Which 5 Drillers Dominate in the Utica Shale?

Top 5Everyone loves a Top 5 or Top 10, including MDN. Who are the Top 5 drillers in the Utica Shale? It depends, of course, on your criteria for selecting such a list. One of MDN’s favorite writers on The Motley Fool website, Matt DiLallo, has just published what he calls “The 5 Companies Dominating the Utica Shale Play.” In other words, the Top 5 Utica drillers. Matt points out that in the span of five short years the Utica has become the nation’s second largest shale gas play, behind only the Marcellus. Matt uses a combination of acres-under-lease and number-of-wells-drilled to come up with his list of five drillers who are leading the charge in the Utica. It won’t surprise you to learn that Chesapeake Energy, which was the first company to drill in the Utica under then-CEO Aubrey McClendon, is head-and-shoulders above the rest as the #1 Dominator in the Utica. Some of the others in the Top 5 list may, however, surprise you. Here’s Matt’s excellent roundup of the Utica…
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FERC Rejects Application for Maine Downeast LNG Export Facility

rejected.jpgTen years is long enough for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) when it comes to an LNG (liquefied natural gas) project. Yesterday FERC pulled the plug on an application from Downeast LNG, telling them their application to build an import/export plant along the shoreline of Maine (in Washington County) has been rejected. In December 2006, Downeast filed applications “for the siting, construction, and operation of an LNG import terminal and associated pipeline take-away facilities in Washington County, Maine.” In July 2014, Downeast filed a letter requesting the Commission initiate the pre-filing process for the conversion of its proposed import project facilities into a bidirectional import/export LNG terminal and associated pipeline facilities. The facility would use Marcellus Shale gas to export–an important new market for our overabundant gas supplies. In August 2014, the FERC approved Downeast’s request to pre-file the bidirectional import/export project. As recently as June 2015, Downeast boasted of plans to begin building the facility in 2017 (see Downeast Plans to Begin Building ME LNG Export Facility in 2017). But then oil prices crashed, and along with them, LNG prices. In May of this year, Downeast put their LNG project up for sale (see Downeast LNG Puts Maine LNG Export Project Up for Sale). Now it looks as though no one is going to build it, with FERC’s rejection. The agency said, in essence, it’s been ten long years with no appreciable progress, and that’s long enough…
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King George County, VA Commits Fracking Suicide with Vote to Ban

King George County VAJust last week MDN warned that anti-drilling radicals running King George County, VA were contemplating a vote to ban fracking in the county (see Anti-Drilling Radicals Push Frack Ban in Virginia). Earlier this week, all five supervisors in King George County put a gun to their heads and pulled the trigger–metaphorically speaking. They voted to ban fracking in all but 9% of the county. That is, fracking is now banned in King George. No, there is no Marcellus Shale underlying the county, but there is Taylorsville shale layer–and there is interest in drilling there, someday. As we previously stated, we’ve seen this movie before. The county can expect lawsuits and taxpayers will be required to cough up money via higher taxes to defend the indefensible–the stripping away of personal property rights by dictatorial supervisors…
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Investor Buys/Sells Stock in 4 Marcellus/Utica Drillers, Doubles $

double moneyThere’s certainly more than one way to make money on fracking in the Marcellus/Utica. Billionaire hedge fund manager David Tepper (Appaloosa Management) has found such a way. Tepper knows a good company, or four, when he sees them. In the fourth quarter of 2015, when Marcellus/Utica company stocks were at one of their lowest points, Tepper loaded up, buying stock in four leading northeast drillers. Half a year later he turned around and sold that stock, for a 100%+ return on his investment. He doubled his money. Smart man. Which drillers’ stocks did Tepper buy and then sell?…
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Penn Twp Hearing Discusses Marcellus-Killing Ordinance

Penn TwpIn May MDN told you that the Penn Township (in Westmoreland County, PA) zoning board voted to refuse to grant a permit to Apex Energy to build a DEP-permitted well pad in the town (see Penn Twp Commissioners Block Apex Shale Well Request in 3-2 Vote). In June Penn began considering a far more restrictive ordinance than it currently has–to limit drilling in the township (see Penn Township Considering More Restrictions on Drilling). That doesn’t sit well with Huntley & Huntley, a driller that owns leases for some 23% of the land in the township. Last night the conversation continued with some 90 people showing up–both anti-drillers and pro-drillers–to share opinions with Penn Township leaders. Here’s how it went…
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PA DEP Reports Increase in Air Emissions from Shale Industry

PA DEPThe Pennsylvania State Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) keeps track of emissions from various sources–including the shale industry. When drillers drill and pipeline companies pipe, the equipment used leaks nasty stuff into the air. Frankly it’s no different for any industrial activity or business. Even homes. We all emit stuff into the air. The question is, how much do we emit and does it rise to the level of being harmful? Yesterday the DEP released air emissions numbers for the shale industry for 2014–the most recent year in which they have completed data. What does it show? In 2014 the industry was still in an upswing–there were more wells drilled, more pipelines being added, etc. than in 2013. So it’s no surprise to learn that the shale industry as a whole emitted more emissions in 2014 than in 2013. What will be interesting is to see the 2015 numbers when they get released a year from now (the downturn began in 2015). With less drilling and piping, will air emissions go down? Stands to reason. At any rate, here’s what the DEP said yesterday about an increase in emitting nasty stuff by the drilling industry…
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MA Supreme Court Ruling Endangers New England Gas Pipelines

Gavel-falling.jpgIn September 2015, MDN told you that the Massachusetts Dept. of Public Utilities (DPU) approved long-term contracts for three utilities–Berkshire Gas, National Grid and Columbia Gas–to buy natural gas supplies from Kinder Morgan’s Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline, IF it gets built (see Mass. Approves Plan for Utilities to Buy Gas from New Pipeline). At the time we warned you that the global warming-mongers were not happy and threatening to sue the state. They did. The left-leaning Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) filed an appeal of the DPU’s decision with the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in hopes that they can stop the project from being built if they can dry up demand from utility companies–i.e., prevent the utilities from buying NED gas (see Anti Group Sues to Stop Mass. Utilities from Buying Natural Gas). In the meantime, Kinder Morgan abandoned the NED project (see NED is Dead – Kinder Morgan Suspends $3.3B New England Pipeline). However, the lawsuit lives on. There are more pipelines that may be affected by such a decision, including Spectra Energy’s Access Northeast pipeline project–still very much alive. The worst has now happened. The MA Supreme Court has just ruled that utility companies, which are heavily regulated and the prices they can charge controlled, cannot pass along the cost of a pipeline to electric ratepayers…
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More Bleating from Radical Anti Groups re FERC PennEast Hearings

goat bleatingWe’re sorry to beat a dead horse (or goat, in this case) to death, but we can’t help it. We have another shining example of far-left environmental radicals who are bleating about the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) change-up in the way they accepted public comments on the PennEast Pipeline project. We first reported the antis are up-in-arms two days ago (see FERC Alters PennEast Hearing Process to Reduce Antis’ Bleating). Yesterday we shared the spitting and sputtering done by THE Delaware Riverkeeper herself, Maya van Rossum (see THE Delaware Riverkeeper Mad – Can’t Bleat at FERC Hearings). Today it’s the radicals at the New Jersey Conservation Foundation and Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association. Maaaaaaahhhh…
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WVU Prof Gets $110K Grant to Research ‘Methane Aromatization’

GAA West Virginia University engineering prof has just been awarded $110,000 to study methane aromatization. What’s that? It’s the process of turning methane, or natural gas, into “higher value products” like benzene and hydrogen. It’s not as easy as it may sound. If the good prof is successful, it may open up new markets in the northeast for our overabundant natural gas supplies. Here’s the lowdown…
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