Centre County drilling update

Posted on August 19, 2011 

An update from Centre County Planning has shown a shift in the activity of the most prominent Marcellus Shale gas drillers in the area.

Exco, until recently one of the most active drillers in Centre County with more than 20 wells drilled, has ceased practically all local activity, planner Sue Hannegan said.

One sign Exco plans no activity in the near future is their removal of all water from the two adjacent multi-million gallon impoundments the company built off state route 144 north of Snow Shoe. They've also removed the liners from the impoundments, Hannegan said.

The apparent pullback comes despite an announcement by the company during its second quarter earnings report that it would ramp up drilling in the Marcellus in Pennsylvania.

The announcement said Exco will concentrate its drilling in northeast Pennsylvania. It went on to say the company will conduct "an appraisal program across much of our other acreage, primarily in central Pennsylvania."

A lack of pipeline infrastructure is the likely cause of the hold on Exco's activity in the county, which I described in an earlier blog post and in an article in February.

Overall activity in the county has decreased significantly through the summer. The DEP reports granting only two Marcellus permits in July, only one in June and none in May or April. Nineteen of the 35 permits given out this year by the DEP for drilling in Centre County were granted in March.

All of those March permits were handed out to Williams for activity in Snow Shoe Township, but Williams has not yet reported drilling any of those wells.

In fact, drilling has slowed to a crawl in the county, with a half-dozen wells drilled so far in 2011, compared to 51 drilled in 2010.

One recent exception to the trend of declining activity has been Carrizo Oil and Gas, which on July 28 applied for SRBC water withdrawal permits near Osceola Mills in Rush Township. The millions of gallons of water the company is requesting will be used to frack at least one nearby well.


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