Halcon Resources Put on Notice by NYSE; Refi Debt at Higher Rate

trouble ahead signHalcon Resources, with with some 140,000 net acres in the Ohio Utica Shale, said in January they would not do any Utica drilling in 2015 (see Halcon Resources: Slashes Drilling Budget 50%, No Utica for 2015). In February on an analyst call, Halcon’s colorful CEO, Floyd Wilson, responded to a question from one of the analysts asking about the company’s Utica program by responding with a wisecrack (see Halcon CEO Floyd Wilson: “What’s the Utica?”). Halcon guessed wrong about the Utica and leased acreage in the northern part of the play where production is not as great. Also in February, Halcon appeared on David Fessler’s oil and gas company “death list” of companies that a debt ratio of 4 times or higher earnings (see 19 Oil/Gas Companies on “Death List” – 8 are in Marcellus/Utica). Halcon issued a press release yesterday to say: (a) they’ve refinanced $1.02 billion worth of outstanding IOUs with a third lien, forced to pay 13% interest on notes that previously had interest rates ranging from 8.875% to 9.75%; and (b) Halcon has been put on notice by the New York Stock Exchange that because the company’s stock has slipped below $1 per share, they are in danger of being de-listed by the exchange. That is, Halcon’s stock will have to trade on the Pink Sheets as a penny stock unless they can, in the next few months, get the average per share price above $1 again…
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False Alarm: Halcon Resources has NOT Resumed Utica Drilling

In January, Halcon Resources said it was slashing its drilling budget and would do no drilling in the Ohio Utica in 2015 (see Halcon Resources: Slashes Drilling Budget 50%, No Utica for 2015). In February, Halcon CEO Floyd Wilson, famous for speaking his mind, responded to an analyst question about their plans for the Utica by joking (see Halcon CEO Floyd Wilson: “What’s the Utica?”). So imagine everyone’s surprise when the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) released a report recently that listed a permit for a Halcon site in Trumbull County (the northern Utica where Wilson once said he wouldn’t drill any more sh***y wells) with a status of “DRILLING”. The Youngstown Business Journal understandably trumpeted this big news (see their story: Halcon Resumes Drilling in Trumbull County). Halcon was quick to respond. It seems that there is no active drilling at that site in Trumbull County–they wanted the permit re-issued just in case they may one day resume drilling. The designation of “DRILLING” in the ODNR report was inaccurate…
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Halcon CEO Floyd Wilson: “What’s the Utica?”

In January, MDN told you the news that Halcon Resources, with with some 140,000 net acres in the Ohio Utica Shale, would not do any Utica drilling in 2015 (see Halcon Resources: Slashes Drilling Budget 50%, No Utica for 2015). Yesterday Halcon held an analyst/investor conference call to discuss the company’s 2014 results and 2015 projections. On the call was Floyd Wilson–the very straight-talking CEO of Halcon who once said he would drill no more, well, er, “substandard” wells in the Utica (see Halcon CEO Says No More S***** Wells in Northern OH Utica). The Utica came up precisely once on yesterday’s phone call. Here’s what the colorful Wilson said during a Q&A…
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19 Oil/Gas Companies on “Death List” – 8 are in Marcellus/Utica

The Death ListDavid Fessler is energy and infrastructure strategist (i.e. stock analyst/researcher) with The Oxford Club–a publisher based in Baltimore, Maryland that publishes the Oxford Resource Explorer, among other financial publications. Fessler spends his days immersed in the energy industry and in the stocks of companies in that industry. Fessler and The Oxford Club have produced a special report called “The Oil Company Death List” which is a list of 19 publicly-traded oil and gas companies that, according to a formula worked out by Fessler, will “die soon.” That is, they’ll go bankrupt if they don’t sell themselves or otherwise sell off major assets. Why? They’re “swimming in debt” and way over leveraged with “ugly balance sheets.” Fessler’s simple formula is all about a company’s debt ratio. When a company’s debts reach 4 times or higher its earnings (EBITDA), that’s a huge red flag. Below we have the list of 19 on the “death list” along with a copy of Fessler’s full report (describing his methodology). The interesting/troubling aspect is that 8 of the 19 are Marcellus/Utica operators–one of which is #1 for highest debt-to-earnings ratios. Some companies in the list surprised us–others did not. Is your favorite Marcellus/Utica driller in the list?…
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Halcon Resources: Slashes Drilling Budget 50%, No Utica for 2015

As MDN chronicled in March 2014, Halcon Resources, with some 140,000 net acres in the Ohio Utica Shale, quit drilling in the Utica, at least for the balance of 2014 (see Halcon Resources Stops Drilling, Gives Up on the Utica Shale). That now holds true for 2015 as well. In a statement about their drilling program released late last week, Halcon indicated they have revised their drilling budget down by nearly 50%–from the previous $750-$800 million to $375-$425 million. They’re also reducing the number of drilling rigs from 11 rigs to 3–and none of them will be operating in the Utica Shale…
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4 Marcellus Companies Debut on Debtwire’s Distressed Watchlist

WatchlistDebtwire is an interesting service. They keep an eye on publicly traded companies to give subscribers to their service a heads-up on which companies are potentially carrying too much debt–companies that may, due to changing economic circumstances, have a hard time paying back that debt. Think of Debtwire as an early warning system to let you know BEFORE Moodys or Fitch Ratings downgrades a company’s credit rating. Later this month Debtwire will issue a new Distressed Watchlist with 176 companies on it. Some 55 new companies will be added to the list from the energy industry alone. With the addition of the 55 new companies, the Distressed Watchlist will have 70 (of 176) companies from the energy industry–making 40% of the list top heavy with energy companies. We have what we believe is an MDN exclusive–Debtwire has sent us the top 20 energy-related companies on the list. Of the top 20, four of them have operations in the Marcellus/Utica region…
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Bloomberg Whispering Campaign: Halcon in Trouble

A new whispering–actually shouting–campaign has begun in mainstream media. The new meme we noticed over the past few weeks is this: Shale drilling is the next dot com bubble that’s about to burst. America’s enemies, like Russia, happily make such proclamations to anyone who will listen (see the comments of Lukoil vice president Leonid Fedun here). Bloomberg is the latest to pile on. Their angle: some exploration and production companies, specifically Halcon Resources (and several others) are “leveraged” to the neck with “junk bond” financing and now, with the price of oil so low ($69 at close of yesterday), those companies will have a hard time paying their obligations and securing new credit lines. It’s as if they’re cheering and actually hope a new financial disaster occurs–this time in the energy sector. Is there any truth to the whispering campaign?…
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Girard City Council Approves Pipeline Easement for Halcon

Girard City (Trumbull County), OH Council members made a smart move. Earlier this month the Girard City Council voted to approve a right-of-way agreement that allows a natural gas transmission line to run through part of the Girard Lakes property. The 14-mile pipeline will service and run from Hilcorp Utica wells near Vienna to a fuel depot near Lordstown. Why was it a smart move?…
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Utica Driller Halcon Resources Up for Sale According to CEO

MDN recently reported that Halcon Resources has stopped drilling on their leased land in the Utica Shale (see Halcon Resources Stops Drilling, Gives Up on the Utica Shale). Halcon’s blunt-talking CEO, Floyd Wilson, famously said he didn’t want to drill any more underperforming (he used more colorful language) wells in the Ohio’s northern Utica and instead seemed to say the company’s focus would be further south. Then the company said nyet–no more wells drilled in 2014 in the Utica. From Wilson’s remarks yesterday at the Howard Weil energy conference in New Orleans, it appears that Halcon may not drill any more wells in the Ohio Utica…ever.

Wilson said yesterday at the investor’s conference that it is his end-game to sell Halcon to a bigger fish. Wilson started Halcon 2011. In order to sell the company, he’s working to make it more attractive to investors. Wilson knows a thing or two about building energy companies and selling them–he built up and sold Petrohawk Energy to BHP Billiton Plc in 2011 for $12.1 billion. Apparently he’s hoping to do something similar with Halcon, except this time around it’s more of a challenge. Below is a report on Wilson’s “Halcon is up for sale” remarks yesterday in New Orleans…
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Drilling Shifts South in OH Utica Shale + More on Halcon Exit

There is no doubt Utica Shale drilling in eastern Ohio has made a transition. Once upon a time Chesapeake (and a few others) looked to places like Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties. Carroll County is still quite active with drilling, but much of the new drilling has drifted south, to places like Harrison, Guernsey, Belmont, Noble and Monroe counties, as evidenced by the latest round of permits issued by the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources. To the north in places like Trumbull? Not so hot anymore. Two days ago we told you about Halcon Resources’ decision to say adios to Trumbull County (see Halcon Resources Stops Drilling, Gives Up on the Utica Shale).

The shift southward and Halcon’s exit doesn’t seem to concern one of Halcon’s contractors, Kleese Development Associates, that hauls Halcon’s frack wastewater to area injection wells. Below are two articles: one illustrates the shift south in permits for new wells, and one that interviews Kleese, providing us with a bit more insight into Halcon’s decision to stay away from the Utica, for now…
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Halcon Pull Back from Utica: What about Their $70M Oil Terminal?

Yesterday MDN brought you the bombshell news that Halcon Resources has shaken the dirt of their shoes in the Utica and is heading to greener (so they say) pastures in other shale plays (see Halcon Resources Stops Drilling, Gives Up on the Utica Shale). Not so long ago–last July–Halcon announced they were working on a $70 million oil storage and rail transloading terminal in Lordstown (see Halcon Resources Plans $70M Oil Terminal in Lordstown, OH). The first of three planned phases for that project were, at the time, predicted to be completed in 2014. Is that project now in jeopardy too, with Halcon taking their “wait and see” attitude in the Utica?

Lordstown area officials have no official word from Halcon on the oil terminal’s fate, but they’re nervous…
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Halcon Resources Stops Drilling, Gives Up on the Utica Shale

I Give UpJust last November in response to a question from an analyst about Halcon Resources’ plans for the Utica, CEO Floyd Wilson said, “Well, we won’t drill any more wells near the shitty ones we drilled already. That’s one major initiative.” (See Halcon CEO Says No More S***** Wells in Northern OH Utica.)

Not only will Halcon not drill any s***ty wells in the Utica, they’re not going to drill any more Utica wells–at least in 2014…
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Niles, OH Does Complete Turnaround, Leases Land for Pipeline

What a complete turnaround–dare we say a “revelation”–in Niles, OH. In August, the Niles City Council voted to ban drilling. The measure they passed also prohibited the city from doing business with the drilling industry, which is a problem because the city does a lot of business with the industry (see Niles, OH Considers Vote to Rescind Ill-Advised Frack Ban). So a month after they passed the measure, City Council voted to rescind it (see Niles, OH Votes to Lift Frack Ban One Month After Passing It).

In a complete turnaround from their anti-drilling ways of just a few months ago, City Council voted yesterday, unanimously, to let Halcon Resources lay a new pipeline under a portion of city-owned land…
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Halcon Resources Lowers 2014 CapEx Spending, Not Production

Yesterday Utica Shale driller Halcon Resources lowered their “guidance” (what they expect to do) in capital spending for 2014. That is, they said they will spend less money–about 14% less–than previously announced on their drilling programs in 2014. However, they also added they still expect to produce about the same amount of oil and gas, even though they’ll spend less.

Also in yesterday’s announcement, Halcon CEO Floyd Wilson, who tends to have a salty mouth (see Halcon CEO Says No More S***** Wells in Northern OH Utica), said the company will continue to sell off “non-core conventional assets” to raise an additional $300 million. Here’s the Halcon “spend less but produce more” announcement from yesterday:
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Mercer County Landowners Suing Halcon Get Small Victory

Last fall Halcon Resources signed letters of intent with landowners in Mercer County, PA to lease some 60,000 acres for drilling, via CX Energy (Co-eXprise). In September 2012 Halcon called a meeting with landowners and told them they would only proceed with leasing about half of the acreage (see Halcon Says No Drilling for Half of Mercer County Landowners). Needless to say the half that were jilted didn’t take it well. In fact, they felt defrauded by Halcon and filed a class action lawsuit in federal court against Halcon.

The U.S. Court of Appeals Third Circuit has just passed the case (“remanded” it) back to a Pennsylvania trial court, which is a small victory for the landowners. How so? Well, it’s complicated, but we’ll do our best to explain it…
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Halcon Proposes 14-Mile Pipeline from Vienna to Lordstown, OH

Halcon Resources has been pretty tightfisted when it comes to spending money on leases for drilling–and now, perhaps–for pipelines as well. More than a year ago MDN told you about a landowner group that had formed in the Lordstown, OH area that hoped to negotiate new leases. The landowners were bound under 20-50 year-old leases purchased by Halcon that never envisioned shale drilling. Halcon said they wanted to work with landowners but stopped short of agreeing to renegotiate the leases (see Halcon Resources Responds to Lordstown, OH Landowners Group).

Halcon not only drills wells, they also have a midstream (pipeline) division to connect them. Halcon even stores and ships oil and gas–they’re building a $70 million storage and railroad transloading facility in Lordstown (see Halcon Resources Plans $70M Oil Terminal in Lordstown, OH). As part of the new storage facility, Halcon wants to run a 14-mile pipeline from Vienna to Lordstown. The problem, according to some communities along the route, is that Halcon doesn’t want to pay all that much to install a permanent pipeline…
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