Rhino Dumps the Rest of its Utica Assets in Deal with Gulfport

Oil and gas deals are sometimes complicated–more complicated than we can get our brains around. That’s our disclaimer for this bit of news. In 2012 Rhino Resource Partners, a coal company, decided to get in on some of the shale action in the Utica by investing in a joint venture with Gulfport Energy and Wexford Capital (see Rhino Resource Ups Investment in Utica Shale JV). Rhino doesn’t do any of the exploration, drilling or production. It’s just a partnership granting them a piece of the revenue action in return for investing in the operation. Somewhere along the way Rhino either got cold feet, or (more likely) the company hit a rough patch and needed money, because they sold 20% of their royalty interests in the jv (see Rhino Flips 20% of Utica Investment to Undisclosed 3rd Party). Further supporting our theory the company is cash-strapped, in September last year the company tried to sell 1.1 million of “common units” (equivalent of stock) to generate money to pay back loans (see Rhino Resources Issues 1.1M Common Units to Repay Debt).

Yesterday, as part of Gulfport’s update and also in a separate announcement from Rhino, comes word that Rhino has cut a deal with Gulfport to dump the rest of its interest in the Utica jv to Gulfport for $185 million, raising what appears to be much-needed cash for Rhino. Here’s the twin announcements:
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Rhino Resources Issues 1.1M Common Units to Repay Debt

Rhino Resource Partners is a master limited partnership (MLP) that produces coal in various basins throughout the U.S. They also invest in oil and gas acreage in both the Utica and Cana Woodford shale plays. In April MDN told you that Rhino had decided to “flip” 20% of their Utica royalty interests to an undisclosed third party for $10.5 million (see Rhino Flips 20% of Utica Investment to Undisclosed 3rd Party).

Yesterday Rhino issued another brief press statement–this one stating they are issuing a public offering of 1.1 million shares of common units (rough equivalent of stock). They’re issuing the new units in order to pay off loans they previously borrowed under their revolving line of credit. No word on how much money they hope to raise…
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Rhino Flips 20% of Utica Investment to Undisclosed 3rd Party

Rhino Resource Partners is a master limited partnership (MLP) that produces coal in various basins throughout the U.S. They also invest in oil and gas acreage in both the Utica and Cana Woodford shale plays. MDN previously told you about a joint venture investment made by Rhino with both Gulfport and Wexford Capital in the Utica just last year—investing in 125,000 Utica Shale acres (see Rhino Resource Ups Investment in Utica Shale JV). Rhino has decided to “flip” part of their Utica investment and has sold a 20% portion of their ownership interest to an undisclosed third party.

The very brief and light-on-details Rhino press release from yesterday:

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Gulfport Adds Another 30K Utica Net Acres, Pays $10K/Acre

growing Gulfport Energy announced yesterday they have purchased another 30,000 Utica Shale acres in eastern Ohio for $300 million—or $10,000 per acre. That brings Gulfport’s grand total to 137,000 gross Utica Shale acres (99,000 net acres). Gulfport bought the acreage from its Utica Shale joint venture partner Wexford Capital. Perhaps a better way of phrasing it: Gulfport increased its ownership interest in acreage in which they’ve already invested.

Gulfport and Wexford, along with Rhino Resources, have previously invested in both two and three-way Utica Shale jv’s together (see this MDN story). So far, Gulfport has drilled the top producing wells in Ohio (see this MDN story for the secret to their success).

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Rhino Resource Ups Investment in Utica Shale JV

Rhino Resource Partners produces metallurgical and steam coal in a variety of basins throughout the United States. It also owns oil and gas acreage in the Utica and Cana Woodford plays. Rhino previously invested in an 80,000 Utica Shale acre joint venture with Gulfport Energy and Wexford Capital. Rhino’s investment gives them a 10.8% interest. Since that initial investment, Gulfport and Wexford have continued to buy up Utica Shale acreage and now have leases for 125,000 acres (including the original 80,000). The partners have extended an offer to Rhino to get a piece of the bigger action, which Rhino is doing.

From Rhino’s press release announcing a new deal with Wexford:

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