Ascent Resources/EMG Sues Aubrey McClendon’s Law Firm for Fraud

bad bloodEverybody’s suing everybody. That about sums up the mess created (sadly) by none other than Aubrey McClendon. The subsidiary businesses that were once part of McClendon’s new company, American Energy Partners (AEP), continue to run away from Aubrey as fast as they can. On Monday, Ascent Resources, once called American Energy Appalachia Holdings but separated from the AEP mothership in June (see Big McClendon News: Sells 35K Utica Acres, Creates New Company), sued the law firm representing Aubrey in the “stolen data” case brought by Chesapeake Energy. Yes it’s complicated and it’s a mess. We’ll attempt to sort this all out so it’s understandable…
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William Penn/Delaware Riverkeeper $320K “Study” Slams Fracking

oldest professionIf you’re a Big Green group, like THE Delaware Riverkeeper, you have millions of dollars to a) launch lawsuits against the natural gas industry, and b) buy yourself research studies that support your twisted viewpoints. It is the latter that happened yesterday. CNA, a not-for-profit organization once called the Center for Naval Analyses, sells itself to the highest bidder (the oldest profession in the world). Most recently they sold themselves to THE Delaware Riverkeeper (we certainly hope they used protection). CNA and THE Delaware Riverkeeper held a press briefing yesterday to release a “study” by CNA titled “The Potential Environmental Impacts of Fracking in the Delaware River Basin” (full copy below). What did the “researchers” at CNA, which is based in Arlington, VA just outside the DC orbit, find? If the moratorium is lifted and shale drilling is allowed in the Delaware River Basin–essentially Wayne and Pike counties in Pennsylvania–CNA says it will lead to “land cover disturbance” in “core forest areas”, extreme water withdrawals from poor little creeks and streams, nasty wastewater polluting everything, erosion everywhere, multiple compressor stations and untold ill health impacts for 75,000 people who live close to all of this mess. See what $320,444 (the actual cost of this study) can buy you? We hope it felt good for Riverkeeper…
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EVEP’s John Walker: NatGas Demand & Prices Heading Higher in 2016

EV Energy Partners (EVEP) is a master limited partnership, or MLP, which distributes profits to “unit holders” instead of plowing profits into more projects. They like to invest in mature, already drilled wells and pipeline companies–things that act like an annuity throwing off profit with very little risk. Over the years EVEP amassed a huge amount of acreage in Ohio–before the Utica was known–mostly for conventional (vertical only) wells. That acreage is held by production and can also be drilled for unconventional/Utica Shale wells. Since 2009 EVEP has been trying to sell some/most of their Utica acreage. Seems like every year we hear “this is the year” from EVEP. Will 2015 be that year? Possibly. EVEP Chairman John Walker, in wide-ranging remarks during a quarterly earnings analyst conference call on Monday hints that new deals are coming, both third party and “drop down” deals where they sell things to themselves on paper. Most interesting to MDN were Walker’s remarks that he believes demand for natural gas will begin to really take off in 2016, and along with it, prices will go higher (more demand than supply)…
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PennEast Pipeline Launches Public Relations Counteroffensive

PennEast Pipeline, the $1 billion, 114-mile, 36-inch diameter pipeline that will deliver 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from the Marcellus gas fields of northeastern Pennsylvania (in Luzerne County) to southeastern PA and New Jersey (terminating in Mercer County, NJ), continues to fight for its life. Lies are constantly spread in mainstream media about PennEast by Big Green groups like THE Delaware Riverkeeper and nutty Sierra Clubbers, and their smaller siblings including Stop the PennEast Pipeline and Berks Gas Truth. As we previously reported, one or more antis have crossed the line into criminal behavior (see FBI Investigates Death Threats Against PennEast Pipeline Workers). So PennEast continues to fight the lies and smears with its own public relations efforts, including a meeting with the editorial board of the reliably anti-drilling Wilkes-Barre Citizens’ Voice and the following article/letter issued yesterday by PennEast Chairman Peter Terranova…
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August EIA DPR: NatGas Production Declines in All 7 Shale Plays

The great slowdown in natural gas production continues in the United States. On Monday the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) issued the latest monthly Drilling Productivity Report (DPR), predicting shale oil and gas production by shale play for the seven major commercially active plays in the U.S. For the first time since the EIA began issuing the DPR all seven plays show a month over month decrease in the amount of natural gas being produced. Last month the Utica Shale play stood alone as the only play that increased natgas volumes month over month (see July EIA DPR – Utica Stands Alone with Higher Natgas Production). This month, even the Utica has gone negative–dropping 3 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) in production over the previous month…
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Lancaster Coal Burning Electric Plant Adding Marcellus NatGas

We often hear about, and report on, new electric generating plants being built that will use Marcellus (or Utica) Shale gas. Panda Power, Invenergy and others are building plants around Pennsylvania to take advantage of cheap, abundant and clean-burning Marcellus Shale gas. What you don’t hear often, but is equally as important, are existing coal plants converting to burn natural gas. The “much-maligned” Brunner Island coal-fired power plant on the edge of Lancaster County, PA is one such plant. Brunner Island will keep its coal burning operation at the plant–for now. They are, however, spending $100 million to add natural gas burners to help drive the plant’s three electric generators. This is an accelerating trend with electric generating plants across the country, particularly in the northeast…
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Sunoco Files Eminent Domain Cases in PA Courts for Mariner East 2

Two days ago MDN told you that Sunoco Logistics Partners had settled, out of court, cases in Harrison and Jefferson counties (Ohio) that will allow the company to build a pair of new pipelines called Mariner East 2 through the area (see Sunoco Settles Case with OH Landowners to Allow Mariner East 2). As we said at the time, Sunoco still faces stiff opposition in other places–particularly in Pennsylvania where the bulk of the pipeline will be built. And sure enough, a new article has popped up about Sunoco LP taking landowners in Washington and Huntingdon counties (PA) to court using eminent domain to gain access to their properties. The problem is, the issue of whether or not Mariner East is a public utility with the right to invoke eminent domain is still an unsettled issue and likely headed to the PA Supreme Court…
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Extra Couple $ Million? Buy a Trailer Park in the Marcellus/Utica

From time to time MDN highlights the investments made by the publicly traded company UMH Properties, a New Jersey-based real estate investment company that buys up trailer parks (see our list of stories here). They’ve paid millions of dollars to buy trailer parks in the northeast. Why? Because those parks are located in the Marcellus/Utica Shale region. That is their stated reason. UMH says in their quarterly earnings call with investors and analysts that the Marcellus and Utica continue to drive their development decisions. We don’t know why, but we find this fascinating. Here are excerpts from the UMH conference call with analysts last week…
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