Can a Single Canceled Airline Route Affect Utica Shale Development?

Could a single canceled airline route have an impact on the development of one of the hottest shale plays in the U.S. (the Utica)? Maybe, is the surprising answer. United Airlines has announced they will discontinue their non-stop daily flights to and from Cleveland and Oklahoma City. OKC is the headquarters for Chesapeake Energy, and Chessy is the #1 driller (for now) in the Utica Shale. It’s also HQ for Gulfport Energy, one of the most prominent and prolific drillers in the Utica next to Chesapeake. By cutting out that direct route it will mean much longer flights with layovers “at best” according to the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association. They leave us to think about the “at worst” possibilities.

“No problem!” you say. Pittsburgh is probably closer to the oil and gas fields of eastern Ohio than Cleveland anyway. Or Columbus. Ahhh, but there’s the rub. Neither of those airports go direct to OKC either. Cleveland was the only one in the entire region to do so. And so this spring when United cuts the direct routes, it will mean a major disruption for the flow of “foreigners” (as Gov. John Kasich refers to them) coming into Ohio to work in Ohio’s oil and gas fields…

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