Rex Energy Preparing to File for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy?

We’ve often called Rex Energy, a driller focused mainly on the Marcellus/Utica (headquartered in State College, PA), our “little energy company that could.” Rex has, in the past couple of years, had stiff challenges, at least on the financial front. It has swapped out old IOUs for new IOUs, converted debt (IOUs) into equity (shares of stock), sold off assets in other basins–a whole lotta stuff to keep on drilling (see our Rex Energy stories here). More recently the company was threatened (for a second time) by NASDAQ with de-listing its stock (see Rex Energy Once Again Threatened with NASDAQ De-listing). Last week Rex issued a fourth quarter and full year 2017 operational update (below). The update shows a mixed bag: 4Q17 production numbers beat 4Q16 numbers. But when you look at all of 2017 vs 2016, 2017 production was down. However, it wasn’t last week’s update from Rex, but rather an SEC 8K filing that caught our eye. Publicly traded companies are required to file a Form 8K with the Securities and Exchange Commission to notify investors of “specified events that may be important to shareholders.” Among the list of specified events is filing for bankruptcy. Rex’s 8K filing from last week does NOT say they have, or will, file for bankruptcy. However, it DOES say they are in talks with noteholders about that possibility. The 8K filed last week includes two term sheets for filing a prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy. We reached out to Rex for comment but did not hear back by the time this story was published. We will include their response here if they do respond. Here’s what we found when searching through the 8K filing…
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Unions in WV Hiring Workers as Pipeline Construction Begins

Tree clearing for Dominion’s $5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) has already begun in West Virginia (see Atlantic Coast Pipeline Begins Cutting Trees in WV & VA (Not NC)). Construction for ACP in WV will begin this spring. Tree clearing for EQT’s $3.5 billion Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), along with construction of access roads and construction yards, has not yet begun but soon will in WV (see Mountain Valley Pipe Gets FERC Approval to Begin WV Construction). What it all means is that a lot of workers will be needed in a hurry as construction gets underway. Enter trade unions. Union workers will perform the bulk of construction–everything from driving trucks to delivery of supplies (and people), to operating heavy equipment, to digging trenches, to welding–even cutting down the trees, an activity happening now. Unions in WV are currently recruiting new members who want a good-paying, hard-working jobs in the pipeline industry in the Mountain State…
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PennEast Pipeline Cuts $1.7M Deal with Bethlehem Water Authority

In a sure sign that the $1.1 billion, 120-mile PennEast Pipeline will get built, the Bethlehem Authority, which manages watershed land in the Pocono Mountains that supplies drinking water for the City of Bethlehem, has signed a $1.7 million deal to allow PennEast to traverse four miles of Authority land. Rather than challenge PennEast and potentially lose an eminent domain case, Bethlehem Authority officials said they brokered the deal–not only for the money it will bring in, but also to ensure there are certain protections in place during construction. The State of New Jersey is trying its best to stop the PennEast project (see NJ Continues to Hassle PennEast Pipe with Refusals & Rejections). However, this deal with Bethlehem Authority is yet another sign of the inevitability of the project. NJ is fighting an uphill battle they will lose. Wiser heads in Bethlehem realize that fact and took the right action to get the best deal possible…
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Severance Tax Battle in PA Heats Up One More (Last?) Time

As MDN reported last week, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, an extremely partisan Democrat, is once again beating the drum for a Marcellus Shale-killing severance tax in the last of his annual budgets (see PA Gov. Wolf Broken Record: Proposes Budget with Severance Tax). At least, we hope it’s Wolf’s last budget and that Pennsylvanians won’t be foolish enough to re-elect him for another four years (fool me once…). Wolf’s plan, in a nutshell, is to tax drillers (and by extension, landowners) to the tune of $250 million a year, and give that money away to teachers and their unions in the Philadelphia region–the people who elected him to office. We spotted dueling newspaper editorials from last week–one from the (sometimes) conservative Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the other from the (always) liberal Democrat-owned Scranton Times-Tribune. Below are those editorials illustrating clear-headed thinking, and muddled thinking (respectively), along with a January column co-written by the Marcellus Shale Coalition and the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry laying out the case against a severance tax in the Keystone State. Unfortunately this is an ongoing battle we must fight every single year. But fight it we must…
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Compromise Allows Drilling to Begin in Pittsburgh Suburb of Plum

In October 2017, 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 the decision to conditionally approve H&H’s request. In Plum, fracking is (or rather was) 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 drafted proposed changes to their 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). H&H originally said the changes would be too restrictive. However, they later adopted a “half a loaf is better than no loaf” philosophy, opting to support the new rules. A compromise. In December, Plum Council moved ahead and adopted the new rules, and antis predictably blew a gasket (see Plum, PA Passes Ordinance to Allow Fracking – Antis Livid). How and why did Plum adopt such an ordinance? Especially given so many surrounding towns in Allegheny Township are outright hostile to drilling? Let’s pull the curtain back and probe the thought process Plum used to arrive at a compromise that appears to work for both sides…
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Marcellus-Fired Electric Plant in Clinton County, PA Gets DEP Approval

Click for larger version

Last July MDN brought you news about a new Marcellus-fired electric plant planned for Clinton County, PA (see New Marcellus-Fired Electric Plant Coming in Clinton County, PA). The $800 million Renovo Energy project (in Renovo, PA) will be a 950-megawatt dual fuel (natural gas and ultra-low sulfur diesel) combined cycle electric generating plant located in the Renovo Industrial Park. The official application for the project was filed with the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (along with an application fee of $29,700) in August 2015. Yeah, it takes a looooong time to get these things approved. However, a key (perhaps THE key) permit needed by the PA DEP was issued over the weekend. The DEP approved Renovo’s application for an air quality permit for the project. An official working with Renovo says recent rumors that plans to build the plant are dead is false. He said construction may start by the end of this year, after a few more kinks are worked out…
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Fractivists Gear Up to Fight Conversion of Philly Pipe for NatGas

A far-left group of radicals calling themselves Ending Dirty Gas Exploitation Philadelphia (EDGE Philly) is borrowing a tactic first pioneered by THE Delaware Riverkeeper, to oppose a short pipeline project near Philadelphia. In November, MDN shared the exciting news that an old oil pipeline stretching from Northampton County, PA through Bucks, Montgomery, and Chester counties, terminating in Delaware County at Marcus Hook, had been purchased by a subsidiary of New Jersey Resources and will get converted to flow Marcellus natural gas to the greater Philadelphia region (see Oil Pipeline Near Philly to be Converted to Flow Fracked NatGas). The project/pipeline is called Adelphia Gateway. Adelphia ran an open season–a period of time when shippers can reserve capacity along the pipeline–and got requests for twice the amount of capacity the pipeline will hold (see Converted Pipeline Near Philly Gets 2X More Interest than Capacity). That was more than enough for NJ Resources to move forward with the project. In January NJ Resources filed an official application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to convert the existing pipeline to flow natural gas, and add various facilities (like meter stations) along the way (see Adelphia Gateway Pipeline Near Philly Files with FERC). The irrational fossil fuel haters from EDGE Philly want to stop the project. So they’re coaching as many blind followers as possible to file as “intervenors” in the project–hoping to flood FERC with intervenor applications, slowing down the entire approval process, bringing it to a halt…
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OH Fractivist Claims Obliterated with Cold, Hard Facts from NEPA

MDN friend Chris Acker, standing in front of a rig about 200 yards from his house in NEPA

In December MDN brought you the news that Cabot Oil & Gas is sniffing around Ashland County, OH, with plans to possibly drill in a rock layer even deeper than the Utica Shale (see Cabot O&G Considers Drilling in Ashland County, OH). Cabot’s activity in the area was met with resistance by anti-fossil fuelers. Nothing new about that. What is new, however, is that some of the antis (a handful) in the Ashland area formed a faux landowner coalition, trying to fool landowners into joining them (see Warning to Ohio Residents: Beware Fake Landowner Coalitions). The faux landowner coalition has been busy spreading lies about Cabot, making wild accusations about what will happen if Cabot is allowed to drill in the county. MDN friend (and right arm) Chris Acker, a northeast PA landowner signed with Cabot, has written a guest post/rebuttal that obliterates the lies being spread by Ashland antis. Buckle up, this one will be fun to read!…
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Other Energy Stories of Interest: Mon, Feb 12, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: PA wants comments on Mariner East 2 erosion permits; DEP proposes water quality permit for Equitrans pipe in Greene County; Ohio schedules hearing for proposed Harrison County electric plant; Cheniere signs deal to supply China with LNG; Trump’s “buy American” pipeline plan “vanished”; how did GE screw up its Baker Hughes merger; shale fears in the oil market; and more!
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