Shell Stops Adding Workers at Cracker Site After New Virus Cases

When the COVID-19 coronavirus hit, Shell stopped all work on its mighty cracker plant in Beaver County, PA, sending nearly 8,000 workers home in mid-March for what was thought to be “a few days to a few weeks” (see Shell Shuts Down SWPA Cracker Plant Construction re COVID-1). In early May Shell began bringing back 300 workers each week. Roughly 3,500 work on-site now. Because of a spike in new coronavirus cases among workers, Shell has temporarily stopped adding back new workers.
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Is Cabot O&G Sniffing Around Chesapeake Energy’s Shale Assets?

A warning right up front: This post is speculation and rumor. As you know if you’ve read MDN (or any other media source covering oil and gas in the past two weeks), on June 28 Chesapeake Energy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy (see Chesapeake Files for Bankruptcy – Debtors to Take Ownership). With something like $11 billion in outstanding debt and a market value of just over $100 million (a tiny fraction of the debt), it’s obvious debtors will take over the company. What happens then? We spotted a rumor that Cabot Oil & Gas may be interested in a purchase.
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Revisiting the PA AG Royalty Case Against Chesapeake Energy

It’s time to revisit a long-festering royalty lawsuit against Chesapeake Energy and Anadarko Petroleum filed by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office. The case has been through several layers of courts and finally ended up at the PA Supreme Court last fall (see PA Supremes to Consider Long-Running Chesapeake Royalty Lawsuit). The lawsuit hinges on the answer to this question: Are landowners/royalty owners the buyers or the sellers in cases of royalty leases?
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OH Landowners Sue Rice, Ascent, XTO, Gulfport for Drilling Too Deep

Do you remember the child’s game called “Simon Says”? That’s what we were thinking when we read about a lawsuit in Ohio by landowners against a group of shale drillers. The lawsuit, initiated by several landowners in Belmont County, OH, claims the drillers drilled too deep–into the Point Pleasant rock layer–when the leases signed only mention the Utica rock layer. The lawsuit, which is seeking class action status, claims “unjust enrichment” by the drillers.
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Former EV Energy Partners Sells Appalachian Assets for $20.5M

In June 2018, EV Energy Partners (EVEP), the drilling subsidiary of EnerVest, emerged from bankruptcy court a mere two months after entering with $355 million of debt erased and sporting a new name: Harvest Oil & Gas Corp. (see EV Energy Partners Emerges from Bankruptcy with New Name). Harvest’s drilling and assets are focused in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia where they own/operate 9,787 conventional wells on 916,832 gross leased acres. The company announced yesterday it’s selling off its Appalachian assets for $20.5 million (and no, that’s not a typo).
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Marcellus Shale Development (MDS) Floats $150M in New Units

A small Marcellus-focused drilling company based in western Pennsylvania is once again looking for investors. MDS Energy was established in 2005 by Michael D. Snyder. By 2006 the company offered its first investment partnership. Drilling companies today are as much about investments and finance as they are about sinking holes in the ground. MDS quickly grew and in 2007 founded a sister company to concentrate on oilfield services (drilling, construction, etc.) called First Class Energy. First Class has gone on to drill over 1,000 wells, mostly for MDS competitors since MDS itself has not drilled all that many wells–as of the end of 2017 (going by our Marcellus & Utica Shale Upstream Almanac) MDS had eight permits and had drilled four wells–all in Armstrong County, PA.
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Northeast Natural Energy Settles $7.9M Lawsuit with PA Landowners

Last November MDN told you that Northeast Natural Energy, a small-to-midsized driller headquartered in Morgantown, WV, had lost an arbitration battle and owed a group of landowners in central Pennsylvania $7.9 million in payments for NOT drilling on their land (see Fed Judge: Northeast Natural Energy Owes $7.9M to PA Landowners). NNE continued to fight the arbitrated settlement–until Monday. Apparently both sides have agreed on a new settlement.
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Why Chesapeake Likely Won’t be Able to Cancel Pipe Contracts

On Sunday, June 28, Chesapeake Energy, with major operations in the northeast Pennsylvania Marcellus, filed for bankruptcy (see Chesapeake Files for Bankruptcy – Debtors to Take Ownership). As part of the filing, the company asked the bankruptcy court to allow it to break existing, legal, enforceable contracts with several pipeline companies (see Chesapeake Asks Court to Break Pipeline Contracts, Including M-U). The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is saying “not so fast, you need our blessing first” before those contracts can be altered.
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Chesapeake Bankruptcy Puts PA Landowner Royalty Lawsuits on Hold

On Sunday a week ago (June 28) Chesapeake Energy filed for bankruptcy (see Chesapeake Files for Bankruptcy – Debtors to Take Ownership). As part of the filing, the company asked the bankruptcy court to allow it to break existing, legal, enforceable contracts with pipeline companies (see Chesapeake Asks Court to Break Pipeline Contracts, Including M-U). We’re just now learning the company’s filing also puts on hold lawsuits brought by landowners against it over Chessy’s royalty shenanigans. The cases on hold include a case brought by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office argued before the PA Supreme Court in May (see PA Supremes Hear Oral Arguments in Can of Worms Royalty Lawsuit).
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Chesapeake Sues FERC in Bid to Break Pipeline Contracts

Earlier this week MDN brought you the news that Chesapeake Energy is asking a bankruptcy court in Texas for permission to break valid and legal contracts with several pipeline companies as part of its financial reorganization plan (see Chesapeake Asks Court to Break Pipeline Contracts, Including M-U). Just coming to light (for us) is that as part of the bankruptcy filing, Chessy is challenging (suing) the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to prevent FERC from making Chessy live up to its contractual agreements.
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Epsilon Energy Buys Back 2.3M Shares of Common Stock

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Epsilon Energy concentrates most of its effort on the Marcellus in Susquehanna County, PA. Epsilon doesn’t actually do any of its own drilling. The company partners with (gives money to) other companies, like Chesapeake Energy, and the other companies do the actual drilling. Epsilon, according to its website, owns ~4,000 net acres in the PA Marcellus. They also own assets in Oklahoma’s Anadarko Basin. In May Epsilon offered to buy back up to 2 million shares of common stock from stockholders (see Epsilon Energy Offers to Buy Back 2M Shares of Common Stock). The company ended up buying back 2.3 million shares.
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Chesapeake Asks Court to Break Pipeline Contracts, Including M-U

We’ll try not to sound arrogant, but once again *only* MDN nailed it–which is why you subscribe, right? Yesterday we brought you the news that Chesapeake Energy has finally filed for bankruptcy (see Chesapeake Files for Bankruptcy – Debtors to Take Ownership). In our opening paragraph, we told pipeline companies according to the language we read in the press release, that Chessy is “looking to break existing contracts, using the bankruptcy filing as an excuse.” And guess what? That is exactly what happened, including a request to break a contract with Crestwood’s Stagecoach Pipeline in the Marcellus/Utica.
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Chesapeake Files for Bankruptcy – Debtors to Take Ownership

We’ve told you for months to expect it. Yesterday (on Sunday) Chesapeake Energy finally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after lining up a $925 million loan to keep the doors open, the lights on, and the drill bits chewing away. Pipeline companies (and other vendors) that have contracts with the company should be concerned. The opening paragraph of Chessy’s press release says, “Chesapeake intends to use the proceedings to strengthen its balance sheet and restructure its legacy contractual obligations to achieve a more sustainable capital structure.” That means they’re looking to break existing contracts, using the bankruptcy filing as an excuse.
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EQT Issues $1.3 Million in Scholarships, Grants to Non-Profits

EQT Corporation, the largest natural gas-producing company in the U.S., is also a very generous company. Through its EQT Foundation charitable giving arm, EQT recently distributed $500,000 in grants to nonprofit organizations and programs in southwestern Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, and northern West Virginia–regions where the company operates. In addition, EQT has given out more than $500,000 in scholarships to high school seniors looking for a career in the oil and gas industry, and another $360,000 in COVID-19-related relief grants to community foundations and food banks.
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Joe Biden Signals He’ll Block of All New Pipelines, LNG Plants

We feel as though we keep talking to an empty room. That nobody is hearing, or if people are hearing, they don’t believe what we say when we tell you that Joe Biden and the people surrounding him are promising the total destruction of the fossil fuel industry in the U.S.A.–if he gets elected. All you have to do is listen to what he says! We’re not exaggerating nor overstating the case. If you work for the oil and gas industry, if you sell to the industry, if you care about freedom, you simply cannot vote for Joe Biden for President. To do so is to vote for the destruction of our country as we know it. The stakes are that high! Biden is signaling loud and clear his intent to block all new pipeline and LNG projects if he gets elected.
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