Statoil Sells Another 11.5K WV Marcellus Acres to Antero for $96M

StatoilNorwegian oil giant Statoil, which is 67% owned by the country of Norway, was an early and big mover in leasing Marcellus and Utica Shale acreage, amassing a huge 665,000 acres. Over the past few years Statoil has been equally aggressive in divesting itself of its non-operated acreage (Statoil doesn’t do the drilling) in the northeast–in particular in West Virginia. This is about to get complicated, but we’ll try to make it understandable. A lot of Statoil’s acreage is in joint venture deals. In December 2014, Statoil sold some of its “working interest” in the Marcellus acreage it owns in WV and PA to Southwestern Energy for $394 million (see Statoil Reduces Marcellus Holdings in $394M Deal with Southwestern). The deal reduced Statoil’s ownership in its WV acreage from 32.5% down to 23%. In June of this year, Antero Resources purchased some of that WV acreage from Southwestern (see Antero Takes Southwestern to Cleaners in Deal for 55K Marc. Acres). Antero snapped up even more in the same geography in July (see Antero Resources Picks Up Another 13K Marcellus Acres for $108M). Yesterday Statoil announced it is selling more (the rest of?) its ownership in non-operated WV Marcellus acreage to Antero–some 11,500 net acres–for $96 million in cash. That is, Antero continues to consolidate and take full ownership over Marcellus acreage in WV–primarily in Wetzel, Tyler and Doddridge counties…
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Statoil Completes Sale of WV Marcellus Assets to EQT

StatoilIn May MDN told you that EQT, a major Marcellus (and Utica) driller based in Pittsburgh, had cut a deal to purchase all of Norwegian Statoil’s Marcellus assets in West Virginia (see EQT Buying 62.5K “Core” WV Marcellus Acres from Statoil for $407M). The deal gives EQT another 62,500 net acres and 50 million cubic feet per day (50 Mcf/d) of natgas production for $407 million. The acreage is located in Wetzel, Tyler and Harrison counties in WV. The deal includes 31 Marcellus wells and ~500 drilling locations. It bumps up EQT’s available drilling locations by a big 29% and shows the company’s continued commitment to the mighty Marcellus Shale. Statoil reports the deal closed last Friday…
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Statoil Wants Millions in Refunds from Tax Overpayments in WV

StatoilStatoil, based in Norway, is a big player in the West Virginia Marcellus Shale. Statoil paid property taxes to Marshall County, WV in 2015 and later found, during an audit/review, that they had overpaid the county by some $300,000. Ouch. So Statoil politely asked for their money back. Marshall County has said “nei.” The WV Tax Department argues that Statoil “acted negligently” and exercised “poor judgment” in not finding the mistake sooner. At least that’s how we read it. So Marshall and WV intend to keep the overpayment. Apparently Marshall isn’t the only county where Statoil says it overpaid on taxes. The company is also seeking refunds in Wetzel, Ohio and Brooke counties as well…
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EQT, Rice Energy Deals Show Price per Acre for Leases Still High

money-bag.jpgYesterday MDN brought you the news that EQT has cut a deal to buy all of Norwegian Statoil’s operated Marcellus assets in West Virginia for $407 million (see EQT Buying 62.5K “Core” WV Marcellus Acres from Statoil for $407M). One of MDN’s favorite energy analysts, Richard Zeits, writing on the Seeking Alpha website, does a close examination of the deal. We have a portion of this thoughts below. As part of Zeits’ deep dive on this deal, he takes a side road and compares how much EQT is paying per acre in this deal with the recently announced Rice Energy deal to purchase the Marcellus assets of bankrupt coal company Alpha Natural Resources (see Rice Energy Offers Bankrupt ANR $200M for Marcellus/Utica Assets). Zeits finds the per-acre price being paid by EQT is less than the Rice deal. But the real eye-opener is that the prices each are paying is still quite high–perhaps an indication that once unleased or expired lease acreage heats up again, prices will remain high…
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EQT Buying 62.5K “Core” WV Marcellus Acres from Statoil for $407M

EQT logoEQT, a major Marcellus (and Utica) driller based in Pittsburgh, announced yesterday it has cut a deal to purchase all of Norwegian Statoil’s Marcellus assets in West Virginia. The deal will give EQT another 62,500 net acres and 50 million cubic feet per day (50 Mcf/d) of natgas production for $407 million. The acreage is located in Wetzel, Tyler and Harrison counties in WV. The deal includes 31 Marcellus wells and ~500 drilling locations. It bumps up EQT’s available drilling locations by a big 29% and shows the company’s continued commitment to the mighty Marcellus Shale. How will they finance it? EQT released another announcement yesterday that says they are floating 10.5 million shares of new stock, hoping to get $67 per share for a total of $700 million for this deal and for “other potential acquisitions and for general corporate purposes.” Statoil is retaining ownership of its shale assets in Ohio and (for now) it’s non-operated Marcellus assets–i.e. joint venture deals where Statoil owns a portion of the lease but doesn’t do the drilling…
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Statoil Accident Gift that Keeps Giving, $100K for OH Firefighters

StatoilPlease bow your head in a moment of silence for the 70,000 fallen. Who? More like what. In June 2014 crews were working to frack a Utica Shale well at a Statoil drill pad in Monroe County, OH when hydraulic tubing (not to be confused with fracking) from some of the equipment caught fire. The fire quickly spread to 20 trucks lined up at the pad, burning the trucks (some of them exploding) and creating thick, black smoke that billowed for hours (see Statoil Frack Trucks Catch Fire in Monroe County, OH). Unfortunately fluids from the well pad escaped containment and made their way to a local creek and killed some fish, crayfish, frogs and other aquatic critters. Hence the moment of silence for the fallen. Statoil paid for the accident, to the tune of $223,000 (see Statoil Fined $223K for 2014 Monroe County, OH Well Pad Fire). The Ohio EPA fined Statoil $41,000 for the roughly 70,000 fish and other critters that died after chemicals ran off the well pad and into a nearby creek, and about $132,000 for contaminating the water. Except that wasn’t the end. Now comes word that Statoil has agreed to give Monroe County Firefighters Association $100,000 to compensate emergency responders for their work during the event. This is the accident that just keeps on giving–giving Statoil’s money to other people…
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4 People Win GE/Statoil Contest to Reduce Water Used in Shale

GE and Norwegian oil giant Statoil today announced four winners of their Open Innovation Challenge, a contest designed to use crowd sourcing to find solutions that reduce fresh water use in shale oil and gas production. There of the winners are in the United States, and one is from Australia. Each winner gets a cash prize of $25,000 with the promise of future funding for their technology. Here’s the cool new technologies that won this year’s contest…
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10 Sell-Out Big Oil Companies Support Paris Global Warming Treaty

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Eight CEOs from the Gang of 10

In a repugnant and self-serving public relations stunt, the CEOs for 10 of the world’s largest oil and gas companies are pushing for “an effective climate change agreement to be reached at next month’s 21st session of the United Nations (UN) Conference of Parties to the UN Framework on Climate Change (COP21)” at the meeting being held in Paris in early December. That is, they’re pretending they believe in the total hoax that mankind is causing global warming and therefore all of the nations of the earth, including the United States, should give up their sovereignty to achieve something they have no control over–whether or not global average temps go up more than 2 degrees Celsius by the end of this century. Conveniently, most of us won’t be alive to see whether or not that ever happens. Fortunately none of the big oil companies signing this asinine statement are U.S.-based companies, although they all have serious (and large) operations in the U.S. Who are the Gang of 10?…
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Statoil Fined $223K for 2014 Monroe County, OH Well Pad Fire

pay fines here signOn June 28, 2014 a fire at Statoil’s Eisenbarth eight-well pad in Monroe County, OH quickly spread and engulfed some 20 trucks on the pad site, along with other equipment, chemicals and supplies stored at the site. It was a devastating fire (see Statoil Frack Trucks Catch Fire in Monroe County, OH). Local, state and even federal agencies quickly responded to the incident and fortunately no one was injured. However, fluids from the well pad escaped containment and made their way to a local creek and killed some fish. Turns out the entire incident was pretty pricey for Statoil. More than a year later the numbers are in and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency along with the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources have assessed a $223,000 fine for the incident. Statoil can resume fracking after it pays the fine…
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GE/Statoil Announce Winners of Sand-Alternatives Contest

Quick–what two things do you need in abundance in order to horizontally drill and frack a well? Yep–water and sand. The two together make up 99.5% of what goes down the borehole to drill and frack a shale well. Water is used to fracture or break open the rock and deliver the sand, which is called a proppant because some of it stays behind and “props open” the fractures in the rock, allowing gas and oil to escape into the borehole. The vast majority of truck trips to a well pad are to deliver water and sand. GE and Norwegian giant Statoil have teamed up to run an “Open Invitation Challenge” which is a contest for technology innovators to propose alternatives to water and sand, to reduce the amount of each and therefore reduce truck trips to and from well pads. The results are in for the sand challenge and five winners will each take home a check for $25,000. The winners have some fascinating technologies and if they meet certain other criteria are eligible for more money to develop and commercialize their technologies. And what are some of these interesting bits of tech? How about a polymer that swells to 10 times its initial size when liquid is added. Or a ceramic proppant that’s shapped in the form of an X acting like a tiny steel girder to keep rock fractures propped open. This is truly creative and potentially industry changing stuff…
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Goldman: Cabot O&G, Range Resources Among Top Takeover Targets

bigger fish smaller fishWith all of this talk about CONSOL Energy and Noble Energy and mergers/acquisitions and workforce reductions, we came across an interesting story and analysis by SNL Financial summarizing a Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research report issued last Friday. The Goldman report evaluates 38 exploration and production (E&P) companies on their suitability and desirability as mergers and acquisitions candidates based on asset quality, potential upside returns to the buyer as oil and gas prices improve, and low break-even operations. That is, of all the E&Ps out there, which ones are most likely to be targeted for a takeover, and by whom? The surprising answer is that Cabot Oil & Gas and Range Resources, both huge Marcellus drillers, are among the takeover targets. And the super majors interested in doing the taking over? Exxon Mobil and Statoil
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Big European Oil Companies Want UN to Slap Carbon Tax on U.S.

The Europeans are sometimes, well, stupid. How else can you explain six large oil companies–BG Group, BP, Eni, Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil and Total–buying into the tax scheme called carbon credits? The six sent a letter (copy below) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) begging the UN to introduce carbon pricing systems and “create clear, stable, ambitious policy frameworks that could eventually connect national systems” that would “reduce uncertainty and encourage the most cost effective ways of reducing carbon emissions widely.” This is madness. Create laws that supersede each country’s sovereignty and impose a worldwide tax on carbon–the stuff you breathe out with every breath–as some sort of solution for the imaginary problem of man-made global warming? If the UN does such a thing, it will spell the end of the companies sending the letter! What do you call a company trying to commit economic suicide? Do the investors of these six companies know the heads of those companies are trying to destroy the company and their investments along with it? No wonder Europe is in decline…
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Statoil Cuts Deal to Drill Under 474 Acres of the Ohio River in WV

VikingsThe Vikings are Coming! Er, well, at least the Norwegians are. And they’re not coming to conquer but to drill–underneath the Ohio River in West Virginia on the border of Marshall and Wetzel counties. The West Virginia Department of Commerce has cut a deal with Norway-based Statoil which allows the company to drill and frack for oil and natural gas on 474 acres thousands of feet beneath the Ohio River. What are the lease terms? An average price of $8,732 per acre with 20 percent production royalties. That translates into a signing bonus of $4.14 million. And that’s not all. WV is near to signing a deal with Noble Energy and Gastar Exploration on two other Ohio River tracts that will provide lease bonuses of $4.9 million and $749,000 (respectively) along with 20% royalties…
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List of World’s 21 Biggest Oil & Gas Companies

Over the past decade, from 2004 to 2014, something happened: the miracle of hydraulic fracturing. Because of fracking, the world now pumps more oil than it did a decade ago. During the past decade the price for a barrel of oil went sky high. Now, according to the popular narrative of the day, the price of oil has “collapsed” because we’re swimming in “too much oil.” Who woulda thunk? (Side note: the price for a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude in 2004 was $41.50. Today? About $43. So much for a price “collapse”–it’s more like a “price maintenance.”) For a while some people, like the now thoroughly discredited Art Berman, peddled the “peak oil” theory–that the world was running out of oil and would soon be paying $200 a barrel or more (see Peak Oil Theorist Art Berman Says Shale Gas is Peaking Too). So much for those theories. A decade ago the world was pumping 64.1 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd)–that is, oil and the energy equivalent in natural gas. Today? The world is pumping 80.4 million boepd. So who are the world’s 21 largest oil and gas producing companies? We have the list below…
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Who’s Still Leasing Land and Where in WV?

Who’s leasing land for drilling–and where? Perhaps the bigger question is, are drillers still leasing land?! The answer to that would be a resounding “yes, they are still leasing.” We don’t have a comprehensive overview of where people are leasing, but we spotted a list of leases filed with the clerk in Wetzel County, WV and found it interesting. Here’s who leased, how much acreage, and which energy company they signed with (sorry, no lease terms with signing bonuses and royalties, just acreage & driller)…
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More Bids to Drill Under WV State-Owned Land, Incl Ohio River

West Virginia keeps up its aggressive push to lease and allow drilling under state-owned land–both under the Ohio River and under other tracts of state-owned land in prime Marcellus/Utica country. Last Friday the state Dept. of Commerce, responsible for overseeing the leasing program, opened its latest round of bids. Some of them are truly eye-popping. You may recall Antero Resources has paid $12,000 per acre (with 20% royalties) to drill under 518 acres of the Conaway Run Wildlife Management Area (see Record High Bid to Drill Under Bambi’s Home in Tyler County, WV). In the bids opened Friday, Jay Bee bid an even higher price to drill under the Jug Wildlife Management Area, also in Tyler County…
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