Williams Files 3rd Lawsuit Against ETE to Force Merger by June 28

shotgun weddingEnergy Transfer Equity (ETE) pushed and prodded and poked and cajoled and insisted, and finally with the help of an inside corporate raider, forced Williams to agree to a buyout/merger (see Williams Accepts ETE’s “Indecent Proposal” – Price Went Down $10B). Then the bottom dropped out of the price of natural gas and drillers scaled back drilling and consequently midstream (i.e. pipeline) companies like ETE and Williams got pinched. And ETE got cold feet (see ETE Wants Out of Williams Merger/Takeover, Offering $2B Breakup Fee). Williams said “not so fast, you wanted us, you’ll be taking us” and consequently sued ETE to force the merger to happen (see Merger Turns Sour: Williams Sues ETE/CEO Kelcy Warren). On Friday, Williams filed their third lawsuit to force ETE to complete the merger. ETE’s CEO Kelsey Warren says Williams is “meritless” and will “lead to delays” in the merger. What in the world is going on?…
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NY DEC Calls Propane Fracking “Unique Technology”; Wants More Info

LPG Fracturing
LPG Fracturing – Click for larger version

It only took nine months, but the New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC), which moves like a glacier, has finally responded to a request by a group of farmers in Tioga County, NY to use propane fracking technology (also known as LPG fracturing or “liquefied petroleum gas”) on a shale well. Last July a group of landowners flying under the name of The Snyder Farm Group (five families make up the group) contracted with Tioga Energy Partners (based in Texas) to drill a fracked Utica Shale well, and follow it up with drilling a fracked Marcellus Shale well, using liquefied petroleum gas (LPG or propane) and sand (see NY Landowners File to Frack Horizontal Well w/Waterless Tech and NY Heroes: More Details on NY Propane Fracking Proposal). The wells will not use water for fracking–and therefore, according to the landowners, avoid the ban on high volume fracking recently imposed by Andrew Cuomo. It’s just coming to light that last month the DEC issued a “notice of incomplete application” for the proposal (see a copy below) and requested more information on things as truck traffic, how long it will take to frack, the type of storage tanks that will be used, etc. This is more Cuomo tried and true delay as long as you can, then delay some more. It’s always worked so well for the corrupt Cuomo, why not keep doing it? Here’s the details…
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Seventy Seven Energy Makes Progress in “Pre-Packaged” Bankruptcy

SSE logoThe process of screwing over existing stockholders in favor of debtholders continues at Seventy Seven Energy (SSE). In April, MDN told you that SSE–the old Chesapeake Oilfield Operating unit that was spun into its own company a few years ago–was ordering up one prepackaged bankruptcy to go (see Seventy Seven Energy Filing for Bankruptcy, Converting Debt into Stock). Following the path of other oil and gas-related companies, SSE plans to convert existing debt into equity–turning IOUs into shares of stock. Magnum Hunter Resources just completed the process of doing the same thing and had now emerged from bankruptcy (see Magnum Hunter Emerges from Bankruptcy with CEO Gary Evans Gone). Everybody is sort-of happy under that scenario–except the original stockholders who see the value of their shares of stock turned into toilet paper. They become worthless. (Note to self: Always buy bonds in the future!) SSE continues their march toward renegotiating with existing noteholders, as they announced last Friday…
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EXCO Resources Board Looks at “Restructuring” – Stock Nosedives

EXCO.jpgEXCO Resources was once a sizable player in the Marcellus. They still have 145,000 net acres in the Marcellus, with 124 horizontal Marcellus wells drilled and in production. However, EXCO, as we pointed out in March, has pretty much abandoned the Marcellus at this point (see EXCO: No Marcellus Drilling in 2015/2016, NYSE Threatens Delisting). Things are getting bleaker at the company. On Friday EXCO announced they’ve formed a special committee from their board of directors to evaluate “options” for the company’s future. One of those options on the table for discussion is “restructuring,” which is coded language for bankruptcy. As soon as the news hit last Friday the companies stock went down even further. It pretty much went over a cliff–from $1.81 last Thursday to $0.72 this morning (down 60%). Here’s the announcement which details which kinds of options are under consideration by the board…
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George Soros’ Penn Virginia Corp. Files for Bankruptcy

George Soros
George Soros

Although headquartered in Radnor, Pennsylvania (near Philadelphia), Penn Virginia Corporation is an oil and gas driller with only a small presence in the Marcellus Shale: 21,700 net acres with no drilled wells. They concentrate on oil drilling the Texas Eagle Ford Shale play. Penn Virginia is one of the Philly area’s oldest companies, started in 1882 by Philadelphia coal barons. It later transitioned into an oil company. MDN told you in March 2015 that Penn Virginia’s top stockholder, the vile corporate raider George Soros, forced the company to put itself up for sale so George can line his pockets with more cash (see George Soros Finally Bullies Penn Virginia into Selling Itself). We’re happy to report that didn’t work out so well for old George (who reminds us of a dried-out, shriveled up prune). Last week the company, which is now a penny stock trading on the Pink Sheets, filed for bankruptcy…
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Atlantic Coast Pipeline Wins Another Virginia Court Case

Atlantic Coast Pipeline Route - Virginia
Atlantic Coast Pipeline Route – Virginia (click for larger version)

Last year MDN reported that anti-drilling landowners in Nelson and Augusta counties (Virginia) who don’t want a pipeline to mar their weekend horse farm pastures refused to allow surveyors for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline access to their precious pastures. Dominion, the company building the 550-mile, $5 billion natural gas pipeline that will run from West Virginia, through Virginia and into North Carolina, took the antis to federal court and won (see Fed Judge Tosses VA Landowner Lawsuit to Stop Pipeline Surveys). The same landowners won’t leave it alone and took Dominion back to court (county court in this case) over the surveys. The county judge found that Dominion’s survey notices are “insufficient” because they use imprecise language about when the surveys will take place. But the judge essentially threw out everything else. In other words, this was yet another victory for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline–a pipeline that WILL get built…
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Feds Give Penn State $20M to Lead Fossil Fuel Research Effort

LuciferThe U.S. Dept. of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) selected Penn State University to lead a consortium of nine universities in all that will study fossil fuel technologies for the next six years. NETL is giving Penn State $20 million of your money (i.e. taxpayer’s money) “to accelerate the development and deployment of fossil fuel-based technologies.” We can certainly think of worse uses for the money. Penn State will lead the Lucky University CoalItion for Fossil Energy Research (LUCiFER). Uh no! That’s not right! Let’s try it again: Penn State will lead the University Coalition for Fossil Energy Research (UCFER). There, that’s it! Here’s what the feds said, and what Penn State said, about the new grant and the new UCFER coalition…
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Fitch: US Can Export All the LNG is Wants, Won’t Affect Consumers

Fitch RatingsFitch Ratings, one of the world’s top ratings services (rates stocks, bonds and more), issued a press release/opinion on Friday that tackles the issue of LNG (liquefied natural gas) and how the LNG market is rapidly and radically changing because of U.S. shale gas. Historically the price for LNG and oil have been linked. When the price of oil goes up or down, so too does LNG. But that’s now changing, because of the super abundance of U.S. shale gas. Fitch points out that with the U.S. now in the LNG export game, the link between LNG, natural gas and oil has “weakened.” They also say the U.S. natural gas market is “too big and too well supplied” for LNG exports to affect natgas prices here at home. In other words, we can export all of the LNG we want and it still won’t raise the domestic price of natural gas for consumers…
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Antis Want FERC to Use Communism Instead of Capitalism

Command and ControlA general warning and heads-up on the newest/latest attack in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Well, maybe it’s not all that new–it’s been going on for a few years–but the intensity and pace of the attacks have picked up. We’re talking about the argument being made by anti fossil-fuelers that FERC doesn’t, by law, consider all pipelines when it evaluates a single pipeline–i.e. “cumulative effects.” For example, if three different pipeline requests for the same region are filed with FERC, FERC does not have the authority to decide only one of the three is really “needed” and that building all three would be “overbuilding.” FERC evaluates them one by one and (properly so) and lets the free market (i.e. capitalism) decide which one(s) will get built. FERC is not in the business of Communistic command-and-control decisions over private companies. FERC’s concern is that a given, single pipeline project doesn’t harm the environment and shows a need. Period. Antis, detecting an opportunity, want to force FERC, either by social pressure or by the courts, to take into consideration larger regional concerns–and even mythical global warming concerns–before making decisions. Here’s the latest example, from Virginia…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, May 16, 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: Fracking will pay off for Appalachia; natgas-fired power plants proliferating in OH, PA, WV; northeast gas supply/demand hits another milestone; the noose tightens around corrupt Gov. Cuomo; new Souki venture files with FERC for LNG plant approval; which shale plays will increase 2016 production; the perfect natgas storm; and more!
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