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Ohio Utica Shale

Ohio natural gas, oil production from Utica growing in big way

By Bob Downing Published: July 2, 2014

Production numbers from the Utica shale are soaring, and that’s good news for Ohio.

Oil production from shale grew by 470 percent from 2012 to 2013 and natural gas production from shale climbed by 680 percent in that time, state officials said on Wednesday at a State of the Play presentation at Stark State College in Jackson Township outside of Canton.

"History is being made as we speak," said Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director James Zehringer.

In the first quarter 2014, Ohio had 418 Utica wells that produced 67 billion cubic feet of natural gas and 1.9 million barrels of oil.

In 2013, Ohio had 352 shale wells that produced nearly 3.7 million barrels of oil and 100.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources reported.

Production grew by about 65 percent from quarter to quarter.

In 2012, Ohio had 85 shale wells that produced nearly 636,000 barrels of oil and more than 12.8 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

In 2013, Ohio’s 352 horizontal wells produced more natural gas than Ohio’s 51,000 vertical-only wells.

Ohio’s horizontal Utica wells now produce 58 percent of the state’s natural gas and 45 percent of its oil.

Overall, Ohio’s natural gas production from both horizontal and vertical-only wells nearly doubled from 2012 to 2013. It jumped to 171.6 billion cubic feet of natural gas. Oil production grew to nearly 8.1 million barrels.

Ohio’s total oil production increased by 62 percent from 2012 and the natural gas production increased by 97 percent, ODNR said.

The one-year increase in natural gas production is the biggest in Ohio history, and the most natural gas that Ohio has produced since 1982, state officials said.

Ohio homes consume 270 billion cubic feet of natural gas in a typical year.

Ohio is expected to surpass that natural gas volume next year, officials said.

The Utica shale is "the real deal," Zehringer said at the conclusion of a 90-minute presentation looking at production totals and what Ohio is doing to protect residents from drilling problems.

The Ohio data released on Wednesday "looks good…and is impressive," said geology professor Jeffrey Dick from Youngstown State University and an expert on the Utica shale. "But it’s still early.…We’re only in the second inning."

The data is "very positive and is definitely trending in the right direction," said spokesman Mike Chadsey of the Ohio Oil & Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents Ohio drillers. "It’s very encouraging.

The big numbers have been driven by increasing drilling activity and the completion of pipelines and processing plants in eastern Ohio, Zehringer said.

Ohio’s production data flattened somewhat in the fourth quarter 2013, due to infrastructure bottlenecks, he said.

But those bottlenecks are easing and the newest production data again shows a sharp increase, he said.

Ohio is projecting that 700 Utica wells be drilled this year and another 800 in 2015, said Rick Simmers, chief of ODNR’s Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management.

To date, Ohio has approved 1,386 Utica shale permits. Of that total, 926 wells have been drilled with 470 wells in production or capable of beginning production. A total of 41 drilling rigs are working in Ohio for 31 drilling companies involved in the Utica shale. Ohio’s first shale wells were drilled in late 2010.

Ohio, Simmers said, is working with other states and agencies to learn more about earthquakes triggered by hydraulic fracturing or fracking and also by injection wells that take waste drilling liquids.

Ohio has no evidence of production beginning to decline from some of the earliest-drilled Utica wells, he said. That is a problem associated with shale development but it is not evident yet, he said.

The Utica shale is also having a big impact on the Ohio economy, said David Mustine, JobsOhio senior managing director.

Billions of dollars have been invested in pipelines and processing facilities, he said.

Forty Ohio companies manufacture items used by the drilling industry, he said.

Ohioans have benefitted by cheaper natural gas prices, he said.

The polymer industry stands to get generate major savings of hundreds of millions of dollars due to the Utica development, he said.

The state later posted the State of the Play report and Power Point presentation at http://oilandgas.ohiodnr.gov.

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Utica and Marcellus shale web sites

Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.