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Tioga County, PA. Getty Image via NewsCred

Large Utica Shale reserve could house the next gas boom

Once pipelines in the Utica Shale region are built, the area could see another natural gas drilling boom, according to Seneca Resources anyways.

The company recently announced its successful completion of a well on state forest land located in Tioga County.  The well tests report that the well will produce 22.7 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.  Seneca is a subsidiary of National Fuel Gas Company.  National Fuel’s CEO and President Ronald J. Tanski commented on the success of the well and how it could lead to more Utica Shale gas drilling on state forest land in Tioga and across the state:

This well, along with wells drilled by other operators in the area, have de-risked the Utica potential of our 10,000 acres on DCNR Tract 007. We estimate resource potential on this tract alone of approximately 1 trillion cubic feet. With these strong results in hand our team is evaluating options to develop this acreage in the next few years, depending on local gas prices and pipeline take-away capacity. We have additional Utica potential not only in Tioga County, but across much of our large Pennsylvania acreage position. Our next Utica exploration well is planned for fiscal 2016.

The thought of producing 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas is mind blowing, but none of that gas will be going anywhere until pipeline infrastructure is developed.  Tioga County is considered one of the most remote areas in Pennsylvania.  The forest, which consists of 10,493 acres, is where Seneca’s test well is located and was leased to the company back in 2010 for $48,530,125.  As of now, the DCNR lease hasn’t witnessed much development.

As reported by State Impact Pennsylvania, “The test well (often referred to as an exploratory well), located in the Tioga State Forest on DCNR Tract 007, was drilled to a depth of 12,200 feet, and then continued horizontally for another 4,640 feet. A typical well pad would have several wells with horizontals running in all directions for much longer distances. The well was fracked 30 times, which may indicate just how difficult it is to penetrate the Utica Shale. But if gas prices rise, and pipelines make their way to Tioga County, the Utica Shale may prove to be lucrative to gas producers and generate more funds flowing into the state’s Oil and Gas Lease Fund.”

Other cases of success in the Utica Shale were reported by Royal Dutch Shell and Range Resources.  Shell shared it successfully completed two wells located in Tioga County last September.  In December, Range completed a Utica well located in Washington County with a daily flow rate of 59 million cubic feet of natural gas.

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