CNX, Range Resources Proved Reserves Both Go Up

It’s that time of year for energy companies to issue updates on just how much oil and gas they own in the ground, recoverable at current prices. Both CNX Resources and Range Resources, two major Marcellus/Utica producers, recently issued statements outlining their “proved reserves.” CNX has 7.9 trillion cubic feet equivalent (Tcfe) in proved reserves as of Dec. 31, 2018. Range Resources has 18.1 Tcfe in proved reserves.
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CNX Rogue Utica Well in SWPA Affects 9 Vertical Wells, Maybe More

CNX was fracking their Shaw 1G Utica well in Washington Township on Saturday, Jan. 26, when they detected “a strong drop in pressure” and stopped fracking (see CNX Hits Major Problem Fracking Utica Well Near SWPA Reservoir). Turns out the well was “communicating” (i.e. losing gas to) several nearby conventional wells.
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CNX Resources: Scaling Back in 2019, Still Loves the Utica

Yesterday CNX Resources, a Marcellus/Utica driller headquartered in Pittsburgh and concentrating on southwest PA, issued its fourth quarter and full year 2018 update, along with looking-ahead guidance for 2019. Like other M-U drillers we’ve recently chronicled, CNX is scaling back its budget for 2019–by 5-10%. But even spending less, the company says it will produce about 5% more gas in 2019.
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CNX Midstream Sues Contractor for Walking Away from Pipe Project

On Monday, CNX Midstream sued West Virginia contractor Ronald Lane Inc. claiming the contractor “without warning or justification ceased work on the Project and abandoned the Project,” the Project being a package of water and gas pipelines in Greene and Washington counties in PA. And that, “Lane informed [CNX] that Lane intended to redirect all of its forces and efforts to other projects that Lane considered to be more profitable than the Project. Lane made it clear to [CNX] that Lane had no intention to perform any more work on the Project.” Lane was the winning bidder for the Project in late 2017 at a total cost of $7.1 million. According to the lawsuit, CNX claims Lane began construction in March and abandoned the Project in June.
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CNX Resources 3Q18: Production 1.3 Bcf/d, $35M Profit

CNX Resources, formerly CONSOL Energy, issued its third quarter 2018 update yesterday. The company reports producing an average of 1.3 billion cubic feet equivalent per day (Bcfe/d) of gas, NGLs and oil, up 18% from 3Q17. They made $35 million in profit, up from a loss of $41 million for the same period last year. CNX drilled 23 Marcellus/Utica wells in 3Q18 using four rigs, and brought 35 wells online. Three frac crews completed 27 wells during the quarter. The 23 wells drilled over the past three months included: 15 Marcellus wells in Greene County, PA; 3 dry Utica wells in Westmoreland County, PA; 3 dry Utica wells in Monroe County, OH; and 2 Marcellus wells in Tyler County, WV. The company expects to produce close to 500 Bcfe for all of 2018. CEO Nick DeIuliis boasts, “the team is firing on all cylinders.”
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PA Antis Suffer Crushing Defeat in SWPA Zoning Case re ERA

An important court case was decided on Friday in Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court that potentially impacts all shale drilling in the state. You will recall that seven selfish towns sued the state over the 2012 Act 13 law and it’s provision that would substitute a statewide, uniform and fair set of zoning ordinances for drilling in place of a patchwork, crazy quilt system of local ordinances for oil and gas drilling. Seven selfish towns (including Robinson Township) wanted their own ordinances and sued, ultimately winning at the Supreme Court (see PA Supreme Court Rules Against State/Drillers in Act 13 Case). Since winning the “Robinson” case, antis have used local ordinances to try and block or greatly restrict drilling. But sometimes a town uses the Act 13 decision to allow drilling in more places. Antis don’t like it, but last Friday’s decision ratifies you can’t take one (restricting drilling) without the other (not restricting drilling), if that’s what a town wants to do.
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By the Numbers – Revenue & Profitability for M-U Drillers

The expert analysts at RBN Energy have just published their “fourth and final” in a series of posts looking in detail at E&Ps (exploration & production companies, or “drillers”). One of the groups of E&Ps they examine are “gas-weighted” E&Ps–or drillers who mostly extract natural gas. In looking through the list, you immediately realize every one of them has operations in the Marcellus and/or Utica Shale region. Yes, a few also have operations in other plays, but they all have at least some operations here. The real value in the article is an accompanying spreadsheet comparing various financial metrics (apples to apples)–things like total revenue, lifting costs, production costs, and “pre-tax income,” meaning profitability. How do our drillers compare with each other?
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CNX 2Q18: 1.3 Bcfe/d; $61M Profit; Utica Production Thru Roof

CNX Resources released their second quarter update yesterday. On the financial front the company made $61 million in profit during 2Q18, down from making $170 million in 2Q17. Hey, at least they’re in the black! During Q2 CNX produced and sold 1.3 billion cubic feet equivalent per day (Bcfe/d) of gas, which is up 33% over the same quarter last year. Nice! Much of the increase was due to a huge 277% jump in Utica Shale gas volumes. CNX ran three drilling rigs for most of 2Q, bringing on a fourth rig in late June. The rigs drilled 16 wells in 2Q, including three dry Utica Shale wells in Monroe County, OH; four Marcellus Shale wells in Greene County, PA; six Marcellus Shale wells in Washington County, PA; and three Marcellus Shale wells in Tyler County, WV. However, CNX only brought online three wells during 2Q. Here’s the details…
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PA DEP Orders CNX, XTO & Diversified to Plug 1,058 Abandoned Wells

Yesterday the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued administrative orders requiring three oil and gas companies–Alliance Petroleum Corporation (a subsidiary of Diversified Gas & Oil), XTO Energy, and CNX Resources–to plug 1,058 abandoned oil and gas wells across Pennsylvania. Alliance has 638 wells, CNX has 327, and XTO has 93. In a quick scan of the list of wells to be plugged, we didn’t spot a single shale well. All 1,058 wells are conventional/vertical wells. So why is this news for MDN? Because all three drillers (but in particular CNX and XTO) drill shale wells, and plugging old conventional wells takes time and money–time and money that could be spent on drilling shale wells. It takes anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 to plug an abandoned conventional oil/gas well. Most of the wells are located in the southwestern part of the state. CNX responded that in reviewing the list, some 190 of the wells in their list (out of 327) were part of a recent asset sale. Here’s the details on where, and how long these companies have, to plug old/abandoned oil and gas wells…
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Ascent’s $1.5B OH Utica Deal Yields $1.4M in Fees for 2 Counties

In late June Ascent Resources, a company founded by Aubrey McClendon after he left Chesapeake Energy, announced it is buying 113,400 Utica Shale acres along with 93 operating wells located in eastern Ohio for $1.5 billion (see Ascent Resources Spends $1.5 Billion to Buy OH Utica Acreage, Wells). It’s a big deal, making Ascent one of the largest privately owned exploration and production companies in the U.S. It’s also a big deal for the counties where the land is changing hands. A large part of the acreage is located in Jefferson County, with sizable chunks in Belmont, Noble and Harrison counties. Why is it a big deal for the counties? It takes time (and consequently fees) to transfer all those thousands of leases from one owner to another. Counties stand to make a big windfall. For example, in Jefferson County, some $305 million worth of transfers will take place between CNX and Ascent, netting the Jefferson clerk’s office $1.2 million in fee revenue! It is the single largest ownership transfer in Jefferson County history. In neighboring Belmont County (to the south of Jefferson), $58 million worth of transfers are taking place, netting the county $173,000 in transfer fees. No word yet on how much money Noble and Harrison stand to make…
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CNX Resources Fined $250K for PA Pipe Construction Violation

UPDATE 7/19/18: Aside from stiff fine for letting some muddy water get into a nearby creek, there is a second aspect to this story uncovered by ace reporter Jamison Cocklin at NGI’s Shale Daily: the local gathering pipeline CNX was building (and has now abandoned) in Indiana County was supposed to connect to a test Utica well they are/were drilling there. Abandoning that pipeline puts the future of CNX’s Utica drilling in the area in doubt. See NGI’s story: CNX Cancels Plans for Pipeline to Gather Natural Gas from Deep Utica Test Pad.

CNX Resources was installing a pipeline in Indiana County, PA and apparently didn’t, according to the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP), properly construct erosion barriers for the project. It rained, hard, and sediment-laden water went over the erosion barriers and got into an unnamed stream, which empties into Mudlick Run, a “high quality water” creek. In other words, a tiny creek got muddy, and some of that muddy water *may have* entered a slightly bigger creek. And for that violation, CNX is going to pay a whopping $250,000 fine. The DEP says following an inspection in March, the DEP ordered CNX to fix the problem by April 3, but as of May 16 the problem had still not been fixed. CNX disputes that they violated their permits and has told the DEP they’ve quit building that particular pipeline. In order to make it all go away, CNX is paying the DEP a $250K negotiated shakedown, PLUS pay to fix the “problem”…
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