Hilcorp Energy has been on the radar screen a number of times recently. The energy company is heavily involved with both drilling and midstream activity in the Ohio Utica Shale. The first mention of Hilcorp on MDN was in July 2012 when NiSource announced they were forming a joint venture with Hilcorp by combining Utica Shale acreage allowing Hilcorp to do the drilling (see this MDN story). A pipeline being built by NiSource and Hilcorp is about to start construction in Ohio (see this MDN story). And just yesterday, MDN told you about the latest developments in the Brinker Storage Field area of Ohio, involving Columbia Gas and Hilcorp (see this MDN story).
Just who and what is Hilcorp? Surprisingly, Hilcorp, a privately-owned company, is owned by a single shareholder: Jeffrey Hildebrand. According to a new article in Forbes magazine, Hildebrand is “uber-private” and very wealthy. The article shares a few other bits of information about the company and Mr. Hildebrand that MDN thought you would find interesting:
Ed Rendell, former governor of Pennsylvania, is a prominent Democrat and a supporter of natural gas drilling. While in office, he opposed the ongoing moratorium for drilling in the Delaware River Basin. Now that he’s out of office, he still supports drilling, but he’s changed his tune on the Delaware River Basin Commission’s (DRBC) de facto moratorium. He now supports it.
Rendell points out, however, that if you say “no” to fracking and natural gas, you say “yes” to burning more oil. At least he’s a realist.
Throwing a little political red meat (and taxpayer money) to his leftist anti-drilling supporters, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo yesterday announced the launch of a new $30 million “green technology” initiative. One of the absurd arguments made by those who oppose drilling is that we can get by, right now, using only alternative sources of energy like wind and solar if we’d only just reduce the amount of energy we use—like by 50% (their estimates). You know, put padlocks on everyone’s thermostats so the furnace doesn’t come on for anything over 60 degrees. Rolling blackouts—“Today’s Tuesday, so we have electricity, horray!” That sort of thing.
Cuomo’s new green energy “initiative” with an emphasis on figuring out how to use energy more efficiently (sans rolling blackouts) will be music to anti-drillers’ ears. Meanwhile, Cuomo continues to dither on the one clean energy alternative that would make an immediate and profound difference for all New Yorkers: drilling for clean-burning natural gas.
A recent study released by the U.S. Geological Survey looks at water well contamination in New York State. The study sampled 239 wells, 12 of them located in the Mohawk Valley area of the state (Utica, NY area). At least one of the Mohawk Valley water wells has enough methane in it (28 milligrams per liter) to be flammable. Just like the faucet in the fictional movie Gasland! Just one thing: There’s no fracked natural gas wells anywhere close to that well (high volume fracking has never been allowed in the state—ever). It’s naturally-occurring methane.
Forbes has an article saying the commodity price for natural gas, which was at historic lows earlier this year, will go above $4 per thousand cubic feet (mcf) by the end of this year. The current price as of this writing is $2.87 mcf.
Here’s their argument (based on analysis by Canaccord) in favor of a big upswing in natural gas prices:
Energy giant Hess Corp. announced yesterday it is buying the natural gas marketing division of Delta Energy. Delta is based in Dublin, Ohio. What Hess is buying are energy contracts—the right to sell natural gas to a certain list of commercial and industrial customers. Hess is a huge company with operations that span upstream (drilling new wells) to midstream (pipelines, processing and terminals) to downstream (selling oil and gas to end user customers). Hess owns leases for 185,000 Utica Shale acres in Ohio and seems to be making moves to increase its presence in the state for all of its operations.
In what can only be termed delicious irony, more than 2 million natural gas customers across New Jersey, many of whom oppose hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, will get a cut in their natural gas rates starting October 1st. Why? Because of the abundance of hydraulically fractured Marcellus Shale gas flowing into the state from Pennsylvania.