EQT Urged by Major Investor to Merge with Either Range or Antero

A kerfuffle erupted yesterday when Chapter IV Investors, a Charlotte, NC-based investment firm with investments in EQT, Range Resources and Antero Resources, announced it had sent a letter to EQT urging the company to consider merging with either Range Resources or Antero Resources. Chapter IV, which is essentially two big-money investors (W. Barnes Hauptfuhrer, Managing Partner and Portfolio Manager, and Ryan J. Jack, Partner), does not own enough stock in any of the companies (less than 1% in each) to throw its weight around like a corporate raider. Rather, it appears to be two investors attempting to grab the attention of these companies and their shareholders by issuing a press release (full copy below) with a plan they say would create a new Marcellus/Utica driller worth more than $25 billion. Obviously the value of investments for Chapter IV would go up under such a scenario–so there is self-interest at work here. However, we don’t detect any kind of bullying on the part of Chapter IV, like that of a raider Carl Icahn (successful takeover of Chesapeake Energy & Cheniere Energy) or Keith “Mini-Me” Meister (unsuccessful attempt to takeover Williams). Rather, it appears to be a couple of investors who believe there is an honest and good case for a combination of EQT with another company, and were willing to spend $500 on a press release to make their case. Are they right?…
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Mgmt Musical Chairs at Eclipse, “Gen-3” Utica Wells Go Online

Two members of Eclipse Resources’ top management team are playing musical chairs as part of the company’s plan to “accelerate growth” in 2017. Tom Liberatore, currently executive VP and COO is dropping the COO title and becoming executive VP of corporate development and geosciences. Meanwhile, Oleg Tolmachev, currently senior VP of drilling and completions is becoming executive VP and COO. Tolmachev’s star is clearly rising and he is now the man running the Utica/Marcellus drilling program for the company. In the same press release, the company said it has now completed and brought online five Utica wells in Monroe County, OH. The wells are the first dry gas Utica wells to use Eclipse’s new “Gen-3” completion design. What is Gen-3? And what does the musical chairs at Eclipse have to do with Gen-3?…
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ODNR Says No ‘Felt’ Earthquakes from Injection Wells Last 5 Yrs

On Dec. 31, 2011, the Youngstown, OH area experienced a 4.0 earthquake that was later determined to be caused by a wastewater injection well (see Youngstown Earthquake and Fracking: Is There a Connection? and ODNR Finds Youngstown Injection Well Caused Earthquakes). The Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) later enacted new regulations to prevent future occurrences of earthquakes from either injection wells or fracking itself (see Did ODNR Overreact & Set Earthquake Detect Bar Too Low?). As we pointed out in 2014, the new rules would have shut down the Cleveland Browns stadium–if all of the fans were to begin stomping their feet it would create an “earthquake” greater than the allowed limits set by ODNR. Since the new rules were enacted there have continued to be earthquakes in Ohio, but not “felt” earthquakes from injection wells (see Study Says Series of Unfelt Earthquakes in OH from Utica Fracking). Typically an earthquake must reach 2.5 on the Richter scale to be felt on the surface. Since spring of 2012, there have been no major (above 2.5) earthquakes in Ohio related to injection wells, although there have been a few felt earthquakes supposedly tied to fracking over an active fault (see OH Researchers Confirm Hilcorp Fracking Caused Low-Level Quakes). Now five years later, the ODNR is patting itself on the back, taking credit for the reduced number of earthquakes tied to injection wells, because (they say) of their super-restrictive regulations…
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Marcellus/Utica Drillers Ask for Special Permit to Kill Some Bats

In April 2015 the Obama administration’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) did a disservice to not only the drilling industry, but the wind industry, farmers and the construction industry. USFWS listed the northern long-eared bat as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act (see US Fish & Wildlife Fixes Wrong Problem for Northern Long-Eared Bat). USFWS says a fungus is spreading through the bat population, killing it. The northern long-eared bat is found in pretty much the eastern two-thirds of the country, minus Florida. The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) pointed out that USFWS has admitted the the bat is threatened because of something called white nose syndrome–which has nothing to do with habitat destruction. Yet drillers and midstreamers are now hamstrung with new regulations to “save the bats” even though they are not the ones causing harm to the bats. There are other bat species also on the threatened and endangered list, including the Indiana bat, eastern small-footed bat, little brown bat and tri-colored bat. All five species are in decline because of white nose syndrome. Drillers and midstreamers can’t cut down trees from April 1st through October 31st of each year for fear of killing a bat that may be roosting in the tree. This is nuts! Cutting a few trees here and there will not further deplete the bat population–but the thugish USFWS won’t budge. So a coalition of Marcellus/Utica drillers and midstreamers have asked the USFWS to grant them a special permit to allow them to inadvertently kill the odd bat between April and October. USFWS is now conducting a full environmental impact statement, which won’t be ready until next year…
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OH Gov Kasich Vetoed Misnamed ‘Tax Relief’ for Utica Drillers

As we reported in December, Ohio legislators sent Gov. John “foreigner hunter” Kasich a bill at the end of the year with provisions that clear up language regarding tax exemptions for the oil and gas industry (see OH Gov Kasich May Veto Misnamed ‘Tax Relief’ for Utica Drillers). Ohio state auditors have taken advantage of unclear language to aggressively go after oil and gas companies over legitimate tax breaks they receive under Ohio law (to not pay taxes on equipment used directly in producing oil and gas). Lawmakers want to end the tax witch hunts by clearing up language. But Democrats and RINO Kasich are trying to position the issue as a “tax break” under which up to $264 million would have to be refunded to Big Oil. Which is, of course, a lie. Kasich decided to take the low road and continue to demagogue the issue. He vetoed the bill…
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Study Claims Listening to Fracking Will Make Ya Sick – a Joke?

Is it April Fool’s Day? Wait, no, it’s January 4th, not April 1st. But honestly, we thought it must be a joke to read that scientists doing “research” claim that living close to a fracking site will make you sick. Not from air pollution. Not from water pollution. But from noise pollution. Yep, loud noises nearby cause things like “stress” and “annoyance” and even diabetes (!) according to Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSEHE) and Michael McCawley, the interim chair of the Occupational and Environmental Health Department at West Virginia University. The study, titled “Public health implications of environmental noise associated with unconventional oil and gas development,” goes for the jugular–making a case for stricter regulations and larger setbacks (i.e. less drilling). Yet, the researchers don’t do any of their own in-the-field research! They rely on out-of-date research done by others. And they show no causal link between health impacts and shale drilling in the “study”…
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SC Antis Fuss Over Pipeline to Carry Marcellus Gas to Charleston

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In March 2016, Dominion filed an official application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a 55-mile pipeline project called the Transco to Charleston Project (see Dominion Files Application to Move Marcellus Gas to Charleston, SC). As the name implies, it will be a short pipeline to connect the Transco pipeline, which is in the process of reversing flows to bring Marcellus and Utica Shale gas south. This pipeline will grab that Marcellus/Utica gas and send it to the Charleston, SC area. The projected in-service date is November of this year. However, this project, like every square inch of every pipeline project in the Eastern U.S., faces opposition from nutty anti-drilling radicals who vow to try and stop it even if it gets FERC approval…
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Radicalized Kids Suing Over Global Warming to Depose Tillerson

In August 2015, MDN told you about a lawsuit brought by a group of left coast radicalized children who want to force the federal government to become communist and “force action” on mythical climate change (see Group of Kids Sues U.S. Govt to Force Action on “Climate Change”). In January 2016, we brought you an update, telling you that radicalized, fringe Catholic groups had joined the cause with the ignorant children (see Climate Change Lawsuit by Radicalized Children Gets Interesting). Now comes word that this silly (and sick) effort continues. The radicalized children, and the lawyers abusing them, will get to depose Rex Tillerson under oath on Jan. 19 about his knowledge of mythical man-made global warming. Yep. The lawyers will put Tillerson on the hot seat the day before Donald Trump is inaugurated. Tillerson is Trump’s pick to become the next Secretary of State–and man oh man do we need a good one after the twin disasters of John Kerry and Hillary Clinton. The deposition will be more about attempting to give Trump a black eye than it will about so-called global warming…
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Univ Chicago, Princeton & MIT Study: Fracking Benefits Everyone

A new study by researchers at the University of Chicago, Princeton University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) finds that the benefits of fracking outweigh the costs. You read that right. Three big lefty schools have released a study saying fracking benefits everyone. “The Local Economic and Welfare Consequences of Hydraulic Fracturing” (full copy below) looked at nine different shale basins. The authors say fracking activity yields $1,300 to $1,900 per year on average to each household in those basins. That’s a $64 billion yearly benefit–from fracking. So says the libs. Fracking benefits include, “a 7 percent increase in average income, driven by rises in wages and royalty payments, a 10 percent increase in employment, and a 6 percent increase in housing prices.” It is the largest and most comprehensive study of its kind…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Wed, Jan 4, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: NEXUS Pipeline route stays same in Wayne County; Muskingum U o&g program meets critical need; Atlantic Coast Pipe a huge win for WV; nagas prices drop like a rock in the forward market; natgas poised for “bigger things” in 2017; 5 biggest o&g acquisitions of 2016; new value add tech line for Carbo Ceramics; Basic Energy stock begins trading on NYSE again; Williams thesis for 2017; and more!
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