Cabot O&G Considers Drilling in Ashland County, OH

Important Update (12/18/17) – A highly placed source in Cabot Oil & Gas called MDN to let us know Cabot is not looking to drill the Utica Shale in Ashland County, OH, as we first presumed. Instead, Cabot is looking to drill LOWER than the Utica–in a different rock layer. We were not told which layer. This is purely exploratory. Sometimes you hit and sometimes you miss. Something about the area has caught Cabot’s attention–but that doesn’t mean it will pan out. Stay tuned!

This, for us, is HUGE news. Cabot Oil & Gas is sniffing around the possibility of drilling in the Ohio Utica. We suppose it shouldn’t surprise us, but it does. Especially since we haven’t heard or read a word about Cabot’s Utica interest–until now. Put yourself in Cabot’s shoes–what comes next? After all, they’ve been drilling in Susquehanna County, PA for the last 10 years. Sooner or later Cabot will run out of new places to sink wells. Cabot previously fiddled around in the Eagle Ford Shale play in Texas, drilling for oil, but that hasn’t panned out. In May, MDN picked up on a little bit of information slipped into Cabot’s first quarter update–the company is spending $125 million THIS YEAR on buying leases and drilling test wells, in plays they weren’t ready to disclose at that point (see Cabot O&G 1Q17 – Oil Turning Cabot’s Eye Away from Marcellus). The only hint we had about where Cabot may be looking was this statement: “our focus is going to be oil.” We now know where at least some of that $125M is going–to Ashland County, OH. Cabot is looking to drill an exploratory well (or two or three) in Ashland, to see what they find. We think Cabot’s choice of location interesting. Ashland County is located well west (and north) of Ohio counties currently drilled for Utica oil and gas. We’ve checked the statistics in our forthcoming Marcellus & Utica Shale Almanac. Devon Energy got a single permit and spud (began to drill) a single well in Ashland’s Utica Shale back in 2011. Since that time (and through the end of 2016) no other permits were issued, and there’s been zero production from that single Devon well. It’s likely Cabot is shopping for a bargain–go where no one else is going, to see if they can make the magic happen once again that they’ve experienced in northeast PA. The reason we know about Cabot’s dalliance in Ashland is because local antis in the county are up in arms over the prospect of Cabot “fracking” the county…

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