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Ohio Utica Shale

Ohio is still big in Chesapeake Energy's plans

By Bob Downing Published: August 7, 2012

Chesapeake Energy Corp. still intends to aggressively develop wells in the Utica shale in eastern Ohio.

Ohio is still very attractive because it is producing oil and natural gas liquids, not just natural gas, it said.

Chesapeake provided more specific information on its Ohio operations as part of its second quarter earnings release on Monday and Tuesday.

The cash-strapped company said it has completed $4.7 billion in asset sale in the first half of 2012 and expects to announce deals for another $7 billion in assets in the third quarter to reduce its debts.

Chesapeake reported a second quarter net profit of $929 million or $1.29 a share, up from $467 million or 68 cents a share in the same period of a year ago. All but $3 million came from the sale of its pipeline assets and non-cash gains. Revenue rose 2 percent to $3.4 billion and earnings were 6 cents a share.

It also raised its 2012 production estimates, due to discoveries in Ohio and Texas.

The company said it is on track to close a land deal in West Texas with EnerVest Ltd. The sale price was not disclosed. Two other Texas sales are pending.

Chesapeake has been battered by low natural gas prices and the No. 2 natural gas producer has been shifting away from natural gas to oil and natural gas liquids.

Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon, in a company-issued statement, said, "We are taking aggressive and focused actions to increase cash flow and net asset value per share, while also reducing long-term debt as we continue on ongoing transformation to a more-balanced asset base between higher-margin liquids and lower-margin natural gas."

The energy giant said its production of liquids rose 65 percent and liquids now account for 21 percent of total production with more than 130,000 barrels per day.

It said liquids are projected to be 25 percent of total production in 2013 and 55 percent of revenue in 2013.

The company is projecting that liquid production will increase 32 percent in 2013 while natural gas production will drop 7 percent.

Oklahoma-based Chesapeake said it has drilled 87 wells in eastern Ohio but not all are operational.

Its 28 completed wells are averaging about 1,000 42-gallon barrels of oil equivalents per day, the company said.

Each well is daily averaging about 205 barrels of oil, 150 barrels of natural gas liquids like ethane, butane and propane and 3.8 million cubic feet of natural gas, the company said.

A volume of 6,000 cubic feet of natural gas is equal to one barrel.

The company released specific data on three wells: two in Carroll County and one in Jefferson County.

The Bailey well in Lee Township in Carroll County is producing 205 barrels of oil per day, along with 270 barrels of natural gas liquids and 5.7 million cubic feet of natural gas, the company said. That is equal to 1,420 barrels of oil equivalents.

It said the Snoddy well in Lee Township in Carroll County in daily producing 320 barrels of oil, 250 barrels of gas liquids and 4.2 million cubic feet of natural gas. That is equal to 1,260 barrels of oil equivalents per day.

The Brown well in Jefferson County’s Brush Creek Township is producing 8.7 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, an amount equal to 1.445 barrels of oil equivalents. No liquids are produced at that well.

The company called those three wells and their initial production numbers to be "notable." But the totals are about one third of Chesapeake’s much-publicized Buell well in Harrison County. It is the state’s most productive horizontal well.

The average non-horizontal well in Ohio produces less than 1 barrel of oil per day and about 50,000 cubic feet of natural gas per day or 100 to 150 barrels of oil equivalents.

To date, production numbers from only a dozen Ohio wells have been released.

Another 28 completed Chesapeake wells in Ohio are awaiting installation of pipelines.

Chesapeake has 11 drilling rigs operating in Ohio and expects to have 16 rigs in Ohio before Dec. 31, it said.

The company has 1.3 million acres leased in eastern Ohio and is focusing on Carroll, Harrison, Columbiana and surrounding counties.

Chesapeake said earlier it was trying to sell off about 337,481 acres in Ohio outside of its main core area, as part of the debt-reduction strategy.

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Utica and Marcellus shale web sites

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