Wheeling WV Eyes $2M Signing Bonus for M-U Drilling Under City Land

Wheeling, West Virginia–known as “the Friendly City”–is about to get an even bigger smile on its face. Wheeling city leaders are about to sign a lease agreement to allow American Petroleum Partners to drill under several “old city landfills” that have been closed for decades. The up-front signing bonus for 336 acres of Wheeling-owned land will be $2 million–which works out to ~$5,952 per acre. Once gas begins flowing, the city will get an 18.5% royalty. The money will be used for “paving, playgrounds, economic development and other city functions.” Does American Petroleum Partners (APP) sound familiar? In December we brought you the news that APP had leased the 66-acre Wheeling Park High School campus for shale drilling–under (not on) the campus–for $6,000 per acre (see Wheeling, WV High School Leased for Shale Drilling, $6K/Acre). We first wrote about the low-key, avoiding-the-limelight APP in March 2016 (see New Marcellus/Utica Driller Quietly Launches w/$800M Investment). APP is headed by Rice Energy alumnus Varun Mishra, who is the founder and CEO. Apollo Global Management invested $411 million in APP with the option to double it up to $800 million. It’s great to see this relatively young company locking up acreage and beginning to drill. Here’s the details on the latest APP lease deal–with the City of Wheeling…
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Wheeling, WV High School Leased for Shale Drilling, $6K/Acre

Deals to lease land for Marcellus and Utica Shale drilling happen on a regular basis–even today. Perhaps not as much as several years ago when large deals cut by landowner groups were headline news. But lease deals still happen–you just don’t hear about them because they are private deals (deal terms are not recorded at the county clerk’s office). However, every now and again a public entity–a town or school–will lease land for shale drilling. And that IS a matter of public record. When we spot such deals, we like to bring you the details. Such a deal was cut on Monday, by the Ohio County Board of Education. The Board of Ed signed a deal with American Petroleum Partners (from Pittsburgh) to lease the 66 acre Wheeling Park High School campus for shale drilling–under (not on) the campus. Which is so cool for a number of reasons. First of all, the deal includes a $6,000 per acre signing bonus, and if/when the gas begins to flow, an 18% royalty. Second of all, it’s a school! How many times have we read about nutjob anti parents with their knickers in a twist over putting a shale well more than a half mile away from a school, like we heard about endlessly from those in the Mars School District (Butler County). It was a long, hard fight, but we eventually won (see Martian Victory! 2 Wells Near Mars School Nearly Done Drilling). The antis claimed drilling near schools would harm the crumb-crunchers. We see the result of that lie. We’ve pointed out, many times, that a school near MDN HQ, located in northeastern PA (Elk Lake), leased their property for drilling and has reaped enormous financial rewards (see Elk Lake School LOVES Their 2 Marcellus Shale Wells & Gas Heat). We’ve seen the Elk Lake school building and the nearby wellhead. No negative effects on the chil’ren. And now the very smart members of the Ohio County Board of Ed and the kids at Wheeling Park High will enjoy the same financial rewards…
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EQT, APP Challenge Rice Energy’s $200M Bid for ANR Shale Assets

auction-gavel.jpgTwo weeks ago MDN told you that Rice Energy had offered a “stalking horse” bid of $200 million for the shale assets of now-bankrupt coal company Alpha Natural Resources (see Rice Energy Offers Bankrupt ANR $200M for Marcellus/Utica Assets). ANR and Rice were joint venture partners for other shale acreage. Rice previously bought ANR out in that deal. So Rice and ANR are already buds. It appears part of the process in making a so-called stalking horse bid involves certain conditions and assurances (and payouts should someone else bid more). It’s all complicated financial stuff, not our specialty. But EQT and American Petroleum Partners (APP), two other Marcellus/Utica drillers, are also interested in ANR’s assets and apparently willing to bid at least as much as Rice. But because of these special conditions, bidding $200 million will cost them more than it will for Rice. So EQT and APP complained to the bankruptcy judge that Rice Energy is getting a sweetheart deal from ANR–a deal that should be canceled. The bankruptcy judge disagreed…
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New Marcellus/Utica Driller Quietly Launches w/$800M Investment

APP logoDetails are just now coming to light of a new E&P (exploration and production, or drilling) company headquartered in Pittsburgh and focused totally on the Marcellus and Utica region. Until now the company has flown under our radar. The company is American Petroleum Partners (APP)–not to be confused with Aubrey McClendon’s American Energy Partners (AEP)–and is headed by Rice Energy alumnus Varun Mishra, who is the founder and CEO. The big news is that last September Mishra’s new company, founded in 2014, received a major injection of investment capital. Apollo Global Management invested $411 million in APP with the option to double it up to $800 million. MDN has it on very good authority that although APP quietly issued a press release about this last September (see it below), the company has intentionally kept the news quiet. Not any more! Big mouth MDN is blabbing it to the world. Below are the bits and pieces we’ve been able to put together about this newest Utica/Marcellus driller…
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