From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Activity in the Utica is generally focused in Ohio, where the shale produces oil and wet gas that contains valuable hydrocarbons like ethane and propane along with methane, the primary component of natural gas. Still, some companies have also been prospecting for wet Utica gas in Lawrence, Mercer and other Western Pennsylvania counties.

But recently operators have reported remarkable production results for dry gas — mostly methane — from wells hundreds of miles east of the heart of Utica development in Ohio.

In September, Royal Dutch Shell announced two Utica discovery wells in Tioga County in northeastern Pennsylvania, far from where the Utica was thought to be most productive, that were comparable to the best Utica wells in southeastern Ohio. One of the wells had a peak flow rate of 26.5 million cubic feet per day of natural gas (MMcf/d) .

For context, the median initial flow rate for Pennsylvania Marcellus wells was 5 MMcf/d in mid-2013, according to a Morningstar report released last year. Though it’s not unusual for rates to exceed that median.

The “monster” Utica well that Fort Worth-based Range Resources drilled in Washington County, the Claysville Sportsman’s Club Unit #11H, produced an average 24-hour test rate of 59 MMcf/d in December.

In March, Houston-based Seneca Resources Corp. announced that its first exploratory Utica well on state forest land in Tioga County had a 24-hour peak production rate of 22.7 MMcf/d of natural gas.

Those results, combined with other notable dry Utica wells clustered around the Ohio River in West Virginia and Ohio, have redefined the boundaries of the Utica’s potential.

“They were really stunning,” Irene Haas, energy analyst for Wunderlich Securities, said of the first test reports. “The first one, you go, ‘OK, it’s a fluke.’ But then when you start lining them up, there is a really great trend there.”

Read the full article here.