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Rice Energy Finds Dry Gas Success in the Utica Shale
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.
Chesapeake Energy continues to see its legal battles compound over its royalty-payment practices. Already facing lawsuits in several different states and having been subpoenaed by the U.S. Department of Justice, StateImpact Pennsylvania reports that another government outfit is taking a legal interest in the company's royalty payment strategies: Chesapeake Energy has been subpoenaed by the U.S. Postal service, seeking information on its royalty practices, according to a regulatory filing. As StateImpact Pennsylvania has previously reported , the Oklahoma City-based driller faces a slew of disputes and complaints over how it pays royalties. We've posted articles in the past that looked at some of the questionable practices that Chesapeake has employed to reduce the amount of royalties it pays out to landowners. As a quick refresher, note how ProPublica reporter Abrahm Lustgarten shared some of the details in an article which we shared here on The Daily Digger in March