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New data released by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) show Ohio shale natural gas production continued its upward trajectory in the first quarter of 2017. Ohio Utica Shale wells produced 371,921,659 Mcf (371 billion cubic feet) of natural gas in the first quarter, a 13 percent increase compared to the first quarter of 2016.
According to ODNR, 1,560 shale wells reported oil and gas production in the first quarter, and ODNR also announced:
Not surprisingly, the best wells were again found in Monroe and Belmont Counties, as the table on page 10 illustrates. Eclipse Resources and Gulfport Energy nabbed the top spots this past quarter for best producing wells. And while Jefferson County did not make the top-10 list, Ascent Resources and Chesapeake both had strong producing wells in that county as well. Noble and Harrison counties round out the overall best producing counties in Ohio, but it’s extremely clear that Monroe County is continuing to show the best production results consistently quarter after quarter.
Guernsey and Harrison Counties topped the top-10 best producing oil wells. Eclipse Resources and Ascent Resources showed the best producing oil wells this quarter. Ohio shale oil production was 3,904,732 barrels in the first quarter, down 29 percent compared to the first quarter of 2016.
The Utica’s production this quarter and throughout 2016 were significant contributing factors to the United States’ retaining its status as the world’s top producer of both petroleum and natural gas for the fifth straight year in 2016, according to data released last week by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Thanks largely to advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technology, the U.S. initially surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s top overall producer of oil and gas in 2012.
Recent Ohio production trends are in line with what has occurred nationwide, particularly with regard to declines in oil production, as nationwide oil production actually fell slightly in 2016 compared to the prior year’s output level, diminishing by 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) due to consistently low commodity prices that provided incentive for American producers to scale back new drilling in high-cost basins. For most of 2016, U.S. natural gas prices in were at their lowest level since 1999, contributing to an output reduction of 2.3 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd).
But, as EIA noted in its June 6 Short Term Energy Outlook, U.S. oil production should reach 9.3 million bpd in 2017, up from 8.9 million bpd last year, in addition to shattering the all-time production by reaching 10 mbpd by 2018. ODNR released Ohio’s first quarter production results just days after this outlook was published by EIA, and it’s clear that 2017 is already showing improving figures.
These improving figures are in large part due to a modest price recovery and current record-high exports of oil and natural gas from the United States. The shale gas boom has unleashed a wave of liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports over the past year, and the U.S. has now exported LNG to 20 countries. That number will only go up as more export terminals become operational in the next few years. And with Russia and Saudi Arabia set to abide by oil production limits until March 2018 as part of the recent OPEC agreement, it’s shaping up to be another record-breaking year for the U.S. in 2017.
If Ohio’s first quarter production results are an indicator of things to come, the United States may in fact realize the encouraging prediction laid out by the EIA for 2017.