EQT 2Q17: Ends Utica Drilling for Now, Merger with Rice on Track

My how times change. Just last October EQT indicated that in the not-too-distant future the company would be primarily a Utica Shale driller (see EQT 3Q16: Company will Soon be Primarily a Utica Driller). The company had experimented with Utica wells in Greene County, PA and Wetzel County, WV–with good results. Earlier this month a couple of EQT reps giving a talk to the Monongahela Area Chamber of Commerce said EQT would drill seven Utica wells in the Mon Valley–THIS YEAR (see EQT Update on Mon Valley Drilling – 7 Utica Wells Coming This Yr). Yesterday EQT held a conference call and issued their second quarter financial and operational results. Buried in the update was this statement: “In anticipation of the merger with Rice Energy, EQT has suspended its Utica test program as improved returns on Marcellus wells resulting from longer laterals made possible by the Rice acquisition are higher than the return expected on the average Utica well today.” No more Utica drilling–at least for now. My how times change. Also of keen interest, on the conference call, EQT CEO Steve Schlotterbeck said the board is working on a comprehensive review of the company, post-merger with Rice, and one of the options will be “splitting the companies” (upstream/drilling and midstream/pipelines), as corporate raider Jana Partners has been pressuring them to do…

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