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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 72 (1988)

Issue: 10B. (October Part B)

First Page: 88

Last Page: 103

Title: Oil and Gas Developments in Mid-Eastern States in 1987

Author(s): Douglas G. Patchen (2), Kenneth A. Schwarz (3), Michael P. McCormac (4), John A. Harper (5), William W. Kelly, Jr. (6), Katharine Lee Avary (7)


The mid-eastern states are in the southern half of the northeastern United States and include Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. Exploratory activity in this region decreased significantly during 1987 as only 171 exploratory completions were reported, down 27.5% from 1986. Targets ranged in age from Triassic (in Pennsylvania) to Cambrian (in Ohio). Overall drilling activity also decreased as completions reported dropped 36.5% and footage drilled decreased 36.2%. Drilling was relatively shallow, with average well depths ranging from 2,739 ft in Pennsylvania to 4,809 ft in Virginia, but very successful, with success rates ranging from 92.3% in Ohio to 96.8% in Pennsylvania. Gas production increased in 3 of the 5 states, but overall production decline 3.3% for the area. Oil production was down in each of the states and 9.9% for the region.

For the second consecutive year, 1 exploratory well was drilled in Maryland. The well, 3 mi southwest of Accident field, Garrett County, had a total depth of 5,279 ft; other data are being held confidential by the operator. Natural gas production in Maryland increased 121.8% as 2 shut-in wells went on-line, bringing the number of producing wells in Maryland to 8. All gas is being produced from the Middle Devonian Huntersville Chert and Lower Devonian Oriskany Sandstone.

Activity in Ohio continued to decline as the number of reported completions dropped 53.3% and footage drilled decreased 50.4%. Although drilling to the Lower Silurian Clinton has decreased, nearly 80% of all wells tested the Clinton. Exploratory drilling decreased 39.8%; only 4.2% of all reported wells were exploratory. Exploratory targets ranged from Pennsylvanian to Cambrian in age, and completions were dominated by Lower Ordovician Rose Run and Cambrian Trempealeau tests. However, success rates were low, both for all exploratory tests (30.5%) and for the Rose Run and Trempealeau wells (17.9%). Oil production decreased 9.6%, and gas production decreased 8.5%. Oil prices increased but gas prices decreased, so the total market value of oil and gas in Ohio was the lowest since 1979.

Reported drilling activity in Pennsylvania during 1987 decreased 29.3%, and footage drilled was down 31.1%. Exploratory completions decreased 26.2% and exploratory footage decreased 16.6%, but seismic activity was up 70.8%. Deep drilling decreased 27.5%, with the most active area still the northwestern counties where Lower Silurian Medina Group reservoirs are being developed. Shallow drilling activity decreased 29.8%, and again was dominated by development of Upper Devonian Venango and Bradford oil and gas reservoirs. Several significant shallow exploratory gas discoveries were reported, as well as the first oil field discovered in Pennsylvania in more than 20 years. Most exploratory successes, however, were in deeper units: the Devonian Huntersville Chert and Ridgeley Sandstone, and he Silurian Medina Group. Oil production decreased 12.7%, but gas production increased 2.1%.

Drilling activity decreased significantly in Virginia, with the number of completions down 65.3% and total footage down 68.6%. Exploratory completions numbered 15, an increase of 2 wells from 1986. One significant area of new exploration was along the Powell Valley anticline in Lee County, where the Ordovician Stones River and Knox were evaluated; another was Washington County east of Early Grove field. Production of natural gas reached a record high and was up 26.5% from 1986. Oil production decreased 6.5%.

Drilling in West Virginia decreased 10.6%, and total footage drilled decreased 3.4%. Exploratory completions were down only 1 well from 1986, but exploratory footage was down 21.1%. Seismic activity, down 5.2%, was concentrated in eastern counties in overthrust plays. Exploration programs concentrated on deeper Devonian shale formations in southern counties and on deep Oriskany tests scattered throughout the state. Deep drilling decreased 23.7%; the success rate for deep wells was only 37.1% compared to 93.3% for all wells. Oil production decreased 7.5%, and gas production decreased 5.4%.

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