Ohio Rig Count Update - 3.18.16

The cutback in production from every large Ohio area operator started to be seen in terms of the number of active rigs in the state. The Ohio rig count saw the largest decrease of 2016 from February to March when the state lost another 2 rigs, bringing the total rig count to 11 throughout the state that was once the newest and hottest shale play in the United States. That is the lowest rig count the state has seen in 4 years. In March 2012, Ohio had 9 running rigs. With the operators finishing the wells that are currently being drilled, and no plans to continue drilling in the Utica going forward in 2016, it is likely we will see a rig count that drops below that March 2012 number in the spring or early summer of 2016. Large Ohio area operators such as, Gulfport, Chesapeake, Eclipse and many others, have all announced plans to focus on their current completed wells rather than drilling new wells. That doesn’t bode well for the hope of increased production in the Ohio-Utica Shale. Since the cost of drilling new wells in the Utica can cost several million dollars, once these operators lay down these drilling rigs, they are very cautious before they consider picking them back up. With OPEC and non-OPEC members scheduled to meet next month, some industry experts are projecting another freeze in production, which could help stop the bleeding and increase commodity prices. Even if that comes to fruition, these struggling operators will tread lightly if the decide to take the chance and add any new plans to their drilling schedule. Anyone associated with any of the current U.S. Shale plays, whether they are operators or mineral owners, remain in a holding pattern, with the future of the United States oil and gas industry continues to be very much up in air.