Chesapeake 2013 & Beyond: Lack of Pipelines Still a Big Problem

Yesterday Chesapeake Energy issued their fourth quarter and full year 2013 operational and financial results. Chessy’s CEO, Doug “the ax” Lawler is all proud of himself for having fired over 1,200 employees, saving the company all that money (money that goes into Carl Icahn’s bank account). Whatever. For all of our disgust with what Chesapeake has become because of Icahn and his corporate raiding practices, it’s still a very important driller in the Marcellus and Utica (as well as other plays), and will continue to be so. When they issue an update, we need to pay attention, because as Chessy goes, so goes the Marcellus and Utica, in some senses.

What does yesterday’s update show? Chessy has drilled a lot of wells in the Utica–425 so far, more than half of the 747 Utica wells drilled to date in Ohio. Of those 425, 230 are online and producing, but a huge 195 wells are still waiting to be hooked up to pipelines. Lack of infrastructure is still a big issue in the Utica and in the Marcellus. In the northern Marcellus area (northeast PA) Chesapeake has 112 wells waiting to be connected to pipelines. They’ve scaled back their drilling in NEPA somewhat over the past year. In the southern Marcellus (SWPA and WV) Chesapeake has 47 wells waiting to be connected to pipelines or otherwise completed. Here’s the operations update for both the Utica and Marcellus from Chessy’s announcement yesterday:

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