McClendon Running Out of Money?! Paloma Utica Deal Goes Bust

Can you spare a dimeIn February 2014 MDN told you about a deal cut by wildcatter Aubrey McClendon to lease 130,000 acres in the Ohio Utica Shale, a deal with three different companies (see McClendon Confirms 3 New Utica Shale Deals: Hess, XTO, Paloma). At least one of those deals, with Paloma Resources, went bust this year. According to Paloma’s president, Christopher O’Sullivan, Aubrey didn’t have enough money to close the deal. Which makes us ask the question, is Aubrey running out of money to finance his massive expansion in the Utica?…
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Research: Marcellus Frack Wastewater More Radioactive than Thought

A study published in April reportedly concludes that fracking wastewater may be “more radioactive than researchers previously believed.” The study, titled “Understanding the Radioactive Ingrowth and Decay of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials in the Environment: An Analysis of Produced Fluids from the Marcellus Shale” (full copy below) was published in the peer reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives. In a nutshell, the study says previous looks at the “you’ll glow in the dark, you’re all getting irradiated” issue has only looked at the presence of radium in frack wastewater. The researchers say that in order to judge the true radioactivity of frack wastewater you need to consider the isotopes that radium and radon breaks down into hours, days, weeks, months and years later–especially in closed tanks. And when you do, the authors say the level of radiation people (and the environment) is exposed to goes much higher that previously thought. Is this the smoking gun? Here’s MDN’s layman’s perspective on this new study…
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Disaster on the Horizon: PA Gov Wolf Creates Pipeline Task Force

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has proven, once again, the job he was elected to do is just too big for him. He’s not up to the task. Gov. Wolf has just announced the creation of a “Task Force on Pipeline Infrastructure Development” that will add an additional layer of interference by anti-drilling “environmental organizations” on where pipelines can and (preferably, from their viewpoint) can’t be laid. The Task Force is supposedly an “unprecedented collaboration of stakeholders” from government, drillers, midstreamers, and anti-drillers (euphemistically referred to as environmentalists). A “can’t we all just get along” committee. And this Task Force will “recommend a series of best practices” for where/when/how gathering pipelines will get laid in the Keystone State. John Quigley, acting secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and former staffer at the anti-drilling PennFuture, will serve as chairman of the Task Force. God help us all…
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Hedge Fund Buys ~5 Million Shares of Rex Energy – 9% of Stock

We’ve long written about, and have been fans of, a small driller by the name of Rex Energy. Rex has its headquarters in State College, PA and concentrates on just the Marcellus and Utica Shale region. Over the past year as prices have gone down for natural gas, Rex has sold off various subsidiaries and non-core holdings. The company now concentrates on drilling in just three counties–one in OH and two in PA (see Rex Energy to Sell Acreage in OH & PA, Focus on 3 Counties). Rex has had its financial struggles. In fact, in February it landed on David Fessler’s “Oil Company Death List,” an indication Rex’s debts may overwhelm its revenues (see 19 Oil/Gas Companies on “Death List” – 8 are in Marcellus/Utica). But Rex has soldiered on, trimming and cutting back. Yesterday we told you Rex announced a new addition to the board of directors (see Unusual Move: Rex Energy Adds Analyst to its Board of Directors). Seems like a good fit. But we asked the question, is something more at work here than just adding a new expert to the team? We have no proof of a connection, but not long ago a private investment hedge fund run by Zac Hirzel–Hirzel Capital Management–filed a Form 13G with the Securities and Exchange Commission to declare the fund has purchased nearly 5 million shares of Rex–or 9% of all outstanding shares…
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EPA Power Grab: Redefines Waters of the U.S. to Include Everything

The Obama Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) along with the Obama U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) released a finalized rule clarifying what “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) means vis a vis what can be regulated under the federal Clean Water Act. Unfortunately (but typically) the Obama EPA once again did a power grab and has redefined just about everything but mud puddles as WOTUS and subject to regulation by the EPA. It is, in our opinion, an illegal power grab that must be vigorously opposed by Congress and the courts–to push the EPA back into it’s mansion (they long ago stopped inhabiting a mere box). This new rule is a direct assault on not only the oil and gas industry, but also farmers, ranchers and frankly all landowners with creeks, swamps and ponds (and no, we’re not exaggerating)…
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Newspaper Admits PA Gas-Powered Electric Plant Will Pollute Less

The world has gone topsy turvy. The anti-drilling Scranton Times-Tribune, normally a purveyor of half-truths when it comes to shale drilling, pipelines and the Marcellus Shale in general, has a story that grudgingly admits that no, a planned electric generating plant in Jessup, PA won’t pollute the air nearly as much as anti-drillers say it will. We’ve written a number of articles about Invenergy’s plan to build a 1500-megawatt plant (largest in the state) in the borough of Jessup (Lackawanna County), near Scranton, on an 80-acre former coal mine and landfill site (see MDN’s stories here). The plant will use clean burning Marcellus Shale gas to produce cheap electricity. The main objection to the plant is the possibility of air pollution. Experts interviewed by the Times-Tribune say you’re more likely to breathe harmful air pollution living downwind from a major highway than you are living downwind of this proposed plant…
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WPX Completes $200M Sale to Still-Unnamed Buyer in NE Marcellus

Earlier this month MDN told you that WPX Energy had sold contracts and contracted capacity to buy and sell natural gas on on Transco’s Northeast Supply Link pipeline for $200 million to an undisclosed buyer (see Mystery Buyer to Pay WPX Energy $200M for NE Marcellus Assets). We told you our best guess for who the buyer likely is: Southwestern Energy, the same company that just completed purchasing WPX’s leases and wells in Susquehanna County in February for $300 million (see WPX Finalizes Sale of NEPA Marcellus Leases/Wells to Southwestern). Yesterday WPX issued a press release to say the deal is now done and the money in the bank–but they still don’t/won’t name who the buyer was…
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Park Foundation Resolution Defeated by ExxonMobil Shareholders

happy dance - SnoopyIt’s not often (enough) that the odious and disgusting Park Foundation suffers a total defeat–so we do a happy dance when it happens. It happened yesterday at ExxonMobil’s annual meeting where shareholders handed the Park Foundation (of Ithaca, NY) a humiliating defeat of their resolution that Exxon compose a cockamamie report every year detailing the so-called “risks” involved with unconventional drilling. Apparently the self-loathing Park Foundation wants Exxon to become self-loathing too–to produce a report that essentially says they’re creeps destroying Mother Earth by fracking. Three-fourths of Exxon shareholders said “no thanks.” Shareholders also voted down an idiotic proposal by a group of Catholic priests from Milwaukee who have lost their first love (Jesus Christ) in favor of a new love (Global Warming) to put a global warming expert on the board of directors. Ah, excuse us Fathers, whatever happened to your vow of poverty? Seems the priests of Milwaukee now have more money than the Lord Himself and want to throw their weight around at shareholder meetings rather than save souls…
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John “Foreigner Hunter” Kasich Ready to Announce Run for President

This is so rich. RINO John Kasich, governor of Ohio and someone who despises “foreigners” from places like Texas and Oklahoma from working in his state while courting investments from Thailand and Japan with big money incentives (see OH Gov Kasich Keeps Cracker Plant “Incentives” a Secret–for Now), and someone who wants to tax the Utica Shale industry into oblivion (see OH Gov Kasich the Bully: Accept My 6.5% Tax or Risk a 10%+ Tax), thinks he’s presidential timber. We previously told you Kasich was seriously considering a run for the White House (see OH Gov “Tax Oil and Gas” Kasich Wants to Run for White House). We kind of thought it was a joke. Well, it’s no joke. According to a story in the Washington Post, Kasich will soon make an official announcement that he’s running…
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