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Horizontal drilling provides boost Pennsylvania shale production

Oilfield Technology,

Between 2009 and 2011 shale production in Pennsylvania has more than quadrupled, mirroring the success of the Barnet Shale in Texas. The increase in production is down to the expanded use of horizontal wells along with hydraulic fracturing.

Interestingly the number of new wells drilled over the period actually fell, but this is just because rather than drilling vertical wells, which are less productive, companies have been drilling fewer, more productive horizontal wells.

With the shift to the use of horizontal wells, production has been raised enormously and now the state boasts natural gas production of nearly 3.5 billion ft3/d compared with 400 – 500 million ft3/d before 2009.

The increase in natural gas production has had an impact on drilling programmes in the state though, the US natural gas glut has caused a big drop in the retail price of natural gas leading many companies to target liquid rich areas where shale oil can be found. From January through April 2012, drilling began on 618 natural gas wells, 700 were drilled in the same period last year. 263 combination wells were started in the January – April 2012 period though compared with 164 last year.

Adapted from various sources by Peter Farrell.

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