COLUMBUS: Experimental horizontal wells in Ohio and surrounding states show great promise as a way for drillers to tap into the much-drilled Clinton sandstone, industry representatives say.
Such wells are three times more costly than comparable vertical-only wells, but the horizontal wells are seven to eight times more productive, said Mark Lytle, CEO emeritus of Wooster-based Buckeye Oil Producing Co.
The new wells are “not monster gas wells,” but his company was very surprised at the volume of natural gas that was tapped, he said.
His company has drilled a horizontal well in the Berea sandstone in West Virginia and hopes to drill one Clinton sandstone well in Ohio this year, he said Thursday at the Ohio Oil and Gas Association’s winter meeting. The three-day program attracted more than 1,000 people and it wraps up on Friday.
David Hill, the president of the OOGA, hailed Lytel and the two other panelists, Greg Mason of the Newark-based Energy Cooperative, and Bob Trevail of Pennsylvania-based Dallas Energy LLC, for being pioneers in drilling the Clinton and other shallow sandstones.
Such horizontal wells may well be the future of Ohio drilling, Hill said.
He said it is very encouraging that the new wells are reaching leftover natural gas and oil.
Lytle’s company drilled its first Clinton sandstone well in Holmes County in 2011. The company has added the two West Virginia wells — one is in production and the second should be producing in the near future, he said.
Mason’s company has drilled one shallow horizontal well in Coshocton County. That well has produced more natural gas than expected, he said. He said he hopes to drill three new wells this year, if the commodity prices rise. Trevail’s company has drilled successfully near Bradford, Pa.
Mason said the new drilling was 10 times more expensive than vertical wells, but the production results were 20 times greater than a vertical well.
A Texas-based company, Enervest Energy Ltd., began drilling horizontal wells in the Clinton sandstone in Stark County late last year. Those wells are about 4,600 feet deep with 1,500-foot laterals.
The results of those 10 initial wells looked promising, but the company has released little information about its exploration.
The Clinton sandstone has been heavily drilled three times, most recently in the 1970s and 1980s. It lies under 25 Ohio counties including the entire Akron-Canton area.
About three-fourths of all oil and gas produced in Ohio from 1985 to 2009 came from vertical-only Clinton sandstone wells.
The new horizontal wells cost from $1 million to $3 million per well, far less than the bigger Utica shale wells that cost from $6 million to $10 million per well.