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Pa. well tops W.Va. site in shale gas production

WHEELING, W.Va. — Just when Utica Shale drillers thought they found huge natural gas wells with the Rice Energy “Bigfoot” well in Belmont County and the Magnum Hunter Winland well in Tyler County, Range Resources set the bar even higher with a 59-million-cubic-feet-per-day project in Washington County, Pa.

“All I can say is: impressive. What the heck will we do with the gas?” asked Tim Carr, Marshall Miller Professor of Energy at West Virginia University.

Even though Pennsylvania is generally considered part of the Marcellus Shale region, the Utica Shale formation underlies the Marcellus in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. In Ohio, Utica and Marcellus shale drillers pumped more than 132 billion cubic feet of natural gas from July 1-Sept. 30, up from 88 billion cubic feet during the previous three-month period – and more than the 100 billion cubic feet drawn from the entire state in all of 2013.

The 59 million cubic feet per day test tops the previous high of 46 million cubic feet per day from Magnum Hunter’s Tyler County well. Rice Energy’s beastly Bigfoot well tested out at 41 million cubic feet per day.

Range joins companies such as Gulfport Energy, Rice Energy, Gastar Exploration, Antero Resources, American Energy Partners, Chesapeake Energy, Hess Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell in reaching the Utica.

“We are very excited about the initial test results of our Utica/Point Pleasant well. Given our 400,000 net (acres) in the area, coupled with existing well control and 3-D seismic, we believe this translates into significant potential,” Range Resources President and CEO Jeff Ventura said. “Being able to drill additional Utica wells on the same locations as our Marcellus wells should further enhance our capital efficiency for many years to come.”

Ventura said Range drilled to a true vertical depth of 11,693 feet before completing a 5,420 foot horizontal lateral.

“That’s about as big as it gets,” R. Dennis Xander, past president of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia, said of the Range project.

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