Eclipse Buys 44.5K “Core” Utica Acres for $93.7M…in Central PA!

Eclipse Resources, a Marcellus/Utica pure play driller headquartered in State College, PA, drills almost exclusively in the Ohio Utica. That is, until now! Yesterday Eclipse announced it has purchased 44,500 acres of oil and gas leases and producing wells in Tioga and Potter counties in north central Pennsylvania for $93.7 million–which works out to be ~$1,900/acre (very low cost). The aim of the purchase is to drill in the Pennsylvania Utica Shale. For the past few years MDN has heard about/highlighted stories of drillers going after the Utica Shale in PA–particularly in Tioga County (see Another Impressive Utica Well Pops Up…in Pennsylvania!). Eclipse cut a deal to buy the land and wells from Travis Peak Resources. We wrote about Travis Peak in December 2015 (see The 411 on New Driller Firing Up Rig in Tioga County, PA). Travis Peak, based in Austin, TX, was founded in November 2013 by a group of experienced guys who previously worked for companies like Amoco, Exxon, Pioneer Natural Resources and Newfield Exploration. A small company consisting of industry pros with financial backing from EnCap Investments. The best part of this deal for Eclipse? No money changed hands. Eclipse issued shares of stock in the company in return for picking up the acreage/wells. Also part of yesterday’s announcement by Eclipse is that they have picked up “outstanding equity interests” in small Marcellus/Utica pipeline company Cardinal Holdings–paying $18.3 million in cash. We have the full announcement below, a copy of the Eclipse presentation with lots of pretty maps and charts, and commentary about the Eclipse purchase…
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Banpu/Kalnin Buys 5,289 Ac & 35 Wells in NEPA Marcellus for $105M

Banpu Pcl, Thailand’s largest coal producer, in cooperation with their American-based partner Kalnin Ventures, has just snapped up their sixth piece of the Marcellus Shale–once again in northeast Pennsylvania. Kalnin announced this morning they have cut a deal, using $105 million of Banpu’s money, to buy an unspecified amount of Marcellus acreage and 35 producing shale wells in Wyoming County, PA from Warren Resources. Based on a previous Kalnin story, yesterday’s announcement, and the Warren Resources website, MDN believes the total acreage involved is 5,289 net acres (6,982 gross). Which doesn’t seem like much. But you have to view the purchase in context. That $105 million paid is mostly for the producing 35 wells (roughly $3M per well). Plus, the acreage is no doubt adjacent to previous acreage and wells Kalnin/Banpu bought in Wyoming County back in May (see Thai Company Banpu Invests in Another 34 Marcellus Wells in NEPA). It was just last week we spotted and highlighted a story that quotes Banpu’s CEO Somruedee Chaimongkol as saying her company is considering “putting more money on top of the $500 million” already committed for shale gas purchases in the Marcellus (see Thailand’s Banpu Looking to Invest More Money in NEPA Marcellus). The “considering” period didn’t last long! This sixth investment now puts Banpu’s investment stake in the NEPA Marcellus at $522 million, with no end in sight…
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Cabot O&G Considers Drilling in Ashland County, OH

Important Update (12/18/17) – A highly placed source in Cabot Oil & Gas called MDN to let us know Cabot is not looking to drill the Utica Shale in Ashland County, OH, as we first presumed. Instead, Cabot is looking to drill LOWER than the Utica–in a different rock layer. We were not told which layer. This is purely exploratory. Sometimes you hit and sometimes you miss. Something about the area has caught Cabot’s attention–but that doesn’t mean it will pan out. Stay tuned!

This, for us, is HUGE news. Cabot Oil & Gas is sniffing around the possibility of drilling in the Ohio Utica. We suppose it shouldn’t surprise us, but it does. Especially since we haven’t heard or read a word about Cabot’s Utica interest–until now. Put yourself in Cabot’s shoes–what comes next? After all, they’ve been drilling in Susquehanna County, PA for the last 10 years. Sooner or later Cabot will run out of new places to sink wells. Cabot previously fiddled around in the Eagle Ford Shale play in Texas, drilling for oil, but that hasn’t panned out. In May, MDN picked up on a little bit of information slipped into Cabot’s first quarter update–the company is spending $125 million THIS YEAR on buying leases and drilling test wells, in plays they weren’t ready to disclose at that point (see Cabot O&G 1Q17 – Oil Turning Cabot’s Eye Away from Marcellus). The only hint we had about where Cabot may be looking was this statement: “our focus is going to be oil.” We now know where at least some of that $125M is going–to Ashland County, OH. Cabot is looking to drill an exploratory well (or two or three) in Ashland, to see what they find. We think Cabot’s choice of location interesting. Ashland County is located well west (and north) of Ohio counties currently drilled for Utica oil and gas. We’ve checked the statistics in our forthcoming Marcellus & Utica Shale Almanac. Devon Energy got a single permit and spud (began to drill) a single well in Ashland’s Utica Shale back in 2011. Since that time (and through the end of 2016) no other permits were issued, and there’s been zero production from that single Devon well. It’s likely Cabot is shopping for a bargain–go where no one else is going, to see if they can make the magic happen once again that they’ve experienced in northeast PA. The reason we know about Cabot’s dalliance in Ashland is because local antis in the county are up in arms over the prospect of Cabot “fracking” the county…
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Cabot O&G Asks Judge to Make Dimock Anti Pay for Extortion, Slander

Cabot Oil & Gas is tired of being sued, and slandered, by people like Dimock resident Ray Kemble and his ambulance-chasing lawyers. So in August Cabot sued back–for $5 million (see Cabot O&G Countersues Dimock Anti, Lawyers). Kemble lives in Dimock Township, in Susquehanna County, PA. Kemble and other families claimed Cabot’s drilling in the area (10 years ago) caused problems with their water wells–a claim strongly refuted by Cabot. Cabot settled with most of the landowners, including Kemble. But a couple of Kemble’s neighbors did not settle. They sued and, in a sham trial, won a jury award of $4.2 million (see Dimock Jury Levies $4.25M Judgement Against Cabot in Dimock Case). However, a federal court later threw out the verdict and the $4.2 million judgement (see Fed Court Overturns $4.2M Dimock Judgement Against Cabot O&G). The judge said the Dimock lawsuit would have be re-tried. Our theory is that news of a potential new lawsuit and the previous OJ-like jury’s award of $4.2 million must have got old Ray a thinkin’…What if? So in April Ray and lawyers from two law firms launched yet another frivolous lawsuit against Cabot, litigation over something previously settled. It was a naked attempt to shake down Cabot for money in a quick settlement. But Cabot called them on it, filing a counter-lawsuit seeking $5 million–against Kemble, and against lawyers Charles Speer (Speer Law Firm) and Edward Ciarimboli and Clancy Boylan (Fellerman & Ciarimboli). Yesterday motions in Cabot’s counter-lawsuit were argued before a judge in Susquehanna County…
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EQT Board Member Unofficial Adviser to WV Gov Justice

EQT, now the largest natural gas producer in the United States since adding Rice Energy to the fold, has major assets in West Virginia–wells and leased acreage. The company also has a lot of influence in the state–in the judiciary (see WV Supreme Court Reverses Itself, Post-Production Deductions OK), the legislature (see WVONGA Makes Plans to Push Forced Pooling Lite in 2018), and now in the executive branch. News has just broken that EQT board member Bray Cary is an unpaid, “informal” adviser to Gov. Jim Justice–a situation that’s raising some eyebrows…
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Plum, PA Passes Ordinance to Allow Fracking – Antis Livid

In October, local officials in Plum, PA (Allegheny County) approved a plan by Huntley & Huntley (H&H) to drill a series of Marcellus wells on a single well pad in their municipality (see Plum, PA Gives Huntley & Huntley Green Light for Shale Drilling). Plum’s leaders got blowback from some residents (antis) over their decision to conditionally approve H&H’s request. In Plum, fracking is allowed in any zone if a conditional use is granted. That’s what happened in October–the Plum Council issued a conditional use exception for H&H to drill on 92 acres near Coxcomb Hill Road in Plum. To avoid dealing with more such conditional cases, Plum Council cooked up proposed changes to zoning ordinances (ordinances which haven’t been updated since 1993) that will only allow fracking in rural residential and industrial zones (see Plum, PA Officials Hold Hearing on New Restrictions for Fracking). At the time, H&H said the changes would be too restrictive. However, they appear to have adopted the “half a loaf is better than no loaf” philosophy, opting to support the new rules. Yesterday Plum Council moved ahead and adopted the new rules. Antis blew a gasket. They think the new rules are still too lenient because it allows drilling in rural residential areas. One mouthy anti planted herself in front of the microphone yesterday and refused to move, threatening to sue everyone and everything related to the vote “if my family, my property, myself is damaged in any way.” Whatever. Here’s what went down yesterday in Plum…
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NY State Retirement Fund Invests More Money in Fracking Co.

We found this story illustrative of the rank hypocrisy so prevalent in our beloved home state of New York. Even the most cursory follower of shale energy knows that our corrupt governor, Andrew Cuomo, decided to ban shale fracking in the Empire State in 2015 (see It’s Official: Cuomo Bans Economic Opportunity & Prosperity in NY). Since that time Cuomo has acted like the tin-pot, despot dictator he is, by moving to block pipelines coming into the state that carry fracked natural gas (see NY Gov. Cuomo Refuses to Grant Permits for Constitution Pipeline and Cuomo’s Corrupt NY DEC Blocks NFG Northern Access Pipeline Permit). Cuomo recently lost one such battle, attempting to block a 7.8 mile pipeline from being built to a gas-fired electric plant in Orange County (see Millennium Begins Building 7.8 Mile Pipeline in Orange County, NY). Instead of using evil, filthy, vile “fossil fuels” like natural gas, Cuomo prefers to shower billions to his friends who promise they will bring solar and wind to the state. Cuomo has implemented a policy that demands 50% of New York’s electric supplies come from solar and wind by 2030–a delusional fantasy. The New York State Common Retirement Fund is the state’s ginormous pension fund for state workers (including public school teachers)–with some $140 billion of investments. Anti-drilling New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is the sole trustee in control of the fund, overseeing its investments. The fund invests in plenty of oil and gas companies–i.e. frackers–which we were once again reminded of when spotting a news clip that the Fund has just increased its holdings in PDC Energy–a shale fracker…
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Crazy Judges Threaten Fossil Fuel Use in Case by Radicalized Kids

Yesterday the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California (sometimes referred to as the Ninth Circus) heard arguments from the Trump Administration, representing the federal government, and from lawyers representing children they are mentally abusing and who have filed a lawsuit that aims to force the end of the use of all fossil fuels in the United States–in the name of so-called man-made global warming (see yesterday’s post for background: Climate Case by Brainwashed Kids Argued in Federal Court Today). The case began several years ago when Lord Obama reigned supreme–so this isn’t just another anti-Trump thing. The wacky Cali judges hearing the case yesterday should have stopped this insanity now, before it goes to trial, scheduled for February. But the three judges didn’t stop it, and from the tone of their questions and comments, it appears they want this one go to trial…
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Stanford Researchers Now Able to Detect “Earthquakes” from Fracking

Yes, we must revisit the topic of “fracking causes earthquakes” yet again (sigh). But maybe this time something good will come of our discussion. Researchers at Stanford University (crazy California) have discovered a way to detect thousands of faint, “previously missed earthquakes” triggered by fracking and by injection wells. “The technique can be used to monitor seismic activities at fracking operations to help reduce the likelihood of bigger, potentially damaging earthquakes from occurring,” according to a published research study. By now you know our standard explanation, the facts about fracking and earthquakes: (1) Injection wells can and do cause detectable earthquakes–when they are located over faults. (2) Fracking shale wells rarely causes detectable earthquakes. We know of perhaps a half dozen times when fracking a well, which again happened to be over a fault, caused an earthquake. Out of the millions of fracked wells that have been drilled. Statistically speaking–fracking doesn’t cause earthquakes–detectable earthquakes, that is. You have to understand something about earthquakes and fracking. From the Standord researchers: “Earthquakes generated by fracking are typically no larger than magnitude 0. That’s equivalent to the amount of energy released when a milk carton hits the floor after falling off a counter.” However, every now and again an earthquake will hit a 1 or even 2 magnitude. Above 2 is barely noticeable by humans. What the Stanford researchers have done is to figure out how to monitor seismicity when fracking (or injecting wastewater into wells), and use that information to predict when the activity may lead to triggering a larger quake. Now that is useful information…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Tue, Dec 12, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: New report finds Marcellus Shale dev unrelated to PA mortality rates; OH nukes face competition from gas-fired plants; enviro groups sue to block Mountain Valley Pipe; lies, bad lies, and natgas statistics; natgas price roller coaster has become a falling knife; will natgas prices explode; new shale era is age of the engineer; 2 new LNG export bills introduced in Congress; Rick Perry grants FERC 30 day extension on grid reliability plan; o&g industry pays black STEM pros more than others; Indian government looks to spur more shale drilling; cracker oil pipeline in UK causes spike in oil prices worldwide; and more!
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