DUC DUC Goose! The Growing Backlog of Uncompleted Shale Wells

Ever hear of a DUC? No, we didn’t forget the “K” on the end of DUC. It stands for Drilled but UnCompleted (DUC) wells. Completing a well means taking the final step of fracking the well and hooking it up to production. Lately there’s been a lot of talk about DUCs–a large inventory of wells drilled (holes in the ground) not yet completed. Completing a well takes a lot of sand, water and money. There’s little incentive to complete wells when commodity prices for oil and gas are so low. In some cases drillers will drill the borehole and not complete a well as a way of holding their acreage before a lease expires. In other cases, they’d love to finish the job–but the price they will get is too darned low, so they put completion on hold. Sometimes a driller has contracted for a rig and crew to operate it–instead of canceling and owing that money anyway, they go ahead and drill. How many DUCs are there in general, and in the Marcellus/Utica specifically? The honest answer is, no one knows for sure. But smart analysts can make some pretty good guesses, based on company reports and their own industry knowledge. Below we bring you the latest we can find on DUCs–specifically how many DUCs there are in the Marcellus/Utica…

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