LITTLE ROCK (AP) - Two companies drilling for natural gas in Arkansas say they will ramp up their production in the coming months in the Fayetteville Shale formation.
Southwestern Energy Co. officials say the company, based in Houston, Texas, will have 19 drilling rigs in operation by the end of the year, up from 14 as of mid-October. With the new rigs, officials estimate pulling in 100 million cubic feet of natural gas a day, up from the 70 million cubic feet it now gets.
Chesapeake Energy Corp., which has mineral rights for more than a million acres in the geological formation, will expand from three to eight wells in the near future, said Tom Price Jr., the company's senior vice president of corporate development. Price said the company would produce 15 million cubic feet of natural gas a day by the end of the year, up from about 7.5 million it now pulls in.
By the end of 2007, the Oklahoma City-based company estimates it will be producing about 130 million cubic feet per day.
The Fayetteville Shale formation, which stretches through a large part of Arkansas, is a potentially large natural gas source. Researchers have said the formation could bring billions of dollars to the state through added jobs and tax revenue.
Lawrence Bengal, director of the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission, said 2006 has been a year of lease consolidation and exploration in the Fayetteville Shale, largely ending what he called "the gold rush" of leasing mineral rights from the region's landowners. But he said it is too early to determine how much the shale ultimately will produce as development continues.
Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com
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