Ohio’s Utica shale may not produce as much oil as drillers had once envisioned, although energy companies remain very satisfied with the other products they’re finding, according to Chesapeake Energy Corp. CE0 Aubrey McClendon.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that McClendon said the Utica shale under eastern Ohio is unlikely to generate a major increase in Chesapeake’s oil production.
McClendon said Chesapeake is very pleased with its natural gas and natural gas liquids from the Utica shale. It will, he said, be "one of our foundational plays for decades to come."
Cheasapeake, the No. 1 player in the Utica shale, has been going after lucrative natural gas liquids: ethane, butane and propane, in addition to natural gas and oil. It has more than 1.2 million acres leased in Ohio.
The Utica shale is not a place "where we are going to probably see a huge amount of oil production growth," he said Tuesday at an investor conference. "And to the extent the oil works, it will be with some other companies."
A Chesapeake spokesman told the Wall Street Journal: "For the time being, we are pleased to let other companies commit their capital to the oil window" of the Utica shale.
Last May, McClendon said Chesapeake was confident that the company would report success in oil drilling in the Utica.
The Utica shale appears to have natural gas to the east with a wet gas deposit or window window to the west. That deposit is about 35 miles wide and runs through Carroll, Harrison, Belmont, Columbiana, Guernsey and parts of surrounding counties.
It appeared likely that oil would be found west of that deposit, drillers had said.
Oklahoma-based Devon Energy Corp. had gone after the oil with wells in Medina and Ashland counties. The company reported in August that the results from those wells were disappointing. It said it intended to move its drilling to the east to tap into the wet-gas window.
Other drillers have reported success with oil wells in parts of the Utica area.
Chesapeake is the No. 2 natural gas producer behind Exxon Mobil Corp., but it has shifted to liquids production which are more lucrative than natural gas. That shift was triggered by low gas prices stemming from the natural gas glut.
Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.
Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.
Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.
The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.
Earthjustice, a national eco-group.
People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.
Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.
No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.
Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.
Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.
Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.