Low natural gas prices haven't put much of a dent in producers' drilling plans.
Officials from 10 oil and gas companies active in the Mid-Continent region outlined their operations Tuesday at an International Association of Drilling Contractors luncheon in Oklahoma City. They spoke to a packed house at Quail Creek Country Club.
Leading the way was Chesapeake Energy Corp., which is the most active driller in the United States.
“We plan to keep it that way for the foreseeable future,” said Steve Miller, Chesapeake's senior vice president of drilling.
Miller said Chesapeake had an average of 161 active rigs last year, more than twice as many as the next biggest operator. The company expects to have 165 working rigs by the end of the year, despite plummeting natural gas prices.
Miller said Chesapeake is going through a “massive reallocation effort” to shift its focus to oil and liquids rich resource plays.
“Soon we will have just 23 rigs drilling for gas,” he said.
SandRidge Energy Inc. already has completed its switch to oil and liquids.
Ron Goff, the company's vice president of drilling, said all of SandRidge's rigs are dedicated to liquids exploration, mostly in two plays.
The company has an average of 12 rigs working on vertical wells in West Texas' Permian Basin, with plans to drill 1,100 wells there this year.