42 gallons. ODNR officials noted the number of days produced does not necessarily indicate consecutive days of production. Additionally, they said it is unlikely any of the wells produced at anything near capacity. Wells produced at high initial rates have the potential of being permanently damaged.

They also noted reported gas volumes likely include both “dry” and “wet” gas. “Markets and pipeline capacity are limited so production is likely choked back,” they wrote in the report. “Once processing plants are up and running, the produced wet gas volumes will dramatically increase.”

The gas produced by 82 wells represents about 16 percent of the total gas produced in 2012. Total gas production is based on production from about 50,000 conventional wells along with the shale gas wells.

Numbers were reported for producing wells in Augusta, Brown, Center, East, Harrison, Lee, Perry and Washington townships.

Harrison County was the closest to Carroll County in producing wells with eight. Columbiana County has six wells, Guernsey, 5; Tuscarawas, 2; and Stark, 2.

ODNR officials noted the number of producing wells increased from two to 87. At this rate of growth, they expect Utica shale well production to exceed the yearly output of all of Ohio’s nearly 51,000 existing conventional wells by as early as 2015.

Utica wells represent less than one percent of all producing oil and gas wells in Ohio.

“The production from these initial Utica wells makes a compelling statement about the staggering amount of oil and gas resources Ohio’s shale appears to contain,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “As more data is collected and analyzed, ODNR will continue to report it and continue its careful regulation of this rapidly growing and economically vital industry.”

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