Work begins on Utica Shale well in Wetzel County, WV - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Work begins on Utica Shale well in Wetzel County, WV

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The State Journal file photo. The cost to drill a well in the Utica Shale is $12 million to $14 million. A well in the Marcellus Shale costs $5 million to $6.9 million. The State Journal file photo. The cost to drill a well in the Utica Shale is $12 million to $14 million. A well in the Marcellus Shale costs $5 million to $6.9 million.
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EQT Corp. has moved drilling equipment into place and plans to begin drilling its first well into the Utica Shale in West Virginia this week.

The equipment is on an existing pad in Wetzel County that has wells in the Marcellus Shale, and it could be the first of several if costs and production warrant it, said David Elkin, senior vice president of drilling and completions for EQT.

Because the Utica Shale is deeper than the Marcellus Shale, the test well will be 12,700 feet, and it will have a lateral that could range from 3,000 feet to 5,367 feet.

This will be EQT’s third test well in the Utica Shale. The first was in Greene County, Pennsylvania. Known as the Scotts Run well, it surprised EQT engineers with the volume and pressure of natural gas that it delivered. 

EQT began work last month on a second Utica Shale well in Greene County. This one will be 13,400 feet deep and have a lateral of 4,000 feet to 4,500 feet.

The Scotts Run well cost EQT about $30 million, which was more than expected. Because pressures in the well were so high, EQT had to remove its drilling rig and bring in another that could handle the stresses in the Utica well. EQT expects its second and third Utica wells to cost about $12.5 million to $14.5 million each. By comparison, a well in the Marcellus Shale costs $5 million to $6.9 million.

“We learned a lot from the first well,” Elkin said.

In July, EQT announced production results from the first Utica well and said it would continue its exploration in the Utica. Steve Schlotterbeck, EQT executive vice president and president of exploration and production, said the company’s efforts in the Utica Shale would focus on creating “a capital-efficient, dry Utica development plan that leverages existing pads, existing gathering infrastructure and takeaway capacity.”

Elkin said EQT will probably be conservative with its test well in Wetzel County. The lateral might extend only 3,000 feet, but “if drilling’s going good we will probably drill it out to 5,367,” he said.

“Assuming we have success here, we will probably continue the program in West Virginia,” Elkin said, adding that such a decision depends on the cost and flow rate of the Wetzel well.

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