Anadarko Sells All Marcellus Assets for $1.24B to Alta Resources

One of the country’s largest oil drillers is calling it quits in the Marcellus natural gas play. Earlier today Anadarko announced it has cut a deal to sell all of its Marcellus acreage and wells to Alta Resources for $1.24 billion. The deal is big, including 195,000 acres and daily production from wells that averages 470 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d). That’s the news you’ll get everywhere else. Here’s the part of the story you’ll read exclusively here on MDN: Anadarko has a partner in the Marcellus–Mitsui–which is also selling their interest in the PA Marcellus to Alta, for $207 million. Also, background on the deal you won’t read anywhere else: Alta was an early investor in the Marcellus, but sold out all of their acreage in 2010. Now they’re back. Anadarko and Mitsui sold for far less than the acreage was valued at in 2010–we’d call it getting taken to the cleaners. MDN sorts it all out below…
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Spectra Energy Puts Access Northeast Pipe to New England on Hold

Spectra Energy’s Access Northeast Pipeline project, a roughly $3 billion project to connect four existing pipeline systems (with enhancements): Texas Eastern, Algonquin Gas Transmission, Iroquois and Maritimes & Northeast, has suffered a string of setbacks this year. Spectra’s original strategy was to bring natural gas to New England by cutting deals with electric companies who need the gas to produce cheaper electricity at their natgas-fired power generation plants. However, the green environmental Nazis came out in force against the plan, (sadly) aided and abetted by Spectra’s competitors, and those plans are now in ruins with three states blocking any such plans (see MA Supreme Court Ruling Endangers New England Gas Pipelines; NH Regulators Veto Access Northeast Pipeline Contract; and CT Latest New England State to Give Up on NatGas Cooperation). Last month we reported that Spectra is not yet ready to give up. They’re changing strategies. Spectra says there are still some electric power generators on board (those that don’t need regulatory approval), and to make up the difference, Spectra is now targeting local natural gas distribution companies (LDCs) as potential customers (see Spectra Energy Changes Strategy re New England Pipeline). Spectra needs customers to sign on the dotted line–committing to long-term contracts–before they can raise the funding and build the project. This change in strategy means the project now won’t go online until 2019, at the earliest. In keeping with the revised schedule, Spectra, via their Algonquin Gas Transmission subsidiary, has just filed an update with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to say things are officially now on pause while they “solidify the commercial foundation” (i.e. find new customers). How long will it be on pause?…
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Wave of New Fracking About to Hit the Marcellus/Utica

Based on a recent uptick in new permits issued in PA, OH and WV, a writer for the Daily Caller says “a wave of new fracking is about to hit Appalachia.” We agree! Recent trends all point to an increase in drilling–which is good for landowners, jobs, taxes and the environment (more gas lowers CO2 emissions, if you believe in man-made global warming). Here’s a startling statistic: Fracking is estimated to have generated 4.6 million new jobs and $3.5 trillion in new wealth–in just three years (see today’s companion story). Surf’s up! Here’s the evidence that a new “wave” of fracking is on the way in our neighborhood…
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Stone Energy’s Largest Shareholder Caves, Agrees to Bankruptcy

Stone Energy, an independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company (E&P) headquartered in Lafayette, Louisiana drills mainly in the Gulf of Mexico but also has (or rather had) a presence in the Marcellus/Utica Shale with 90,000 acres of leases. In October Stone announced (a) it is selling its Marcellus/Utica assets to Tug Hill for $350 million, and (b) the company is preparing to file for bankruptcy (see Stone Energy Enters Bankruptcy, Sells Marc/Utica Assets for $350M). Stone needs the bankruptcy court’s permission to sell the acreage. However, Stone’s bankruptcy plans are facing a challenge from it’s biggest shareholder. Investor Thomas Satterfield, who now owns 9.9% of the company’s stock, doesn’t want to see that stock turned into toilet paper by handing the keys over to debtholders, as is the typical route E&Ps have taken with bankruptcy filings over the past year or so (see Stone Energy’s Largest Shareholder Opposes Current Bankruptcy Plan). Last week the company announced it is pushing ahead with its plan to file for bankruptcy including seeking permission to sell its Marcellus/Utica assets, over the objections of Satterfield who said he would see them in court (see Stone Energy Files for Bankruptcy, Largest Shareholder Opposes). It’s been a fast and furious week. Satterfield has struck a bargain with Stone, figuring half a loaf is better than no bread at all…
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Shell Cracker Wastewater Discharge Becomes an Issue

Environmentalists are accusing Shell of using a loophole to discharge wastewater at their future ethane cracker that will exceed state limits for TDS (total dissolved solids). The issue may sound familiar. In 2011 Pennsylvania “requested” that municipal sewage treatment plants without specially outfitted equipment stop accepting and processing Marcellus wastewater (see PA DEP, Marcellus Shale Coalition Admit Drilling Wastewater Likely Contaminating Drinking Water). Almost immediately, it stopped, which was a good thing for the environment. The problem with shale wastewater (i.e. produced water) is its high TDS content, including bromide. When bromide combines with chlorine used in wastewater treatment plants, it combines to produce trihalomethanes, which (in some studies) indicate increased levels of cancer in humans (see MDN In-depth: Marcellus Wastewater Discharges via Municipal Sewage Treatment Plants into PA Waterways). Nasty stuff. While the Shell ethane cracker will not process shale wastewater, it will produce water with TDS as part of its process. Shell plans to use a permit from the plant it is replacing, an old zinc smelting plant, to discharge a certain volume of water with TDS. Environmentalists say the volume they will discharge is too much and if the plant were not using a pre-existing permit (swapping ethane cracking for zinc smelting) the volume of wastewater they want to discharge would not be approved. That is, Shell is leveraging a loophole, a permit grandfathered in, and the volume of wastewater it will discharge may endanger humans downriver. Legit? Not legit?…
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PA DEP to Conduct ‘Listening Tour’ for ‘Environmental Justice’

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) will go on a “listening tour” early next year, to focus on so-called environmental justice–whatever that is. Apparently environmental justice means asking poor people if they’ve been abused by the oil and gas industry in any way–and if they have a beef, the DEP will “do” something about it. That’s our take. This isn’t the first “listening tour” conducted by the DEP. You may recall in 2013 the agency conducted a listening tour for new drilling regulations (see PA DEP Launches Public Comments on New Drilling Rules, Roadshow). It went so well, they extended it into 2014 (see PA DEP Extends Roadshow for Public Comment on New Drilling Rules). Last year the now-fired DEP Sec. John Quigley went on a 14-stop listening tour to elicit input on PA’s version of Obama’s disastrous Clean Power Plan (see DEP launches public talks on Clean Power Plan). Here’s the latest on the listening tour/roadshow from PA DEP…
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Fracking Added $3.5 Trillion, 4.6M Jobs to Economy in 3 Years

New research from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) reveals a couple of astonishing facts: From 2012-2014, hydraulic fracturing was responsible for creating $3.5 trillion worth of new wealth. We can’t even get our brains around that number! Another fact: From 2012-2014, fracking create 4.6 million new jobs. Although we’ve experienced a big downturn since 2014, can you imagine how the fracking industry will come back under President Trump? Happy day are here again! More from the latest research report by NBER, titled “Fracking, Drilling, and Asset Pricing: Estimating the Economic Benefits of the Shale Revolution”…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Thu, Dec 22, 2016

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Celebrate Washington’s crossing & defend PennEast Pipeline; how rebounding LNG will help U.S. gas producers; Obama bans oil & gas drilling in the Arctic; Pruitt to the rescue at EPA; energy’s biggest winners and losers in 2016; and more!
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