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Why Utica Shale Natural Gas Production Rose 54% in January

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Utica Shale natural gas production

According to the EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration), the Utica Shale in eastern Ohio has become one of the fastest-growing natural gas–producing regions in the United States. In its Drilling Productivity Report released on February 8, 2016, the EIA estimated that Utica Shale natural gas production reached ~3.2 Bcf (billion cubic feet) per day in January 2016. That’s ~2.2% more than production in December 2015 and 54% more than production in January 2015. In the past eight years, natural gas production at the Utica Shale has increased more than 19-fold.

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Rigs and monthly additions from the average rig

According to Baker Hughes (BHI), the Utica Shale currently has 14 active rigs, down from 16 in December 2015. In comparison, 45 rigs were in operation in the shale in January 2015.

From January 2008 to January 2016, additional natural gas production per rig at the Utica Shale rose from ~0.20 MMcf (million cubic feet) per day to 6.5 MMcf per day, or by 32x. In the 12 months to December 2015, the natural gas production addition per rig rose 53%.

Utica Shale energy operators

Steady Utica Shale production can positively affect oilfield equipment and service providers such as RPC (RES), Precision Drilling (PDS), and Cameron International (CAM) as well as contract drillers such as Helmerich & Payne (HP). These companies may continue to improve revenues and profits from operating in the Utica Shale if drilling activity rises. RPC accounts for 3.5% of the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Equipment & Services ETF (XES).

In the next part of this series, we’ll look at production at the Haynesville Shale.

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