Chesapeake to Focus on Utica Well Completion

OKLAHOMA CITY – The CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corp. said Tuesday that the company will spend 2017 completing existing natural gas wells in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays and refrain from new drilling in the basin.

“In northeast Appalachia, our activities in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and the Utica Shale in Ohio will be more focused on completing inventory wells compared to drilling and completing new wells,” Doug Lawler said in a statement.

The company also plans to adopt more aggressive fracture stimulation processes to its wells in the plays, he said.

Lawler said that the company projects natural gas production to be flat through the end of 2017, but anticipates volumes will increase throughout 2018.

“Nonetheless, we are projecting that these world-class gas producing areas will generate significant free cash flow for us compared to the capital invested during both 2017 and 2018,” he said.

Chesapeake plans to operate an average of 17 rigs across its holdings in 2017, up from 10 rigs in 2016. The company intends to spud and place into production 400 and 450 wells respectively, compared to 213 and 428 wells in 2016.

The company reported it plans capital expenditures in the range of $1.9 billion to $2.5 billion in 2017, versus $1.65 billion to $1.75 billion in 2016.

Aside from the Marcellus and Utica plays, the company has leasehold positions in the Haynesville Shale, the Power River Basin and the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas.

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