(XOM) ExxonMobil Enters Oil-Rich Utica

ExxonMobil Corporation (XOM) is all set to exploit Ohio’s Utica Shale, supposedly one of the biggest sources of crude oil in the United States. The company has made its entry into the oil-rich fields of Utica Shale by acquiring leases in it.

Exxon declined to divulge details regarding the acreage acquired or the amount paid.  But people familiar with the matter said that the company might have signed the leases for $4,950 per acre along with 19% on production royalties.

The Utica is a buried rock formation spreading across eight states. It stretches from Tennessee to New York, as well as parts of Canada. The formation lies roughly 3,000 to 7,000 feet beneath the Marcellus Shale play with thickness ranging between 200 feet to 400 feet across the most prospective areas of Ohio.

The eastern part of Ohio is believed to be most suitable for leasing and exploration activities. Most companies are focused on this region as it is assumed to contain more valuable oil and gas. Companies like Chesapeake Energy Corporation (CHK) and Hess Corporation (HES) also claim to have stakes in the play.

ExxonMobil has stakes in the latest and largest formations containing oil and gas reserves, namely, Utica Shale and Marcellus Shale play. Having access to high-quality reserves with long shelf life proves highly beneficial for the company, especially, during the recent uncertain times when unconventional sources of energy are gaining strength worldwide.

ExxonMobil has a Zacks #3 Rank, which is equivalent to a Hold rating for a period of one to three months. For the long term, we maintain a Neutral rating on the stock and expect it to perform in line with the broader market indices. Chevron Corporation (CVX) and Total S.A. (TOT) are major competitors of the company.

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