Why Has Chesapeake Not Wavered From Focus on Utica Shale?
Though Texas’ Eagle Ford shale will be the main driver of Chesapeake Energy’s oil production growth for the next few years, the company’s acreage in Ohio’s Utica shale should also be a important contributor to its natural gas liquids (NGLs) production growth. Chesapeake was one of the first companies to recognize the potential of the Utica Shale, having discovered it in 2010. Now, Chesapeake is the most active driller and largest leasehold owner in the Utica, with about 1 million net acres under its belt.
In the Q2 2014, Chesapeake’s Utica shale production was 67 million barrels of oil equivalents per day(mboe/d), up 373% from a year ago and up 34% from the first quarter of 2014. Of the total production, Oil accounted for 10%, natural gas 60% and natural gas liquids like ethane, butane and propane about 30%. While that’s an impressive rate of growth, it could have been even higher. At the end of last year, the company had 208 wells in various stages of completion, with many awaiting pipeline connections.
As the gas processing and pipeline takeaway capacity at Utica is expected to expand significantly this year, this should change. With the addition of a second train in December, the processing capacity from the Kensington plant — a joint venture between Access Midstream Partners, EV Energy Partners and M3 — had doubled by the beginning of February. Access Midstream and EV Energy are also in the process of laying gathering pipelines to deliver Chesapeake’s production to the plant. The presence of a few other such projects means that Chesapeake can double its gross processing capacity in Utica from 400 million cubic feet per day as of the end of 2013, to 800 million cubic feet per day by the end of this year. This should allow the company to get cracking on many of the backlogged wells and generate sales, as well as boost its production.The rest of the article can be read by clicking here.
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