Chesapeake 2Q17: “Rambo” Marcellus Well Produces Record 61 MMcf/d

Chesapeake Energy reported second quarter 2017 results last week. As is typical, the company hosted a conference call with analysts to discuss those results. However, Chesapeake CEO Doug “the ax” Lawler had some rather exciting news about the Marcellus to report–late breaking news. In recent weeks Chesapeake has brought online an experimental well drilled in Wyoming County, PA (northeastern part of the state) with an initial production of 61 million cubic feet equivalent per day (MMcfe/d). This is a MONSTER Marcellus well! The most productive onshore shale well we know of is EQT’s Utica well in Greene County, PA, with a 72.9 MMcfe/d IP rate, drilled in July 2015 (see EQT’s 1st Utica Well Shatters Record – 72.9 MMcf/d IP Rate!). The Chesapeake McGavin well in Wyoming County, with a 10,500 foot lateral, has the highest IP of any Marcellus well we’ve heard of. How did Chessy do it? They unleashed “32 million pounds of Hell on Earth” (meaning frac sand) to frack the well. Workers called it “the Rambo frac” because they needed to attack the formation like Rambo would a POW camp. The well cost is estimated to be $8.5 million–a tad more expensive that others they’ve drilled in the area, but a bargain with those kinds of flow rates. Below is the information we could glean about the “Rambo” well, along with the full update from Chesapeake for 2Q17…
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ET Says Accident or Anti Sabotage Caused Diesel in Rover Mud Leaks

Rover Pipeline is Energy Transfer’s $3.7 billion, 711-mile Marcellus/Utica natural gas pipeline that will run from PA, WV and eastern OH through OH into Michigan and eventually into Canada. On April 13, Rover workers experienced an “inadvertent return” of “horizontal directional drilling fluid”. That is, they sprung a leak and spilled nearly 2 million gallons of drilling mud (see Rover Pipeline Accident Spills ~2M Gal. Drilling Mud in OH Swamp). The leak did not spill into the Tuscarawas River (thankfully), but into a wetland next to the river. As we pointed out at the time, “Fortunately the primary component of said drilling fluid is nontoxic bentonite–the same ingredient used to make shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and kitty litter.” The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) investigated the spill, following an “anonymous tip” and found the presence of diesel fuel in the spilled mud. Diesel fuel IS toxic–and its presence is not a good thing. OEPA’s testing found “very very low levels” of diesel fuel, whatever that means. Even very very low amounts are not good–and in fact are illegal. Since that time Energy Transfer has tried to figure out why there is diesel in the drilling mud–because they sure didn’t order it, and they firmly believe their drilling contractor did not add it to the mud. So how did it get there? On Friday Energy Transfer offered two theories–either an accident spilled diesel into the mud, or it was intentionally placed there by antis, as an act of sabotage. We do find it interesting that OEPA Director Craig Butler, who has been combative against Energy Transfer and the Rover project, claims an anonymous source tipped him to the presence of the mud. Was the anonymous source a whistle blower who worked for the contractor and claimed this is a routine practice? Did OEPA find diesel in unused drilling mud? Have they found the presence of diesel at ANY other locations where HDD is being used? We certainly had the thought fly through our brains, for only a moment, “What if an anti deliberately put diesel in the mud?” when this story first broke several months ago. But we immediately dismissed the idea. Not even antis would stoop so low as to poison Mother Earth to advance their cause. Or would they?…
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WV Shale Well Initial Production Rates Jump 20% in One Year

Of the three Marcellus/Utica producing states–Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia–only WV reports well production on an annual basis. Not frequent enough! In July WV published production numbers for 2016. The exciting news is that on average, initial production (IP) of Marcellus/Utica shale wells surged 20% over 2015. IP is the amount of gas (or oil or NGLs) flowing from a well. However, when you dig into the numbers, you learn that IP rates did not go up universally across the state. Some counties had big increases, other counties went the other way. The same with drillers. Some drillers (like Antero) saw a big bump up in average IP rates. Other’s (like Southwestern Energy) saw a dip in IP rates from 2015 to 2016…
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Rice Energy Paid $180M for LOLA Energy; CEO Didn’t Want to Sell

In July MDN brought you the news that Rice Energy had bought out the assets of LOLA Energy (see LOLA Energy Sells Out to Rice Energy, Deal Kept Hush-Hush). NGI’s ace reporter Jamison Cocklin was the first to break the news. Since that time, neither Rice nor the company buying Rice, EQT, have talked about it. In fact, they have refused to comment on it. Last week other news sources observed that Rice Energy’s quarterly update contains information about purchasing LOLA Energy (although even the quarterly update doesn’t use the name LOLA). The interesting thing is that the quarterly update pegs the amount. Rice Energy paid $180 million for the assets of LOLA Energy. LOLA was birthed near the end of 2015, by former EQT executives using $250 million of private equity money from Denham Capital (see New Marcellus/Utica Drilling Company is Born – LOLA Energy). Hmmm. Investors put up $250 million, but two years later the company sells for $180 million. We don’t pretend to be high finance experts, but it sure looks to us like a negative ROI on the transaction. Yet we read claims that “everybody who put in money made money.” How does that work?…

Update: see a note in the comments. It appears that although $250M was promised by investors, not all of it is paid up front. Thx to MDN reader Venture Energy for enlightening us!
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Eclipse Res. 2Q17: $325M JV to Keep Drilling, Wants More Acreage

Last week Eclipse Resources, a Marcellus/Utica pure play driller headquartered in State College, PA that drills mostly in Ohio, released their second quarter 2017 update. Eclipse has been on a roll, drilling a series of longest-ever onshore lateral wells–in the world. It began last year when Eclipse drilled what they call their first “super lateral” Utica well in Guernsey County, OH–the Purple Hayes, at 18,500 feet long (see Eclipse Res. 1Q16: Drills Longest Shale Well Ever! “Purple Hayes”). Since that time, the Purple Hayes well has consistently been the #1 oil producing well in the state. In May of this year, Eclipse drilled a new longest-ever well, also in Guernsey County, the Great Scott 3H well at 19,300 feet long (see Great Scott! Eclipse Drills New Longest Lateral in World – in Utica). Barley a month later, in June, Eclipse drilled yet another record-breaker in Guernsey County–the Outlaw C 11H, a Utica well that is an incredible 19,500 feet long horizontally, some 3.7 miles long (see Eclipse Breaks Record Again – New Longest Shale Well in World!). Eclipse wants to keep on drillin’, but they need money to do so. Given the volatile nature of the commodity price of gas (and oil), and given the volatile nature of funding from Wall Street, Eclipse decided to form a $325 million joint venture (jv) with Sequel Energy Group LLC, an affiliate of GSO Capital Partners. That was last week’s really big news coming from Eclipse. They expect to close the jv deal in September and keep the drill bits turning on new super laterals. Meanwhile, Eclipse is partly done with completing (i.e. fracking) both the Great Scott and Outlaw wells. During the conference call, Eclipse CEO Ben Hulburt hinted that they may try super laterals in the Marcellus, given their success in the Utica. Hulburt also indicated the company is still in the market to lease new acreage–IF they can get it for $3,000-$5,000 per acre…
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Rice Energy 2Q17: Sale to EQT on Track, Record High Production

Last week Rice Energy turned in their second quarter 2017 update. The company reports during 2Q17 they turned to sales 18 net Marcellus wells with an average lateral length of 9,200 feet and 7 net operated Utica wells with an average lateral length of 10,500 feet. 2Q17 development costs per lateral foot were under budget and averaged $805 in the Marcellus and $1,105 in the Utica for wells drilled and completed. As we report today in our story “Rice Energy Paid $180M for LOLA Energy; CEO Didn’t Want to Sell” the company also announced they paid $180 million for core acreage in PA and WV from “an undisclosed seller”–which we know is LOLA Energy. The Rice boys gave an update on a conference call about 2Q17 and the impending sale to/merger with EQT. However, because of the upcoming merger, they took no questions from analysts. So it was a quick call–done in less than 15 minutes. The Rice 2Q17 update shows the company hit new record production and throughput, significantly reduced operating costs, increased their core acreage position by almost 20,000 net acres and divested a non-core asset in the Barnett Shale. Here’s Rice’s 2Q17 update, beginning with portions of the conference call…
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PA Enviro Judge Lets Sunoco Restart ME2 Drilling 16 of 55 Locations

On July 25th, a Pennsylvania state environmental judge issued an order blocking all underground horizontal directional drilling (HDD) work being done across the state to install the Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipeline (see PA Enviro Judge Puts 2-Week Pause on ME2 Pipeline Drilling). The order stopped drilling at some 55 different locations where ME2 must drill underground–say under a stream or roadway. The order was in response to an appeal by radical Big Green groups, including the anti-fossil fuel Clean Air Council (of Philly), THE Delaware Riverkeeper (Maya van Rossum), and Mountain Watershed Association (see Antis’ Fake Outrage at ME2 Construction “Spills,” Demand Stop Work). As we said at the time, although temporary, the two-week pause is troublesome and problematic because Big Green groups have convinced a DEP judge to hear a case that ultimately aims to stop the ME2 project. The somewhat good news is that last Thursday the same judge lifted the HDD drilling ban for 16 of 55 locations. Bear in mind digging trenches for the pipeline (over 90% of the work being done) continues and is not subject to the judge’s order. The odoriferous Clean Air Council (CAC) is the primary group doing the suing. In an interesting development, mainstream news is reporting Sunoco Logistics Partners (building the pipeline) is in “settlement negotiations” with CAC. Settling what, we don’t know. We’re not even sure why the CAC has standing to bring a lawsuit against the project in the first place…
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Why the PA House Must Reject 1-Sided Budget/Tax Deal from Senate

We’ve noticed a meme, largely started by an Associated Press article endlessly repeated and published in dozens of news outlets across Pennsylvania, that the recent budget deal (with a severance tax) passed by the traitorous Republican-controlled PA Senate “jams a shale tax and industry permits into unhappy package” that now sits before a House that essentially has no choice but to adopt it. Here’s the establishment “received wisdom” in a nutshell: Drillers don’t get what they want (a severance tax), but they do get what environmentalist wackos don’t want (streamlined approvals for permits). And guess what? “That’s politics.” And if you don’t like it, on either side of the equation, you’re an unrealistic dope who doesn’t know anything about politics. We manifestly reject that assertion. Here’s why this deal is one sided–a severance tax only deal. Big Green groups with endless pockets to fund litigation factories are already talking about how if this budget is passed with what they want (a high severance tax) but also with what they don’t want (streamlined approvals for permits), no problem. They’ll just sue to remove the streamlined permits part, leaving drillers with the high severance tax. That’s how “fairness” works for Democrats and antis. Get part of what you want, then litigate the rest–force it on people who don’t want it. That’s the strategy laid out in the AP article claiming both sides are unhappy, implying it’s a good deal because both sides are getting something they want and something they don’t want. The clear signal being sent by environmentalists is that they’ll litigate their way to happiness. Meanwhile the Marcellus industry will get the shaft, which is why the House MUST reject this budget as written…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, Aug 7, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Earthworks uses fossil fuels to travel from California to Ohio for a stop fossil fuels rally with 15 people; next BLM Wayne National Forest auction set for Sept.; 9 natgas facts you should know; what’s missing from 100% renewables debate; canceled LNG project hurts Canada’s biggest shale play; Germany hurting Ukraine re Russian pipeline; and more!
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