Slow start to Utica shale boom

May 17, 2013 at 1:05 PM
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COLUMBUS, Ohio, May 17 (UPI) -- The Ohio Department of Natural Resources said natural gas production from the Utica shale play was slow but could pick up in the next few years.

The Utica and Marcellus shale plays are among the most lucrative in the United States, lending to the natural gas boom in the country. Analysts last year warned that shale natural gas production might be curtailed by the lack of transit pipelines, however.

Ohio said drilling information from explorers Chesapeake Energy, Gulfport Energy and Anadarko revealed 87 of the 215 shale natural gas wells in the Utica play produced natural gas or oil last year.

Richard Simmers, head of Ohio's Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management, said there may be a lot more development on the horizon for shale gas in the state.

"We are very early in the process of drilling," he was quoted by The Plain Dealer newspaper in Cleveland as saying.

The state report said more than 12.9 billion cubic feet of natural gas and about 630,000 barrels of oil came from 87 wells in the play last year.

The state expects the number of active drilling rigs to reach 750 and the number of permits to reach 1,000 by the end of 2014. Drilling time has decreased as operators grow accustomed to Ohio's geology and the state expects to get more than 75 percent of its oil and natural gas from shale deposits by 2015.

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