The Appalachian Basin's Lower Huron shale has been delivering sturdy gas flows from horizontal wells. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based Equitable Resources Inc. broke the play open when it figured out how to air-drill horizontal laterals in the shale, which is severely underpressured. Multiple frac stages goosed production rates further. To date, Equitable has drilled more than 200 horizontal tests in Appalachia, mainly in Lower Huron. This year, it will drill 300 horizontal wells. It has a dozen rigs drilling sideways at present, and plans to add four more. The type Lower Huron horizontal well costs $1.2 million for a 3,500-foot lateral with up to nine frac stages. Recovery is between 750 million and 1.5 billion cubic feet of gas. Flow rates during the first month of production range from 200,000 to 900,000 cubic feet equivalent per day. Horizontal wells in this shale deliver five times the reserves of traditional vertical ones. What's really astonishing about the Lower Huron play is that recovery efficiencies are 40% for a single-leg lateral, an exceptional jump from 8% recovery in a typical vertical shale producer. I'm amazed at what today's horizontal drilling and completion technology can do, and it's even more intriguing that plays such has the Lower Huron are flowering in such a well explored province. --by Peggy Williams, Senior Exploration Editor, Oil and Gas Investor Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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