Gastar Exploration, Inc. announced it began drilling its first Utica/Point Pleasant well on April 3, 2014. Gastar explores and develops drilling opportunities for oil and natural gas in the U.S. Its current projects focus on the Marcellus Shale in West Virginia, the Hunton Limestone play in Oklahoma and now the Utica Shale in Ohio.
The Utica Shale is yielding large amounts of natural gas and crude oil from wells in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Drilling in these locations was difficult before the development of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing because of the depth and limited permeability of the area. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources estimates there are 13.26 billion barrels of oil that have migrated to conventional reservoirs in the Utica-Point Pleasant formation.
Gastar is optimistic about the output of the new well because of other drilling activity in their operations in Marshall and Wetzel counties. The company's plan is to drill to a vertical depth of 11,100 feet, a 4,200-foot lateral and a 21-stage fracture simulator. After successful drilling, Gastar expects to be able to sell natural gas from the well by July 2014.