The Curious Case of the Shrinking Utica Shale Play

FrackTracker Alliance / By Ted Auch

[Midwest Energy News] A recent analysis of oil and gas production data for Ohio’s Utica shale play casts doubt on earlier optimistic projections from both industry and state governments ources.

Ohio’s Utica shale continues to produce large quantities of oil and gas. Recent new-well gas production per rig averaged just over 6 million cubic feet per day, according to a report this month from the federal Energy Information Administration.

But when total production and daily figures for all wells within the play are considered, the outlook for Ohio’s Utica shale is not nearly as promising, according to a Sept. 29 analysis by FracTracker Alliance. The nonprofit organization compiles data, maps and analyses about the impacts of the oil and gas industry…

the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy and other industry groups hailed shale energy as a “game-changer,” with projections that Ohio’s shale resources would provide $4.6 billion in state and local tax revenue by 2020…

Although drilling has continued, production has been far below levels that would produce the anticipated tax revenues, Auch said. He noted that wells often have huge drop-offs in production in just the first year…

Moreover, FracTracker found, production is concentrated mostly in the eastern part of the state, as opposed to a larger area that would have extended farther west.

Not only has the “sweet spot” of highest production “changed quite a bit in the last couple of years, but it’s getting much smaller” than the Ohio Geological Survey’s 2012 review suggested it would be,..


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