Rice Energy 2Q15: Another PA Utica Monster Well on the Way?!

Rice Energy, a relatively young but rapidly growing and important driller in both the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays, turned in their second quarter 2015 update yesterday. Like virtually every other North American driller the bad news is Rice experienced a net loss after expenses of $63.5 million in 2Q15 vs. a net loss of $7.9 million in 2Q14. But there was plenty of good news in the Rice update. For one thing, 2Q15 production was up an amazing 120% over 2Q14–to an average 529 million cubic feet equivalent per day (MMcfe/d). For another thing, Rice turned in to sales 11 operated Ohio Utica and 14 operated Pennsylvania Marcellus wells–the most active quarter in the company’s young history. Perhaps most exciting of all, Rice reports they have drilled their first Pennsylvania Utica well in Greene County and will hook that well up to sales sometime in the next month or two. Greene County is the location for the current ruling champ of Utica wells, drilled by EQT (see EQT’s 1st Utica Well Shatters Record – 72.9 MMcf/d IP Rate!). Will this Rice well beat it? Come close? We’re on pins and needles waiting to see!…

UPDATE: Rice Energy said on their earnings call yesterday that although they will hook up their new Greene County, PA Utica well to production in 3Q15, they will not run an initial production (IP) test on the well. Why? “Recently reported IP tests in close proximity to our position have proven our geologic model’s expectation that this area is highly prospective for Utica development. From other data we’ve gathered during the drilling and completion of this well, we would fully expect similar IP results, but our main focus is determining long-term production potential.” Bummer!

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