MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. – Oil and natural gas companies with Marcellus Shale operations in the Northern Panhandle are turning their attention to the Utica Shale.
The Utica Shale underlies the Marcellus Shale in much of Marshall, Wetzel and Ohio counties.
Gastar Exploration is drilling an exploratory well in both the Utica and Point Pleasant formations in Marshall County. Stone Energy Corp. operates mostly in Wetzel County and plans to drill a Utica exploratory well in June. Fossil Creek of Ohio also is exploring the Utica Shale in the panhandle, The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register.
“In West Virginia, we are currently drilling our first Utica/Point Pleasant exploration well in Marshall County and expect to have results early in the third quarter of 2014. Based on nearby operator activity, we are highly optimistic about the potential of this formation and believe that it underlies our entire acreage position in both Marshall and Wetzel counties,” J. Russell Porter, Gastar president and CEO, told the newspaper.
Gastar hopes to drill its Simms 5H well 11,100 feet vertically before turning it to go another 4,200 feet horizontally.
The Point Pleasant formation lies near the Utica Shale, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
“We expect 2014 to be marked by further realization of the growing value of our assets as we test new formations and expand the areas in which we are developing our currently producing formations,” Porter said. “Later this year, we will be moving both of our Marcellus and Utica drilling programs south to Wetzel County, where we expect results to be equally as attractive as our Marcellus wells and pending Utica well in Marshall County.”
Louisiana-based Stone Energy is looking forward to its first Utica Shale exploration well, which should be completed in June. Testing is expected to begin latere this year, President and CEO David Welch said.
Stone Energy also plans to produce more than 100 million cubic feet of natural gas per day from its Marcellus wells by the second half of this year, Welch said.