Texas Eastern Pipeline Explodes near Pittsburgh, Antis Celebrate

Spectra blazeThere was an explosion and fire in Spectra Energy’s Texas Eastern Transmission’s “Delmont Line 27” pipeline last Friday. The explosion occurred in Salem Township (Westmoreland County), PA, about 30 miles east of Pittsburgh. One man was seriously burned when his house caught on fire (his house was destroyed). Nine homes in the area of the explosion/blaze were evacuated. As of yesterday six of the nine were able to return to their homes. Texas Eastern Transmission is one of the largest natural gas pipelines in the U.S.–running from the Gulf Coast through Marcellus/Utica country to New Jersey. The really disgusting part was the way the NJ chapter of the radical Sierra Club immediately, with a few hours, used the explosion by implying this is what awaits homeowners if the PennEast Pipeline is built. FYI, the Texas Eastern pipeline was built in 1981 and the portion that exploded was last inspected in 2012. Below are pieces of news accounts and the running response from Spectra about the accident…
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Obama DOJ Kills Halliburton/Baker Hughes Merger, Deal “Terminated”

It's Dead JimIt’s a sad day for Halliburton and Baker Hughes. The two companies intended to get married, with Halliburton buying out BH and merging it in a deal worth $35 billion (see Shotgun Wedding: Halliburton Forces Baker Hughes to Sell). That was in November 2014. Since then, the two companies have jumped through every hoop demanded of them, including shedding assets (see Halliburton/Baker Hughes Hold a Pre-Merger Garage Sale). By the end of last year, rumors were circulating that the deal is in trouble (see Whispers Turning in Chorus, Halliburton/BH Deal in Trouble). Then European regulators began throwing cold water on the deal (see Europe Puts Halliburton/BH Merger Under a Microscope). No problem–HalliHughes thought they could still pull it off. But then the bullies of the Obama Justice Department got involved and sued to block the deal (see Obama DOJ Sues to Block Halliburton/Baker Hughes Merger). We can’t remember a time when the DOJ opposed a big deal it ended up happening. And so it is with this one. The bullies have won. In a rare Sunday press release, Baker Hughes says the deal is now off–and Halliburton owes Baker Hughes $3.5 billion in a breakup fee–due by this Wednesday. Happy May Day, Halli!…
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Ultra Petroleum (with 184K Marcellus Acres) Files for Bankruptcy

Ultra PetroleumUltra Petroleum, based in Houston, TX, is an independent exploration and production (E&P) company mainly focused on drilling in the Green River Basin of Wyoming. Ultra also drills for oil in the Uinta Basin/Three Rivers area in Utah. In addition, Ultra maintains a position in the Pennsylvania Marcellus shale with leases on 184,000 gross (91,000 net) acres–no small amount. They aren’t currently drilling on their Marcellus acreage, but if prices change, they likely would. That is, if they make it through bankruptcy. On Friday Ultra filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Houston. The company listed $1.28 billion in assets and $3.92 billion in debt. One (we would say stupid) investor owns a whopping $1.46 billion in unsecured IOUs (i.e. notes) from Ultra. Good luck with getting that paid. Here’s the low down on Ultra’s bankruptcy filing…
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Magnum Hunter Investors Burned in Bankruptcy Restructuring Plan

mhrReuters has written a wide ranging article on Magnum Hunter Resources (MHR) and the results of bankruptcy. The article implies MHR is nearly out of bankruptcy now (although it looks to us like a hearing in June will likely be the grande finale). The deal that MHR cut with debtors was to turn their debt into equity–note and bond holders are now stockholders. So MHR CEO Gary Evans now has a new board of directors composed of the new owners of the company. The problem is, the investors who used to hold stock in the company before bankruptcy have essentially lost their ownership–with the value of their previously issued stock now worthless. At least that’s our understanding of how this works (we’re open to being corrected on this). The Reuters article does a close-up of Gary Evans and recounts how he assured investors that a major asset sale was in the works that would save the company–shortly before he had the company file for bankruptcy. Some investors are not very happy with Mr. Evans over what they consider a deceptive practice…
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UGI Sunbury Pipeline Gets FERC Approval, Built by November?

UGI Marcellus assets map
UGI Marcellus assets map – click for larger version

Contrary to the lies spread by anti-pipeline groups like THE Delaware Riverkeeper, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is no rubber stamp for the oil and gas industry. In December 2014 Pennsylvania utility company UGI pre-filed an application to build a new 35-mile pipeline to feed a natgas-powered electric generating plant in Snyder County, PA (see UGI Pre-Files with FERC for New Marcellus Pipeline in Central PA and UGI Building 35-Mile Pipeline for Panda Power Electric Plant). The project was estimated to cost $150 million–money that goes into the local economy. It took long enough, but last week the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) finally approved the project. The 20-inch Sunbury Pipeline will start in Lycoming County and travel through Montour, Union, and Northumberland counties, cross the Susquehanna River and ending up at Hummel Station Plant in Shamokin Dam in Synder County…
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Cabot O&G 1Q16: $51M Loss, Production Up 10%, Marcellus Affection

Cabot logoCabot Oil & Gas issued their first quarter 2016 update last Friday. The company reports losing $51 million in 1Q16 (compared to making a $40 million profit in 1Q15) because the price for natural gas slide 40% last year. Production numbers continue to impress. While they operate just a single rig in the PA Marcellus (in Susquehanna County), Cabot’s production increased 10% from 4Q15 to a whopping 1.628 million cubic feet per day average. In addition to the official update, we also selected out portions of Friday’s analyst phone call with Cabot’s top management. Among the topics discussed: the Constitution Pipeline, Cabot’s love of the PA Marcellus, “keep it in the ground” anti-drilling nutjobs and more…
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WV Court Declares “Implied Right” to Pool Oil & Gas Leases

court-gavel.jpgA circuit court judge recently ruled on a case in West Virginia with implications for unitization or pooling. No, NOT forced pooling–or forcing landowners who haven’t signed a lease into a drilling unit, forcing drilling under their land. That’s not what this case was about. This case was about landowners with an already-signed lease for vertical wells now being used to allow that land to be pooled with other land and a horizontal well allowed to be drilled under it. The landowners, who wanted a new lease for horizontal drilling (and more money, which is reasonable in our opinion) said because the lease was silent on the matter of pooling or unitizing, it should not be allowed. The judge disagreed and found in favor of the energy company, in this case American Energy…
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Corp Raider Carl Icahn Admits He Fired Cheniere CEO Charif Souki

Carl-Icahn.jpgAs we pointed out to you last December, evil corporate raider Carl Icahn (invests in companies so he can fire a bunch of people, boost the stock and pocket the profit) had fired Cheniere Energy CEO Charif Souki (see Evil Corporate Raider Carl Icahn Claims Another CEO Scalp). Ichan was uncharacteristically quiet following Souki’s exit. However, a braggart and bully like Icahn can’t stay silent forever! He went on CNBC last Thursday and bragged about his role in firing Souki…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, May 2, 2016

best of the restThe “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: NGL prices in Appalachia heading higher; inside the NY fracking decision; the corrupt Cuomo Constitution Pipeline decision; New England pipelines update; the important role of natgas in Virginia’s power plan; natgas imports lowest since 1986; $840B decline in o&g reserves; and more!
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