Seneca Resources: Productive 2019, Reducing Rig Count in 2020

Seneca Resources, the drilling arm of National Fuel Gas Company, does most of its exploration and production in central and western Pennsylvania (although it also does some drilling in California). A spokesman for Seneca recently went on the record to talk about the company’s prolific 2019 production, with a forecast for 2020 (production is going UP). However, the company plans to ax one of its three rigs in 2020.
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PA Landowner Says Range Well Didn’t Cause Methane Problem in Water

Range Resources’ Harman Lewis Unit 1H well in Moreland Township, Lycoming County.

Two days ago MDN told you that the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection has once again climbed up on its high horse and is now ordering Range Resources to “fix” a well they claim is leaking methane into the ground, causing nearby water wells and the ground itself to be contaminated (see PA DEP Orders Range to Fix Leaking Gas Well in Lycoming County). Range says the well is not at fault. The landowner whose land where the well is located also says the Range well is not at fault.
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Moody’s Downgrades EQT Debt to Junk Status Following Write-Down

On Monday EQT, the nation’s largest natural gas producer (based in Pittsburgh) filed an update with the SEC to say it would write down the value (called an impairment) for some of it’s Marcellus/Utica assets–to the tune of $1.8 billion (see EQT to Write Down Up to $1.8 Billion in M-U Assets for 4Q19). Also in Monday’s update is the news that EQT is recognizing a 20% reduction in the value of its reserves (not as much as can be extracted profitably at current prices). Given Monday’s news, the analysts at Moody’s Investors Service downgraded some of EQT’s debt (notes), to junk status.
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PA DEP Orders Range to Fix Leaking Gas Well in Lycoming County

A long-simmering dispute between the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Range Resources has once again erupted into the public over allegations that a Range well drilled in Lycoming County, PA back in 2011 is leaking methane into the surrounding ground and water supplies. The DEP has, for years, maintained faulty cement casing allows methane to leak, and Range maintains methane was already in the ground/water supply before it drilled the well. Who’s right?
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EQT to Write Down Up to $1.8 Billion in M-U Assets for 4Q19

In a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing made yesterday, EQT, the country’s largest natural gas producer, informed the SEC (and investors) it will likely take an impairment charge (“write down”) for the value of some of its Marcellus/Utica assets–by $1.4 to $1.8 billion. Which pales in comparison to Chevron’s write down of it’s M-U assets to the tune of $5+ billion (see Chevron Writes Down $5B+ in Marc/Utica Assets, Looks to Sell All).
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PA Superior Court Rules Landowner Can’t Nix Lease for Shut-ins

A recently decided court case, while not precendential (doesn’t apply to anyone else other than the landowners/drillers in this case), is still instructive. This story begins when the Wilson family in Armstrong County, PA (western part of the state) leased three different tracts of land totaling 473 acres to Synder Brothers in 2003 for vertical drilling.
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NY AG Gives Up on Trying to Shake Down Exxon After Court Decision

As we reported in December, New York Attorney General Tish James and her highly-paid associates were thoroughly, completely, 100% humiliated in court when their case against Exxon Mobil accusing the company of screwing shareholders by keeping secret knowledge they are toasting Mom Earth, is itself toast (see Judge Finds Exxon Not Guilty in Fraud Case – NY AG Humiliated). Exxon is being sued by other states, including Massachusetts, for the same thing. Those cases are also close to collapse. The good news is that Tish has had enough humiliation–she won’t appeal the Exxon case to a higher court. That is, NY has lost, Exxon has won. There is still justice in the wacky world of New York State–who knew?
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Range Refinancing $500M in Debt, Writing Down Value of LA Shale

click for larger version

Yesterday Range Resources issued a couple of press releases detailing a plan to buy back $500 million of outstanding notes (i.e. IOUs) issued in years gone by and due payable in 2021/2022, by generating a new pot of $500 million by issuing new notes payable in 2026. The company also filed an SEC Form 8-K that mentions they will write down the value of their Louisiana shale assets. However, the company says it will not write down the value for their Marcellus/Utica assets.
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Diversified Gas & Oil Blazes Trail Using Wells as Collateral

Diversified Gas & Oil owns close to 8 million acres of leases with some 60,000 (mostly) conventional oil and gas wells. Their focus has been to acquire quality production and cash flow–regardless of the well or commodity type (gas or oil). They currently have over 400 M-U shale wells in their portfolio. In November Diversified closed on a deal to raise money via securitization–meaning to issue securities (“notes”) based on the value of their gas wells (see Diversified Gas & Oil Securitizes Appalachian Wells to Raise $200M). Turns out Diversified is a trail blazer in using wells as collateral.
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Snyder Bros Pays $1.2M to Drill Under Allegheny River in W PA

Armstrong County, PA

Snyder Brothers, headquartered in PA, used to drill mostly conventional (vertical only) wells in PA. However, these days the company drills horizontal shale wells in the Marcellus in southwestern PA. Just coming to light now is a lease Synder Brothers signed with the PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) in 2019 to pay DCNR $1.2 million to lease land under the Allegheny River in Armstrong County.
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EQT Pays Big Money to Hire Former CONSOL Exec as CFO

David Khani

EQT has just lured CONSOL Energy’s chief financial officer (CFO) away and hired him–for BIG money. Big in our book anyway. David Khani was paid a signing bonus of $2 million and will get an annual base salary of $540,000 per year. Plus bonuses. Who says bean counters don’t make big money? Oh! And Khani has a connection to MDN’s home town too.
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LOLA Energy Files 2nd Lawsuit Against EQT for Trespass in SWPA

Last July MDN broke the news that LOLA Energy had filed a lawsuit in Greene County, PA against EQT for allegedly drilling shale wells under property EQT formerly leased, but property for which the leases had lapsed and were subsequently scooped up by LOLA Energy II (see LOLA Energy Sues EQT for Trespass, Drilling Wells Under LOLA Land). LOLA said they are the owners of those leases now and that EQT has drilled under some of their properties. In another MDN exclusive, LOLA has just filed a second lawsuit in Greene County against EQT for the same thing: trespassing on LOLA-leased property.
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Gulfport Continues Board “Refreshment” – 4th Change in 5 Weeks

In mid-November Gulfport Energy, one of the biggest drillers in the Ohio Utica Shale (210,000 acres), announced they are laying off 13% of their workforce, ending (for now) their stock share buy-back program, and “refreshing” the board with three new members (see Gulfport Fires 13% of Workers, Ends Stock Buy-Back, Board Changes). Here it is five weeks later and the company has just announced yet another new board member, the fourth new member in five weeks. What’s going on?
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