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Utica shale
Utica shale

Texas company enlarging effort to tap oil from Ohio’s Utica shale

A Texas-based company is expanding a new initiative to get oil from Ohio’s Utica shale.

The EnerVest Ltd. companies have won approval from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to drill two wells near Uhrichsville in southern Tuscarawas County.

Those two wells, both in Clay Township, are part of a growing effort to tap what’s called volatile oil from the Utica shale, the company confirmed in an email.

No additional details were disclosed by spokesman Ron Whitmire.

The two permits were approved recently by ODNR’s Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management.

EV Energy Partners, a publicly traded company that is part of privately held EnerVest Ltd., has stated since last May that it intends to drill eight to 10 wells in 2014 in Stark and Tuscarawas counties.

That is part of a pilot project to unlock the oil secrets of the Utica shale, the companies said. They have been seeking partners in the oil project.

Two of those volatile oil wells have been drilled, with one already in production, EnerVest said in early March.

One was drilled with Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy Corp. and the other with Texas-based Halcon Resources.

The Chesapeake well will be turned on this summer and the Halcon well is already in production. The initial production rates are encouraging, EV Energy Partners said.

The company has about 81,000 acres in the volatile oil window. It has been busy on hydraulic fracturing studies and reservoir stimulus modeling as ways to boost oil production.

The volatile oil window covers all or parts of Portage, Stark, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, Holmes, Coshocton, Guernsey, Muskingum, Perry, Morgan, Athens, Vinton and Hocking counties.

Efforts to tap that oil in eastern Ohio have not been successful but new plans are being developed.

There is oil in the Utica shale but it is immature and under very low pressure that makes recovery difficult, the experts say.

Most Ohio drilling has been to the east in an area generally called the wet gas window because drillers have been able to get natural gas, condensate or oil and natural gas liquids including ethane, butane and propane.

For example, Oklahoma-based Devon Energy Corp. drilled in Medina, Wayne, Ashland and Knox counties for oil with poor results. Several of those wells were plugged and abandoned and the company looked elsewhere in eastern Ohio.

Another company is expanding its oil efforts. Pittsburgh-based EQT Corp. intends to follow up its 2013 volatile oil well in Guernsey County with an additional 21 wells to be drilled in that county in 2014.


Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or bdowning@thebeaconjournal.com.


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