Chesapeake Energy: We’re Not Filing for Bankruptcy…Yet

saying not yetChesapeake Energy’s stock plunged on Monday after a report in Debtwire said the company has retained a restructuring firm to help the company cope with $9.8 billion in debt. “Restructuring” is typically a nice way of saying “bankruptcy protection.” When the market caught wind of “restructuring” that’s just what they thought–and started selling like crazy. A year ago Chesapeake’s stock stood at $22 per share. Yesterday end of day it closed at $2.05 per share–down 33% from Friday and down over 90% in the last year. Chesapeake, in an attempt to get out in front of this latest turn of events, issued a statement yesterday saying the firm they’re using is nothing new–the firm was hired in 2010 and continues to advise the company. (Reuters reported that the firm was recently asked to evaluate restructuring for the company.) Chesapeake, with debt eight times the market value of the company, said in yesterday’s statement: “Chesapeake currently has no plans to pursue bankruptcy and is aggressively seeking to maximize value for all shareholders.” Saying you have no plans to do something is also saying at some point you may well do that thing. Publicly traded companies have to be careful with their statements because shareholders may come back to sue them later if they somehow feel mislead. So perhaps we should read Chessy’s statement like this: “We don’t want to declare bankruptcy, we have no intention of doing so, but if that’s the only option left, we will.” Here’s a recap of this still developing story…
Continue reading

Pipeline Companies May Lose Big-Time if Chessy “Restructures”

Yesterday’s free fall of Chesapeake Energy’s stock based on rumors that the company may be considering bankruptcy (see today’s lead story) is not only affecting Chesapeake’s stock price. It’s also affecting the stock price of Energy Transfer Equity and Williams, two huge midstream companies. Why? ETE, you may recall, is in the process of buying Williams for $37.7 billion (see Looks Like a March 2016 Wedding for ETE & Williams). The main reason ETE is buying Williams, with its major presence in the Marcellus/Utica, is because of long-term contracts to use its pipelines in the northeast. One of Williams’ main customers with those long-term contracts is (yes) Chesapeake Energy. What if Chessy is forced to renegotiate or cancel or otherwise can’t honor those contracts? Whoops. There goes one of the big reasons for the deal in the first place. Which may explain why ETE’s stock went from $7.01 on Friday to closing at $4.09 yesterday (down 42%), and why Williams’ stock went from $17.11 on Friday to closing at $11.16 yesterday (down 35%). Here’s how/why Chesapeake’s troubles will not only affect ETE and Williams, but other midstream companies like Spectra Energy, Columbia Pipeline Partners and Marathon Petroleum as well…
Continue reading

PA Republicans Commit Adultery with Severance Tax – Again

What is it with Republicans in Pennsylvania? They’ve just won a major victory by not putting a bullet in the head of the Marcellus Shale industry, i.e. by not implementing Gov. Tom Wolf’s horrible idea of a severance tax. Major victory. But then they return to a severance tax like a cheating spouse who is serially unfaithful. Some Pennsylvania “Republicans” in the state legislature are once again committing adultery with a Marcellus-killing severance tax plan–the day before Wolf re-introduces such a losing plan for a second year in a row. The PA House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee held an informational meeting yesterday to consider two Republican-backed severance tax bills. One bill is being floated by Rep. Kate Harper, RINO-Montgomery County, the other by Rep. Scott Petri, RINO-Bucks County. Notice both RINOs are from the Philly vicinity, which is where most of the nonsense typically comes from. Even House Majority Leader David Reed, R-Indiana County, seems to be going squishy. His mouthpiece said, “It’s just prudent to kind of go through these bills and see what they do.” We disagree. The chairman of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, Rep. John Maher, RINO-Allegheny County, is a sellout too, saying: “I think that there are many people who are open to the idea of a properly crafted severance tax.” With “Republicans” like these, who needs Democrats?…
Continue reading

Mountaineer XPress Pipeline Seeks Tax Break from WV Counties

Columbia Pipeline Group is trying to convince counties in West Virginia where its proposed Mountaineer XPress Pipeline will be built, to reduce the amount of property tax they will have to pay under WV state law. Mountaineer XPress Project (MXP) includes 165 miles of new pipeline from Marshall County, WV to Wayne County, WV with approximately 2.7 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of transportation capacity from existing and future points of receipt along or near CPG’s system (see Columbia Pipeline’s Mountaineer XPress Project Accepted by FERC). In addition to new pipeline, the $2 billion project also includes constructing three new compressor stations and upgrading three existing stations. Columbia is shopping the concept of a PILOT–a Payment In Lieu Of Taxes. Such a plan essentially means they will pay less money than a county would otherwise collect in regular property taxes on the pipeline. Here’s the strange thing–the counties and school districts affected would end up keeping more of the money collected from PILOT payments than they would from regular property tax payments. It’s actually a win/win–Columbia pays less and more of the money paid stays local. Go figure…
Continue reading

Antis Not Happy with Results of OH Fracking Study They Funded

Researchers from the University of Cincinnati have been studying fracking and its potential affects on water wells in five Ohio counties for the past three years. The lead researcher, Dr. Amy Townsend-Small, shared the results at a recent meeting of the anti-drilling Carroll Concerned Citizens. She said, “The good news is that our study did not document that fracking was directly linked to water contamination.” Oh oh. That’s NOT good news for antis–and frankly, they didn’t like her telling them the truth of what her study found. Townsend-Small also said this, “I’m really sad to say this but some of our funders, the groups that had given us funding in the past, were a little disappointed in our results.” You can be sure that any future funding for studies Townsend-Small wants to make, at least from radical environmentalists, will be nonexistent. She had the temerity to tell the truth–to the people who hired her to not tell the truth. That takes courage…
Continue reading

Lawyer Tells NH Landowners ‘7 in 10 Chance’ Pipeline is Coming

A lawyer meeting with a group of New Hampshire landowners in New Ipswich, NH last night gave them a dose of cold, hard reality. He told them, “There’s a seven out of 10 chance this pipeline is going to come” through their town, referring to Kinder Morgan’s Northeast Energy Direct pipeline. He told those present they can fight it, they can not negotiate with Kinder Morgan, and if they do so, it’s to their own peril. His solution? Band together as a group and negotiate good terms and conditions for the pipeline. Have a say in the matter. In other words, don’t be jerks–be reasonable and understand whether you want it or not, it’s coming. And if you negotiate now, you’ll get a better deal than if behave like petulant children…
Continue reading

Board Shakeup at CONSOL Energy – 3 Retire, Including Chairman

There’s been a major shakeup at CONSOL Energy at the highest level. Three CONSOL board members are out, three new members are in, and the current Chairman of the Board, J. Brett Harvey, has been replaced as chairman and will assume the honorary role of Chairman Emeritus. This all could have been in the works for weeks or months–likely it was. But until CONSOL announced it yesterday, we’d not heard a peep about it. A major change in the board typically indicates a change in direction for the company. We’ll keep an eye out to see if that indeed is what happens. Here’s CONSOL’s announcement of who’s out and who’s in on their board of directors…
Continue reading

Goldboro LNG Project Gets Final DOE Approval – Good for Marcellus

The U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) has been pedal to the medal lately with approvals for LNG exports. Yesterday we told you that the Bear Head LNG project in Nova Scotia, Canada received DOE approval to export U.S. natural gas from their facility to non-U.S. free trade agreement counties (see Bear Head LNG Exports Get Final DOE Approval – Good for Marcellus). Today we bring you the news that another Nova Scotia LNG project, Goldboro LNG, has also received approval from the DOE to export natgas to non-free trade agreement counties. Like Bear Head LNG, Goldboro LNG is now fully permitted and permissioned by the U.S. and Canada. Also like Bear Head, the Goldboro project will depend on natural gas coming from the Marcellus/Utica, and that won’t happen until the Maritimes & Northeast pipeline reverses its flow, and until either Kinder Morgan or Spectra Energy (or both) build pipelines that connect to it. There’s a lot of ifs/ands/buts that still remain–but sign-off by the DOE is a necessary and positive sign…
Continue reading

IHS Says Drillers Need to Cut Spending 50% *This Year*

Yesterday MDN highlighted a couple of “bad news for the Marcellus” stories: The Dismal Outlook for Marcellus/Utica Drilling in 2016 and Rig Counts for World, US & Marcellus/Utica Continue to Tumble. We’re aware that at least one anti group picked up and repeated our stories to their email list–no doubt as a twisted celebration of some sort. So be it. At MDN we don’t sugarcoat the truth. It is bad out there and will continue to be most likely for this year and into next year. We’re not the only ones who don’t sugarcoat the truth. IHS, a highly respected oil and gas research firm, is out with more analysis of their IHS Energy Comparative Peer Group Analysis of North American E&Ps. In this latest analysis, IHS uses words like “gloomy outlook” and says drillers (E&Ps), in order to stay afloat, will need to spend about 50% less in 2016 than they did in 2015…
Continue reading

Halcon Tries to Calm Jittery Investors with “Everything is OK” Statement

As we told you a few weeks ago, Halcon Resources has suspended dividend payments for their preferred stockholders (see Halcon Resources Suspends Dividend Payments for Preferred Stock). Halcon is facing rumors that the company is in trouble financially. Apparently to counter those rumors, the company released the following statement yesterday…
Continue reading

Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Tue, Feb 9, 2016

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Cracker plant limbo; Appalachian gas demand lags; Chief wants Atlantic Coast Pipeline, now; natgas billionaire buying NYC property; OH drillers using more water; pipeline standards in OH updated; WV looking to eliminate some natgas taxes; Halliburton-BH merger in trouble; shale bust isn’t busting as fast as thought; Hillary will ban fossil fuels on ‘public land’; and more!
Continue reading

Rig Counts for World, US & Marcellus/Utica Continue to Tumble

Shell Gas Drilling Rig Used in Tioga County, PAThe number of active drilling rigs worldwide, in North America and in the Marcellus/Utica continued to tumble in January. Baker Hughes released their average rig count data for January last Friday. The news, as we expected (but nevertheless hoped wouldn’t be the case) was not good. Worldwide the number of active oil and gas rigs fell by 78. In North America the rig count went down by 28 rigs, but that’s not the full story. Rig counts in the United States fell by a whopping 60 while the rig count in Canada went up by 32. So here at home the story was bloodier than the top level numbers indicate. What about in the Marcellus/Utica? Once again MDN brings you the exclusive chart for Marcellus/Utica rig counts over the past 12 months. Region-wide rigs went down another by seven in the Marcellus/Utica. All three states that we track–PA, OH, WV–had rig count losses in January…
Continue reading

PA DEP Sec. Quigley Keeps Secret Key Part of New Drilling Regs

There is still a chance, beyond a lawsuit, that onerous new oil and gas regulations proposed by Pennsylvania Sec. John Quigley will not be adopted as they have been promulgated. We frankly thought it was a done deal–just get them printed in the Pennsylvania Register, wait 45 days and voila–new laws are born, without the involvement of the state legislature. But the state legislature DOES play a role after all. The House and Senate Environmental Resources and Energy committees will both take a look and approve, disapprove or take no action on the new regs that separate existing regulations, referred to as Chapter 78, into two sets of regulations, 78 and 78a (for conventional and unconventional, or shale). However, Gov. Wolf seems to have the last say in the matter and he’ll likely sign off on the new rules regardless of what the people, via their representatives in the legislature, want. That’s how Dems govern–against the will of the people. Dictatorial. Here’s the thing. Sec. Quigley is intentionally withholding 29 new forms that the industry will have to fill out as part of the new regulations. Legislators are asking how, in any sense of the word, it is fair to vote on something when you haven’t seen the full language, including these 29 forms? Quigley’s action is (in our opinion) illegal–disclosure of the forms is required under PA’s Right-to-Know law. This is yet another abuse of power by PennFuture PA DEP Sec. Quigley…
Continue reading

Actor James Cromwell Admits He’s Clueless, Fights Pipeline Anyway

James Cromwell as Zefram Cochrane

James Cromwell as Zefram Cochrane

Hollywood stars are some of the dumbest people on the planet. We’ve seen it again and again. They glom onto a “cause” either to boost their own sagging careers (get their name into the press again), or because they have an otherwise empty and meaningless life, or because–who the heck knows why? They certainly aren’t experts–although they pretend to be. Susan Sarandon and Yoko Ono joined the anti-fracking movement and rode a fossil-fuel-belching bus from New York City up to Susquehanna County, PA two years ago to “tour” the fracking fields of northeastern PA (see Looney Toons Anti-Fracking Celebrities Visit Montrose, PA). Another Hollywood nutjob is James Cromwell, who played Zefram Cochrane (mythical creator of the warp engine) in the 1996 movie Star Trek: First Contact (one of our favs). Cromwell, a New York City resident, owns a home in upstate, in Orange County. A natural gas-fired power plant is scheduled to be built near his summer home and he’s been protesting, to the point of getting himself arrested in December (see Actor James Cromwell Arrested Protesting NY Power Plant Site). Cromwell has been unsuccessful in stopping progress on the power plant. Apparently he’s in a down cycle right now with his career, and he was reading the newspapers and noticed a story we also noticed (and highlighted) last Friday–an anti-drilling family trying to stop a pipeline from clipping a few maple trees on their property (see Maple Syrup Farm in Path of PA Pipeline, Antis Make Most of It). Cromwell decided to take a Friday drive to visit the five acre plot and lend his name to their cause. Thing is, he admitted he’s essentially clueless about the whole thing–but since it’s a natgas pipeline, and he now hates natgas, what the heck. It only took him maybe two hours to drive from his upstate home to Susquehanna County to pay some fellow antis a visit…
Continue reading

The Dismal Outlook for Marcellus/Utica Drilling in 2016

Yes, it’s bad out there and getting worse–at least in the short term–when it comes to drilling in the Marcellus and Utica Shale. Several major drillers in the northeast have announced cuts–big cuts–and those cuts will impact not only the employees at those companies, but also the many supply chain companies that provide goods and services to them. There were a paltry 19 rigs operating in Pennsylvania last Friday. In January 2014, just two years ago, there were 55 active rigs working in the PA Marcellus. Here’s a recap of who’s cutting how much in 2016 (and perhaps beyond)…
Continue reading

Insanity: O&G People Donating to Katie McGinty Campaign

Here’s our definition of insanity: You work for an oil or gas company in the Marcellus/Utica region, and you donate money to the U.S. Senate campaign of Katie McGinty, formerly the chief of staff for PA Gov. Tom Wolf. McGinty once served as Secretary of the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection under then Gov. Ed “fast Eddie” Rendell. She is an anti-driller–a radical environmentalist. So why would you give money you earned in the oil and gas industry to the campaign of someone who wants to destroy your industry? That’s what we call insane. Here’s who has done it…
Continue reading

« Older Entries  

Password Reset
Please enter your e-mail address. You will receive a new password via e-mail.