With hundreds of productive wells in Eastern Ohio, the Rice Energy Mohawk Warrior well in central Belmont County continues leading the way as the Buckeye State reached record Marcellus and Utica shale natural gas yields from January through March.
Ohio Department of Natural Resources data released over the weekend show Buckeye State drillers pumped 329 billion cubic feet of natural gas during the first three months of this year, which is up from the 303 billion drawn from October through December. As New York Mercantile Exchange natural gas prices slowly increase up from about $2 per 1,000 cubic feet in March to about $2.75 per unit Monday the resulting demand could spur a resurgence in drilling.
Even though drilling is down, natural gas production is up. But oil is down, and thats not really a surprise, Ohio Oil and Gas Association Senior Vice President Shawn Bennett said.
State data show Ohio producers yielded 5.49 million barrels of oil during the first three months of this year, which is down from 6.25 million pumped during the previous three-month period.
The NYMEX price for a barrel of oil Monday was about $50, which is up from a low of $38 in April, but still well below the $100 levels of summer 2014.
Its all based on prices. If the price is too high, everyone will start drilling, which will make the price drop because supply goes up, Bennett said. If the price is too low, no one will drill, which will make the price go up because supply goes down.
Pricing problems do not seem to be impacting Rice Energy all that much, as the company continues to run its wells, including Razin Kane and Gold Digger, at full throttle.
Our operating momentum has given us the opportunity to take full advantage of the current commodity price environment. Our focus on optimizing returns from our core dry gas acreage has resulted in significant operational gains, Rice CEO Daniel J. Rice IV said.
Rice Manager of External Communications Kimberly Price said the company spent $2.4 million to improve Belmont County roadways last year, in addition to $200,000 last summer to suppress dust on unpaved roads.
Well be here as long as Belmont County will have us, she said.
Although the individual Rice wells are generally more lucrative, Gulfport Energy features a higher number of producing wells, led by the Lorna well in southern Belmont County that pumped 1.08 billion cubic feet of gas during the first quarter of 2016.
The first quarter of 2016 was another solid operational quarter for Gulfport, highlighted by strong production from our Utica Shale assets and our continued focus on efficiencies that led to decreased costs across the board, Gulfport CEO Michael G. Moore said.
In Belmont and Monroe counties, you just have phenomenal reservoirs in those counties, Bennett said. Even at these depressed prices, companies can make it work because the wells are so productive.
Bennett said these companies are likely going to work in East Ohio for years to come, but said activity depends on how quickly prices rise.
At $2.75 an Mcf, you feel a little more comfortable. If you can get prices back over $3, youll start to see more drilling again, he said.
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