Chesapeake’s Lawler Says Utica is a “Huge Liquid Lever” for Them

Last week Chesapeake Energy, a big driller in the Marcellus and the biggest driller in the Utica Shale, released their 2014 Outlook (see Chesapeake: My Rig’s Better than Your Rig, Cuts Capex Another 20%). They tried to spin spending 20% less on drilling as a good thing for the company–enforcing fiscal responsibility. But it means they’ll be drilling 20% less–cold, hard fact. We learned from the release of their 2014 outlook that Chesapeake will cut the number of drilling rigs in the Utica Shale from the typical 17 they operated in 2013 down to 7-9 rigs, making the Mark Twain-like claim that 7-9 of their rigs are like 20 of someone else’s rigs. Whatever.

Chesapeake’s still new CEO Doug “the ax” Lawler was on an earnings call last week with his lieutenants (we’re sure boss man and corporate raider Carl Icahn was listening in too). Doug hasn’t met a Chessy employee he wouldn’t be willing to fire. But we digress. Woven throughout the call was references to the Marcellus and Utica and the important role they will play in the company in 2014 and beyond. Lawler’s comment on the Utica Shale is that it’s “a huge liquid lever for us.” Below is a transcript of last week’s call…

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