ASU-Searcy to be natural gas co. training site

SEARCY, Ark. (AP) - Chesapeake Energy Corp., the largest gas producer in the U.S., says it will make the Arkansas State University-Searcy campus its national training center.

The Oklahoma City-based company announced its plans -- along with a $150,000 donation to the campus -- at a dedication ceremony Friday for the school's new technology center.

Chesapeake Energy has built a major presence in Arkansas as exploration and drilling in the Fayetteville Shale formation in north Arkansas has expanded. More than 250 students have completed a drilling-rig training course at ASU-Searcy, with more than half finding jobs in the natural gas industry, school officials said. Nomac Drilling, a Chesapeake subsidiary, is contributing half of the $150,000 donation, the company said, and will also provide $150,000 worth of equipment to the tech center.

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