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Utica Shale: Weak vs. Strong is coming

Chris Doyle, the executive vice president of operations for Chesapeake Energy Corp., believes that over the next few years it will be clear who the weak and strong are in the Utica shale.

Doyle’s experience in the Utica Shale started back in 2011 while managing the Appalachian division of Anadarko Petroleum Corp. At the time, the company had acquired about 400,000 acres in the Utica Shale located in Ohio and drilled its first well. Doyle left Anadarko in mid-2013 for a similar job with Chesapeake. Doyle soon learned that the Utica wasn’t as oil rich as many had hoped, but the region’s natural gas and natural gas liquids were ample.

As reported by Columbus Business First, “It’s been a bit of a roller-coaster ride for people like Doyle. The first few years of Utica exploration focused on acquiring large swaths of land using the best geological information companies had at that time. Then the relative performance of the area started to be known and the “core” of the play was defined along a corridor of southeastern Ohio around Belmont and Monroe counties.” Doyle commented on how the entire learning and growing process of the Utica has been intriguing:

It’s a fascinating process, going out there early on, testing it, learning from the rest of the industry and trying to find out how to best develop it.

Having been in the Utica Shale for years now, Doyle believes the time has come for companies to prove themselves after dedicating so much time and money in the region.  He also feels that over the next few years there will be a divide between companies operating in the Utica and it will be clear who the weak are:

This is where you will be able to separate the weak from the strong.

According to Doyle, Chesapeake has no plans to leave the Utica anytime soon and hopes to be in Ohio for decades.

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