Shale Gas Drillers in M-U Outshine Shale Oil Drillers Elsewhere

An article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal says there is a “split reality” emerging for U.S. shale drillers. Shale oil drillers are struggling to survive, while shale gas drillers, particularly in the Marcellus/Utica, are slowly seeing signs of financial recovery. The upshot is that you should consider investing in shale gas drillers (and not shale oil drillers).
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Weekly Shale Drilling Permits for PA, OH, WV: Oct. 26-30

Last week Pennsylvania issued 16 new shale well drilling permits, and West Virginia issued 7 new shale well permits. Ohio issued no new shale permits last week.
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Range 3Q: $680M Loss, Shut-in Marcellus Prod, M&A Possibility?

Range Resources issued its third-quarter 2020 update on Friday. The company, the very first driller to sink a well in the Marcellus, lost $680 million in 3Q. Most of the loss was a one-time charge called “exit and termination” related to the company’s sale of their Louisiana Haynesville Shale assets in August. The update didn’t state how many new wells were drilled in the Marcellus, but it does say Range connected 19 new wells to sales in 3Q with plans to add another 7 wells to sales by the end of the year.
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Range Resources Goes Virtual with Rig Tours

Range Resources is the company that started it all in the Marcellus by drilling the very first Marcellus Shale gas well back in 2004. Range also was the first to drill in the Upper Devonian and Utica layers. Over the years Range, like many other M-U drillers, has invited folks to go on tours of their drilling sites. If you’ve never been on a rig tour, take one! At least, when they begin again. Due to the coronavirus, Range, like other drillers, stopped in-person rig tours. However, Range now conducts virtual (live) rig tours instead.
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Weekly Shale Drilling Permits for PA, OH, WV: Oct. 5-9

Only Pennsylvania issued permits to drill new shale wells last week in the Appalachian region. Neither Ohio nor West Virginia issued any new drilling permits from Oct. 5-9. In PA, some 20 permits were issued in both the northeast and southwest parts of the state.
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Marcellus/Utica Driller Stock Prices Trend Up with NatGas Price

We spotted a couple of stories, one in Barron’s the other in the Wall Street Journal, about the pickup in the futures price of natural gas over the past week, and how those recent gains have led to impressive gains in the share price for Marcellus/Utica drillers. Yesterday the NYMEX Henry Hub futures price closed up 4.11% to $2.74/Mcf. The rising tide lifts all boats.
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Range Signs Deal to be Main Ethane Supplier for PTT Ohio Cracker

Earlier this week we brought you a post exploring whether or not PTT Global Chemical will, in the end, actually build a $10 billion ethane cracker plant in Belmont County, Ohio (see Is PTT Going to Build a Cracker in Belmont County, OH…or Not?). Yesterday gave us one more strong signal for the “yes they will build it” column.
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Weekly Shale Drilling Permits for PA, OH, WV: Sep 14-18

Last week Ohio finally broke the drought of not issuing permits for new shale wells in the Buckeye State. Finally! Last week Pennsylvania issued 13 new permits for wells on three well pads. Ohio issued 4 new permits for wells on two well pads. And West Virginia issued 1 new permit.
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M-U Drillers Prominently Featured at DOE Virtual NatGas Summit

Richard Weber, CEO of PennEnergy

Yesterday the U.S. Dept. of Energy hosted a virtual 2020 Natural Gas Summit in Washington, D.C. DOE Secretary Dan Brouillette and Director of the White House National Economic Council Larry Kudlow were the two hosts and speaker/moderators. However, at least two prominent Marcellus/Utica driller CEOs participated, including Richard Weber from PennEnergy Resources and Jeff Ventura from Range Resources. Their message? We need more pipelines!
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Weekly Shale Drilling Permits for PA, OH, WV: Sep 7-11

For the third week in a row, both Pennsylvania and West Virginia issued permits to drill new shale wells last week, and Ohio did not. What’s up with Ohio? PA issued 13 new permits for wells on five well pads. WV issued 2 new permits on two different pads. PA’s new permits skewed toward the southwestern part of the state with 11 of the 13 permits issued (two in Bradford County in the northeast). The WV permits were both issued in Marshall County, located in the northern panhandle of the state.
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Range Resources Aims to be 1st O&G Company to Hit Net-Zero Carbon

Range Resources issued its annual Corporate Sustainability Report (CSR) this morning (full copy below). The report lays out the company’s performance on key issues. It also sets so-called greenhouse gas reduction targets. Of particular note, Range has set a target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2025. If they do, they would be the first oil and gas company to achieve a net-zero threshold by 2025–less than five years from now.
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Range Res. Sells $300M in New Notes, Buys Back $400M Old Notes

Range Resources is running up the debt tab. In January the company issued $550 million in new notes (debt, IOUs) which they used to turn around and pay down older notes (see Range Refinancing $500M in Debt, Writing Down Value of LA Shale). Yesterday Range said it is issuing another $300 million in new notes. The company is using the money to help pay off $400 million in older notes.
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Range Resources Lays Off 40 Employees in Pittsburgh & Fort Worth

Most of the layoffs during this particularly brutal (and historic) downturn in the oil and gas market have taken place in oilfield services companies like Halliburton, Baker Hughes and Sclumberger. But exploration & production companies are not immune. Chevron is laying off workers in their Marcellus/Utica operation because the company is selling all of its Appalachian assets and leaving the region (see Chevron Cutting 320 Jobs in Marcellus/Utica Beginning April 6th and Chevron Cuts Another 80 Jobs in M-U; Still Looking for Buyer). Another M-U driller is also laying off personnel–Range Resources.
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Range Sells Haynesville Assets to Japan for “Pennies on the Dollar”

Range Resources has cut a deal to sell its Haynesville Shale assets (220,000 acres plus the wells they’ve drilled since buying those assets) to Castleton Resources, a privately owned company majority-owned by Tokyo Gas, for $245 million (plus an extra $90 million, maybe, contingent on the price of gas). Range bought those assets in 2016 for $4.4 billion (see Range Resources Buys Louisiana Driller in Deal Worth $4.4B). Yeah, Range just took a bath, selling their Haynesville assets for pennies on the dollar…
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Investors Love M-U Companies, Even Though Gas Price is Low

How does one make money in the natural gas market these days when the price of gas is at historic lows? One way is if an investor was fortunate enough to bet the price would go down. Those folks made money. The other way is to…invest in drillers? Yep. Even though low prices hurt drillers, investors still like the looks of what is on the horizon, especially for companies operating in the Marcellus/Utica. Example: The stock price for Range Resources and EQT is up over 30% each this year so far.
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