Summary Data and Statistics:
Oil and Gas Statistics
Description of 1997 Drilling Activity

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Oil and Gas Well Drilling Activity
Reported in West Virginia
During 1997

The number of well completions (843) reported in West Virginia during 1997 (Table 1) reflects a 40% increase compared to the number (597) reported in 1996. In 1997, 881 permits were issued to drill new wells or deepen old ones -- 175 more than in 1996, or a 24% increase.

Doddridge County, in northern West Virginia, was the most active county in the State, with 108 completions reported. Activity in the county was primarily in Upper Devonian siltstones and sandstones (Table 2). Wyoming County, in southern West Virginia, was the second most active county, with 80 completions for both coalbed methane development and more traditional targets in Lower Mississippian sandstones and Upper Devonian shales. Other active counties were Kanawha County (60 wells), Harrison County (55 wells), and Ritchie County (50 wells). Lower Mississippian sandstones were a primary target in Kanawha County with a few deep targets, while Devonian sandstones and shales were the primary zones completed in Harrison and Ritchie counties.

Exploratory Wells:
As in recent years, the number of exploratory wells was small (5), as most operators continued to concentrate on developing acreage in existing fields and pools. Exploratory activity was more diverse than in 1996; deep targets in existing fields or extensions of existing Oriskany fields were tested in Harrison, Upshur, and Wood counties. The recently-named Hinton Field in southern West Virginia was extended into Summers County. A new coalbed methane field (Bradshaw CBM) was discovered in McDowell County, and four wells were reported as completed in the field in 1997; additional wells have been permitted in this field.

Deep Wells:
Eighteen wells penetrating at least the Middle Devonian Onondaga Limestone or equivalents were completed (Table 3). Seventeen of these wells were completed in the Middle Devonian Onondaga Limestone, Oriskany Sandstone, or Huntersville Chert, while one was drilled to the Silurian Rochester Shale. The most active region for development of gas production from the Oriskany was in the Utica and Rockport fields of southern Wood County, where six wells were completed. Other Oriskany development was scattered in Kanawha County, and Huntersville and Oriskany development occurred in the South Burns Chapel field of Monongalia County. Two Big Six wells were completed in the Sidney field in Wayne County.

Enhanced Oil Recovery:
Enhanced oil recovery (EOR) development of the Jacksonburg-Stringtown field in Wetzel and Tyler counties continued with 15 new injection wells and one oil production well all reported in the Gordon sandstone; two of the injection wells were directionally drilled. EOR efforts were continued in the Pine Grove field of Wetzel County where six wells were completed in the Gordon sandstone.

Reported oil production for 1996 was 1,544,000 barrels. Reported gas production for 1996 was 169,839 million cubic feet (MMcf). Average initial open flow potentials for wells reported in 1997 were: 13 oil wells--1 bbl/d; 755 gas wells--794 Mcf/d; and 10 combination wells--5 bbl/day and 84 Mcf/d.

Tables of Oil and Gas Well Drilling Statistics
for Well Completions Reported in West Virginia
During 1997

These tables summarizing oil and gas well drilling activity in West Virginia during 1997 are part of a set of reports generated annually by the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey. Data in these reports include 843 well completions officially reported by operators to the State's oil and gas regulatory authority, the West Virginia Division of Environmental Protection, Office of Oil and Gas during calendar year 1997. This is a distinction from wells actually completed in calendar year 1997. Due to a lag in reporting time, many wells actually completed in 1997 may not be reported to the State until 1998 (or later), and thus will appear in the annual reports of subsequent years. Of the 843 wells reported in 1997, 47.57% (401 wells) were actually completed in 1997, 46.50% (392 wells) in 1996, 2.37% (20 wells) in 1995, and 3.56% (30 wells) prior to 1995.

Since these tables extensively describe the details of drilling activity (the horizontal axis on the tables) in 55 counties (the vertical axis on the tables), they do not fit on a single screen. By clicking on the table names below, options are provided to either view the tables by scrolling across the screen or to download the table files in Excel 97 spreadsheet or ASCII text mode and print them locally (on the user's PC) in landscape mode. Even though drilling activity was not reported in all 55 counties in 1997, all 55 counties are listed in each of the tables so that comparisons can be made with the annual tables from other years.

Table 1: West Virginia Well Completions Reported in 1997
Summary by County and Well Classification

Table 1 summarizes well completions by county and well classification, using the American Association of Petroleum Geologists well classification scheme for exploratory and development wells. Within the classifications, counts are given for oil, gas, combination (i.e., oil and gas), miscellaneous, dry, and total number of wells; for total footage drilled (minus miscellaneous footage), and for miscellaneous footage, exploratory footage, and development footage drilled. Miscellaneous wells support production in an existing field and include wells drilled for storage, storage observation, or water injection for EOR.

Only five exploratory wells--all successful gas wells--were reported during 1997, one in each of Harrison (a deeper-pool discovery in the Huntersville Chert in the Brown-Lumberport field), McDowell (a new field discovery of the Bradshaw coalbed methane field), Summers (an extension test for the Big Lime/Weir in the Hinton field), Upshur (an extension test for the Oriskany in the Cave Run field), and Wood (an extension test for the Oriskany in the Utica field) counties. Ninety-six percent of the 805 development wells reported were successful, mostly for gas. Thirty-three miscellaneous wells were reported, mostly in Tyler and Wetzel counties; 32 dry holes were reported.

By far, the overwhelming percentage of wells reported in 1997 were completed for gas production (89%), with 1% completed for oil, and 1% completed as combination oil and gas wells. Four percent of the completed wells were miscellaneous wells and 4% were dry.

The largest numbers of well completions reported in 1997 were from Doddridge County (108), Wyoming (80), Kanawha (60), Harrison (57), and Ritchie (50) counties. These wells were drilled mostly for gas. The most active counties for oil wells were Pleasants County (6) and Harrison County (5).

Table 2: West Virginia Well Completions Reported in 1997
Summary by County and Deepest Formation Penetrated

(in descending stratigraphic order)

Table 2 summarizes well completions reported in 1997 by county and the deepest formation penetrated in the wells. The "deepest formations" are grouped into related stratigraphic entities: the Pennsylvanian Pottsville and above; the Mississippian Mauch Chunk, Greenbrier, Big Injun, and Price ("Pocono") intervals; the Devonian Catskill, Chemung (Greenland Gap), Devonian shale, and Onondaga-Oriskany intervals; and the Silurian Williamsport, Keefer, and Tuscarora and deeper intervals.

Of the 843 wells reported during 1997, nearly 19% were drilled to the Price ("Pocono") clastics, nearly 43% were drilled to the Chemung (Greenland Gap) clastics, and 27% to the Devonian shales. Only three newly-drilled wells tested strata below the Oriskany: two wells in the Sidney field in Wayne County (one drilled to the Rochester Shale and the other to the Rochester Shale/Keefer Sandstone interval), and one well drilled into the McKenzie Formation to test the Newburg Sandstone in an unnamed field in Jackson County but completed in the Oriskany Sandstone.

Table 3: West Virginia Well Completions Reported in 1997
Stratigraphic Summary of Successful Wells Completed,
Listed by County and Deepest Producing Zone

(in descending stratigraphic order)

Table 3 summarizes the deepest pay zones encountered in successful wells drilled in the various counties and reported in 1997. The 25 stratigraphic intervals are more detailed than those given in Table 2 and represent the major hydrocarbon-producing reservoirs in West Virginia. Following the data table is a list describing the specific stratigraphic groups/formations/pay "sands" included in each of the stratigraphic categories in Table 3.

It is important to note that this table tallies only the stratigraphic interval of the deepest pay zone in each well; the total number of producing wells in each county is given in the second column from the right ("Total Deepest Pays") and the column on the far right gives the total number of well completions reported for that county in 1997 ("Total # Wells").

Because many wells are completed in more than one pay zone, these other (i.e., shallower) pay zones are not represented in this county-based table of the deepest producing stratigraphic interval in each well. Also, this table does not discriminate between gas and oil pays in these deepest producing zones. Nevertheless, for most wells, that hydrocarbon is gas.

Below the county data are three totals which give the number of wells statewide in which the individual producing zones were the deepest or shallower (or secondary) pay zones and the total number of both deepest and shallower occurrences of each producing zone. From these totals, one can see that the Devonian shales were the most common deepest pay zones reported in 1997, while the Mississippian Big Lime was the most common shallower (i.e., secondary) pay zone. Overall, however, the Big Lime was completed most often for both shallow and deep pays. This reflects a trend toward increased drilling in the Mississippian pay zones in southern West Virginia and a shift away from the predominance of drilling for Upper Devonian pays in north-central and northwestern West Virginia. The notable point, though, is that 1997 drilling activity in all of these categories (i.e., whether Mississippian or Devonian targets, whether a southern West Virginia or northern West Virginia focus) was greater than in 1996.

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