Range 2Q18: Pipeline Outages Hurt; Ponders Sale of LA Acreage

Range Resources, the very first company to sink a Marcellus well back in 2004, held their second quarter 2018 update conference call with analysts yesterday, after publishing the official 2Q18 update on Monday. On the conference call, Range’s senior VP of operations Dennis Degner admitted that two different pipeline outages in 2Q18 hurt. The Leach XPress was shut down from June 7 to July 15 following an explosion. That resulted in Range having to find “in-basin” markets for 300 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of natural gas. They did it, but it means they didn’t get as much money for the gas as they would have. The second outage was the Mariner East 1 pipeline, which flows 40,000 barrels per day of Range’s NGLs (ethane and propane) to Philadelphia for export. ME1 was down for nearly two months in 2Q18 when a portion of the pipeline was exposed from a sinkhole developing due to nearby Mariner East 2 drilling activity. Again, they found other markets at a lower cost. Also interesting were comments by Range CEO Jeff Ventura who said the company is looking to sell some of its Marcellus assets in northeast and southwest PA this year. Ventura said later this year/early next year they will make a decision about possibly selling their Louisiana assets, which have been underperforming. It was only two years ago that Range paid $4.4 billion for those assets (see Range Resources Buys Louisiana Driller in Deal Worth $4.4B). Marcellus/Utica production hit 1.876 billion cubit feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2Q18…
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Cabot’s Lease Terms for Ohio Landowners + Antis Stage Tiny Rally

We spotted an article covering a “rally” of maybe 20 people (judging by the pictures) who gathered on the bank of the Clear Fork of the Mohican River in Ashland County, OH this past Sunday. The group was there to protest Cabot Oil & Gas drilling a few test wells in the area to see if there’s anything in the region worth drilling for. Out of state radicals calling themselves “pipeline fighters” who had engaged in illegal activities against the Dakota Access Pipeline where there to whip up the locals–maybe convince them to do something illegal too. That’s how this kind of insanity spreads–by human contact. Anywho, the most interesting part of the article for us was not about the machinations of antis and their big boasts of how they’ll stop fracking. Instead, the most interesting part was an explanation of how Cabot came by the acreage they’ve leased in central Ohio, and how much money Cabot is offering landowners to amend existing lease agreements…
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US Senate Bill Fixes States Blocking Pipelines via Water Permits

Once upon a time, before far-out liberal governors like NY’s Andrew Cuomo weaponized the federal Clean Water Act (CWA), states would use their federally-delegated authority under the CWA (Section 401) to provide feedback and get changes/tweaks to interstate pipelines passing through their respective states. Then Cuomo (now others) started bending the intent of their delegated authority under the CWA and began abusing it to block federal policy by blocking approved pipelines that benefit the citizens of many states. That’s why the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) was created–to review and authorize energy projects, like pipelines, that pass through multiple states. If not for FERC, no pipelines (or electric transmission lines) would ever get built across state lines because one state will selfishly block such projects–“What’s in it for us?” Andrew Cuomo has stated publicly that he has and will continue to block interstate pipeline projects and new gas-fired electric plants (see NY Gov. Cuomo Says He’ll Block All New Gas-Fired Elec Plants). This must stop. Cuomo’s actions violate the spirit if not the letter of the law. There has been an outcry to overrule Cuomo and others abusing their CWA authority. Until now, it’s been all talk. Talk is cheap. Who will stand up to the bully Cuomo and other bullies like him? Four brave senators from the U.S. Senate, that’s who. Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), and Steve Daines (R-MT) have introduced a bill called “Water Quality Certification Improvement Act of 2018” that will ensure state water quality permitting reviews for proposed pipeline projects are limited to direct water quality impacts of that pipeline, and that decisions to grant or deny a permit must be made based on water quality reasons only. It plugs loopholes currently used by Cuomo and others under the CWA 401 certification process. In other words, the senators are about to slap Andy Cuomo and those like him back into line–IF the bill passes…
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WV’s Top Brass Meeting with Chinese Next Week re $83.7B Deal

A little over two weeks ago MDN wrote a post speculating about whether or not China’s deal to invest $83.7 billion in West Virginia shale and petrochemicals is now dead, given the current “trade war” with China (see $83.7B Chinese Investment in WV Shale & Petchem Still Alive?). In June, Chinese officials were supposed to attend the Northeast U.S. Petrochemical Construction Conference in Pittsburgh to announce the first round of investments in WV. However, Brian Anderson, director of the West Virginia University Energy Institute, said given the trade war now on with China, the officials elected to stay home instead. Anderson said, “The pending trade war has put this project in jeopardy” (see Trade War Puts $83.7 Billion Chinese Investment in WV on Hold). But a few weeks later Anderson appeared to change his tune. He told a reporter, “In terms of the development process, we continue to move forward…We’re even working on the next potential visits by officials and team members, so it’s not just the high-level executives, but development teams” (see $83.7B Chinese Investment in WV Shale & Petchem Still Alive?). Now comes word that next week, on Aug. 9, both WV Congressman David McKinley and WV Gov. Jim Justice will meet with Chinese officials “to discuss the future of the investment deal.” No word on whether that meeting is in WV or in China. McKinley would not comment on specifics about the meeting, but he did say he thinks the $83.7 billion Chinese investment is still on track and will happen…
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EQT Employees in Kentucky Vote to Unionize

A group of 116 EQT production employees who live and work in Kentucky have voted to form a union to protect their jobs and benefits. It is unusual–frankly unheard of–for unions to make inroads with an exploration and production company (E&P) like EQT. Why this group and why now? The fire was lit when EQT announced it is selling its Huron Shale assets to Diversified Gas & Oil (see Diversified Gas & Oil Adds to Conventional Assets in KY, VA, WV). Those assets include transferring 250 workers (including the 116 working in Kentucky) to Diversified. The workers are afraid of what typically happens when such deals occur–“efficiencies” are sought, which usually translates into layoffs and whacking benefits. To get out ahead of that, the group voted to unionize. Here’s the story of a small group unionizing, and the prospects of unionization happening elsewhere in the Marcellus/Utica…
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Macquarie Sells NJ Gas-Fired Plant Powering NYC for $900M

Macquarie Infrastructure Corporation, part of Macquarie Bank, is selling 100% of the Bayonne Energy Center (BEC) gas-fired power plant in Bayonne, New Jersey for $900 million to an unnamed buyer. BEC is a 644 megawatt gas-fired electric generation plant constructed in 2012 and expanded earlier this year. BEC distributes power into New York City via a cable that runs from Bayonne, NJ beneath New York Harbor to a substation in Brooklyn. Macquarie bought the plant in 2015 for $720 million, and now they’re flipping it, making $180 million in the process. Which we suppose is good news for Macquarie. But also somewhat strange–at least to us layman. In 2016, Macquarie bought most of the Lordstown Energy Center plant in Trumbull County, OH (see Lordstown, OH Gas-Powered Electric Plant Gets New Owners). And they continue to invest in other such projects. Yet now Macquarie is selling this gas-fired plant serving the largest city in the U.S. Our interest, as usual, lies in what gas powers the plant. We speculate that most, if not all, comes from the PA Marcellus…
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Quebec’s Junex Says Utica Offer “Not Superior” – Merger in Doubt

MDN told you in June that Canada’s Quebec Province announced it will commit fracking suicide by implementing a permanent frack ban (see Quebec to Ban Utica Shale Drilling, Most Other Drilling Too). Quebec’s announcement is a virtual death sentence for oil and gas companies in the province. The shale fracking ban is coupled with new drilling standards so tight that even conventional drillers will have a difficult, almost impossible time. The result was immediate. Junex, a driller headquartered in Quebec with 1 million leased acres in the St. Lawrence lowlands (where there is Utica Shale), announced it would sell out to/merge with Cuda Energy, headquartered in Calgary, Alberta. Except now the merger is in doubt. It seems the merger was Cuda’s idea and was “unsolicited.” But hey, what’s a oil/gas driller going to do if they can’t horizontally drill and frack? Junex looked the offer over in detail and says it “does not constitute a ‘Superior Proposal’.” Oh oh. Is this a negotiating tactic for a higher price/better terms? What’s Plan B for Junex if they don’t sell out to Cuda? Here’s the latest on the Cuda/Junex potential merger…
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Energy Stories of Interest: Wed, Aug 1, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: Sulfur dioxide emissions in M-U plung thx to shale; Hilcorp seeks 3 new Utica permits in Columbiana County; cleaning up NY’s peakers; Forge the Future Summit meets in Pittsburgh; SCANA approves merger with Dominion; Greenpeace launches propane-fueled blimp…to protest fossil fuels (dopes); Wisconsin frac sand wars; Florida power plant gets key backing; Williams adds former NY State investment guru to board; Europe won’t buy US LNG, but Europeans might; cities suing Big Oil should worry about damage awards from tossed lawsuits; 500 fewer wells getting drilled in Canada this year; Kuwait wants a $1.1B loan–for shale drilling; and more!
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