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Shell finds natural gas in Utica shale

Discovery follows August land grab.

By Daniel J. Graeber

HOUSTON, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- Shell announced Wednesday it made natural gas discoveries at two wells in the Utica shale reserve area in Pennsylvania. "Last year, we refocused our resources plays strategy to select fewer plays with specific scale and economic characteristics to best suit our portfolio," Marvin Odum, Shell's upstream America director, said in a statement. "The Appalachian basin is one of those areas, and these two high-pressure wells both exhibit exceptional reservoir quality."

Shell said it made the discoveries in its Neal and Gee wells in the Utica shale. The company said the discoveries "extend the sweet spot" of Utica shale beyond southeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania into an area where it holds 430,000 acres.

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Gee had an initial flow rate of 11.2 million cubic feet of gas per day and Neal has already yielded 26.5 million cubic feet of gas per day, the company said.

In August, the Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the Energy Department, said total production from Utica shale should increase from 155 million cubic feet per day reported in January 2012 to an expected 1.3 billion cubic feet per day by September.

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Shell recently sold its entire stake in the Pinedale reserve area in Wyoming to Ultra Petroleum in exchange for $925 million and 155,000 net acres in the Marcellus and Utica basins in Pennsylvania.

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