Fire Sale for GASFRAC Waterless Fracking Co, Interim CEO Resigns

fire saleCanadian oilfield services company GASFRAC continues to be a company in serious trouble. Which is sad. GASFRAC, you may recall, is one of the few companies that has a commercially viable waterless fracking technology using liquefied petroleum gas (liquid propane). GASFRAC was working on their first Utica Shale frack job late last year (see Details on GASFRAC’s Waterless Frack Test in OH Utica). But the company has been in trouble for some time. They fired the CEO and COO back in late 2012 (see Waterless LPG Fracking Company GASFRAC Fires its CEO, COO). The company filed for bankruptcy a few weeks ago (see Waterless Fracking Company GASFRAC Files for Bankruptcy). Since 2012, GASFRAC has had an “acting” CEO. As of yesterday, he’s not acting anymore–he’s now gone along with another board member. In February the company will be de-listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The good news is that the bankruptcy court is allowing them to proceed with either a sale of the whole company, or its pieces, post haste…
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PA Gov Wolf Signs Exec Order to Ban Drilling Under State Land

disappointmentPennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is, disappointingly, keeping campaign promises to his anti-drilling supporters. Today he will make a trip to Benjamin Rush State Park in northeast Philadelphia to sign an executive order to prohibit (for now) any more leases for drilling under (not on) state-owned land. The move is creating child-like excitement among far-left “environmentalist” groups like PennEnvironment–well known for rabid anti-drilling activities. You may recall two governors ago Democrat Gov. Ed Rendell was hell bent for leather in leasing state-owned land for drilling ON said land. After his voracious appetite for money was sated and his Democrat cronies in the legislature spent all $444 million of it, Rendell tried to pretend that he’s an environmentalist by slapping an executive order–a moratorium–on any more leasing of state-owned land. Hypocrite. Last year Gov. Tom Corbett lifted that moratorium with an executive order of his own so that another $75 million of badly needed revenue could be raised by leases for drilling under (not on) state land. Today, Gov. Wolf will turn down that $75 million with an executive order of his own for purely political pandering reasons. How utterly disappointing (but not surprising)…
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Carrizo Cuts Budget 35%, No Drilling Planned in Utica/Marcellus in 2015

Carrizo Oil & Gas is the latest Marcellus/Utica driller to cut their 2015 capital expenditures (capex) budget–by 35% over 2014. According to the Carrizo announcement below, they plan to spend $450-$470 million on drilling, most of it in the Eagle Ford (Texas) where they’re running three drilling rigs. They will spend only has much as they have to on “lease maintenance” in the Utica Shale–which we take to mean they’ll only do what they must to show they still intend to drill on leases that may soon expire. In the update below we get some numbers for Carrizo’s second Utica Shale well, in Guernsey County, OH. The update also indicates Carrizo continues to throttle back production in the Marcellus. It says nothing about new drilling in the Marcellus, so we presume there isn’t any planned for 2015…
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Advice to OH Landowners Approached for Pipeline Easements

The Energy Transfer Partners Rover pipeline (ET Rover) is probably the biggest pipeline project currently under way in the U.S. It’s bigger than the Keystone XL pipeline! In places like Richland and Crawford counties in Ohio, ET Rover is actually two pipelines–42 inches in diameter, sitting side by side. The entire length is 820 miles and will stretch from WV and PA through OH and into Michigan and eventually to Canada. Landowners in Richland and Crawford attended a meeting sponsored by a Columbus law firm last night to hear some sobering truth: the pipeline will happen and it is coming. But that doesn’t mean landowners are helpless. The attorneys offered some good advice that all landowners approached for pipeline easements should listen to…
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WV Legislature Passes Bill to Help Southwestern Keep Drilling

Currently in West Virginia, if an E&P company, say Chesapeake Energy, has applied for and received permits to drill dozens or hundreds of wells which are currently in various states of being drilled, and then decides to sell those leases and drilling operations to someone else, like Southwestern Energy, the drilling law passed a few years ago says the new company buying those leases and drilling operations must re-apply for all of those permits to continue drilling. That’s a big problem. Southwestern, you may recall, has just paid Chessy $5.375 BILLION for leases, wells and drilling operations–most of it in WV. Can you imagine what will happen? Rigs idled…people laid off…chaos and confusion. It’s an economic disaster. So you can understand why the WV legislature has dispensed with the rules and passed a bill in record time that fixes the problem, allowing Southwestern (or anyone else) to assume permits on leased property that changes hands…
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Antero Proved Reserves Rocket Up 66%; Dev Costs Just $0.61/Mcf

Antero Resources, one of the largest drillers in the Marcellus and Utica Shale region, issued a press release yesterday to crow about some important numbers. The first important number is 66%–as in Antero’s “proved reserves” of natural gas (and liquids and oil) jumped 66% in 2014–to a mind-blowing total of 12.7 trillion cubic feet equivalent (Tcfe). Proved reserves means using existing technology and under these economic conditions, Antero can reasonably, with very high confidence, extract at least 12.7 Tcfe. Astonishing. Another number to crow about: $0.61, as in it costs the company only 61 cents per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) to find and develop/extract that gas. Of course what’s missing in that number is the midstream component–processing and pipelining it to market. But still, it shows that these large companies can still make money even in a low cost environment, which is reassuring…
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Columbia Withdraws Compressor Plan, Seeks Alternative in SWPA

Columbia Midstream Group, a subsidiary of NiSource, has withdrawn an application to build a compressor station in South Strabane Township (Washington County), PA and has, instead, applied to build two smaller facilities at the same site: a launcher/receiver facility and a metering station (both related to pipelines). The land they intend to build on is a 251-acre plot owned by Range Resources. Nearby residents who attended a public hearing on Tuesday night were still against the plan, even though it’s not nearly as big and noisy and polluting as a compressor station…
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Enterprise Releases 2014 Results – Remains Mum on ATEX Explosion

Enterprise Products Partners, a huge $41 billion midstream company with 51,000 miles of pipelines, and the company that built the Appalachia to Texas (ATEX) Express pipeline, released their 2014 results today. In the update is no mention of the explosion and fire along the ATEX in Brooke County, WV that happened on Monday (see ATEX Ethane Pipeline Explodes, Burns in Brooke County, WV). We’ve looked, and haven’t found a peep about what caused the explosion. The agency charged with investigating the pipeline rupture is the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)…
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Columbia Pipeline Floats IPO, Hopes for Upward of $1B

Last September NiSource announced they would spin off subsidiary Columbia Pipeline Group into its own company (see NiSource Splits in Two: Columbia Pipeline Will be Separate Company). It took a few months, but the two operations finally determined which executive would go with which company (see Who Gets the Kids in NiSource/Columbia Gas Divorce?). Earlier this week we finally learned the details of the initial public offering (IPO) for Columbia–how much money they plan to raise. NiSource said the IPO will float an initial 40 million “common units” (think shares of stock) with an option to add another 6 million to the pot. They hope to get between $19 and $21 per unit, meaning a total of between $760 million on the low side, to $966 million on the high side…
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Marcellus-Utica Midstream Conf: Marcellus is “Best of the Best”

The Hart Energy Marcellus-Utica Midstream Conference kicked off yesterday in Pittsburgh at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Unfortunately your humble Marcellus/Utica gadfly was not extended a press pass by Hart Energy (yes, we’re trying to shame them for ignoring our request), so we’re not at the event which is drawing some 2,000 attendees. However, plenty of others are there. Kicking off the first day with the opening keynote was Barry Davis, CEO of EnLink Midstream Partners. Davis had some sobering words, saying he expects shale drilling to contract by 50% nationwide. However, Davis had high praise for the Marcellus/Utica, calling it “the best of the best” that will see less cut-backs than the others…
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World Gone Upside Down? ANGA Video Appears on CS Monitor Website

MDN came across an interesting article/video on the Christian Science Monitor website. The article and video is from Marty Durbin, President and CEO of America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA). In the video, Marty takes a look at the shale revolution–in particular the Marcellus–and how it’s changing America for the better. We had to do a double-take. This kind of article on the CS Monitor? Have the lib editors suddenly gone conservative?? Then we realized–it’s “sponsor content” or contributed content. ANGA paid CS Monitor to post the story, a story (and video) from ANGA themselves. This kind of sponsored content is an expanding trend in publishing. As long as the story is clearly marked as sponsored, it doesn’t “sully” the journalistic reputation and integrity of the editors–or so the theory goes. Aside from the “inside baseball” aspect of being sponsored content, we found ANGA’s post a useful update, and the short video (6 minutes) is well worth spending a few of your minutes to watch…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Thu, Jan 29, 2015

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading:
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Federal Defense of Property Rights Act Explained; End of Frack Bans?

What's the 411MDN has the low-down on proposed new federal legislation we first told you about yesterday, the Defense of Property Rights Act (see Congressman Proposes Bill to Compensate NY’s Jilted Landowners). When we published yesterday’s article, we did not have a copy of the proposed legislation that has been introduced by Congressman Tom Reed (Republican from Corning, NY). We now have a copy of the bill (embedded below), we have comment from Reed’s office, comment from the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York (JLCNY), and we’ve spoken to a top attorney that has elucidated just what is in the bill. Bottom line: it’s a good bill and we need to support it. Here’s why…
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Small Victory: NY to Allow LNG Storage Facilities – Again

Fracking to obtain natural gas is potentially too dangerous for public health, according to New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens. Or so he said in December when he agreed with a trumped up report by Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. (Stay tuned, Zucker won’t be “acting” much longer–he’ll soon be rewarded with the full title for his performance in December–the quid pro quo for prostituting himself for Cuomo.) However, it’s just fine with Joe if fracked gas from other states is liquefied and stored in facilities in NY, available for use by trucking fleets and other customers. Today (Wednesday) Martens will release new rules that allow liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage facilities to operate in the state–facilities that have been banned since the 1970s following an explosion at an LNG facility on Staten Island that tragically killed 40 workers. Anti-drillers have fought the re-introduction of LNG facilities tooth and nail, so we count today’s announcement as a small victory for the good guys in the ongoing fracking wars in NY…
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Pittsburgh Private Equity Fund Looks to Lease in Marcellus/Utica

Not everyone is sitting on the sidelines during the downturn in shale drilling in the northeast. And yes, there is no doubt there’s been a downturn, along with the dropping price of gas (and oil). Ridgetop Capital, located in the Pittsburgh area, has just raised it’s sixth round of private investment capital (cash from wealthy people)–a huge $200 million. Ridgetop’s owner, Brad Carpenter, is now on the prowl to snap up Marcellus and Utica Shale leases that he hopes to get at a bargain because of the slow-down…
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USFS Seeks Comment on Pipeline Survey in Monongahela Natl Forest

AvatarHere on Pandora where the forests are sentient and can think and feel…oh wait, that’s in the movie Avatar and the sequel is not due out until the end of 2017 (drats!). We live on Mother Earth, not on Pandora. But you wouldn’t know it by the reaction of anti-drillers at the prospect of running Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline through 17 miles of the Monongahela National Forest. You’d swear the forest can actually feel it–and would experience a catastrophic wound in its very soul…
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