PA Landowner Says Range Well Didn’t Cause Methane Problem in Water

Range Resources’ Harman Lewis Unit 1H well in Moreland Township, Lycoming County.

Two days ago MDN told you that the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection has once again climbed up on its high horse and is now ordering Range Resources to “fix” a well they claim is leaking methane into the ground, causing nearby water wells and the ground itself to be contaminated (see PA DEP Orders Range to Fix Leaking Gas Well in Lycoming County). Range says the well is not at fault. The landowner whose land where the well is located also says the Range well is not at fault.
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PA DEP Orders Range to Fix Leaking Gas Well in Lycoming County

A long-simmering dispute between the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Range Resources has once again erupted into the public over allegations that a Range well drilled in Lycoming County, PA back in 2011 is leaking methane into the surrounding ground and water supplies. The DEP has, for years, maintained faulty cement casing allows methane to leak, and Range maintains methane was already in the ground/water supply before it drilled the well. Who’s right?
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Range Refinancing $500M in Debt, Writing Down Value of LA Shale

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Yesterday Range Resources issued a couple of press releases detailing a plan to buy back $500 million of outstanding notes (i.e. IOUs) issued in years gone by and due payable in 2021/2022, by generating a new pot of $500 million by issuing new notes payable in 2026. The company also filed an SEC Form 8-K that mentions they will write down the value of their Louisiana shale assets. However, the company says it will not write down the value for their Marcellus/Utica assets.
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IEEFA Report Says Marcellus/Utica Drillers in Financial Trouble

Masquerading as a nonpartisan, independent nonprofit, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) reportedly “conducts research and analyses on financial and economic issues related to energy and the environment.” The Institute’s stated mission is “to accelerate the transition to a diverse, sustainable and profitable energy economy.” In other words, they’re anti-fossil fuels. We spotted an article appearing on OilPrice.com that quotes a new “study” issued by IEEFA. The article opens by saying, “drillers in Appalachia are in particularly bad shape.” Is it true? Is the end near? Is it a shalepocalypse?
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PA AG Continues NatGas Witch Hunt – 2 Dozen DEP Workers Testify

Last week Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro sat down to talk with the editorial board/reporters of the Washington (PA) Observer-Reporter. He refused to confirm or deny he’s actively conducting a witch hunt of the PA Marcellus Shale industry, including trotting dozens of people before a grand jury–even though the media has been reporting on his grand jury fishing expedition since February (see PA AG Continues Marcellus Witch Hunt, Impanels Grand Jury). No worries. None other than the Deputy Secretary of the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (head of the DEP’s Office of Oil and Gas Management) has confirmed he appeared before Shapiro’s witch hunt grand jury.
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Range Resources 3Q – Production Up Slightly, Spending Down

Spending went down, but natural gas production went up slightly (3%) at the very first Marcellus driller, Range Resources, in 3Q19. The company previously forecast it would spend $756 million in 3Q but spent $736 million instead. The savings came “as a result of continued efficiency gains, water savings, and service cost improvements.” The company connected 22 new wells in the Marcellus to production in 3Q19, the same number they connected in 3Q18. Our takeaway: the company is doing more, producing more, with less resources. Getting more efficient.
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Range Sells Another 0.5% Royalty Interest for $150M

In July MDN brought you the news that Range Resources had sold a 2% overriding royalty interest on 350,000 acres “in southwest Appalachia” for $600 million (see Range Resources Sells 2% Royalty Interest + 20K Acres for $634M). Range’s announcement did not identify who, exactly, was the company doing the purchasing. Lime Rock Resources later self-identified as the buyer (see Mystery Solved: Lime Rock Buyer of 2% Royalty Interest in Range). Range has just done it again–sold off another 0.5% (one-half of one percent) of an overriding royalty interest for another $150 million.
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PA DEP Hires Private Lawyers to Defend Against Atty General Probe

Really? Is this what it’s now come to? Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is so desperate to make a criminal case against someone, anyone, in the shale industry, he’s even going after state employees–workers at the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP). In a bid to raise his visibility among state voters (so he can run for governor), Shapiro launched an investigation in January looking for environmental “crimes” committed by Range Resources and other shale drillers (see PA AG Investigates Shale Drillers for “Enviro Crimes”).
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Work at Sunoco’s Marcus Hook Causes Range to Tweak NGL Forecast

Sunoco is performing “optimization work” at the Marcus Hook export terminal this month. Marcus Hook is where two (soon to be three) Mariner East Pipelines terminate, hauling NGLs (propane, ethane, butane) from western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio all the way to the Philadelphia area. At Marcus Hook the NGLs get separated and most (not all, but most) get loaded onto ships for export to other countries. Sunoco needs to upgrade a few things to export even more. They’re shutting down Marcus Hook this month, and that’s a (temporary) problem for the main shipper sending NGLs to the facility–Range Resources.
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PA Fed Judge Won’t Dismiss Landowner Royalty Case Against Range

Last October MDN brought to your attention a lawsuit filed by a Washington County, PA couple, Robin and Thomas Pflasterer, against Range Resources (see Range Resources Sued by PA Landowner re Post-Production Deductions). The Pflasterers maintain Range deducted post-production expenses not allowed under their lease. Range argued the Pflasterers didn’t have the proper paperwork to back up their claims and asked for the case to be dismissed.
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M-U Companies Dominate Top 10 NatGas Producers in 2019

Quick: Which company which recently had a board and upper management shakeup and focuses exclusively on Marcellus/Utica drilling is the #1 natural gas producer in the United States? That’s right, EQT. In a list of the top 40 natgas producers in the U.S. (full list below), it’s striking to note that eight of the top 10 are focused exclusively or primarily on the M-U.
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Range Resources 2Q – Production Up 10% Despite MarkWest Outage

Production for Range Resources was up a healthy 10% year over year in second quarter 2019, according to Range’s 2Q19 update issued late last week. Range produced 2.3 billion cubic feet equivalent per day (Bcfe/d) in 2Q. For the first half of the year Range brought online 39 Marcellus/Utica wells and plans to bring online another 49 wells in the second half of 2019. The company is on track to spend roughly $750 million on drilling in 2019.
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Mystery Solved: Lime Rock Buyer of 2% Royalty Interest in Range

On Monday MDN brought you the news that Range Resources has sold a 2% overriding royalty interest on 350,000 acres “in southwest Appalachia” for $600 million (see Range Resources Sells 2% Royalty Interest + 20K Acres for $634M). Range’s announcement did not identify who, exactly, was the company doing the purchasing. Yesterday Lime Rock Resources, which acquires and operates producing oil and gas wells across the country (as well as investing in others’ programs) self-identified as the buyer.
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Range Resources Sells 2% Royalty Interest + 20K Acres for $634M

On Friday Range Resources, the very first company to sink a Marcellus well back in 2004, announced two deals that will net the company $634 million total. In the first deal, Range sold a 2% overriding royalty interest on 350,000 acres “in southwest Appalachia” for $600 million. In the second deal, Range sold ~20,000 non-producing acres in Armstrong County for $34 million ($1,700/acre).
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