Total natural gas production in Ohio’s Utica region—which includes production from the Utica and Point Pleasant formations as well as legacy production from conventional reservoirs—is expected to increase to 1.3 bcfd in September from just 155 MMcfd in January 2012, according to the US Energy Information Administration’s Drilling Productivity Report (DPR).
EIA in large part credits the growth to increased drilling productivity—the average monthly production from new wells per drilling rig—noting that it has increased to an estimated 5 MMcfd in August from 0.3 MMcfd in January 2012.
The increase has outpaced the growth rate in the Haynesville region during 2009-11 and the Marcellus region during 2010-12. However, current drilling productivity levels in those areas still exceed that of the Utica.
EIA attributes the increase in Utica drilling productivity growth to the geological properties of the Utica formation along with horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Overall gas production in the region has ascended about on pace with production increases in the Eagle Ford region during 2010-12.
Analysts from Wood Mackenzie Ltd. in 2013 estimated that Utica production will average 3 bcfd in 2020, an increase from the more than 1 bcfd average for this year (OGJ Online, Aug. 12, 2013).
Previous constraints in production caused by limited gas processing capacity in the area have been remedied with new plants coming online over the past year, EIA says. Additional aid has come by way of the Rockies Express Pipeline, which in June started transporting Utica gas westbound from eastern Ohio.