Aubrey McClendon’s New “Blank Check Company” Looks to Raise $200M

signed blank checkEver hear of a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC? How about a “blank check company”? No, neither had we. The man who once described himself as the biggest fracker in the world, Aubrey McClendon, filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on April 7 to float an initial public offering (or IPO) for a company called Avondale Acquisition Corp., which describes itself in the filing as a “newly organized blank check company” that will “focus on potential mergers or other deals with existing businesses in the onshore U.S. oil and gas sector.” It is, in a sense, just a different pocket being sewn onto Aubrey’s trousers from which he can dip his hand in and pull out money placed there by other people–to buy more leases and operations in places like the Utica and Marcellus. How much money does Aubrey hope to find in that pocket? About $200 million…
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Williams Locates WV Condensate Pipeline Leak, Remediation Begins

Last Friday Williams finally found the break/leak in a 4-inch condensate pipeline that ruptured nearly two weeks ago (see 2 Williams Pipelines Rupture in Marshall County After Heavy Rains). That’s the good news. The bad news is that testing done of a nearby unnamed stream (that empties into Little Grave Creek) four days after the rupture occurred contained evidence of some nasty chemicals: benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene. Fortunately none of those chemicals have turned up in Little Grave Creek. Williams is now cleaning up and telling the neighbors that as they dig and remove soil from the area of the rupture, the neighbors may smell some foul odors. The WV Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) says they “don’t believe” nearby residents are in any danger…
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Munroe Falls, OH Repeals “Home Rule” O&G Regulations

In March 2011 Beck Energy drove a bulldozer onto private property in Munroe Falls (Summit County), OH with the intent of building a road to a drill pad where Beck had proper permits and permission from the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) to drill a well. Munroe Falls slapped Beck with a stop work order and said, in essence, “Uh uh uh, you need to jump through our municipal ‘Mother May I?’ hoops and get our permission for everything you do before you can proceed.” Beck pushed back and sued Munroe Falls and the case was appealed, eventually, all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court. In February of this year, the Ohio Supremes ruled that Munroe Falls cannot impose so-called “home rule” laws over top of the ODNR’s rules with respect to oil and gas drilling (see OH Supreme Court Strikes Down Home Rule in Gas Drilling Case). Last week Munroe Falls finally repealed their onerous oil and gas regulations, a fitting end to this years-long story…
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Charges Against 2 PA Anti-Drillers Dismissed on Technicality

Yesterday MDN told you about two Pennsylvania anti-drilling protesters who, among six others, were arrested in January for disorderly conduct at the inauguration ceremony of Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf. The two appealed their conviction (see Anti Protesters Who Disrupted Wolf Inauguration Appeal Conviction). There was a hearing yesterday in Dauphin County Court and, unfortunately, the Dauphin County District Attorney’s office failed to produce witnesses to finger the two as lawbreakers. So the judge (whom we presume is anti-drilling) used that as an excuse to dismiss the charges against the pair of hippies, er, ah, protesters…
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USFS Approves Survey for Marcellus Pipeline in Mon Natl Forest

In January MDN told you that the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) was considering a plan to allow surveyors into the Monongahela National Forest (see USFS Seeks Comment on Pipeline Survey in Monongahela Natl Forest). At the time, USFS was seeking public comment on a plan to allow surveyors into the forest to chart a potential route through 17 miles of the Mon National Forest for the Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline–a 550-mile, $5 billion pipeline that will carry Marcellus and Utica Shale gas from West Virginia through Virginia and into to North Carolina. The section of the forest to be surveyed is located in Randolph and Pocahontas counties in WV. Good news! The USFS has decided to allow the survey to go forward…
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Michigan Succeeds in Shaking Down Chesapeake for Measly $25M

The ShakedownThe shakedown is complete. In June 2012 Reuters tried to stir up trouble against Chesapeake Energy by broadcasting “leaked” (Watergate anyone?) emails that somehow magically appeared on the Reuters doorstep that supposedly show Chesapeake trying to collude with Encana Energy to keep the price of Michigan state land oil and gas leases artificially low (see Did Reuters Break the Law with Latest Chesapeake Story?). Eventually Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette filed charges against Chesapeake, even though the federal government investigated and didn’t find anything worth pursuing. Schuette put his reputation on the line and was hell-bent to ensure he got something/anything out of Chesapeake. Schuette finally has a settlement–for a measly $25 million. It likely cost his department more than that to pursue Chesapeake. But, Schuette’s shakedown for $25M lets him save face, and it lets Chesapeake move on from this sham charge in Michigan…
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Canadian LNG Project Woos Europeans with Promise of Marcellus Gas

ifYou may recall MDN has tracked the issue of potential LNG (liquefied natural gas) exports from Canada that would use, in part, Marcellus Shale gas. There are five such possible LNG projects, four of them based in Nova Scotia (see List of LNG Export Projects for Marcellus/Utica Shale Gas). You may also recall the article we brought you in which Moody’s Investors Service said the vast majority of LNG projects, including the ones in Canada, will not get built (see Moody’s: “Vast Majority” of LNG Export Projects Will be Canceled). Don’t tell that to Pieridae Energy Canada, the company with plans to build the Goldboro LNG project in Goldboro Industrial Park in Guysborough County, Nova Scotia. The US$8.6 billion (C$10 billion) project is 5-6 years away from beginning operation according to a presentation by Pieridae’s CEO Alfred Sorensen to a delegation of economic counsellors from the European Union in Halifax on Monday. One of the keys to the project giving it a “high probability of success” will be Marcellus gas delivered via the Maritimes & Northeast pipeline, according to Sorensen…
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Frackless Nova Scotia Wants to Sell Fracked U.S. Gas to Europe

On Monday a delegation of European Union economic counsellors visited Halifax, Nova Scotia (Canada) to hear, among other things, about potential LNG exports from a plant proposed by Pieridae Energy Canada (see today’s companion story). Pieridae’s CEO Alfred Sorensen told the visitors about multiple sources of natural gas they can use to liquefy and export–chief among them gas from the Marcellus. Also with Sorensen on the dais was Nova Scotia’s energy minister Michel Samson, there to reassure the Europeans that Pieridae Energy’s Goldboro LNG project has the full backing and support of Nova Scotia. Which we find kind of hypocritical. Last November Samson’s liberal government banned fracking in Nova Scotia. So NS is happy to liquefy and sell fracked gas coming from the U.S., but they won’t allow fracking in their own province. We wonder if the Europeans know about Nova Scotia’s rank hypocrisy? Or if it bothers them if indeed they do know it? We also wonder how truly supportive NS is when it comes to these projects since the fickle liberal government has an anti-drilling streak running through it…
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NY Artist “Channels” Grandma Moses to Paint Anti-Fracking Pictures

FWIW…There is an upstate New York artist who claims famed (and dead) American folk artist Grandma Moses took over her body and guided her hand to produce–yes–anti-fracking art. You really cannot make this stuff up, it’s so off the charts bizarre. She claims her art shows the effects big oil and gas companies have had on upstate New York–except there have been no effects because there’s been no drilling! But facts never get in the way of good fiction, either on the page or on the canvass. Apparently the anti-fracking artist can’t find any museums in New York to show her Moses-inspired art, so she’s displaying (right now) at a museum in Vermont…
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