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2018 OOGA Summer Meeting

OGS Monthly Meeting: Determination of Wellbore Orientation in the Utica Shale of Southeast Ohio
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When: Wednesday, March 16, 2016
4:00 PM
Where: in conjunction with the OOGA winter meeting
Hilton Hotel at Easton
United States

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in conjunction with the OOGA winter meeting

4:00P.M., March 16th, 2016

at the

Hilton Hotel at Easton 

located at 3900 Chagrin Drive, Columbus, Ohio 43219 Phone 614-414-5000

Determination of Wellbore Orientation in the Utica Shale

of Southeast Ohio

 Presentation by: Mr. Joe Smith of PDC Energy Inc.

Originally from the small town of South Salem, Ohio, Mr. Smith earned his BSc (1996) and MSc (1998) in Geology from Ohio University. He began his career as a Log Analyst with Halliburton in Bakersfield, California, interpreting image logs and dip meters “in house” with Occidental Petroleum (Oxy) for horizontal Monterey Shale wells. After a year, he joined Occidental as a Staff Geologist where he spent the next three years in Bakersfield. After leaving Oxy, he relocated to Dallas, TX where he spent four years working on projects ranging from offshore Gulf of Mexico to Wyoming. Eight years ago he accepted a position with PDC Energy in Bridgeport, WV and is currently on PDC’s Utica Asset Team.

Brad Bacon1, Joseph Smith1, Antonio Vizurraga1, Evan Rodgers1, Jeremy Dumoit1. PDC Energy Inc, Denver, CO, United States. 2. Baker Hughes, Houston, TX, United States.


The Utica Shale is fast becoming one of the premier shale plays in North America.  As the number of wells drilled in the play is growing daily, optimizing well performance by nailing down wellbore orientation, landing point, and proper completion strategy is vital to the play’s success.  In this presentation we will examine wellbore orientation.  Most of the wellbores drilled in the Ordovician Point Pleasant member in the lower Utica have used an orientation similar to that of the shallower Devonian Marcellus wells.  Wellbore image data, sonic anisotropy, and microseismic are used to determine the direction principal stress direction which is the driving factor in orienting the horizontal wellbore. 

The wells used in this study, were consistent in their findings.  The FMI data did not show any borehore breakout in the Point Pleasant.  The fast and slow shear velocities in the dipole sonic logs did not differ significantly.  Multi-well microseismic data indicated a complex fracture orientation. 

Several wells were used in this analysis; they cover a range of counties – Belmont, Guernsey, Morgan, and Washington Counties, Ohio.  All the wells supported the lack of a principal stress direction in the Ordovician, while supporting the NE/SW principal stress orientation in the shallower Devonian.  The lack of a principal stress direction in the Point Pleasant allows for wellbores that align with lease dimensions permitting more efficient spacing of wells in a company’s leasehold.  Since Ohio parcel distribution is complicated, the freedom of orienting a wellbore to best fit a lease is not insignificant.

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