Another 655 Acres in Ohio Wayne Natl Forest Auctioned for $1.3M

The federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently announced the winners of Utica Shale mineral rights for 14 parcels of land, adding up to ~655 acres, located in Wayne National Forest (WNF). The 14 properties netted the government $1.326 million and all 14 were purchased by two (possibly more) Utica Shale drillers. Average price per acre paid across the entire lot: $2,024. Who did the leasing? You have to be a subscriber to find out. 🙂
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Antero Idles WV Frack Wastewater Plant Launched 2 Years Ago

Antero Clearwater Treatment Facility – Pennsboro, WV (click for larger version)

Ace reporter Paul Gough at the Pittsburgh Business Times is reporting an exclusive: Antero Resources, which built and launched an innovative frack wastewater recycling facility in Doddridge County, WV less than two years ago at a cost of $300 million, has idled the plant and is considering selling it. Say what?
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Which Way will PA Supreme Court Rule on ‘Rule of Capture’ Case?

Last week MDN told you that oral arguments would be heard on Thursday at the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in what we believe is one of (perhaps THE) most important shale cases ever in the Keystone State (see Most Important Court Case in PA Shale History Heads to Supremes). The case deals with whether or not the age-old oil and gas principle called “the rule of capture” applies in PA shale drilling.
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EQT “Streamlines” 196 Employees Right Out the Door

Ever wonder how it feels to be “streamlined” (laid off, fired) to help the company’s “bottom line”? We can assure you, it feels lousy. It feels like the end of the world has just happened. The future is now uncertain. Will you have to sell the house? Pull the kids out of school? File for food stamps (something you’ve never had to do)? Those are some of the thoughts that are swirling through the heads of 196 soon-to-be former employees of EQT after the latest round of “streamlining” and “workforce reductions.”
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Orion Drilling Sued EQT for Canceling 2 Rigs, EQT Won

EQT contracted two drilling rigs from Orion Drilling in 2014 that later, in 2015 and 2016, experienced trouble–like a 50,000-pound drilling block slamming to the ground kind of trouble. EQT canceled the contract and would no longer use the two rigs. Orion sued claiming breach of contract. A jury decided EQT was in the right by canceling the contract. Orion asked a judge to overturn the jury decision and order a new trial. Yesterday the judge refused, meaning the jury decision stands and Orion now owes EQT $2.8 million to cover EQT’s attorneys’ fees and costs. Ouch, that didn’t go as planned.
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Major Investor Lectures Gulfport Energy to Cut 2020 Budget by 29%

Shah Capital, which owns three million shares (about 1.9%) of Gulfport Energy stock, last week sent an open letter to the Gulfport board strongly recommending the company trim next year’s budget by 29% (maybe more) in an effort to generate more cash for investors. Gulfport Energy, one of the biggest drillers in the Ohio Utica Shale (210,000 acres), concentrates its drilling in the Ohio Utica and the Oklahoma SCOOP plays.
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Work at Sunoco’s Marcus Hook Causes Range to Tweak NGL Forecast

Sunoco is performing “optimization work” at the Marcus Hook export terminal this month. Marcus Hook is where two (soon to be three) Mariner East Pipelines terminate, hauling NGLs (propane, ethane, butane) from western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio all the way to the Philadelphia area. At Marcus Hook the NGLs get separated and most (not all, but most) get loaded onto ships for export to other countries. Sunoco needs to upgrade a few things to export even more. They’re shutting down Marcus Hook this month, and that’s a (temporary) problem for the main shipper sending NGLs to the facility–Range Resources.
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Rumor: EQT About to Layoff 25% of Workforce, Maybe This Week

The Pittsburgh Business Times‘ ace report Paul Gough is reporting an exclusive: EQT is getting ready to fire (i.e. layoff) around 200 employees. “Multiple sources” have confirmed the plans to the PBT. Since the company employs around 800 employees, that represents 25% of the entire workforce. This comes on the heels of the company laying off over 100 people earlier this year, when the company was run by a different management team (see EQT Lays Off ~15% of Workforce – Fires Back at Rice Brothers).
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Most Important Court Case in PA Shale History Heads to Supremes

This Friday Thursday the justices sitting on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will hear what we believe is the most important shale gas court case in the history of the state: Briggs v Southwestern Energy. We consider this case to be an existential threat to the future of shale gas drilling in PA should the decision go the wrong way. And no, we’re not exaggerating.
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PA Fed Judge Won’t Dismiss Landowner Royalty Case Against Range

Last October MDN brought to your attention a lawsuit filed by a Washington County, PA couple, Robin and Thomas Pflasterer, against Range Resources (see Range Resources Sued by PA Landowner re Post-Production Deductions). The Pflasterers maintain Range deducted post-production expenses not allowed under their lease. Range argued the Pflasterers didn’t have the proper paperwork to back up their claims and asked for the case to be dismissed.
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EQT, Southwestern Top Brass Discuss State of WV O&G, Shale

Toby Rice, CEO and president of EQT, and Clay Carrell, COO and EVP of Southwestern Energy, recently had a sit down discussion about the state of the shale industry in the Marcellus/Utica and its importance to the economy of West Virginia. The discussion happened at the recent West Virginia Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting and Business Summit. One surprising revelation for us: Carrell said Southwestern now spends most of its money on WV drilling.
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EQT Drops WV Lawsuit re Post-Prod. Deductions on Flat Rate Leases

The new leadership at the top of EQT continues to have a major impact on the company and its relationship with landowners and (in this case) entire states. Last year EQT launched an effort to overturn WV’s Senate Bill (SB) 360 (see EQT Still Fighting WV Minimum Royalty Law for Flat Rate Leases). The new SB 360 law disallows post-production deductions for flat rate leases, ensuring landowners receive a minimum 12.5% royalty. In April 2018 EQT sued to overturn the original law (from 1982) on which SB 360 rests–the law that guarantees a 12.5% royalty. Get rid of the original law, and the later law (disallowing deductions) disappears too. Last week EQT filed a motion to withdraw its lawsuit.
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Cunningham Energy to Drill More WV Shallow Horizontal Oil Wells

It’s been over a year since we brought you news about Cunningham Energy, a small oil driller based in West Virginia (see Cunningham Energy Focuses on Shallow Horizontal Oil Wells in WV). Cunningham, backed by money from Viper Capital Partners, is once again in the news. Viper has just acquired drilling leases (and conventional wells) in Roane and Gilmer counties in WV. Viper says its drilling arm, Cunningham, will drill more “shallow” horizontal (fracked) wells in those locations, looking for oil.
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EQT Settles Lawsuit Against Former Rice Employee

In February, prior to the July takover by Toby and Derek Rice, EQT filed lawsuits in both Pennsylvania and federal courts against two former employees it had fired, claiming the employees, before they were fired, had systematically copied confidential information from company computers and took it with them when they left (see EQT Claims 2 Fired Workers Stole Confidential Information). In March, EQT alleged the employees “stole” the information to help the Rice boys in their bid to take over EQT via a proxy war (see EQT Accuses Fired Employees of Colluding with Rice Boys). EQT just settled/dropped one of the two cases.
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Bankrupt EdgeMarc Sells Ohio Utica Assets to Diversified for $50M

EdgeMarc Energy, headquartered in Canonsburg, PA (with 50,000 acres of Marcellus/Utica leases), filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May, looking to sell all of the company’s assets (see EdgeMarc Energy Files for Bankruptcy, Blames Revolution Pipe). Diversified Gas & Oil placed a bid on EdgeMarc’s Ohio Utica assets, offering $50 million. Nobody else bid, so the bankruptcy court has just approved the sale to Diversified. How many Utica wells and how much acreage? We tell you below.
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