MIDDLE OF NOWHERE - While interviewing Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon, Jim Cramer of CNBC's "Mad Money" called a natural gas drilling site in neighboring Carroll County "the middle of nowhere."
It was McClendon who corrected Cramer, letting him know he was sitting halfway between Cleveland and Pittsburgh, a stretch once known for industry, but in recent years also known as the rustbelt. Now McClendon believes it is the "heart of the Utica shale."
Cramer, whose show features businesses and investing news, conducted the interview in front of the operation. Then Cramer was given an on-camera tour of the drilling site, which according to McClendon cost $20 million to build with all the parts manufactured in America.
One of dozens becoming prevalent throughout the area and Columbiana County, the site was identified on the show as the Lucas Well. McClendon said when completed the drilling operation will reach 8,000 feet down and then a mile horizontally. He predicted it could produce for 50 years or more, with some wells owned by the company more than 100 years old.
While Cramer spent some of the interview questioning Chesapeake Energy's recent money issues and trouble with the company's stocks, McClendon talked about positive changes to the company's board members and philosophy. He said it is time for the company to begin harvesting natural gas.
McClendon said he believes the future looks bright for the drilling of the Utica shale in this area of Ohio and for potential employees interested in the field. At this point, the company reportedly has 400 employees in Ohio working in various positions and with differing amounts of education and training.
McClendon said he sees an eventual switch to more vehicles powered by the liquid product, which can be created from natural gas.
Taped earlier in the day, the show aired Thursday evening. The video is viewable on the "Mad Money" website. The show also included an interview with Timkin's CEO in Canton, where some parts needed for drilling in the area are being made.