Chesapeake positioned for continued prosperity, exec says

BY JAY F. MARKS jmarks@opubco.com Published: November 13, 2011
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“The hard work's already been done,” Mobley said. “We've captured the land. We've built the organization.

“Now it's just simple execution.”

While Chesapeake is turning its attention away from natural gas production, Mobley said the company that proclaims itself “America's Champion of Natural Gas” remains committed to ensuring demand matches the newly discovered supply.

He said the nation's ample supply of natural gas can be used in a number of ways, including transportation, power generation, manufacturing and even exports.

“We're working on all of those,” Mobley said.

Perhaps the most visible alternative is on the vehicle front, where Chesapeake is pushing compressed natural gas as a replacement for gasoline and diesel fuel.

“It's happening,” Mobley said. “It's on the way.”

The company is converting its vehicle fleet to run on CNG, which costs as little as 75 cents a gallon, while investing $150 million in Clean Energy Fuels to help build a network of refueling stations for heavy-duty trucks.

Mobley said Chesapeake is also working with carmakers to make more CNG vehicles available to drivers.

He said exporting natural gas to other countries remains an option, but Chesapeake official prefer to use domestic natural gas as a replacement for foreign oil.

The numbers make a compelling case for exporting natural gas, however.

Mobley said natural gas sells for up to $15 per thousand cubic feet in Asia and $10 in Europe, while the price remains about $4 in the United States.

Exporting natural gas would add another $3 to $3.50 to the price, he said, but it could happen as soon as 2015.

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