Canadian driller Encana issued a press release two days ago with a pretty big boast. The release touts Encana’s leased acreage in the Montney Shale basin. Where’s that? It’s located along the border of Canada’s British Columbia and Alberta provinces–not far from the West Coast in the northern reaches of Canada. Encana is claiming they will use cheap pipeline rates now offered by TransCanada to transport up to 316 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of natural gas to the Dawn Hub in Ontario (our neck of the woods), and do so more cheaply than gas arriving at the Dawn Hub from the Marcellus/Utica. You may recall that TransCanada cooked up a plan to cut the price of transporting gas from Western Canada to Ontario in a bid to compete with cheap Marcellus/Utica gas (see TransCanada Says Plan to Lowball M-U Gas Worked, Shippers Sign Up). Look at the map we’ve provided. TransCanada claims it can make it less expensive to get gas from Western Canada, some 2,400 miles away, than from the Marcellus, just 400 miles away. Encana is the first driller we are aware of it give it a go… Continue reading
It’s lights out for Marcellus drilling in both Lackawanna and Luzerne counties in northeastern Pennsylvania. Lackawanna and Luzerne are otherwise known and Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, respectively. But it’s not because of the two large cities located in those counties that Marcellus drilling will not be done (there are plenty of rural locations in each). It’s because there’s no gas in the shale layer to be had in those counties–at least not in quantities that are commercially profitable. Over the past five years seven different wells have been drilled in both counties (or very close by in neighboring Columbia County). The seventh and final well, drilled by WPX Energy, has just been plugged and abandoned… Continue reading
Chesapeake Energy is, much to the consternation of Michigan’s overzealous Attorney General Bill Schuette, not rolling over, playing dead, nor coughing up big bucks in payoff money over alleged “collusion” to suppress auction prices for gas leases (see Michigan AG Continues Case Against Chesapeake for Lease Collusion). The case Michigan has built hinges on arguably illegally-obtained internal emails from Chesapeake, obtained by the Reuters news service under a still-unaccounted for method (see Did Reuters Break the Law with Latest Chesapeake Story?). Chesapeake says AG Schuette is, in essence, cherry picking and disclosing a few emails to cast the company in a bad light… Continue reading
Apparently Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette wants his pound of flesh out of Chesapeake Energy. You may recall the case of Chesapeake and Encana being accused of colluding to suppress the price of land being auctioned for drilling leases in Michigan. Reuters claimed private, internal company emails with possibly damning information somehow landed in their lap from the email fairy (see Did Reuters Break the Law with Latest Chesapeake Story?)… Continue reading
An update on the Chesapeake/Encana “collusion” story in Michigan. Two years ago Reuters accused Chessy and Encana of colluding to keep prices low for Michigan state oil and gas leases coming up for auction (see Did Reuters Break the Law with Latest Chesapeake Story?). Either a low-life snitch gave Reuters private emails from the companies or Reuters engaged in breaking and entering, a la Watergate style, to get access to those emails. Either way, the emails didn’t really show anything damning. However, both the feds and the state of Michigan launched years-long, anal exam-type investigations. In March of this year the Michigan Attorney General decided to press charges (see Reuters Smiles: MI Criminal Court to Charge Chesapeake & Encana).
However, the feds have just sent a letter to Chessy and Encana exonerating them from any wrongdoing. Since “more often than not” the feds and the state attorneys reach the same conclusion, it’s quite possible that Michigan will drop its criminal case as early as next week… Continue reading
In June 2012 MDN brought you the story that of possible collusion between Chesapeake Energy and Encana over lease offers in the state of Michigan. At the time we pointed out that the Reuters news service had “obtained” confidential emails that supposedly show such collusion, and we asked the question, how did Reuters come by those emails (see Did Reuters Break the Law with Latest Chesapeake Story?). It was obvious Retuers was trying to take down Aubrey McClendon and by extension Chesapeake Energy. Aubrey is now gone from Chesapeake and Reuters’ favorite corporate raider, Carl Icahn, now pulls the strings of the new CEO, Doug Lawler.
Not long after the whole story burst onto the scene, Encana did their own internal investigation and cleared themselves (see Encana Says Investigation Shows No Collusion with Chesapeake). That was Sept. 2012. Reuters is now back and announcing that the attorney general in Michigan will now file, two years later, criminal charges against both Chesapeake and Encana on March 19 in Michigan state court. We’re sure Reuters is smiling… Continue reading
Encana, Canada’s largest drilling company and a big driller in the Marcellus Shale, has had a rough 12 months. It was almost one year ago in June 2012 that Encana was accused of colluding with Chesapeake Energy to keep the prices of oil and gas leases being auctioned by Michigan artificially low. Reuters, using pirated emails, said Encana and Chesapeake had some sort of deal not to bid against each other (see Did Reuters Break the Law with Latest Chesapeake Story?). Then in January, Encana CEO Randy Eresman suddenly and unexpectedly resigned and left the company, prompting speculation that the company may be on the market (see Encana Interim CEO Says Company is Not For Sale).
Apparently that speculation was wrong. Yesterday, Encana’s board of directors appointed a new CEO, Doug Suttles, formerly COO of BP. Suttles and the board are now in the honeymoon stage… Continue reading
Canadian’s largest natural gas driller and a major player in the Marcellus Shale, Encana Corp, announced on Friday that CEO Randy Eresman and resigned and left the company. The announcement was “out of the blue” and caught investors and industry insiders by surprise.
Encana appointed board of directors member Clayton Woitas (former CEO of Renaissance Energy) as interim CEO, a move which some speculate means the company may be up for sale. That rumor, however, is roundly refuted by Woitas:
Back in June, Reuters somehow, magically, got ahold of private personal property (emails) from Chesapeake Energy and Encana Corp. Encana is Canada’s largest natural gas company. Reuters attempted to put the two companies on trial in the court of public opinion for “colluding” to keep prices down on leases in Michigan (see this MDN story). MDN still wonders, did Reuters break the law or aid and abet laws being broken in getting those emails?
But no attention is being paid to the mighty Reuters. No, the intended affect was accomplished: a plethora of investigations by various organizations began, not least of which is an ongoing investigation by the Obama Justice Department (see this MDN story). Encana did their own internal investigation by brining in outside help and the results are in from that investigation: Encana says they’re not guilty of colluding with Chesapeake.
The Obama Justice Department didn’t waste any time going after Chesapeake Energy after Reuters reported in late June that Chesapeake may have colluded with a competitor, Encana, to keep land lease prices low in Michigan. Just four days after the story broke, the Justice Department served Chesapeake with a subpoena for documents.
Chesapeake acknowledged yesterday they are the target of an ongoing government investigation, an investigation that involves a grand jury and the prospect of indictments.
Hey, it’s not every day you get prominently mentioned in a Huffington Post article, so we thought we would bring it to your attention: A ‘War on Shale Gas’?
MDN editor Jim Willis has long admired the HuffPo and its founder Arianna Huffington. Certainly not for her (or its) political positions! But because Arianna had the moxie to pioneer a new form of media at a time when it was not easy to do so. We love free speech, we love a plucky attitude, and we love that the HuffPo has kicked the venerable New York Times’ derriere. The HuffPo passed the NYT in both traffic and revenue (for their web properties) a long time ago.
So when a contributor to the HuffPo takes a shot at MDN, you may find it weird or unusual that MDN would respond with accolades for the HuffPo. You shouldn’t. We just keep it honest and if you read this blog for any amount of time you already know that.
Reuters news service continues to use what MDN assumes are illegally obtained emails to try and bring down Chesapeake Energy and its CEO Aubrey McClendon. Their latest breathless “they colluded! they colluded!” story starts this way:
Another week, another “cut” at Chesapeake Energy and its flamboyant CEO Aubrey McClendon. Death by a thousand cuts will work, as long as in the end it’s death, right? And that’s exactly what the mainstream media is clamoring for.
A new hit piece by Reuters attempts to smear McClendon and in the process snags Canadian company Encana. The article, published yesterday, tries to portray McClendon and the president of Encana USA, Jeff Wojahn, as colluding to divvy up Michigan state oil and gas leases auctioned in 2010. It was an attempt to suppress prices and control the outcome of the auction, according to Reuters, and if that indeed happened, it would be a violation of federal and state laws.
Terry Engelder, Penn State geosciences professor and “father of the Marcellus Shale” once coined the term “line of death” for the point where shale stops being productive. He was specifically talking about the coal region in Pennsylvania where once-upon-many-millennia-ago high temperatures that hardened the anthracite coal also “cooked out” methane natural gas from the shale. Geologists and gas companies know the area around the Lackawanna Syncline—a banana-shaped formation that runs through Luzerne and Lackawanna counties—is likely to be devoid of methane, but what they don’t how is how far from the Syncline the line of death will be found.
We now have another plugged well that helps indicate where shale is unproductive—this one in Sugarloaf Township in neighboring Columbia County:
ProPublica recently compiled a list of the top 10 natural gas drillers in the U.S. based on daily natural gas production volume. The list includes gas drilled by both “traditional” vertical drilling as well as “non-traditional” horizontal hydraulic fracturing. Or think of it as non-shale gas and shale gas—companies who drill for both are in the list. The Marcellus Shale represents a good portion of the gas now being produced in the country, but other shale formations, like the more mature Barnett Shale (in Texas) also contribute a substantial volume of natural gas.
MDN presents this list as a useful resource for landowners. The biggest drillers are not always the best, and not always the right choice for a given landowner and situation. However, knowing who the “bigs” are can be a helpful guide—you know they have the money and the technology to get the gas out of the ground, and they have money to pay for leases and royalties.