Has Chesapeake Energy Corp. discovered the next Barnett in the Haynesville shale play in northwestern Louisiana? Aubrey McClendon says, "The Barnett remains No. 1 in Chesapeake's portfolio but the Haynesville shale could be even bigger some day." McClendon, chairman and chief executive, spoke at IPAA's Oil & Gas Investment Symposium this week in New York. Larry Nichols, chairman and chief executive of Devon Energy Corp., said last week at the Developing Unconventional Gas conference (sponsored by Oil and Gas Investor and E&P magazines) in Fort Worth last week, "You don't drill a couple of wells and say anything is the next Barnett shale." (See: Larry Nichols…On The Haynesville Shale.) McClendon is saying the Haynesville may be bigger than the Barnett--at least for Chesapeake. The company is No. 2 to Devon in the Barnett, and No. 2 to Southwestern Energy Co. in the Fayetteville shale. "Chesapeake has a big head start in the Haynesville shale," he said this week. And, as for how many wells Chesapeake has drilled there, and other details, McClendon reported: -- The play was developed in Chesapeake's geoscience department two years ago. The shale is young--some 150 million years old, compared with the more than 325-million-year-old Barnett, Fayetteville, Woodford and Marcellus. -- Cheseapeake began drilling the Haynesville in third-quarter 2006 and evaluated cores in early 2007. The company has now drilled four vertical and three horizontal wells. The results are confidential but "very encouraging." -- Chesapeake has four rigs working the play now and will take that to 10 rigs by year-end. It currently owns some 200,000 net acres that may have ultimate reserve recovery of 7.5 trillion cubic feet equivalent net to Chesapeake. -- McClendon aims to own up to 500,000 net acres in the play that he says may hold 20 Tcfe of net ultimate reserve-recovery potential. Meanwhile, Chesapeake's 250,000 net acres in the Barnett play host at least 8 Tcfe of net ultimate-recovery potential. If 250,000 net Barnett acres may hold 8 Tcfe, and 500,000 net Haynesville acres may hold 20 Tcfe, McClendon's numbers suggest the Haynesville's ultimate-recovery potential is greater than that of the Barnett. –Nissa Darbonne, Executive Editor, Oil and Gas Investor, A&D Watch, Oil and Gas Investor This Week, www.OilandGasInvestor.com; ndarbonne@hartenergy.com