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 US. In its Drilling Productivity Report released on June 13, 2016, the EIA estimated that the Utica Shale’s natural gas production reached 3.7 Bcf (billion cubic feet) per day in May 2016. That’s nearly unchanged from production in April 2016. However, it’s 46% more than production in May 2015. In the past eight years, the natural gas production at the Utica Shale increased more than ~21.5-fold.
Rigs and monthly additions from the average rig
According to Baker Hughes (BHI), the Utica Shale currently has ten active rigs—one less than in April 2016. In comparison, 24 rigs were in operation in the shale in May 2015.
From May 2008 to May 2016, the additional natural gas production per rig at the Utica Shale rose from ~0.21 MMcf (million cubic feet) per day to 7.1 MMcf per day or by ~33x. In the 12 months to May 2016, the natural gas production addition per rig rose 32%.
Utica Shale energy operators
Steady Utica Shale production can have a positive impact on oilfield equipment and service providers such as RPC (RES) and Precision Drilling (PDS) as well as contract drillers such as Patterson-UTI Energy (PTEN) and Helmerich & Payne (HP). These companies continue to improve revenues and profits from operating in the Utica Shale if drilling activity rises. RPC accounts for 3.7% 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.