Cabot Oil & Gas & The Marcellus – An “Unstoppable” Combination

UnstoppableCabot Oil & Gas continues to exceed expectations and, well, impress just about everybody! Yesterday Cabot issued an operations update. Among the highlights: They’ve just completed a 10-well pad in Susquehanna County (dry gas portion of the Marcellus). Calling it, “the new standard for operational efficiencies and technological advancement,” Cabot said the 10-well pad was completed with 170 frac stages and had a combined peak production rate of a huge 201 million cubic feet (Mmcf) per day. That’s an average of 20.1 Mmcf/d per well for all 10 wells! This is exciting stuff folks.

In addition to the excellent Marcellus news, Cabot announced they’ve sold more of their mid-continent “non-core” assets, bringing the total to $325 million worth of non-core assets this year. A good share of that money is being invested in the Marcellus. Below we have the full Cabot press release, the Cabot investor slide deck (with some great charts and maps), and energy analyst Robert Zeit’s key takeaways from yesterday’s update…
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Williams Files to Expand Marcellus Pipeline in Broome County, NY

Two years ago the newly completed Laser Northeast Gathering pipeline, a 33-mile pipeline stretching from Susquehanna County, PA across the border into Broome County, NY where it connects to the Millennium Pipeline, was sold by Delphi Midstream Partners to Williams Partners (see Laser Northeast Pipeline Selling to Williams for $750M). There is “new news” to share about the formerly named Laser, now named the “New York Mainline,” courtesy of MDN friend Andy Leahy, writing on his excellent NY Shale Gas Now! blog.

Sifting through a pile of digital paperwork, Andy found that in early December Williams filed a request to expand the Laser/NY Mainline by adding an additional 16″ pipeline loop–right here in the good old Town of Windsor, NY (where MDN is written!). The new pipeline loop will expand the capacity of Marcellus Shale gas flowing out of northeast PA and into the Millennium pipeline. Here’s Andy’s report…
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Anti-Drillers Oppose Converting 2 NY Electric Plants to NatGas

This is the tale of two electrical generating power plants. Both are located in New York State–on opposite sides of the state. One is in Tompkins County (near Ithaca, NY), the other in Chautauqua County (Dunkirk, near Buffalo, NY). Both are powered by coal and both will either need to convert to natural gas or close down.

Something else both have in common: anti-drilling nutters want them closed rather than converted  from burning coal to burning natural gas–even though closure means school and property taxes in both areas will go through the roof–higher than the nosebleed rates they already are. In both cases the power plants are the single largest taxpayer in their respective municipalities. Makes no difference to the nutters because most of them don’t live there and could care less. An update for both the Cayuga Power Plant and the Dunkirk Power Plant…
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EIA’s Dec DPR: Marcellus Now Provides 18% of US NatGas

Our new favorite monthly report from the ace analysts at the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) was issued yesterday–the latest and third installment of the Drilling Productivity Report (DPR). We’ve embedded a full copy of the report below for your viewing pleasure (love the charts they use). The monthly DPR provides key information about how quickly wells decline in production–it’s one report you want to keep a close eye on.

In addition to the latest DPR below, we’ve also included screenshots for two tables with the raw numbers EIA uses to generate the reports (tables we wish they would include in the monthly DPR). Below the DPR we’re including a bit of analysis work done by the EIA based on the DPR. The EIA analysts say their research shows the mighty Marcellus, as of this month, is producing 18% of all natural gas produced in the U.S. A single play! Truly astonishing. It shows the incredible importance of the Marcellus to our country’s energy infrastructure…
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Utica Shale Lease May Pull OH Volunteer Fire Dept from Bankruptcy

We’re not sure of the circumstances that led the Neffs (Belmont County), OH Volunteer Fire Department to go more than $1 million in the hole–but that’s where they are. The miracle that may lift them out of bankruptcy and put them back on firm financial footing is the Utica Shale. Specifically, the opportunity to lease fire department-owned land for Utica Shale drilling.

The interesting (to MDN) aspect of this story is the very generous terms Neffs VFD is getting for the lease of 56.4 acres…
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CONSOL/Dominion Acreage Deal Includes Pipeline Contract Too

MDN brought you today’s CONSOL press announcement that they have closed a deal with Dominion Resources to take over 90,000 acres of Marcellus and Upper Devonian Shale leases for $190 million (see separate story today). Not mentioned in the CONSOL announcement is the deal also includes CONSOL using Dominion to pipeline their West Virginia production to market. Dominion reports in addition to the deal with CONSOL they’ve signed agreements with several other companies too, and will deliver WV production to pipelines in Ohio.

Here’s the “complimentary/competing” press announcement issued today from Dominion. Their side of the story, if you will…
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CONSOL Buys 90K WV Marcellus/Upper Devonian Acres, Well Report

CONSOL Energy issued a press release today updating their Marcellus Shale well results from wells drilled in Washington County, PA. In addition to PA, CONSOL owns leases for and is actively drilling in the West Virginia Marcellus area–most of it in the “wet gas” (natural gas liquids) area of the Marcellus. The update says they just completed their first pad in Barbour County, WV, a pad with six wells on it.

The big news in today’s announcement: CONSOL has just purchased another 90,000 acres of leases in WV–from Dominion Resources–for $190 million ($2,111 per acre). The deal will allow CONSOL to not only drill in the Marcellus layer, but also the Upper Devonian shale layer as well. CONSOL is one of the few drillers (so far) targeting the Upper Denonian (see MDN’s Upper Devonian category for stories about who else is targeting that layer)…
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Alpha Natural Resources Sells 50% Marcellus Stake to Rice Energy

Alpha Natural Resources, a coal company, formed a 50/50 joint venture with Rice Energy in 2010 to drill Marcellus Shale gas wells in Greene County, PA. Yesterday Alpha announced they’re bailing out and selling their 50% stake to Rice Energy for $300 million. The terms are Alpha gets $100 million in cold, hard cash now, and stock in Rice Energy once Rice goes public.

Yesterday’s announcement with the details:
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OH Repubs Offer Excuses Why This Time High Utica Taxes are OK

Speaker of the Ohio House William G. Batchelder (Republican-Medina), Speaker Pro Tempore Matt Huffman (Republican-Lima), and other members of the Ohio House Republican Caucus offered their pathetic excuses on why this time it’s a-OK to steal money from Ohio landowners and drilling companies and give it to other residents of Ohio–in the form of an income tax break. Apparently there’s lack of spine to do the right thing and reduce spending in Ohio (although that particular disease is not endemic to Ohio).

Here’s the Republican so-called leadership’s bland, generic excuses statement about why it’s OK to raise taxes on drilling this time:
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Belmont County, OH Waiting for $3M Lease Check from Rice Energy

In early October MDN told you Rice Energy had cut a deal with Belmont County to pay the county a $7,500 per acre signing bonus, more than the $5,900 per acre it promised to private landowners in the area (see Rice Pays Belmont County Higher Signing Bonus than Landowners). The lower per acre no doubt rankled some landowners–but many of them already have their money. So far, the county does not.

When will Belmont County get its $3 million check from Rice Energy? Because they really need it…
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Open Season for Bluegrass NGL Pipeline Extended Extra 30 Days

In October MDN told you the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline, a natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline that will be built from the Marcellus/Utica to the Gulf Coast, was far enough along that joint venture partners in building the Bluegrass Williams and Boardwalk Pipeline launched an open season to lock in drillers who want to ship their NGLs out of the northeast (see Bluegrass Pipeline Launches Open Season, on Track for 2015 Launch). The open season was due to end next week, Dec. 16.

Late yesterday Williams/Boardwalk extended the open season another month, to Jan. 17, 2014. They say the extension is at the request of shippers who need more time to decide. Is that just blowing smoke? For real? How would you read the tea leaves? Here’s the announcement:
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Owner of Former Sunoco Refinery Speaks on Marcellus, Future

The new owner of the former Sunoco refinery in South Philadelphia says purchasing the refinery did not start out as a rescue operation (saving 850 jobs), but it did end up being one. Philip Rinaldi, CEO of Philadelphia Energy Solutions, was the guest of honor at a United Steelworkers Local 10-1 banquet last Saturday. His comments reveal him to be plain spoken and not without a surprise or two. Rinaldi fancies himself an old-style industrialist–he likes businesses that make things, saying you can’t have a society that only flips hamburgers.

Rinaldi also said the Marcellus will play a key part in his future plans. Here’s the interesting Q&A with Philip Rinaldi, his comments about why he chose the Philly refinery and about what the future may hold:
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