Chesapeake Seeks Buyer for Ohio Shale Acreage

Chesapeake Energy is seeking to sell 337,481 net acres of Utica/Point Pleasant Trend acreage in Ohio, according to the website of Meagher Energy Advisors. The sale is part of the company's recent plans to sell non-core assets in an effort to reduce its capital expenditure budget.

The assets for sale include acreage in the northeast Ohio counties of Huron, Lorain, Ashland, Wayne, Summit, Geauga, Portage, Asthabula and Trumbull counties. Chesapeake has also put up for sale acreage in the southeast Ohio counties of Licking, Muskingum, Fairfield, Perry, Morgan, Washington, Athens, Hocking, Vinton and Meigs.

The acreage for sale is limited to the Cincinnati, Utica, Point Pleasant and Trenton intervals. Most of the acreage lies in the wet gas or oil window, according to the Meagher website.

The combined Utica shale/Point Pleasant formation is 100 to 300 feet thick and is found at depths between 2,000 and 7,000 feet, and dips generally basinward to the east.

Chesapeake was operator of two wells drilled in the acreage. One Utica stratigraphic test was drilled this year and set with a temporary plug. An exploration well was drilled this year, and will be hydraulically fractured in July. Five non-operated wells have been drilled in the acreage between 1995 and 2005, with vertical completions in naturally-fractured Utica intervals and minimum production volumes.

The company currently has 1.3 million net acres in the Utica/Point Pleasant play, a Chesapeake spokesperson said. The sale will alter the company's plans to develop all of its highly-prospective Utica acreage. Chesapeake has a significant number of wells plans for the Utica oil window for the rest of this year, according to the company's May 2012 investor presentation.

"Utica/Point Pleasant development will be focused where Chesapeake's land ownership is more concentrated," according to the Meagher website.

The bid date for the acreage is July 11; the closing date for bids is Aug. 17.

Chesapeake on Monday announced it would replace four members of its board. The company has faced controversy in recent months due to low natural gas prices, rising debt and criticism of its corporate-governance strategies.


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