Chesapeake CEO Doug “the ax man” Lawler said the company had “an exciting third quarter” (tell that to the families of 1,200 people now out of a job), and that the company saw a “significant transformation and the implementation of a new strategy for Chesapeake” during the past quarter. That’s certainly a true statement. The numbers for the company have improved over a year ago, which will be music to the ears of Lawler’s boss corporate raider Carl Icahn (and will fatten Icahn’s bank account when he sells in the next year or two, sleazeball).
Yesterday Chesapeake issued their third quarter operations and financial update, accompanied by a phone call with select analysts who asked puff questions of Lawler and former Aubrey McClendon “friend” and CFO Nick “Dom” Dell’Osso. One bit of good news amongst all the hot air issued yesterday: Chesapeake’s Utica Shale production went up a dramatic 91% from 2Q13 to 3Q13, as pipelines and processing plants have come online. According to Lawler, that trend will continue into 2014 as more infrastructure comes online…
As the third quarter reports continue to flood in, we have an update from Rex Energy, one of our favorite smaller (but important) Marcellus/Utica Shale drillers. Rex Energy, an independent exploration and production (E&P) company headquartered in State College, PA issued their 3Q13 update on Tuesday, and company leaders conducted a phone call with analysts yesterday. Among the important gleanings: Rex is doing interesting and important drilling in the Upper Devonian Shale layer (above the Marcellus) with impressive results. They’ve reached almost 100 million cubic feet of gas production per day, a 39% increase over the same time last year. And Rex now has leases on 21,000 Utica Shale acres in Ohio.
An interesting tidbit from yesterday’s phone call: Rex co-founder and CEO Thomas C. Stabley says one of the secrets of Rex’s success has been to develop “quality midstream solutions” in each of their core areas. Here is the 3Q13 update issued by Rex on Tuesday, followed by (some of) the phone call transcript from yesterday:
Drillers are still figuring out the Utica Shale–the best places to drill, and the best places to not drill. Sometimes the “don’t drill here” lessons are tough because each well drilled costs a lot of money ($8 million or more, typically). On an analyst call Tuesday to discuss third quarter results, Halcon Resources Corp. CEO Floyd Wilson used some salty language to describe where they don’t intend to do more Utica drilling, which is in northern Trumbull County, OH. Instead, he said they’ll concentrate their efforts on the southern part of the county where they have more leased acreage that he believes will yield a better result.
Here’s a small portion of the phone transcript where Wilson talks about the Utica and where he definitely won’t be drilling again:
1st NRG Corp. is a small-but-growing exploration and production company headquartered in Denver, CO. Their drilling program to date has been centered in Wyoming (coal bed methane drilling). For more than year 1st NRG has been saying “we’re gonna start drilling in the Utica, you wait and see” (our words). They issued a press release more than a year ago that said, essentially, they are interested in the Utica (see 1st NRG Corp Newest Entrant in OH Utica Shale). They then issued a release saying they had raised $7 million for Utica drilling (see 1st NRG Corp Gets $7M Loan to Begin Drilling in Utica, Other Plays), and another saying they were looking for more money to drill in the Utica (see 1st NRG Still Looking for $ to Drill 7K Acres in Utica Shale).
It’s November and has been eight long months since the last press release–so it must be time for another. Lookie here, we have one! This time, however, there’s been a change. 1st NRG says they have “signed an agreement with a private energy company to participate in the development of prospective acreage.” That still isn’t “we’re drilling our first well,” but we guess it’s a half step closer. Here’s the latest press release that’s short on details and long on puffery and descriptions of the Utica…
Sunoco Logistics is in the midst of spending over $1 billion on two pipelines to carry ethane (and propane) from the Marcellus/Utica region to markets where it can be processed and sold. One of those pipelines is the Mariner West pipeline, currently in testing and due to go online this month, which carries ethane all the way to Sarnia, Canada. The other is Mariner East which will carry first ethane and then propane to the Marcus Hook refinery in Philadelphia. Mariner East will go online in stages beginning in 2014.
Both pipelines are extremely important to the Marcellus/Utica region. We have a brief update on both projects from Mike Hennigan, President and CEO of Sunoco Logistics, as delivered yesterday on an analyst phone call reviewing the company’s third quarter numbers…
Calling all researchers, entrepreneurs and innovators working in the shale gas space in PA or WV: The Ben Franklin Shale Gas Innovation and Commercialization Center (SGICC) is back with another contest, this time with $100,000 in cash prizes to split between the four best shale gas-oriented innovations/new products/new service ideas. The “new” thing must be in development stage or recently launched to qualify. The 2014 contest will be the third year running that the SGICC has held this contest and is the largest purse so far (for the 2013 winners, see: Envelope Please: Winners of Shale Gas Innovation Contest are…).
On a personal note, MDN editor Jim Willis had the opportunity to meet Bill Hall, director of the SGICC at Shale Insight in September in Philadelphia. Bill helms a terrific organization and this contest, over the past several years, has done fabulous work in helping to shine a spotlight on worthy, up-and-coming businesses that have gone on to make a difference in shale drilling in the northeast and beyond. Think of the SGICC contest as a cross between Shark Tank and American Idol–only a whole lot easier! Here’s the details for this year’s contest…
A few days ago MDN told you that county officials in some West Virginia counties, like Wood and Pleasants counties, believe drilling may be headed in their direction in the not-too-distant future (see Drilling Creeps Southward According to WV County Clerks). However, the reality on the ground right now is that there have been either no, or perhaps one or two, permits issued for horizontal (shale) drilling in Wood and Pleasants counties (stats come from the latest edition of the Marcellus and Utica Shale Databook).
Another county even further south is Kanawha County, home of the state capitol Charleston. Kanawha has also seen a few permits, but little or no shale drilling yet. In the ramp-up of Marcellus and Utica drilling, a number of drilling-related companies established administrative offices in Charleston. But that’s now changing. Why?…