Marcellus Biggest Drillers Lock in 2017 Gas Prices at $3+ per Mcf

In September, MDN brought you research on 10 of the largest Marcellus/Utica drillers that have “hedged” their 2017 production (see Hedging Gas Prices in Marcellus/Utica – Who Hedges & How Much?). Hedging is a concept of pre-selling the gas you produce at a price you agree to now, in advance. Although that may sound risky, it’s actually an exercise in risk avoidance. It’s less risky to lock in favorable prices now rather than wait and potentially get far less. How do drillers know what the price of gas will be six months or a year from now? They don’t know, for sure, but there is something called the forward market, that predicts what prices will be at future dates. In fact, traders create contracts now based on prices in the future, and those contracts are reported by various news and data services, like NGI’s Forward Look publication. The company that provided the research back in September, S&P, is back with an update. The latest research shows that all of the top 10 drillers have hedged at least some of their production–and some of them have hedged most or even all of their production. What prices have each of these 10 drillers locked in and for how much production?…
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Former Devon Energy CEO Buys Himself a Place in Rubio Campaign

With Jeb Bush out of the Republican presidential primary, the old-line Republican establishment has closed ranks behind Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Which is why we find him disgusting. We no longer vote for politicians that promise one thing and do another (ex: Bob Dole, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Marco Rubio). That’s the definition of establishment. They view themselves as the ruling class–something we left behind 240 years ago when we formed this country to rid ourselves of such people. Those in the energy industry are not immune to the siren call of serving the establishment. The co-founder and former CEO of Devon Energy, Larry Nichols, has just become Rubio’s energy advisor in return for “hosting a fundraiser” for the Senator (translation: giving him big piles of money). We call that purchasing a seat at the table. Before you get too outraged, please know that this goes on ALL THE TIME in both parties. And has for years. MDN editor Jim Willis used to work in the Ronald Reagan White House, and we saw it there too. Big monied people donate, and when the candidate wins, those same people either get top posts in the administration, like Secretary of Energy, or they get cushy postings as an ambassador to some country like France, or Belize (in the tropics). We find it disheartening and distressing. But it is the way things are. Unless we change it. Below is the news about Nichols buying himself a place at the Rubio table…
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Which Marcellus/Utica Drillers are Part of the “Thousand Club”?

It’s difficult to compare apples with apples when it comes to evaluating how productive, or profitable, a hydrocarbon-producing well is. We typically think of wells as “oil wells” or “natural gas wells” or perhaps “wet gas (NGL) wells.” While there are some wells that produce almost all natgas or almost all oil, etc., most wells produce multiple hydrocarbons. Oil wells in the Permian Basin or Eagle Ford Shale (in TX) produce natural gas along with the oil coming out of the well. Many Marcellus and Utica wells in southwestern PA and eastern OH produce very profitable quantities of natural gas liquids, a mish mash of ethane, propane, butane, isobutane, and pentane. And don’t forget condensate (natural gasoline). So how do you compare the relative output/profitability/production for different “types” of wells? One way is to convert all of those hydrocarbons into one hydrocarbon–oil. Specifically, barrels of oil. Once you convert all hydrocarbons into barrels of oil, you have a way to compare apples to apples–comparing wells located in the same shale play or comparing wells from one play with wells from another. Recently the sharp analysts at investment firm Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. ran the numbers to convert and compare wells across different plays. They issued a report showing wells that belong to the “Thousand Club”–wells producing at least 1,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. Where are the most such wells located? The Eagle Ford Shale, the Bakken Shale, and yes, the Marcellus and Utica Shale. Which drillers are in the club?…
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Devon Puts 2 Utica Wells Up for Sale, Not Happy with OH Utica

Devon Energy has put Wayne County, OH’s lone Utica shale well up for sale, along with another Utica well they own in Guernsey County. To which we say we were surprised. We had forgotten Devon had drilled (or owned) any Utica wells in the first place. Perhaps the reason they’re dumping the Wayne County well, which the say has “future utility,” is because it hasn’t produced a thing–oil or natural gas. The well in Guernsey also appears to be a bust. Here’s the brief blurb we caught on Devon exiting the Utica…
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Update on What’s (Not) Happening in Wayne, Holmes Counties in OH

Early on, way back in 2010, landowners in Wayne and Holmes counties along the western reaches of the Utica Shale play in Ohio received a lot of interest–and offers–to lease their land. For a time it seemed promising. Some landowners signed on for under $100 per acre as a signing bonus, which at the time seemed like a good deal. Some got paid as much as $2,500 per acre to sign. Today, for landowners in the “sweet spot” of the Utica in places like Belmont, Guernsey and Harrison counties, it’s not uncommon to receive $5,000 or more per acre as a signing bonus.

Devon Energy was one of the early drillers to get permits in Ashland, Wayne and Holmes counties. But then it all went sideways for Devon when they didn’t get good results from the early test wells they drilled in the region. Devon threw in the towel in the Ohio Utica and put their (considerable) acreage up for sale (see Devon Energy Puts 240K Acres of Utica Shale Leases Up for Sale). What’s been happening in Wayne and Holmes over the past few years? Not much–and it appears it will stay that way for some time to come…
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Crosstex Investors Cash in on Merger, Selling 18M Units for $550M

Crosstex Energy recently got hitched with the midstream operation of Devon Energy and the new couple gave birth, or rather transformed itself, into EnLink Midstream (see Time to Congratulate Devon & Crosstex on the Birth of EnLink).The new EnLink has a growing presence in both the Utica and Marcellus Shale. They are a “player” in our space, so we keep a close eye on them.

Last Friday the newly combined and renamed EnLink announced owners of 18 million shares of stock in EnLink (called units) have put their shares up for sale with an eye to raising $550 million. However, that money will not flow to the coffers of EnLink. It will go to the owners of the units–presumably top management and/or investors in the old Crosstex. The action does make us wonder: Is this a prelude to some of top management leaving EnLink, or just big money investors cashing in to realize a big ROI? We don’t know. Here’s the announcement from Friday:
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Time to Congratulate Devon & Crosstex on the Birth of EnLink

As we previously told you, Devon Energy, a drilling company with some midstream assets, and Crosstex Energy, a midstream company, were due to merge (see Crosstex Energy Gets a Name Change, Merger with Devon Proceeds). It was quite a while in coming–lots of lawyers reviewing every syllable of every paper.

Last Friday the two companies announced they have finally, fully, irrevocably tied the merger knot and together they have delivered a bouncing baby…midstream company. They named the new baby EnLink. Time for a cigar…
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Crosstex, Devon Name Names of Board & Leaders for New EnLink

MDN has chronicled the marriage of Crosstex Energy (a midstream company) and Devon Energy’s midstream division (see Crosstex Energy Gets a Name Change, Merger with Devon Proceeds). The new entity will take on the name EnLink Midstream and will continue to have major operations in the Marcellus/Utica region. Not every t has been crossed and i dotted, yet. The two are close to tying the knot–the shareholders of both companies need to approve the deal. But it’s a foregone conclusion that the deal is happening and will happen very soon.

It comes as no surprise that the two companies have today announced who will be on the board of directors for the new EnLink operation, and who will lead it as executive management. Here is the announcement that names names for the coming EnLink when the merger is finalized:
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EnLink’s 2014 Crystal Ball: $525M Revenue, $430M Capex

Stockholders will soon vote on the previously announced merger between midstream company Crosstex Energy and driller Devon Energy (see Crosstex Energy Gets a Name Change, Merger with Devon Proceeds). There’s no reason to think the merger will not proceed smoothly. Both companies have operations in the Marcellus and Utica Shale region. The name of the new Devon subsidiary will be EnLink Midstream. As we previously mentioned, Barry Davis, CEO of Crosstex will become (or remain) CEO of EnLink. For us this is a feel-good merger–no one loses their job and Davis, by all accounts, is a really nice guy to work for (see A Peek Behind the Curtain of Crosstex/Devon Midstream Marriage).

Yesterday Crosstex issued their “best guess” as to what revenues and expenses will be for the company for 2014–something financial types call “guidance.” Here is Crosstex/EnLink’s best stab at peering into the crystal ball for 2014…
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A Peek Behind the Curtain of Crosstex/Devon Midstream Marriage

For a number of months, MDN has told you the story/news of the merger between Crosstex Energy (a Dallas, TX company) and Devon Energy (Oklahoma City, OK company). It’s an important story because both have a major presence in the Marcellus/Utica region. Essentially Devon Energy, a driller with a major midstream division, bought out Crosstex, a midstream company, and merged the two operations leaving Crosstex in command of the newly created midstream entity. The newly formed subsidiary company was recently named EnLink Midstream (see Crosstex Energy Gets a Name Change, Merger with Devon Proceeds).

An article in the Dallas Morning News about the merger caught our eye because it profiles the people involved and how the merger happened. We’re not sure that the story reveals any new, salient news about the deal–but it does reveal the depth of experience and character of the people involved. And it inspires confidence that this particular merger, a merger in which no one lost their job, portends very good things for the northeast where EnLink will continue to grow and expand. We’d call it a “here’s why you should feel good about this merger and doing business with these guys” kind of story…
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Utica Driller Devon Energy Picks Up 2 New Board Members

Devon Energy announced earlier this week that they’ve added a pair of drilling industry veterans to their board of directors. The additions are “immediate” and include Barbara M. Baumann, 58, a former BP Amoco executive who currently serves as president and owner of Cross Creek Energy Corporation, and John E. Bethancourt, 62, a retired Chevron executive. Devon is a major acreage holder in the Utica Shale with 157,000 acres under lease.

Does this sudden, with no warning, addition signal problems or issues? We don’t think so, but we don’t know. We haven’t come across any scuttlebutt about Devon–they seem to be doing well, focusing largely on oily shale plays, including the Utica. A couple of years ago the company picked up $2.2 billion from Chinese oil major Sinopec International Petroleum Exploration Production Corp. in a joint venture deal (see China Makes $2.2B Investment in U.S. Shale, Including Utica). Last October Devon more or less bought out Crosstex Energy (see Crosstex Energy Gets a Name Change, Merger with Devon Proceeds). Seems like everything is going well, full speed ahead with no corporate raiders lurking in the background. Whew. Here’s the board announcement from earlier this week:
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Crosstex Energy Gets a Name Change, Merger with Devon Proceeds

In October, Devon Energy (a major shale driller in several plays with midstream assets) and Crosstex Energy (a sizable midstream company) announced they will merge their midstream operations into a new company (see Devon Energy & Crosstex Energy Form New Midstream Company in JV). Both companies have major operations in the Marcellus/Utica. At the time of the announcement the new company was unnamed. No longer. Yesterday Devon and Crosstex announced that Crosstex would change its name to the name of the newly combined venture (which is majority owned by Devon). The new name is EnLink Midstream. Barry Davis, CEO of Crosstex will become (or remain) CEO of EnLink.

May we net-net this? Essentially Devon has purchased Crosstex and turned it into a semi-autonomous subsidiary, keeping the Crosstex management team in place. Here’s the statement issued yesterday with details of the legal structure for the new company, which on paper will be two companies for investment purposes–an LLC and an LP (master limited partnership)…
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Devon Energy & Crosstex Energy Form New Midstream Company in JV

Devon Energy (driller with midstream assets) and Crosstex Energy (midstream company) announced today they are merging their midstream operations into a new company. The new midstream company, which will have assets in both the Marcellus and Utica Shale (as well as other shale basins) will be majority owned by Devon. In fact, the biggest customer for the new joint venture will be…Devon itself. The announcement says Devon will dedicate drilling from 800,000 of its leased acres to the new (and as yet unnamed) midstream company.

The boards of directors for both Devon and Crosstex have already voted to OK the merger. Here’s the extensive announcement issued today, which contains details of the somewhat complicated corporate structure of the new company:
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Devon Energy Accuses EPA of “Seriously Flawed Misuse” of Data

Devon Energy sent a letter March 5 to the federal Environmental Protection Agency to inform them that Devon is pulling out of the EPA’s Natural Gas STAR Program—a program aimed at reducing methane emissions. Devon says in the letter that EPA is guilty of “seriously flawed misuse” of the data provided to it by drillers to justify costly regulations and to “taint policy research.” The Devon letter minces no words…

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