Norse Energy 1Q13: Still Holding on in NY…by a Thread

hanging by a threadDid NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo kill off driller Norse Energy by refusing to allow fracking and drilling in the state? We would argue the answer to that question is “Yes!”. Of course there’s no one reason why a company sinks or swims, but clearly the root cause of Norse Energy’s impending sinking is because New York has refused to let them drill on the 130,000 acres they currently hold under lease. According to MDN’s reading of Norse’s first quarter 2013 report (full copy embedded below), Norse is very close to turning out the lights. A single politician–Cuomo–is the person most responsible.
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Landowner, Norse File Appeal with NY’s Highest Court on Town Bans

In a very high stakes game, a New York landowner and Norse Energy have rolled the dice and last week asked New York’s highest court, the New York York Court of Appeals, to accept their appeal of two lower court losses on the issue of so-called home rule. A copy of both appeals are embedded below.

In early May, a mid-level NY court upheld a mid-level court ruling that says local towns can willy nilly ban all drilling at the pleasure of a simple majority vote at the town board level (see Breaking: NY Court Upholds Local Town Frack Bans). Anti-drillers call it “democracy” and a victory for self-determination. MDN calls it unchecked mob rule because it allows a simple majority to violate the Constitutional rights of the minority–in this case landowners.
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Local Newspaper Kind-of Turns Against PA Rep White over Fake IDs

In the curious case of Jesse White, the PA House member who used fake online IDs to smear his own pro-drilling constituents who disagreed with his positions (see How the Mighty Have Fallen: PA Rep White Admits Guilt, Not Sorry), the local newspaper of record in White’s district, the Washington Observer-Reporter, has penned an editorial that has the feeling of (our words) “we really liked Jesse, but his latest tirade has gone too far, so we now have to throw him under the bus, dang it!” They so wanted his tough talk on drilling to be accurate, good and righteous, but now with White’s unapologetic apology, which is to say his admission that (after lying about it) that he did use fake online IDs to attack his pro-drilling constituents, all of his anti-drilling rants are utterly discredited. Dang it.

The Observer-Reporter (O-R) amusingly compares Jesse White to the utterly discredited New York City politician Anthony Weiner, who famously tweeted pictures of his, well, wiener to some online dollies…
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Ohio Group Promotes NE Counties for New Midstream Projects

A group of business and political leaders from northeastern Ohio have crafted and are now marketing a plan to bring midstream infrastructure to the Mahoning Valley. A new report written and distributed by this committed group, titled “Mahoning Valley Midstream” (full copy embedded below) points out that currently there are no wet natural gas gathering lines in Trumbull, Mahoning, Geauga, Portage, or Ashtabula counties. This enterprising group has an ingenious plan to remedy that situation: repurpose abandoned or partially used rail lines, as well as use a web of strategic, divided (limited access) highways that converge on the closed “rust belt” steel mills.

They even have a site picked out for an ethane cracker plant…
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Cecil Township Re-Votes to Not Meet with Range Resources

In the on-again, off-again antics of Cecil Township (Washington County), PA, things are “off again” when it comes to having a civil, private meeting with Range Resources to try and resolve the lawsuits Range filed against the town. Supervisors last night re-voted on a proposed meeting they previously approved (see When We Get Behind Closed Doors…Range Resources & Cecil Twp). One of the supervisors, Andy Schrader, was stomping mad about the vote to meet, behaving like a petulant child (see Cecil Twp Dysfunctional Family Feud over Range Meeting). Little Andy finally got his way last night…
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3 Important Questions Asked/Answered about Utica Shale Potential

Investors website The Motley Fool does a good job of asking, and answering, three important questions about the Utica Shale play, especially in light of the recent 2012 production report issued by the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources.

The Fool article takes a look at: (1) Which other play(s) is the Utica like? (2) Were the 2012 numbers really a disappointment? And, (3) Why are producers holding back production?…
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Stallion Oilfield Looks for $350M Loan, Moody’s Not Impressed

Stallion Oilfield Holdings, an oilfield services company that provides wellsite support, completion, production and logistics services to onshore oil and gas drillers, announced yesterday they’re shopping for a $350 million loan (due payable in 2018) to pay off other loans, issue stockholder dividends, and keep the lights turned on. Stallion operates in the Marcellus and Utica Shale, among other plays. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009. They also had their hands out last November, looking for a half billion dollars (see Stallion Oilfield Holdings Seeks Half Billion Dollar Loan).

Moody’s Investors Service has taken a dim view of this latest appeal, giving the proposed loan a low rating–B3, which means: “Judged as being speculative and a high credit risk.” B3 is just one step above Caa1, which is “poor quality and very high credit risk.”
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ECA Breaks Ground on WV Regional HQ, Donates $600K to Clay Center

Last week Energy Corporation of America (ECA), an oil and gas driller with more than a million acres of leases in the Marcellus and Utica Shale region and operating 4,600 (mostly conventional) wells, broke ground on a new 60,000 square foot company eastern regional headquarters in Charleston, WV. They also made a $600,000 donation to the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences.

From the company press release:
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