Former XTO Marcellus Landman Gets 5+ Years in Prison for Fraud

prisonIn a somewhat complicated scam, a former landman for XTO Energy, Steven E. Fisackerly (33 years old) defrauded XTO out of more than $1 million with fake lease deals in the West Virginia Marcellus Shale region. He cooked up bogus documents and passed them off as real, pocketing commissions. He even worked with a supposed/fake mineral rights owner to pocket kickbacks from lease payments sent to the fake rights owner. It was elaborate and convoluted–and ultimately stupid. Fisackerly plead guilty in May and will enter prison on January 4. His sentence? Pay back more than $1 million he defrauded from XTO, and serve 63 months (over 5 years) in federal prison…
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OH Shale Wells Already Smash 2014 Record, 3Q15 Results (Exclusive)

Ohio’s oil and natural gas horizontal well (i.e. Utica) production for 2015 has, has of the third quarter, already surpassed production for all of 2014 according to the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR). The ODNR issued their latest quarterly production update, for 3Q15, yesterday. During 3Q15 Ohio’s horizontal shale wells produced 5.7 million barrels of oil and 245 billion cubic feet of natural gas. Below we have the ODNR’s high level overview of the numbers, along with our own analysis showing: the top 25 producing gas wells, the top 25 producing oil wells, and then the top 25 gas and oil wells as ranked by average production per day. There is a difference! The longer an oil or gas well is online, the less it produces. Newer wells produce more. So we show you which wells are not just producing the most quantity overall, but which wells are producing at the fastest (most productive) rates–even if they haven’t yet been online a full three months (92 days). We also include a link to the complete list of 1,134 wells that had at least some Utica oil or gas production in 3Q15 in a more usable format than that provided by the ODNR
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Magnum Hunter Investor: We’ll Sue to Stop Bankruptcy Filing

Dallas Salazar
Dallas Salazar

A developing situation with Magnum Hunter Resources (MHR). As you know, analysts we’ve read believe MHR is about to file for bankruptcy. In fact, MHR itself indicates bankruptcy is a very real (likely?) option, judging from comments they make in a recent filing they made with the SEC (see Dire Straits: Magnum Hunter Tells SEC Heading for Bankruptcy). However, one of MHR’s largest stockholders, Dallas Salazar, CEO of Austin, TX-­based Atlas Consulting, is telling MHR to hold on (see Activist Investor Threatens Magnum Hunter with Takeover Unless…). Salazar and a growing list of supporters will fight an MHR bankruptcy tooth and nail. Salazar has assembled a team of investors who will sue MHR should the company file for bankruptcy. Salazar’s legal team is the same team that previously (and successfully) sued Washington Mutual on behalf of shareholders. Salazar, in very frank language, has sent a letter to MHR management to let them know bankruptcy is not an option (see the letter below)…
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Chesapeake Energy Floats Plan to Exchange $1.5B Worth of IOUs

On Wednesday Chesapeake Energy announced a “private exchange offer for senior notes.” Disclaimer right up front: We’re not high finance people here at MDN. Some of this stuff befuddles us. However, we’ll try to make sense of what Chessy is offering. If we can boil it all down, Chesapeake is offering to exchange senior notes, or IOUs that are coming due in the next few years, with something called second lien (or secured) notes. Second lien notes are, of course, lower in priority for payback (should there be a default) than more senior notes. Chesapeake is hoping to entice current unsecured (no guarantee of a payback) noteholders with notes currently due in 2017/2018 with secured notes due in 2022 with a more favorable interest rate. The secured notes, as we noted, are second-in-line to other notes and debt obligations. Chesapeake is hoping to exchange up to $1.5 billion of new 8% senior secured second lien notes due in 2022 for certain outstanding unsecured notes. Will they be successful?…
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Marathon/MarkWest Investor Day: 9 New Opportunities in Midstream

Yesterday Marathon Petroleum, new owner of MarkWest Energy Partners, held an analyst and investor day at their Findlay, Ohio headquarters. During the meeting Marathon unveiled a $4.2 billion capital investment plan for 2016. Of that $4.2B, $1.2B will go to infrastructure projects for MarkWest, almost entirely in the Marcellus/Utica region. As part of the presentation Marathon/MarkWest detailed a list of nine potential investment opportunities that is pursued will cost between $6-$9 billion. Among those opportunities: building out pipeline infrastructure in the Rogersville Shale, and investing in “ethane cracker infrastructure.” Below is the press release issued by Marathon along with a copy of the investor presentation they used at the meeting (unfortunately we don’t yet have a transcript of the official presentation). We’ve indicated our favorite slides from the (extensive and long) presentation, slides we think you’ll find interesting too…
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EQT’s Steve Schlotterbeck Becomes President, Heir Apparent

Looks to us like we now know who is next in line to run EQT–one of the largest drillers in the Marcellus/Utica and driller of (so far) the single most productive shale well ever, the Scotts Run 591340 dry Utica well in Greene County, PA producing 72.9 million cubic feet per day initially (see EQT’s 1st Utica Well Shatters Record – 72.9 MMcf/d IP Rate!). Until now David Porges has held the office of president and CEO of EQT. Porges will retain the CEO title, but Steve Schlotterbeck, previously executive vice president and president of exploration & production will take on the role of president for the entire company. Which makes him the heir apparent when Porges decides to retire…
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Cinci Law Firm Opens New Office/Energy Practice in Pittsburgh

292586LOGOJust last week we told you it’s getting so bad out there because of the low price of oil and gas, that even some law firms are closing down. We told you that Burleson LLP, headquartered in Houston but with a sizable office they opened in Pittsburgh six years ago, is shutting down all of their offices, including Pittsburgh (see Prominent Energy Law Firm Closing Down – Lack of Business). That puts 31 Burleson employees (including 26 lawyers) in the unemployment line. But just like that, another law firm, this one from Cincinnati, has just announced they are OPENING a new office in Pittsburgh. And guess what? They’ve hired 10 of those Burleson lawyers for their new Pittsburgh office…
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PennEast: The Long, Careful, Deliberate Road to Pipeline Approval

The latest theme/meme being pedaled by groups like THE Delaware Riverkeeper (Maya van Rossum) and other anti-fossil fuel groups is that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is just a big ole rubber stamp for Big Oil and Big Gas. FERC, they say, never met a pipeline project they didn’t approve. FERC is in the back pocket of the fossil fuel industry. Yada yada yada. Some of the crazier of the crazies took to attending open FERC meetings in Washington, DC and disrupting those meetings (see FERC Clears the Room at DC HQ After Riff Raff Start Mouthing Off). Once they were banned from attending, they began to illegally block entrance to the building (see 24 Anti-Drilling Protesters Arrested by Homeland Security in DC). FERC has been made a kindergartenish bogyman by those who oppose pipelines. To counter some of the nonsense pedaled by these groups (and their willing accomplices in the media), PennEast Pipeline recently published an article to set the record straight. FERC doesn’t simply rubber stamp a pipeline application like PennEast’s–a pipeline proposed to run from Wilkes-Barre, PA to Trenton, NJ. PennEast faces a “gauntlet of approvals”–including 11 federal, state and local agencies that must approve thousands of pages of plans, much of it stringent safety requirements. Approving a pipeline is an intense, detailed, and LONG process in which no stone is left unturned. There is no rubber stamp except in the childish minds of irrational anti-fossil fuelers…
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Patterson-UTI Rig Count Hits New Low in November

As we do every month, MDN tracks how many rigs oilfield services company Patterson-UTI Energy reports operating–as a proxy for when/if the drop in rig counts for the Marcellus/Utica will turn around. Patterson operates a number of rigs in the northeast, as well as other areas of the continental United States (and Canada). The company has just issued their report for November, and once again the rig count went down. However, the company reports idling only one more rig in November over October–operating 91 rigs in November vs 92 in October. Is the slide in rig counts finally ending? About to turn around?…
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