NEWS

Chesapeake Energy Increasing Rig Count, But Not Focusing on Ohio

February 14, 2017

Columbus Business First. Chesapeake Energy Corp. is increasing its drilling activity this year, but it doesn’t have major plans in eastern Ohio’s Utica shale play.

The company holds about 1 million acres here, the most of any driller. It plans to operate an average of 17 drilling rigs across its portfolio in 2017, up from 10 in 2016.

But only two rigs are slated for Ohio.

“In northeast Appalachia, our activities in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and the Utica Shale in Ohio will be more focused on completing inventory wells compared to drilling and completing new wells,” the Oklahoma City-based company said in an earnings guidance Tuesday.

Those two rigs will drill up to 50 wells this year, compared with five to six rigs drilling up to 195 wells in south Texas’ Eagle Ford shale. Chesapeake (NYSE:CHK) holds 260,000 acres there.

Chesapeake’s focus this year in Ohio is on natural gas areas of Jefferson, Harrison and Carroll counties.

It plans to drill more wells overall this year and increase its capital expenditures compared to last year, when it sold some assets, including in Ohio, for more than $2 billion.

The driller operates in states as far east as Pennsylvania and as far west as Wyoming.

Natural gas in Ohio is not as easily obtainable compared with Oklahoma, John Dill, vice president of government relations at Chesapeake, said in Columbus at a recent forum hosted by Vorys Advisors.

“Ohio is very fortunate to be part of the shale revolution,” he said. “But in Chesapeake’s point of view, you are part of it – not all of it. Keep that in mind.”

By Tom Knox

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