PDC Changes Course, Delays More Utica Drilling in 2017

PDC Energy, a driller in the Wattenberg Field in Colorado and the Utica in Ohio, paused their Utica drilling program in 2015 (see PDC Energy Pushes Pause Button on OH Utica Drilling for 2015). In December 2015, the company announced they would restart Utica drilling in 2016 with plans to drill five wells (see PDC Energy to Restart OH Drilling in 2016, Drilling 5 Utica Wells). Indeed they did reactivate their program, in a much-scaled-back fashion, in 2016. One of the Utica wells PDC drilled, the “Neff” well, came online earlier than expected and began producing in 2Q16 (see PDC Energy 2Q16: Utica Program Active Again, Neff Well Online). However, another shale play has turned the head of PDC–the Permian Basin in Texas. PDC released their plans for 2017 in December and said they plan to drill two more Utica wells in the second half of 2017 and spend just $18 million to do it, spending the bulk of their money in the Permian and Wattenberg (see PDC Releases 2017 Plans – Drilling Just 2 Utica Wells in 2H17). The plan to drill two Utica wells this year is now mothballed. PDC released their full 2016 update yesterday and as part of that update, says they have now delayed any Utica drilling in 2017, preferring instead to chase oil in Texas and Colorado…

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