Antero Resources to add 5th Drilling Rig in Utica Shale

By Bob Downing
Beacon Journal staff writer


Colorado-based Antero Resources Corp. is adding a fifth drilling rig in the Utica shale in southeast Ohio.

That rig is slated to continue drilling in Ohio through 2014, the company said.

The company has drilled 12 wells, including some of the most productive wells in Ohio, and has another 12 in process, it announced on Thursday in a third-quarter earnings call and production update with analysts.

The wells in process include four-well and two-well pads, both in Noble County. Those six wells are scheduled to begin production in the fourth quarter.

Antero’s Gary 2-H well in Monroe County has a natural gas-liquids equivalent rate of 7,246 barrels per day. That is the fourth highest peak rate announced yet in the Utica shale, the firm said.

That well is producing 24.2 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. The production from the well with its 8,900-foot lateral has been 44 percent liquids.

The company’s first 12 Utica wells have averaged 24-hour peak rates of 5,635 barrels of oil equivalents per day and are among the best reported in Ohio, said chairman and chief executive officer Paul M. Rady.

Its top eight wells are producing between 5,000 to 9,000 barrels of equivalents per day, he said.

Antero, he said, has had “tremendous results” in the Utica shale and has eight of the nine biggest producers reported, to date.

They can be “hellacious wells with high flow rates and strong pressures,” he said.

The company is averaging $12.3 million in costs on its Utica wells. It hopes to reduce that cost by $1 million to $2 million per well, officials said.

It has added 3,000 acres to its Utica holdings that now total 104,000 net acres.

Antero said it anticipates drilling a dry gas well through the Marcellus shale into the Utica shale in West Virginia in the first half of 2014.

The firm spent $73 million in the third quarter on developing a new private water system in the Utica and Marcellus shales to facilitate hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

The Utica water system is 60 percent complete. The Marcellus water system is 75 percent complete. The water systems will provide fracking water to 30 percent of its well completions in the fourth quarter 2013 and more than 90 percent of its wells in 2014, Antero said. That system required construction of 26 miles of pipelines in Ohio and West Virginia in the last three months. The plan includes taking water from the Ohio River. Such a water system will save Antero about $600,000 for every 7,000-foot-long lateral that is fracked, Rady said.

The firm has 15 drilling rigs in the Marcellus shale where it is among the most active drillers. The conference call was Antero’s first as a publicly traded firm.


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