US shale gas discovery over already?

According to a recent report, the CEO of Chesapeake Energy Aubrey McClendon has said that the most significant natural gas and oil shale fields in the US have already been found, and that investors should not wait around for major new discoveries.

During the company’s annual meeting with analysts McClendon stated: ‘If you decided, I'm going to pass on the Barnett, pass on the Haynesville, pass on the Marcellus, and you were going to wait for the next four or five--there won't be any. By the end of 2011 it will be over. There won't be any basins that have escaped investigation.’

Three days previously the company signed an agreement to sell a third of its interest in South Texas’ Eagle Ford shale formation to CNOOC for US$ 2.16 billion in cash and drilling funding.

Shift in focus

McClendon stated that Chesapeake will continue to encourage joint venture partners for its interests. In addition the company may sell its expertise to other companies considering shale plays overseas, however it is not planning on any foreign investments, e.g. in Poland.

Instead the company plans to shift its focus from natural gas to become a major oil producer. Natural gas prices have been in steady decline thanks partly to excess supply created by the shale frenzy. However, gasoline-like condensate, which trades on par with oil, is abundant in many shale formations, although not in volumes that could drive the price of oil down.

Published on 15/10/2010

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