Our premier E&P sponsor, Rice Energy, has achieved top-tier production growth in part due to its operational proficiency. Of the approximately 750 producing horizontal Marcellus Shale wells in Washington and Greene Counties, Pennsylvania, Rice Energy drilled and completed two of the top ten wells in terms of cumulative production through June 30, 2014, as reported by Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection.
Rice Energy’s drilling inventory consists of approximately 705 gross drilling locations in the Marcellus Shale and Upper Devonian within our dedicated areas. In addition, operators in the region have announced plans to test the potential for Utica Shale production in and around our dedicated areas.
Rice Energy’s rapid production growth has resulted in significant increases in gathering volumes on our systems, and we expect that Rice Energy will rely on us to deliver the midstream infrastructure necessary to support its continued growth in our dedicated areas.
Having Rice Energy as our anchor customer—representing 85% of our anticipated 2015 gathering volumes—is a principal strength for several reasons:
In addition to being a high-quality anchor customer, Rice Energy’s partnership provides us with competitive advantages to position us to become a leading midstream energy company in the Appalachian Basin. Because of its ownership of our incentive distribution rights and substantial limited partner interest, Rice Energy stands to directly benefit from the organic growth of our business and accretive acquisitions. In particular, we have a right of first offer on all of Rice Energy’s interests in its gas gathering system in the core of the Utica Shale in Belmont County, Ohio, and in each of its fresh water distribution systems in Washington and Greene Counties, Pennsylvania, and Belmont County, Ohio.