Is the Utica Shale Really the Next Big Thing or Is It a Bust in the Making?
From The Motley Fool:
The Utica Shale remains a bit of an enigma for drillers and investors alike. Some see it as the next big thing, while others are cautiously backing away. One thing is for sure: For many drillers, the Utica Shale isn't living up to the original sky-high expectations, especially for oil content.
The lack of oil is one of reasons why both Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK) and Devon Energy (NYSE: DVN) are planning on selling their Utica assets after initially building a sizable presence. Chesapeake, which is the largest Utica leaseholder, just put around 100,000 of its acres up for sale. While that's a small portion of its overall acreage in the play it is worth noting because it marks a continued trend from the company, which also sold a large stake in the Utica last year to Total.
Devon is taking things one step further; it's attempting to unload the rest of its Utica acreage, after putting a portion of its acres into a joint-venture package with Sinopec last year. Devon sees higher returns in other plays within its acreage, particularly in the Canadian oil sands and Permian Basin.
That makes one wonder whether the Utica is a bust. The answer really depends on your expectations of the play. According to Wood Mackenzie, the Utica could produce 200,000 barrels of oil per day by 2017. The problem is that the amount of oil being produced would still be a fraction of the Eagle Ford's projected 1.5 million barrels of oil per day by that time.