Gastar Worker Injured at Injection Well in Wetzel County, WV

medical emergencyLocal media in West Virginia is reporting that early Tuesday afternoon a Gastar Exploration worker was injured in an accident at a brine injection well (owned by Gastar) in New Martinsville (Wetzel County), WV. The only thing we know is that the man’s leg was injured. We don’t know his condition or, frankly, many other details. Here’s what we’ve been able to find out so far…
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Looks Like Forced Pooling is, After 5 Years, Coming to WV

Sadly, it appears that West Virginia House Bill (HB) 2688 is all but passed in the WV legislature. The WV legislature meets for 60 days each year (we wish it were that way in New York!). There’s only three days left in the session for this year and HB2688 has been on a freight train fast track. We told you last week the bill had passed the House and had gone to the Senate (see WV Forced Pooling HB2688 Passes House, Heads to Senate). The bill was voted on and passed in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The next stop is a vote by the full Senate and Charleston insiders predict it will pass with a minimum of fuss. This forced pooling bill is supposedly different than previous versions that failed to pass over the past five years. HB2688 requires 80% of surrounding land to be leased before the final 20% can be forced to allow drilling under (not on) their land. Good for the 80% and for drillers, but it violates the sacrosanct property rights of the 20%. In addition to HB2688, a second bill important to the oil and gas industry is poised to pass, Senate Bill (SB) 423, which will lessen the reporting burden from a previous law that requires all above ground storage tanks to be registered…
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Rice Energy Turns Profitable in 2014; Strong 2015 in View

Rice Energy, a “pure play” energy company focused on drilling in the Utica and Marcellus, issued their full year and fourth quarter 2014 update yesterday. Wow, what an update! Rice had a big year in 2014. The parent company, focused on drilling, went public. They also launched an IPO for their midstream (pipelines) subsidiary. Compared to 2013 which saw a loss on the books, 2014 reversed it. In 2014, Rice’s profit was $218.5 million (out of $390.9 million). That’s an increase over a 2013 loss of $35.8 million (out of $88.7 million in revenue). In 2014, Rice produced 97.7 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas, up from 23 Bcf in 2013. Aside from the company growing and hitting its stride, what was different about 2014? Last year Rice concentrated on the Utica Shale…
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Rice Energy CEO Dan Rice Says 5 Utica Wells Producing 80Mmcf/Day

CORRECTION: In the original version of this story MDN incorrectly stated Rice’s 5 Utica wells were producing $80 million per day instead of 80 million cubic feet of natural gas. A dumb mistake. We relied on an inaccurate transcription of what was said (see it below). The transcription lists the quantities as dollars–the person transcribing got it wrong. We should have known! Our apologies. The 5 wells are still awesome in producing 80 Mmcf/d–but not as awesome as $80 million per day! 🙂

In addition to releasing their fourth quarter and full year 2014 update yesterday, Rice Energy also held an analyst phone call to share the results. Rice’s top management was on the call and shared some fascinating insights. Among them: In 2014 and early 2015 Rice brought five Utica Shale wells online–Bigfoot 9H, Blue Thunder 10H and 12H, and Gold Digger 1H and 3H. (Just an aside, we love how Rice names their wells. Their newest well pad just completed in Belmont County, OH is the “Son-Uva-Digger” pad. Love it!) Anywho, the five Utica wells completed in 2014 and early 2015 collectively are producing, according to CEO Dan Rice, 80 million cubic feet of gas PER DAY. Truly astonishing. In addition to the Utica in Belmont County, Rice is eyeing the Utica underneath their Marcellus assets in southwestern PA–in Washington and Greene counties. This company is smart and focused and one to keep an eye on. Below is a transcript of the comments from yesterday’s analyst call. We’ve added our yellow highlighter to point out some items that caught our attention…
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Gastar’s Marcellus/Utica Production Goes DOWN in 2014 – Why?

Gastar Exploration is an independent oil and gas driller with active drilling programs in the Hunton Limestone horizontal play, the Woodford Shale and the Meramec Shale–all three of which occupy roughly the same acreage in the Mid-Continent area. Of interest to MDN is Gastar’s program in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, where they drill in both the Marcellus and now the Utica Shale layers. At last check-in Gastar owns 58,900 acres of leases in the northeast. As we reported in February, Gastar plans to spend a minimal amount drilling in the northeast in 2015–essentially just completing a few wells already drilled (see Gastar Finishing 5 Wells, Then Idling Rigs in Marcellus/Utica). In their 2014 year-in-review, Gastar reports year over year production in the Marcellus/Utica went down–a story we don’t often see. Usually production goes up. Why down for Gastar? They drilled and brought fewer wells online in the Marcellus/Utica in 2014 than in previous years. Here’s the Appalachin Basin section from Gastar’s 2014 update…
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Radio Program to Discuss the Junk Science Behind NY’s Frack Ban

A shout-out to those who live in the Greater Binghamton area–and even those beyond our area–to listen in this Sunday evening from 7-8 pm to radio station WNBF AM-1290 in Binghamton to another edition of Table Talk with the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York (JLCNY). This week’s guest is Dr. Gilbert Ross, Medical Director of the American Council on Science and Health. Dr. Ross will discuss high volume hydraulic fracturing and the illegal and unscientific ban which stole away the mineral rights of upstate New York landowners. If you’re not in the Binghamton area, you can tune in live online at //wnbf.com (click the big orange LISTEN LIVE button). More on this weekend’s program…
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More on OH Gov Kasich’s Threat to O&G Industry re Severance Tax

Two days ago we told you about OH Gov. John Kasich’s threat against the oil and gas industry in Ohio: You accept my high 6.5% severance tax or else (see OH Gov Kasich the Bully: Accept My 6.5% Tax or Risk a 10%+ Tax). His comments were made last Friday. We spotted another article about that session with reporters which contains a bit more of the context of Kasich’s threatening language…
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EQT Midstream Swims Against the Tide, Issues Units Instead of Notes

As we’ve commented a number of times, we don’t pretend to understand all of this high finance stuff when it comes to oil and gas companies and how they decide to fund future development. Sometimes they sell shares of stock. Sometimes they sell “units”–which are the equivalent of shares of stock for companies organized as a master limited partnership (or MLP). Sometimes they borrow money in a revolving loan (line of credit). And sometimes they float notes, what we tongue-in-cheek call IOUs. Lately there have been a rash of companies, many of them midstream (pipelines and processing plants) floating notes to get more cash through the door. We spotted one that’s different (different always stands out). EQT Midstream, a subsidiary of driller EQT but a company (on paper) that’s independent, just announced they’re issuing 8.25 million new units (i.e. like shares of stock), with an option of issuing an additional 1.2 million units. Issuing units (or shares of stock) is equity financing–selling ownership in the company, whereas notes and lines of credit is debt financing. Which is better? Ask a CFO. We have a built-in bias to avoid debt, but that’s just us…
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PA Grand Jury Finds Anti-Drilling AG Kathleen Kane Lied Under Oath

Kathleen Kane, the anti-drilling Attorney General of Pennsylvania–lied under oath–according to a PA grand jury. That’s called perjury and it’s a crime. She should be removed from office immediately but she’s fighting the charge using Lanny Davis–the same lawyer who kept Bill Clinton in office after he lied under oath. She’s hoping lightening will strike twice and Davis will be able to restore her damaged-beyond-repair credibility as the state’s top law enforcement officer, even though she herself has committed high crimes against the state. Why do we care? Because she’s lied in at least two other cases that affect the Marcellus Shale industry: XTO Energy (see PA AG Abuses Her Authority, Files Criminal Charges Against XTO) and Minuteman Environmental Services (see Minuteman Sues AG Kane’s Office for $20M + Punitive Damages). She’s vicious and relentless when it comes to smearing the Marcellus industry and she needs to go because of her own crimes…
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Manufacturer Targets Marcellus with Gas-Powered “Micro” Turbines

FlexEnergy manufactures small (micro) turbine electric generators used by oil and gas producers to power equipment on well pads (among other uses). FlexEnergy’s claim to fame is that it manufactures “the world’s only synchronous generator-based micro-turbines”–whatever that is! Apparently it’s good. FlexEnergy, based in New Hampshire, recently announced they’ve partnered with Waukesha-Pearce Industries (WPI), headquartered in Houston, TX as its distributor for FlexEnergy’s turbine technology. Initially the partnership will cover the Marcellus Shale gas region…
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