Top 10 Most-Read MDN Stories of 2015

top-10.jpgThank you for an awesome 2015 at the Marcellus Drilling News blog/news site. You, our dear readers, made it a terrific year. Truth to tell we lost a few subscribers overall in 2015 due to the severe downturn in the drilling marketplace. Some people who work in the industry lost their jobs and did not re-subscribe. Some landowners moved away or otherwise gave up hope that they will see drilling any time soon. But you know, we can’t complain. Many (many!) of you hung in there with MDN for another year. Editor Jim Willis pledges that 2016 will see some much-needed improvements with the design of the site, essentially unchanged since we began it in 2009, and with new product offerings. Stay tuned! In the meantime, we’d like to reflect back on 2015. Everyone else, it seems, has run a “top 10” article list for 2015, so why don’t we? Below are the top 10 most-read stories of 2015 on the MDN web site. But first, a few raw numbers. In 2015 the MDN site received 785,120 “user sessions” (or visits) made by 388,239 different, unique people. Those people viewed 1,496,910 pages on the site, almost all of those pages being articles. Not too shabby if you ask us–that a niche publication like MDN garners more than one-third of a million people viewing 1.5 million pages of content. We know of large circulation magazines that would kill for those numbers! Now, on to the top 10 articles those one-third of a million people viewed the most…
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2 Rigs Reactivated – One in WV, the Other in OH

Another rumor to share–from a good source, a source we believe. Last week this same source told us that a new Utica driller was beginning operations in Tioga County, PA (see The 411 on New Driller Firing Up Rig in Tioga County, PA). The new rumor? There are two more rigs reactivating–one in West Virginia and the other in Ohio. Here’s who’s beginning to drill again…
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PA AG’s Lawsuit Derails Demchak/Chesapeake Royalty Settlement

In March 2015 MDN reported on the “Demchak” royalty case in which a group of Pennsylvania landowners had agreed to a settlement with Chesapeake over Chessy’s alleged shorting of royalty payments (see Chesapeake’s PA Royalty Settlement Affects Some, Not All Landowners). As we reported at the time, “several thousand” landowners sharing two-thirds of the $11 million settlement (the other one-third going to the lawyers) didn’t seem all that great a deal to us. But we’re not PA landowners with a dog in this fight. Toward the end of last year the issue got heated again as landowners (many landowners) were faced with a decision of whether or not to opt out of the settlement (see Packed Meeting in Towanda Discusses Chesapeake Royalty Settlement). Then along came PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane, herself under indictment for felony crimes, with her own lawsuit against Chesapeake over the royalty issue (see PA Atty General Sues Chesapeake Energy, Williams for Royalty Fraud). It seems Kane’s lawsuit has now put the brakes on the Demchak settlement that was supposed to have taken place in early February. That plan is now delayed…
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Atlas Energy Luck Run Out? NYSE Threatens Company with De-Listing

Atlas Energy, a once-major driller in the Marcellus Shale, sold much of their Marcellus operations to Chevron in 2011 (see India’s RIL Loses Bidding War for Atlas Energy – $4.3 Billion Deal with Chevron Goes Forward). The Cohen family that runs the company is interesting and colorful. They bought into the company in the 1990s and happened to be in the right place at the right time, just prior to the discovery of the Marcellus (see The Unconventional Rise & Sale of Atlas Energy). In October 2014, the Cohens did it again. Talk about perfect timing! The Cohens sold more of what was left–for a truly astonishing $7.7 billion–to Targa Resources Partners, just prior to the crash of natgas prices (see Atlas Energy/Pipeline Sells Itself (Again) – for $7.7 BILLION!). What’s left now? With respect to the Marcellus, we don’t think there’s much left. But Atlas still does own operating interests in Marcellus wells. It looks like maybe the Cohen family’s good luck may have run out. The New York Stock Exchange has issued Atlas a notice that unless it’s stock price and market capitalization goes up, the NYSE will de-list the company from the exchange…
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Marcellus/Utica Ethane can Now Hitch a Ride to LA via Aegis Pipe

Last week Enterprise Products Partners reported completing the remaining portion of the Aegis ethane pipeline that runs from Lake Charles, Louisiana to Napoleonville, Louisiana. Aegis is now online and flowing ethane. And that’s good for the Marcellus/Utica. Wait….what? Why is an ethane pipeline built in LA good for the northeast? Because that pipeline will almost certainly be flowing ethane from the Marcellus/Utica. Here’s the connection…
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Range Res. Completes Sale of VA Assets to EnerVest, 55 Lose Jobs

In November MDN reported that Range Resources would sell 3,500 operated wells and approximately 460,000 net acres in the Nora/Haysi combined fields located in southwestern Virginia for $876 million to an unnamed buyer (see Range Sells Coal Bed Methane Wells in VA, Focusing on Marcellus). The stated reason for the sale is to pay down debt and use the money for more Marcellus drilling. The deal is done and dusted. The final price turned out to be $865 million, $11 million less than announced. Although Range has remained tight-lipped about who the buyer was, EnerVest admitted they are the buyer. At the time Range first announced the impending sale, they issued a WARN notice that up to 158 people would lose their jobs when the sale was completed (see 158 Range Resources Employees in SW VA May Lose Jobs by Dec 30). The sale was completed on Dec. 30, but fortunately not all 158 jobs were axed. “Only” 55 jobs were axed while 103 people were extended offers to work for EnerVest. Of course the 55 people who lost their jobs had a sucky Christmas…
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Time for Williams/FERC to Sue NY & End Constitution Pipe Delays

In October of last year MDN added our name to the effort to pressure Gov. Andrew Cuomo to let his Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) move forward with granting water-crossing permits for the much-needed Constitution Pipeline (see Time to Force NY DEC to Issue Permit for Constitution Pipeline). The corrupt Andrew Cuomo is up to his old tricks–delay and eventually deny. The time has now come to force the issue. A DEC official has admitted his agency is on the precipice. If they don’t issue the permit for the Constitution, New York is in danger of a federal takeover in granting such permits (see DEC Official Says NY in Danger of FERC Taking Over Pipeline Permits). We say that time has now come. It’s time for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to use its power to override New York and issue the permit and forever sideline Cuomo’s corrupt administration from playing a role in such issues. It’s also time for Williams to man-up and ue New York and go negative against “the Empire State.” That is the theme and MDN friend Tom Shepstone’s latest excellent article (from Natural Gas Now), which we’re re-posting here on MDN. We’ve seen this movie before with fracking. Cuomo intends to deny this pipeline and now is the time to fight it for all it’s worth, using every legal means possible to move forward with building the Constitution…
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OOGA’s 2015 Year in Review: No Hike in OH Severance Tax in 2016

David Hill, president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association (OOGA), provides an enlightening “year in review” for 2015. As part of his summary of the issues facing the oil and gas industry in the Buckeye State, he offers this with respect to an impending increase in the severance tax: “I am pleased to report that it looks like we won’t have to discuss the severance tax for the next year or so.” Good news indeed for drillers in Ohio in 2016. As Hill says, the price of oil and natural gas have collapsed–oil because of a worldwide oversupply, and natural gas (in the northeast) because of lack of pipelines. Among the issues Hill tackles is the so-called Community Bill of Rights movement, unitization laws, and more. It’s a good read…
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Should Chesapeake CEO Doug Lawler Start Looking for a New Job?

MDN has not been very complimentary of the tenure of Doug Lawler in taking over as CEO of Chesapeake Energy. Corporate raider Carl Ichan tossed Chesapeake’s co-founder and CEO for it’s entire existence (until Lawler) of Aubrey McClendon. We know, McClendon is no boy scout and certainly had his faults, but we find it sick and disgusting when an investor who holds approximately 8% of the outstanding shares in a company can eject its founder, appoint his own “tool” and embark on massive layoffs as a way of making himself money. Legal? Perhaps. Moral? Never. So we found a portion of an article on The Motley Fool interesting–an article about three CEOs in “the hot seat.” The article quotes Lawler as saying Icahn hired him to deliver on the bottom line–higher stock share price. Over the past year Chesapeake’s stock has decreased in value by 80%. Perhaps it’s time for old Doug to polish up his resume?. Doug may soon know what it feels like to get a pink slip–like the ones he’s handed out, about 2,000 times over the past couple of years…
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Eagle Asset Mgmt Sells Gulfport Energy, Buys Rice Energy Stock

Eagle Asset Management is a privately owned investment manager. The firm pools and invests $31 billion from high net worth individuals, investment companies, pension and profit sharing plans, pooled investment vehicles, charitable organizations, corporations, and state or municipal government entities. One of the areas that Eagle invests in is the oil and gas industry. We always find it interesting how people with big money to invest decide where to invest (essentially place bets on). According to the latest paperwork filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, during the third quarter of 2015 Eagle Asset decreased their investment in one Marcellus/Utica driller, Gulfport Energy, while increasing their investment in another Marcellus/Utica driller, Rice Energy…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, Jan 4, 2016

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: 3 new natgas pipes go online in November; Morningstar downgrades CONSOL credit rating; NY towns get foamy; green eggs and renewable scam; Latta asks for pipeline details; pipelines converge in Lebanon County; Kinder blasts MA AG; VA DEQ grants OK to Columbia pipe; and more!
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