Antero to drill first Utica well in West Virginia in 2015

antero-resources-logoThe Exponent Telegram

by Jeremiah Shelor

CLARKSBURG — Antero Resources will drill its first Utica natural gas well in West Virginia in the third quarter of 2015, the company announced this week in a presentation to investors.

Al Schopp, Antero’s chief administrative officer and regional vice president, said the Utica well will be drilled in Tyler County.

The Utica Shale spans several states, including West Virginia, and sits at a depth thousands of feet below the more-heavily explored Marcellus Shale. According to its presentation, Antero has 181,000 net acres of holdings in the Utica Shale in Northwestern West Virginia and Southwestern Pennsylvania.

News of Antero’s first Utica well in the Mountain State comes as new research suggests the gas play contains far greater reserves than originally thought. On Tuesday, researchers released the results of a West Virginia University-led study that concluded the Utica holds 782 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable natural gas and another 1,960 million barrels of oil.

The Utica’s resources are comparable to that of the Marcellus play, the study concluded.

But exploring the Utica in West Virginia does carry unique challenges, according to Schopp.

Since it lies deeper in the ground, the Utica Shale is “significantly more expensive” to explore compared to the Marcellus, according to Schopp. Antero’s Tyler County Utica well will have a vertical depth of 10,000-11,000 feet, compared to a typical depth of 7,000-8,000 feet for a Marcellus well, Schopp said.

The Utica lies at a shallower depth in Ohio than in West Virginia.

In West Virginia, the Utica Shale also lacks the mix of dry gas and natural gas liquids extracted from many of the company’s Marcellus wells, Schopp said.

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