OH Utica Shale Drilling Will Continue Rapid Expansion in 2013

rocket taking off Some interesting facts about Ohio Utica Shale drilling for 2012, and predictions for 2013…Fact number one: There are 45 producing horizontal Utica Shale wells in Ohio as of Dec. 31, 2012. They produce 40% as much natural gas as all 64,000 vertical-only natural gas wells in the state produce. (You read that right!) Conclusion: When Ohio reaches 113 producing Utica Shale wells (sometime in 2013), it will equal the entire natural gas production of all 64K vertical natural gas wells in the state. Behold the miracle of hydraulic fracturing.

Here’s a few more fascinating facts about Ohio’s Utica Shale drilling in 2012, and predictions for what’s ahead in 2013:

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Flip Side: Some OH Utica Shale Wells Get Plugged/Abandoned

When it comes to drilling in the Ohio Utica Shale, a lot of attention has been focused on the ramp up in activity—the growing number of drilling rigs, huge land lease deals, and eye-popping initial production results for some of the wells drilled. But there is another side to the story.

Every now and again, a well does not produce. Could be the driller did not properly find the shale layer (extremely rare). Could be they did find it but for whatever reason the layer doesn’t produce in that area. More likely there were problems during the drilling that caused the work to be stopped—like a broken-off drill bit. In Ohio, there have been nine Utica Shale wells that have been plugged and abandoned (so far). Here’s where they are located and who did the drilling:

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Chesapeake Energy’s Huge Vote of Confidence in Ohio’s Utica Shale

Chesapeake Energy is the largest driller (by far) in the Ohio Utica Shale—a situation not likely to change any time soon. Chesapeake is in love with Ohio’s Utica Shale.

Here’s a rundown of their drilling operations in the Ohio Utica, including how many wells drilled (to date), how much they’ve invested in the state, and their plans for 2013:

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Portage County Landowners Get Free Pre-Drilling Water Tests

Landowners who live in Portage County, Ohio who have a concern that their water may become contaminated from Utica Shale drilling activity can have their water tested now, before drilling begins, for free. The free testing will be done on Jan. 6 (and on the first Sunday of each month) in Shalersville by the anti-drilling group Concerned Citizens Ohio/Shalersville.

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WV Landowner Sues 3 Companies for Methane Contamination of Water

A landowner in Marshall County, West Virginia had previously sued Chesapeake Energy, claiming Chesapeake’s nearby drilling and fracking operations (from 2009/2010) caused methane to migrate and contaminate his water well. Chesapeake sampled the well and found the kind of methane in the well (the “fingerprint” for the methane) does not match the methane from their drilled natural gas well.

The story then gets complicated. It seems that CNX Gas, a division of CONSOL Energy, had previously drilled a number of shallow natural gas wells in the area, and that Columbia Gas, a division of NiSource, has an underground natural gas storage field adjacent to the landowner’s property. Oy vey. There’s no shortage of possibilities for how the methane may have gotten into his well, and so now everyone is now getting sued…

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Did Man Convicted of Dumping Shale Wastewater Get Off Easy?

The Pennsylvania State Attorney General’s office has appealed the sentencing of a man who owned a shale gas wastewater hauling company who was convicted off dumping millions of gallons of wastewater into streams and abandoned mine shafts. The AG thinks a sentence of seven years’ probation with no prison time is not good enough:

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