Feds Attempt a Power Grab of Delaware River Basin

grabNew York Sen. Chuck Schumer earlier this week paid nominal lip service to the marvels of shale drilling (see Sen. Chuck Schumer Supports Fracking in NY – Sort of). Although some on the pro-drilling side didn’t like MDN’s take on the gasbag Schumer and his false support of drilling, we offer evidence of his true intentions. Yesterday Schumer and six other senators (all liberal Democrats) introduced a bill to “preserve and improve [the] Delaware River Watershed.” The so-called “Delaware River Basin Conservation Act of 2014” would “establish the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The program would implement a coordinated approach, requiring the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director to adopt a basin-wide plan that sustains and enhances the Delaware River basin restoration and protection efforts. The program would support projects from federal, state, and local governments and stakeholders, ensuring that existing successful restoration plans are leveraged.”

Translation: The feds want to trample over the states and take over the Delaware River Basin, which means there never will be any shale drilling in places like Wayne County, PA which happens to sit in the basin. It’s a horrible bill–a federal power grab–and it needs to be opposed. Vigorously. Thanks Chucky, for your so-called “support” of shale drilling. Schmuck. An even bigger schmuck is Sen. Bob Casey–from Pennsylvania! He’s one of the seven lib Dem senators sponsoring this abomination…
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Marcellus Gas Bound for Nova Scotia? Yes, if Emera Can Swing It

Halifax energy conglomerate Emera Inc. wants to be the natural gas supplier to the Maritimes. But in order to do it, it appears that they will need to get Marcellus and Utica Shale gas from the U.S. And in order to do that–they need a pipeline. Fortunately Emera owns a 12.9% stake in the Maritimes and Northeast pipeline, which can help them do just that. It’s far from a controlling interest–but enough to (hopefully) persuade the operator to start flowing gas northward.

Here’s the story of Emera, which happens to have “some very significant relationships” with Marcellus drillers…
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Lawyer for NEPA Anti-Driller Vera Scroggins Tries Legal Maneuver

A lawyer for little-known (outside of northeast Pennsylvania) anti-driller Vera Scroggins was in court in Susquehanna County earlier this week trying out the latest legal maneuver. Anti-drilling lawyer Gerald Kinchy–from Sayre, PA–was trying to sucker Judge Kenneth Seamans into “joining” landowners leased with Cabot Oil & Gas to the lawsuit. That is, the lawyer wants the court to treat landowners the same way it’s treating Vera–consider them as trespassing on their own land. Sound like convoluted legal fleecing? Well, that’s exactly what it is. And the judge wasn’t having any of it.

The whole thing got started when Vera started trespassing at Cabot Oil & Gas drilling sites, taking busloads of fellow anti-drillers around to point and gawk and claim Cabot was polluting Mother Earth. Cabot finally had enough and got the court to place a restraining order on her–for her own and others’ safety (see NE PA Anti-Driller Slapped with Trespassing Injunction). Since the restraining order disallowed Vera from stepping foot on any property leased by Cabot, it prevented her from visiting her favorite grocery store, among other things. So at Cabot’s request, the judge eased the restrictions just a bit (see Judge Lets PA Anti-Driller Sip More Lattes, Attorney Claims “Big Win”). She’s still banned from active drill sites, and that apparently irritates Vera. So she got the ACLU to take up her cause and defend her. Now, her lawyer from Sayre is trying to pollute the case before it goes to trial in June (maybe having second thoughts?)…
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OH Repubs Sell Out on Severance Tax, Kasich Wants Even More!

As we predicted, Ohio Republicans caved and voted a high severance tax out of committee on Wednesday (see Bend Over Ohio – You’re About to Get a Frack Tax). The Republicans think it’s fine to steal money from one industry to give away to people who didn’t earn it. The Democrats are even worse. But here’s the funny thing. Ole’ Gov. John “foreigner hunter” Kasich isn’t satisfied with the Republican plan to raise the rate to 2.5%. He wants more (more more more!).

Since the Repubs have already bent over once, will they do it again for Kasich?…
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Murrysville Turns Down Millions for Park Lease, Looks to Tighten Regs

Final answer: No. Murrysville (Westmoreland County), PA Council voted to turn down millions of dollars to lease the 262-acre Murrysville Community Park for drilling under (not on) the park for shale gas. Huntley & Huntley–a company that often works as a land agent for Range Resources–has been courting Murrysville for nearly a year now (see Murrysville Park Lease to be Discussed at Meeting). In the end, it seems there just wasn’t enough support from residents to go forward. Guess they don’t need an extra pile of cash in Murrysville. They have enough, thanks.

Now, on to more pressing matters for the council–like crafting new zoning laws that make it hard to drill anywhere within the township…
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Anti-Drillers File Complaint with SEC re Cove Point LNG Facility

Even though they’ve lost, the obstinate and unreasonable (not able to be reasoned with) people at Earthjustice and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) are once again trying to prevent the inevitable–the Cove Point, Maryland LNG export facility. Dominion is the company building the new LNG export facility at Cove Point. On the eve of Dominion’s annual shareholder meeting, Earthjustice and CCAN attempted a publicity stunt by filing a complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission saying that Dominion has not provided adequate disclosure of financial and environmental risks in their plans to build the new $2 billion facility.

It’s just one more lame attempt by the same small group of virulent anti-drillers plus a ninny nanny anti-drilling investor from Trillium Asset Management (don’t ever invest money with Trillium) to stop progress…
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Gulfport Energy 1Q14: New CEO Tweaking the Utica Program

Gulfport Energy is a major driller in the Utica Shale. In a first quarter 2014 update released earlier this week, we learn that Gulfport has added more acreage to their Utica portfolio–they now stand at 180,000 acres of leased land. Although several other drillers own more acreage, Gulfport has drilled the second highest number of Utica wells to date. They currently are operating seven drilling rigs in the Utica Shale. Gulfport’s brand new CEO, Michael Moore, makes the comment that, “a more measured, methodical approach to the development program in the Utica was needed.” We’re not exactly sure what that means, but Moore intends it to mean they’ll get more gas and liquids from the Utica wells their drilling.

Below are a few brief sections from the 1Q14 update. We also found and posted Gulfport’s PowerPoint used during their recent analyst call. There’s an extensive section on their Utica operations with lots of maps and charts and good information. Among the gems we discovered is that in 2013 Gulfport and Rice Energy formed a joint venture, combining their acreage in four townships in Belmont County, OH to drill in the Utica together in that area…

NOTE: MDN originally said the Gulfport/Rice jv is for Guernsey County, OH. We were mistaken. It is in Belmont County, OH. Our apologies!
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Carrizo O&G 1Q14: Utica Ramping Up; Extra $100M from the Bank

Carrizo Oil & Gas is a Houston-based driller with drilling operations in four shale plays in the U.S. Two of the four are the Marcellus and Utica. Earlier this week Carrizo issued their first quarter 2014 operational and financial update. Among the tidbits MDN has picked up from that release: Carrizo has gotten a $100 million increase in the line of credit from their banks–more money to drill with; the company spent 75% of its drilling and completions budget in 1Q14 on the Eagle Ford, an “oily” play; for the rest of the year, the company is spending the majority of its budget for land acquisition on the Eagle Ford and the Utica; they will drill 9 Utica wells this year and they are currently negotiating a midstream (pipeline) solution for the Utica; they’ve recently added more Utica leases in Guernsey County, OH; in the Marcellus, Carrizo plans to drill a total of 25 wells this year, but they are hampered and somewhat frustrated by lack of midstream capacity in the Marcellus.

Below we have lifted out of the update those sections that provide the most information about Carrizo’s operation in the Marcellus and Utica…
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Magnum Hunter Gets Extra $92.5M Line of Credit: Proved Reserves

Think “proved reserves” (a company’s best guess for how much retrievable oil or gas there is under their leased property based on real numbers) isn’t all that important? Just so much fluff that drilling companies throw out there to impress investors? That financial numbers like proved reserves don’t affect landowners? Think again. Proved reserves are a very serious business, especially when it comes to borrowing money used for more drilling.

Take Magnum Hunter Resources, for example. MHR concentrates their drilling and midstream activity in the Marcellus and now Utica Shale. Based on a semi-annual review of their credit worthiness by their banks (plural), the banks determined MHR’s proved reserves number has increased sufficiently that they are willing to extend MHR’s line of credit another $92.5 million–to $325 million. That’s a pretty hefty line of credit! Here’s the announcement from MHR…
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EIA Releases Annual Energy Outlook – Gives Us the Big Picture

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has just released their Annual Energy Outlook 2014 (full copy embedded below). Each year the EIA performs a comprehensive review of all sources of energy used in the U.S., and they take their best guess at where supply and demand–and prices–will go in the near- and long-term (to 2040 for this report). The EIA employs some of the best brains in the business and of all the government agencies, the EIA is least susceptible to political manipulation by The White House. We love the EIA and the reports and information they generate.

When MDN editor Jim Willis attended the Platts Global Energy Forum last December, it was a real eye-opener (see Jimmy Goes to the Big Apple: Platts Global Energy Outlook Forum). Those of us heavily involved in the shale industry sometimes lose sight of the bigger picture. Shale energy is just one component–a very important component, but just one–in a much larger energy picture. This annual report from the EIA helps provide that larger perspective–helping us to see where the shale energy industry “fits” in the picture. One tidbit from the report we noticed was their prediction for where the commodity price of natural gas will go in the near- and long-term. The EIA says…
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