Ultra pushes Oriskany, Marcellus programs

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Feb. 24 -- Ultra Petroleum Corp., Houston, is pursuing gas in Devonian Oriskany sandstone and Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania.

Ultra reported encouraging results after it drilled or participated in 12 vertical Marcellus exploration wells in 2008 at an average completed well cost of $1.3 million. The wells await pipeline connection.

The company and partners plan to drill four horizontal Marcellus wells late in the first quarter of 2009. Typical Marcellus horizontal wells are reported to have produced at rates of 1.3-4.5 MMcfd, or 5-10 times the production of a vertical well at 2.5 times the cost, Ultra noted.

Ultra also participated with 50% working interest in six Oriskany wells operated by private East Resources Inc., Warrendale, Pa., at an average completed well cost of $1.3 million. Two are waiting on completion, one of which is dually completed in Oriskany and Marcellus and is awaiting a pipeline connection.

Ultra drilled three other Oriskany wells in the Texas Creek 3D seismic area, where it identified a series of Oriskany structures. Based on pressure testing, these wells appear capable of making 5 MMcfd/well in spite of significant skin damage. Pressure test analysis continues in an effort to determine field size, and typical Oriskany reserves are at least 4 bcf/well, Ultra said.

The company drilled a fourth Oriskany well in early 2009 to help test the field's limits.

It is drilling one Oriskany exploration well and plans to drill two more in the first half of 2009.

Ultra shot 30 sq miles of 3D seismic in the Marshlands area of Pennsylvania in 2008 and expects to have final processed data near the end of the first quarter to begin analyzing Oriskany, Marcellus, and other potential. The company holds 172,000 net acres in the area.

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