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Despite losses, drilling firm upbeat as gas prices rise

WHEELING, W.Va. — Southwestern Energy Co., which now controls virtually all Marcellus and Utica shale drilling lease agreements in Ohio and Brooke counties, lost $1.8 billion during the first six months of 2016.

Company leaders, however, believe the firm remains destined for a bright future.

A global price slowdown during the last two years affected Southwestern and virtually every oil and natural gas production firm in the world, resulting in fewer active drilling rigs. Oilfield services giant Baker Hughes shows Ohio and West Virginia now feature only 23 active rigs, which compares to the 70 that worked in the two states in July 2014.

However, natural gas prices have increased to about $2.80 per 1,000 cubic-foot unit from about $1.70 per unit in March…

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