Mark Rothenberg, CEO and co-founder of Apex Energy recently shared his thoughts on the Appalachian Basin’s prolific resource plays. Plus, why he thinks the basin is still the most economic basin when it comes to natural gas.

Hart Energy: Apex is an Appalachian Basin based company with a focus on the Marcellus and Utica. Tell us why this area works for you all?

Rothenberg: We are big believers in natural gas being a key component to the U.S. energy supply and we think the Appalachia Basin and specifically the Marcellus-Utica is the key driver of that energy supply. It just made sense for us to come out here and be part of that growth initiative.

Hart Energy: Tell me how the first part of the year for APEX Energy has been?

Rothenberg: It’s been great. We came into the year planning on doing some additional development. We have picked up a drilling rig. We have a completion crew working for us. We have great results from our wells. We have seen really good results and a high amount of growth from our company.

Hart Energy: What is your outlook for the remainder of the year?

Rothenberg: We don’t see a whole lot of change. Unfortunately for many, we don’t see gas prices moving anywhere. So, we don’t think there is going to be a radical change in the number of rigs that are being run. We think there will probably be some pretty prudent development. Maybe some people will slow down on their programs. We really see a flattening and stabilization of the market. We don’t see any big swings one way or another and we plan on doing the same as that. We will proceed ahead with our plans and we’ll keep watching the market and see if we do need to change as a result of it.

Hart Energy: Are there any constraints or challenges you face with your pipeline takeaway capacity?

Rothenberg: We don’t have any. We are very fortunate in that our acreage position is where quite a few interstate pipelines projects come together. So, we have never had any constraints. We have never had any problems flowing our gas. There really hasn’t been that sort of challenge.

Now, we have seen other challenges that just about every other operator faces with environmental concerns, making sure you are staying in compliance and you are actively progressing and changing to increase your standards. We have done a lot of that. We have put up sound walls or we have shrunk the size of our pads. We don’t flare gas. We are constantly accommodating and changing to those on-going challenges. But we haven’t had the stereotypical Appalachia challenges as far as takeaway capacity or shut-in gas.

Hart Energy: Overall, what are you hearing about the Marcellus-Utica?

Rothenberg: I think everybody in the basin is still very optimistic. I think we all realize there is no other place in the country that can produce the type of natural gas wells that we produce here. We are still the most economic basin when it comes to natural gas.

There is a little bit of pessimism in that the natural gas environment is not good. Most investors want to be in oil and this really isn’t an oil basin. This is a natural gas basin. I think you have a little bit of negativity around the lack of oil opportunities here, but overall most of us came here for natural gas. We are going to believe in that storyline and we just adjust to match what the current gas prices are.