Rumor Comes True: TransCanada Buying Columbia Pipeline for C$13B

rumor-mill.jpgThat was pretty fast. One week ago MDN told you that the rumor mill was working overtime about a potential buyout of Columbia Pipeline Group, a major Marcellus/Utica midstream company, by TransCanada, of Keystone XL Pipeline fame (see TransCanada Makes Play to Buy Columbia Pipeline for $10B). The number bandied about was $10 billion to buy Columbia. Neither Columbia nor TransCanada would confirm the rumors. But yesterday, TransCanada announced they’ve reached a deal with Columbia, to buy them for $13 billion (Canadian dollars, which is ~$10 billion US). It gives TransCanada a set at the midstream table since increasingly natural gas is flowing from the U.S. to Canada–after years of it being primarily the other way around. One of the primary selling points, according to TransCanada, is Columbia’s Marcellus/Utica assets. Here’s the Columbia/TransCanada announcement…
Continue reading

OOGA’s DeBrosse Report: 2015 Utica Continues to Wow

Each year the 3,200-member Ohio Oil and Gas Association (OOGA) issue the DeBrosse Memorial Report (full copy below). The report is a high level look at where (and how much) drilling there has been in the state–and what they’re finding (methane, oil, NGLs). The latest report, recounting 2015, was released yesterday at the OOGA Annual Winter Meeting in Columbus. Once again it was a record-breaking year for Ohio–and the Utica Shale is the reason why…
Continue reading

FERC Approves Pipeline to Move More Marcellus/Utica Gas to Chicago

In October 2014 Kinder Morgan ran an open season with an eye on expanding the Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America (NGPL) system in the Chicago area (see Kinder Morgan Plans Chicago Pipeline Expansion for Marcellus/Utica). The expanded NGPL system, called the Chicago Market Expansion Project, will bring new volumes of Marcellus and Utica Shale gas, heading west on the reversed Rockies Express Pipeline, to over 100 interconnects with Chicago-area local distribution companies, direct-connect power plants, industrial end users, interstate pipelines, and NGPL’s storage and highly liquid pooling points. Kinder originally thought they would beef up capacity by an extra 450,000 dekatherms per day. Somewhere along the way the project was scaled back to 238,000 Dth/d. The good news is that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has just approved the project, which is on track to be completed by the end of this year. The expansion provides an important new market for Marcellus/Utica gas…
Continue reading

FERC Report: Northeast Pipeline Shortage Won’t Resolve Until 2019

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) yesterday released its 2015 State of the Markets Report (see full copy below). Among the findings in FERC’s view of the marketplace: Most places across the country have seen a bump up in pipelines over the past 10 years, relieving constrained natural gas transportation. Except for the Marcellus/Utica region. In our neck of the woods lack of pipelines continues to mean a surplus–high inventories and low prices. Is there any hope in sight? Yes, IF the pipelines get approved and built, FERC says by 2019 our gas should be hitting new markets with a resulting boost to the price. Also interesting is FERC’s reluctance to embrace and endorse the prediction made by the U.S. Energy Information Administration just last week that in 2016 natural gas will surpass coal as the #1 source fuel to generate electricity in the U.S. (see NatGas is Killing Coal in Electric Generation Market – 2015 is Proof). FERC very definitely backed away from that prediction in their report. Hmmm…
Continue reading

Invenergy Gets Pushback on Proposed Natgas Power Plant in SWPA

Invenergy is in the process of building a $500 million Marcellus gas-fired electric plant in Jessup (Lackawanna County), PA–near Scranton, PA in the northeastern part of the state (see PA DEP Approves Jessup, PA Marcellus Gas Electric Plant). When built, the 1,480 megawatt plant will be the largest natgas-fired electric plant in the state. In January Invenergy announced they want to build a second natgas-fired electric plant–in southwestern PA (see Invenergy Eyes SWPA for Second Marcellus-Powered Electric Plant). The second plant would be much smaller, at 550 megawatts, and would be built on a brownfield site near Pittsburgh. Even though the site where Invenergy wants to build is a former landfill where fly ash was dumped, making it unusable for just about any other purpose, a group of local residents would prefer to keep it a dump rather than convert it to a beneficial use like generating electricity…
Continue reading

Repsol’s Eastern Canadian LNG Export Plant “On Hold”

In early 2015 Spanish oil giant Repsol accelerated plans to build an LNG export terminal on the coast of Saint John, Newfoundland (see Repsol Accelerates Plan for Canadian LNG Exports Fed by Marcellus). The Canaport LNG project, as it’s called, is one of five potential projects we identified in eastern Canada back in August 2014 that will potentially export Marcellus/Utica gas (see List of LNG Export Projects for Marcellus/Utica Shale Gas). Last fall the Canaport project received approval from the Canadian National Energy Board to proceed (see 3rd Eastern Canada LNG Export Plant Receives Approval). However, LNG World News is reporting they’ve received an email confirmation from Repsol that the company is slamming on the brakes with respect to the Canaport LNG export project…
Continue reading

Former GDF Suez CEO Launches New Energy Marketing Company

LifeEnergy sounds like it might be a new age acupuncture treatment–or perhaps an energy drink. But it’s neither. LifeEnergy is an energy company with a “focus on delivering energy products and services to residential and business customers across North America.” It is, as near as we can tell, an energy marketing company. You know how you get telemarketing calls to change your electric and/or gas from the local utility to some other company that delivers electricity or gas to your home via the same local utility, but reportedly at a better/different price? We think that’s what this company is all about–except on a national scale. It is who is behind the company that first got our attention. The new head of LifeEnergy is the former CEO of GDF Suez Energy North America, a division of the French electric energy giant ENGIE. And who is GDF? They’re the company with an LNG import terminal near Boston that keeps trying to screw Kinder Morgan and Spectra Energy out of building pipelines to New England (see Guess Why GDF Suez Doesn’t Want Marcellus Pipeline to New England and LNG Importer Publishes Sham Report Slamming New England Pipelines). GDF would rather import natural gas–because they personally profit from it–rather than see local gas from the Marcellus/Utica find its way to New England markets. The guy who used to run that has stepped away to run this instead…
Continue reading

Carbon Crazies Try to Scare Investors Away from O&G Companies

Ever hear of the concept called “the carbon bubble?” No, we hadn’t either. It is a concept floated in 2011 by the radical Carbon Tracker Institute and made popular a year later by global warming climate kook Bill McKibben. In essence, McKibben and others are trying to scare investors away from investing in fossil fuel companies because, they claim, renewable sources of energy are coming on strong and will make fossil fuel companies worthless. We’re pretty cynical. We don’t think McKibben and others actually believe in man-made global warming from fossil fuels any more than they believe in the tooth fairy. We think it’s an elaborate sham to eliminate personal liberty and choice–forcing people to behave in ways McKibben and those of his ilk want them to behave. They pretend to be the smart ones that know better than we which energy sources we should be using. A recent Forbes magazine article does a good job explaining, and debunking, the false “carbon bubble” theory…
Continue reading

Banks Reaffirm Range Resources’ $4B Line of Credit

Range Resources, one of the premier drillers in the Marcellus/Utica, and the company that drilled the very first Marcellus well in 2004, just passed its annual financial physical. The 29 banks that loan Range money say the company’s $3 billion “borrowing base” and its $4 billion line of credit are still OK by them. Which put a smile on the face of Range’s CFO Roger Manny…
Continue reading

Chesapeake Considers Unusual 1.5 Lien Debt Exchange

If you can help us figure this one out–please do! Reuters is reporting that Chesapeake Energy is considering swapping out some existing debt for “new 1.5 lien debt.” We know a first lien means you have “first dibs”–you’re first in line to receive something/anything if a company goes bankrupt. A second lien means you’re second in line, behind the first guy. But a one and a half lien? Apparently its possible to create a legal situation where someone is behind the first guy but ahead of the second guy in line–the 1.5 guy. Boggles the mind. What it says to us is that Chesapeake is engaged in some dramatic financial contortions in order to avoid bankruptcy court…
Continue reading

Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Mar 18, 2016

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Go West young molecule; Dimock lawsuit likely to spur other lawsuits; natgas perfect storm; regulators want new regs for old pipelines; little change in natgas storage; financial lifelines for drillers “slipping away”; Canada sees new potential for shale gas; and more!
Continue reading