Bankrupt Norse Energy to Sell NY Leases – Who Will Want Them?

auctionThe “little energy company that could” has become the “little energy company sunk by Andrew Cuomo.” A pair of press releases from Norse Energy Corp. yesterday tell the sad story. Norse, with 130,000 leased acres in New York State (most of it in the Marcellus & Utica Shale) had been hanging on by a thread, waiting for shale drilling to begin. The company filed for bankruptcy last December, clinging to the promise that Cuomo and the state Dept. of Environmental Conservation were about to release new fracking rules (see Norse Energy Hurt by NY Fracking Delay Files for Bankruptcy). If shale drilling had been allowed even starting this spring, there’s a chance Norse could have pulled out of bankruptcy and continued. Alas, the new fracking rules have still not been released, and now Norse will be forced to sell off the only assets it has left: its leases…
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LA Times Attempts New Hatchet Job on Fracking in Dimock

It appears that the Los Angeles Times needs to bump up their circulation numbers, so this past Sunday they trotted out the “Dimock” story once again (perhaps inspired by watching Gasland 2 on HBO). The Times claims to have a leaked “internal report” from the EPA, which we learn is (laughably) a PowerPoint presentation, not a real report. The article’s fictional thesis is that “big oil” has gotten to the Obama EPA and that at least some brave souls inside the EPA still believe, contrary to their own scientist’s research, that shale drilling in Dimock, PA was responsible for “contaminating” nearby water wells with methane and nefarious chemicals like arsenic–even though arsenic is naturally occurring throughout the region. (Pay no attention to those naturally-occurring chemicals behind the curtain, Toto!)

MDN would like to make a bold assertion: The LA Times emperor has no clothes. We’ve searched high and low and the so-called PowerPoint “EPA report” they claim to have possession of is nowhere to be found. We think it probably exists. Maybe. Perhaps. However, what we have is the LA Times making a wild claim–their own interpretation–of what is on the PowerPoint slides, without sharing the source document with anyone else. Given the Times and its reporters are liberal and anti-drilling in the extreme, excuse us if we say that until they share the so-called EPA internal report, we assume they’re lying about what’s in it. The motives and veracity of reporting by the Times is to be questioned and is, for us, the real story here…
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Surprise! Blue Rock State Forest in Eastern OH to be Fracked

MDN has kept readers informed about new federal fracking rules proposed by the Dept. of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM), rules that will make it quite expensive to drill (see New BLM Fracking Rule will Cost Drillers Nearly $100K per Well). We haven’t been overly concerned about the new BLM fracking regulations in the Marcellus/Utica because, as we told you, the rules will only affect fracking on federal land–almost all of which is located in the western U.S. Until now, our concern with the BLM rules has been that the federal government may, at some point, force the BLM rules on the states (see Feds ‘Hope’ States will Use BLM Rules for ALL Fracking).

However, it now appears the new BLM rules may apply in the Utica Shale much sooner than we thought. The Blue Rock State Forest, a 4,578-acre forest in Muskingum County where the state of Ohio owns the surface but the federal government owns the mineral rights, will soon be opened up by the feds for fracking. This revelation will no doubt set off the berserker alarms at anti-drilling HQ…
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UK Company Buys B2B Energy Biz with Marcellus Contracts from Hess

The UK-based company Centrica has just purchased the energy marketing division of Hess Corporation for a reported $731 million. The energy marketing division is a business-to-business supplier of natural gas and electricity in the eastern U.S. As part of the purchase, Centrica gets an “extensive portfolio” of existing gas contracts, including agreements with Marcellus Shale gas producers, gas storage and pipeline capacity.

The Centrica announcement:
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M3’s Kensington, OH NGL Plant Now Live & Processing

A new $400 million natural gas liquids (NGL) processing plant in Kensington (near Hanoverton, OH) has went online Sunday. The Utica East Ohio Midstream (UEO) plant, a joint venture owned by M3 Midstream, Access Midstream (formerly Chesapeake Energy) and EV Energy Partners, was originally supposed to be online in May. That date slipped. In June, MDN picked up on a bit of news that indicated the plant would go live “by the end of July” (see M3 Midstream’s Kensington, OH NGL Plant Launch Date Slips). The July rumored date proved correct.

Yesterday, M3 issued the following press release announcing that the UEO plant is now operating and processing NGLs. It is the first plant of its kind to go online in the Utica Shale:
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Antero Resources: Proved Reserves Up 47% from December

Major Marcellus Shale driller Antero Resources announced yesterday that their “proved reserves” are up a healthy 47% from the end of last year–to 6.3 trillion cubic feet equivalent. If you look at their 3P reserves–proved, probably and possible–the number is 27.7 trillion cubic feet. Keeping an eye on a company’s reserves is important to know how much gas they will likely produce. It’s a measure often used by stock analysts and investors, but it’s a metric worth minding for landowners too. The numbers indicate what Antero says is in the ground, how much of it is there, and how healthy the company’s balance sheet is likely to look in the coming next few years.

Antero’s announcement from yesterday, with details about what makes up the reserve number (methane, ethane, etc.):
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Re-opened Frazeysburg, OH Rail Terminal Ships Utica Condensate

In June, MDN told you about a newly re-opened railroad terminal now being used to ship Utica Shale condensate from Frazeysburg in Muskingum County, OH (see Crosstex Ships Utica Condensate with OH Rail Loading Terminal). Crosstex, the company operating the terminal, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony a few weeks ago at the Black Run rail terminal and issued this update (and picture):
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