Chesapeake Fire Sale Continues – EQT Picks up 99K Acres in SW PA

fire saleThe Chesapeake Energy fire sale of assets continues. On Friday, EQT Corp. announced they’re picking up 99,000 acres of leases and 10 horizontal wells in the Marcellus Shale from Chessy in southwestern PA for $113 million. Of that number, $60 million is the price for the acreage (and $53 million for the 10 operating wells). If you run the math, that’s $606 per acre ($60M/99K)–i.e. fire sale price.

Below is the EQT announcement (first), and analysis of the deal by Seeking Alpha blogger and energy analyst Richard Zeits (second):
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Oh Oh – Chesapeake Installs an Undertaker on the Board

Chesapeake Energy announced Friday they’ve shown board member Louis Simpson to the door. Simpson has been on the Chessy board since 2011 BCR (Before Corporate Raiders). He will be replaced by the CEO of the nation’s largest funeral home operator and provider of “death care products and services.” Talk about metaphors! We couldn’t have made this one up. Call in the undertaker…
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M&A Mania: Crestwood Midstream & Inergy will Merge

Crestwood Midstream and Inergy Midstream announced this morning they are merging–a deal that will create a $7 billion midstream (pipelines & processing plants) behemoth. Both Crestwood and Inergy have operations and assets in the Marcellus and Utica Shale region.

Whose name goes on the door has yet to be decided. Here are the details about the deal as provided by the two companies:
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JLCNY Lawyer Holds Press Conference on Court’s Ban Decision

On Friday, MDN reported to you the disappointing decision from the NY Supreme Court Appellate Division that upholds the right of local towns in New York to ban gas drilling and fracking within their boundaries (see Breaking: NY Court Upholds Local Town Frack Bans). Scott Kurkoski, the attorney for the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York and the attorney of record who argued one of the two cases before the court (the Middlefield case), held a press conference on Friday to discuss the decision and to answer the question, “Where do we go from here?” MDN editor Jim Willis went along to the presser. As important as this decision was, you would think a press conference held by one of the lead attorneys in the case would attract a lot of attention. There was exactly one other reporter there–from YNN (Time Warner Cable’s Your News Now). That’s it. Two of us showed up.

Still, talking with Scott is a pleasure and we always come away with new information. Friday was no different. Here’s the insight he gave the two of us about the recent decision and what the future holds:
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Woodstock, Other NY Towns Want Fracking Criminalized

The town board of Woodstock, NY (say no more, right?) wants New York State to criminalize fracking and passed a resolution supporting its criminalization back in January. Apparently the wizards of smart in Woodstock don’t know that low volume fracking of conventional gas wells has been going on in New York for decades–with no water contamination, no adverse public health affects, no ill effects of any consequence.

Now, Woodstock is attempting to infect other nearby town boards in Ulster County, including  Rosendale, with the same contagion–stupidness…
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Tyler WV Courthouse Overrun with Abstractors – Drilling Signal?

According to Vol. 3 of the Marcellus and Utica Shale Databook, Tyler County, WV had a fair bit of permitting (and drilling) activity for the second half of 2012: 208 permits issued for 39 wells. However, it’s a distinct possibility those numbers are about to go up–way up–very soon. How do we know? Just look at the line of abstractors waiting outside the county courthouse–many camping out overnight! Long lines to view property records are a good barometer that something (drilling!) is about to happen.

Here’s the story:
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Court Fight: Range Resources v Robinson, PA Twp

In March, Range Resources was forced to take Robinson Township (in southwest PA) to court over Robinson’s ongoing refusal to consider a conditional use permit to allow Range to drill at a new site (see Range Takes Robinson Twp, PA to Court over Permit Rejections). The judge in the case, John DiSalle, heard oral arguments last week. Unfortunately for Range, DiSalle refuses to recuse himself from the case even though his wife is a big-time anti-drilling organizer (see Judge Refuses to Recuse Himself from Range v Robinson Twp Case).

Here’s the back and forth arguments presented at last week’s court session:
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Report: Benefits of NatGas Production/Exports for Small Biz

The nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy, research and education organization the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) published a new report last week titled “The Benefits of Natural Gas Production and Exports for U.S. Small Businesses” (full copy embedded below). The report looks at the period 2005-2010 and the rocket growth in jobs and new small businesses created by shale drilling in states like OH, PA and WV–three of the ten states highlighted in the report. It also looks forward to the opportunity for small businesses should the U.S. start to export natural gas.

An overview of the report from the SBE Council:
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