Magnum Hunter Emerges from Bankruptcy with CEO Gary Evans Gone

Gary Evans
Gary Evans

UPDATE 5/11/16 – See additional details below from SNL.

Magnum Hunter Resources Corporation (MHR), a driller focused almost entirely on the Marcellus/Utica, announced yesterday the company has emerged from bankruptcy–less than five months after filing (see Sad Day: Magnum Hunter Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy). We suppose we should have seen this coming, but we were nonetheless surprised to read that MHR CEO Gary Evans is gone from the company. Currently two of Evans’ lieutenants will serve as co-CEOs while the new board of directors looks for a permanent replacement for Evans. Interestingly (to us), Evans’ name isn’t even mentioned in the press release–as if he never existed. That’s cold. MHR achieved their restructuring by converting what was $1 billion worth of debt into shares of stock, thereby screwing the old shareholders in favor of debtholders (see Magnum Hunter Investors Burned in Bankruptcy Restructuring Plan). Just wave the magic wand and turn debt into equity. Quite a feat. Here’s the announcement from the new bosses (i.e. the new board)…
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District Court Judge Tosses PA Landowner’s Lack-of-Drilling Case

court-gavel.jpgThis is the tale of landowners who negotiated a lease without consulting a qualified oil and gas attorney, and later regretted the decision. In 2008 the owners of a small hunting and fishing camp in Tioga County, PA negotiated and signed a lease with East Resources, which was later sold to SWEPI (i.e. the shale drilling arm of Shell). The lease, so the landowners thought, guaranteed that 11 wells would be drilled on the 240-acre property, and that a pipeline would be used to flow gas only from those wells. The landowners got a nice signing bonus–$287,000. They also got $164,000 for a pipeline right-of-way. But only one well was ever drilled–and it’s capped. And there is a pipeline–flowing other people’s gas through it. The landowners sued and a district court judge ruled last week that the landowners don’t have a case for their “shattered dreams” as they thought they did. It all comes down to a poorly worded lease and signing a lease without running it by a lawyer first…
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Pittsburgh Paper Roasts Wolf Over Sky-High Severance Tax Proposal

Sky HighPittsburgh, PA has two major newspapers–the Post-Gazette and the Tribune-Review. We’re talking general interest newspapers. There’s also the Pittsburgh Business Times, a great paper but niche and focused on business only. Of the two general interest newspapers, the Post-Gazette is obviously owned and operated by liberal Democrats. They tilt somewhere left of Vlad Putin on the editorial page. The Tribune-Review, however, is a balanced paper and not beholden to the Democrat machine in PA the way their rival is. There’s no better way to illustrate that then the Post-Gazette’s love and adoration of current Dem Gov. Tom Wolf and his proposed punitive taxes the Marcellus Shale industry. The Post-Gazette LOVES Wolf’s idea for a severance tax and berates the gas industry for not “doing its part.” The Tribune-Review, on the other hand, takes a more balanced approach. In a recent editorial, the Tribune-Review points out Wolf’s latest severance tax proposal, if passed, would be the highest in the nation. They also point out Wolf’s income tax increase and minimum wage proposal would decimate the state economically…
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PennEast Pipeline Requests NJ’s Help with “Green Acres” Process

Green AcresThe PennEast Pipeline, a $1 billion, 118-mile pipeline from Luzerne County, PA to Mercer County, NJ, continues to bend over backwards, forwards and into yoga knots in order to accommodate the wishes of various special interest groups. The latest in that effort is PennEast’s invitation to several New Jersey municipalities and non-profit groups to provide feedback on PennEast’s open space initiative. Part of the PennEast route will traverse 15 acres of encumbered “Green Acres” parcels–open spaces meant to stay open and not be developed. PennEast plans to lay their pipe four feet down, cover it up, and the green/open spaces will remain green and open, forever. In fact, according to PennEast, when the pipeline installation is done and dusted, there will be “significantly more open space” than there is today. Look for THE Delaware Riverkeeper (Maya van Rossum) and other radical leftists to demagogue this latest effort by PennEast to be a good neighbor…
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9 of 10 Biggest Marc/Utica Drillers Increase Production in 1Q16

Achilles_heel
Statue of Achilleas thniskon (Dying Achilles) at the Corfu Achilleion.

Although we often read of drillers in the northeast curtailing (shutting in) production to wait for higher natural gas prices, nine of the top ten publicly traded drillers in the Marcellus/Utica produced MORE natgas in the first quarter of 2016 than they did in the first quarter of 2015. Some of them, like Gulfport and Rice Energy, produced a LOT more (up 63% and 53% respectively). However, the Achilles heel for some drillers in our region is lack of pipeline capacity to get their gas out of the immediate region. The winners in the Marcellus/Utica are those drillers who have locked in pipeline capacity to move their gas to other regions–the northeast, south, Midwest and Gulf Coast. The losers are those who haven’t–and (potentially) those who were relying on pipeline projects that are either dead or delayed–including the Constitution and Northeast Energy Direct…
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Crestwood 1Q16: Spills the Beans on Antero DUCs; Pipe Delays Good

Don't Spill the BeansCrestwood Equity Partners (nee Crestwood Midstream) issued its first quarter 2016 update last week. In April Crestwood announced that New York City utility giant Consolidated Edison Inc. has formed a 50/50 joint venture to purchase ownership of pipelines and storage facilities in the PA and NY Marcellus region (see Utility Giant ConEdison Buys a Piece of the Marcellus Midstream). The newly formed jv, called Stagecoach Gas Services, will continue to be operated by Crestwood. Stagecoach and other projects in the Marcellus/Utica get an update in this latest quarterly report from Crestwood. We also grabbed some of the unscripted commentary from Crestwood’s quarterly analyst phone call. Interesting tidbits from that include comments by CEO Robert Phillips that the cancellation of Kinder Morgan’s NED pipeline and the delay of Williams’ Constitution Pipeline gives Crestwood a big opening and huge advantage with the Stagecoach deal. Also interesting: Crestwood doesn’t foresee Antero Resources (one of its major customers) completing 22 already-drilled wells and bringing them online until 2017/2018. Did Crestwood just spill the beans on Antero’s plans in that neck of the woods?…
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CONE Midstream 1Q16: Profits Up, Volumes Up, Looking Great!

CONE logoCONE Midstream, a joint venture between CONSOL Energy and Noble Energy (get it? CO from CONSOL and NE from Noble Energy) was formed in summer 2014 (see CONSOL & Noble Energy Form New Marcellus Midstream Company). Last week CONE released its first quarter 2016 update. This gem of a midstream company continues to grow and impress. In 1Q16 CONE had $24.8 million in net income compared to $14.2 million for 1Q15 (up an astonishing 75%). During 1Q16 CONE flowed an average of 850 million cubic feet per day (Mmcf/d) of gas through its system, vs. 549 Mmcf/d in 1Q15. Keep an eye on CONE! Below we have the update, along with comments from CONE CEO John Lewis and a copy of their latest PowerPoint slide deck…
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Energy Law Firm Blank Rome Lands 2 Big Fish

Big FishBlank Rome is a big, important energy law firm. The firm went on our radar in 2013 when then-Secretary of the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection Mike Krancer resigned his post to rejoin his old law firm, Blank Rome (see Developing… PA DEP Sec. Krancer Resigns). Blank Rome has just landed two more big fish: former Senator from Michigan and former Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham, and former Vice-Chairman of the International Energy Agency and former Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Energy Joseph McMonigle. Blank Rome is an important player in the Marcellus/Utica, so this announcement is important for our region…
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CO2 Emissions over Past 10 Years Drop – Thx to Shale Gas

trending-down.jpgIf you happen to believe in the fairy tale of man-made global warming, you no doubt know all about CO2–carbon dioxide. CO2 is the stuff you exhale with every breathe you take, as every mammal does on God’s green earth. Somehow CO2 has been twisted into becoming a dreaded “greenhouse gas”. Go figure. At any rate, aside from breathing, when we burn fossil fuels it creates CO2–which is at the core of the neurosis of anti-drillers. Their kindergartenish solution to “solving” the “problem” of “global warming” is to stop burning fossil fuels. But the thing is, not all fossil fuels are created equal. Natural gas burns relatively clean and produces far less CO2 than other fossil fuels. You might think people who really care about the planet would welcome more natgas–but you would be wrong. The U.S. Energy Information Administration has just published an analysis of the biggest non-breathing cause of CO2 generation–burning fossil fuels to generate electricity. The EIA says in 2015 CO2 emissions were down 12% from baseline levels in 2005. With more population and more electricity being generated, how can that possibly be? Because of the shale revolution–that’s how. So-called renewable forms of electric power generation are still minuscule compared to burning fossil fuels to generate electricity. Because we now use more natgas instead of coal to generate electricity, the amount of CO2 being produced has dropped dramatically. Thanks to the miracle of fracking…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Tue, May 10, 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: Solar scam hits upstate NY; new chairman of OH Utility Commission; CONSOL’s prescient change; meeting to discuss TETCO pipeline explosion; 15 biggest oil co bankruptcies so far; natgas & renewables a happy marriage; Sauidi Oil minister out; and more!
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