Cabot Files Permit #3 for Knox Formation Test Well in Ashland, OH

As we have reported since late last year, Cabot Oil & Gas, long-known for the incredible amount of Marcellus natural gas they produce from Susquehanna County in northeastern Pennsylvania, is eyeing north central Ohio as a potential spot for “what’s next” after the Marcellus (see Cabot O&G Considers Drilling in Ashland County, OH). Cabot locked up leases with plans to drill a number of test wells in not only Ashland, but also Holmes, Knox, Richland and Wayne counties in the Buckeye State (see New Details Emerge on Cabot’s Shale Plans in Central Ohio). Cabot began to push dirt around on its first wellpad (in Ashland) in April, and last week began to drill a hole on that pad (see Cabot O&G to Begin Drilling in Ashland County, OH This Week). They also began pushing dirt around on a second wellpad site. And now, Cabot has filed for a third permit to drill–in Vermillion Township in Ashland County. Cabot plans to drill into the Knox formation vertically, and if they find anything worthwhile, they will then drill horizontally…
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Cabot O&G to Begin Drilling in Ashland County, OH This Week

Location of Cabot’s 2 initial test wells (in green), tan regions show gas storage fields – click for larger version

As we have reported since late last year, Cabot Oil & Gas, long-known for the incredible amount of Marcellus natural gas they produce out of a single northeastern Pennsylvania county (Susquehanna), is eyeing north central Ohio as a potential spot for “what’s next” after the Marcellus (see Cabot O&G Considers Drilling in Ashland County, OH). Cabot locked up leases and is planning to drill a number of test wells in not only Ashland, but also Holmes, Knox, Richland and Wayne counties in the Buckeye State (see New Details Emerge on Cabot’s Shale Plans in Central Ohio). The company doesn’t know exactly what it will find–gas, NGLs or perhaps even oil–but they’re about to find out. In April Cabot began pushing dirt around to construct its first wellpad in Ashland (see New Cabot Drilling Program Kicks Off This Week in Ashland, OH). Sometime this week, the company will spud (drill) its first hole in the ground. Buckle up! This is an exciting time for landowners in Ashland County. Here’s more on Cabot’s new program in Ohio…
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Who *Sells* the Most NatGas in the U.S.?

Who are the biggest natural gas sellers in the U.S.? You might be surprised to learn that the biggest sellers are not necessarily the biggest producers of natural gas. Oh, you might recognize some of the names of the top sellers (BP, Shell, ConocoPhillips). But others might be more of a mystery (Macquarie, Tenaska, Direct Energy). Would it surprise you to learn that BP (i.e. British Petroleum) is the #1 seller of natgas in the U.S., and has been for years? Last quarter BP sold 22.10 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas here in the colonies. That represents 18% of all natural gas bought and sold. Each quarter NGI (Natural Gas Intelligence) runs the numbers and publishes the list of 25 top natural gas marketers in the U.S. They recently published the first quarter 2018 list, which shows that for a second quarter in a row, overall volumes are up from the same quarter a year ago. Here’s the cool thing: NGI publishes the list absolutely free on their website! As we scan down the list of who sells (i.e. markets) the most natgas in the U.S., we can’t help but notice that many of them have operations in the Marcellus/Utica region…
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Financial Checkup for Marcellus/Utica Drillers

RBN Energy, headed by founder Rusty Braziel (co-founder of Bentek Energy), is, in our opinion, the premier oil and gas analytics firm out there. Smart people working at RBN. And they offer up some amazing content on their blog site–for free! At least it’s free for a while, then it goes behind a paywall. A few days ago RBN published a blog post on the financial health for the 44 major publicly-traded U.S. exploration and production companies (drillers). RBN groups them into three categories: Oil-Weighted, Diversified, and Gas-Weighted. We found the Gas-Weighted list of 10 companies and the information revealed about them to be fascinating and worth studying. Each of the companies has major operations in the Marcellus/Utica–some of them totally focused on our region. Among the data points shared: revenue, production costs, lifting costs and more. We think of the following as a handy financial health scorecard/checkup for 10 of the biggest drillers in the M-U, including Antero Resources, Cabot Oil & Gas, Chesapeake Energy, CNX Resources, EQT, Gulfport Energy, National Fuel Gas (Seneca Resources), Range Resources, Southwestern Energy, and Ultra Petroleum…
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UGI Expanding NEPA Gathering System to Flow More Cabot Gas

UGI, a large utility (and pipeline) company located in Pennsylvania, has announced they will expand a northeastern PA pipeline gathering system. UGI built what they call the Auburn Gathering System between 2011 and 2015–46 miles of pipe, two compressors stations and various other pipeline related facilities located in Susquehanna, Wyoming, and Luzerne counties (near Scranton). UGI spent $215 million to build the system, a system that currently flows 470 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of natural gas. Much (most?) of that the gas comes from Cabot Oil and Gas in Susquehanna County. The new news is that UGI build two new compressor stations, adding to the existing two, which will increase flows through the system by another 150 MMcf/d–all of the increase coming from Cabot. Here’s the good news that more Cabot gas will soon flow through the Auburn System, connecting with two of the biggest pipeline systems in the country–the Tennessee Gas Pipeline (Kinder Morgan) and the Transco Pipeline (Williams)…
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Average Workers at Top Marcellus Drillers Make $100K+ Salary

The average worker who works for producers (i.e. drillers) in the Pennsylvania Marcellus makes among the highest average salaries of any industry in the state. Looking at six of the state’s top Marcellus drillers, the average worker made $113,610 last year! That’s an average taken from workers at CNX Resources, Range Resources, Chesapeake Energy, Southwestern Energy, EQT and Cabot Oil & Gas. We hasten to add not “all workers” but “average” or “median” workers–meaning there are people who make below that number and people who make well above that number. It also means the majority of Marcellus workers in those companies made at least $100,000 per year. Those working for oilfield services (OFS) companies like Halliburton, Baker Hughes and others didn’t fare quite as well, making an average of $52,000-$80,000 per year. Still, hey, it ain’t bad money! Here’s a look at the average wage for top Marcellus drillers and the OFS companies that serve them…
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EQT Pay Dispute – Comparing CEO Salaries for Top M-U Firms

In mid-March, the country’s #1 producer of natural gas, EQT, suddenly and without previous warning lost it’s President & CEO, Steven Schlotterbeck (see EQT CEO Steve Schlotterbeck Suddenly Quits, Leaves Company). Steve is the man who guided the company through its acquisition of Rice Energy last year (see EQT Buys Rice Energy in $8.2B Deal, Becomes #1 Gas Producer in US). It was a tough battle against multiple corporate raiders who didn’t want to see the deal happen, but Steve held it together and made it happen. The notice from EQT was short and sweet and said Steve had resigned immediately, due to “personal reasons.” MDN was the first to disclose what those “personal reasons” were: a pay dispute. According to Steve, the board wasn’t paying him what similar CEOs at competitors are making. So he quit. Makes you wonder how much Steve was making, and what CEOs at other large Marcellus/Utica drillers make. We spotted an article in the Pittsburgh Business Times that reveals what Steve made last year. We did some digging to find what comparable CEOs make. The numbers we discovered may surprise you…
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Cabot O&G 1Q18: Important New Markets Opening Up Now

Note: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated Cabot is pumping 3.75 Bcf/d of natural gas now. The correction is that according to the CEO, the company has the capability to pump that much as soon as all pipelines are in place and existing planned wells are online–likely in 2020. We regret the error!

One of our favorite Marcellus drillers, Cabot Oil & Gas, provided their first quarter 2018 update on Friday. Cabot never disappoints! What did we learn from the update? For one thing, when all pipeline infrastructure is in place and all planned wells are drilled and online, the company will be pumping a massive 3.75 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas out of Susquehanna County, PA. Cabot is working with Williams to increase the capacity of their gathering system to support even more gas than 3.75 Bcf/d. It would not surprise us if Cabot becomes the first 4 Bcf/d Marcellus/Utica driller in the next few years. So Cabot has plenty of production. What about demand? Lots of production with little or no demand equals prices in the basement. There was good news on the demand front too. Cabot said there are two gas-fired electric plants starting up by June 1st–both of them powered with Cabot Marcellus gas. Add to that the now-operational Cove Point LNG export plant with Cabot’s contract to sell gas to Japan–and it equals a massive increase in demand for Cabot’s gas going into the second quarter. Later this year, in the second half sometime, Atlantic Sunrise will come online increasing Cabot’s flow to new markets even more. We’d call Cabot’s Friday 1Q18 update the “stars are finally in alignment” update for Cabot. Here are some more pickings from the update, along with a copy of the full update…
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Cabot Says 2 NEPA Gas-Fired Plants Go Operational by June 1

Lackawanna Energy Center – concept drawing

Tucked away in the comments made by Cabot Oil & Gas CEO Dan Dinges on an investor conference call last Friday, MDN picked up on what we consider big news: Both the Moxie Freedom (Luzerne County, Wilkes-Barre area) and Lackawanna Energy Center (Lackawanna County, Scranton area) Marcellus-fired power plants are about to go fully operational–sometime in May (by June 1). Both plants will exclusively use Marcellus gas extracted by Cabot in Susquehanna County, PA. For nearly a year the plan had been for Moxie Freedom to be built and online in May of this year, so that announcement isn’t so much a surprise as it is welcomed news (see NEPA Moxie Freedom Power Plant on Track for May 2018 Launch). However, in March we reported Lackawanna was going through a “short” commissioning stage and would be firing up at any time (see Gas-Fired Power Plant Near Scranton Nears Startup; Yellow Smoke). The Lackawanna project has faced fierce local resistance. A group of Democrats got themselves elected to the local town board in Jessup, taking office in January, trying their best to block startup of the Lackawanna project by employing a Big Green lawyer (who works for Riverkeeper) at a cost to taxpayers of $225/hour. Looks like it was wasted money as Dinges says Lackawanna will be operational, with large volumes of Cabot gas flowing to it, within weeks…
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New Cabot Drilling Program Kicks Off This Week in Ashland, OH

As we have reported since last December, Cabot Oil & Gas, long-known for the incredible amount of Marcellus natural gas they produce out of a single northeastern Pennsylvania county (Susquehanna), is eyeing north central Ohio as a potential spot for “what’s next” after the Marcellus (see Cabot O&G Considers Drilling in Ashland County, OH). Cabot locked up leases and is planning to drill a number of test wells in not only Ashland, but also Holmes, Knox, Richland and Wayne counties in the Buckeye State (see New Details Emerge on Cabot’s Shale Plans in Central Ohio). The company doesn’t know exactly what it will find–gas, NGLs or perhaps even oil (see Just What is Cabot Looking for in Ohio – NatGas, Oil or NGLs?). Cabot is about to find out. Beginning tomorrow (Tuesday), Cabot says they will start to push dirt around and build their very first well pad in Ashland County. If all goes according to plan, Cabot will spud (begin to drill) the well itself in about three weeks. Plans for a second well, also located in Ashland County, are already in the works and will come along after the first well is drilled…
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Cabot Completes $2.5M Endowment for Lackawanna College 1 Yr Early

Cabot O&G regional HQ in Dimock, PA

Cabot Oil & Gas is such an impressive company. They are, without a doubt, one of our favorite Marcellus/Utica drillers. We know! You’re not supposed to have favorites among your “children.” We can’t help it. Cabot is a favorite child for us. The company pumped $4.6 billion into Susquehanna County the first 10 years they were in the county (see Amazing: Cabot O&G Invests $4.6 BILLION in One PA County in 10 Yrs). Some $1.5 billion of that amount was lease bonuses and royalty payments–direct into the pockets of landowners. The other $3.1 billion was money Cabot spent in the county to drill there–money that was spread around to contractors, suppliers and workers. It is an incredible story, and certainly would be “enough” if Cabot left it at that. But Cabot hasn’t settled for just benefiting the community with an enormous amount of investment–an investment that benefits Cabot’s own business. Cabot is also one of the biggest philanthropists in Susquehanna County (perhaps THE biggest). In 2012, Cabot gave $2.2 million, that was matched, helping to raise $4.4 million for a new hospital in the county (see Cabot Effort Raises $4.4 Million for PA Physicians Clinic). Then in April 2014, Cabot announced it would donate $2.5 million to Lackawanna College (Scranton, PA) over a five-year period (Cabot Oil & Gas Does it Again – $2.5 Million Gift to Lackawanna College). The gift funds the School of Petroleum & Natural Gas located in New Milford, PA, and is the largest single private donation in the history of Lackawanna College. Cabot has just completed fully funding the $2.5 million Lackawanna gift–a full year ahead of schedule…
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Just What is Cabot Looking for in Ohio – NatGas, Oil or NGLs?

Two days ago MDN revealed which rock layers Cabot Oil & Gas is targeting with new test wells in central Ohio (see New Details Emerge on Cabot’s Shale Plans in Central Ohio). Today we answer the question, What does Cabot hope to find? Cabot representative Brittany Ramos told an area newspaper that the company is looking for, “a hydrocarbon, an oil, natural gas, natural gas liquid, something, in the layers below the Utica Shale, but the only way to find that out is to actually drill a well and test.” In other words, they don’t know. They know *something* is down there, but they aren’t sure what. We suspect they’re hoping it’s either oil or NGLs. Cabot, long known for their prolific natural gas production in Susquehanna County, PA, had a previous dalliance with oil drilling in the Texas Eagle Ford shale play–assets they ended up selling in December 2017 (see Cabot O&G Sells Texas Eagle Ford Assets for $765M, Focus on Marc.). Does the company have a renewed interest in finding oil? Perhaps. If not oil, certainly NGLs. We seriously doubt they’re looking for yet another dry gas zone. Below is yet another update on Cabot’s foray into central OH. It is one of the more fair and balanced articles we’ve read. Yes, the reporter interviewed a representative from the faux “landowner group” called the Tri-County Landowners Coalition–in reality an anti-fossil fuel group controlled by elements of the Big Green movement (see Fake Ohio Landowner Groups Launch Misinformation Campaign). In this article the reporter actually asks Cabot to respond to the wild claims made by the Tri-County rep, point for point. Cabot obliterates the anti’s arguments…
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New Details Emerge on Cabot’s Shale Plans in Central Ohio

Click for larger version

Cabot Oil & Gas director of external affairs, George Stark, recently spoke to the Ashland Times-Gazette about the company’s plans to drill test wells in and around Ashland County, OH. As MDN previously reported, Cabot is sniffing around central Ohio, looking for “what’s next” after the Marcellus Shale. Last December we told you that Cabot has leased acreage in Ashland County (see Cabot O&G Considers Drilling in Ashland County, OH). Two weeks ago we told you that Cabot has filed for its first permit to drill a test well (see Cabot Files for Permit to Drill Below the Utica in Ashland, OH). Stark revealed, in his interview, that Cabot geologists “see something in Ohio” and that Cabot “wants to go touch it.” What, exactly, does Cabot want to touch? We originally thought it was the Utica, but Stark told MDN no, it’s not the Utica–but a layer “lower than the Utica.” However, Stark won’t say specifically which layer or layers. We now think we know. We also learn (from the article) that Cabot has acreage not only in Ashland, but in four neighboring counties too…
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A (Very) Rough Method for Calculating Royalties on Cabot Wells

Cabot Oil & Gas, one of our favorite Marcellus drillers, has just published a new PowerPoint slide deck presentation as part of an investor’s conference they attended earlier this week (the Scotia Howard Weil Energy Conference). Normally a new slide deck isn’t all that big a deal. However, thanks to MDN friend Chris Acker who pointed it out to us, there is some new information in the deck worthy of note. Back in December MDN brought you the news that Cabot had signed a deal to sell off their Texas Eagle Ford Shale assets in order to concentrate solely on the Marcellus (see Cabot O&G Sells Texas Eagle Ford Assets for $765M, Focus on Marc.). The slide deck notes that the Eagle Ford divestiture closed on Feb. 28th (slide #3). Also in the slide deck is a mention that Cabot plans to experiment with drilling “upper Marcellus” wells in the second half of 2018 (slide #11). Most (all?) of the wells they’ve drilled to date are “lower Marcellus.” A successful program of drilling upper Marcellus certainly bodes well for existing landowners with existing lower Marcellus wells–perhaps Cabot will revisit those pads to drill new wells? Slide #11 has some great information on it. We’ve used it to create a (very) rough royalty estimation calculator for Cabot landowners…
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Cabot Files for Permit to Drill Below the Utica in Ashland, OH

Click image for larger version

Cabot Oil & Gas continues its quest to discover “what’s next after the Marcellus.” As we told you in December, Cabot has leased acreage in Ashland County, OH, west of most active Utica drilling (see Cabot O&G Considers Drilling in Ashland County, OH). We originally thought Cabot was targeting the Utica in Ashland County, but Cabot director of external affairs, George Stark, set us straight. Cabot is targeting a layer below the Utica in Ashland County. (Although so far, Cabot will not reveal which layer.) The new news is that last week Cabot filed for a permit with the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources to drill a test well in Ashland…
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Top 3 Most Productive Drillers in the Marcellus Shale

We spotted an intriguing story that summarizes some of the information found in a newly-released report from private equity firm Baird Equity Research. Baird’s report purports to show, using data, “the most productive operators in the Marcellus shale.” What is the criteria used? They use productivity per average well along with how much money the average well is generating for the operator (i.e. driller). We wish we had a copy of the full report. Sadly, we do not. However, we do have the article summarizing it, which shares the top three operators. The top operator stands head and shoulders above the rest. Would it surprise you to learn the top operator in the Marcellus, according to Baird, is Cabot Oil & Gas? No, it didn’t surprise us. What about the other two in the top three? And what about the top Utica operator? Read on…
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