Oil and gas deals are sometimes complicated–more complicated than we can get our brains around. That’s our disclaimer for this bit of news. In 2012 Rhino Resource Partners, a coal company, decided to get in on some of the shale action in the Utica by investing in a joint venture with Gulfport Energy and Wexford Capital (see Rhino Resource Ups Investment in Utica Shale JV). Rhino doesn’t do any of the exploration, drilling or production. It’s just a partnership granting them a piece of the revenue action in return for investing in the operation. Somewhere along the way Rhino either got cold feet, or (more likely) the company hit a rough patch and needed money, because they sold 20% of their royalty interests in the jv (see Rhino Flips 20% of Utica Investment to Undisclosed 3rd Party). Further supporting our theory the company is cash-strapped, in September last year the company tried to sell 1.1 million of “common units” (equivalent of stock) to generate money to pay back loans (see Rhino Resources Issues 1.1M Common Units to Repay Debt).
Yesterday, as part of Gulfport’s update and also in a separate announcement from Rhino, comes word that Rhino has cut a deal with Gulfport to dump the rest of its interest in the Utica jv to Gulfport for $185 million, raising what appears to be much-needed cash for Rhino. Here’s the twin announcements: