Encino Takes Over from Chesapeake in Ohio Utica; Big Plans

The deal is done. On Monday, Encino Acquisition Partners completed its purchase of all of Chesapeake Energy’s Ohio Utica Shale assets for $2 billion, originally announced in July (see Stop Press: Chesapeake Sells ALL of its Ohio Utica Assets for $2B). The deal includes all of Chesapeake’s 933,000 Ohio acres (with 320,000 net Utica acres) and 920 operated and non-operated Ohio Utica wells. With the deal now done, Encino is signaling good things are ahead. The company will keep its Utica regional headquarters in Louisville, OH–right where Chesapeake had it. Encino has and will continue to operate two active drilling rigs in the Utica this year, and add a third rig next year. Encino CEO Hardy Murchison recently spoke about the company’s Utica plans moving forward. It has folks in Ohio excited!
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Electric Fracker U.S. Well Services Begins Public Trading Friday

If all goes as planned, this Friday U.S. Well Services (USWS), a company that specializes in fracking shale wells using gas-fired electric (as opposed to diesel) engines, will begin to trade its stock publicly. USWS has operations in the Marcellus/Utica, as well as other plays. Does the company sound familiar? Last week we told you that Pittsburgh-based driller Huntley & Huntley has contracted with USWS to frack the wells it is drilling (see Huntley & Huntley to Use Gas-Powered Electric Fracking in SWPA). Although USWS is “going public,” it’s not doing so via an IPO (initial public offering). Instead, “blank check” firm Matlin & Partners Acquisition Corp. is investing in (essentially buying out) USWS and taking it public. Top management at USWS will mostly stay in place. What’s that? What’s a “blank check” company?
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NFG 4Q18: Production Higher, Northern Access Pipe Slips to 2020

Last week National Fuel Gas Company (NFG), which operates drilling subsidiary Seneca Resources and pipeline subsidiary Empire Pipeline, issued its fourth quarter 2018 (everyone else’s 3Q18) update. Via Seneca Resources, NFG drills wells in northcentral and northwestern PA. Via Empire Pipeline, they build and maintain hundreds of miles of pipelines in PA and New York, where the company is headquartered. NFG operates a utility (gas and electric) company in addition to Seneca and Empire. A lot of spinning plates to watch. But they do a great job. Much of the focus of the update was on the upstream–on Seneca Resources. According to CEO Ron Tanski, in 2019 more than half of the company’s capital expenditures will go for Seneca’s drilling program. Seneca has and will continue to operate three drilling rigs, with plans to expand production by 24%.
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Wilkes-Barre Moxie Freedom NatGas Plant Taxes $752K per Year

As of September, the 1,000-megawatt Moxie Freedom Marcellus-fired power plant located near Wilkes-Barre, PA (Luzerne County) is up and running and feeding electricity it produces into the local power grid (see Moxie Freedom Marcellus-Fired Plant Near Wilkes-Barre Online). That means it’s now time to pay the piper–meaning it’s time to begin paying property taxes. How does a county value such a facility–the first of its kind in the county? They hire a private firm to do it, at a cost of $50,000! (Yikes, we’re in the wrong business.) The valuation is now done, and the private firm reckons Moxie Freedom is worth $42.2 million. Which means the facility will pay $752,000 per year in property taxes to various governmental entities.
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60% of Free Pipeline Course Grads Get Jobs in 1st Month

A number of times we’ve highlighted a cool training program offered by the The Gas Technology Institute (GTI). The four-week program, offered in Freeport, PA and St. Clairsville, OH is free and trains students how to build pipelines. Each location is limited to 20 students. GTI has run the program a number of times (three times so far just this year, next week begins the fourth time). According to organizers, somewhere around 60% of those who take the course and graduate get jobs within 30 days with salaries beginning in the $40,000-$50,000 range. The program is paid for by grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission (costs $3,500 per person). What are YOU waiting for? This free (to you) training can help you find a very good-paying job. Check it out.
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Study: PJM Elec Grid is Just Fine Changing from Coal/Nukes to Gas

PJM is the largest electric grid operator in the U.S. It serves 65 million people in 13 states plus the District of Columbia (including PA, OH, and WV). Last week PJM released a summary of findings for a report that evaluates PJM’s “resiliency”–ability to deliver electricity even under adverse conditions and heavy loads. Know what they found? PJM is reliable and can withstand periods of highly “stressed” conditions, including the phaseout of more coal-fired power plants. PJM, perhaps more than any other grid, relies increasingly on natural gas. The study shows reliance on Marcellus/Utica natgas is solid, contrary to the what scaremongers claim. There is no reason to worry.
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Con Ed Pays Customers to Turn Over Control of Thermostat

The New York Public Service Commission recently approved a petition by Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. (Con Edison) for a $5 million, three-year natural gas demand response pilot program, one of the first demand response projects for natural gas. Demand response (DR) programs, somewhat common in the electricity sector, helps manage utility usage during periods of peak demand. How do they do it? In the case of Con Ed’s now-approved program, the utility will pay its customer to use less natural gas.
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Energy Stories of Interest: Tue, Nov 6, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: Real estate declines in places without shale drilling – NY example; Cheniere gets DOE permit for Corpus Christi LNG exports; Midwest propane inventories enter winter higher than previous five-year average; Natural gas is hanging in there as the withdrawal season is days away; Report: US on track for record coal retirements in 2018, with more on the way; Democrats stop talking about fracking, believing they will regain House; US refiners boost processing capacity to accommodate shale; A Penn State engineer’s quest to become the world’s gas king.
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