EQT CEO Steve Schlotterbeck Suddenly Quits, Leaves Company

Steve Schlotterbeck

We certainly didn’t see this one coming. The country’s #1 producer of natural gas, EQT, has just lost it’s President & CEO, Steven Schlotterbeck. Steve is the man who guided the company through its acquisition of Rice Energy last year (see EQT Buys Rice Energy in $8.2B Deal, Becomes #1 Gas Producer in US). It was a tough battle against multiple corporate raiders who didn’t want to see the deal happen, but Steve held it together and made it happen. The notice from EQT (below) is short and sweet and says Steve has resigned immediately, due to “personal reasons.” Stepping back in to pilot the ship while the company searches for a new leader is former CEO David Porges (CEO from 2011-2017 until Steve took over). The news of Schlotterbeck’s surprise resignation came as a shock around Pittsburgh (and nationwide). Why did he step down? MDN has the scoop…
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EV Energy Partners Filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in Next 2 Wks

Private equity firm EnerVest owns a lot of acreage and wells (most of them conventional) in the Marcellus/Utica region. In addition to investing in land and wells, EnerVest also has its own upstream (i.e. drilling) subsidiary, EV Energy Partners (EVEP), with operations and assets in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. EVEP is an MLP–a master limited partnership. While EVEP is joined at the hip with EnerVest, they are (on paper) two different companies. EnerVest has vast holdings and is in the top 25 oil & gas companies in the nation. Last July the Wall Street Journal ran a story that said EnerVest was worth nothing on paper (see EnerVest Goes Bust, from $2 Billion to $0 – Impact in M-U). EnerVest pushed back on that story saying it wasn’t true–at least not completely true (see EnerVest Pushes Back Against WSJ “Bust” Story). EnerVest chief administrative officer, Ron Whitmire, said the company’s vast holdings are structured as more than a dozen companies. Although some of EnerVest’s companies are in trouble, the entire pie, according to Whitmire, is not in danger of bankruptcy. Conversely, Whitmire’s comment also means at least one or more of the EnerVest companies were/are in danger of bankruptcy. EVEP is one of them. On Wednesday, EVEP announced it has brokered a deal with debt holders to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy within the next few weeks…
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Rex Energy Sells Non-Operated Assets in 3 PA Counties

Rex Energy, a driller focused mainly on the Marcellus/Utica (headquartered in State College, PA), announced earlier this week that it is selling some of its non-operated oil and gas assets in three Pennsylvania counties: Westmoreland, Centre and Clearfield. Which assets are not described. The buyer is: XPR Resources. The sale amount is $17.2 million. 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). And just last month we reported that Rex looks like they’re getting ready to file for bankruptcy (see Rex Energy Preparing to File for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy?). We doubt $17.2 million will help all that much, but it’s better than a sharp stick in the eye. By the way, who is XPR Resources?…
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CNX Claims “Biggest, Baddest Sandbox in the Appalachian Region”

On Tuesday CNX Resources (formerly CONSOL Energy) held an investors day in Pittsburgh to disclose the company’s strategy for the next few years. CNX is one of the big players in the Marcellus/Utica. The company owns 531,000 net Marcellus acres and 652,000 net Utica acres, with some/much of that acreage the same (the Utica layer sits under the Marcellus layer). The company has only developed about 6% of its acreage so far. Not even on first base! CNX CEO Nicholas “Nick” DeIuliis had some big boasts at Tuesday’s event. DeIuliis said CNX’s stacked pay (layer over layer) acreage gives it a leg up and makes the company “a disruptor” in the region. He also said this, with respect to the company’s acreage position: “We’ve got the biggest, baddest sandbox in the Appalachian region.” Indeed! Below is a summary of the event, along with the PowerPoint presentation used at the event (loaded with great information)…
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Cabot Files for Permit to Drill Below the Utica in Ashland, OH

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Cabot Oil & Gas continues its quest to discover “what’s next after the Marcellus.” As we told you in December, Cabot has leased acreage in Ashland County, OH, west of most active Utica drilling (see Cabot O&G Considers Drilling in Ashland County, OH). We originally thought Cabot was targeting the Utica in Ashland County, but Cabot director of external affairs, George Stark, set us straight. Cabot is targeting a layer below the Utica in Ashland County. (Although so far, Cabot will not reveal which layer.) The new news is that last week Cabot filed for a permit with the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources to drill a test well in Ashland…
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FERC Grants Limited Rehearing Request for Constitution Pipeline

There’s a number of threads to the ongoing saga of Constitution Pipeline, a $683 million, 124-mile pipeline from Susquehanna County, PA to Schoharie County, NY to move Marcellus gas into New York State and from there, into New England. The Andrew Cuomo-corrupted NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) refused to grant the pipeline necessary federal stream crossing permits, blocking construction, in April 2016 (see NY Gov. Cuomo Refuses to Grant Permits for Constitution Pipeline). There have been a number of court cases and regulatory actions since that time. Williams, the builder of Constitution, asked the Federal Regulatory Commission (FERC) to overrule the DEC and allow construction to begin. In January of this year, FERC denied that request (see Death of the Constitution Pipeline? FERC Refuses to Overrule NY DEC). In February of this year, Williams asked FERC to reconsider their decision (see Constitution Pipe Files for FERC Rehearing, Then Back to Court). FERC has 30 days to rule on the rehearing request. If they don’t do anything, it’s considered an automatic rejection. However, on Wednesday (just under the wire), FERC granted a “limited” rehearing request–meaning FERC wants more time to consider the request before making a final decision. It’s not a “yes” that they will reconsider and perhaps overrule the DEC–but it’s also not a “no.” Which is a good thing…
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H&H About to Drill Well in Upper Burrell as Antis Plead with Judge

In some places, drillers have to fight tooth and nail, every inch of the way, just to drill a simple Marcellus Shale well. Such is the case in Upper Burrell (Westmoreland County), PA. Huntley & Huntley has plans to drill four shale wells in Upper Burrell Township. Sure there’s been push-back, but we thought the corner had been turned when town supervisors voted last November to approve H&H’s plans (see H&H Drilling in Upper Burrell Gets Final Approval, Raucous Crowd). The supporters of drilling far outnumbered the antis at the meeting. However, a small group of antis remains committed to blocking H&H’s drilling plans. The latest twist is that antis are asking a judge to rule that the supervisors, who were discharging their duties in accordance with the law, erred in their decision to grant final approval for H&H’s drilling plans. Here we go again…
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Other Energy Stories of Interest: Fri, Mar 16, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: 18 rigs operating in Ohio Utica; PUC ratifies halt to Mariner East 1, for now; PA Senate to hold joint pipeline safety hearing next week; 5 antis arrested in Maryland for protesting pipeline; Belmont County officials urge patience with PTT cracker; ET announces a new Gulf Coast ethane export facility; Russian hackers target American energy grid; and more!
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