Gastar Marcellus Wells: Strong Production, Lots of Liquids

Gastar Exploration gives the following operational update on their drilling activities in the Marcellus Shale in Marshall and Preston counties in West Virginia, and Butler County in Pennsylvania. Most of Gastar’s Marcellus activity is concentrated in Marshall County, WV, where they plan to complete 24 horizontal wells by the end of 2012.

From the Gastar press release:

Gastar’s first two productive Marcellus shale wells, the Wengerd 1H and Wengerd 7H, continue to exhibit strong production rates and have averaged a combined gross sales rate of 7.3 million cubic feet per day ("MMCFD") of natural gas along with 448 barrels of natural gas liquids ("NGLs") per day and 255 barrels of condensate per day ("BCPD") over the most recent 14 days of unrestricted production. Gastar owns a 44.5% working interest (37.6% net revenue interest) in the Wengerd wells.

Gastar initiated production from the Corley 1H, 2H, 3H and 4H wells over the past 30 days. The Corley wells are currently producing at a combined gross rate of 9.9 MMCFD of natural gas, 680 barrels of NGLs per day and 100 BCPD along with approximately 2400 barrels of fracture stimulation fluid per day. Condensate rates are expected to increase as the recovery of fracture stimulation fluids is completed. These production rates are being realized despite continuing problems with high line pressures on the Caiman Energy gathering system. Gastar owns an approximate 40.7% working interest (35.3% net revenue interest) in the Corley wells.

Gastar has completed the fracture stimulation of the Simms 1H, 2H and 3H wells (approximate 50.0% working interest and 42.0% net revenue interest) and will commence flow-back operations on those wells prior to year-end. Gastar is currently fracture stimulating three wells on the Hall pad (approximate 40.2% working interest and 33.8% net revenue interest) and expects to have those wells stimulated by early 2012 with first sales anticipated by late January 2012. In addition, Gastar has completed the drilling of six additional horizontal Marcellus shale wells of which five Hendrickson wells (40.2% working interest and 33.8% net revenue interest) should be completed and brought on line during the first quarter of 2012 and is also currently drilling on two multi-well pads; the Burch Ridge pad (five wells) and the Accetolo pad (three wells).

Gastar is continuing to flow back and test the Hickory Ridge 2H well in Preston County, West Virginia. The Hickory Ridge 2H well has produced natural gas intermittently while recovering completion fluids. Gastar has installed a compressor to assist with accelerating the recovery of completion fluids from the well and believes that the well is capable of producing at economic rates.

Gastar has been informed by Rex Energy, the operator of the Grosick wells located in Butler County, Pennsylvania, that three of the seven wells have been fracture stimulated and have been on production since December 1, 2011. Rex is currently installing tubing in the wells, and we expect information on gas sales rates to be available within the next 30 days. Gastar owns a 19.0% working interest (15.06% net revenue interest) in the Grosick wells.  

J. Russell Porter, Gastar’s President and CEO, commented: "We are pleased with the early production rates from the Marcellus shale wells we have put on sales so far this year and expect them to generate excellent rates of return due to the attractive NGL and condensate yields realized in Marshall County, West Virginia. We plan to bring on a number of wells over the next several months as we continue to develop these assets and grow production. We also expect the issues with high gathering system pressures to be minimized as additional compression is installed on the system in the middle of the first quarter of 2012. We are finalizing plans for an active 2012 Marcellus drilling program consisting of at least 24 operated horizontal wells in Marshall County."*

*Gastar Exploration Press Release (Dec 19, 2011) – Gastar Exploration Provides Operational Update on Marcellus Activity