Oil and natural gas production from Ohio’s Utica Shale is growing strongly and could increase even more rapidly once processing plant and pipeline projects are completed, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said.
The increase for oil production is 93 percent and for shale gas 80 percent for gas since 2011, ODNR said. The number of producing wells has increased from two to 87 in that time frame. ODNR said that at the current rate of growth, Utica shale well production will exceed the yearly output of all of Ohio’s nearly 51,000 conventional wells by as early as 2015.
That’s quick considering that Utica wells represent less than 1 percent of all producing oil and gas wells in Ohio.
The oil and gas is produced by use of the controversial drilling method call hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The process involves injecting water into cracks in underground rock formations to force them open and release oil and gas.
“The production from these initial Utica wells make a compelling statement about the staggering amount of oil and gas resources Ohio’s shale appears to contain,” ODNR Director James Zehringer said.
The mile-deep deposit dwarfs production from conventional wells, Zehringer added. Based on 2012 Utica shale production averages, ODNR said a single Utica well produced as much oil as 312 conventional wells and a single Utica well produced as much natural gas as 448 conventional wells. During 2012, 87 Utica wells produced 12 percent of Ohio’s total oil production and 16 percent of Ohio’s total gas production.
ODNR spokesman Mark Bruce said that the Utica promises sharper gains when processing facilities are completed.