PDC Energy Pushes Pause Button on OH Utica Drilling for 2015

pause buttonPDC Energy, with 67,000 acres of leases in Ohio’s Utica Shale, is not among the largest Utica drillers. But they’re by no means insignificant either. The company released their 2015 capital expenditure (capex) budget and production guidance yesterday. PDC says they will idle their single drilling rig in the Ohio Utica in 2015 and spend just $38 million in the Utica next year (compared to $190 million in 2014) to finish up several wells already begun. PDC says the price of natgas is just too darned low right now and that they will be back when the price goes up. (Our thought: PDC will have a long wait!) PDC is instead spending their money in the Niobrara Shale in Colorado–although the company plans to spend 14% less next year than they did this year…
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Talisman Considers Sale of Marcellus Midstream Assets to Regency

Three weeks ago Talisman was rumored to be near a deal to sell its New York/Pennsylvania pipeline system to Regency Energy Partners. Talisman owns some 435 miles of gathering and transmission pipelines in NY/PA. However, the deal, which was supposedly imminent and rumored to be worth $1 billion, still hasn’t happened. Why? Could it be the revived talks by Repsol to buy Talisman (see Rumor Mill: Repsol Once Again Interested in Buying Talisman)? We don’t know. One thing we do know is that corporate raider Carl Icahn, who has his claws deeply into Talisman (as he does with Chesapeake Energy), is the puppet master pulling the strings and forcing the company to sell assets. Here’s the sitrep (situation report) as of a few weeks ago, according to sources talking to Bloomberg News…
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MarkWest Builds/Operates Compressor Station w/o Building Permit

Hmmm. Here’s a story we don’t like to report, and fear there’s more to the story than we now know, but report it we must. MarkWest Energy, arguably the largest and most important midstream (pipelines & processing plants) company in the Marcellus and Utica Shale, was denied a building permit to construct a building to house several natural gas compressors in West Alexander (Donegal Township, Washington County), PA–but they went ahead and built it anyway, without the permit. The rogue compressor station is now up and running but has to use generators to supply power because the town won’t let them hook up electric since they’re still in violation of the building permit…
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EQT Changing Name (but Not Ownership) of Midstream Subsidiary

Two years ago EQT spun off its midstream operations into a subsidiary and sold stock in it. That is, they floated an initial public offering (IPO) and raised over $260 million for the new subsidiary company (see EQT Midstream IPO Rakes in the Cash). On Monday of this week, the company said it will file paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission to create a new company, called HoldCo, as a master limited partnership (MLP). HoldCo is being formed to take ownership of EQT Midstream and the IPO will float 21.3 million units. That is, EQT is getting a second bite of the IPO apple by creating an umbrella company to take ownership the midstream company, although EQT plans to purchase “more than 80%” of HoldCo’s stock themselves…
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DOL Action: Several Marcellus Drillers Pay $4.5M in Back Wages

In a multi-year so-called “investigation” that cost more money that was “recovered,” the U.S. Dept. of Labor (DOL) announced yesterday they’ve forced Chesapeake Energy, Citrus Energy and Anadarko Petroleum (and perhaps others) to pay $4.5 million in back wages to some 5,300 oil and gas workers in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The apparent “violation” is that these workers, working for subcontractors (not directly for the energy companies themselves), in some cases worked more than 40 hours in a given week but didn’t get time-and-a-half wages. We’re certainly not against playing by the rules, but it sure seems like utter folly to hype this as some sort of victory by Obama’s Labor Department–to work for more than two years and come up with a thimble-full of violations and carp and complain about how fractured the energy industry is–the same industry that, because of all those many subcontractors, has generated several hundred thousands new jobs in PA & WV that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. Here’s the press release by the DOL…
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Bank of America: OPEC is Dead, Oil Goes to $50/Barrel, LNG Drops

The price of oil, as certainly connected to shale drilling. Even the price of natural gas is influenced by what oil is doing (see our recent story Will Low Oil Prices Slow Northeast (Indeed All) Shale Drilling?). So it was with great interest we read that Bank of America analysts have declared that OPEC is effectively dead and that oil prices may make a run at $50 per barrel–and begin to swing wildly in the coming years. BoA also sees LNG prices dropping like rock…
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PA Dems Want Gov-Elect Wolf to Follow Obama’s Lawless Example

Obama was sworn to uphold the Constitution when he took office. It is the essence of our country–the rule of law by which we live. Obama trashes the Constitution with every executive order he issues, creating new laws (something delegated to the legislative branch under the Constitution) and even treading into the judicial side of things with an out-of-control Attorney General, Eric Holder. Obama’s infamous example of appointing himself judge, jury and executioner hasn’t been wasted on leftists elsewhere, including Pennsylvania. Democrats met in Harrisburg last week to lick their electoral wounds. The meeting was organized by the radically left PennFuture (further illustrating just how far off the left side of the chart Democrats have gone). At the meeting, Dem bigwigs said PA’s Gov.-elect, Tom Wolf, should follow Obama’s example and thumb his nose at the Republican legislature and just make up his own laws, especially when it comes to the environment and gas drilling…
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