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Ohio Utica Shale

U.S. rig count hits higgest total in 2013 as Marcellus shale booms

By Bob Downing Published: August 5, 2013

From Bloomberg News on Friday:

Rigs targeting oil and natural gas in the U.S. gained for the fifth straight week to the highest level this year as producers boosted natural-gas plays in the Marcellus Shale formation on the East Coast.

Total rigs gained six to 1,782, the most since Dec. 14, according to data posted on Baker Hughes Inc.’s website. The count is in the longest streak of weekly advances since July 2011. Gas rigs surged by 19 to 388, a four-month high, the Houston-based field services company said on its website. Oil rigs declined by 13 to 1,388. West Virginia added 11 rigs this week to 38, the most since at least May 2010.

Rigs are rising with domestic crude output reaching the highest since 1990 and U.S. oil reserves the most in two decades as producers use hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling to reach shale deposits. The resurgence in energy production helped the U.S. meet 87 percent of its energy needs in the first four months of 2013, on pace to be the highest annual rate since 1985.

“Most of this week’s increase was in the Marcellus shale in West Virginia, and that’s not surprising,” James Williams, president of energy consulting firm WTRG Economics in London, Arkansas, said by telephone. “You can make money at this price in the Marcellus.”

The Marcellus stretches across areas of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia.

Barclays described the Marcellus play in a July 24 research note as “hotter than ever” as a pipeline and new processing plants allow more wet-gas volumes to leave the area. Gas production from the southwest Marcellus and Utica regions could rise by 3.5 billion cubic feet a day by the end of 2014, Biliana Pehlivanova, a Barclays analyst in New York, said in the note.

Proven natural gas reserves in the U.S. rose by almost 10 percent in 2011 to a record 348.8 trillion cubic feet, the Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department’s statistical arm, said yesterday. Oil reserves in the U.S. increased for the third straight year in 2011, rising by 15 percent to 29 billion barrels, the most since 1985.

“Higher oil prices helped drive record increases in crude oil reserves,” Adam Sieminski, EIA’s administrator, said in a statement yesterday. “Natural gas reserves grew strongly despite slightly lower natural gas prices in 2011.”

Natural gas for September delivery fell 4 cents to settle at $3.347 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up 15 percent from a year ago.

U.S. gas stockpiles gained 59 billion cubic feet last week to 2.845 trillion, bigger than the five-year seasonal average increase of 47 billion, the EIA said yesterday. Supplies were 11.5 percent below year-earlier levels.

“A declining gas production rate coupled with a $4 per mcf gas price may boost demand for drilling rigs,” Mehdi Menouar, a Bloomberg Industries energy analyst in Princeton, New Jersey, said July 31.

U.S. oil output slipped 13,000 barrels a day to 7.54 million after rising to the highest level a since December 1990 a week earlier. Stockpiles gained for the first time in five weeks, adding 431,000 barrels to 364.6 million.

Crude for September delivery dropped 95 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $106.94 a barrel today on the Nymex, up 23 percent in the past year.

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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.