Rex Energy 2015: $373M Paper Loss; Production Up 27%

Rex EnergyRex Energy, a Marcellus/Utica driller based in State College, PA, filed its fourth quarter and full year 2015 financial and operating update yesterday. Although production was down in 4Q15 compared with 3Q15 and 4Q14 (4% and 5% respectively), overall production for Rex for all of 2015 increased 27% over 2014. On paper Rex lost $373 million in 2015–but most of that loss was from the write-down of assets, or “impairments”–meaning it’s a paper loss and not an out-of-pocket money loss. As we’ve previously noted, Rex entered a joint venture deal to get money to keep drilling in the Marcellus and Utica (see Stayin’ Alive: Rex Energy $175M JV to Keep Drilling in PA & OH). What previously escaped our attention is that the NASDAQ stock exchange put Rex on notice that the company’s stock will be delisted if it doesn’t get the per share price over $1 for ten consecutive days. Below yesterday’s update along with information about Rex’s liquidity issues…
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Canadian Cracker Gets $400M Upgrade to Handle More Marc. Ethane

Nova Chemicals’ Corunna (Ontario, Canada) cracker plant is in for a $400 million makeover to convert the plant into using 100% ethane feedstock. The project will also invest in a second pipeline to feed ethane from the Marcellus/Utica to the plant. Nova’s board of directors recently approved the investment and work is scheduled for 2017/2018. This is good news for Marcellus/Utica drillers who are waiting (seems like FOREVER) for a regional ethane cracker plant to get built somewhere in the northeast. Even if one of the three major (and one minor) cracker plants is green lighted for the Marcellus/Utica, will will take 4-5 years to build it. In the meantime, if they can contract pipeline space, drillers can send their ethane to nearby Corunna cracker plant–so this is good news indeed. Here’s the details…
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SWPA Created Bulk of PA’s NatGas Production Increase in 2015

Pennsylvania natural gas production continues to impress, despite rigs being laid down in the later half of last year. Looking at all of 2015, the top two producing counties in the state likely won’t surprise you: #1 was Susquehanna County (where Cabot Oil & Gas drills). Susquehanna produced about 25% of all natural gas produced in the state last year! The #2 producing county was Bradford, also in northeast PA. But counties #3 and #4 in the list may surprise you: Washington and Greene counties, both in southwestern PA. In fact, an analysis done by the Pittsburgh Business Times finds that the 11-county southwestern PA region accounted for 86% of the state’s growth in production last year. That is an amazing statistic! Here’s more of their analysis of PA’s natgas production numbers for 2015…
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FERC Approves TGP Connecticut Expansion Pipeline Project

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) last Friday approved Tennessee Gas Pipeline’s (TGP) Connecticut Expansion project. The project includes building 13.42 miles of new pipeline loops in three states: Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York. When completed, the new looping will serve an additional 72,100 dekatherms of (mostly) Marcellus Shale gas to three utility companies in Connecticut. The $86 million project is in no way connected to TGP’s Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline project. Below are the details for the project, along with a project map…
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Landowners vs Drillers: PA Minimum Royalty Bill Gets a Hearing

There is a renewed push in Harrisburg to pass a minimum royalty bill to protect landowners from getting the shaft by drillers deducting expenses from royalty checks. We’ve tracked this issue for the past few years–an issue that came to the forefront when Chesapeake Energy started to screw landowners in Bradford County (and other locations) out of royalty money (see Bradford County, PA Landowners Sue Chesapeake over Royalties). Bills were introduced in the PA legislature and went nowhere. Last year another new bill was introduced by State Rep. Garth Everett: House Bill (HB) 1391 (see New Bill HB 1391 Will Guarantee PA Landowners 12.5% Royalties). Organizations like the PA chapter of the National Association of Royalty Owners (NARO) fully supports the bill. However, drillers make the counterargument that duly signed contracts which allow for certain deductions should not be swept away with the stroke of a pen. As we’ve previously commented, the issue is one of those rare times when landowners and the industry are on different pages altogether (see Rare Schism Between Landowners & Drillers over PA Royalty Law). HB 1391 is once again being pushed–under discussion yesterday in the PA House…
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PA DEP Issues Wastewater Permit for Invenergy Jessup Power Plant

Last week MDN told you that members of the Jessup Borough Council (Lackawanna County, PA) approved several measures clearing the way for Invenergy to begin building Pennsylvania’s largest natural gas-powered electric generating plant (see Jessup Borough Final Approval for PA’s Largest NatGas Power Plant). We thought Invenergy had all of the necessary permits to begin moving earth and building the plant. But it seems there’s no end of government permits for such a project. The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection yesterday issued a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to Invenergy so they can discharge treated wastewater used to cool the plant…
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Fracking Miracle! Oil from Fracked Shale Wells Now 51% of Total

We don’t say it often enough anymore: Hydraulic fracturing (i.e. fracking) is a MIRACLE that has enhanced and bettered the lives of millions of people across the planet. Contrary to the propaganda pedaled by fossil fuel haters (totally insane people in our humble opinion), fracking is perhaps the most important human invention/innovation of the past quarter century. Take this statistic as proof: According to our favorite government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, oil extracted from fracked wells (as opposed to oil from conventional wells) is now responsible for 51% of all oil produced by the United States. A quarter century ago oil from horizontally fracked wells produced zero oil. What a truly stupendous breakthrough by George Mitchell, Aubrey McClendon, Harold Hamm and other early innovators. Here’s the EIA’s story about the ascendance of oil from horizontally fracked wells…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Wed, Mar 16, 2016

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Universities team up for energy innovation; ODNR issues 8 new Utica permits in OH; Penn State going 100% natgas; fractivist journalism; VA lawmakers want Atlantic Coast Pipeline–bad; GTL plant coming to central Arkansas; propane stocks – what goes up must come down; study refutes EPA’s methane numbers; cheap oil, new pipelines end rail transport; Halcon holding on by a thread; what’s next for Europe’s natgas market?; and more!
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