American Oil and Gas Reporter - August 2017 - 82

SpecialReport: Marcellus/Utica Update

A Southwestern Energy rig is shown here drilling in the northern West Virginia Panhandle, where the company has Marcellus, Utica and Upper Devonian targets, thanks to a
2015 acquisition. Southwestern says its first Utica well was flowing at 17 million cubic
feet a day in April, and has an estimated ultimate recovery of 2.5 billion-3.0 billion cubic
feet per 1,000 feet of lateral.

result of completion and optimized flowback changes being implemented, he says
the average EUR improved by more than
25 percent compared with historical well
results in Susquehanna County.
Southwestern also placed seven delineation wells to sales in Tioga, Wyoming
and Susquehanna counties in the first
quarter. The two wells in Tioga County
each had an average lateral length of
6,700 feet and an average 30-day rate of
13 MMcf/d. Bergeron says these wells
are expected to improve as compression
is added.
He says the two wells in the western
part of Susquehanna County-on acreage
acquired in 2015-are outperforming offsets
by more than 100 percent and each had
an average 30-day rate of 15 MMcf/d.
Thanks to the successful results in
these areas, Bergeron says Southwestern
has derisked approximately 40,000 net
acres and plans to continue delineation
efforts throughout this year.
Dell'Osso says Southwestern has access
to multiple high-quality pricing locations
through its low-cost, integrated firm transportation portfolio.
He acknowledges that Southwestern
previously built its northeastern Pennsylvania operations to win in a $4 gas price
environment, but says it has chased improvements to make its operations profitable at lower commodity prices. Del82 THE AMERICAN OIL & GAS REPORTER

l'Osso says the company has restructured
many of its gathering agreements, which
in turn has lowered its cost structure.
He indicates Southwestern also has
used a hedging program to manage and
mitigate risk, and to buffer the company
against price volatility.

Stacked Pays
Meanwhile, Southwestern's operations
in West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania target stacked pays that include
the Marcellus, Utica and Upper Devonian
formations.
"We have nothing west of the Ohio
River," remarked Derek Cutright, Southwest Appalachia division leader in June.
"The majority of our wells are in the
Marcellus. We have more than 300 producing Marcellus wells and three
Utica/Upper Point Pleasant wells."
Southwestern acquired the assets in
late 2014 and early 2015, and has approximately 321,000 net acres and plans
to turn 52-60 wells to sales in 2017.
"The majority of activity is in West
Virginia's northern panhandle, which is
liquids rich," Cutright continues. "The
Marcellus has about 40 percent gas and
60 percent liquids. As you go south into
Wetzel County, it is the reverse: about
60 percent gas and 40 percent liquids.
Most of West Virginia is liquids rich. As
you move east into Greene County, Pa.,

you are back into dry gas."
The Utica formation, which lies below
the Marcellus Shale, is dry gas, according
to Cutright. He says Southwestern is in
the delineation phase of its Utica exploration to determine what the Utica offers
to compete with its Marcellus operations.
The company's first Utica well, the
OE Burge, was flowing at a flat rate of
17 MMcf/d in April with more than
8,500 psi of pressure. Early results indicate
this well is top quartile for the region,
with an EUR of 2.5 Bcf-3.0 Bcf per
1,000 feet of lateral. Bergeron claims
this type of productivity shows the Utica's
potential in the company's estimated
1,400 locations.
Cutright explains that Southwestern
continues to look for ways to make improvements within its performance strategy
of completion optimization, lateral placement and flowback techniques to maximize hydrocarbon recoveries.
"We have moved our completion strategy from 1,700 pounds of sand per foot
to 2,500 pounds per foot with positive
results (about a 20 percent improvement
in EUR)," he offers. "We are testing
2,500-3,500 pounds per foot in the liquids-rich wells. In fact, we have tested
as high as 5,000 pounds per foot, although
we have pulled back from that. We are
in phase two of testing with a more intensive completion strategy, and we are
seeing a 40 percent uplift."
Southwestern placed five wells on
line that tested tighter stage spacing and
increased proppant loads. Four of them
were completed utilizing 140-foot stage
spacing and 3,500 pounds of proppant
per foot, while the fifth well utilized as
much as 5,000 pounds of proppant per
foot. The company is continuing to monitor
these five test wells to determine longterm performance enhancements, according to Cutright, but early indications are
that all five will perform better than their
closest offsets.
He says Southwestern continues to
challenge its completions-optimization
team to accomplish more with less cost.
A Shift To E&P

Much of CONSOL Energy's 153-year
history in the Appalachian Basin involved
coal mining. But Brian Aiello, director
of communications for CONSOL, says
the company expects to complete splitting



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