A Wedding Made Possible by the Marcellus Shale

wedding bellsPerhaps this is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but not by much. Next week I will have the awesome responsibility of giving away my daughter’s hand in marriage. And I credit the Marcellus Shale, in part, for providing the money (lots of money!) it takes to host a wedding these days.

In an unusual move, MDN editor Jim Willis (me) will take a hiatus next week. No new posts will be made during the week–unless monumental circumstances warrant it. I will attend and participate in my daughter’s wedding, and following that, take a brief break. As you know, I hardly ever take time off. I don’t believe I’ve taken an entire week off since I began charging for MDN in 2012, so thanks in advance for your understanding. I’ll be back on Monday, August 25th to catch you up on the news.

A huge thank you to my faithful subscribers who have helped to underwrite my daughter’s wedding with your subscription dollars to MDN. I am eternally grateful and take your trust in me (as evidenced by the money you spend with me) very seriously. I try hard to exceed your expectations.

Keep the faith, and keep fracking!
Jim Willis, Editor, MDN

After Selling 208K Marcellus Acres, Shell “Buys” 155K More Acres!

GyrationIn a seemingly strange twist, Shell has just picked up more Marcellus and Utica Shale acreage. Say what? Yesterday MDN told you that Rex Energy just bought 208,000 Marcellus acres from Shell in southwest Pennsylvania’s wet gas area (see Rex Energy Takes Shell to the Cleaners – Picks up 208K Acres). We pointed out that many majors like Shell seem to have a hard time turning a buck in American shale plays, and that Shell CEO Ben van van Beurden had warned of scaling back their shale operations. So what happened a day later? Shell further divested itself of both conventional and unconventional holdings–this time in Wyoming and Louisiana. As part of the same deal, the picked up new Marcellus acreage (155,000 acres) in Pennsylvania’s dry gas area. Let’s try to sort through these Shell gyrations…
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Range Resources to Begin Closing Yeager Impoundment on Monday

As we promised two weeks ago, we have more news and developments on Range Resources’ Yeager Wastewater Impoundment in Amwell Township (Washington County), PA. Range will begin the process of decommissioning the impoundment (i.e. pond) starting Monday, August 18th. As they do so, a lawyer for the three families suing Range with charges of well water contamination will be at the site to take their own so-called “independent” soil samples, right alongside Range. What Range (and the lawyer) will be looking for is any evidence that the two rubber liners have, in the past, leaked wastewater and therefore salts or chlorides, into the ground. Below we have a brief backgrounder, a copy of the Range 98-page plan to close the Yeager impoundment, and the recommended tweaks to that plan by the state DEP…
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EIP Uses False Data to Smear Frackers, Inflated Claims of Diesel Use

The anti-drilling Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) is having a little integrity issue of their own. EIP issued a false report on Wednesday that purports to “out” drilling companies that have, or continue, to use diesel fuel in their fracking fluids. It might make for interesting reading except 80% of the data used in the report is completely false. Let us back up our assertion that this so-called study, titled “Fracking Beyond the Law” (copy embedded below) is worthy of a first place award for false and misleading propaganda…
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1st NRG Begins Pushing Dirt on First Utica Well Pad

Going all the way back to 2012, MDN has chronicled, from time to time, the myriad press releases issued by a small driller headquartered in Denver called 1st NRG Corp. They’ve been saying since that time that they really really really really want to drill in the Utica Shale–on a small 7,000 acre leasehold they own (see our stories about 1st NRG here). Ever hear of the boy who cried wolf? Eventually the wolf does show up, but no one believes the boy. So, believe it or not, it appears the bulldozers are finally pushing the dirt around on 1st NRG’s very first Utica Shale well pad in Ohio–for a well that 1st NRG will own a 20% stake in…
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HalenHardy & RETTEW Offer Oil & Gas Safety Day on Aug 19

Next Tuesday, August 19th, HalenHardy and RETTEW are offering a free program focusing on how workers and their companies can create a proactive culture of safety. Called the Oil & Gas Safety Day, the half-day program (either morning or afternoon) will sport an expert safety panel and attendees will have the opportunity to participate in live demonstrations of the latest safety innovations available to reduce slip, trip and fall accidents on the work site. The event will be held at the HomeWaters facility in Spruce Creek–so while you’re there, you can also enjoy some of the world’s best fly fishing, and try your hand at shooting clay pigeons. Here’s the details…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Aug 15, 2014

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading:
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Rex Energy Takes Shell to the Cleaners – Picks up 208K Acres

penniesWhat is it about the oil majors that they can’t seem to turn a profit in America’s shale plays? Somehow the smaller, leaner independents keep beating the majors, time and again. Latest example: Shell. In 2010, Shell paid a whopping $4.7 billion to buy East Resources (see East Resources Sells to Royal Dutch Shell for $4.7 Billion, Deal Includes All of East’s Marcellus Shale Operations). The deal included 650,000 acres of Marcellus Shale leases in PA, WV and NY. Shell is now starting to divest itself from that acreage. They just sold 208,000 acres in the Butler, PA area to Rex Energy for $120 million in cash. Talk about a fire sale! In very rough numbers, Rex just picked up nearly 1/3 of Shell’s acreage for chump change–for 2.5% of the money Shell paid back in 2010…
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PA Rep White Introduces Bill to Double-Tax Marcellus Drilling

What is it with politicians like PA Rep. Jesse White (Democrat, Washington County) and their need to suck taxes out of any and every business and person they can? White, you may recall, was caught using fake online IDs, pretending to be some of his own constituents, using anonymity to attack his own constituents who disagree with his anti-drilling positions (see How the Mighty Have Fallen: PA Rep White Admits Guilt, Not Sorry). PA legislators (mostly Republican) who crafted the state’s update to oil and gas drilling laws, called Act 13, wisely (presciently) included a clause in the Act 13 law that says if greedy politicians (like White) pass a severance tax on drilling in the state, the current impact fee will end. The intent was to have an impact fee instead of a severance tax. White has just introduced a bill (DOA of course) that will strip out the sunset clause and keep the impact fee even if a severance tax is passed. That is, White and others of his ilk want to double-tax the Marcellus industry in PA, with the end result of killing it…
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Cornell Prof Asks Gov. Cuomo to Lift Drilling Ban, Uses Real Science

Not all of the professors who work at Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) are out there ranging like Robert Howarth and Tony Ingraffea, who have made a cottage industry for themselves (and collected big bucks from the Park Foundation) bashing away at shale drilling. Their most infamous anti-drilling work claims burning coal is better for the environment than burning natural gas (see New Cornell University Study Says Shale Gas Extraction Worse for Global Warming Than Coal). And yet they still have jobs at Cornell. Gotta love tenure. Fortunately there’s a counterbalance at Cornell. A group of Cornell professors, including Dr. Larry Cathles, previously pointed out the gaping holes in Howarth & Ingraffea’s “research” (see New Cornell Study Says Coal is Not Cleaner than Natural Gas). Dr. Cathles recently sent an outstanding letter to NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo urging him to lift the shale drilling moratorium, giving Cuomo a Cliff Notes version of the real science that proves natural gas benefits the environment, rather than the reverse…
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Seneca No Longer Interested in Buying Sewer Water for Fracking

MDN told you 4 1/2 (!) years ago about a plan by the Kane Borough Sewer Authority in McKean County, PA to sell sewer effluent to Seneca Resources for drilling gas wells. Seneca is the oil and gas drilling division of National Fuel Gas Company (see Kane Borough Sewer Authority Making Money from Selling Effluent to Marcellus Shale Driller). Effluent is the treated water discharged from sewage treatment plants. In an update to that story, it seems Seneca and other drillers are no longer interested in Kane’s sewer water…
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Panda Breaks Ground for 2nd PA Marcellus-Fueled Electric Plant

Last December MDN told you that Panda Power Funds, a private equity firm located in Dallas, TX, had purchased the rights from Moxie Energy to build a second electric generating plant that will run on Marcellus Shale gas (see Panda Power Buys Rights for 2nd Marcellus-Fueled Electric Plant). The first plant (Panda “Liberty”), in Bradford County, PA, is currently under construction. The second plant (Panda “Patriot”), in Lycoming County, PA (Williamsport area) officially broke ground earlier this week. PA’s Gov. Tom Corbett was on hand on Tuesday to help them celebrate…
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Gastar Gets a Bump Up in Bank Line of Credit

Gastar Exploration, an important driller in the Marcellus and Utica Shale, reported very favorable numbers for their Marcellus and Utica Shale programs, as we told you earlier this week (see Gastar 2Q14: Liquids 48% of Production, 72% of Revenue). On the heels of Gastar’s good 2Q14 news, they announced yesterday that the bank has increased their line of credit by $25 million to $145 million, which, according to Gastar’s CFO, will help fund their “recently expanded 2014 capital expenditures budget” in the Marcellus/Utica…
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Bentek: U.S. Hits Record High for Natgas Production in July

Energy analytics firm Bentek Energy, a division of Platts, has just published their estimates of U.S. Lower 48 natural gas production for July. The official word on production will come from the U.S. Energy Information Administration–but they won’t publish their numbers for July until sometime in September. Bentek always beats them by a month or more. And what do the sharp researchers at Bentek say? Natgas production for July rose 1/2 a billion cubic feet in July over June–a new all-time record high for the U.S–averaging 68.5 billion cubic feet per day. Almost one-quarter of that production came from a single shale play. Can you guess which one?…
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Eclipse Resources Focus on Utica in 2Q14: Revenue & Production Up

Eclipse Resources, a driller based in State College, PA and focused solely on the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays in the northeast, released their second quarter financial and operational update yesterday. Among the highlights: Eclipse drilled (or began drilling) 24 Utica Shale wells in 2Q14. From start to finish, they now average just 23 days to drill a well. The company now has nearly 100,000 acres under least–most of it with Utica potential, about a quarter of it with Marcellus potential. Revenue was up, production is up–things are looking up for Eclipse…
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Carrizo Gets a New CFO – Change in Direction?

We don’t often talk about personnel changes at Marcellus and Utica Shale companies–unless they’re in the “C” suite: Chief Executive Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Financial Officer. It is that last one that has just had a changeover at Marcellus/Utica driller Carrizo Oil & Gas. CFO Paul Boling, who was Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Secretary, and Treasurer retired on Monday. He’s been replaced by David L. Pitts, Carrizo’s current Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer…
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