MDN friend Charlie Schliebs, managing director of Stone Pier Capital Advisors in Pittsburgh, sent along a copy of his firm’s latest newsletter yesterday. In it, Charlie has penned a superb article about the PA Gov. Tom Wolf administration’s current disaster with respect to the state budget (and Wolf’s demand for a high severance tax). As MDN reported yesterday, Wolf did something no governor has done for 40 years–he vetoed the entire budget (see PA’s Partisan Gov Wolf Vetoes No-Severance-Tax State Budget). Let’s put Wolf’s veto in perspective. He turned down, wholesale, a balanced budget that raises education funding (for the chil’ren) all while holding the line on tax increases. Instead, Wolf chose to shut down the PA state government. Why? Because he wants a nosebleed high tax on Marcellus Shale drillers to transfer their hard-earned money over to teachers’ unions. It’s sick. Charlie is more of a diplomat than we are and uses nicer words, but make no mistake, he has an iron fist in his velvet editorial glove when it comes to “The Political Disaster that is Gov. Wolf’s PA Severance Tax Proposal”… Continue reading
MDN reader Eric Fenster, who lives in the Piedmont Lake area of Ohio, wrote to take issue with MDN’s “take” on the lawsuit brought by Gulfport Energy against Barnesville for breach of contract in selling them water for use in drilling and fracking (see Barnesville Officials “Didn’t Think” When Signing Gulfport Water Deal). Mr. Fenster believes MDN has it mostly wrong and that the Gulfport lawsuit is frivolous and should be dismissed. He outlines his thinking in the following guest post… Continue reading
Yesterday MDN ran a story from NGI’s Daily Gas Price Index that delves into the motivation behind the intense opposition to pipeline projects in the northeast (see Why Such Intense Opposition to Pipelines in the Northeast?). Rick Groll, a geologist and industrial seismologist living and working in the Boston area, has some of his own observations on the motives of his fellow New Englanders. What makes these anti-pipeliners tick? Rick offers us some insight in this guest post… Continue reading
Last week MDN told you about possibility that a rock layer some 20,000 feet below the surface may one day be an important player in natural gas and oil for the northeast (see Trenton-Black River: New Natgas Rock Layer in Your Future?). As part of that story, we wrote the following: “Landowners listen up. When you lease, ALWAYS specify the layer(s) in the lease that you will allow an energy company to drill. That way, in future years when yet other layers are “discovered” to have natural gas or oil deposits, you can re-lease for the new layer. Energy companies will understandably want to negotiate a lease for all layers. Landowners (and their lawyers) need to watch for and construct leases that favor the landowner. A word to the wise…” An MDN subscriber wrote us to take issue with that statement, to point out potential weaknesses in our argument. We are happy (with permission) to bring you the following guest post from Paul David Burke, VP & General Counsel for Huntley & Huntley, Inc… Continue reading
Ack is back! MDN is pleased to bring you another guest post from our very good friend Chris Acker. Chris is a geological engineer with an MBA. He grew up in the oil fields of Venezuela where his father, a petroleum engineer, was a drilling contractor for all the major players, onshore and off. Chris’ interest in energy economics and policy found him working for Exxon, Petroleum Industry Research Associates and Petroleos de Venezuela. He bought a parcel of land in the PA countryside twenty-five years ago and later semi-retired to work on antique pianos (see www.PianoGrands.com). A few years ago, it was established that Chris’ property in Susquehanna County sits atop one of the Marcellus shale’s most prolific areas. He is now happily engaged once again in energy economics, with emphasis, naturally, on gas. In this post Chris gives us the lowdown on what every landowner with a well sooner or later wants to know: How fast will production from my well peter out? It’s called a “decline curve” and Chris gives us a great understanding of the fundamentals… Continue reading
Last week MDN was contacted by Robert Magyar, Managing Director at Navitus Strategies, to offer a guest viewpoint to run on MDN. We occasionally post guest articles and agreed to post Bob’s article (below). His article takes a look at Chesapeake Energy and offers the view that although Chesapeake has laid off more than a thousand people and sold off (and continues to sell off) key assets, the company is still financially unhealthy. Bob offers his reasons why (mostly from hedging agreements). He also highlights the recent and ongoing problems Chessy has with royalty payments in Pennsylvania.
In our email correspondence Bob says, “we need natural gas” and that he is not anti-drilling by any stretch. However, we would note for the record that his company, Navitus, works on alternative energy projects–primarily solar–and so it seems in his own best interests to knock the shale industry (and one of it’s most prominent players) around just a bit. With that as a preface, here is Bob’s article on Chessy “continuing to grind down,” which first appeared on the freelance article website Examiner.com: Continue reading
Before Pennsylvanians head to the polls in November to elect a new governor and new legislators, they may want to consider the consequences of installing Democrats to re-assume power in the state. Specifically, Democrats have vowed to slap an ongoing moratorium–essentially a ban–on Marcellus Shale drilling should they regain control. MDN has been one of the few places in the media to even cover this story, and we’ve called it just what it is: economic insanity (see PA Democrat Party Votes to End Marcellus Shale Drilling Statewide).
MDN friend and contributor Chris Acker, a Pennsylvania property owner and geological engineer with an MBA, does a deep dive into the issue to explore what would happen should PA slap a moratorium on new shale drilling. Hint: It’s like experiencing someone’s worst nightmare… Continue reading
Not only are the crazies marching in Maryland (see today’s story Maryland Anti-Fracking “Madness” Continues – Crazies on the March), they’re also about to descend on Albany, NY. MDN friend and occasional guest blogger Vic Furman, a retired IBMer and one of the leaders of the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, provided the article below pointing out the hypocrisy of those who oppose shale drilling. Vic says that in nine days when anti-drilling protesters arrive in Albany (many from out of state), they will do so because natural gas and oil from shale drilling made it possible for them to be there.
Take time to read Vic’s post and consider the salient points he makes: Continue reading
Last week MDN told you about the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s finding that Marcellus Shale production had passed 12 billion cubic per day (Bcf/d), a full two years ahead of predictions made by Penn State’s Terry Engelder (see New EIA Drilling Productivity Report: Marcellus Passes 12 Bcf/d!). MDN friend and prolific story idea/link contributor Chris Acker, a geological engineer with an MBA who grew up in the oil fields of Venezuela where his dad was a petroleum engineer, offers the following helpful perspective on just how much 12 Bcf/d really is… Continue reading
Chris delves into the economic apocalypse that would happen should PA Democrats gain power again in the next election and fulfill their promise of enacting a statewide moratorium/ban on drilling. It is, as Chris points out, a true nightmare scenario: Continue reading
The following article was written by MDN friend and prolific contributor of links and story ideas, Chris Acker. Chris splits his time between Montrose, PA (in Susquehanna County) and Savannah, GA. Here is his biography from the Seeking Alpha website:
Christopher Acker, Geological Engineer with an MBA, grew up in the oil fields of Venezuela where his father, a petroleum engineer, was a drilling contractor for all the major players, onshore and off. Chris’ interest in energy economics and policy found him working for Exxon, Petroleum Industry Research Associates and Petroleos de Venezuela. He bought a parcel of land in the PA countryside twenty-five years ago and later semi-retired to work on antique pianos. See www.PianoGrands.com. A few years ago, it was established that Chris’ property in Susquehanna County sits atop one of the Marcellus shale’s most prolific areas. He is now happily engaged once again in energy economics, with emphasis, naturally, on gas.
Here is Chris’ thoroughly researched, extensively footnoted, superb analysis of Susquehanna County’s potential Marcellus Shale natural gas yield…
The following guest post is from MDN subscriber and friend, Chris Acker. Every day Chris sends MDN editor Jim Willis a list of items he notices in the news that may be of interest to MDN readers, and Jim includes many of them. The MDN service is made better because of readers like Chris—and we publicly thank him.
Chris owns property in Susquehanna County, PA, which is leased with Cabot Oil & Gas. He looks forward to the day when his property is drilled by Cabot. In the meantime, Chris watches Cabot (and other drillers) and keeps tabs on their operational and financial health. Chris points out in his post below that for the first time in many years, Cabot Oil & Gas’ market capitalization has exceeded that of Chesapeake Energy. Chesapeake is the country’s second largest natural gas driller with revenues many times that of Cabot—so this is a true milestone.
Binghamton-area landowner Bill Owen has written numerous times to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to encourage the governor to allow fracking in New York State. His reward? To end up on Cuomo’s feckless email list. Earlier this week Bill recently received a “Happy Thanksgiving” email from Cuomo, so Bill thought he would respond. His excellent letter back to Cuomo (who will likely never read it, but hey, you never know!) is reprinted below:
MDN note: The following guest post was submitted by Victor Furman, head of the Sapbush Road Group, a New York landowner coalition in northern Broome and southern Chenango counties. He writes about a major landowner rally in Broome County called Vote4Energy, held at the Broome-Tioga Sports Park near Whitney Point on Sunday, July 15. The rally turned out thousands, dwarfing recent anti-drilling rallies held in the area. The media was invited, but they were a no-show. Vic does a great job of pointing out the hypocrisy.
Last week, MDN wrote an article about the just-filed lawsuit by a group of Pennsylvania townships seeking to strike down provisions in a new PA law referred to as Act 13 (see this MDN story). Act 13 preempts local zoning ordinances that prohibit or regulate oil and gas drilling and replaces those ordinances with a set of rules from the state. In essence, Act 13 substitutes the state’s “one size fits all” zoning ordinance for local zoning ordinances. MDN’s comment at the end of that article was that in examining some of the attachments to the filed lawsuit it seems to MDN that anti-drillers are the ones driving the lawsuit.
David Ball, a council member from Peters Township (Washington County), PA—one of the towns filing the lawsuit—emailed MDN to challenge our view and assessment that he and others filing the lawsuit are anti-drilling, and to further explain their reasons for the lawsuit. MDN asked permission to publish his comments and he accepted. This is not the very first, but perhaps the second or third guest post on MDN. We are happy (from time to time) to offer guest posts that disagree with our own views if that post is courteous, serious and advances the discussion. This one does and we thank Mr. Ball for taking the time to write.