Range Resources Inducted into the Marcellus “1 Bcf/d Club”

1 Bcf/d ClubRange Resources issued an update today on recent activities and recent milestones achieved. They’ve just achieved a huge one. Range is now the third driller to achieve 1 billion cubic feet per day of production in the Marcellus Shale, joining Cabot Oil & Gas and EQT in that distinguished and exclusive “club” (see EQT 2Q13: Welcome to the Marcellus “1 Bcf/d Club”). Range also, ahead of an official announcement from Enterprise Products Partners, says that the ATEX (Appalachia-to-Texas Express) pipeline to the Gulf Coast is now up and running and they’re using it to ship up to 10,000 barrels of ethane per day. MDN knew the pipeline was in the testing phase but we did not know it’s now fully operational (see Let it Flow! ATEX Ethane Pipeline Testing Now, Online Soon).

The full update from Range:
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Hilcorp Goes Hogwild in Lawrence County – 11 Pads on the Way

Marcellus/Utica driller Hilcorp continues to focus its efforts in Lawrence County, PA. In fact, you may say they’ve gone “hogwild” in Lawrence! The Lawrence County Planning Commission last week reviewed plans from Hilcorp for 11 (yes 11) well pad sites. Each pad has at least one well on it, and more likely 2-4 wells (perhaps more)–meaning Hilcorp plans to drill at least a couple dozen wells in the near future in Lawrence.

Here’s the details for where the 11 well pads are located:
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WPX Energy CEO Ralph Hill is Out, Interim CEO James Bender is In

A “hmmm, that’s interesting” story from WPX. Yesterday we told you about WPX’s kerfuffle over water buffaloes in Susquehanna County, PA (see WPX Decides to Let Franklin Forks Families Keep Water Tanks). Today, in what is likely unrelated to the water buffalo story, WPX has suddenly announced the departure (booting out?) of CEO Ralph Hill at the end of this month. Hill has spent his entire career (32 years) first with Williams, and then with the spun-off WPX Energy. However, he’s not an old man by any stretch–perhaps in his early to mid-fifties. The announcement wishes him well in his “future endeavors”–not in his “retirement.” Not only is Hill out as CEO, he’s off the board of directors too. Hmmm. What does it all mean?

The company is appointing James J. Bender as interim president, CEO and board member, effective Dec. 31, 2013. Hill will stick around until March to help with the transition. Here’s the mysterious WPX announcement issued today:
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UTOPIA is Coming! The UTOPIA Pipeline, that is…

Kinder Morgan announced yesterday a plan to build a new 210-mile natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline that will connect multiple fractionation facilities in Harrison County, OH, to Riga, MI. From Riga, the NGLs will hitch a ride via the KM Cochin Pipeline east to Windsor, Ontario, Canada where they will be delivered to NOVA Chemicals. The new $300 million, 10-inch pipeline from OH to MI has been cleverly named Utica To Ontario Pipeline Access (UTOPIA). The NGLs that will flow through the pipeline will already be refined (“fractionated” or separated) and will include ethane and propane.

Here’s Kinder Morgan’s good news announcement that UTOPIA is coming:
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Cuomo Obstinately Says He’ll Continue to Dither on Frack Decision

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo continues to prevaricate/dither/postpone his decision on whether or not to allow fracking for shale gas in New York State. He said so yesterday at a news conference. By continuing to delay a decision far past everyone’s measure of reasonableness, he’s totally eliminated any chance he had of running for president. He’s also courting a lawsuit that will embarrassingly force him to do his job and make him release the new drilling rules (see Tom West Demands DEC Com. Martens Release the SGEIS – Soon). Today is the deadline by which Norse Energy’s lawyer Tom West has demanded a fixed date when the Cuomo administration will release new drilling regs. If that doesn’t happen (and it almost certainly won’t), a lawsuit to force the issue will be filed–perhaps as early as this month. Cuomo is out of time and out of options–yet he continues to prevaricate.

Meanwhile, Cuomo’s State Health Commissioner, Nirav Shah, continues to be Cuomo’s spear catcher and take all the heat because Shah refuses (at Cuomo’s direction) to announce whether or not he believes proposed drilling rules will protect the nebulous “public health.” Shah has humorously taken to spouting things about science being done in “sacred places.” Apparently sacred places are located everywhere but New York. Here’s how Cuomo’s dithering talk went yesterday…
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A Natural Gas Christmas Carol, Starring Gov. Andy

An early Christmas present for New York landowners and those with an interest in drilling in New York State, provided by our friends at the Joint Landowners Coalition: a “Natural Gas Christmas Carol”. It is funny, and sad–all at the same time. Give it a read! (Hey, it’s better than a lump of coal.)

Here’s the letter and a link to the PDF from the JLCNY…
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Halcon Resources Lowers 2014 CapEx Spending, Not Production

Yesterday Utica Shale driller Halcon Resources lowered their “guidance” (what they expect to do) in capital spending for 2014. That is, they said they will spend less money–about 14% less–than previously announced on their drilling programs in 2014. However, they also added they still expect to produce about the same amount of oil and gas, even though they’ll spend less.

Also in yesterday’s announcement, Halcon CEO Floyd Wilson, who tends to have a salty mouth (see Halcon CEO Says No More S***** Wells in Northern OH Utica), said the company will continue to sell off “non-core conventional assets” to raise an additional $300 million. Here’s the Halcon “spend less but produce more” announcement from yesterday:
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EIA Early Release of 2014 Report Shows Plenty of Gas for Exports

Yesterday the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)–the one government agency MDN actually likes and believes to be effective–released preliminary data and an abridged version of their Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) for 2014 (full copy of the “early release” version embedded below). The full version will be along in Spring 2014.

So what does the early release version show? U.S. production of crude oil and natural gas will continue to go through the roof–thanks to natural gas. Crude oil production will continue to grow until 2020 or there about, before leveling off. Natural gas? Production increases until at least 2040. In addition, EIA says the increased production in natgas means exports–by both pipeline and LNG carriers–won’t negatively affect domestic prices. That is, EIA report provides justification for further approvals to export American natural gas…
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EVEP’s Mark Houser Says More Utica Acreage Sales Ahead in 2014

EV Energy Partners (EVEP) recently attended the 12th Annual Wells Fargo Energy Symposium in New York City. EVEP’s CEO Mark Houser addressed the gathering and delivered a fair bit of information about EVEP’s Utica Shale drilling program. With 3/4 of a million leased acres in the Utica, when EVEP talks, people listen. You may recall that EVEP had previously put more than half a million of their Utica acres up for sale (see EVEP 3Q13: No New Land Deals to Announce). They’ve since done a small deal or two–but they retain most of their acreage. At the conference, Houser said he expects to announce more deals to sell their Utica acreage in 2014 (of course we heard the same story last year, see EV Energy Partners Utica Acreage Sale Delayed Until 2013).

Highlights of Houser’s talk at the Wells Fargo Symposium, including an update on their joint ventures with other drillers and EVEP’s view on the state of the midstream in Ohio:
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New Marcellus Gas-Fired Electric Plant Proposed for Greene County

Another new natural gas-fired electric generating plant may be on the way in PA courtesy of cheap, abundant Marcellus Shale gas. Bayles Energy LLC, a subsidiary of IMG Midstream, has proposed building a 20-megawatt plant in Greene Township in (yes) Greene County, PA. The new plant would generate enough electricity to serve 13,000 homes on the area.

More details…
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1st NRG Again Declares Their Intention to Drill the Utica, Maybe

Something MDN finds amusing. Every now and again 1st NRG, a Denver-based exploration & production or “drilling” company pokes it’s head up and issues a press release to say in essence, “We’re still here, we still have 7,000 acres of leases in the Utica Shale, and we really really really really are gonna drill that acreage. Soon. Someday. As soon as we get the money. Really soon now.” We’ve chronicled this trawling-for-investors-by-press-release routine since October 2012 (see 1st NRG category on MDN for our previous stories).

Here’s the latest $99 press release that declares 1st NRG’s undying love for the Utica, along with their undying love for Wyoming’s Powder River Basin:
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Quieter Drilling, Compressor Plants on the Way in the Northeast

Noise Solutions Inc., headquartered in Alberta, Canada, makes buildings, walls and enclosures that keep the noise down. They like to say they make communities quieter, and they’ve been doing it since 1997. One of the primary markets for Noise Solutions is the oil and gas industry. They recently announced an expansion into the Marcellus and Utica Shale region, setting up a new facility in Sharon (Mercer County), PA. Noise Solutions has already hired 30 employees at the new facility with plans to have 125-200 employees hired in the next three years. This is great news for the Marcellus/Utica drilling industry and for Mercer County.

Noise Solutions’ recent announcement:
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