SWPA Farmer Claims Shale Damaged Cattle Health, Reproduction

A farmer who raises Angus beef cattle in East Millsboro (Fayette County), PA, in the southwestern corner of the state, claims that a shale well drilled on his property in 2010 by Atlas Energy (now owned by Chevron) created a “seep” that is affecting the health of his cattle. A seep is a place where water/liquids leak out of the ground. Soon after the well was drilled the farmer began to have trouble with his yearling heifers not getting pregnant. For those grazing near the well, only half got pregnant. The farmer then kept his herd from grazing near the well and noticed the pregnancy rate went from half to 100%–except for those who had previously grazed near the well. They continue to struggle with no pregnancies and miscarriages. All of which sounds like conclusive evidence that there is a problem with the well leaking something into the environment. However, both Chevron and the state Dept. of Environmental Protection have investigated and have not found any evidence that the well is impacting the health of the farmer’s herd. What do you do in a case like that?…
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Top 10 Drillers in SWPA, by Number of Permits Issued

Every now and again it’s fun to take a look at a “Top 10” list. Here’s one for you. How about a Top 10 List for drillers in southwestern PA, in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Clarion, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington, and Westmoreland counties. This Top 10 list ranks drillers by how many shale well permits they’ve been granted. The list is extracted from a Top 40 list prepared by the (must read) Pittsburgh Business Times. Can you guess which 10 drillers are in the Top 10? How about the Top 1? It may come as no surprise that Range Resources, the very first company to drill a Marcellus Shale well (in 2004), has received the most permits to drill in SWPA. Here’s the full Top 10 list, with some interesting extra details…
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Former Atlas Energy Owners Resurface with New ‘Blank Check’ IPO

Atlas Energy, a once-major driller in the Marcellus Shale, sold much of their Marcellus operations to Chevron in 2011 (see India’s RIL Loses Bidding War for Atlas Energy – $4.3 Billion Deal with Chevron Goes Forward). The Cohen family that runs the company is interesting and colorful. They bought into the company in the 1990s and happened to be in the right place at the right time, just prior to the discovery of the Marcellus (see The Unconventional Rise & Sale of Atlas Energy). In October 2014, the Cohens did it again. Talk about perfect timing! The Cohens sold more of what was left–for a truly astonishing $7.7 billion–to Targa Resources Partners, just prior to the crash of natgas prices (see Atlas Energy/Pipeline Sells Itself (Again) – for $7.7 BILLION!). However, what was left of Atlas hit a few bumps in the road. The company’s stock was de-listed on the New York Stock Exchange and last July Atlas Resource Partners (subsidiary) filed for bankruptcy (see Atlas Resource Partners Filing for Bankruptcy Tomorrow). The company that emerged from bankruptcy was renamed Titan Energy, which put up a huge block of Marcellus/Utica acreage for sale earlier this year (see Titan Energy Puts 494K Appalachian Acres Up for Sale). The Cohens have turned up again. They are offering shares in a new “blank check” company called Osprey Energy, looking to raise $250 million to buy up distressed oil and gas companies. What’s a “blank check” company? We’ll explain…
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Titan Energy Sells Marcellus Assets, Buyer Rapidly Expanding

In February, MDN told you that Titan Energy, which used to be known as Atlas Energy/Resource Partners, was listing what appeared to be the rest of the acreage they still own on the Appalachian basin–some 494,229 acres–including rights for drilling in the Marcellus (see Titan Energy Puts 494K Appalachian Acres Up for Sale). On Friday, Titan announced it has signed an agreement to sell the acreage, along with 8,400 oil and gas wells across Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, New York and West Virginia, for $84.2 million to Diversified Gas & Oil (DGO). Yes, the vast majority of those wells are conventional (vertical only) and not shale wells. In fact, we’re not sure any of the wells are shale wells. However, Marcellus assets were part of the sale–so at least some of the acreage will allow for Marcellus drilling, should DGO want to pursue it. Although Titan is keeping its Utica Shale acreage, the company says it use the money from this sale to concentrate efforts on oil drilling in the Texas Eagle Ford Shale play. Titan is moving its headquarters from Pittsburgh to Houston, TX. In addition to the news about Titan selling its conventional assets and moving, the twin story (perhaps even more interesting) is that the buyer, DGO (nominally headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, although actually a UK company), has been on a buying spree–snapping up 75,250 conventional acres (1,300 wells) in PA & WV earlier this year. All told, DGO now owns 1.6 million acres of leases and 10,000+ conventional oil and gas wells in Appalachia…
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Top 20 Marcellus Drillers in Southwest Pennsylvania

The sharp folks over at the Pittsburgh Business Times have been looking through data from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and have compiled a list of 20 drillers who have at least a dozen shale wells in the southwest PA region. And they ranked them from lowest to highest. We’ve grabbed the list below. The interesting thing for MDN is that there is one name in the list not familiar to us, and we’ve been watching this space since 2009. Always fun to learn something new. Here’s the list of southwest PA’s “Top 20” Marcellus drillers…
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Titan Energy Puts 494K Appalachian Acres Up for Sale

Titan Energy, which used to be known as Atlas Energy/Resource Partners, is today listing what appears to be the rest of the acreage they still own on the Appalachian basin–some 494,229 acres–including rights for drilling in the Marcellus/Utica. An astonishing 100% of the acreage is HBP, or held by production–meaning there are working or drilled wells. Not all of it is shale-related. We suspect a good portion of the acreage is conventional (vertical only). However, there is a significant number of acres where Marcellus/Utica drilling can be done that the sale should pique the interest of competitors. The acreage is being offered in seven states: New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. In addition to rights in the Marcellus/Utica, rights are also available in the Upper Devonian, New Albany and Chattanooga shale plays. Here is the low down on the acreage sale, along with a reminder of who Titan (nee Atlas) is, and why this is an important sale…
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De-Listed Atlas Resources Begins OTC Trading as Titan Energy

atlas-resource-partners-logoIn July MDN reported that the New York Stock Exchange de-listed trading for shares in Atlas Resource Partners (see Atlas Resource Partners Close to Chapter 11, NYSE De-lists Units). As predicted and portended by the de-listing, the company then filed for bankruptcy (see Atlas Resource Partners Filing for Bankruptcy Tomorrow). In September, Atlas emerged from bankruptcy sporting a new name: Titan Energy (see Atlas Resources Partners Exits Bankruptcy Renamed as Titan Energy). When it emerged from bankruptcy, Titan was trading on the Pink Sheets, as a penny stock. Since that time, things have vastly improved and last week the OTC Markets Group announced that Titan (stock ticker of TTEN) has qualified and is now upgraded to trade on the OTCQX® Best Market system. That is, the stock is now trading “over the counter” with another 10,000 stocks. It has risen from penny stocks hell and, as of this morning, was trading at $23 per share…
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Atlas Energy Not Liable in PA Rig Worker’s Death

Gavel-falling.jpgThis is an important story for both drillers and rig workers, potentially answering the question of who can and can’t be sued if something goes wrong when drilling a well. In 2006 Atlas Resources leased land in Greene County, PA to drill shale wells. In 2007 Atlas hired Gene D. Yost & Son, Inc. to drill wells for Atlas, including on the land leased in Greene County. Yost was the subcontractor, employing people to do the work using Yost’s equipment. As workers were removing drill pipe, preparing to shut in the well, there was an accident which appears to be operator error. One man, Rock A. Doman, was killed. The Doman family later filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Atlas Energy for negligence. After years of litigation and court findings, an appeals court ruled last week that Atlas is, in fact, a “statutory employer” under PA law, meaning they are immune from such lawsuits. That is, because Atlas hired another company for that company’s services, they (Atlas) cannot be held responsible for what the company they hired theoretically did or did not do. In this case, Yost’s “negligence” (if indeed there was any negligence) is not transferable to Atlas…
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Atlas Energy’s CEO Edward Cohen – Right Place at Right Time

edward-cohen-atlas-energy
Edward Cohen

Last week news broke that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged a big-time New York hedge fund manager, Leon Cooperman, with violating insider trading laws stemming to deals done back in 2010. The insider trading allegedly happened when Cooperman, a big investor in Atlas Pipeline Partners (part of Atlas Energy) sold its Oklahoma natural gas processing operations. Cooperman vigorously denies the allegation and said he’ll defend himself in court. While not exactly close friends, Cooperman was a large investor in Atlas Energy and its subsidiaries. The CEO of Atlas was/is Edward Cohen, so Cooperman is well acquainted with Cohen. As part of a series of articles covering the Cooperman/SEC story, Bloomberg News wrote an article about the relationship between Cooperman and Cohen–mostly about Cohen. We found the article interesting, providing color and background on a very complex man who was at the right time and the right place (the PA Marcellus) to make an incredible amount of money…
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Atlas Resources Partners Exits Bankruptcy Renamed as Titan Energy

renameIn July MDN reported that Atlas Resource Partners (ARP), a publicly-traded exploration and production master limited partnership (“MLP”) with operations in basins across the United States including the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays, filed for a bankruptcy (see Atlas Resource Partners Filing for Bankruptcy Tomorrow). The ARP plan follows in the footsteps of other recent such filings, known as a “pre-packaged” bankruptcy. Companies like Atlas cut deals with the people they owe money to, the debtholders, negotiating a plan to convert the debt into equity (ownership) thereby screwing current stockholders by devaluing their stocks to the value of toilet paper. Two weeks ago the ARP plan was approved by the courts, and last week the company exited bankruptcy. But when the exited, they did so sporting a new name: Titan Energy. Perhaps a year from now nobody will remember that Titan is the once-bankrupt ARP…
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Atlas Resource Partners Filing for Bankruptcy Tomorrow

atlas-resource-partners-logoJust last week MDN predicted that Atlas Resource Partners (ARP), a publicly-traded exploration and production master limited partnership (“MLP”) with operations in basins across the United States including the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays, was heading for a bankruptcy (see Atlas Resource Partners Close to Chapter 11, NYSE De-lists Units). Yesterday ARP announced it has been working behind the scenes with the people it owes money (lenders and bondholders) on a deal to convert their debt into common units (in essence, shares of stock). The deal worked out will eliminate $900 million in debt ARP owes. The deal is like many others we’ve written about over the past six months or so–where a company waves the magic wand and turns debt into ownership. The problem with these plans, in our humble opinion, is that it punishes those who currently own equity in the company. The stockholders (in this case, since it’s a master limited partnership, called unitholders), find their shares are devalued to the point of being worth toilet paper. We live in a screwed up world where owning debt is better than owning equity. But we digress. Here’s ARP’s so-called pre-packaged bankruptcy plan to screw current owners, and turn debtholders into the new owners. ARP plans to file the paperwork in court tomorrow…
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Atlas Resource Partners Close to Chapter 11, NYSE De-lists Units

atlas-resource-partners-logoAtlas Resource Partners (ARP) is a publicly-traded exploration and production master limited partnership (“MLP”) with operations in basins across the United States, including the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays. ARP is a subsidiary of Atlas Energy Partners (AEP), which owns 100% of the general partner interest, all the incentive distribution rights and an approximately 23% of the limited partner interest in ARP. Essentially ARP is a big division of AEP. Atlas, as we’ve pointed out in the past, has sold most of its Marcellus assets in two huge deals: a $4.3 billion deal with Chevron in 2011 and in a $7.7 billion deal with Targa Resources in 2014. Atlas operates mostly conventional (some unconventional) oil and gas wells in a number of states: New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Indiana, Alabama, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico. In February MDN broke the news that Atlas had laid off 150 employees (see Atlas Energy Issues 2015 Update + More Details on Company Layoffs). In March, we reported that AEP had lost its listing on the New York Stock Exchange and began trading on the Pink Sheets as a penny stock (see Atlas Energy “Penny Stocks” Begin Trading Today on OTCQX). ARP is following suit. Last week ARP reported the NYSE is in the processing of de-listing ARP’s units (the MLP equivalent of stocks). In addition to that news, we have some analysis below from a Seeking Alpha writer that ARP is heading for Chapter 11 bankruptcy…
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Atlas Energy 1Q16: Production Down, but Hedging Yields $3.41/Mcf

Atlas Energy logoAs MDN has previously noted, Atlas Energy has been in financial trouble for some time. Just a few years after the company sold two different tranches of their vast Marcellus assets for a cumulative $12 billion, the company’s stock was tossed off the New York Stock Exchange and relegated to the Pink Sheets as a penny stock (see Atlas Energy “Penny Stocks” Begin Trading Today on OTCQX). In February the relatively small company laid off ~125 employees (see Atlas Energy Update – 125 Layoffs Companywide). In March, the company announced they’ve rejiggered their debt–restructuring, converting some first into second liens (see Atlas Energy Rejiggers Outstanding Debt, Converts 1st to 2nd Liens). Earlier this week Atlas released its first quarter 2016 update. The company reports production has fallen–from 271 million cubic feet equivalent per day (Mmcfe/d) in 1Q15 to 237 Mmcfe/d in 1Q16–down 12.5%. They did, however, turn a nice profit on what they produced. Due to “hedging,” Atlas got $3.41 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) for their gas in 1Q16. At the time the average Henry Hub price was around $2/Mcf. Here’s the update from Atlas…
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Atlas Energy Rejiggers Outstanding Debt, Converts 1st to 2nd Liens

As MDN has previously noted, Atlas Energy has been in financial trouble for some time. Just a few years after the company sold two different tranches of their vast Marcellus assets for a cumulative $12 billion (!), the company’s stock was tossed off the New York Stock Exchange and relegated to the Pink Sheets as a penny stock (see Atlas Energy “Penny Stocks” Begin Trading Today on OTCQX). In February the relatively small company laid off ~125 employees (see Atlas Energy Update – 125 Layoffs Companywide). The new news for Atlas is that the company announced yesterday they’ve rejiggered their debt–restructuring some of it as second liens…
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Atlas Energy “Penny Stocks” Begin Trading Today on OTCQX

MDN previously told you that the Philadelphia-based Atlas Energy, which sold off the majority of its Marcellus assets in two different tranches for $12 billion, has fallen on hard times–at least its stock price has. The New York Stock Exchange told the company in December that its stock was in danger of being de-listed from the mighty NYSE (see Atlas Energy Luck Run Out? NYSE Threatens Company with De-Listing). On Friday the company seems to have capitulated and given up on trying to boost the stock price to above $1 per share (the minimum required to be listed on the NYSE). Atlas said that regardless of what happens with the NYSE, as of today, March 21, company shares will begin trading on the Over the Counter stock exchange, called OTCQX. That is, Atlas shares have become penny stocks…
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Atlas Energy Issues 2015 Update + More Details on Company Layoffs

cutting jobsYesterday Atlas Energy issued its fourth quarter and full year 2015 update. Atlas, as we’ve pointed out in the past, has sold most of its Marcellus assets in two huge deals: a $4.3 billion deal with Chevron in 2011 and in a $7.7 billion deal with Targa Resources in 2014. Atlas operates mostly conventional (some unconventional) oil and gas wells in a number of states: New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Indiana, Alabama, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico. Sizable company. Recently, as MDN has exclusively reported, the company laid off a number of its employees (see Atlas Energy Update – 125 Layoffs Companywide). We’ve since learned, from a highly placed source with knowledge of the layoffs, that the number of companywide layoffs is closer to 150–approximately 20% of the Atlas workforce. There’s no mention of that in yesterday’s update. So what does the update show? Atlas lost $240 million in 2015–but if you back out the paper losses of impairments and depreciation, the company actually made money. In the update Atlas mentions they shut in their prolific Marcellus wells in Lycoming County, PA during 4Q15 due to low prices. Below is the Atlas update, and more details about how many Atlas employees were laid off–and where…
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