I was reading the Finding Alpha summary of earnings calls for six producers in the Utica. Below I have included information on Gulfports continuing efforts to get better results from their shale wells. One thing that has impressed me about shale is that the results of a well or play is the result of continuing engineering advances instead of dumb luck. When the Baken horizontal boom started not so long ago they did not even have the plugs developed to do multi stage fracking. This information on Gulfport is further evidence to me that it will take several years to optimize the Utica. But IMO the efforts will pay off.
"Also during the Q and A period Gulfport went into an amazing description of the science/technology it is planning to employ on the upcoming Darla well (which will be located just north of the Wagner well). The Darla will involve drilling 3 wells of one pad in a sort of fan array. Gulfport will use and test three different frac designs (one with 300,000 pounds of sand per stage, one with 550,000 pounds of sand per stage and one with Carbo Ceramics in each stage). Gulfport will also use radioactive tracers so that after fracing it can see where the frac actually went. Then the company will be putting in chemicals that will allow it to see if there is any communication between the wellbores and between the laterals. Additionally, the company will be inserting optic fiber that will allow it to tell from temperatures which intervals are producing. Gulfport will also do microseismic and use pressure transducers. The cost of just the pressure transducers and optical fiber is about $600,000 per well"
Thank you for this really neat post..My takeaway is that as "Fracking Science" evolves there are a lot of previously drilled areas that are going to be really valuable properties when reworked. The "fan drilling" is also notable in that with horizontal laterals now extending over a mile you will hardly notice the presence of a major natural gas or oil extraction operation. Not even the Sierra Club will have an argument against this technology.