Chesapeake Energy 2Q15: Low Prices Take Big Bite, $5.6B in Red

red inkChesapeake Energy released their second quarter 2015 operating and financial results today. Chessy, as you know, is a big company involved in a number of shale plays–although the Ohio Utica and the Pennsylvania Marcellus are its biggest and most important areas of operation. The good news: Chessy’s OH Utica production increased by 13% from 1Q15–even while curtailing much of their Utica production. Overall, across all of their shale plays, converting oil and natural gas into barrels of oil equivalent production, Chesapeake held the line. In 2Q14 they produced 63.2 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (mmboed) of production, and 63.9 mmboed in 2Q15. The company continued to lower costs over the past year–so it stands to reason if you produce and sell the same amount but lower costs, you make more in profit, right? Wrong. Prices the company received for both oil and natural gas collapsed over the past year. In 2Q14 Chesapeake got an average $2.45 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) for their natural gas. In 2Q15? They got a piddly $1.01/Mcf. Ouch. You can understand why net income (which includes expenses) swung from $371 million in the black for 2Q14 to $5.6 BILLION in the red (a loss) in 2Q15. No wonder Wall Street is telling Chesapeake to sell itself (see today’s companion story)…
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Chesapeake Energy Takeover Rumors Run Rampant

Chesapeake Energy, the largest natural gas driller (by number of wells drilled and by production) for both the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays, released their second quarter financials today. The stock market expected it to be more bad news for the natural gas giant–and indeed it was (see today’s companion story about Chesapeake’s 2Q15 update, going $5.6 billion in the red). In fact, the speculation is that the company is ripe for a takeover–thanks in no small part to current CEO Doug Lawler and his actions in slashing jobs and selling off everything but the kitchen sink. The market’s view (not our view) is that Chessy co-founder and previous CEO Aubrey McClendon left the company in a mess and Lawler has been working tirelessly to untangle that mess and put things right. Some of Lawler’s “putting it right” actions included plunging 1,200 families into economic hardship when he fired them (see Chesapeake’s CEO Celebrates Axing 1,200 People Making Carl More $). Better the peons get fired than corporate raider Carl Icahn, the man who installed Lawler, be prevented from adding a few more million (or billion) to his bank account, right? The funny thing is, if Chesapeake sells now, old Carl is hosed. He bought when the market was high and if they sell now, he’ll take a big loss. Just deserts anyone?…
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NEXUS Pipeline Sends Armed Guards with Surveyors to Protect Them

The City of Green (Summit County), OH is proudly working to prevent a much-needed pipeline, the NEXUS pipeline, from crossing through any of its residents’ properties. Proudly ignorant, we’d day. It’s a shame, but these days workers doing their job–surveying for a pipeline–are sometimes threatened (see FBI Investigates Death Threats Against PennEast Pipeline Workers and Medina, OH Landowner Says He’ll Meet NEXUS Surveyors Packing Heat). So some pipeline companies, like NEXUS, now send armed security guards out with surveyors and pipeline workers–to protect them. City of Green officials seem to imply the armed guards are there to intimidate residents who don’t want to allow a survey of their property. Not true. The guards are there to protect the surveyors who feel threatened for simply taking measurements for a pipeline. What has this world come to?…
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Rex Energy Financial Update for 2Q15: Rev Down 37%

We now have “the rest of the story” for Rex Energy for second quarter 2015. Last week Rex released a partial update for 2Q15. At the time we used the production numbers they released with the prices they received for that production to calculate simple, back-of-the-envelope numbers for revenue, predicting Rex would show a revenue slide of around 16% from 2Q14 to 2Q15 (see Rex Energy 2Q15: Production Up 61%, MDN Provides Missing Rev # s). Yesterday Rex released their financials for 2Q15. How’d we do? Seems our estimate was rather rosy. Rex’s revenue went down 37% year over year–due to the lower commodity prices they received ($72.9 million in 2Q14 to $45.8 million in 2Q15). Rex’s revenue slide is typical of drillers across the country. However, when you factor in all of Rex’s expenses, the picture becomes a bit cloudier. Rex’s net income (net loss) year over year was minus 1,990% ($8.96 million for net income in 2Q14 compared to to minus $151.8 million in 2Q15). But when you scratch beneath the surface you find Rex took a one-time “impairment” hit of $117.8 million in 2Q15. What’s that? Essentially the value of their leases and assets went down–on paper. That $117.8 million “loss” was not a cash loss–just an accounting loss on paper. If you remove the impairment charge from the mix, Rex’s net income for 2Q15 would have been minus $34.0 million, a “mere” 279% decrease year over year…
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PA Gov Wolf Salutes Obama, Eagerly Buys into Clean Power Plan

On Monday President Obama and his rogue Environmental Protection Agency made another power grab, infringing on our freedom and liberty, with the release of a so-called Clean Power Plan (see Obama Stabs Natural Gas Electric Plants in Clean Power Plan). As we pointed out, natural gas use in electric generating plants is one of the casualties in Obama’s latest “brilliant” strategy, much to the consternation of those in the oil and gas industry. But two very important people in Pennsylvania love Obama’s overreach–America’s most liberal governor, Gov. Tom Wolf, and his minion PennFuture Sec. of the Dept. of Environmental Protection, John Quigley. They think Obama’s Clean Power Plan is just dandy–and they intend to plunge Pennsylvania down the same rat hole Obama is taking the rest of the country…
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UGI Provides Update on PennEast & Other New PA Pipeline Projects

During the AmeriGas Partners quarterly analyst conference call yesterday, Pennsylvania utility giant UGI Corporation CEO John Walsh gave an update on several projects of interest for those in the PA Marcellus Shale. Oh! We should point out AmeriGas is the country’s largest propane company and a subsidiary of PA-based UGI, which is why Walsh was on the call. And what did he say? Walsh provided an update on UGI’s $60 million project to build a new LNG production plant in Wyoming County, PA (see UGI Building LNG Plant in NEPA, Local Marcellus Gas to Feed It). He also spoke in glowing terms about the PennEast Pipeline and how he sees that project unfolding (it should be operational by late 2017). Walsh also updated analysts on several pending pipeline projects that will feed electric plants being built in the Marcellus. Here’s what he said yesterday…
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McClendon’s American Energy Partners Gets a New CFO

American Energy Partners, Aubrey McClendon’s new company founded after he was unceremoniously tossed from Chesapeake Energy (the company he co-founded), continues to befuddle us. As we noted in June, some of the subsidiary companies under Aubrey’s AEP umbrella are leaving the nest–even to the point of changing their name so it’s completely dissimilar to AEP (see McClendon’s New Empire Continues to Separate and Leave). Is that Aubrey’s plan playing out? Or are people running as far and fast as they can from McClendon? Frankly, we don’t know. We tend to think it’s the later, to be honest. One of the folks who has left Aubrey behind was AEP’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jennifer Grigsby. She recently left AEP to became CFO of Ascent Resources. Ascent operates in the Marcellus/Utica and used to be American Energy Appalachia Holdings. They are now 100% independent and free from AEP. So McClendon dipped into the Chesapeake talent pool and lured away an old mate he used to work with at Chessy to become the new CFO for AEP–Elliot Chambers…
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Grimm’s Fairy Tales: Rural PA Pipelines Pose “Hidden Risks”

Grimm's Fairy TalesAnother anti-pipeline screed from PBS reporter Susan Phillips at the taxpayer-funded StateImpact Pennsylvania website. This is another propaganda piece in a series meant to smear the superb safety record of pipelines, which happen to be the safest form of transportation on earth (see StateImpact: PA Pipelines “Risky” & “Mystery” – Might Kill ‘Ya Too). The latest “pipelines will kill ‘ya” fairy tale begins this way…
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Update on Halliburton/Baker Hughes Wedding Plans

love birdsWhatever happened to the Halliburton merger/buyout (i.e. shotgun wedding) with Baker Hughes? As we told you in July, the two “love birds” have set a December 1st wedding date (see Halliburton & Baker Hughes Announce a December Wedding Date). In the meantime there’s a lot to do: caterers have to be contracted, a DJ, wedding photographer–you know the drill. Oh! And let’s not forget the Dept. of Justice. They have to be consulted too. It appears that (so far) everything is on track with both the DOJ here at home, and with the European Commission overseas. Both groups have to grant their permission for the two companies to wed. There may be one slight wrinkle (last minute nerves?): Notice in the latest Halliburton update below that the two love birds may decide to push off the wedding date until early 2016–but only if absolutely necessary (they’re just so in love)…
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World First: Large RO/RO Ship Converting to LNG Fuel

This story is not about the Marcellus/Utica per se, but it’s cool nonetheless and we think you’ll find it interesting. In June we told you that Carnival Corp. had ordered up four new megaship cruise liners that will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG)–a first for cruise ships (see Carnival Orders LNG-Powered Cruise Ships + Jim’s Cruise from Hell). A second type of large ship is following suit. Totem Ocean Trailer Express (Totem Ocean), located on the Left Coast (Tacoma, WA), announced yesterday it has signed a contract to convert a “roll-on/roll-off” or RO/RO ship to burn liquefied natural gas (LNG). This is the world’s first major conversion of a large RO/RO vessel to LNG. The work will begin in December and is expected to be completed in 90 days. Is LNG set to take the shipping world by storm?…
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