Rice Energy has reported that over the past five months its ‘Bigfoot’ well in Ohio’s Utica Shale formation has produced about 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas, according to The Times Leader.
The latest production numbers indicate that the owners of mineral rights should begin to see substantial royalty checks in the near future. The average price for natural gas is about $4 for every 1,000 cubic feet, and once the gas produced over the last five months is sold, the total payments should equal about $8 million. Owners of mineral rights in the area, slated to receive 20 percent of production royalties, could receive up to $1.6 million for the gas produced at the Bigfoot well.
Rice Energy, based in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, leased thousands of acres across Belmont County, sometimes paying as much as $7,500 per acre. In spring of 2013, over the course of one week, Rice Energy paid roughly $100 million to mineral rights owners in Belmont County. In September 2013, county commissioners leased an additional 406 acres of land which netted about $3 million in lease agreements. During the last quarter, the company also acquired an additional 3,044 acres in the same county.
According to Casey Jenkins, Rice Energy CEO Daniel J. Rice IV commented on the company’s performance from July to the end of September, saying, “We delivered solid results this quarter, despite weathering seasonally weaker natural gas prices during the third quarter. We brought online seven gross operated wells, lowered our operating costs significantly, and increased our core acreage position by approximately 10,000 net acres.”
In addition to the Bigfoot well, the company is also drilling two ‘Blue Thunder’ wells, which utilize 9,000 foot laterals. The wells are seeing yields as high as 16 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. The company is also busy working on completing two other drilling sites called the ‘Son-Uva-Digger’ and ‘Gold Digger’ well pads. These operations will also feature horizontals extending 9,000 feet into the Utica formation.