As reported by the Wheeling Intelligencer
, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (“ODNR”) recently released production data for the first quarter of 2015 for oil and gas wells drilled in Ohio’s Utica Shale formation. The report found that natural gas production during the first three months of the year, which totaled 183.5 billion cubic feet, nearly tripled from the first quarter of 2014, when Utica Shale wells produced only 67.3 billion cubic feet. The state’s most productive natural gas wells are Rice Energy’s “Blue Thunder” wells drilled in Belmont County, which produced a combined 1.41 billion cubic feet during the first quarter. The ODNR’s first quarter data also shows that oil production in the Utica Shale, which totaled more than 4.4 million barrels, is up from the 1.95 million barrels reported during the first quarter of 2014. The state’s most productive oil well is American Energy Partners’ “Shugert Daddy” well drilled in Guernsey County, which produced 40,683 barrels during the first quarter.
Despite the increase in both oil and gas production from the Utica Shale, Ohio has experienced a slowdown in new drilling operations and many existing wells have been shut-in due to a lack of pipeline infrastructure. Shawn Bennett, Senior Vice President of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, stated that “[m]ore pipelines are integral to the success of the Utica” and suggested that Ohio is still a few years away from having all necessary pipelines in place.