Real trick, treat: Getting to the oil

SALEM – Oil and gas companies know it’s here but the real trick, or challenge, as Gov. John Kasich told guests at the Pennant Midstream cryo plant dedication on Monday, “is making the oil flow.”

Wet and dry, natural gas liquids and all the processed derivatives are being drilled out from underneath our feet, Unity Township Trustee Robert Orr pointed out during the ceremony.

Kasich talked about employing Ohioans and keeping the oil and gas companies here for 40 years while enabling “adjacent technologies.”

But his words, “… making the oil flow” resonate beyond separating the wet and dry gas – the so-called low-hanging fruit the exploratory wells are now unearthing.

There’s crude oil being left behind that the current technology is unable to bring to the surface.

Mike Chadsey, public relations director with the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, said, “Shale rock is just so tight … you fracture it and keep it open … the permeability and porosity are important.”

He said the fields are still being defined. The geology rules.

Chadsey said, “We know it’s down there …” but the permeability and porosity are the “challenge” Kasich mentioned.

Chadsey added, “It’s just as important to find out where it isn’t as well as where it is.”

Hess Management, which partners with Consol Energy in oil and gas exploration, was asked about the Utica wet-dry demarcation line during its Q3 earnings call.

Hess is drilling in Harrison, Belmont and Guernsey counties in Ohio.

This year, Hess and Consol expect to drill 25 wells across the joint venture acreage they own. In the past quarter, the partnership drilled seven wells, completed eight and flow-tested one.

Consol Energy operates an office in the Leetonia International Trade Center on state Route 344.

In the earnings call transcript published Wednesday on the Seeking Alpha website, Gregory P. Hill, President of Worldwide Exploration & Production and executive vice president for Hess Management replied to the wet-dry gas demarcation question.

“Yes, I think between our wells and industry wells, those lines are constantly moving. They’re not moving tens of miles or hundreds of miles,” Hill explained.

“So you’re kind of on the edge here of trying to find that window.

“In the Western part of the dry gas window, which is kind of that transition area from the dry gas to wet gas, those liquids are predominantly NGLs.

“And then as we move further west, towards Harrison County and west Belmont County and the east Guernsey County, those total liquids percentages gradually increase to around 60 percent and then the condensate portion of these liquids goes as high as 35 percent when you get over there.

“So you can begin to see where the real sweet spots are, and we’re right in the heart of it.”

Hess specifically noted the Porterfield C 1H-17 well in Belmont County that tested at a 24-hour rate of 3,421 barrels of oil equivalent per day, including 21 percent liquids.

Encouraging results.

Chadsey said access to Midstream and the number of drilling permits being issued means drilling will ramp up.

All the processing plants will be operational leading to a slow build up, Chadsey said.

“Each day more and more pipe is going in the ground.”

He said to keep an eye on late 2014 and early 2015.

“That’s when it’s going to get real exciting,” he said.

Regarding all that oil that’s still in the ground, Chadsey said the technology is in the works.