Shell taps Utica Shale in northeastern Pennsylvania



Royal Dutch Shell said it has two new Utica wells in an area in northeastern Pennsylvania where it’s among the first companies to bet on the Utica Shale formation in that part of the region.

The Dutch energy giant has been reshuffling its shale gas portfolio in the U.S. Earlier this month, the company added 155,000 acres to its hot spot in northeastern Pennsylvania, an area known primarily for development of the Marcellus Shale, the formation found above the deeper Utica play. Shell currently has about 430,000 acres in that part of the state.

Shell announced new discovery wells, dubbed Neal and Gee, in Tioga County. The wells were drilled to a total measured depth of about 14,500 feet and 15,500 feet, with lateral lengths of 3,100 feet at Gee and 4,200 feet at Neal, respectively.

These results are comparable to the best publicly announced thus far in portions of the emerging southeast Ohio Utica gas play, the company said.

“Last year, we refocused our resources plays strategy to select fewer plays with specific scale and economic characteristics to best suit our portfolio. The Appalachian basin is one of those areas, and these two high-pressure wells both exhibit exceptional reservoir quality,” said Marvin Odum, Shell’s Upstream Americas director said in a statement

Most operators tapping the Utica are targeting eastern Ohio, which tends to be rich with liquids, or in Western Pennsylvania, where the play is mostly dry.

The Gee well was drilled over 100 miles to the northeast of the nearest horizontal Utica producer, and had an initial flowback rate of 11.2 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. The Gee well has been in production for nearly one year, according to Shell.

Shell began production of the Neal well in February, with observed peak flowback rates of 26.5 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, according to the company.

Stephanie Ritenbaugh: sritenbaugh@post-gazette.com or 412-263-4910.

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