Hess Goes All in for Shale Drilling in 2014, $550M on Utica Shale

Over the past couple of years, Hess Corporation–the company whose name you recognize because you probably have filled up your car at one of their gas stations–has been transforming itself from petroleum products marketer (like retail gas stations) to oil and gas driller. Hess still owns some of those gas stations–but not for long. They’re in the process of spinning off retail gas stations into their own company so they can sell it (see Hess Continues Transformation With Plans for Retail Spinoff). Early last year Hess’ plans to become an E&P company was challenged by one of their stockholders (see Corporate Raider Paul Singer Tries to Force Hess Out of Shale). He was obviously unsuccessful in trying to bully Hess into doing his bidding. (Note to Chesapeake: you should have followed Hess’ example.)

Yesterday Hess released their 2014 capital and exploration budget, and it shows Hess has gone “all in” for shale drilling. The Hess capex budget calls for a whopping $5.8 billion in spending–of that $2.85 billion (49%) will be spent on shale drilling. The lion’s share of Hess’ shale budget will go to drilling for oil in North Dakota’s Bakken Shale. However, they have allocated $550 million for drilling in the Utica Shale this year, with plans to sink 35 new Utica wells. Here’s the full Hess budget released yesterday…

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