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Ohio Utica Shale

Chesapeake Energy still loves Ohio's Utica shale

By Bob Downing Published: May 16, 2014

Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy Corp, really likes Ohio’s Utica shale.

That message was repeated several times by vice president Chris Doyle at the company’s Analyst Day 2014 on Friday in Oklahoma City.

Analysts may have had a difficult time gauging the Utica shale because of the lack of data and production delays, and Chesapeake has said little about the shale in eastern Ohio, he said. But Chesapeake is very pleased by what it is seeing, Doyle said on a teleconference.

He called the Utica shale "the newest world-class asset in the portfolio of Chesapeake."

He added, "We are big in the Utica shale. We like the Utica shale." It is considered a core asset and a valuable area for Chesapeake, he said.

The company has drilled 485 Utica wells, of which 274 are producing. It has an additional 5,500 drilling sites.

Chesapeake’s typical Utica shale well is producing a first-month average of 1,360 barrels of oil equivalents per day.

The company in that quarter produced 50,000 barrels of oil equivalents per day. That number has grown to 75,000 barrels today and will likely top 100,000 barrels by year-end 2014, Doyle said.

Chesapeake "never said we had the highest IPs (Initial Production numbers)" from the Utica shale, he said. "It’s not about IPs. It’s about value," he said.

The still-developing Utica shale in Ohio and the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania together accounted for 39 percent of Chesapeake’s production in the first quarter 2014, he said.

The company has more than 1 million leased acres in all parts of the Utica shale, he said.

The typical Utica well cost has dropped from $7.7 million in 2012 to $6.7 million in 2013 with a year-end 2014 target of $5.7 million. The time required to drill such wells has declined from 24 days in 2012 to 20 days in 2013 to 15 days by year-end 2014.

The company is also drilling longer laterals: the average length is 6,000 feet.

The company is intent on working in Tuscarawas, Stark and Carroll counties to develop the first successful wells in the Utica shale’s oil window, Doyle said.

It is getting initial production of 500 barrels per day of oil from a few wells in that area using an old completion method and 1,000 barrels per day using a newer method, he said.

The company is also very interested in developing wells to the east in the dry-gas window, he said. That effort will include a key well in Wetzel County in northern West Virginia that will be completed later this year, he said.

Of the dry-gas window that extends south from Ohio’s Jefferson County, Doyle said, "We like it."

Chesapeake has 330,00 acres in that area that is valued at up to $7 billion, he said.

In a Friday announcement, Chesapeake announced its plans to spin off a drilling-rig business by June 30 to help reduce debt.

Chesapeake Oilfield Operating LLC employs 5,200 of Chesapeake’s 10,800 employees and owns 114 rigs. It will be spun off to shareholders in a tax-free maneuver and be renamed Seventy Seven Energy Inc.

Chesapeake, the nation’s No. 2 producer of natural gas, also announced that it intends to sell of 28,000 acres in southwest Pennsylvania and Wyoming as part of several separate asset sales.

The moves and sales announced on Friday are expected to raise about $3.1 billion for Chesapeake.

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Utica and Marcellus shale web sites

Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

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.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

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.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.