Westmoreland Co. Pays Big Bucks for Reservoir Testing 8 Yrs Later

In 2011, the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County, PA began a new water testing and monitoring program for the Beaver Run Reservoir which supplies water to about 150,000 residents (see Westmoreland County, PA Municipal Authority Initiates New Water Testing for Reservoir Located Near Marcellus Drilling). CONSOL Energy (now CNX Resources) had 100 shallow gas wells on municipal property near the Reservoir, and at the time had started to drill Marcellus Shale wells. The Authority also leased land near the reservoir to Dominion Resources, which ended up drilling more than a dozen shale wells on the property. The water testing program was precautionary, to ensure water is not being affected by nearby drilling activity. The Municipal Authority contracted with Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) to do the monitoring and testing. The early results showed no impact from testing (see Water Tests at PA Reservoir Show No Affects from Gas Drilling). Over the years, the Authority continued to award contracts year after year to IUP–starting at $55,000 and going as high as $100,000 (see Pricetag to Test Water at Reservoir Near CONSOL Drilling Goes Up). The Authority renewed their contract with IUP in 2016 for $85,000 (see Beaver Run Reservoir Tests Since 2011 Show No Harm from Drilling). And they’ve just done it again, paying IUP $99,000 to test water quality, and another for $24,700 to test the air at the reservoir. Our point: Since the first tests began more than eight years ago, there have been a number of shale wells drilled on the property next to the reservoir–and there has been NO negative impacts from shale drilling in all that time…
Continue reading

CONE Midstream Gets a New Name: CNX Midstream Partners

CONE Midstream is, or rather was, a pipeline joint venture between CONSOL Energy and Noble Energy (“CO” from CONSOL and “NE” from Noble Energy), formed in the summer of 2014 to service wells drilled as part of CONSOL & Noble’s drilling joint venture (see CONSOL & Noble Energy Form New Marcellus Midstream Company). Following Noble’s exit from the Marcellus last year, they began to shop their 50% share of CONE, and thought they had found a buyer in Quantum Energy Partners–for $765 million. However, as we reported in December, that deal hit a snag (see Noble’s 50% CONE Midstream Sale in Trouble – Shopping Deal to CNX). Not long after, CNX Resources (formerly CONSOL Energy) issued a press release to announce they had cut a deal to buy Noble’s 50% CONE share–for $305 million, which is 60% less than of the deal price Noble previously worked out with Quantum (see CNX to Buy Noble’s 50% Share of CONE Midstream for $305M). Two bits of news to share with you regarding the CONE deal: (1) the deal is now done, and (2) CNX Resources has renamed CONE Midstream to be CNX Midstream–which should not be a surprise since the NE part of CONE is now gone, and since the CO part changed its name. Here’s the news…
Continue reading

Noble’s 50% CONE Midstream Sale in Trouble – Shopping Deal to CNX

In May MDN brought you the news that Noble Energy dropped a bombshell, selling its 100% interest in 385,000 Marcellus/Utica acres and wells producing 415 million cubic feet equivalent of natural gas in West Virginia and Pennsylvania for $1.225 billion to HG Energy (see Noble Energy Sells Remaining M-U Assets for $1.2B – Who Bought?). A couple of weeks later the other shoe dropped when Noble announced they would sell their 50% stake in CONE Midstream, a 50/50 joint venture with CONSOL Energy (now CNX Resources), to Quantum Energy Partners for $765 million, meaning a total exit for Noble from our region (see Noble/CONSOL Breakup Continues: Noble Sells 50% of CONE Midstream). When we say Noble “sold” their CONE stake we mean “will be sold after all the lawyers and bean counters get done with drawing up the necessary paperwork.” Fact is, the CONE sale has still not happened, even though there is a Dec. 31 deadline for the deal to be completed. It appears Noble’s deal to sell it’s CONE stake to Quantum is now in jeopardy. We base that observation on information from a filing Noble made with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week. In an 8-K filing, Noble said (a) they’ve extended the deadline to complete the deal to sell CONE to Quantum from Dec. 31, 2017 to June 30, 2018, and (b) Noble has opened up discussions/negotiations with CNX to sell their half of CONE to CNX instead of selling it to Quantum–which would make CNX the 100% owner of CONE…
Continue reading

CONSOL Energy Split Done – Meet “New” Gas Driller CNX Resources

CONSOL Energy, headquartered in Pittsburgh, began life as a coal company some 150 years ago. For the past half dozen years MDN has reported on CONSOL’s transformation from coal company to natural gas company. That transformation, as of yesterday, is complete. In July CONSOL filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission that laid out a plan to split the company in two, into a coal company and a natural gas exploration and production company (see CONSOL Energy’s Split into 2 Companies Nearly Complete, New Name?). Yesterday was the first day for the separated companies. CONSOL the coal company retains the CONSOL Energy name and get various coal mines and other coal-related assets. The CEO of the coal company is Jimmy Brock. Meanwhile, CONSOL the natural gas driller got a new name–CNX Resources–and retains all of the other assets. Nick DeIuliis, former president and CEO of CONSOL Energy when it was all one company, is the president and CEO of CNX Resources. In speaking about the newly separated gas drilling company, CNX Resources COO Tim Dugan said this: “You’ll see the Utica becoming a larger and larger part of our development.” Here’s the big news that CONSOL is now split into two different companies…
Continue reading

CONSOL Energy 3Q17: NatGas & Coal Companies to Split Nov 28

Yesterday CONSOL Energy issued its third quarter 2017 update, along with a date for when the company will split in two–a coal company and a natural gas drilling company. The date is Nov. 28th. As of that date the CONSOL Energy name will belong to the coal company, and CNX Resources will be the new name of the natgas drilling company. According to Nick DeIuliis, CEO of CONSOL today and future CEO of CNX Resources, “Going into year-end, not only will our businesses be separated, but our E&P operations will be growing substantially.” One of the ways they intend to grow is by adding a third drilling rig to the two currently operating. Right now CONSOL is operating a rig in Greene County, PA and another in Monroe County, OH. The original plan was to add a third rig in 2018, but they are “moving it forward some” and will add it this year–somewhere in southwestern PA. During 3Q17 CONSOL drilled 10 wells–six of them in the Marcellus in southwest PA, and four in the Ohio Utica. The company continues to have a flirtation with the Utica–in PA. They have a program to drill dry Utica wells in both Indiana and Greene counties. The company said they plan to bring two Utica wells online in Westmoreland County by the end of the year–close to the first Utica well they drilled two years ago. Production was up slightly in 3Q17, to 101 billion cubic feet equivalent (Bcfe). By comparison, in 3Q16 CONSOL produced 96.4 Bcfe. Below is yesterday’s update, the current slide deck used on the analyst call, and excerpts from the analyst call…
Continue reading

We Now Know New Name for CONSOL’s Gas Unit Post-Split

CONSOL Energy, headquartered in Pittsburgh, began life as a coal company some 150 years ago. For the past half dozen years MDN has reported on CONSOL’s transformation from coal company to natural gas company. That transformation is now nearly complete. In July, CONSOL filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission that lays out a plan to split the company in two, into a coal company and a natural gas exploration and production company (see CONSOL Energy’s Split into 2 Companies Nearly Complete, New Name?). CONSOL the coal company will retain the CONSOL Energy name and get various coal mines and other coal-related assets. The CEO of the coal company will be Jimmy Brock. Meanwhile, CONSOL the natural gas driller will get a new name and retain the other assets. Nick DeIuliis will remain president and CEO of the natgas company. Current CONSOL shareholders will get shares in the separated coal company, as well as retain their shares in the gas company. While no specific date is given for the final split, the company remains committed to getting it done sometime by the end of this year. Oh, what’s the new name for the gas company? CNX Resources Corp.
Continue reading

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…
Continue reading

CONSOL Hits a Few Snags, Lowers Production Estimates for 2017

As part of a general announcement issued yesterday, CONSOL Energy provided an update on their best guesstimate (called “guidance” in the business) of how much natural gas production the company will achieve in 2017. The latest guidance reveals that production will be LOWER than previously thought. Earlier in the year CONSOL said they should see on the order of 420-440 billion cubic feet equivalent (Bcfe) of natural gas production this year. The number will be more like 405-415 Bcfe. Why the drop? Ceramic beads. When completing a well, a driller fracks the well with small charges, creating cracks (fractures) in the rock. Into those cracks the driller flows water with sand–or alternatively ceramic beads instead of sand. When the water washes out (or gets absorbed into the rock), the sand or ceramic beads stay in place, keeping the rock propped open so gas and oil can escape out into the well. That’s why sand and ceramic beads are called “proppant.” CONSOL, at least for some of its wells, uses ceramic beads. And according to yesterday’s announcement, completion designs using the beads is taking longer than they thought, slowing down progress on completing and bringing wells online. Hence the lower overall output for this year…
Continue reading

M-U’s Biggest Drillers Increase NGL Production for Extra Money

When a driller sinks a hole in the ground looking for one hydrocarbon–like natural gas–other hydrocarbons also come out of the ground. Sometimes its oil. Sometimes condensate. Sometimes natural gas liquids (NGLs), including ethane, propane, butane, pentane, etc. In northeast and central Pennsylvania where the Marcellus Shale is prolific, most of what comes out of the ground is just methane–or natural gas. However, in the southwestern portion of PA, and in the northern panhandle of WV and on into eastern OH, it’s a different story. They are considered “wet gas” areas because (depending on the county) the wells are prolific NGL producers. Most NGLs, like propane, fetch much higher prices than plain old methane. Typically ethane is the NGL that mostly comes out of the ground, but for many drillers ethane can’t (yet) be sold, so it’s considered a “waste” product, mixed into the methane stream to get rid of it. But that’s changing. There are now pipelines to carry ethane to facilities in both Philadelphia and to a cracker plant in Canada. There’s even a pipeline for ethane (and other NGLs) that goes all the way to the Gulf Coast (ATEX, Appalachia to Texas). Some of the largest Marcellus/Utica drillers now have markets for their NGLs, so they are ramping up production and selling more NGLs. In fact, six of the eight largest M-U drillers increased their NGL production in the second quarter of 2017 compared to 2Q16. Which six increased, and which two decreased NGL production last quarter?…
Continue reading

CONSOL Energy 2Q17 – Utica Well Problems, Production Decline

CONSOL Energy released its second quarter 2017 update yesterday, along with a conference call to discuss results in 2Q17 and what’s ahead for the rest of 2017 and even a hint of what’s coming in 2018. Perhaps the biggest news coming from yesterday is that CONSOL had problems with two well pads in the Ohio Utica during last quarter–problems which slowed them down and resulted in a rare decrease in natural gas production year over year. CONSOL production was down 7% due to problems with drilling out frack plugs at two well pads in Monroe County, OH. According to CONSOL COO Tim Dugan, they were “one-time” events and unusual. Dugan said, more or less, CONSOL is experimenting and hey, sometimes the experiments go wrong. But the “operational improvements” the company has made by experimenting have far outweighed any temporary problems like those in Monroe County. CONSOL will spend more and drill more in 2017 than previously forecast–spending $620-$645 million to drill 34 wells this year (which works out to close to $19 million/well on the high end). In 2018, CONSOL will add a third drilling rig, although they’re not yet saying where it will get deployed (PA Marcellus or OH Utica). Here’s the latest from a company that will soon split in two (coal and gas) and rename itself…
Continue reading

CONSOL Energy’s Split into 2 Companies Nearly Complete, New Name?

CONSOL Energy, headquartered in Pittsburgh, began life as a coal company some 150 years ago. For the past half dozen years MDN has reported on CONSOL’s transformation from coal company to natural gas company. That transformation is now nearly complete. Yesterday CONSOL filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission that lays out a plan for the final split. CONSOL the coal company will retain the CONSOL name and get various coal mines and other coal-related assets. The CEO of the coal company will be Jimmy Brock. Meanwhile, CONSOL the natural gas driller will get a new name and retain the other assets. Nick DeIuliis will remain president and CEO of the natgas company. Current CONSOL shareholders will get shares in the separated coal company, as well as retain their shares in the gas company. While no specific date is given for the final split, the announcement says the company remains committed to getting it done sometime by the end of this year. The big question is, what will be the name of the new gas-focused company? We have a suggestion…
Continue reading

CONSOL Energy CEO Bends the Ear of Trump Cabinet @ White House

CONSOL Energy CEO Nick Deluliis

Last week was “Energy Week” at the White House. At a big speech and confab on energy, held at the White House, President Trump delivered a speech highlighting six new initiatives that will help America become energy dominant (see President Trump Unveils 6 Energy Initiatives, Half Involve NatGas). One of the invited guests from industry at that speech/confab was CONSOL Energy CEO Nick Deluliis. CONSOL has transformed itself in a little over a decade from being a coal company to becoming a powerhouse Marcellus/Utica driller. Deluliis took advantage of the meeting to bend the ear, privately, of Energy Secretary Rick Perry and “other cabinet secretaries” to drive home the message “that the Pittsburgh region is at the center of the energy revolution the administration envisions.” Cool! Nick was the unofficial ambassador for the Marcellus/Utica at the meeting. Here’s what else transpired between Nick and Team Trump last Thursday…
Continue reading

CONSOL Energy 1Q17 – Posts Loss, Selling Everything in Sight

Yesterday CONSOL Energy, one of the larger drillers in the Marcellus/Utica, released its first quarter 2017 update. The company reports losing $34 million in 1Q17. Production was down too–but just slightly at less than 2% less than 1Q16. The big news is how fast CONSOL is selling stuff. CONSOL sold $108 million worth of assets in the Marcellus/Utica in 1Q17, part of their plan to sell off a total of $400-$600 million in assets this year. According to a CONSOL statement, the company “recently closed on three asset sale transactions for total cash consideration of $108 million…One of the transactions was the sale of approximately 6,300 net undeveloped acres of the Utica-Point Pleasant Shale in Jefferson, Belmont and Guernsey counties, Ohio, for total cash consideration of approximately $77 million, or approximately $12,200 per undeveloped acre.” We have a highly placed source that tells MDN that Ascent Resources is the buyer. CONSOL CEO Nick DeIuliis said on an earnings call yesterday that the bust-up with Noble Energy last year has allowed CONSOL to sell off acreage that was previously tied up in the joint venture. Noble is doing the same (see today’s lead story). Below we have the full update from CONSOL, including financial statements, along with the latest PowerPoint presentation…
Continue reading

Judge Certifies Royalty Class Action Against EQT, CONSOL in VA

This is a story we have not previously covered on MDN. It goes back to 2010 and involves two of the biggest Marcellus/Utica drillers–although in this case the issue is not related to the Marcellus/Utica. Landowners in southwestern Virginia previously sued both EQT and CONSOL Energy’s CNX subsidiary over charges that EQT and CNX shorted landowners out of royalties owed to them, claiming post-production expenses, deductions for severance taxes, etc. that should not have been taken. The wells drilled were conventional wells–some 3,347 EQT wells and 4,261 CNX wells. The vertical wells targeted methane extraction from coal seams–not horizontal wells through shale, which is far more common today. Some lawsuits were green lighted as class action cases in 2013, with a potential for “thousands of landowners” to participate in sharing $30 million in payouts. Last week a federal judge certified three of the five class action lawsuits, allowing them to move forward…
Continue reading

CONSOL Energy Hires Big Banks to Help it Sell Rest of Coal Assets

This is a story that MDN has been watching for years–the transformation (metamorphosis, really) of CONSOL Energy from, at one time, a 100% coal-producing company into a 100% natural gas-producing company. In February MDN reported on the company’s announcement in February to either sell or spin-off the remaining coal assets it owns–this year (see CONSOL Energy 4Q16 Update – Plans to Shed Rest of Coal in 2017). It’s not just words. Bloomberg is reporting that CONSOL has hired two huge banks, Credit Suisse and Bank of America, to begin shopping the coal assets CONSOL still owns to potential buyers…
Continue reading

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…
Continue reading