Ohio is projecting that more than 19,000 new Utica shale wells for natural gas and liquids will be drilled in eastern Ohio in the next 19 years.
That’s how many wells would fit on the 3 million acres in eastern Ohio without any Utica shale wells at the moment, said Ohio state geologist Mike McCormac in his not-yet-released report.
That assessment is the most-recent analysis showing that the Utica shale is likely to have long-term economic impacts for Ohio.
Said McCormac: “So again, that could be 19 years; that could be 25 years; that could be 15, 16 years. It’s hard to say right now. What we’re trying to do here is just show the potential for a lot of activity exists. It’s not going to be like a two- or three-year thing….And I think this demonstrates more of the long haul.”
He said developing such projections is important so the ODNR can maintain needed staffing to oversee the Utica drilling.
McCormac’s 19-year estimate looks only at land available for drilling in the 11 core Utica counties, he said.
The 19,000 well total will likely be fewer, he said. His estimate is based on 160-acre tracts and drillers are likely to assemble bigger parcels, he said.
The estimate surfaced in a Feb. 11 presentation to the Ohio Oil and Gas Commission, an advisory panel. Part-timer McCormac, now out of the country, presented a sneak peak to the panel of his much-awaited annual Ohio drilling report.