Southwestern Energy Buys 162K PA Marcellus Acres from Chesapeake

fire saleSouthwestern Energy announced yesterday that they’ve picked up 162,000 Marcellus Shale acres in northeastern Pennsylvania from Chesapeake Energy for $93 million. Along with the acreage comes 17 producing (1.2 net) wells with a (very small) 2 million cubic feet of net production per day. The Southwestern purchase nearly doubles the amount of their Marcellus Shale acreage.

The first interesting thing to MDN about the deal is that all of this new acreage–as well as all of Southwestern’s existing Marcellus acreage–is squarely in the “dry gas” area of NE PA. Obviously Southwestern, like Cabot Oil & Gas, believes there is money to be made in the dry gas window of the play. The second interesting thing is that Southwestern got the acreage at the fire sale price of $574 per acre…
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PA DEP Says Drilling Did NOT Contaminate Water in Franklin Forks

As Paul Harvey used to say, here is “the rest of the story” about the contaminated well water for three homes in Franklin Forks (Susquehanna County), PA… In December 2011, three families complained to the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) that their well water looked and smelled like it was polluted. Since WPX was drilling natural gas wells nearby at the time, and since two of those wells had been cited by the DEP as having substandard well casings, the assumption was the drilling activity was polluting the water wells (see PA DEP Asks WPX to Help Families with Water/Methane Issues for background).

The rest of the story: After a 16-month thorough investigation, the DEP announced yesterday what residents of Susquehanna County already know–the water in Franklin Forks (and indeed most of Susquehanna County) sucks and has sucked for generations. The DEP found, contrary to the bleating of celebrities, that drilling did NOT pollute the Franklin Forks wells. Those wells are polluted from natural causes, the same natural causes that closed a nearby trailer park more than a decade ago (BGD, before gas drilling)…
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Cabot Monster Well in NE PA Yields 8 Bcf in 667 Days

Energy analyst and Seeking Alpha blogger Richard Zeits listened in to the recent Cabot Oil & Gas investor’s conference call and came away with some mind-blowing numbers. The bottom line from the call and from Zeits’ analysis is that Cabot has indeed found a “super-productive” location in Susquehanna County, PA where they own leases on about 200,000 acres. New wells they’ve recently drilled prove that all of their acreage is in this sweet spot.

One startling find by Zeits: A well drilled by Cabot in Susquehanna County has, in just 667 days, produced a cumulative 8 billion cubic feet of natural gas–a single well! That equates to an average of 12 million cubic feet of natural gas per day from that one well. Astonishing. (No wonder Southwestern just picked up an additional 51,000 acres from Chesapeake in Susquehanna County earlier this week, for an average of $574 per acre. Chesapeake was taken to the cleaners).

Here’s some of Zeits’ analysis of the Cabot call, with lots of facts and figures:
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Did PBT “Badger” PA Gov Corbett on Shell Cracker Plant Date?

Yesterday MDN told you about comments from PA Gov. Tom Corbett that seemed to indicate he’s changed his story about when a final final final decision may come from Shell about whether or not they will move forward with building an ethane cracker plant in Monaca, PA (see Corbett Story Changes: Decision on PA Cracker Plant Delayed Again). However, Corbett’s may not be the only story that got changed. According to a spokesman for the governor, the editorial board of the Pittsburgh Business Times “badgered” Corbett into forecasting the 2014 date when a decision may be made, and then shaded their coverage to make it seem as though Corbett has changed his story…

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WV Says Deal for Ethane Cracker Coming This Year

The race to secure an ethane cracker between Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia continues. Last week, WV’s Secretary of Commerce, Keith Burdette, said he is “100% certain” that WV will have a deal for an ethane cracker plant signed sometime this year. Bluster or quiet confidence? We’d bet the later if we were betting…

MDN friends from the excellent Gas Business Briefing attended a conference last week in WV and filed this report:
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OOGA Rep Says Bloomberg Wrong About OH Shale Boom

The executive vice president of the Ohio Oil & Gas Association, Thomas Stewart, isn’t buying the Bloomberg News theory that Ohio’s Shale boom is over before it’s really even begun (see Bloomberg Says Ohio Utica Shale is Gassy, Not Oily). Stewart says the oil is there but may present some challenges in retrieving it–challenges that technology can solve.

Comments from Stewart, including his view on where the Utica “fairway” is located:
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PA DEP Fines PGE for Spills, Discharges in Lycoming County

The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) has fined Pennsylvania General Energy Co. $125,500 for two different sets of violations in Lycoming County, PA that occurred in 2011 and 2012. The fines were for three spills and for excessive sediment discharges into a local creek.

The details from the DEP:
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