Chesapeake Energy Up for Sale? Maybe

rumor millIs Chesapeake Energy for sale? MDN says you have to be a Dodo bird to ignore the signs. Activist investor (nee corporate raider) Carl Icahn has been the puppet master pulling the strings since he got a seat on the board of directors in June 2012, culminating in a jobs massacre two weeks ago (see The Great Chesapeake Massacre: Lawler Fires 800 People in One Day). Why do corporate raiders invest in companies? To slash employees, sell bits and pieces of the company off that are “unprofitable” and in general get it ready for sale–so the corporate raider can line his pockets when the stock price goes up. Selling companies is what they (disgustingly) do.

So you won’t be surprised that (a) Icahn has upped his investment in Chesapeake–he now owns 10% of the stock, and (b) the “Chessy is for sale” rumor mill has officially begun. The UK Daily Mail reports both BP and Shell could be looking at Chessy as a potential purchase…
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South Fayette, PA Gets First Marcellus Permit Application

South Fayette township in Allegheny County, PA (near Pittsburgh) is one of seven PA towns that sued the state after the Act 13 law was enacted last year, in 2012 (see Lawsuit Filed: PA Towns Sue State over Marcellus Act 13 Law). Their beef? Act 13 took away the right of local municipalities like South Fayette to apply their own zoning rules to oil and gas drilling. Act 13 substituted a statewide uniform standard, replacing a patchwork crazy quilt situation where each town did something different. The state says their rules are uniform, strict and fair–developed by people who know what they’re doing in the complex business of oil and gas drilling. The towns say they know their own towns best and where a well should and should not be drilled. A final outcome to the case is still pending before the PA Supreme Court (see Should the Full 7-Member PA Supreme Court Re-Hear Act 13 Case?).

During the appeals process, South Fayette developed a bit of a persecution complex (see South Fayette, PA Accuses PUC of Persecuting Them over Act 13). The town has been very effective in shutting out drilling (dare we say they’re anti-drilling?). According to MDN’s own Marcellus and Utica Shale Databook series, South Fayette has had zero drilling permit applications filed from at least 2011 to the present. That is, until now…
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Cabot Sells TX & OK Properties – Plows Proceeds into Marcellus

Cabot Oil & Gas is an amazing company. They (currently) drill in a single northeastern Pennsylvania county–Susquehanna County. And in that single county they have 8 of the top 10 producing Marcellus shale wells in the entire state (see PA’s Top 10 Marcellus Shale Wells – Full Details). Cabot produces an amazing 1 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas per day from their wells in Susquehanna County (see Who’s a Member of the Marcellus “1 Bcf/d” Club?). And get this, they can make money on selling their gas for as low as $1.20 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf). That has to rank them among the best-run, most efficient drillers in the world. No wonder the company, with just 1/10th of the revenues of Chesapeake Energy, is worth more than Chessy (see Corporate Hubris Humbles Chesapeake – Cabot Soars Sure & Steady).

So it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that Cabot has just sold off more (the rest of?) it’s oil and gas properties in West Texas and Oklahoma for $188 million and plans to invest that money in the Marcellus…
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Bluegrass Pipeline Makes Progress in Bluegrass State

In early September, MDN reported that Williams and Boardwalk Partners, joint venture partners building a natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline that will stretch from the Utica/Marcellus all the way to the Gulf Coast, had hit some problems in crossing Kentucky (see Bluegrass NGL Pipeline Hits Brick Wall in the Bluegrass State).

The companies now report they have landowner agreements in place for nine of 13 counties they need to cross in KY, so progress is definitely being made…
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Information Lockdown at Heinz Endowments over Vagt Departure

Earlier this week MDN told you about the departure of Robert (“Bobby”) Vagt as president of the Heinz Endowments (see Bobby Vagt Out as Pres of Heinz Endowments – Fracking Connection?). It appears that at least one of the “green” board members of the Heinz Endowments (cough *Andre Heinz* cough) wasn’t happy that the family foundation decided to reach across the isle, under Vagt’s leadership, to work with the Marcellus Shale drilling industry on strict certification standards for drillers.

The problem is, no one knows for sure. It’s all still rumor and speculation. Heinz is being super tight-lipped and according to one reporter MDN spoke to, the organization is on “information lockdown” over this issue. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes the following editorial about the situation–an editorial we agree with 100%:
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Anti-Drilling CA Group Assists Residents Near Halcon OH Drill Site

Yesterday MDN told you about Halcon Resources drilling another two wells at the Kibler site near Lordstown (Trumbull County), OH (see Halcon Drilling 2 More Wells Near Lordstown, OH). Seems there’s a bit more to the story than the neighbors being concerned about nighttime noise and lights. They’re also concerned about air quality, and residents of a nearby trailer park are working with an anti-drilling, anti-fossil fuel company from California called Global Community Monitor to do air quality sampling to ensure they aren’t breathing in dangerous levels of pollutants.

MDN asks: Why even bother with the pretense of testing? Global Community Monitor has already pre-determined what the outcome will be. Just announce the results now–that drilling anywhere at any time will kill the planet…
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OH Company Scores Another Customer for GTL – Thailand

A few weeks ago MDN told you about an Ohio company plans to build a gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant in Ohio (see Utica Shale Gas-to-Liquids Plant Planned for Ashtabula, OH). GTL turns natural gas, in this case from the Utica Shale, into other hydrocarbons, like diesel fuel and specialty chemicals. It’s a cool new technology based on old technology.

The OH company that will build the plant in Ashtabula–that is, the one with the technology–is Velocys, a subsidiary of Oxford Catalysts Group (Dublin, OH). Velocys says they’ve just signed up another new customer for their GTL technology–Thailand!…
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