Diversified Gas & Oil Adds to Conventional Assets in KY, VA, WV

UPDATE: A source has shared with us who is doing the selling–see our note below.

Diversified Gas & Oil, founded in 2001, is an operator of oil and gas wells (and pipelines). According to the Diversified website, the company’s “innovative, disciplined investment strategy is focused on the acquisition of mature, low-decline and low-risk wells, enhancement of operations with a focus on efficiency, and maximization of profitability for shareholders.” Diversified issued a press release last week to say it has signed a letter of intent to purchase 2.5 million acres of leases, and 11,350 wells, in Appalachia–for $575 million. The acreage and wells are located in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia. Although the press release doesn’t say, the wells are almost certainly all conventional wells (no shale wells). We were not able to determine if any of the acreage includes rights to drill shale wells. Given the company’s focus on “low-decline and low-risk wells,” we have to conclude they target only conventional wells, since shale wells are high decline and moderate to high risk (sink a shale well in the wrong place and you just blew $7-8 million). Diversified recently closed on deals to pick up acreage and wells from both Alliance Petroleum Corporation and CNX Resources. Who’s the seller this time? We have a guess about who it may be…
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EV Energy Partners Emerges from Bankruptcy with New Name

EV Energy Partners (EVEP) has just emerged from bankruptcy court a mere two months after entering (see EV Energy Partners Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy). EVEP is joined at the hip with EnerVest, a private equity firm that owns a lot of acreage and wells (most of them conventional) in the Marcellus/Utica region. EVEP is EnerVest’s drilling subsidiary, with operations and assets in OH, PA and WV. According to the forthcoming Marcellus & Utica Shale Upstream Almanac 2018, EnerVest has or actively is drilling in Venango County in PA, and Caroll, Guernsey, Stark, Trumbull, and Tuscarawas counties in OH. EVEP is (or rather was) an MLP–a master limited partnership. On Monday EVEP emerged from bankruptcy with $355 million of debt erased and sporting a new name: Harvest Oil & Gas Corp. Also gone is the MLP organization and in its place, Harvest Oil & Gas is a corporation with shares of stock that will be traded over the counter on the “pink sheets.” Here’s the news about EVEP becoming HVST…
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EnerVest & EV Energy Partners on the Rebound with $70+ Oil

Private equity firm EnerVest owns a lot of acreage and wells (most of them conventional) in the Marcellus/Utica region. In addition to investing in land and wells, EnerVest also has its own drilling subsidiary, EV Energy Partners (EVEP), with operations and assets in OH, PA and WV. EVEP is an MLP–a master limited partnership. While EVEP is joined at the hip with EnerVest, they are (on paper) two different companies. EnerVest has vast holdings and is in the top 25 oil & gas companies in the nation. Last July the Wall Street Journal ran a story that said EnerVest was worth nothing on paper. EnerVest pushed back on that story saying it wasn’t true–at least not completely true. EnerVest chief administrative officer, Ron Whitmire, said the company’s vast holdings are structured as more than a dozen companies. Although some of EnerVest’s companies are in trouble, the entire pie, according to Whitmire, is not in danger of bankruptcy. Conversely, Whitmire’s comment also meant that at least one or more of the EnerVest companies were/are in danger of bankruptcy. EVEP was one of them, filing in early April (see EV Energy Partners Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy). A new Bloomberg story takes a look at EnerVest and its 72 year-old CEO, John Walker. The article says Walker, “sees redemption ahead as oil prices rise and EnerVest gets its finances in order.” That’s certainly some good news for the company. We might summarize it this way: The current high price of oil has just pulled EV’s bacon out of the fire…
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EV Energy Partners Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

In the middle of March, MDN warned readers that EV Energy Partners (EVEP), a subsidiary company of EnerVest, would soon be filing for bankruptcy (see EV Energy Partners Filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in Next 2 Wks). On Monday, the company succumbed and filed. At one time (in 2012), EVEP owned more than a half million acres in the Utica Shale alone (see EnerVest Puts 539,000 Utica Shale Acres on Auction Block). We couldn’t find updated statistics for the company, but we believe they still own a significant amount of Utica (and Marcellus) acreage. Here’s the EVEP announcement that the company has entered into a prepackaged bankruptcy deal…
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EV Energy Partners Filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in Next 2 Wks

Private equity firm EnerVest owns a lot of acreage and wells (most of them conventional) in the Marcellus/Utica region. In addition to investing in land and wells, EnerVest also has its own upstream (i.e. drilling) subsidiary, EV Energy Partners (EVEP), with operations and assets in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. EVEP is an MLP–a master limited partnership. While EVEP is joined at the hip with EnerVest, they are (on paper) two different companies. EnerVest has vast holdings and is in the top 25 oil & gas companies in the nation. Last July the Wall Street Journal ran a story that said EnerVest was worth nothing on paper (see EnerVest Goes Bust, from $2 Billion to $0 – Impact in M-U). EnerVest pushed back on that story saying it wasn’t true–at least not completely true (see EnerVest Pushes Back Against WSJ “Bust” Story). EnerVest chief administrative officer, Ron Whitmire, said the company’s vast holdings are structured as more than a dozen companies. Although some of EnerVest’s companies are in trouble, the entire pie, according to Whitmire, is not in danger of bankruptcy. Conversely, Whitmire’s comment also means at least one or more of the EnerVest companies were/are in danger of bankruptcy. EVEP is one of them. On Wednesday, EVEP announced it has brokered a deal with debt holders to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy within the next few weeks…
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FBI Investigates EnerVest for Ohio Utica Lease Fraud

The FBI has been drawn into what was once a civil case in Ohio. EnerVest once owned nearly one million acres in the Ohio Utica Shale. It was unintentional. Most of the acreage came from owning old conventional/vertical oil and gas wells in the state. Belmont County, OH landowner, Matt Crislip, says EnerVest perpetrated a fraud on him by pretending his long inactive/dead conventional well was once again producing. The practice is known as “back-fed”–running gas from a pipeline back to the well, so it appears the well is still producing gas. Why do something crazy like that? So the driller can claim the well is producing and is “held by production”–allowing that driller to turn around and sell the lease to someone else (Ascent Resources, in this case) for “millions” according to Crislip. The result is Crislip didn’t see a penny in new lease-signing bonuses, and he didn’t get the opportunity to negotiate a new royalty rate. EnerVest flatly denies the back-fed charge and said they will defend themselves “vigorously.” So far the FBI has only investigated Crislip’s claim, and no charges have been filed. Yet. Here’s a look at Crislip’s claim and the FBI’s ongoing investigation, which may expand beyond Belmont County…
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Enervest Pushes for Co-Tenancy in West Virginia

In August MDN told you the West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association (WVONGA) plans to push, once again, for what MDN calls forced pooling lite in the next session of the legislature scheduled for early 2018 (see WVONGA Makes Plans to Push Forced Pooling Lite in 2018). Forced pooling legislation in West Virginia has been put forward five times in the past seven years–and each time it has failed to win enough votes in the WV legislature. This year, WVONGA changed tactics and renamed forced pooling as co-tenancy and joint development (see WV Won’t Push Forced Pooling, Will Push Joint Dev. & Co-Tenancy). The West Virginia Surface Owners Rights Organization refers to co-tenancy as “majority rules” and joint development as “invisible ink” (see Another Look at WV’s Co-tenancy & Joint Development Proposals). EnerVest, a shale (and conventional) driller with considerable acreage in West Virginia recently contributed a editorial to the Charleston Gazette-Mail which unsurprisingly supports WVONGA’s push–at least for co-tenancy. The article doesn’t mention joint development, but since the two are tied together in a single bill, we assume they also want to see joint development. Below is (once again) a brief explanation of the two concepts, along with EnerVest’s editorial/reasons for why the Mountain State needs them…
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EnerVest Pushes Back Against WSJ “Bust” Story

Earlier this week MDN brought you the news, via a Wall Street Journal article, that EnerVest, a huge private equity firm with its fingers in many shale (and conventional) pies across the U.S., has gone bust (see EnerVest Goes Bust, from $2 Billion to $0 – Impact in M-U?). However, when you peel back the onion, the story of EnerVest and their investments in various plays is much more nuanced than the headline suggests. NGI’s ace reporter Carolyn Davis does a masterful job of deconstructing what is really going on. According to an extensive interview Carolyn had with EnerVest chief administrative officer, Ron Whitmire, the Journal got it wrong–at least with some of the key points made in their article. Whitmire said Wells Fargo and other banks are not looking to seize assets to satisfy their investment. He also explained the complicated structure of the company. It’s not just one company, EnerVest and their vast holdings are structured as more than a dozen companies. Although some of those companies are in trouble, the entire pie, according to Whitmire, is not in danger of bankruptcy. Whitmire sees two options at this point for the EnerVest mothership and its “peer” companies: sell, or recapitalize…
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EnerVest Goes Bust, from $2 Billion to $0 – Impact in M-U?

Private equity firm EnerVest owns a lot of acreage and wells (most of them conventional) in the Marcellus/Utica region. In addition to investing in land and wells, EnerVest also has its own upstream subsidiary, EV Energy Partners. In March of this year, EnerVest put 360,621 acres of leases and 1,100 wells in the Appalachian Basin up for auction (see EnerVest Selling 1,100 Wells, 361K Acres in Appalachia). Bids were due by the end of March. We never heard the outcome, but judging from the EnerVest website (Acquisitions & Divestitures), we don’t think they sold anything. Why go on about EnerVest and their Appalachian assets? Because EnerVest, which once had a value of $2 billion, is now worth nothing. Zero. Nada. Not because of their Appalachian assets, but because EnerVest took on heavy debt to finance purchases in oil plays–in Texas and Utah. Now investors, including pension funds and banks, have essentially lost their investments. They may see “pennies on the dollar” when it’s all over and done. So how does this affect the Marcellus/Utica?…
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EnerVest Selling 1,100 Wells, 361K Acres in Appalachia

In September 2012 EV Energy Partners/EnerVest put 539,000 Ohio Utica Shale acres on the auction block. It didn’t sell. In 2013 they announced they would begin selling sections piecemeal, a strategy that has netted a few sales since then (see EnerVest Strategy: Sell Utica, Drill Vertical, Expand Midstream). However, EnerVest still retains a lot of Utica acreage. According to the NGI’s Shale Play Factbook, EnerVest owns 903,000 acres, slightly less than powerhouse Chesapeake Energy. In 2014, EnerVest made another run at trying to figure out how to get oil out of their acreage (see Utica Shale Oil Far from Dead – EnerVest, EQT Try Again). In September 2015, EV Energy Partners, a subsidiary of EnerVest, purchased property from the mothership EnerVest in the Appalachian Basin, San Juan Basin, Michigan and Austin Chalk for $259 million (see EV Energy Partners Buys $259M in Wells/Leases from Parent EnerVest). And last year, in 2016, we brought you a story about EnerVest experimenting with drilling horizontal wells in the Ohio Clinton sandstone layer (see EnerVest Likes Clinton Sandstone “Utica-lite” Oil Wells in OH). The company remains active. MDN friends at Kallanish Energy have some new news about EnerVest. In yet another “drop down” deal, EnerVest is selling 360,621 acres of leases and 1,100 wells in the Appalachian Basin to EnerVest Operating, yet another subsidiary. [NOTE: MDN read the news wrong on this. EnerVest previously bought the leases/wells and now THOSE leases/wells are for sale–to someone else. This is not a drop down deal. Apologies to our friends at Kallanish!] The land and wells cover West Virginia, Virginia and Kentucky. We suspect that most, if not all, of the wells are conventional (non-shale) wells. However, the possibility remains that some of the wells are shale wells. And certainly the land has potential for horizontal shale drilling, which is why we’re interested in this bit of news…
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EnerVest Likes Clinton Sandstone “Utica-lite” Oil Wells in OH

like buttonOnce upon a time the Clinton Sandstone layer was the most drilled rock layer in Ohio. Then the Utica/Point Pleasant came along and it seemed as if everybody forgot about the Clinton. Previously the Clinton was drilled vertically, or conventional-only. But what if you drilled the Clinton horizontally, like you do in the Utica? You might get a “Utica-lite” well, as we commented a year ago (see Ohio Clinton Sandstone Horiz Wells on the Increase – Utica-Lite?). Last year MDN told you that EnverVest, among others, was experimenting with horizontal drilling in the Clinton Sandstone. According to drillers who are experimenting in the Clinton, drilling a horizontal Clinton well is anywhere from 3-10 times more expensive than a conventional well, but it produces anywhere from 7 to 20 times more oil, which is typically what they’re drilling for in the Clinton. EnerVest has drilled seven horizontal Clinton wells and is extracting 1,100 barrels of oil per day from those seven wells. Here’s more details shared by EnevVest at a recent OOGA meeting about their Clinton Sandstone efforts…
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Range Res. Completes Sale of VA Assets to EnerVest, 55 Lose Jobs

In November MDN reported that Range Resources would sell 3,500 operated wells and approximately 460,000 net acres in the Nora/Haysi combined fields located in southwestern Virginia for $876 million to an unnamed buyer (see Range Sells Coal Bed Methane Wells in VA, Focusing on Marcellus). The stated reason for the sale is to pay down debt and use the money for more Marcellus drilling. The deal is done and dusted. The final price turned out to be $865 million, $11 million less than announced. Although Range has remained tight-lipped about who the buyer was, EnerVest admitted they are the buyer. At the time Range first announced the impending sale, they issued a WARN notice that up to 158 people would lose their jobs when the sale was completed (see 158 Range Resources Employees in SW VA May Lose Jobs by Dec 30). The sale was completed on Dec. 30, but fortunately not all 158 jobs were axed. “Only” 55 jobs were axed while 103 people were extended offers to work for EnerVest. Of course the 55 people who lost their jobs had a sucky Christmas…
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158 Range Resources Employees in SW VA May Lose Jobs by Dec 30

cutting jobsThree weeks ago MDN told you that Range Resources had decided to sell 3,500 operated wells and approximately 460,000 net acres in the Nora/Haysi combined fields located in southwestern Virginia for $876 million to an unnamed buyer (see Range Sells Coal Bed Methane Wells in VA, Focusing on Marcellus). The Nora/Haysi operation consists of coal bed methane natural gas wells–an operation more akin to conventional drilling than shale drilling. The reason for the sale, as we told you at the time, is so Range can pay off debt and continue to concentrate on more profitable Marcellus Shale drilling. We now know that EnerVest is the buyer of the Nora/Haysi fields. We also have sad news that it’s possible (not certain but possible) that 158 jobs associated with the wells/operation may not make the transition. Range has filed a WARN notice (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act) that 158 workers in Dickenson and Washington counties (in southwest Virginia) could be out of a job by December 30th. Merry Christmas…
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EV Energy Partners Buys $259M in Wells/Leases from Parent EnerVest

mothershipEV Energy Partners (EVEP), an upstream master limited partnership (MLP) created by EnerVest, announced they will purchase oil and natural gas properties from the mothership EnerVest in four different locations, one of them being Appalachia (i.e. Marcellus/Utica). EVEP will pay the parent company $259 million for properties in Appalachian Basin, San Juan Basin, Michigan and Austin Chalk with cumulative estimated proved reserves of 302 billion cubic feet equivalent (Bcfe)…
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Ohio Clinton Sandstone Horiz Wells on the Increase – Utica-Lite?

Bud LiteThere’s once again renewed interest in Ohio’s Clinton sandstone. This time the interest is in drilling horizontal wells–“baby” wells compared to a Utica well. Over a dozen horizontal wells either have been or are now being drilled in the Clinton. One company, traditionally a conventional (vertical-only) driller, says drilling a horizontal well in the Clinton is 3 times more expensive than a vertical-only well, but it’s 7-8 times more productive. Another driller puts the cost at 10 times more than conventional drilling but 20 times more productive. Any way you slice it, it seems that small and large firms alike are taking a close look at the Clinton, drilling for “leftover natural gas and oil.” Here’s details of who’s doing the drilling and where…
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Details on GASFRAC’s Waterless Frack Test in OH Utica

Two weeks ago MDN was (we believe) the first to call attention to a very short reference in the quarterly update from Canadian oilfield services company GASFRAC–a line that says GASFRAC had finally begun fracking a Utica Shale well using their waterless technology (see GASFRAC Begins Waterless Fracking Job in OH Utica). At the time we had no details about where the well is located, and who the exploration company is that GASFRAC is doing the work for. We now know those bits, thanks to some ace reporting by Tom Knox at Columbus Business First
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