Montage Resources: 5 New OH Utica Wells, Profits Tumble in 2Q

Montage Resources, the new name for the merger of Eclipse Resources with Blue Ridge Mountain Resources which happened more than a year ago, issued its second-quarter 2020 update last week. Production for Montage in the Marcellus/Utica was up slightly (3%), to 551.7 MMcfe/d in 2Q. Profits, on the other hand, were way down. The company lost $68.9 million in 2Q20 versus making a $27.5 million profit in 2Q19. Low prices for natgas explain why.
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NFG: More PA Fracked Gas to NY Coming Online Next Few Months

NFG’s Empire North project (click for larger version)

Late last week National Fuel Gas Company (NFG), the parent company of Marcellus/Utica driller Seneca Resources and midstream company Empire Pipeline, issued its third-quarter (everyone else’s second quarter) financial and operational update. Among the things we learned: Seneca dropped to using a single drilling rig in June and shut-in some of its Marcellus/Utica production. That strategy remains in place for the foreseeable future, according to NFG’s top brass.
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DGO CEO Rusty Hutson Predicts M-U Production Plateau

Even though the price of natural gas selling at regional trading points like Dominion South has gone up, don’t expect more production in the Marcellus/Utica. Diversified Gas & Oil (DGO) CEO Rusty Hutson, in an interview with S&P Global Platts, said most of the larger drillers in the M-U will not increase production even with higher prices. The ones who will drill more are smaller companies leveraged to the hilt–they have to drill to keep the cash flow coming in.
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Gulfport Energy 2Q – $556M Paper Loss, Production Down 24%

Gulfport Energy, the third-largest (by number wells drilled) producer in the Ohio Utica Shale, issued its 2Q20 update yesterday. Back in June, the company said it would shut-in some of its production, delaying production until later this year (see Gulfport Caps Utica Production, Delays Drilling to Late 2020). The company made good on its promise. Gulfport’s 2Q production was 1,027 MMcfe/d (million cubic feet equivalent per day), down from 1,358 MMcfe/d in 2Q19. The company reports a loss of $556 million during 2Q, but most if not all of it comes from impairments and depreciation–in other words, a paper loss. The company generated $43.9 million in free cash flow in 2Q.
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Range Resources Lays Off 40 Employees in Pittsburgh & Fort Worth

Most of the layoffs during this particularly brutal (and historic) downturn in the oil and gas market have taken place in oilfield services companies like Halliburton, Baker Hughes and Sclumberger. But exploration & production companies are not immune. Chevron is laying off workers in their Marcellus/Utica operation because the company is selling all of its Appalachian assets and leaving the region (see Chevron Cutting 320 Jobs in Marcellus/Utica Beginning April 6th and Chevron Cuts Another 80 Jobs in M-U; Still Looking for Buyer). Another M-U driller is also laying off personnel–Range Resources.
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Range Sells Haynesville Assets to Japan for “Pennies on the Dollar”

Range Resources has cut a deal to sell its Haynesville Shale assets (220,000 acres plus the wells they’ve drilled since buying those assets) to Castleton Resources, a privately owned company majority-owned by Tokyo Gas, for $245 million (plus an extra $90 million, maybe, contingent on the price of gas). Range bought those assets in 2016 for $4.4 billion (see Range Resources Buys Louisiana Driller in Deal Worth $4.4B). Yeah, Range just took a bath, selling their Haynesville assets for pennies on the dollar…
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Cabot 2Q – Still Drilling & Making Money in a Down Economy

Cabot Oil & Gas issued its 2Q20 update on Friday. CEO Dan Dinges said natural gas prices hit a historic low in 2Q (lowest since 1995), but he thinks the price will improve “this winter.” Although the price Cabot got for its gas last quarter ($1.52/Mcf) was 33% lower than a year ago, the company still made a profit. Cabot netted $30 million in 2Q, vs. netting $181 million a year ago. The company drilled 14 new shale wells, completed/fracked 31 wells, and placed 25 new wells online last quarter. They produced an average of 2.2 Bcf/d of natural gas.
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Southwestern 2Q – 2.2 Bcfe/d Production, $505/Ft Well Cost!

Southwestern Energy released its 2Q20 update on Friday. The company, with nearly a half-million acres under lease, drills solely in the Marcellus/Utica in two distinct regions: northeastern Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The NEPA operation targets dry gas. WV targets wet gas/NGLs. During 2Q, Southwestern drilled 80% of its new wells in the NEPA dry gas area. Southwestern drilled 30 new wells, completed/fracked 31 wells, and placed 31 wells online to sales last quarter. One of the eye-popping bits of news from the company update is that for one particular well they hit a super-low $505/lateral foot cost to drill the well–the lowest drilling cost we’ve seen by any M-U driller anywhere!
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Antero 2Q Update: Production Up, Costs Down, Record Well Drilled

Antero Resources issued its 2Q20 update yesterday. Even though the company averaged a sales price of $2.81/Mcf (thousand cubic feet) for natural gas it sold last quarter by using hedging (at a time when the price has been bumping around $1.70/Mcf), low gas prices clobbered the company. Antero saw a net loss of $463 million for the quarter. However, the company did set a new onshore drilling record for the longest well drilled in a 24-hour period–11,253 lateral feet drilled in 24 hours.
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CNX 2Q Update: Production Down, Curtailments Gone by November

CNX Resources issued its 2Q20 update yesterday. The company reports a $146 million net loss. Production in 2Q20 was 114.5 Bcfe (billion cubic feet equivalent), down from 134.5 Bcfe in 2Q19 due to curtailments. Average daily production in 2Q was 1.26 Bcf/d (billion cubic feet per day), down from 1.35 Bcf/d a year earlier. The company shut-in some of its production due to COVID and low prices. They will restore all shut-in production by November.
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A Different View re CNX’s Move to Buy Rest of Pipeline Subsidiary

Yesterday MDN brought you the news that CNX Resources is buying out the balance of what they don’t own in their pipeline subsidiary CNX Midstream (see CNX’s Competitive Advantage: Owning Its Own Pipelines). Our take on the news is that by owning their own pipeline network CNX has a distinct competitive advantage. We heard in pretty short order a different view from a couple of MDN readers…
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CNX’s Competitive Advantage: Owning Its Own Pipelines

We love a story about an individual or company that defies conventional wisdom and succeeds by charting its own course separate from the herd. Diversified Gas & Oil (DGO) is one such company. DGO buys up older conventional (and shale) wells in Appalachia, making money off the “long tail” of low production (see Diversified Zags, Finds Profit in Appalachian Conventional Wells). Another company charting a different path is CNX Resources. Yesterday we told you CNX is buying out the rest of its midstream/pipeline subsidiary (see CNX Resources Buying/Merging in Rest of CNX Midstream for $357M). Why is CNX buying back their pipeline operations, when so many others are selling pipeline operations?
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Investors Love M-U Companies, Even Though Gas Price is Low

How does one make money in the natural gas market these days when the price of gas is at historic lows? One way is if an investor was fortunate enough to bet the price would go down. Those folks made money. The other way is to…invest in drillers? Yep. Even though low prices hurt drillers, investors still like the looks of what is on the horizon, especially for companies operating in the Marcellus/Utica. Example: The stock price for Range Resources and EQT is up over 30% each this year so far.
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EQT 2Q Update: Looking to Unload Equitrans Shares, MVP Capacity

EQT, the country’s largest natural gas-producing company, issued its second-quarter 2020 update yesterday. There was a lot of news coming from the update. First and foremost, CEO Toby Rice (celebrating his one-year anniversary after taking over management of the company) said that the 1.4 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of gas production previously curtailed (shut-in) starting in May is, as of the beginning of July, fully restored and flowing with no apparent “degradation” in the performance of the shut-in wells. However, it was other remarks–about Equitrans and the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP)–that caught our attention.
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CNX Resources Buying/Merging in Rest of CNX Midstream for $357M

CNX Midstream began life as a joint venture between CONSOL Energy (the forerunner to CNX Resources) and Noble Energy, and was called CONE Midstream (“CO” from CONSOL and “NE” from Noble Energy). Noble decided to completely exit the Marcellus/Utica and ended up selling their half of CONE to CNX for $305 million in early 2018 (see CNX to Buy Noble’s 50% Share of CONE Midstream for $305M). The company was then renamed CNX Midstream (see CONE Midstream Gets a New Name: CNX Midstream Partners). Although CNX owns a majority of CNX Midstream, there has (until now) remained a certain portion owned by outside investors. That will soon come to an end as CNX is buying out the remaining portions it doesn’t own for $357 million. CNX Midstream will now be owned 100% by CNX Resources.
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