Exclusive: Anschutz Wins 4 Yr-Old NY Methane Contamination Case

exclusiveAn MDN exclusive: In 2010, at the beginning of widespread public consciousness about the Marcellus Shale and a time when drilling was just taking off in Pennsylvania, a New York City personal injury law firm smelled opportunity with a group of landowners in Chemung County, NY. Nine families living in Big Flats claimed that nearby gas drilling from Anschutz Corporation had “contaminated” their water wells (see our story at the time, Supposed “First Claim” Filed in New York Alleging Water Contamination from Hydraulic Fracturing Gas Drilling). The NYC law firm claimed in a press release (falsely) that the two wells drilled by Anschutz had been fracked (see Anschutz Exploration Responds to Lawsuit Claiming Drilling Operations Contaminated Water Wells in Big Flats, NY). The case started out in a lower court, called Supreme Court in New York (go figure) and eventually ended up in U.S. District Court in Western NY. Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Charles Siragusa dismissed the case against Anschutz…
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Southwestern Paid Chesapeake $12K/Acre for Land Signed @ $5/Acre

Last week MDN told you that Chesapeake Energy closed on a deal to sell some 413,000 Marcellus Shale acres, mostly in West Virginia (some in Pennsylvania) to Southwestern Energy (see Chesapeake Using $1B from Southwestern Deal to Buy Back Stock). The deal ended up being worth $4.975 billion, discounted from the original $5.375 billion because Southwestern agreed not to sue Chessy for “title defects” when and should that occur. As we said at the time, we’re not sure if a $400 million discount is a good deal or not in the case some of the titles to leases aren’t free and clear. But the bigger story, in our humble opinion, is this: Chesapeake picked up some of those leases that originally paid landowners as little as $5 per acre and as much as $5,000 per acre. They just turned around and sold those same leases for $12,000 an acre. That made corporate raider Carl Icahn, Geppetto pulling the strings at Chesapeake, really really happy…
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Q Poll: Majority of New Yorkers Support Cuomo’s Frack Ban

If we New Yorkers are ever to one day see shale drilling and fracking in the Empire State, we must face the truth squarely in the face. We must be willing to admit to ourselves what the facts are (relative to the PR war we are in) and move on from there. A Quinnipiac University poll conducted shortly after Gov. Cuomo’s ignominious decision to ban fracking throws a bucket of cold water in our collective faces and is a wake-up call for those of us who support drilling (which is the correct and righteous position on this issue). The poll, conducted statewide, shows that NY state voters approve of Cuomo’s decision to ban fracking by a margin of 55% to 25% who oppose his decision. Republicans, sadly, support his decision by 42% with 40% opposed, and Democrats are simply in lock-step mode (they don’t think for themselves anymore, too much hassle): they support the man-child’s decision by 67% to 11% against the decision. Not one single party, gender, age or regional group had a majority that disapproved of Cuomo’s decision to ban fracking. That’s the bad news. Here’s the good news…
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Eclipse Resources Gets $440M from New Stock, Trims 2015 Capex 20%

Some important news today from Eclipse Resources, an exploration & production company focused solely on the Marcellus and Utica Shale region. Eclipse reports raising $440 million in cash in a “private placement” of 62.5 million shares of common stock. The purchasers are EnCap Investments and certain members of the Eclipse management team. The company is also reporting they will lop off 20% of their capital expenditure (capex) budget in 2015 from 2014 levels–with a plan to spend $640 million on new drilling and associated activities. The Eclipse drilling mix is 60% natural gas, 20% oil & condensate, and 20% natural gas liquids…
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Marcellus Ethane will Head to India Aboard 6 New Japanese Ships

You may recall that all of the LNG (liquefied natural gas) that will be produced at the under construction export facility in Cove Point, Maryland will be sold to two countries: Japan and India (see Dominion’s Cove Point LNG Facility Achieves Important Milestones). Japan and India are teaming up again–but this time it’s for America’s ethane instead of methane. Reliance Industries Ltd., India’s single largest company of any kind (conglomerate that includes oil and gas drilling) has ordered up 6 Very Large Ethane Carriers (VLECs) for an undisclosed sum from Japanese company Mitsui. The VLEC ships will transport some 1.5 million tons of ethane per year to India, where it will be used to feed Indian ethane cracker plants. Since RIL has two joint ventures in the Marcellus, it’s a safe bet that some of that exported ethane will be coming from the Marcellus…
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Water Withdrawals from Creeks Next Point of Attack for Antis in OH?

Are water withdrawals the next point of attack for anti-drillers in Ohio? Perhaps. We noticed an interesting story where a pair of elected Democrats (one from the Ohio House, one from the Ohio Senate) are making noise about the drilling industry’s unrestricted right to withdraw water from creeks as long as they report it to the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR). The Dem politicians seem to be saying they would like to slap a new law in place to limit (or disallow) water withdrawals…
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WashPo: NY Gov Cuomo “Ignoble”; Wrong on Frack Ban

The Washington Post, one of the more liberal newspapers in the country and self-appointed arbiter of national news, released an editorial (penned by their very own reporters/editors) that floored us. The Post editorial says fracking is OK when done right, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo screwed up with his decision to ban fracking. Duck down! Was that a flock of pigs flying by?…
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Online Tool Tracks PA Production by Well, Calculates Royalties

Several times in the past, MDN has touted what we consider to be the best online database for Pennsylvania landowners interested in tracking the production of gas wells in the Keystone State. It’s called MarcellusGas.org and for $20 a year you can all the data you can handle with regard to how much a given Marcellus well is producing–based on the semi-annual reports filed with the state Dept. of Environmental Protection. MarcellusGas.org sports not only data on historical production, but a royalty calculator that projects out what a well may produce based on the production of other wells in the area that have produced longer. And according to landowners who have compared the projections with their royalty checks, they say it’s pretty darned accurate…
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FirstEnergy Investing $100M in Electric Projects for WV Marcellus

FirstEnergy, headquartered in Akron, Ohio, is the parent of Mon Power, an electric utility serving 385,000 customers in 34 West Virginia counties. FirstEnergy announced last week they’re investing $100 million in new electric transmission projects to service the growing Marcellus and Utica Shale industry in WV. The projects include new high voltage power transmission lines and substations to serve natural gas processing plants (and other gas operations) in the region. As a consequence, not only will the Marcellus industry benefit, so too will local electric customers in WV…
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Louisiana Ethane Cracker for Marcellus Gas Built with Intl Money

In June 2014, MDN told you about a Range Resources deal to sell some of their ethane to a cracker plant, yet to be built, in Lake Charles, Louisiana (see Range Announces Multiple Agreements to Sell Natgas & Ethane). The Lake Charles cracker plant is part of a huge $8.9 billion petrochemical complex that will be built by energy/chemical company Sasol. In a press release last week, Sasol announced they’ve secured $4 billion in a “credit facility” (i.e. loans) for the project, although they don’t mention when construction will actually get under way. Aside from the fact that Marcellus ethane, in part, will feed the plant, what struck us as interesting is the international nature of the project. Some 18 international banks and investment firms are involved in the $4 billion credit deal. Sasol itself is a South African company; the Bank of Tokyo is the administrative agent for the deal; Bank of America is the account bank; HSBC (Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation) is the “security trustee” for the $4B loan; and the Bank of Scotland is financial adviser. It’s a real panoply of international involvement!…
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