Midstream Nightmare Comes True: Judge Lets Driller Cancel Contracts

court-gavel.jpgTwo weeks ago MDN warned you of a court case that has the potential to upend the midstream (pipelines & processing plants) market–here in the Marcellus/Utica and across the country (see Shock: Judge May Allow Drillers to Cancel Gathering Pipeline Deals). That potential has now been realized. Judge Shelley Chapman, in a case in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, has ruled that Sabine Oil & Gas may cancel a pipeline gathering contract with Cheniere’s Nordheim Eagle Ford Gathering in Texas. Nordheim spent $84 million building a pipeline system to Sabine’s wells. In return for laying out that kind of money, Sabine, as is always the case, signed a multi-year contract with Nordheim (10 years in this case), ensuring Nordheim would make make a profit on its up-front investment. The judge is allowing Sabine to cancel the deal several years into the contract. If a driller signs a contract and that signature is no longer any good, will anyone build pipeline systems anymore?…

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