Another Sad Day: GreenHunter Resources Files for Bankruptcy

greenhunter resourcesIn December we reported the sad news that Magnum Hunter Resources (MHR) finally had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection (see Sad Day: Magnum Hunter Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy). MHR has a variety of subsidiary companies. One of those companies, Eureka Hunter (midstream/pipelines) has so far stayed out of bankruptcy court. But a sibling to Eureka Hunter, GreenHunter Resources (water and wastewater) has now succumbed. Yesterday GreenHunter issued a statement (below) that it and its myriad of (on paper) subsidiary companies have filed for “reorganization” under the Chapter 11 bankruptcy law. GreenHunter owns injection wells in both West Virginia and Ohio and was hoping to barge frack wastewater/brine to those wells as a cheap form of transportation. Last week the U.S. Coast Guard effectively put an end to that dream (see Coast Guard Caves to Political Pressure, No Wastewater Barging). Is it coincidence that GreenHunter has now filed for bankruptcy? Perhaps, but we’re suspicious. GreenHunter wouldn’t be the first company the Obama Administration has driven out of business…
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Aubrey McClendon Indicted by DOJ for Conspiracy in Bid Rigging

AubreyMcClendon.jpgcon·spir·a·cy – noun – a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful. Yesterday the U.S. Department of Justice indicted a single person–Aubrey K. McClendon, on a single count of conspiracy. He is alleged to have conspired to rig bids for oil and gas leases in Oklahoma, his home state, from 2007 to 2012. Do you see the obvious contradiction here? In order to have a conspiracy, you need more than one person. Yet the FBI and the DOJ have brought charges against only one person. It takes at least two people to have a conspiracy–so why has no one else been indicted? McClendon issued a statement (below) blasting the DOJ, pointing out he is the only person in 110 years to be prosecuted under the Sherman Act for bid rigging. What really hurts is that Chesapeake Energy, the company Aubrey co-founded, has been attempting to sell him out in return for not being prosecuted by the DOJ. Anyone else smell a rat in this whole thing?…
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Stayin’ Alive: Rex Energy $175M JV to Keep Drilling in PA & OH

Rex Energy, a relatively small driller that drills almost exclusively in the Marcellus/Utica and with headquarters in State College, PA, has a new investor/partner. Drillers across the country and doing everything they can to stay in business with the bottom dropping out of prices they receive for what they produce. Rex is getting $175 million from investment firm Benefit Street Partners to help drill up to 58 new wells in Rex’s Moraine East area (Butler County, PA) and Warrior North area (Carroll County, OH). In return for investing, Benefit Street Partners will receive ownership of anywhere from 15% to 65% in the wells they help fund. Below are the details for how Rex is stayin’ alive…
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EXCO: No Marcellus Drilling in 2015/2016, NYSE Threatens Delisting

EXCO Resources, once a sizable player in the Marcellus–with 145,000 net acres in the Marcellus and having drilled and operating 124 horizontal Marcellus wells–has pretty much abandoned the Marcellus at this point. The company filed its fourth quarter and full year 2015 financial and operational update yesterday. In picking through the report, we find that EXCO didn’t drill a single new well in the Marcellus in 2015, and has no plans to do so in 2016. Instead, the company is concentrating their meager $103 million 2016 budget on drilling new wells in North Louisiana and East Texas. According to EXCO they get their highest rate of return (35%) in that area. Buried (and we mean buried) in the report is the news that the New York Stock Exchange has threatened the company with delisting its stock (share price is averaging under $1). The company’s proposed “fix” for the low stock price is a reverse split, combining 10 shares of existing stock into one share of new stock. Zooming out to focus on the company’s financial health, EXCO shows a $1.2 billion loss for 2015–but as with other companies, most of it was a paper loss due to impairments or write-downs of the value for its assets, rather than out-of-pocket money loss. Here’s selected portions of yesterday’s update…
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PA Gov. Wolf Refuses to Let DEP Hire People–When Money is There

Yesterday Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary John Quigley was grilled by PA lawmakers as to why his department continues to be understaffed–when there’s money earmarked to hire new people. Quigley’s roundabout answer? His boss, Gov. Tom Wolf, won’t let him hire anyone new, using the excuse that last year’s budget is not finalized. The radically partisan Wolf continues to use the budget as a political weapon against Republicans. But here’s the thing–the money to hire new DEP personnel is already there, raised from fees assessed on drillers or transferred from the federal government. The money required for hiring many of the new people for the DEP isn’t part of the general fund. Yet Wolf won’t let Quigley hire, sleazily trying to spin it as a “Republicans won’t pass the budget” excuse. Shame on Wolf for lying about what he’s doing. Quigley was on the hot seat yesterday, and Republican legislators didn’t hold back, telling Quigley to quit whining and to start owning his own mess…
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Gov. Cuomo Asks FERC to Halt Algonquin Pipeline Near Nuke Plant

Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline project is an $876 million expansion of the existing Algonquin pipeline system that will carry 342 million cubic feet of natural gas per day to New England states that badly need the gas. On March 3, 2015 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued their final approval for the project, allowing it to go forward. Construction began last year and continues now, with a target in-service date later this year. That is, until New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo stepped in. Cuomo sent a letter on Monday to FERC (copy below) asking FERC to stop construction of AIM because the proposed pipeline path takes it right next to a “troubled” nuclear power plant along the shoreline of the Hudson River. Cuomo says he’s concerned about the drilling that will take place, being so close to a plant that has ongoing issues. Will Cuomo once again stop a natural gas pipeline from being built? Cuomo refuses to allow the state Dept. of Environmental Conservation issue stream crossing permits for the FERC-approved Constitution pipeline, and now he’s trying to screw a second pipeline from being built. If you ask us, this is getting out of hand…
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Dimock Trial: Cornell Prof Tony Ingraffea Exposed as Fractivist

MDN has written, forever, about fractivist professor from Cornell University Tony Ingraffea. We still recall the first time we heard “Tony the Tiger” in person nearly six years ago (see Cornell Hydraulic Fracturing Expert Headlines First Meeting of New York Residents Against Drilling (NYRAD) in Vestal, NY). We said this at the time: Dr. Ingraffea is an accomplished speaker. He is equal parts comedian and expert, and he knows how to “work a crowd.” Indeed. He has since retired from Cornell but has created a cottage industry for himself in bashing natural gas and shale energy. The dunderheaded lawyer representing the two families suing Cabot Oil & Gas for contaminating their water in Dimock, PA called Tony the Tiger to the witness stand, as an “expert witness.” At first he wowed the crowd and the jury. We told you, he’s a good speaker. He also claimed, under oath, he’s not a protester or fractivist (an outright lie–perjury in our opinion). Cabot’s lawyers proceeded to shred his credibility under cross examination. Turns out Tony has never been involved with drilling or fracking a single well. Ever. The only thing he does is sit his rear-end in front of a computer and make pretty pie charts and “analyze” data. Oh, and he attends anti-fracking rallies too–as he admitted under oath to the Cabot lawyer. So much for the “expert” witness who claims he’s just a scientist and not a radical anti-driller…
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NY Lawmakers Want State Pension Fund to Divest from Fossil Fuels

It looks like students at the University of Pittsburgh aren’t the only the only ones who are devoid of intelligence (see Pitt Brats “Demand” Endowment Divest from < 1% Fossil Investments). You can now add a group of Democrat lawmakers in New York State’s Senate and Assembly to the list of fools. Some two dozen Democrat lawmakers want State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli (radical Democrat), the sole trustee in charge of investing the state’s public workers pension fund (worth $178.3 billion), to sell any investments the fund has in companies that engage in extracting fossil fuels. Why? Because they believe in the fairy tale that burning fossil fuels causes Mother Earth, whom they worship, to heat up. Never mind global warming isn’t actually happening and hasn’t been happening for nearly 20 years (see Inconvenient Global Warming Fact: Avg Temp Hasn’t Risen in 18 Yrs)–it’s what you can make people believe that counts…
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Bill Allowing Surveyors Private Property Access Fails in WV Senate

In June 2014 EQT and NextEra US Gas Assets formed a joint venture to build a 330-mile pipeline from Wetzel County, WV to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsylvania County, VA to deliver abundant, cheap Marcellus and Utica Shale gas to markets throughout the southeast (see EQT Announces New Marcellus/Utica Pipeline to Southeastern US). The project is called Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). A number of West Virginia landowners objected to MVP and would not let surveyors on their property, so MVP (i.e. EQT and NextEra) threatened to sue the landowners claiming eminent domain laws to enter their properties (see WV Landowners Say They’re Bullied by Mountain Valley Pipeline). A month later they did sue (see Mountain Valley Pipeline Sues 103 WV Landowners for Survey Access). But it takes a long time to sue individual landowners in hundreds of cases. So somebody talked to somebody and a bill was introduced in the WV Senate this year, Senate Bill (SB) 596–which would allow surveyors to enter private properties to do survey work as long as a notice was sent by certified mail ahead of time. No doubt the bill was in response to the ongoing, thorny issue of surveying for MVP. The bill passed out of committee with a split vote. But the bill was voted down by the full Senate…
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Shell Giving Up on Shale? Merges Unconventional with Conventional

Just last November supermajor Royal Dutch Shell announced they were restructuring their upstream (drilling) units into two divisions: conventional and unconventional/shale (see Shell Restructures Upstream into Conventional/Unconventional Units). Then last week Shell announced they’ve scrapped the plan and will continue to treat all of upstream as one division within the company. What happened? Is this a signal that Shell is giving up on shale?…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Wed, Mar 2, 2016

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: The ethane-heavy northeast; pipeline will be good for MA; Duke gets OK to build gas-powered electric plants; shale companies turn to Big Data to crunch drilling data; America’s amazing shale revolution is not over yet; record dry natgas production of 27 Tcf; Chesapeake still alive–barely; Exxon floats bonds to buy up distressed drillers; and more!
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