By David Conti
Executives at the big, publicly traded energy companies exploring the Marcellus and Utica shales like to tell investors they’re drilling gas wells more quickly and cheaply than before.
Indiana County-based Falcon Drilling is helping them make their case, with its focus on using mid-sized rigs and air drilling, a less-expensive approach.
“We can do it more efficiently because this has been our focus for the past 13 years,” said company President Dan Donahue. “We have the equipment and people to best get this done quickly and safely for the customer.”
Donahue, 35, of Fox Chapel has sharpened that focus since he bought the company in 2011. He shed a side operation in water transportation, and is investing in employees and rigs that can drill a well in the Marcellus or the “top hole,” or vertical portion, for a deeper Utica well.
He boosted payroll from the 100 employees when he bought the company to nearly 325. He added seven drilling rigs, including the purchase in March of three mid-sized, powerful “super singles” that were drilling in northeast Pennsylvania, bringing the fleet to 13 rigs.