Problematic: McClendon’s AEP Not Paying Some of its Bills

Houston, We Have a ProblemDoes Aubrey McClendon’s American Energy Partners (AEP)–the new company he founded after being unceremoniously booted from Chesapeake Energy–have cash problems? You certainly wouldn’t think so. At last check in May 2014, McClendon had raised a staggering $8.7 billion in little more than a year (see Aubrey McClendon Raises Huge $8.7B for Shale Drilling…So Far). But the evidence keeps piling up that Aubrey isn’t paying his bills. In April, McClendon created a “blank check” company to raise $200 million in cash (see Aubrey McClendon’s New “Blank Check Company” Looks to Raise $200M). In May, Paloma Resources said a 3-way deal including McClendon’s AEP to lease 130,000 acres in the Ohio Utica Shale went bust because Aubrey didn’t have enough money to close the deal (see McClendon Running Out of Money?! Paloma Utica Deal Goes Bust). Last week MDN told you about a contractor working for AEP with several hundred thousand dollars in outstanding invoices that have gone unpaid–for more than 120 days (see Big McClendon News: Sells 35K Utica Acres, Creates New Company). Now the latest: a group of Ohio landowners have sued McClendon’s AEP along with an affiliate company and a land services company working for AEP, for non-payment of lease bonuses…
Continue reading

List of Who’s Still Active/Drilling in the Ohio Utica Shale

Who’s still drilling/active in the Ohio Utica Shale? Depends on what criteria you use to measure it. We spotted a list of 19 “active” drillers in the Utica based on the criteria of who had producing wells in the first quarter of 2015. Fair enough. But as for who is actively drilling new holes in the ground right now? That’s a slightly different list. MDN recently published Volume 1 for the 2015 Marcellus and Utica Shale Databook (now in our fourth year of publishing this series). Our list shows 12 drillers who received at least one permit to drill in the Utica during the first four months of 2015. We have both lists below…
Continue reading

PA PUC Sues Snyder Bros to Collect $500K in Unpaid Impact Fees

CORRECTION: The PUC misspoke in the figures given to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Snyder Brothers were actually fined a total of $499,520 — $390,250 for impact and administrative fees, $11,707.50 in interest and a fine of $97,562.50. Our thanks to NGI’s Shale Daily for tracking down the mistake and alerting us to it!

Last year we brought you the interesting story of strippers in the Marcellus–stripper wells, that is (see High-Priced Strippers in PA: Semantic Gymnastics with Impact Fee). Synder Brothers is an oil/gas producer in Pennsylvania. Most of the wells they drill are vertical-only wells. Among them are 24 wells from 2011 and 21 wells from 2012 that are vertical only–but all targeting the Marcellus. According to the definition of a stripper well under the Act 13 law passed in 2012, a well qualifies as a stripper well if it doesn’t produce over 90 thousand cubic feet (Mcf) of natural gas per day. Synder Bros. says their wells don’t, ergo their wells are stripper wells and not liable to pay an impact fee. The PA Public Utility Commission (PUC), charged with evaluating what does and does not qualify, says nope–your wells target the Marcellus formation and produced above 90 Mcf for at least one month out of the year, therefore must pay the impact fee. So the PUC has sued Snyder Bros. and intends to collect $500,000 in unpaid fees in the next 20 days, PLUS a $50,000 fine for inconveniencing the PUC…
Continue reading

Why Haven’t Anti Groups Opposed Andrew Place for PA PUC?

Andrew Place - EQTSurprisingly, a very perceptive article in the Harrisburg Patriot-News asks the question, Why hasn’t there been a peep on the part of anti-drillers over the nomination of EQT’s Andrew Place to become a member of the board for the state’s Public Utility Commission (PUC)? Indeed, it’s a great question. EQT is a major Marcellus Shale driller based in Pittsburgh. The PUC is charged with collecting impact fees from shale drillers. The author of the article says imagine this headline, if it were 2014: “Corbett administration taps shale industry exec for key regulatory post.” Mainstream (Democrat) media would have a field day! We would have been treated to nonstop exposés on how Tom Corbett is in the back pocket of the drilling industry…political payoff…political patronage…backroom dealing…conflict of interest…et cetera ad nauseam. A year later it’s a Democrat governor doing the appointing, so the obedient Democrat media hasn’t breathed a word questioning the appointment. We’ve seen wingnut groups disagree with Wolf when it comes to drilling–they’d rather have no drilling than tax it, given the option. So why are these same “environmental” groups, like PennFuture which is opposed to the drilling industry and anyone/anything connected to it, apparently OK with the nomination of Andrew Place?…
Continue reading

Poll: Majority of Voters in VA, WV, NC Favor Atlantic Coast Pipeline

The Consumer Energy Alliance, a non-partisan group providing consumers with sound, unbiased information on U.S. and global energy issues, recently published the results of a scientific poll of residents in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia that has major implications for pipelines and infrastructure work in the Marcellus/Utica. The poll found majorities of voters in NC, VA and WV have heard about Dominion’s $5 billion, 550-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline–and they support it. Voters overwhelmingly believe pipelines are the safest means to transport natural gas. More than 80% of the voters surveyed said energy will be a significant factor in how they vote. This is really good news for the shale industry. Seems we’re constantly bludgeoned in the northeast when it comes to pipeline projects (NY, MA, NH, et al). But not in the southeast. Voters there have their heads screwed on straight and can tell the difference between the truth and lie–and they know that pipelines like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will be good for their region. Of course, voters in the southeast tend to be Republican/Conservative and sure enough, the results show that a large majority of those identifying as Republicans and/or Conservatives support pipelines, whereas a majority of Democrats/Liberals don’t. Pipelines, like drilling, are a partisan issue. It shouldn’t be that way! These issues should be decided on the science–but science was thrown out the window a long time ago. Drilling and pipelines–indeed your attitude on the use of fossil fuels–is largely determined by your political philosophy. Below we have a summary of the poll, along with the details (crosstabs), for those who want to dig into the nitty gritty…
Continue reading

OH Agency Greenlights NRG Utica Pipeline to Feed Electric Plant

Utility energy giant NRG, with loads of coal and natural gas electric generating plants scattered across the country, has just received the OK from the Ohio Power Siting Board to build a 20-mile pipeline from rural Lorain County, OH (where it will connect with a Dominion East Ohio pipeline) and connect to an NRG-owned natural gas powered electric generating plant in Avon Lake. The pipeline will flow Utica Shale gas to power the plant. Some landowners along the proposed route fought the plan, but the Ohio Power Siting Board rejected their claims there are better routes, saying NRG looked at all the possible routes. With the Board’s approval, NRG is taking the landowners to court with eminent domain cases…
Continue reading

Eclipse Resources Floats $650M in New IOUs

Eclipse Resources, the State College, PA-based pure play driller that drills mostly in the Ohio Utica Shale, is the latest contestant to enter the mad-dash-for-cash sweepstakes. On Friday Eclipse announced they are floating a round of “senior notes” (essentially IOUs) with the aim of raising $650 million in cash. They’ll use some of the money to pay off older debts/IOUs…
Continue reading

Manhattan Institute Report Says Shale 2.0 Just Getting Started

The New York-based Manhattan Institute, a non-profit think tank with a mission “to develop and disseminate new ideas that foster greater economic choice and individual responsibility,” released a new report in May titled, “Shale 2.0: Technology and the Coming Big-Data Revolution in America’s Shale Oil Fields” (full copy embedded below). The report explores and debunks the current meme coming from mainstream media, Saudi Arabia and other opponents of shale energy that with the current low price climate shale energy in the U.S. is done…fini…kaput. Mark Mills, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of the paper, says Shale 1.0 is now done, having run it’s course. But we’re still very early in the game and Shale 2.0 is just getting started. And oh, the (economic) places Shale 2.0 will take us!…
Continue reading

Pitt. Post-Gazette Affirms AMA Lie re Frack Chemical Disclosure

Shale drillers already full disclose the relative thimbleful of chemicals used in fracking solutions. They do so by listing them on the FracFocus.org website–well by well for each well they drill. Recently the American Medical Association, either through ignorance or (more likely) an intentional desire to mislead the American public voted to adopt a resolution calling for the full disclosure of chemicals used in fracking (see American Medical Assoc Votes for Full Disclosure of Frack Chemicals). Makes no difference that this already happens. The point is to further the myth that it doesn’t happen. Just to ensure low information headline readers are 100% brainwashed on this issue, the editorial writers at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette come along to affirm the AMA’s lie…
Continue reading

OH Congressman Bill Johnson: It’s Time US Ramps Up LNG Exports

U.S. Congressman Bill Johnson, who represents eastern and southeastern Ohio (Utica Shale country) has introduced HR 315, a bill to force the Dept. of Energy to make decisions within 30 days for each new LNG project filed with the agency. Johnson also recently went on a trip to Portugal, Belgium, and the Ukraine to discuss energy policy–specifically liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports from the United States. Johnson penned the following column following his trip, advocating for U.S. LNG exports and discussing HR 315…
Continue reading

FrackFeed Site Uses Pop Culture to Spread Truth about Fracking

You Have Fracking Questions?An edgy new pro-fracking website has sprung up that deserves your attention. It’s called FrackFeed.com and it’s designed along the lines of BuzzFeed, a news and entertainment site aimed at Millennials. FrackFeed, like BuzzFeed, contains short, “pithy” articles–but in FrackFeed’s case the articles respond to and expose the lies peddled by anti-drillers–using humor. The format is meant to be easily “consumed” on a smart phone–and shared with others. Of course the “cool, hipster” anti-drilling nutters are flustered that pro-drillers are turning one of their own tools against them–exposing them for the humorless mind-numbed robots they are. We love it when someone figures out how to get under their skin! Example: categories on the site include Quizzes, Memes and something called “Listicles”. FrackFeed uses the image of the fictional Ron Burgundy (actor Will Ferrell) of the Anchorman movies with the superimposed statement: “You Have Fracking Questions? I Have Fracking Answers!” Love it!…
Continue reading