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Utica Shale well in Tyler County ‘off the scale’

MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. — Tim Carr believed a Monroe County Utica Shale well producing 38.9 million cubic feet of natural gas per day last year was big.

That was until he learned of the 46.5 million cubic feet pumping daily at the Magnum Hunter Stewart Winland well in Tyler County.

“I do not know what we will do with all the gas. Always want to wait and see what the decline is, but these numbers are off scale,” Carr, the Marshall Miller professor of geology at West Virginia University, said.

Corky Demarco, executive director of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association, said that until this year, most drillers did not believe the Mountain State’s portion of the Utica shale was thick enough to economically produce. However, companies working in northern West Virginia are now digging deeper to reach the Utica.

“What that one well is now producing is about one-eighth of the total production we had in the state seven or eight years ago,” Demarco said of the Stewart Winland. “Now that people see how much gas is down there, you will have more people going after it.”

Magnum Hunter drills wells in northern West Virginia and eastern Ohio via its Triad Hunter subsidiary. Company officials said their Winland well yielded a peak rate of 46.5 million cubic feet per day in September at a choke rate pressure of 7,810 pounds per square inch.

“These numbers, both the rate and pressure, are unprecedented,” Carr said.

Triad drilled this well more than 2 miles vertically into the earth before turning the shaft to complete a horizontal leg about 1 mile in length. Magnum Chairman and CEO Gary Evans said nearly 98 percent of the gas stream consists of dry methane, which means it requires very little processing prior to going to market.

“This new well further delineates the southeastern acreage position that Magnum Hunter has been assembling over the past three years in this region,” Magnum Chairman and CEO Gary Evans said.

“We believe that this new discovery on the Stewart Winland Pad … represents the greatest flow rate and one of the highest sustained flowing casing pressures of any Utica well drilled in the entire play of Ohio and West Virginia,” he added. “Additionally, it is one of the highest flow rate gas wells ever reported in any shale play located in the U.S.

Carr said the Winland well shows West Virginia’s entire Northern Panhandle has productive wells, while declaring the entire region from northern Pennsylvania southward to be a “large fairway of extremely productive wells.”

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