CAMBRIDGE, Ohio -- Seasoned natural gas wildcatters and analysts alike say they see shades of the success of the Marcellus Shale in Ohio's burgeoning Utica Shale play.
Companies such as BP left Ohio earlier this year after exploration wells showed little oil coming from the shale deposits beneath the Buckeye State. But a handful of players are racing to snap up land in the southeastern corner of the play, where operators have found wet gas and high-performing wells that rival some in the core of the Marcellus Shale.
American Energy Partners, Exxon Mobil, Magnum Hunter, Rice Energy and Antero Resources are among the gas producers moving southeastward to Belmont and Monroe counties, where 19 of the top 20 best-performing horizontal wells were drilled in the fourth quarter of 2013. American Energy said last week it had spent $3.5 billion amassing land in the Utica.
Drilling analyst Jeanie Oudin said earlier this week that the Utica Shale "has been a little more exciting of late because of its potential and the capital that's going into eastern Ohio." She projects the region's daily output will grow to 5 billion cubic feet by 2018.