Last November Encino Acquisition Partners (i.e. Encino Energy) completed its purchase of all of Chesapeake Energy’s Ohio Utica Shale assets for $2 billion (see Stop Press: Chesapeake Sells ALL of its Ohio Utica Assets for $2B). Since that time, we’ve had a number of inquiries from readers asking, will Encino pick up where Chessy left off and maybe expand Ohio drilling?
The short answer is, Yes! We do expect they will actually expand on Chesapeake’s already-robust drilling program in the Ohio Utica. In the past few years Chesapeake has been active in the Ohio Utica, but not nearly as active as they were in earlier years when Aubrey McClendon ran the company.
According to MDN’s Marcellus & Utica Shale Almanac for 2018, Chesapeake’s permit filings for 2011-2017 in the Ohio Utica were:
Sure would be nice to see those permit numbers back up to 100 or more per year!
Encino Energy is a young company, founded in 2011, headquartered in Houston, Texas. In 2017 Encino formed a partnership with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board to form Encino Acquisition Partners. It is the Encino subsidiary that purchased Chessy’s Ohio Utica assets.
The Encino deal included all of Chesapeake’s 933,000 Ohio acres–with 320,000 net Utica acres–and 920 operated and non-operated Ohio Utica wells. Last November following the deal closure, Encino signaled good things would be coming (see Encino Plans to Continue Expanding in OH Utica).
Encino decided to keep Chesapeake’s regional Utica headquarters in Louisville (Stark County), OH. Encino signaled they would finish out drilling a list of wells Chesapeake already identified for 2019, and then in 2020 the company would map its own path, selecting new sites to drill, and drilling more wells on existing well pads. This is what Encino said in November, after the deal closed:
Encino Acquisition Partners plans to drill Utica Shale wells for decades to come, with Stark County home to the company’s Ohio operations.
The Houston, Texas-based partnership closed Monday on a $2 billion deal to buy Chesapeake Energy’s Utica assets in Ohio.
Encino Acquisition Partners acquired 920 operated and non-operated wells and the drilling rights to more than 900,000 acres, along with Chesapeake’s field office in Louisville and the 109 employees who work there.
Encino Acquisition Partners has two drilling rigs in the Utica and plans to pick up a third rig next year, and possibly a fourth rig the year after that, said Encino Energy Chief Operating Officer Ray Walker, who retired in April from Range Resources.
Murchison said Encino Acquisition Partners planned to run a long-term, sustainable drilling program and be a safe and responsible operator.
In the first year, the company will drill a lot of wells planned by Chesapeake. Beginning in 2020, Encino Acquisition Partners will start to map its own path with a combination of building new well pads and drilling wells on existing pads.
“We’ve got a lot of room to grow and what we’re really focused on is making good, steady cash flow year after year after year,” Walker said.
Murchison said he anticipated Encino Acquisition Partners buying more Utica acreage and hiring more workers in Ohio as the company uses more rigs.
With Chesapeake having closed its St. Clairsville office, Encino Acquisition Partners’ operations will be based in Louisville, where Chesapeake built a five-story office building with equipment yards.
“We expect to be in Louisville and the surrounding area for a long time and really want to make sure that we’re good citizens and good neighbors to the people in the area,” Murchison said. (1)
The new news: Encino continues to expand its Louisville HQ with new hiring.
Encino Energy is continuing to ramp up staffing at its new headquarters in Stark County.
Encino is a natural gas and oil acquistion and development company created by a group of successful former executives of other major gas & oil corporations. Late last year it made a multi-billion dollar deal to get the Ohio holdings of Chesapeake Energy, the original leader in the Utica Shale development.
Encino’s Communications Director Jackie Stewart says the company is now committed to its new headquarters in Louisville. “We’re trying to hire local. I mean, over 70% of our entire employees are here in Ohio.”
She says the size and richness of the Utica shale has a lot to do with that. “When you think about the future and oil and natural gas career pathways in Ohio, we have world class rock here. So, we’re going to be here for a long time.”
Stewart says Encino has already hired more than 100 people in Louisville and is actively recruiting. (2)
A couple of things to note about the brief article above. One is that Encino has already hired “more than 100 people” at their Louisville HQ. Is that in addition to the 109 people they took on following the Chesapeake purchase? Not sure. But it does appear the number of employees at Encino is climbing.
Second thing to notice is that the company is “actively recruiting.” We checked the Encino Energy Careers page (click on the “Opportunities” link) and sure enough, there are a number of job postings listed, in the following categories, most if not all are openings in the Ohio Utica:
- Data & Analytics Job Openings
- Drilling & Completions Job Openings
- Engineering Job Openings
- Environment, Health, and Safety Job Openings
- Field Operations Job Openings
- Finance & Accounting Job Openings
- Geological & Geophysical Job Openings
- Human Resources Job Openings
- Information Technology Job Openings
- Land Job Openings
- Supply Chain Job Openings
Third thing to notice is that Jackie Stewart, an top notch writer who formerly wrote for Energy in Depth covering Ohio, is now Director External Affairs for Encino. Congrats to Jackie!
Bottom line: Encino is hiring like crazy and yes, the company is ramping up to meet and (we believe) eclipse Chesapeake’s Utica drilling. Good things are ahead with this change in ownership from Chesapeake to Encino!
(1) New Philadelphia (OH) Times-Reporter (Nov 5, 2018) – Encino Acquisition Partners staying in Louisville, eyeing growth
(2) Kent (OH) WKSU Public Radio (Feb 18, 2019) – New Energy Company in the Utica Shale is Headquartering and Hiring in Northeast Ohio
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