More Info Comes to Light About McClendon’s Last Days/Last Moments

We’ve spotted several new (to us) bits of information about Aubrey McClendon that may have bearing on his state of mind prior to the fiery crash that took his life on Wednesday. We now know who the likely second party was in the Dept. of Justice’s (DOJ) indictment of Aubrey on a single count of conspiracy. As we’ve pointed out from the beginning of the DOJ’s indictment, by definition you can’t have a conspiracy with just one person. You need at least two people. The problem was/is, the DOJ hasn’t indicted anyone else–which made this a witch hunt, not justice. You don’t get to say just one person is guilty in a conspiracy. We also have information about the state of Aubrey’s new business venture–American Energy Partners. It seems he was losing control of all the subsidiary companies spun off from AEP, and that his biggest backer, Energy & Minerals Group, was about to hang Aubrey out to dry. It may have seemed like with the indictment and his new venture slipping away and with old friends turning on him, that Aubrey’s world was closing in. First up, let’s begin our coverage with eyewitness accounts of the crash…
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Ascent Resources/EMG Sues Aubrey McClendon’s Law Firm for Fraud

bad bloodEverybody’s suing everybody. That about sums up the mess created (sadly) by none other than Aubrey McClendon. The subsidiary businesses that were once part of McClendon’s new company, American Energy Partners (AEP), continue to run away from Aubrey as fast as they can. On Monday, Ascent Resources, once called American Energy Appalachia Holdings but separated from the AEP mothership in June (see Big McClendon News: Sells 35K Utica Acres, Creates New Company), sued the law firm representing Aubrey in the “stolen data” case brought by Chesapeake Energy. Yes it’s complicated and it’s a mess. We’ll attempt to sort this all out so it’s understandable…
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EMG Stabs McClendon in the Back re Chesapeake Data Lawsuit

backstabberThis is a strange and complicated tale that boils down to this: Aubrey McClendon has a singular talent for finding and taking money from people who later turn around and stick a knife in his back. You may remember in February the story we brought you that Chesapeake Energy had sued its former co-founder, Aubrey McClendon, claiming he stole data on his way out the door (see Chesapeake Energy Sues McClendon for Taking His Rolodex with Him). McClendon responded that he contractually had every right to take the data he took with him (see McClendon Hires Top PR Firm to Respond to “Stolen Data” Charge). This is where it gets complicated. Aubrey has spun off several companies from his new company American Energy Partners (AEP). For example, one of the companies (named in the Chesapeake lawsuit) is American Energy-Utica, LLC, (AEU), operating in Ohio’s Utica Shale region. A major funding partner for AEU is Energy & Minerals Group (EMG). EMG is, essentially, in charge of AEU. EMG has just cut a deal with Chesapeake, behind Aubrey’s back, to give Chesapeake 6,000 acres of leases in northern Harrison County along with $25 million in extortion, er ah hush money, er ah “damages” thereby removing EMG/AEU from the Chesapeake lawsuit. The lawsuit against Aubrey and mother company AEP will continue–but the child company/EMG investors won’t be part of it. Aubrey is hopping mad because EMG didn’t tell him nor seek his blessing on their deal with Chesapeake…
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MarkWest Signs Up McClendon’s New Company as Utica Customer

Yesterday MarkWest Energy and their partners The Energy & Minerals Group and Ohio Gathering Company announced they’ve signed up Aubrey McClendon’s new company American Energy Partners (AEP) as a major new customer in the Utica Shale. Ohio Gathering will hook up their pipelines to AEP’s drilled Utica wells and pump natural gas and liquids, and MarkWest will process it all. The natural gas part will be processed in MarkWest’s Cadiz complex in Harrison County, OH and its Seneca complex in Noble County, OH. AEP’s NGLs will be fractionated (separated) at MarkWest’s Hopedale complex…
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Summit Midstream Cuts $377M Check for 40% of Ohio Gathering

Ohio Gathering is a midstream (pipelines and processing plants) company operating in the southeastern Ohio area–Harrison, Guernsey, Belmont, Noble and Monroe counties. It is a joint venture owned by MarkWest, EMG and until recently, Gulfport Energy. In January MDN told you that Summit Midstream would be buying Gulfport’s 40% ownership interest (see Summit Midstream Closes Deal to Buy 40% Stake in Ohio Gathering). These things take time with lots of lawyers and due dillgence and enough paperwork to re-paper the walls in a dozen homes. The paperwork is done and Summit has cut the check–a $377 million check that will go into the bank account of MarkWest and EMG…
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Kinder Morgan/MarkWest OH Midstream Projects Advance

In August, Kinder Morgan, MarkWest and The Energy and Minerals Group (EMG) announced a new joint venture on two projects aimed at the Marcellus/Utica Shale region. The first is a a 400 Mmcf/d cryogenic processing plant in Tuscarawas County, OH, and the second a new NGL pipeline from Ohio all the way to the Gulf Coast (see 2 New OH Projects: Cryo Processing Plant & NGL Pipeline to Gulf).

Speaking on an earnings conference call last week, Kinder Morgan CEO Richard Kinder gave a brief update on the two projects. Bottom line, the projects continue to advance, but still no mention of capital expenditure they expect to lay out. (Note: For details on these two KM/MarkWest midstream projects, along with a comprehensive list of 111 midstream infrastructure projects planned for the Marcellus/Utica, see the newly released Volume 2 of the 2013 Marcellus and Utica Shale Databook)…
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Aubrey McClendon Forms Utica Company, Gets Major Investor

Aubrey McClendonAs MDN has said before and will no doubt say again, we believe Chesapeake Energy will rue the day they fired its founder, Aubrey McClendon. Just a few short months after being tossed out the door by board member and corporate raider Carl Icahn, McClendon founded a new company and was already active in Ohio’s Utica Shale (see He’s Baaaack! Aubrey McClendon is Back in OH Shale Country). His new company, with offices about a mile from Chesapeake’s HQ in Oklahoma City, is called American Energy Partners.

Word has leaked once again from “inside sources” that McClendon has now founded a second company, this one specifically set up to target the Utica Shale. The new company is called American Energy Utica and is being backed with big money by a prominent player in the energy space…
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2 New OH Projects: Cryo Processing Plant & NGL Pipeline to Gulf

Looks like the Williams/Boardwalk Bluegrass NGL pipeline is about to get some competition. Yesterday, Kinder Morgan, MarkWest and The Energy and Minerals Group (EMG) announced a new joint venture on two projects aimed at the Marcellus/Utica Shale region. The first project is a 400 Mmcf/d cryogenic processing plant in Tuscarawas County, OH to separate raw natural gas into methane and natural gas liquids (NGLs). The second project is a new NGL pipeline that will, like the Bluegrass, run from Ohio all the way to the Gulf Coast. There’s no mention of how much the partners will invest in the two projects, but we believe it could easily approach $1 billion of new investment in the northeast.

This announcement is great economic news for Ohio (Tuscarawas County in particular), and great economic news for Marcellus/Utica drillers who need extra takeaway capacity for the NGLs they’re currently producing. The press release from Kinder Morgan with details about the two new projects:
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MarkWest Announces Third Processing Plant in Noble County, OH

MarkWest Energy is the biggest midstream company (pipelines and processing plants) in the Marcellus Shale. They’ve also set their sights on becoming the biggest midstream player in the Utica Shale, and they’re well on their way. Yesterday, MarkWest announced their joint venture with EMG, called MarkWest Utica, will build a third cryogenic gas processing plant at its Seneca processing complex in Noble County, Ohio. The new plant, which will add an additional 200 million cubic feet per day of capacity (MMcf/d), is scheduled to be completed in about a year and will service wet gas from Antero Resources’ Utica Shale wells. The first two Seneca plants will be online later this year.

Apparently MarkWest has cleared up any funding issues for building the new plant. Previously the MarkWest Utica jv ran low on money while building the first two Seneca plants and scrambled to get more cash, which they did in February (see MarkWest: We Just Banked $450M from EMG, Another $2.8B Available). Funding problems seem to be behind them now and it’s full speed ahead. Here’s the MarkWest press release which also gives a quick update on their Cadiz processing plant along with a fairly complete list of their customers for all of their Utica processing plants:
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MarkWest: We Just Banked $450M from EMG, Another $2.8B Available

A couple of weeks ago MDN told you the news that MarkWest Energy and Utica Shale joint venture partner EMG had struck a deal to infuse extra cash into their Utica projects which seemed to be running low on money (see Cash Runs Low – MarkWest Floats $150M Loan in Utica Midstream JV). MarkWest issued another press release yesterday to say the deal with EMG is now done, and an extra $450 million will soon be in the bank from EMG to keep the Utica projects going.

Also in yesterday’s announcement, MarkWest says they’ve raised $1.5 billion over the past three months from “debt and equity transactions” including the $450 from EMG; they still have an untapped $1.2 billion line of credit; and they have the ability to issue $600 million in common stock, should they need to (a $3.3 billion pile of cash from all sources). Translation: MarkWest seems to be allaying investor concerns about cash flow problems for their active projects. “No overextension happening here,” seems to be the mantra.

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MarkWest Does Midstream Deal with Rex Energy in Utica Shale

MarkWest Utica, a joint venture between MarkWest and EMG, announced today that they’ve signed up Rex Energy to provide pipeline gathering and processing services for Rex’s Utica Shale wells. Yesterday MDN told you about Rex’s big plans for the Marcellus and Utica Shale region (see Rex Energy Plans to Invest $200M on Marcellus/Utica Drilling in 2013). If you do a lot of new drilling, you’re going to need a way to get the gas to market. That’s what this deal does.

MarkWest says when their construction is done in 2014 they will have the largest processing and fractionation capacity in the entire Utica Shale. Here’s today’s announcement about their deal with Rex:

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MarkWest/EMG Finalize Deal with Gulfport Energy in OH Utica

MarkWest’s joint venture with EMG, called MarkWest Utica, has finalized their deal with Gulfport Energy to provide midstream infrastructure services (pipelines and gas processing) in Harrison, Guernsey and Belmont counties in Ohio. The deal was initially announced in early March (see this MDN story). No word on the price tag for the deal.

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New MarkWest Deal to Develop Infrastructure in OH Utica Shale

A joint venture between MarkWest Energy and The Energy and Minerals Group (EMG), called MarkWest Utica EMG, has just signed a deal with Gulfport Energy to build new gathering pipelines for Utica wells in Harrison, Guernsey and Belmont counties (Ohio). The deal also includes MarkWest Utica processing the gas produced by Gulfport, including natural gas liquids, at its Harrison County processing complex.

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MarkWest Pays $1.8B to Buy Out JV Partner in Liberty Midstream

MarkWest Energy announced yesterday it will pay $1 billion in cash and 19.95 million new Class B MarkWest units (worth an estimated $750 million to $850 million) to buy out joint venture partner Energy and Minerals Group’s (EMG) 49 percent interest in MarkWest Liberty Midstream. The Liberty Midstream joint venture was formed in May 2009 to focus on construction and operation of midstream services in support of Marcellus shale gas production, including pipelines to gather natural gas, facilities to process it, and transportation to get it to market.

Although MarkWest is buying out EMG’s interest in the Liberty joint venture, the two companies will create a new Utica Shale midstream joint venture in eastern Ohio in 2012 as part of the deal.

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