PA Forced Pooling for Utica Wells Remains Unclear, Confusing

As MDN previously reported, the single most productive Utica Shale well ever (to date) was drilled by Range Resources–in Pennsylvania (see Range Resources Drills Highest-Ever Initial Producing Utica Well). Because of the way PA’s laws are written, producers cannot use forced pooling for Marcellus layer wells they want to drill–but they can use PA law to file forced pooling requests for Utica layer wells. Given the success of Range (and others) with drilling Utica wells in PA, it’s a sure bet that sooner or later such a request will be filed. Problem is, the forced pooling law was written in 1961 and was designed for conventional/vertical wells, not unconventional/horizontal wells. The law was due to have a test by Hilcorp, but Hilcorp abandoned their request in September 2014 (see Hilcorp Drops Forced Pooling Request in W PA). With that case gone, forced pooling for Utica wells remains a muddled mess in PA…

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