Onshore Rig Count Craters, Still No Bottom, M-U Holds

For the past few months, MDN has followed the Enverus (Drillinginfo) rig count numbers. In our most recent rig count post from two weeks ago we noted the count had fallen to a historic, new all-time low of 298 (see Onshore Rig Count Hits New Low of 298 – Finds Bottom?). Dan Eberhart, CEO of Canary, LLC (the largest privately-owned oilfield services company in the U.S.) wrote a column on the Forbes website stating his belief the rig count had hit bottom and “the worst appears to be behind us.” Looks like Dan was wrong. The latest Enverus rig count, as of Monday, shows the rig count has slipped another 19 to 279. The apocalypse has arrived.
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Ohio Frac Sand Company Covia Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

In December 2017 Fairmount Santrol, an Ohio-based sand producer that sells frac sand to drillers in the Utica and Marcellus Shale, announced it would sell itself to another sand company–Unimin, a subsidiary of Belgium-based SCR-Sibelco–for $170 million and 35% ownership in the newly combined company (see OH Sand Producer Fairmount Santrol Merging w/Unimin in $170M Deal). The newly merged company was later renamed Covia. Earlier this week Covia filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
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Chesapeake Sues FERC in Bid to Break Pipeline Contracts

Earlier this week MDN brought you the news that Chesapeake Energy is asking a bankruptcy court in Texas for permission to break valid and legal contracts with several pipeline companies as part of its financial reorganization plan (see Chesapeake Asks Court to Break Pipeline Contracts, Including M-U). Just coming to light (for us) is that as part of the bankruptcy filing, Chessy is challenging (suing) the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to prevent FERC from making Chessy live up to its contractual agreements.
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Marcellus/Utica Dominates Top 5 Oil & Gas M&A Deals of Q2

Enverus (formerly called Drillinginfo) has just released a summary of its Q2 2020 U.S. upstream M&A report. The update shows upstream (drilling) deals staged a small recovery to $2.6 billion from only $770 million during Q1. However, Q2 still ranks as the third-lowest quarterly value since 2009. Of particular interest for us is that of the top five M&A deals done in Q2, three of them happened in the Marcellus/Utica.
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Epsilon Energy Buys Back 2.3M Shares of Common Stock

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Epsilon Energy concentrates most of its effort on the Marcellus in Susquehanna County, PA. Epsilon doesn’t actually do any of its own drilling. The company partners with (gives money to) other companies, like Chesapeake Energy, and the other companies do the actual drilling. Epsilon, according to its website, owns ~4,000 net acres in the PA Marcellus. They also own assets in Oklahoma’s Anadarko Basin. In May Epsilon offered to buy back up to 2 million shares of common stock from stockholders (see Epsilon Energy Offers to Buy Back 2M Shares of Common Stock). The company ended up buying back 2.3 million shares.
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New York Utilities Jump Off a Cliff with Andrew Cuomo – Limit Gas

The mafia, in the person of Andrew Cuomo, has taken over in New York State. The state is now officially, completely, dark and corrupt. We offer into evidence two recent actions to support our view. One is that two major Upstate utility companies, both owned by the Spanish-based Iberdrola, have agreed to stop advertising their natural gas service and won’t build any new gas delivery pipelines in a bid to discourage new gas customers from signing up. The companies have voluntarily agreed to cap their own businesses and revenues–to harm their investors–at the demand of Lord Cuomo. The second action is the state Siting Board has ruled they will NOT consider the negative impact on property values when approving huge wind and solar farms.
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Shale Energy Stories of Interest: Thu, Jul 2, 2020

MARCELLUS/UTICA REGION: Pittsburgh cosponsors U.S. Conference of Mayors resolution calling on cities to divest from fossil fuels; 3 workers test positive at Shell construction site this month; RTC Partners completes investment in Hull & Associates; OTHER U.S. REGIONS: Which version of Hickenlooper will emerge in the general election?; NATIONAL: July bidweek gas reaches lowest levels of the year as production stabilizes.
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Sad Day: Federal Court Strikes Down FERC’s Use of Tolling Orders

Yesterday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (DC Circuit) handed down a decision that was expected, but sad nonetheless. The court told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) it can no longer use “tolling orders” to stretch out the time to respond to a “rehearing” request when a FERC decision has been challenged. It sounds complicated. The simple version is FERC no longer has the ability to prevent anti-fossil fuel Big Green groups (with loads of money) from challenging each and every pipeline decision FERC makes in court, tying up those decisions for years at a time. Antis now have free rein to game the system and shut down new pipelines from getting built.
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Trump DOE Report Backs Cracker, Petchem Investment in Marc/Utica

In April 2019 President Trump issued an Executive Order instructing the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) to assess opportunities to promote growth in the Appalachian region. Yesterday a report was released by DOE doing just that. The 75-page report is titled “The Appalachian Energy and Petrochemical Renaissance: An Examination of Economic Progress and Opportunities” (full copy below). The report not only outlines petchem opportunities in the Marcellus/Utica, it makes recommendations to put those opportunities on steroids.
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Antis Say Virginia Natural Gas Pipeline Project is Racist

Once again agitators who pretend to care about the environment and about people (they care about neither) from Big Green groups like Chesapeake Climate Action Network and the Sierra Club, say a tiny pipeline project in northeastern Virginia is racist and should not get built. On Monday we told you the Virginia State Corporation Commission will not (yet) approve Virginia Natural Gas’ (VNG) Header Improvement Project, a project to build 24 miles of new pipeline and two new compressor stations (expanding a third compressor) to connect to the mighty Transco pipeline system to flow Marcellus/Utica gas to the northeast Va. region (see VA Regulators Want Assurances Before Approving VNG Pipe Project).
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Marcellus Shale Coalition Debunks False Claims in PA AG Report

The fallout continues over a totally fake/manufactured “report” issued by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro last week bashing the shale industry (see PA AG Launches I-HATE-FRACKING Hotline; Report Bashing Shale, DEP). Mainstream media continues to repeat the false allegations made in the report, making it necessary for the shale industry to respond and debunk the report. Yesterday the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) sent an open letter to every member of PA’s legislature exposing Shapiro’s false report for the piece of toilet paper it is.
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Prominent Environmentalist Apologizes, Exposes Climate Scare Scam

We meant to bring you this column a few days ago when we first noticed it, but other more pressing news pushed it down the list. Michael Shellenberger is a Time Magazine “Hero of the Environment,” Green Book Award Winner, and (now) author of a brand new book titled “Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All.” Shellenberger publishes articles on the Forbes magazine website. On Sunday he published an article titled, “On Behalf Of Environmentalists, I Apologize For The Climate Scare.” The article has since been pulled from the Forbes website. We still have a copy…
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Shale Energy Stories of Interest: Wed, Jul 1, 2020

MARCELLUS/UTICA REGION: Chesapeake Energy goes bankrupt. Will it spur the industry to police its own?; Oilfield Basics signs partnership with leading oil & gas data analytics company; OTHER U.S. REGIONS: San Francisco may prohibit natural gas in new buildings; NATIONAL: Rystad Energy study links sand proppant type to decreased oil & gas production and profitability; Democrats $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan kicks bipartisanship and common sense to the curb; INTERNATIONAL: Saudi Aramco CEO Amin H. Nasser says the “worst is behind us” in oil markets; Saudi Arabia eyes total dominance in oil and gas.
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US Supreme Court Signals It Wants to Hear PennEast Pipeline Case

The media spin machine and anti-fossil fuelers are in overdrive, but they can’t paper over this fact: Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court expressed a very loud and clear interest in hearing the PennEast Pipeline vs. New Jersey case–and that spells bad news for NJ and its radical Attorney General who is trying to block the pipeline from entering the state.
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Chester DA Charges Against ME Pipe Security Chief Tossed by Judge

Former Chester County, PA District Attorney Tom Hogan (RINO), and his successor Deb Ryan (Democrat) are 100% humiliated after a Chester County Magisterial District Judge dismissed the entire case against the local head of security for Energy Transfer in what the DA’s office lyingly calls a “buy a badge scheme.” Judge John Bailey dismissed all 54 criminal counts against Frank Recknagel over his hiring of constables as off-duty security guards for the Mariner East pipeline project. The DA’s office tried to criminalize moonlighting for the pipeline.
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