American Oil and Gas Reporter - August 2017 - 84

SpecialReport: Marcellus/Utica Update
our safety record intact."
Neal says CONSOL Energy has increased it proppant loads to as much as
4,000 pounds per lateral foot. It has increased lateral stage spacing from 1,100
feet to 1,500 feet. He says the company
also is targeting 11,000-foot-plus lateral
lengths, when possible.
By switching from 5-inch to 51⁄2-inch
OD tubulars, Neal says CONSOL Energy
has reduced friction pressure, allowing it
to speed its drilling mud and clean the
holes quicker, which enables it to employ
larger cylinders in its pumps, which he
notes is one more way CONSOL has improved efficiency and EURs.
CONSOL Energy's average EUR is
2.8 Bcf per 1,000 feet of lateral in its
Monroe County wells, according to Neal.
He adds that CONSOL also has been
able to sign new contracts with pipeline
carriers taking gas out of the Appalachian
Basin, which resulted in better pricing
from fourth quarter 2016 to the first
quarter of this year.
"I recently passed four pipeline projects
on my way to a rig site on Highway
558," Neal comments, noting the continuous efforts to get the region's abundant
gas to multiple markets.
"Even at $2.50 before taxes, these
wells have a 90 percent rate of return,"
he enthuses. "We are extremely happy
with them. We have reduced our costs to
$9 million a well."

Pad Drilling

By June, CONSOL Energy had drilled
its SWITZ 16 and SWITZ 5 Utica pads
in Monroe County, Oh., and the PENS 2
Marcellus Shale pad in Ritchie County,
W.V., according to Neal. The company
also has drilled the SWITZ 28 and SWITZ
26 pads, and moved to the SWITZ 7 pad.
Neal says he expects production from
the SWITZ 28 in the third quarter and
production from SWITZ 26 by early in
the fourth quarter.
Neal says the company is drilling four
wells a pad in Monroe County, and usually
six-eight wells a pad in the Marcellus.
"That seems to be the right mix for us,"
he reflects. "If you drill too many wells
on a pad, it delays the time to begin receiving income from those wells."
He adds that CONSOL's frac crew
working on the SWITZ 28 pad was able
to move to an adjacent pad 800 feet away
and fracture eight wells without rigging
down.
Frac design optimization and improved
logistics resulted in CONSOL Energy
fracturing an average of 1,245 feet a day,
compared with 800 feet a day in 2016.
At that pace, with pads drilled and ready
to fracture, a crew can complete 46 Marcellus wells a year with an average lateral
length of 8,000 feet, he says.
CONSOL Energy also set a record by
drilling a 7,380-foot Marcellus lateral in
Washington County, Pa., in only 23 hours.

CONSOL Energy is targeting both the Utica and Marcellus shale in southeastern Ohio,
southwestern Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Through May, the company had drilled 15
wells with two horizontal rigs. CONSOL says it is using as much as 4,000 pounds of proppant per lateral foot, and has increased lateral stage spacing from 1,100 to 1,500 feet.

84 THE AMERICAN OIL & GAS REPORTER

"Our team is laser-focused," Neal
lauds, noting the company has employees
with 20-30 years of experience. "I expect
we will break that record this year."
Neal points out that CONSOL's guidance says it will drill 25 wells total in
2017 in the Pennsylvania dry gas window.
"We are capable of doing more, but that
may depend on the price," he adds.
In January, CONSOL Energy finished
completion activity on its ACAA 1 pad
at the Pittsburgh International Airport in
Allegheny County, Neal mentions. The
ACAA 1 pad contains six Marcellus wells
as well as one Burkett and one Rhinestreet
well.
"We are testing the Burkett and
Rhinestreet," Neal explains. "Our results
are very preliminary; we will have more
to report later."
Three of the Marcellus Shale wells
were turned to sales in the first quarter
with the remaining five carrying into the
second quarter. Neal says all the wells
on the airport lease are wet gas.
Longer Laterals

Dennis Degner, vice president for the
Appalachia Division of Range Resources,
contends the future emphasis in the Marcellus and Utica plays will be on longer
lateral completions. "I think the continual
process to make longer laterals successful
and repeatable for the strongest returns
will be the strategy for the next couple
years," he predicts.
Range drilled three laterals in excess
of 15,000 feet in the first five months of
2017, according to Degner, including the
longest Marcellus lateral drilled to date.
That well was in Washington County, Pa.
"Those three wells started producing
in June," he states, "so it is a little early,
but we are encouraged by the results."
Drilling longer laterals faster is the
end result of a number of factors. Degner
lists bit selection, improved rotary steerable
tools and an improved mud program
among the elements that have helped
Range drill faster.
"On the completion side, the big leaps
came between 2011 and 2015," he relates.
"The increases in efficiency may come
now from higher sand concentrations."
Focus On Marcellus

Range has 1.5 million net acres of
stacked pay potential across Pennsylvania.



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