Weekly Shale Drilling Permits for PA, OH, WV: Nov. 16-20

Last week Pennsylvania issued 11 new shale well drilling permits, all but one of them in the northeastern (dry gas) part of the state. Ohio issued one new permit, and West Virginia issued 2 new shale well permits.
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Weekly Shale Drilling Permits for PA, OH, WV: Nov. 2-6

Last week Pennsylvania issued a paltry 3 new shale well drilling permits (lowest we’ve seen in months), Ohio issued a single new permit, and West Virginia issued 5 new shale well permits. All 3 PA permits were issued in Greene County. The OH permit was issued in Carroll County (bit of a surprise). And all 5 WV permits were issued in Tyler County.
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Weekly Shale Drilling Permits for PA, OH, WV: Oct. 26-30

Last week Pennsylvania issued 16 new shale well drilling permits, and West Virginia issued 7 new shale well permits. Ohio issued no new shale permits last week.
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Antero 3Q Update: Canceling 300 MMcf/d Pipe Capacity in 2021

Antero Resources, one of the largest drillers in the Marcellus/Utica, working primarily in West Virginia, issued its third-quarter 2020 update yesterday. The company lost $536 million due to a $749 million “unrealized commodity hedge movement in fair value.” High finance stuff. Production averaged 3.8 billion cubic feet equivalent per day (Bcfe/d), which includes a lot of liquids (NGLs).
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Marcellus/Utica Driller Stock Prices Trend Up with NatGas Price

We spotted a couple of stories, one in Barron’s the other in the Wall Street Journal, about the pickup in the futures price of natural gas over the past week, and how those recent gains have led to impressive gains in the share price for Marcellus/Utica drillers. Yesterday the NYMEX Henry Hub futures price closed up 4.11% to $2.74/Mcf. The rising tide lifts all boats.
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Weekly Shale Drilling Permits for PA, OH, WV: Sep 21-25

An unusual situation for permits to drill new wells for last week. Pennsylvania only had 5 new permits while West Virginia had 12 new permits. It’s typically the other way around. Could this be the beginning of the effects from PA raising the permit fee from $5,000 to $12,500 per well? Maybe! Ohio had no new Utica permits issued last week. Drilling seems to have slowed in the Buckeye State.
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Peregrine Buys Royalty Rights from Doddridge County, WV Landowners

Peregrine Energy Partners, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, continues a program to buy royalty rights in the Marcellus/Utica. Peregrine announced yesterday the company has cut a deal to buy “producing royalties in Doddridge County, West Virginia from several private sellers.” The private sellers are landowners/rights owners with wells drilled by Antero Resources and Jay-Bee Oil & Gas. No details on how much the deal was for.
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Antero Res. Selling $250-$300M in New Notes to Pay Down Debt

Today is “notes” day on MDN. Yesterday three major Marcellus/Utica drillers, including Southwestern, Range, and the subject of this post–Antero Resources–all said they are issuing notes, or what we think of as IOUs (debt) in varying amounts. All of the notes issued are for the same reason–to pay down debt. Issue new debt to pay down old debt. Only in the world of high finance! For Antero, the company is issuing $250 million with an extra option to issue another $50 million, or $300 million total, potentially.
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Antero Raises $220M by Selling Royalty Interest to JP Morgan

In June, Antero Resources, one of the biggest (and best) Marcellus/Utica pure play drillers concentrating most of their drilling in West Virginia, sold an overriding royalty interest (ORRI) in all of their wells for $402 million (see Antero Raises $402M by Selling Royalty Interest to Sixth Street). Yesterday Antero announced a similar (but structured differently) deal to sell a royalty interest to JP Morgan for $220 million.
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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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9 Big M-U Companies Lost $2.6 Billion in Value During 1Q20

A word you will likely see a lot more of in quarterly updates by oil and gas drillers across the country is the word “impairment.” It’s an accounting term that means the value of an asset (leased acreage or wells) is adjusted, down, to reflect a company’s best guess as to how much revenue that asset can generate. We wrote about impairments back in 2015 (see A Basic Guide to Understanding “Impairments” for Marcellus/Utica). Largely because of impairments, nine of the biggest Marcellus/Utica drillers cumulatively lost $2.6 billion in value (on paper) during the first quarter of this year. However, two of the nine had no impairments. And one of the nine made a profit in 1Q20. Can you guess which one?
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Antero Raises $402M by Selling Royalty Interest to Sixth Street

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Antero Resources, one of the biggest (and best) Marcellus/Utica pure play drillers concentrating most of their drilling in West Virginia, issued a press release yesterday to announce the company has sold an overriding royalty interest (ORRI) in all of their wells for $402 million. The company will use the money to pay down debt. Antero also posted an updated slide deck yesterday with some great information about NGLs and what the company sees in the way of prices coming for NGLs.
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M-U Drillers See New Interest from Bond (Debt) Investors

Wow! What a difference three months can make. In January Moody’s Investors Service downgraded EQT Corporation’s bonds to “junk” status (see Moody’s Downgrades EQT Debt to Junk Status Following Write-Down). A few weeks later Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings downgraded the credit rating for six of the biggest Marcellus/Utica drillers, including EQT (see S&P Downgrades Credit Rating for Six Big Marcellus/Utica Drillers). Once thought risky and speculative, investors seem to have changed their minds about investing in M-U debt. They’re taking a second look.
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Antero Slashes Budget, Maintains Production, Stock Rockets 21%

Antero Resources issued its first-quarter 2020 update yesterday, delivering outstanding earnings guidance that “completely caught Wall Street and the bears off guard.” Management cut 2020 capex by $250 million, to $750 million (41% lower than 2019) while maintaining current production. Antero said it will hit $175 million free cash flow *this year* by spending less and producing the same.
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Marcellus/Utica Stock Prices Soar on News of Oil Price Crash

With yesterday’s historic crash in the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil comes a big boost in the stock price for a number of Marcellus/Utica drillers. As we’ve outlined multiple times, but will repeat here again, stock traders believe that with the crash in oil prices and U.S. shale oil drillers laying down rigs faster than we can count, the high volume of “associated gas” coming from the oilfields will vastly decrease. That means less supply in the market. With less supply and the same (or increasing) demand comes higher prices for natgas. And higher prices for natgas means more profits and likely more new drilling for Marcellus/Utica drillers. Hence, investors are snapping up stocks for M-U drilling companies.
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