Shell Drills 2 Successful Utica Wells in NEPA Marcellusland

on again, off againShell has had an on-again, off-again, on-again love affair with North American shale (can anyone say “schizophrenia”?). In March, Shell’s new CEO Ben van Beurden said the company was not impressed with American shale plays and cutting back (see Cuts Coming to Shell’s Marcellus Shale Operations). Shell proceeded to sell 208,000 Marcellus Shale acres in a fire sale to Rex Energy, and a few days later picked up another 155,000 Marcellus Shale acres as part of a larger deal to unload other shale play acreage (see After Selling 208K Marcellus Acres, Shell “Buys” 155K More Acres!). Talk about schizophrenic! Now we get word from Shell that they’ve achieved something truly noteworthy: they’ve drilled six Utica wells in northeastern Pennsylvania! Yesterday Shell released initial production results for two of the six, and the numbers are truly impressive…
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Trans Energy Fined $3M for Polluting WV Creeks & Swaps with Dirt

Trans Energy, a smaller, “pure play” driller in the West Virginia Marcellus Shale, has just been slapped bigtime by the federal Environmental Protection Agency along with the WV Dept. of Environmental Protection. The EPA announced a deal with Trans Energy whereby the company will pay an astounding $3 million fine for “unauthorized discharge of dredge or fill material” into creeks and swamps in 15 different locations. Apparently Trans Energy didn’t get a “Mother May I?” permit when building roads and pushing dirt around at some of their Marcellus drilling sites and so will now pay a heavy fine. Oh, and speaking of the $3M fine–it will be split 50/50 between the EPA and the WVDEP. Party time at EPA HQ!…
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Eclipse Resources: Production Results for 7 OH Utica Wells

Eclipse Resources, a small but rapidly growing independent driller focused on the Marcellus and Utica Shale region, released the initial production results for their two most recent well pads in the Utica Shale–one pad in Monroe County, the other in Harrison County. Eclipse drilled seven wells across the two pads, and if you combine them, the seven wells are producing (initial production or IP) 52.6 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, and 1,800 barrels of condensate per day. Very respectable numbers. Here’s the full details, along with a copy of an investor presentation (lots of great maps and charts) just released…
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Summit Midstream Floats 4M Units, Hopes to Raise $224M+

Summit Midstream (pipeline company) is looking to raise another $224 million to use in their considerable midstream operation–including their increasing focus on the Marcellus/Utica. Yesterday the company issued a press release announcing they want to sell another 4 million “common units” (think shares of stock) in their master limited partnership (MLP) company. As of this morning, Summit unit shares were trading for $56.12 per share (or “unit”). At that price, if they sell all 4 million new shares, they’ll raise well over $200 million. As we’ve previously pointed out, Summit is making major moves in both the Marcellus and Utica Shale regions (see Summit Midstream 2Q14: Marcellus Rockets to #2 Operation). We expect some (much?) of the money they’ll raise in this newest offering will be used to either pay down previous deals, or perhaps be used for more expansion (acquisitions) in the northeast…
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Bad PA Supreme Court Act 13 Decision Comes Home to Roost

The anti-drilling spin machine is in full cycle from the virulent anti-drilling group PennFuture. They’re hoping you won’t notice what we’re about to point out: the rank hypocrisy of a court decision last Friday. PennFuture is out with a press release that’s all peaches and cream, butterflies and unicorns that a (low) county court in Lycoming County has tossed out a drilling permit reviewed and allowed by Fairfield Township against Inflection Energy and landowners Donald and Eleanor Shaheen. PennFuture is billing it as the first test of the PA Supreme Court’s decision to allow local towns to create their own oil and gas zoning ordinances (see PA Supreme Court Rules Against State/Drillers in Act 13 Case). “But, wait a minute!” (you may say), “The Supreme Court said towns can do as they please, right?” Right. “The town decided the well pad was OK, so what’s the deal?” Good question…
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Driller Endeavour Intl Decides to Skip Loan Interest Payments

NOTE: MDN has revised this article (a few hours after releasing it). We orginally said that SM Energy had ended up in bankruptcy court following the aborted deal with Endeavour. That is not correct and we regret the error. SM has not (as far as we can tell) ever been close to bankruptcy. Thank you to an alert MDN reader who pointed out our mistake.

In July 2011 drilling company Endeavour International signed a deal with SM Energy to purchase 50,000 Marcellus Shale acres, three producing gas wells and a pipeline located in McKean and Potter counties in Pennsylvania for $110 million. Five months later Endeavour decided to abort the signed deal. The two sides finally settled 2 1/2 years of lawsuits earlier this year (see Endeavour & SM Energy Settle Lawsuit over PA Marcellus Properties). Why bring it up again? Because we noticed that on Tuesday Endeavour announced they would not make scheduled interest payments on their loans. According to the terms of the loans Endeavour has up to 30 days to pay. They’ve been discussing payback of the loans since June and have not yet come to new terms, so they (arbitrarily?) just decided they would withhold scheduled payments. Is there a pattern here?…
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Who Knew? “Massive” Marcellus is Drilled in “Two Dozen States”

Wow, the Marcellus must have grown quite a bit overnight when no one was looking. According to a reporter at Newsday (Long Island newspaper, sixth largest regional newspaper in the country), “More than two dozen states permit drilling in the massive Marcellus Shale deposit.” Last time we checked there are three states drilling in the Marcellus: Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio. Most of it happens in two states: PA and WV. When reporters are that sloppy, it makes you wonder if anything else in the article is actually true. In this case, it’s an article about the differences of opinion by gubernatorial candidates in NY on whether or not to allow fracking in the Empire State…
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The Behavioral Differences Between Anti- and Pro-Drillers

Over the years of covering the debate on fracking and shale drilling, MDN editor Jim Willis has, on many occasions, sat in public meetings and personally witnessed those who oppose drilling (anti-drillers) behaving badly. We understand people having a different viewpoint–wrong viewpoints, but different. We respect that. However, those with an opposite viewpoint don’t reciprocate that respect. It’s not uncommon for anti-drillers to boo, clap, hiss and engage in all manner of theatrics and histrionics–especially if there are cameras and microphones in the room. No camera or microphone? They bring them along to record their own rude behavior! Seems it’s a source of pride for them. As we’ve pointed out many times before, many of these people are hippie retreads–either actual hippies from the 60s who seem to have found a new purpose for otherwise dull lives, or college-aged kids who somehow romanticize and view themselves as being cut from the same radical cloth. MDN is not the only place to notice anti-drillers behaving badly. Forbes magazine has too…
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