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Trumbull County gas well on hold

September 30, 2012
By BRENDA J. LINERT - Special to the Salem News , Salem News

VIENNA - The energy company that holds a permit for one of two Trumbull County horizontal natural gas wells has put the well on hold.

CONSOL / CNX Gas Company LLC spokeswoman Lynn Seay said Friday that plans to drill at a Vienna Township site along Warren Sharon Road have been delayed to reassess the company's plans.

''As initial production results become more clear across both the Utica and Marcellus shales, CONSOL, as well as our peers, will continue to evaluate these results to determine which locations make the most sense to pursue from a business and production perspective,'' Seay said.

CONSOL / CNX received a permit April 16 from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to drill the horizontal well, the first permit in Trumbull County. ODNR issued a second permit to another company, Carrizo Utica LLC, for horizontal drilling in Hartford Township, Trumbull County, less than a month later. Drilling has not begun at either well.

ODNR spokeswoman Heidi Hetzel-Evans said the rural permits are good for two years.

Seay said the decision to postpone drilling at the site should not be construed as a negative indication about the natural gas potential of Trumbull County.

Likewise, Terry P. Fleming, executive director of the Ohio Petroleum Council, remained optimistic of Utica Shale's potential.

''This is going to be, in my view, a game-changer in Ohio,'' Fleming said Friday.

His comments came in reference to a Bloomberg publication last week quoting an analyst at Morningstar Investment Services in Chicago, who said it is still too early to call Utica the next big thing.

The analyst, Mark Hanson, was commenting on the potential for Chesapeake Oil to find a joint venture partner to develop Utica in Ohio.

Last week, PDC Energy Inc. released a statement announcing it is no longer actively seeking a joint venture partner to develop the Utica Shale play. While that company acknowledged receiving several proposals for partnerships, none met the value that PDC expected.

''In the Bloomberg article, they (PDC) announced they are going to go on with the horizontal drilling. They must feel relatively optimistic,'' Fleming said. ''There's a lot of people out there that are betting this is going to be pretty good. Just how good, we just don't know yet.''

PDC did announce last week it believes developing its 45,000 or so acres alone will produce greater long-term value, particularly given the very high initial production rates and high liquids content from recent well results in the same area.

CONSOL / CNX meanwhile is proceeding with work on two other nearby wells on the same pad in North Jackson, Mahoning County.

Drilling on the first well at that site began Sept. 23, Seay said. The second well received its permit Sept. 17 from ODNR, records show. Seay said the company plans to drill both wells while the rig is on site, which she said the company anticipates will be through mid-November.

A fourth CONSOL / CNX horizontal natural gas well already has been drilled in Ellsworth Township, Mahoning County.



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