Another Antero Utica Well Top of the Heap: IP Rate of 40.2 Mmcf/d!

super achieverCaution: MDN’s comments below are not completely accurate. It seems that Antero pulled a fast one on us, and unlike their previous updates, they have (starting with this update) used gas equivalents in their production reporting. The Antero Yontz well is still the highest initial production methane (natural gas only) well in the OH Utica. That’s not to take away from the incredibly productive Milligan well mentioned below–but much of Milligan’s production is NGLs and not methane. The Milligan is still a great (and profitable) well! It’s just not the top dog natgas producing well we thought it was.

Wow, we’re speechless! (And that’s saying something.) Last August MDN told you that Antero Resources had de-throned Gulfport Energy for having the highest yielding 24-hour rate Utica Shale well (see Antero Resources Utica Well Produces Stratospheric 38.9 Mmcf/d). Antero’s amazing Yontz well is located in Monroe County, OH, south of Gulfport’s super achieving wells in Belmont and Harrison counties. South continues to be better. Yesterday Antero released an operational update, and tucked away in that update is a new reigning Utica champ. Antero reports the Milligan 2H well in Noble County produced a 24 hour initial production (IP) rate of 40.2 Mmcf/d gas equivalent (it produces lots of hydrocarbons other than methane, so the number is converted to gas for apples to apples comparisons). That is the single highest producing shale well we’ve ever heard of–anywhere. No wonder Aubrey McClendon once famously said the Utica Shale is the biggest thing to hit Ohio since the plow!

Aside from the Milligan 2H, there’s a lot of other news in the Antero update, including a very active Marcellus Shale drilling program (they currently have 15 rigs in the Marcellus), and the first of three compressor stations to help get their gas to market has come online in the Utica (two others are behind schedule). Here’s the full Antero update for 4Q13, with a bit of forward looking to 2014…
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Blue Racer: Natrium Plant Back Online, New Customers, Adds Barging

Big news from Blue Racer Midstream. Last September there was an explosion and a fire “isolated to a small area” at the Blue Racer Natrium processing and fractionation facility in Marshall County, WV (see Explosion/Fire at Blue Racer’s Natrium, WV Processing Plant). The fire knocked the plant offline for customers needing to process wet gas. At least two (perhaps more) customers found other sources to process their wet gas (see Blue Racer’s Natrium Plant to Remain Offline Until Jan 2014). According to a single sentence buried in a press release issued yesterday, the Blue Racer Natrium plant is finally, after five long months, back online. No date was given for when it resumed operations–presumably yesterday or over the weekend. The statement says, “The Natrium I processing unit has recently returned to service following a temporary shutdown that occurred after a fire damaged the unit.”

No mention of how long it was offline (five months!) or the work done to get it back online. Probably the lawyers telling them to keep their mouth shut. Anyway, we’re happy to see it back up and running. In addition to that very big news (which was decidedly downplayed in the press release), Blue Racer also announced yesterday they’ve picked up several new customers for an expansion at the Natrium processing/fractionation plant (see who below). Finally, Blue Racer announced that in addition to the current rail, truck and pipeline they use to move NGLs (natural gas liquids) from the plant, they’re adding barging down the Ohio River. Notwithstanding the downplayed reopening of the Natrium plant, this is one of the most enlightening press releases from a midstream company we’ve seen in some time…
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Houston Investment Firm a True Believer in WV Cracker Plant

A huge vote of confidence by an investment firm that the ethane cracker plant recently announced by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and planned for Parkersburg, WV will actually be built (see WV Announces Brazilian Company to Build Ethane Cracker Complex). Siltstone Capital, an investment and advisory firm with corporate offices in New York and Houston, bought the old Blue Cross and Blue Shield building in downtown Parkersburg–vacant since 2009–to set up offices for the company and to lease out space they don’t use themselves.

Siltstone invests in companies in the energy sector: exploration and production, oil services, and midstream. If they weren’t totally convinced that the Odebrecht cracker plant would be built, you can be sure Siltstone would not have spent $475,000 on a vacant building in Parkersburg, WV (population 31,492)…
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OH Company Doubles Jobs/Revenue by Targeting Utica Shale Drillers

Dan Pottmeyer, president of Producers Service Corp located in Zanesville, OH, says his company is the only fracking company that’s “home-grown in Ohio.” (That’ll be good news for OH Gov. John “foreigner hunter” Kasich. He likes ’em home-grown.) Pottmeyer’s company used to send oilfield services crews into Ohio’s conventional oil and gas fields for low-volume fracking work. However, after purchasing new equipment and more than doubling the work force, Pottmeyer now sends his crews into the field to work on Utica Shale wells–competing with the likes of oilfield services titans like Halliburton and Baker Hughes. Although he doesn’t disclose figures for the privately-held company, Pottmeyer says revenue has more than doubled in the past couple of years.

The Producers Service Corp story is a good story–an important story–of how local businesses can figure out how to plug in to the Marcellus and Utica Shale supply chain. Which is why we love to bring you stories like this one…
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Williams Changes Up Leadership for Northeast Gathering Operation

A reshuffling of leadership for Williams’ operations in the northeast Marcellus/Utica region. Previously, Frank Billings ran the show for the Northeast Gathering & Processing operating area. Billings has been reassigned/promoted to corporate HQ. Taking over for Billings as head of Northeast Gathering is Jim Scheel. What does it all mean? We don’t know–so we’re left to read between the lines.

It seems from the statements by Williams’ CEO Alan Armstrong that Billings blazed the trail and got things rolling in the northeast, and now the northeast region has turned into more of an ongoing, operational kind of thing–and Scheel is an operations guy, good at focusing on the details of turning the northeast area into a well-oiled machine. At least that’s our read. What do you think? Here’s the announcement…
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Blue State Blues: 6 New England States Want New Natgas Pipeline

Wonders never cease. The governors of six New England states (5 Democrat governors, 1 Republican governor) have sent a letter, or more properly the heads of their state utility commissions have sent a letter, to ISO New England (the regional cooperative transmission organization), requesting that a new natural gas pipeline be built to get more Marcellus Shale gas into New England. Oh, and they want to charge electric customers to get it built. Why? Not enough pipeline capacity now. Electric generating plants are using more and more natural gas to produce electricity. Not enough supply of natural gas in New England means those generators are paying nosebleed rates to produce electricity, and consequently electric rate payers are paying out the nose to cover the cost. Eventually those rate payers will toss their overlords out of office is something isn’t done–so by golly they’re doing something.

Even the fossil-fuel hating, tree hugging anti-frackers in New England have hit the brick wall of reality: so-called renewable sources of electricity can’t and won’t (for the foreseeable future) provide enough electricity to meet our needs. The remarkable request letter (embedded below) doesn’t specify how or where the pipeline should go, just that they need it and they need it in place by winter of 2017. Of course, that doesn’t stop some of the nuttier anti-drilling organizations from opposing the idea…
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PA Dem Gov Candidate McGinty’s Love/Hate Relationship with Fracking

This is interesting. Kathleen McGinty, like John Hanger, is a former Secretary for the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection. And like Hanger, she’s running in a crowded field of candidates seeking to be the Democrat nominee for governor come this November. Unlike Hanger, however, she says she is not in favor of her party’s dangerously stupid idea of a Marcellus fracking moratorium. However, she does want to tax and regulate the Marcellus industry to death, just like Hanger and her other Democrat comrades.

McGinty doesn’t stand a chance of getting the nomination. Neither does Hanger. But what the heck, it’s interesting to see them flail about when they talk about the miracle of hydraulic fracturing and try to explain why fracking is not the best thing since sliced bread for PA’s otherwise poor (Obama) economy. They twist themselves into verbal knots trying to both embrace shale drilling and reject it at the same time…
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EPA Chief McCarthy Tells NRDC States Have Lead Role in Fracking

Generally, Gina McCarthy, administrator of the federal Environmental Protection Agency, is ready to poke her nose into fracking whenever and wherever she wants. Apparently she doesn’t want to–at least for now. McCarthy has dialed back her fervor on regulating fracking and (lately) has been deferential to state regulators. That doesn’t sit well with unreasonable so-called environmentalist groups like the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). In responding to a letter from the NRDC, McCarthy said, to her credit, that the states have the key/lead role in investigating concerns about fracking and potential pollution. That went over like a lead balloon at the NRDC.

The NRDC, and other so-called environmentalist groups, want all oil and gas regulation under the thumb of the feds. They don’t like having to deal with that messy thing called the U.S. Constitution which says oil and gas regulation comes under the purview of the individual states. Statists don’t like that particular inconvenient truth and were hoping an Obama acolyte like McCarthy would be more statist in her approach, assuming authority not granted her under the Constitution. For now (thankfully) the EPA under McCarthy is stepping back from a more active role. At least until their “study” of fracking is completed sometime this year…
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