And while we're on the subject of fracking, Motley Fool has gone to the trouble of cataloging the major players in the Marcellus Shale on the grounds that you can't invest without a scorecard.
The bar chart at left shows the production rate of the eleven major players in the field. The leading producer is Chesapeake Energy, with 450 million cubic feet per day. Second is Talisman Energy, followed byRange Resources and Cabot Gas and Oil. The major oil companies - ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron and Anadarko - are among the also-rans, which just shows how much the discovery of shale fracking techniques has upended the industry. Altogether, the Marcellus is producing 2.3 billion cf/d.
The chart to the right shows the holdings of each major player. Here Chesapeake is far ahead of everyone else with 1.8 million acres (about 2500 square miles). No one else has more than 700,000 acres. But Chesapeake has become overextended and is already selling off acreage in other regions. What is remarkable is how much production lesser-known companies such as Talisman, Range Resources, Cabot and EQT Resources are getting out smaller acreage while the oil giants, ExxonMobil and Chevron, are getting much less from their holdings.