Monday’s Chesapeake Investor Call: Two Big News Items

Carl IcahnChesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon held yet another investor conference call yesterday morning, this one to quell concerns over Chesapeake’s “emergency loan” of $3 billion from Goldman Sachs on Friday. Among the things to come out of the phone conference were two (really) big pieces of news, one of which will directly affect landowners in the Marcellus and Utica Shale, the other which will potentially affect all landowners with Chesapeake leases no matter where they live.

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MDN Analysis of Rig Counts in Marcellus/Utica

Drilling rig counts are closely watched as an indicator of where, and how much, drilling is happening in a given geography. Last Friday, Baker Hughes reported that rig counts for Pennsylvania continue to decline from a year ago, while the numbers for West Virginia are going up. But that doesn’t quite tell the whole story.

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Advice to Landowners About Interstate Pipelines

Let’s be honest. Using eminent domain to force landowners to allow interstate pipelines to be run across their property is a bad idea. At least it is in MDN’s opinion. Some pipeline companies have sought and have been awarded public utility status, and that status allows them to use eminent domain to grab property to run pipelines. It’s disgusting. They are not public utilities in the way a power company is a utility that needs to put up electric polls.

Two lawyers from Columbus, Ohio caution landowners to get a second opinion when it comes to negotiating to have pipelines runs across their property, like the ATEX Express ethane pipeline that’s currently being built across Ohio. They also counsel that although eminent domain can force landowners to allow a pipeline, landowners still have at least some rights under eminent domain.

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