Nestled in Southeastern Ohio, just west of Wheeling West Virginia, sits the undisputed King of natural gas production in the Utica Shale. Belmont county holds the distinction of being the location of 12 of the top 14 wells in reported gas production in Q1 2014 and equally holds12 of the top 14 Utica Shale cummulative gas producers of all time in Ohio. The county is first in average gas production/day and second only to Carroll County (which has ten times the number of producing wells) in total natural gas production from the Utica as of Q1 2014 report. See chart below.
Active 2014 permitting points to more drilling and production to come
No wonder Belmont County is second only to Harrison County in the number of Utica Shale permits issued in Ohio so far in 2014 (as of the September 6th, 2014 Ohio DNR report). Relatively high gas production from wells in the county is pumping up profits.Top permitting activity in 2014 in the county is led by Gulfport with 36 and XTO (22), followed by Hess (10), American Energy (8), and Rice (1).
Gulfport holds favorable acreage position, others up and coming
Gulfport Energy holds 90 total drilling permits in the county with 25 wells producing and 10 drilling. Other operators currently drilling in the county (as of September 6th, 2014) include Hess with 4 wells drilling, XTO (3) and Rice (1). Gulfport also holds the distinction of drilling 13 of the top 15 all time natural gas producing wells in the county.
Top acreage appears to be in western and southern townships
Looking at Q1 2014 production data, top producing wells are situated in western and southern townships, though many of the townships have yet to be probed.
More exploration needed to properly delineate
And while production activity is rolling in for some townships, other are still in the pipeline and are just starting to be tested or are completely untested. For example, XTO holds 13 permits for the far southeast York Township, with all of their permits accumulated this year, but aside from permitting, no drilling has begun according to the most recent September 6th, 2014 Ohio DNR report. Even neighboring Washington Township, just to the West of York, we see only 2 wells producing and 16 as permitted only. All of this indicates that the county is very much in the early days and we don't have a clear understanding of what is to come.
Belmont County Utica Shale map
Legend: Legend: Green=Producing, Red=Drilling, Purple=Drilled, Black or Yellow=Permitted only. White squares indicate surface locations.
Belmont County map with Townships and well activity
Gas Production Leaders by County
Note: While all data and numbers presented are believed to accurate and reflect Ohio DNR data there is no guarantee that such is the case. The data presented here should not be used for making any important decision.