Proxy Fight: Jana Partners, Atlas Tries to Stop EQT/Rice Deal

So-called “activist investor” (i.e. corporate raider) Jana Partners, in league with the Cohen family (Atlas Energy) has started a proxy fight and is trying to block EQT’s takover/merger with Rice Energy. Jana is the same company that recently helped Amazon buy Whole Foods. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday (embedded below), Jana disclosed the company has purchased ~5% of EQT’s stock and is launching an effort to block EQT’s proposed buyout of Rice Energy (see EQT Buys Rice Energy in $8.2B Deal, Becomes #1 Gas Producer in US). As a quick reminder, here’s what corporate raiders (aka “activist investors”) do: They buy up enough stock in a company to control board decisions, getting several of their own people appointed to the board of directors. Typically corporate raiders will collude with another large stockholder or two to accomplish a board coup d’état. The corporate raider then forces the target company to sell off assets and layoff people. The resulting company is, they claim, “healthier” and more streamlined. The stock price bumps up, the raider sells its stock, pocketing a nice profit. And then moves on to the next target. Meanwhile, good people are standing in the unemployment line, in the wake of the raider’s “improvements.” There is nothing moral or righteous or just about the actions of corporate raiders. It is immoral, unjust and disgusting. In the words of Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, Jana are “greedy bastards.” That about sums it up. It’s distressing to see the Cohen clan collude in this kind of behavior. They should stick to their own knitting. Maybe if they had, their own company (Atlas Energy) wouldn’t have gone bankrupt (see Atlas Resource Partners Filing for Bankruptcy Tomorrow). Here’s the developing story of the effort to derail EQT’s deal with Rice Energy, and force EQT to break itself into pieces…
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PTT Global Buys Land for Belmont, OH Ethane Cracker Plant

Although a final investment decision (FID) is still months away, Thailand-based PTT Global Chemical decided spending $13.8 million to buy 168 acres at the proposed site for a second Appalachia ethane cracker, in Belmont County, OH, would be a good investment. Which they have now done. The deal, which closed in June, is just now coming to light. PTT bought the land for the site from FirstEnergy Corporation. The deal was recorded at the Belmont County Courthouse on June 14. This is yet another sign that PTT will make a positive FID later this year. Even though PTT just bought the land, work was previously done on the site to clear it and get it ready for construction, as we reported in December (see OH Cracker Final Decision Coming Soon, Site Now Cleared & Ready). Fingers crossed that this $5 billion project gets the go-ahead later this year…
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Baker Hughes and GE Complete Merger, World’s 1st Fullstream Co.

The new Baker Hughes logo, released Monday

As of Tuesday, the world now has its first and (so far) only “fullstream” company–a company that ticks all of the boxes in the oil and gas section–upstream, midstream and downstream. In October 2016 MDN brought you the news that GE Oil & Gas was making a play to buy out and merge in Baker Hughes Inc. (see Breaking: Who Needs Halliburton? Baker Hughes Merging with GE O&G). The merger faced its share of challenges, but compared to Halliburton’s attempt to buy Baker Hughes, which was denied by the Obama Dept. of Justice, this merger was a piece of cake. The newly merged company, flying under the name Baker Hughes, a GE company (NYSE ticker symbol of BHGE) has sailed by oilfield services company Halliburton to become #2 OFS company in the world. It may even be larger that #1 Schlumberger (we haven’t heard yet). As we pointed out in June, this is not some sort of 50/50 merger, this is a takeover/buyout of Baker Hughes by GE. Most of the new top management at the merged company comes from GE (see Baker Hughes, GE Release Roster of Coming Management Changes). Today is the first day the newly merged company’s stock begins to trade. It will be interesting to see at what price it trades…
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PA Doubles Number of Shale Wells Drilled in First 6 Months of 2017

In a story about PA’s “moribund” drilling industry beginning to turn around, the AP notes some news that we think it pretty significant. For the first six months of 2017, PA shale drillers have drilled 397 shale wells. That’s more than twice the number they drilled in the first six months of 2016. There are now 20 additional drilling rigs active in the Marcellus, and fracking crews are in “short supply.” This is all great news for the PA Marcellus, something to celebrate on the day after July 4th…
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Radical Enviros Continue to Make Trouble for PA DCNR re Lease Rev

As MDN reported in June, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court of Appeals, in a sharply divided 3-2 decision, sided with virulent anti-drilling group Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation against the state in saying that any royalties generated from drilling on state-owned land MUST be used solely for conservation and the environment (see PA Supreme Court Hands Antis Partial Victory re State Land Drilling). The aim of the PA EDF is to disrupt Marcellus Shale drilling by any means necessary. This is one of those means. The three liberal justices who rendered the decision say the law is clear on intent–that money raised from leasing state-owned lands for drilling must be used for environmental purposes. The PA EDF arrogantly told the State of Pennsylvania that the money raised from drilling can’t be used for general operating expenses of the Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR)–the very organization that oversees the state lands and is in charge of said leasing (see Radical Enviros Now the Tail Wagging the PA DCNR Dog re Funding). But the Supremes, in their “wisdom,” decided to send the case back to the lower Commonwealth Court for a decision about the disposition and spending of money raised from signing bonuses. The decision the Supremes made in June only affects royalties. Now the radicals at the PA EDF are telling the Commonwealth Court that signing bonuses are in the same camp as royalties–that PA should not be able to use them for anything other than Big Green causes. Since there is no new leasing of PA state land under lib Dem Gov. Tom Wolf, a decision by the court will affect money already received and spent, from 2009-2010…
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Liberal DC Court Tells EPA It MUST Adopt Obama Methane Rules

The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wisely move to begin the process of rolling back Obama-era regulations on methane, designed to regulate the oil and gas industry, last month (see Beginning of the End: EPA Issues 90-Day Stay for Methane Rule). Big Green groups with deep pockets sued a few days later, claiming the agency that instituted the rules in the first place (the EPA) shouldn’t be able to roll back the rules they themselves made up. Egregious, over-reaching rules. A liberal federal court in DC somewhat agreed, telling the EPA they have to justify themselves (see Liberal DC Court Asks EPA to Respond to Lawsuit by Radical Enviros). Now, the liberal DC court has decided the EPA can’t un-decide what it previously decided, even though it clearly has the right and power to do so. On Monday, the U.S. Kangaroo Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ordered to EPA to move forward with the Obama-era methane rules…
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Fracker Keane Group Completes Buyout of RockPile Energy for $276M

Keane Group is a Texas-based oilfield services company that provides fracking, wireline and top-hole air drilling services to oil and gas companies in the Marcellus/Utica as well as several other major basins. In January 2016, Keane announced they were buying out Canadian-based Trican Well Service for $247 million (see Oilfield Serv. Co. Keane Group Buys Trican Well Service for $247M). The expansion tripled Keane’s fracking capacity and gave it access to proprietary new technology. The buyout, and Keane’s hard work, bore fruit. Last December the privately-held company announced it will go public with an initial public offering (IPO) of stock, hoping to raise $287.5 million with the IPO (see Oilfield Services Co. Keane Group Floats $288M IPO). Then in May of this year, Keane announced it is expanding again, buying out fracker RockPile Energy Services for $284.5 million (see Fracker Keane Group Continues Expansion, Buys RockPile Energy). The deal has closed, although for slightly less money than the original announcement. RockPile is no more after merging with Keane for $276 million. RockPile’s former CEO, Curt Dacar, is now the COO (Chief Commercial Officer) at Keane…
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Fossil Fuels Continue to Dominate American Energy – 81% in 2016

Here’s a fact: Fossil fuels have provided more than 80% of total U.S. energy consumption for more than 100 years. Here’s another fact: Fossil fuels provided 81% of America’s energy consumption in 2016–last year. What about all those precious so-called renewables? They provided a little over 10% of our energy needs. However, don’t confuse “renewables” with “solar and wind,” because renewables also include biomass and hydro. If you look only at wind and solar, they provided around 2.5-3% of our overall energy needs last year. When some crackpot claims we could just flip a switch and begin using all renewables anytime before the next 100 years, you know they’re delusional. Ain’t, gonna, happen. You read it here first…
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See the Map that Changed How MDN Views the NatGas World

The natural gas market in the United States is big and complex, with a lot of moving parts. When MDN editor Jim Willis began working in the market full-time in 2012, he learned from some of the best in the business–the people at Natural Gas Intelligence (NGI). There’s a whole lot more to our wonderful market than just drilling wells for natural gas, the “upstream” part of the business. There’s also pipelines, processing plants and compressor stations–the “midstream”; and petrochemical plants, LNG exports and other end users, the “downstream.” Perhaps one the key lessons Jim learned early on in working with NGI is ours is a market driven solely by price. And not just one price! Yes, the Henry Hub in South Louisiana is the most quoted price point in the world when it comes to natgas. Indeed, it forms the basis price against which all other trading points are measured. But Jim learned early on there isn’t just one price for natural gas, there are many (hundreds!) of prices for natural gas, because natural gas is traded at hundreds of different locations along pipelines, all around the country. When Jim was being taught about the markets and prices and why and where drillers decide to drill, driven by price, one of the key resources used to teach Jim was the NGI Map of Shale & Resource Plays in North America. It was a revelation that made a lasting impression when Jim’s tutors walked him over to the NGI map hanging on the wall and pointed out all of the different shale plays, pipelines, and trading points along those pipelines. Suddenly, the complex world of natgas with its many moving parts snapped into place. It was now understandable. NGI’s wall map is the tool that did that for Jim. Perhaps it can do the same for you…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Wed, Jul 5, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: OH radicals oppose Trump FERC nominees, want to hold up projects; PA lawmakers look for funds to balance budget (incl. severance tax); LNGL gets $1.5B to build Magnolia LNG project; enviro research group exposes flawed anti fracking health studies; lowest price for gas in 12 years – thx to fracking; Mammoth Energy, little but strong; Carrizo shuffles assets; why enviro awareness doesn’t translate into green behavior; and more!
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