CONSOL Energy/Noble Energy Rumors Continue to Swirl

swirlFollowing up on our CONSOL Energy/Noble Energy rumor from last Friday, MDN now has a second source that delivers a bit more information about the rumor–refining it for us. We told you on Friday that a persistent rumor among those working for or with CONSOL Energy is that Noble Energy is lining up to buy the gas division, CNX (see Rumors Circulate that CONSOL May Sell Itself to Noble Energy). A new source tells MDN that a complete buyout of CNX is not necessarily in the cards–but that Noble Energy is “taking over” the joint venture acreage the two currently hold in a 50/50 deal in the Marcellus/Utica…
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Goldman: Cabot O&G, Range Resources Among Top Takeover Targets

bigger fish smaller fishWith all of this talk about CONSOL Energy and Noble Energy and mergers/acquisitions and workforce reductions, we came across an interesting story and analysis by SNL Financial summarizing a Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research report issued last Friday. The Goldman report evaluates 38 exploration and production (E&P) companies on their suitability and desirability as mergers and acquisitions candidates based on asset quality, potential upside returns to the buyer as oil and gas prices improve, and low break-even operations. That is, of all the E&Ps out there, which ones are most likely to be targeted for a takeover, and by whom? The surprising answer is that Cabot Oil & Gas and Range Resources, both huge Marcellus drillers, are among the takeover targets. And the super majors interested in doing the taking over? Exxon Mobil and Statoil
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NEXUS Pipeline Sues for Survey Access, Wins Most of the Time

An update on a story we brought you one week ago. Last Monday MDN told you that the NEXUS pipeline, primarily a project of Spectra Energy, sued four Medina County, OH landowners who refuse NEXUS surveyors access to their property (see NEXUS Pipeline Sues 4 Medina County Landowners for Survey Access). On Friday, a Medina County Common Pleas judge rejected NEXUS’ request for a restraining order that would allow them access. The case goes to trial on September 24. But lest we leave the wrong impression, judges in just about every other Ohio county where NEXUS has had to sue for survey access have granted NEXUS the restraining orders they were seeking…
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Hilcorp Well Pad Approval Conundrum in Lawrence County Resolved

In May MDN told you about an unusual case in Pulaski Township (Lawrence County), PA where all three Board of Supervisors had a potential conflict of interest if they proceeded to approve a well pad for Hilcorp (see Conflict of Interest Prevents Hilcorp Wellpad Approval, What Now?). The proposed well pad would sit on one of the supervisors’ property. A second supervisor owns land adjacent to the first and his land would presumably be located in the first’s drilling unit. So they were both out of the running to make a motion. The third supervisor works for Hilcorp, so she couldn’t make the motion. We asked the question, what next? Now we know. A provision in Pennsylvania state law, according to a legal notice filed by Hilcorp, states that a decision “is deemed to have been rendered in favor of the applicant” after Hilcorp published legal ads on July 9 and 16. Anyone who wants to challenge it has 30 days to do so in the PA Court of Common Pleas (county court). No comment from anti-drillers at The Fracking Resistence, Lawrence County, PA (so far) other than to note that on their Facebook page that Supervisor Sam Varano will get a well pad after all…
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Stone Energy’s Marcellus Production Pleasantly Surprises in 2Q15

Two weeks ago Stone Energy Corporation, one of the smaller drillers in the Marcellus Shale region, issued a drilling and production update. No, Stone has not suddenly begun drilling in the Marcellus again. As we told you earlier this year, Stone hit the pause button on new drilling in the Marcellus after 1Q15 (see Stone Energy 1Q15: No New Marcellus Drilling, But More Production). The recent drilling/production update from Stone is mostly about their Gulf of Mexico deepwater operations. But notice the final paragraph where they mention Marcellus (Appalachia) production…
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Warren Resources Boasts Lowest Breakeven Cost in Marcellus

Last week MDN told you that Warren Resources, a small, independent exploration and production company headquartered in New York City with a very small Marcellus drilling program (just two wells this year) is looking for a new CEO (see Help Wanted: Warren Resources Launches Search for New CEO). Warren Resources also issued an operations update last week. The update shows Warren is done drilling their two planned Marcellus Shale wells for 2015 and has now begin the completions process, which is expected to be done sometime in August. Below is the introduction and Marcellus portions of Warren’s operational update from last week, which includes the boast that Warren has the lowest breakeven cost in the Marcellus…
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Athens, OH Antis Win Court Approval for Anti-Injection Well Vote

You have to give the anti-drilling nutjobs one thing: they’re persistent. And we need to be just as persistent if we’re going to overcome their lunatic objections to fossil fuels. Case in point: In February the Ohio Supreme Court, once and for all, struck down so-called “home rule” legislation passed by local municipalities where anti-drillers are able to convince enough citizens to vote for it (see OH Supreme Court Strikes Down Home Rule in Gas Drilling Case). When it comes to creating local laws and zoning ordinances that prohibit or otherwise try to control oil and gas drilling and associated activities, Ohio state law stipulates only the State regulates it–not towns and villages and cities. That’s the law, and that’s the law the Supreme Court upheld. Athens County, hotbed of anti-drilling radicalism, has put numerous ballot measures before its citizens in an attempt to stop shale drilling. They finally won one last November (see 3 of 4 Frack Ban Ballot Measures in Ohio Fail – Athens Exception). However, the Supreme Court decision renders the Athens ballot initiative null and void. But that doesn’t stop the crazies in Athens. They’re back again with another ballot measure–this one targeting wastewater injection wells. A lower court judge gave them clearance last week to put their proposed measure, illegal as it is, on the ballot in November…
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Columbia Pipeline Worker Risks His Life to Save a Stranger in WV

Countless times we’ve seen the oil and gas industry demonized by people who hold to strange philosophies–like oil and gas are fossil fuels and fossil fuels threaten the climate of Mother Earth and the use of said fossil fuels must be ended. It’s a cockamamie and frankly false philosophy–but it motivates many to demonize not only the industry, but those who work in it (or support it). Sometimes it helps to put a face on people who work in the industry. Like Michael Marques, who works for Columbia Pipeline Group–a major pipeline company headquartered in Houston, TX but with a major presence in the Appalachian (Marcellus/Utica) region. Marques was on his way to a service call in Kanawha County, WV when he noticed a local resident caught in the Pocatalico River during a flash flood. Without hesitating, Marques jumped in, risking his own life, to save the life of a man he didn’t know. That’s the kind of salt-of-the-earth people who work in the oil and gas industry. Here’s the story of Michael Marques–a hero–and his action to save local resident Bobby Lawson…
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Supply Chain Success: Slinging Burgers & BBQ at Utica Drill Pads

We love a good supply chain story. A story about a local businessperson who figures out how to sell his or her services to the Marcellus and Utica Shale industry. Here’s a tasty one for you: How about the story of a local food delivery service that slings burgers and barbecue for workers at drilling sites in the Ohio Valley? Meet Dean Barath, owner of Ideal Provisions, who makes a great living by serving the Utica Shale industry in his neck of the woods…
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Killer Weeds Attack! Shale Drilling Causes “Invasive” Plant Growth

weeds attackJust when you’ve think you’ve heard it all when it comes to how evil and nasty fracking and shale drilling are, along comes another story of the horrors of shale drilling. An article in the most recent issue of the journal Invasive Plant Science and Management says shale and pipeline drilling in Colorado’s Piceance Basin (pronounced “pee awns”, located in northwestern Colorado) disturbs the dirt and because the dirt gets disturbed it gives non-native, “invasive” plants a chance to grab hold and choke out all other vegetation–or some such thing. Apparently the housing boom in Colorado that digs up more dirt than all of the drill pads and pipelines combined doesn’t have the same effect on the invaders. Maybe invasive plants don’t like the construction workers and backhoes that dig up dirt for a house foundation like they do construction workers and backhoes that dig up dirt for a drill pad or pipeline. Wait–they’re the same construction workers and backhoes? Shhh. Don’t tell the invasive plant species…
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