Covalent Energy

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Arlington, Virginia-based Covalent Energy (aka Utica Energy) is a privately held exploration and development company with a 15,000 acre leasehold in the Utica shale play in central New York state. The company drilled Utica test wells during 2007.

According to a February, 2008 press release Gastem had exercised an option agreement with Utica Energy to earn up to a 65% working interest in 27,000 acres prospective for Utica shale in New York State. September, 2009 Update: Gastem's working interest had grown to an 80% share in 35,000 acres in the area. Gastem refers to its activity as the New York State Utica Shale Project. As part of the project, Gastem was to complete and frac three vertical wells by the end of Q2, 2008 and then begin a second phase that was to include two more vertical wells and a horizontal well. The drilling was to be completed in January, 2009. Previously in 2007, Utica Energy's test well, Scheckell's #1, had encouraging results.

The first phase Gastem wells were located in Cherry Valley, Springfield and the Town of Maryland in rural Otsego County, New York. The well driller was Barber & Deline of Tully, NY.

Gastem USA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Gastem, was to develop these wells in partnership with Covalent. Both companies also planned to core the Marcellus shale formation and log all of the intervals including the Oneida formation. Gastem was to be the well operator. The wells are located in close proximity to gas gathering pipeline infrastructure.

A report surfaced in June, 2009 that Covalent had recently received three new permits in the same locations previously explored with Gastem: Cherry Valley, Springfield and Maryland. These permits were for vertical Utica shale wells. The Town of Maryland permit was for a well called Ross #1 that is within a mile of Stonehouse Road off Shutter Road and is south of the Scheckell's #1 well. It is situated near Crumhorn Mountain on the Ronald and Alberta Ross farm. Update #1: The Ross #1 had been spudded in mid-September, 2009 and was to be drilled to a depth of 5,000 feet. Update #2: In early October, 2009 reports circulated that apparently drillers had hit a brine pocket around 3,000 feet, and drilling mud had to be pumped down the well to power past it. The well was to be fracture stimulated after geotechnical and geochemical analysis of the core samples. The well had been drilled to a depth of 4950 feet and had made positive shows for gas in the targeted intervals. Update #3:Gas shows were found in Utica and Marcellus shales and the Oneida sand. The latter flowed at a rate of 2 Mmcf/d on a 4 hour drillstem test. The Oakta Creek and Union Springs members of the Marcellus shale were thicker than expected and showed good permeability. Gas flowed from natural fractures in the shale and was flared off. This vertical well was fraced and completed in the Utica interval with 80,000 gallons of water and it proceeded to flow at 70 Mcf/d for 24 hours. Various lab tests needed to be performed on the core sample for all intervals before estimating the recoverable resources on the Ross farm.

Another report came to light in June, 2010 to the effect that an earlier January Gastem update mentioned a vertical well in Otsago Co. that had penetrated both the Marcellus and Utica shale formations and had exceeded management's expectations. As a result the company planned to accelerate its programs in the area. This report may have referred to Ross #1, but the exact well was not mentioned.

A further news item appeared in December, 2010, regarding separate low-volume fracs that had been conduced on the Ross #1 well for each of the Chittenango and Union Springs members of the Marcellus shale. The well had been completed with an IP of 200 Mcf/d and had been producing for 4 weeks at the rate of 150 Mcf/d. BJ Services did the fracs. The company planned additional drilling during 2011,

  • Jonathan Kelafant is Covalent's President.
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