Atlas Energy Figures Out a Way to Increase Marcellus Shale Gas Production an Average 138% Per Well

Atlas Energy’s Marcellus Shale gas output is up 21% in the second quarter from the first quarter of 2010. At the end of June, their net production rate in the Marcellus region was 59 Mmcfe (million cubic feet of natural gas equivalents) per day. The company brought eight new horizontal Marcellus Shale wells online in southwestern Pennsylvania from April to June with average peak average daily rates of 5.1 Mmcf per day.

According to Atlas, the lateral portion of the new wells was “landed low” (placed near the bottom) in the Marcellus Shale layer, and that strategy is helping them get more gas from their wells. As the following table from Atlas shows, wells with lateral placements landed low produce more gas than those landed high—an average of 138% more according to Atlas (reference the 30 Day Avg column).


According to an Atlas press release:

“We are proud of the consistently strong results of our recent Marcellus Shale horizontal wells,” stated Richard D. Weber, President of Atlas Energy, Inc. “With average initial rates of production in excess of 5 Mmcfe per day, we expect first year average production to be in excess of 2 Mmcfe per day per well. We have concluded that landing our laterals low in the Marcellus Shale section produces superior results and we intend to continue to drill our wells accordingly in the future.”*

You may recall from MDN’s earlier coverage of Atlas, Indian energy giant Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) in April of this year entered into a joint venture with Atlas, investing an initial $1.7 billion, with a larger deal that could expand to be $3.5 billion over the next 10 years.

*Atlas Energy Press Release (July 7) – Atlas Energy Reports Sharply Higher Second Quarter Production Reflecting Strong Marcellus Well Results and Additional Pipeline Capacity, Raises Outlook for 2011

  • ADG1984

    Go Marcellus!

  • What-The-Frack!

    I wonder, geologically, why a lateral wellbore slung low in the shale layer would improve production. Maybe they achieve better drainage of all that used frac water, and that opens things up more for the gas to flow out?

    At any rate, if you are truly concerned about waste of resources (the original meaning of environmental conservation), this discovery by Atlas Energy is progress.

  • Great news! Maybe we won’t be strapped with high nat gas prices after all. This gas is headed for China first, not PA. The growth is in China. That’s where the money is. PA’s economy is stiffled by debt and it’s going to get progressively worse. But at least wealthy people who don’t live in toxic PA will have abundant supply.