Chinese Sniffing Around Clearfield County, PA – Looking to Invest

china-investmentA delegation from the China Petroleum and Petrochemical Energy Institute (CPPEI) recently visited Clearfield County, PA. The reason for the visit was to scout out potential locations and business opportunities related to PA’s abundant supplies of cheap Marcellus Shale gas. Seven Chinese entrepreneurs came representing companies in the petrochemical/energy industries. The Clearfield economic development agency, called Clearly Ahead Development, coordinated the visit. It was the second such visit in the past year. It certainly couldn’t hurt have some of our money, spent in huge volumes on Chinese imports, come back to the U.S….
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Last Stand: Big Coal Tries to Block NatGas Electric Plant in WV

last-standSince April of 2014, MDN has written about and monitored a new project to build a $615 million electrical generating plant in Marshall County, WV that will burn Marcellus Shale gas (see MDN stories about it here). Called Moundsville Power, the project received a final green light in February 2015. We also discovered the plant will burn not only methane, but ethane as well (see WV Moundsville Electric Generating Plant to Burn Methane + Ethane!). Moundsville Power was supposed to break ground in early 2016. That didn’t happen. What’s the holdup? A group supporting coal-fired electric generation called Ohio Valley Jobs Alliance filed an objection to the West Virginia Air Quality Board’s permit issued for the project (see Coal Supporters Try to Stop Moundsville, WV NatGas Electric Plant). Because of the appeal, meant to block the project, Moundsville continues to be delayed–at least for a few more months…
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Utica’s 2nd Biggest Driller, Gulfport Energy, Floats $650M in IOUs

Gulfport logGulfport Energy is an Oklahoma City-based independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company (“driller”) with its main operations in the Utica Shale of eastern Ohio and along the Louisiana Gulf Coast. In August MDN ran an article looking at the top 5 drillers in the Utica Shale (see Which 5 Drillers Dominate in the Utica Shale?). Gulfport was #2 in that list, only behind Chesapeake Energy. Gulfport owns 223,000 net acres in the Utica, produced 2/3rds of a Bcf (billion cubic feet) of natural gas and equivalents per day in 2015, and drilled 165 wells in 2015. Yesterday Gulfport announced a program to swap out old debt for new debt–offering $650 million in “senior notes” (we call them IOUs) in a program to repurchase other notes coming due in 2020. Yes, it’s all financial mumbo jumbo as far as we’re concerned. What it points out is the extraordinary lengths drillers will go to stay afloat during this time of low natgas prices…
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Chesapeake Energy Gets $1.25B in Cash for “Convertible” IOUs

Chesapeake EnergyOn Wednesday Chesapeake Energy issued an announcement to crow about “significant improvements in its capital structure following recent transactions.” The improvements came as a result of Chessy striking a deal to get $1.25 billion in cash from selling unsecure (nothing to back it) convertible notes–i.e. IOUs. Chesapeake handed people a piece of paper saying they would pay them back in the future, and those people gave the company cash. A LOT of cash. [Note to self: Maybe you’re in the wrong business?] The “convertible” part of the IOUs issued states that if by some miracle Chesapeake can get their stock price up 130% in three years over what it is today, Chesapeake has the right to convert the IOUs (debt) into shares of stock (equity). As of June 30 Chesapeake’s debt was $8.7 billion…
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More Drama with Williams Board of Directors – Coming and Going

As the World TurnsMidstream giant Williams continues to be whipsawed by corporate raiders and pressure from investors to start performing better financially. The evidence for that bold statement comes from observing what’s happening with the board of directors. Following an aborted merger with Energy Transfer Equity, six of Williams’ board members tried to engineer a palace coup to depose current CEO Alan Armstrong. The coup failed and the board members quit in July (see Half of Williams Board, Including 2 Corporate Raiders, Quit). One of the board members who quit was corporate raider Keith Mesiter, founder and managing partner of Corvex Management. Meister is a protege of Carl Ichan, hence we call him Mini-Me. After quitting, Meister decided he wanted back on the board and began a proxy fight to take control of the company (see Corvex Raider Launches Hostile Takeover Attempt of Williams). In August, Williams appointed three new members of the board, all of them well-qualified (see Williams Appoints 3 New Board Members, Confounds Corp Raider). In September Williams continued with what it calls its “Board refreshment plan” by appointing two more new board members (see More Board Shakeups Coming to Williams). At that time Williams also announced three current board members who were on the board prior to the big shake-up (three who didn’t quit in July) will be gone by the next annual meeting on Nov. 23. Lost yet? All of these board gyrations are giving us a headache. Yesterday Williams felt the need to further expound on their board machinations by issuing a statement that says the three board members not standing for reelection are doing so “voluntarily”…
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NOAA Research: Cows & Rice Farms Biggest Source of Fugitive Methane

noaaNOAA–the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration–contains some of the biggest kool-aid drinking man-made global warming fanatics on the planet. So we found it interesting that the mighty NOAA has just released new research that finds yes, so-called “fugitive” methane that escapes into the atmosphere is up–way up. And yes, oil and gas drilling contributes WAY MORE to the fugitive methane problem “than previously thought.” And yes, methane leaks from fossil fuel development represents something like 20-25% of of the total “problem.” But then those same researchers, in little teeny tiny type add this: “However, the findings also confirm other work by NOAA scientists that conclude fossil fuel facilities are not directly responsible for the increased rate of global atmospheric methane emissions measured in the atmosphere since 2007.” That is, while the shale revolution has grown exponentially over the past 10 years, and while the rate of fugitive methane has grown during that same period–the growth has NOT come from oil and gas development. Instead, it’s coming from rice paddies and cow farts/burps…
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Power Grab: PHMSA Issues Interim Final Rule (IFR) for PIPES Act

abuse-of-power.jpgThe Obama Administration has once again made a naked power grab–violating the Constitution in the process. On Monday the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued an Interim Final Rule (“IFR”) to implement the agency’s “expanded authority to address unsafe pipeline conditions or practices that pose an imminent hazard to life, property, or the environment.” That is, if PHMSA bureaucrats decide something is important enough, or may imminently “harm the public”–they can just dispense with all other laws and regulations which require hearings and public notices, wave the regulatory wand and make a decision. No input. No consultation. No following the law. PHMSA is doing this as a result of a new law signed by President Obama in June, called the PIPES Act, which grants the DOT Secretary godlike powers to issue emergency orders when he/she thinks there’s a danger to the public…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Oct 7, 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: Enerplus may get MORE than the asking price for Marcellus assets; TruStar breaks ground on Cincinnati’s first public CNG fueling station; Rice Energy selling additional 6 million shares of stock; cracker plant spurs Monaca to “transform” downtown; wind farms get built for tax credits, not wind generation; o&g billionaires make the Forbes list; Tokyo Gas swapping LNG cargoes; and more!
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