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In Search of the Top 3 Players in the Marcellus


Laws that govern the state of Pennsylvania have changed the way we go about looking for top operators in the Marcellus Shale.  Due to a 5 year confidentiality clause imposed on reported production, the use of typical production statistics such as well count, daily averages, or production cums, do not provide a current snapshot of operator activity.  Because of this we get to be creative in our research using drilling permits and industry information.

To begin we need a list of the most active operators in the Marcellus play.  To do this we spend roughly 1-2 minutes in DI’s HPDI Online tool to query all of the granted permits filed in the last year, group them by operator and sort them by number of granted permits.

The top 3 active operators in the play are Chesapeake, Range Resources and Talisman Energy (formerly Fortuna Energy).  Each operator has distinct clusters of permits in the southeastern and northwestern portions of the play or what some refer to as the core areas.

We can further research each company’s 2010 plans by reviewing industry information about the operators.  Resources such as company presentations and press releases contain useful information related to operator’s future plans in the Marcellus and can be found in DI’s Marcellus Play Pipeline.

From the Marcellus Unconventional Updates Project:

Chesapeake is currently operating 24 rigs in the Marcellus and in 2010 plans to average approximately 32 rigs and drill roughly 175 wells.  Their anticipated year-end 2010 production is approximately 270 MMcfe/d.

Range Resources’ current Marcellus Production is roughly 115 MMcfe/d with 31 horizontal wells drilled in Q4 2009 and they are awaiting completion for 26 wells.  They report a gross EUR of 4.4 Bcfe with laterals and frac stages increased to 2900’-5000’ and 9-17 stages. Thirteen rigs are currently running in the play and they plan to exit 2010 with 16 rigs to drill and case 150 horizontal wells.

Talisman announced that they have budgeted roughly $1 billion for Marcellus activity.  They plan to run 10 rigs, drill 170 net wells and exit 2010 at 250-300 MMcfe/d in the play.  They also reported a EUR of 3.5 Bcf/well for their Marcellus wells.

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Anne Leonard

In January 2015, Anne Leonard headed the team that launched the latest addition to DrillingInfo’s international publications, International Scout Frontier North America which covers the US Gulf of Mexico as well as Maritime and Arctic Canada. She has been reporting on exploration and production for more than 30 years. She began her career in Denver covering the Rocky Mountain Region, and has spent the last 10 years covering the international arena, with a particular focus on Latin America, Africa, Western Europe and the Far East. Anne received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Nebraska.