Marcellus & Utica Shale Well Permits Dwindle Down

by Duane Nichols on April 15, 2016

In Ohio, 1704 Utica wells have been drilled --- 12 rigs are active none in the Marcellus shale

Number of OH, PA, WV shale well permits continues nosedive

From an Article by Kristy Foster Seachrist, Farm & Dairy, April 14, 2016

SALEM, Ohio — The fallout of low oil and gas prices doesn’t appear to be ending any time soon, as the number of Utica shale permits issued continues to fall.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources issued only 13 permits in March. That number is down from February when ODNR issued 17 permits. Last year, ODNR had issued 38 new drilling permits in March.

Monroe County

Monroe County led Ohio for the highest number of permits issued, at six permits. The permits were all issued to Gulfport Energy Corporation for a well site in Wayne Township. There are now 117 wells producing in Monroe County, and 77 wells either have been drilled or are in the process of being drilled.

Carroll County

In Carroll County, the ODNR issued four new permits. The permits were issued for a well site in Washington Township to be drilled by R E Gas Development. The ODNR report shows there are now 417 producing wells in Carroll County and 40 in some sort of drilling phase.

Belmont County

In Belmont County, the ODNR issued three permits. The permits were issued to the Gulfport Energy Corporation for the same well site in York Township. In Belmont County, there are now 138 producing wells in the county and 104 are in a drilling phase.

Production numbers

Although the number of permits for new wells tapered off in March, the number of producing wells continues to grow. In Belmont and Carroll counties, the number of producing wells increased by four, and the number of producing wells in Harrison County increased by five. In Monroe and Noble counties, producing wells grew by one in each county.

The ODNR reported there are now 2,152 Utica shale wells permitted in Ohio. There are 1,704 wells drilled and 12 rigs are operating in Ohio. In the Marcellus shale, there are 44 wells permitted and there are 29 wells drilled. There are no rigs operating in Ohio’s Marcellus shale.

>>> Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issued 128 permits in March. In the immediate circulation area, the PA-DEP issued permits in Butler, Greene and Washington counties.

The PA-DEP issued one permit in Butler, 35 in Greene and eight in Washington County.

In Bradford County, where the Marcellus shale boom began, thePA-DEP issued two permits for shale wells.

Pennsylvania totals

During the first quarter of 2016, there were 413 shale permits issued in Pennsylvania.

The counties with the highest number of permits issued in the first quarter include Butler, with 13 permits; Greene, 101; and Washington, 100. Other counties that received permits during the first quarter include Crawford and Lawrence, which each received one permit. There were two shale permits issued in Beaver and Mercer counties.


Besides permit numbers, the number of wells drilled in Pennsylvania also continues to be lower than 2015. There were 288 permits issued during the first quarter of 2015, compared to the 121 wells drilled during the first quarter in 2016.

According to the PA- DEP, there were 51 wells drilled in Washington County and 10 in Greene County. The PA-DEP report also shows that 10 new shale wells were drilled in Susquehanna County, which is located south of Bradford County.

The Pennsylvania DEP reported there were 55 shale wells drilled in March. There were 24 wells drilled in Washington County during March and eight in Greene County.

The report also shows that 10 wells were drilled in Susquehanna County in the past month. Other counties that reported wells being drilled in March include Armstrong, Elk, McKean and Tioga.

>>> West Virginia

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection also shows a slowdown in the oil and gas industry. The only two counties with permits issued in March include Tyler and Ohio.

Tyler County

The WV-DEP issued six new permits in Tyler County for wells to be drilled in the Marcellus shale. Five of the permits were issued to Antero Resources Corporation on three different pieces of property.

Ohio County

In Ohio County, the WV-DEP issued one permit for a well to be drilled in the Marcellus shale. The permit was issued to the SWN Production Company.

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Note: Shale depths vary with location.  The Marcellus shale could be found at 5,000 feet and the Utica an additional 3,000.  Thus Utica wells are more expensive, perhaps $15 million versus $8 million for a Marcellus well.  Costs also depend upon the number of wells on the pad and many other factors.  See also:

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Roseland Rig Count June 30, 2016 at 6:20 pm


From Roseland Oil and Gas, June 30, 2016

In a sign that the U.S. shale industry could spring back to life, one of the top Texas shale companies expects to grow both production and its rig count this year.

Pioneer Natural Resources said in an updated 2016 outlook issued in June that it would increase its horizontal rig count from 12 to 17 rigs in the Permian basin in the second half of the year. Pioneer will add the first rig in September, with plans to follow that up with an additional two rigs in each of October and November. Those rigs will begin drilling and see initial production in early 2017.

By adding those five rigs, Pioneer expects to see a production growth of 13 to 17 percent next year. That will come on top of the 12 percent growth the company expects this year. The updated outlook comes after several weeks of gains in the total U.S. rig count. The U.S. added 21 rigs between the end of May and mid-June, although the industry removed 7 rigs last week, according to Baker Hughes.

Pioneer’s plans, along with the rig data, indicate a slow return of shale drillers to the oil patch. There has been a great deal of speculation whether or not oil rising to $50 would trigger new drilling. The industry won’t come rushing back in a wave, but Pioneer’s decision suggests that at least some companies have an appetite for new drilling at today’s prices.

There is also some anecdotal evidence that companies are starting to finish drilled but uncompleted wells in North Dakota, leading to an uptick in hiring for fracking and well completion services. “We are starting to see a definite increase,” Cindy Sanford, a manager at the Williston office of Job Service North Dakota, told the Forum News Service. “It’s not as crazy as it was before, but we’re starting to see some activity.”

After thousands of layoffs, companies are hoping to bring back some of their personnel. “We definitely are starting to see a need for some workers,” Sanford said.



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