Chesapeake Energy Corp. recently initiated production of approximately 30 MMcfe/d of gas from the first 11 wells on its 18,000-acre Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport lease, the company said last week.

The Oklahoma City-based company acquired the lease about one year ago for $185 million. Based on results of the company's proprietary 3-D seismic analysis acquired earlier this year and the drilling, completion and production results to date, the company plans to drill 300-325 wells on the lease.

Assuming an estimated average recovery of 2.5-3 Bcfe gross per well, the company said it believes that up to 1 Tcfe of reserves can be produced from under the airport at an all-in finding and development cost of approximately $2.00/Mcfe.

Since beginning 3-D seismic operations in December and drilling operations in May (see NGI, May 28), Chesapeake has employed five drilling rigs on a continuous basis at the airport and anticipates maintaining that level of activity through 2011, when it should have completed drilling its planned 300-325 wells. To date, Chesapeake has initiated drilling activities on 33 wells, has started completion activities on 18 wells and is selling gas from 11 wells. The company said it hopes to reach a peak production level from the airport lease of approximately 250 MMcfe/d by year-end 2011 and expects production to continue for at least the next 50 years.

"At this time, we estimate that we have only developed approximately 25% of our Barnett Shale leasehold in the sweet spot of Tarrant, northern Johnson and western Dallas counties," said Chesapeake CEO Aubrey K. McClendon. "The Barnett Shale and the DFW International Airport lease should continue powering our company's growth for years to come."

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