It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Climate Change World

mad worldWe think it’s hard to overstate the power play being made by those who assembled in Paris earlier this month for the United Nations COP21 Climate Change Conference. As we previously wrote two days ago, Obama will never get Congress to ratify a treaty based on the agreement he signed in Paris (see Paris Climate Treaty Signed by Obama NOT Binding on U.S.). However, like all good fascists, obeying our nation’s laws and Constitution won’t slow BHO down. He’ll figure out how to wave his magic Executive Orders wand and just “make it so.” That’s his plan. You may think we’ve gone mad, but we must point out, yet again, that IF the plan coming out of the Paris conference is actually implemented, it means the end of the fossil fuel industry. Period. We are NOT exaggerating this. That is their stated purpose–to end the world’s reliance on fossil energy. That’s how this agreement is being reported in mainstream media–have you bothered to read the reports? What’s even more insane is that yesterday we received a press release from the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP)–supposedly “the voice of the global upstream industry”–saying the IOGP “welcomes the historic COP21 agreement in Paris last week.” What? They “welcome” the end of fossil energy? Has everyone gone stark….raving….mad?….
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Sad Day: Magnum Hunter Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

If you’ve read MDN for any length of time, you know since February of this year we’ve been hinting and warning that Magnum Hunter Resources (MHR) was heading for bankruptcy (see 19 Oil/Gas Companies on “Death List” – 8 are in Marcellus/Utica). Yesterday MHR, a driller totally focused on the Marcellus and Utica Shale, filed for bankruptcy. We consider it a sad day. Continuing low commodity prices coupled with more than $1.1 billion in outstanding debt (the biggest portion being unsecured IOUs or “notes” due in 2020–some $634.6 million worth), finally led the company to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. MHR says three-fourths of their debt-holders are on board with the bankruptcy filing and also on board with MHR seeking a new $200 million bridge loan to keep operating. Just about all of MHR’s various subsidiary companies are listed in the bankruptcy filing–except for Eureka Hunter, MHR’s midstream/pipeline business. Eureka Hunter is not part of the filing (for now) which likely explains the press release issued just a few days ago promoting Eureka Hunter’s latest stellar performance (see Magnum Hunter De-Listed from NYSE; Still Shopping Eureka Hunter). Here’s the sad news from MHR…
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Genscape: Sabine Pass LNG Export Began Accepting Natgas on Dec 10

Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass LNG (liquefied natural gas) export facility in Louisiana is in the process of ramping up for it’s very first shipment of U.S.-produced LNG that will head to a foreign destination. In fact, this will be the very first exported shipment of LNG from the Lower 48 states–ever. Cheniere itself is tight-lipped about the exact date it fires up the plant and begins liquefaction, the process of supercooling natural gas into liquefied natural gas. So how do we know the plant has been activated? Through the ingenious work and service from a company called Genscape. MDN editor Jim Willis sat in on a Genscape presentation at Bloomberg’s offices in New York City in early November. They have a really cool service. Using special cameras mounted on nearby properties, Genscape can tell if natural gas is flowing through a pipeline, or if a plant’s compressors are fired up and working, or even monitor truck and rail shipments into and out of facilities like Sabine Pass. Using their proprietary technology, Genscape says “the first substantial deliveries (46 million cubic feet) of natural gas flowed into the Sabine Pass facility on Dec. 10. Why does MDN care? Because some of that gas either already does, or soon will, come from the Marcellus/Utica…
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Evil Corporate Raider Carl Icahn Claims Another CEO Scalp

In what has become an all-too-familiar pattern, evil corporate raider Carl Icahn has struck again, claiming another CEO scalp. Like he did with Chesapeake Energy, Icahn increased his stake in another oil and gas company, Cheniere Energy, about to export the very first shipment of exported LNG from the Lower 48 states. After Icahn grabbed a big share of Cheniere (13.8%), he forced out the company’s co-founder and CEO, Charif Souki. It’s disgusting, it’s immoral, it’s unethical–but unfortunately, it’s legal and even vaunted by investors who worship at the alter of the Almighty Buck. Like the case of Aubrey McClendon being forced out of the company he founded, Chesapeake Energy, Souki was a maverick, and he erred by taking too much OPM–other people’s money. The firing of Charif Souki certainly takes the luster and excitement off the company’s pending first export shipment of LNG. If Cheniere goes bankrupt (not beyond the realm of possibility as Souki is credited with keeping the company afloat), it will be because of Icahn’s action. Investors can thank old Carl. What’s happening, of course, is that Icahn wants to put some new financial paint on the company so he can flip it in a year or two, adding more billions to his existing billions. Jerk. The company has appointed an interim CEO (board member Neal Shear) while they look for a new hatchet man like Ichan did at Chesapeake with Doug Lawler. Let the firings begin!…
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Dartmouth Study: Fracking Causes Toxic Metal Wastewater

We call attention to a newly published study from three researchers at Dartmouth College. The new research paper, recently published in the journal Applied Geochemistry, is titled, “Reductive weathering of black shale and release of barium during hydraulic fracturing” (sorry, we don’t have a full copy to share with you). In reading over the Dartmouth press release, it appears the researchers have found evidence that plain water itself, water without extra chemicals added to it, will, under pressure a mile or more down, facilitate or somehow combine with shale and cause barium to leach out of the shale. The research is based on samples from three drill cores from the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and New York. Our understanding of just what they are saying is far from perfect. It seems to us the importance of what they claim to have found is that produced water, which is water that comes from the borehole long after the initial frack flowback water has returned to the surface, contains a lot of barium (and some mild radioactivity) and that produced water must be disposed of safely. You can’t just cart produced water to the local sewage treatment plant and drop it off. That seems to be what they’re saying with this research. You read the description for yourself and tell us what you think it says…
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Don’t Know Jack: Politician Lobbies for High OH Severance Tax

The Marcellus and Utica Shale industry, like all shale industries in the U.S., is getting clobbered. Prices are at historic lows for natural gas–with no prospects it will go higher anytime soon (see Natural Gas Prices Hits 14-Year Low – When Will it Rebound?). Drillers (otherwise known as producers or E&Ps) can’t make a profit. Those who are making a profit are realizing profits that are razor thin–like break-even. So what does a “brilliant” politician like Ohio State Rep. Jack Cera (Democrat) lobby and advocate and agitate for? Raising the severance tax on shale drillers in Ohio. How utterly dense can you possibly be to not see that doing such a thing in this low-price climate would essentially shut down the Utica industry in the state? Or perhaps that’s what Jack really wants?…
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Whispers Turning in Chorus, Halliburton/BH Deal in Trouble

Just one week ago MDN alerted you to what were (then) whispers that the Halliburton buyout of Baker Hughes not be the done deal they portrayed it as (see Is the Halliburton Buyout of Baker Hughes in Trouble?). The whispers that there’s trouble in regulatory paradise around this deal are quickly becoming a chorus. Here are a couple of more articles, from reliable and respected news services, questioning whether or not the merger will happen…
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New Dust Regulation Latest Obama Attempt to Regulate O&G

The Obama Administration continues to push aggressive new regulations (i.e. unlegislated laws) to control the oil and gas industry in the United States. We’ve covered, extensively, the EPA’s egregious violations in this respect. Another agency that hassles the industry is OSHA–the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, part of the U.S. Dept. of Labor. Obama’s OSHA weenies are set to push through new dust regulations that will affect the drilling industry. These new standards apply to silica (or sand) dust. Silica is used in fracking. Here’s the latest attack on the industry…
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Time to Revoke Tax Exempt Status of Anti-Drilling Non-Profits

MDN friend and ace blogger Tom Shepstone, writing on his always-excellent Natural Gas Now website, makes a strong case for the IRS to investigate and revoke the tax exempt status of the anti-drilling non-profit “charity” Clean Air Council (based in Philadelphia). The Clean Air Council is nothing more than a front group that uses money from the Heinz Endowments and William Penn Foundation in a shell game to keep their anti-drilling activities at arm’s length. Plausible deniability. We would add one more organization to the list for investigation and revocation of tax exempt status: THE Delaware Riverkeeper, which is also funded in part by Heinz and William Penn. Here’s a re-posting of Tom’s excellent article…
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