Region’s wells rich in gas

BY LAURA LEGERE

Times-Shamrock Writer

Three counties across the northern tier of Pennsylvania accounted for more than a third of the natural gas produced from the Marcellus Shale in the state during the second half of 2010, according to new production data posted online by the Department of Environmental Protection this week.

Although the current reporting period from July through December 2010 is only half as long as the previous 12-month reporting period released by the state, Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale wells produced twice as much gas: 256 billion cubic feet, or enough to heat more than 2.5 million homes for a year.

Bradford, Tioga and Susquehanna counties produced more than 100 billion cubic feet of that gas, and all of the 10 best-performing Marcellus wells during the six-month period were in Susquehanna County.

The new data reinforce both the growth and promise of Marcellus Shale production in Pennsylvania.

Terry Engelder, a geosciences professor at Penn State University who studies the Marcellus Shale, plotted cumulative production data for horizontal wells in Bradford County since July 2009 and found that the amount of gas being pulled from the shale beneath the county is validating even upgraded industry predictions for the expected ultimate recovery for the wells – the cumulative amount of gas each well will produce in its lifetime.

One of the most active gas operators in the northeast, Chesapeake Energy, upgraded its predictions for the performance of its Marcellus Shale wells from an average expected ultimate recovery of 3.75 billion cubic feet to 5.3 billion cubic feet once the company began to see production from its wells – an average that is now being proven by the production of all companies in the state’s most active Marcellus county, Engelder said.

“They were excited about it, obviously, and the data continues to confirm that,” he said.

The updated production data posted on DEP’s Oil and Gas Electronic Reporting website Thursday does not include information from 38 Marcellus Shale operators who did not meet the Tuesday deadline for declaring how much gas and waste they produced, a DEP spokesman said. The database, www.paoilandgasreporting.state.pa.us/publicreports, will be updated weekly until all producers have reported.

Reports from the state’s largest operators are included in the database.

The most gas – 2.4 billion cubic feet over the six months – was produced from Cabot Oil and Gas Corp.’s W Chudleigh 3H-NW well in Springville Twp., Susquehanna County. With an average 13.3 million cubic feet a day, the Cabot well also had the second highest average production among all wells in the state that produced gas for more than 30 days during the reporting period.

The well with the best daily average, an Anadarko Exploration and Production Co. well in Lycoming County, produced 17.8 million cubic feet a day during two-and-a-half months in production.

At least 1,147 Marcellus wells were producing gas during the six-month period.

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