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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Why Did Aubrey McClendon Choose to Invest Big in the Utica Shale With New Company?

From the Motley Fool:
In 2011, then-Chesapeake Energy  (NYSE: CHK  )  CEO Aubrey McClendon made some very bold claims about Ohio's Utica shale. He called it the "biggest thing economically to hit Ohio, since maybe the plow." He thought the play was "likely most analogous, but economically superior to, the Eagle Ford Shale of South Texas," and he pegged its total economic value at upwards of half a trillion dollars. 
Within just two years of making those statements, McClendon was forced to take an early retirement from Chesapeake Energy, which at the same time was looking to sell some of its acreage in the Utica. Retirement, however, didn't last long for McClendon. In fact, he is now back in Ohio as his new venture, American Energy Partners, has chosen the southern Utica as its first foray back into the E&P space.
The company has received $1.7 billion in funding from various groups including management. The proceeds will be used to acquire and drill on about 110,000 acres in the southern portion of the play. The plan is to start with one rig this year and increase it to at least a dozen rigs over the next few years. 
McClendon has extensive knowledge of multiple plays in the U.S., which makes his choice to buy his first acreage in the Utica very interesting. However, because of his previous deal with Chesapeake, he still owns a small stake in every well the company drills in the Utica. That provides him with unique access to company information on those wells, so he must be seeing something in those numbers that made him want to bet big on that play for his comeback. 
It would also seem to give a vote of confidence to other producers in the region like Gulfport Energy  (NASDAQ: GPOR  )  and Halcon Resources  (NYSE: HK  ) . As the map on the following slide shows, there is a distinct sweet spot developing in the play that producers are flocking to drill. 
Read more of this article here.

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