Rice Energy Finds Dry Gas Success in the Utica Shale

From Seeking Alpha:
  • Rice reported continued drilling success in the dry gas Utica play.
  • Two new wells are performing in line with the first well, the Bigfoot 9H. The Bigfoot is outperforming initial expectations.
  • The company provided a type curve for the play.
  • Firm transportation remains a critical component of the growth plan, with FT costs making a big dent in drilling returns.
Two New Wells Confirm Success In The Utica's Dry Gas Window 
Rice Energy (NYSE:RICE) provided a performance update for its first operated dry gas Utica well located in Belmont County, Ohio, the Bigfoot 9H. As a reminder, the well tested in June of this year with an initial rate of ~42 MMcf/d from a ~7,000-foot lateral with 40 frac stages and was placed into sales during the second quarter. 
The Bigfoot's performance is beating initial expectations. The well has been producing on a restricted choke program for five months at a flat rate of ~14 MMcfe/d. To date, the Bigfoot has cumulatively produced approximately 2.0 Bcfe and continues to flow at 14 MMcfe/d. Most importantly, the well's average pressure decline has been approximately 11 psi/d, which is better than the initial 12.5 psi/d "High Case" model and may indicate a higher production trajectory over time (slide below). Rice's updated High Case for the well suggests cumulative production from the well over the first 18 months online of ~7.3 Bcf. This would put the well at par with some of the best wells drilled in the Marcellus dry gas sweet spot in Susquehanna County of Pennsylvania.
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