Bob Downing

Colorado-based Antero Resources has unveiled three of the biggest natural gas wells in Ohio — all in Noble County.

The Milligan 2H well in Seneca Township is producing 40.2 million cubic feet per day of natural gas equivalents in initial production, the company announced.

In addition, the company’s Coal 3H well showed 35.3 million cubic feet of natural gas equivalents per day and the Milligan 1H well had 32.1 million cubic feet of natural gas equivalents per day.

All three wells are now among the top 10 natural gas producers in Ohio, said Shawn Bennett of Energy in Depth — Ohio, a pro-drilling trade group.

The top natural-gas-producing well in Ohio remains Antero’s Yountz well in Monroe County with 38.9 million cubic feet of natural gas per day in initial production.

The company released different figures for the three new wells and that makes it impossible to compare the available data from the Yountz well with the three new wells.

Antero also reported significant quantities of natural gas liquids (ethane, butane and propane) and condensate or oil from the three wells, plus two others. It said 60 to 70 percent of the product from the five wells were liquids.

Those Antero totals are very significant and proof that Ohio’s Utica shale in southeastern Ohio is a major resource, said industry expert Jim Willis, editor of the New York-based Marcellus Drilling News.

Antero Resources reported that its 11 initial Utica wells in Monroe and Noble counties are averaging 17.9 million cubic feet per day of natural gas equivalents.

In other news, Blue Racer Midstream’s Natrium I plant in northern West Virginia is quietly again up and running.

The plant, a key facility in processing Ohio’s Utica shale, had been closed since a September explosion and fire.

The company issued a press release on Monday that included one sentence about the facility reopening. It said: “The Natrium I processing unit has recently returned to service following a temporary shutdown that occurred after a fire damaged the unit.”

The $500 million cryogenic processing plant in northern West Virginia opened last summer. It is part of a $1.5 billion transportation-and-processing venture between Dominion Resources and Caiman Energy II LLC.

The plant on the Ohio River in Natrium, W.Va., can handle 200 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, plus it can fractionate or separate 36,000 42-gallon barrels of natural gas liquids per day.

Plans call for expanding the plant to 400 million cubic feet per day and a fractionate capability of 59,000 barrels of natural gas liquids per day. That addition should be operating by the end of the first quarter of 2014.

Two other processing plants, each capable of handing 200 million cubic feet per day, would then be built by Blue Racer in Ohio’s Monroe and Mahoning counties.

Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or bdowning@thebeaconjournal.com.