Diversified Gas & Oil Adds to Conventional Assets in KY, VA, WV

UPDATE: A source has shared with us who is doing the selling–see our note below.

Diversified Gas & Oil, founded in 2001, is an operator of oil and gas wells (and pipelines). According to the Diversified website, the company’s “innovative, disciplined investment strategy is focused on the acquisition of mature, low-decline and low-risk wells, enhancement of operations with a focus on efficiency, and maximization of profitability for shareholders.” Diversified issued a press release last week to say it has signed a letter of intent to purchase 2.5 million acres of leases, and 11,350 wells, in Appalachia–for $575 million. The acreage and wells are located in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia. Although the press release doesn’t say, the wells are almost certainly all conventional wells (no shale wells). We were not able to determine if any of the acreage includes rights to drill shale wells. Given the company’s focus on “low-decline and low-risk wells,” we have to conclude they target only conventional wells, since shale wells are high decline and moderate to high risk (sink a shale well in the wrong place and you just blew $7-8 million). Diversified recently closed on deals to pick up acreage and wells from both Alliance Petroleum Corporation and CNX Resources. Who’s the seller this time? We have a guess about who it may be…
Continue reading

WV Ethane Cracker Plant Rumored to be Back On Again

It increasingly looks like LyondellBasell Industries, one of the largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies in the world, will buy out/take over Braskem, the largest petrochemical company in Latin America (headquartered in Brazil). Braskem and its parent company Odebrecht, as you may recall, was hot-to-trot to build a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker near Parkersburg, WV–four years ago. Odebrecht got mired in scandal in Brazil and that put things on hold in 2015 (see Odebrecht Pushes the Pause Button on WV Ethane Cracker). But in 2016 it appeared the project may rekindle (see A Pulse! WV Ethane Cracker Project Comes Back from the Dead). Since that time, we’ve not heard much. A rumbling here and there, but not much. Now that LyondellBassell is actively pursuing Braskem, there is once again excitement about the cracker project in WV. MDN has heard from an industry source that if Braskem sells to LyondellBassell, the Parkersburg cracker plant will be a high priority. In fact, an expert speaking at the recent NGL storage hub event in Southpointe mentioned the WV cracker by name as one of three projects that he thinks will get final approval in the next 12 months (see Industry Expert Says 3 More Crackers Coming to M-U). Here’s news about how M&A deals happening on other continents directly affect our region–how a LyondellBassell purchase of Braskem may indeed reignite the Parkersburg ethane cracker project…
Continue reading

Quebec’s Utica Frack Ban Forces Junex to Merge with Cuda Energy

Last week the Canadian province of Quebec announced it plans to commit fracking suicide (see Quebec to Ban Utica Shale Drilling, Most Other Drilling Too). Quebec’s announcement is a virtual death sentence for oil and gas companies in the province. How? By saying they will ban shale fracking, and by making drilling standards so tight for everyone that even conventional drillers will have a difficult, almost impossible time. We are already seeing the results of Quebec’s announcement. And the result isn’t pretty. Junex, a driller headquartered in Quebec with 1 million leased acres in the St. Lawrence lowlands (where there is Utica Shale), has just announced it is selling out to/merging with Cuda Energy, headquartered in Calgary, Alberta. It was either sell out/merge, or go out of business. Thanks Quebec! You’re so “business friendly” (NOT). Quebec is quickly becoming a pariah among all the Canadian provinces, like New York State is on the other side of the border…
Continue reading

Rumor: EnCap Working on Plan to Merge Eclipse & Penn Energy

Eclipse Resources, a Marcellus/Utica pure play driller headquartered in State College, PA, announced in March the company is looking for another company to buy, or (more likely) for another company to buy them (see Eclipse Resources Board Considering Either Merger or Acquisition). We have some new news to report, about a potential sale of Eclipse. Or more properly, a potential merger. EnCap Investments is a private equity/investment firm headquartered in Houston. EnCap owns a majority of Eclipse’s common stock. Put another way, Eclipse is considered a “portfolio company” of EnCap–because he who owns the most stock controls the company. EnCap has a number of portfolio companies–other energy companies in which they invest. One of them is PennEnergy Resources, an active driller in the southwest PA Marcellus (see Top 10 Drillers in SWPA, by Number of Permits Issued). According to sources who have spoken to the Pittsburgh Business Times, EnCap is actively pursuing a combination/merger between Eclipse and Penn Energy…
Continue reading

Dominion Energy 1Q18: Important Updates on Key Projects

Late last week Dominion Energy issued its first quarter 2018 financial and operational update. Dominion is not only a large utility company (electric and gas), but also a huge pipeline company. Dominion has it’s fingers in a lot of Marcellus/Utica pies, so we like to keep track of the company and what it says about various critical projects for our region. Dominion CEO Tom Farrell had a lot of interesting updates, including updates for: Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a $6.5 billion Dominion pipeline from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina; Cove Point, the $4 billion LNG export facility that began commercial operations in April; Greensville County (VA) Power Station, a $1.3 billion natural gas-fired combined cycle power plant; and the proposed merger with SCANA Corporation, the main electric and gas company for much of South Carolina. Buckle up, there’s lots of news here…
Continue reading

EQT Midstream Consolidates, Buys Gulfport JV Share for $175M

As EQT gets ready to split the company into two companies later this year, the midstream (pipeline & processing plants) portion of the company yesterday announced a complicated “drop down” deal to streamline the midstream operation. The short version is this: EQT has midstream assets spread throughout three companies on paper–EQT Midstream Partners, EQT GP Holdings, and Rice Midstream Partners. Yesterday the company announced all three are being merged under one umbrella–EQT Midstream Partners. As you’ll read in the EQT announcement, the entire deal is complex–with various entities buying assets from the others. One of the more interesting aspects of the deal is that EQT Midstream is buying EQT’s (the driller’s) Olympus Gathering System and EQT’s 75% interest in the Strike Force Gathering System. EQT Midstream is also buying out Gulfport Energy’s 25% interest in Strike Force, meaning EQT Midstream will now own 100% of Strike Force–a gathering pipeline system in the dry gas Utica covering 98,000 acres in Belmont and Monroe counties, in Ohio. Here’s the news that EQT is getting its midstream ducks in a row…
Continue reading

Deep Well Services Sells Itself to Houston PE Firm White Deer Energy

Some big, breaking news to share with MDN readers: Deep Well Services, a Marcellus/Utica-born company that specializes in “snubbing” work (completing those super-long laterals you read about), has been sold. Deep Well announced today a deal to be bought out by Houston private equity firm White Deer Energy. No, Deep Well and the expert team of 220 who work there now are not going anywhere. The company, headquartered in Zelienpole, PA, will retain its western PA HQ–same workers, same management team. However, the official announcement says White Deer’s investment will now allow Deep Well to “enter new basins.” Hmmmm. Intriguing. We wonder which new basins they’re considering? MDN spoke to Deep Well Mark Marmo this morning and got the inside skinny. According to Mark, the “big thing” about this deal is “the opportunity to have capital like we’ve never had before. Our growth has been limited to adding one new unit per year. We will now be able to add three new units a year.” Mark also said, “Today we have 220 people. In the next 18 months we’ll have 330 people.” Mark, who is born and raised in the Pittsburgh area, said his goal “is to put a lot of western Pennsylvanians to work making six figures, not $10.10 an hour.” The White Deer Energy deal will make that happen…
Continue reading

Eclipse Resources Board Considering Either Merger or Acquisition

Eclipse Resources, a Marcellus/Utica pure play driller headquartered in State College, PA, has just done it again. The company has drilled another massively long onshore lateral–19,335 feet long–in the Ohio Utica. It’s not the longest onshore lateral in the world (currently the Eclipse Outlaw well, at 19,600 feet), but this one comes close. Although drilling a new super lateral is big news, there was other news that (for us) is even bigger: Eclipse issued a statement yesterday that says, in part, the company “has initiated a process to evaluate and consider a full range of potential strategic, operational and financial alternatives to maximize shareholder value.” Eclipse hired investment firm Jefferies LLC and international law firm Norton Rose Fulbright to help with the process. Both firms specialize in mergers and acquisitions (M&A). The statement also says, “There is no assurance that the review by the Board will result in a transaction or other strategic alternative,” which we interpret to mean Eclipse is looking either to buy another company (like EQT did with Rice Energy), or sell itself to another company (like Rice Energy did to EQT). That’s our take on this seemingly innocuous announcement. Big news indeed!…
Continue reading

Keep It…Sell It…GE Now Back to Keeping Baker Hughes

Industrial giant GE (General Electric) wooed and won the hand of Baker Hughes (BH)–the third largest oilfield services company in the world–buying/merging in Baker Hughes with GE’s Oil and Gas division in July 2017 (see Baker Hughes and GE Complete Merger, World’s 1st Fullstream Co.). But four months later, GE’s new CEO, John Flannery, said he wants out of the marriage (see 4 Months After Buying Baker Hughes, GE Wants to Sell It). Flannery said he was looking to sell all of, or part of, GE’s majority stake in what is now called “Baker Hughes, a GE Company.” Then yesterday, Flannery changed his mind again. Can anyone say, “Flaky Flannery” three times really fast? Yesterday GE said the Baker Hughes unit is now off the table and will not be sold as part of a plan to divest the company from $20 billion worth of businesses it owns. GE now “likes the combination [with Baker Hughes] a lot.” Go figure. Here’s the latest…
Continue reading

Dominion Buys SCANA, Mulls Atlantic Coast Pipe Expansion into SC

Last week we noticed the large merger/acquisition by Dominion Energy in buying South Carolina-based SCANA Corporation. We didn’t think much of it at the time. SCANA is an energy-based holding company principally engaged, through subsidiaries, in electric and natural gas utility operations and other energy-related businesses. In other words, the local electric and gas company for much of South Carolina. Dominion is a big company with many operations–they are a pipeline company, an electric generating company, and a utility company (like SCANA). The merger makes sense–Dominion gets to grow and add more customers to its utility business. We didn’t think there was a tie-in with the Marcellus/Utica region, which is why we haven’t (until now) brought you the news about Dominion’s $7.9 billion all-stock purchase of SCANA. However, there is a big potential connection to the Marcellus/Utica. You may recall we brought you news in early December that Dominion and their partner in the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) project Duke Energy are considering expanding the original ACP to more locations in North Carolina, AND expanding the pipeline into South Carolina (see Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s Future Plans: Expand in NC & SC). Dominion is now openly saying that the SCANA purchase makes it more likely they will push to expand ACP into SC–meaning even more Marcellus/Utica gas could be flowing to Dixie…
Continue reading

CONE Midstream Gets a New Name: CNX Midstream Partners

CONE Midstream is, or rather was, a pipeline joint venture between CONSOL Energy and Noble Energy (“CO” from CONSOL and “NE” from Noble Energy), formed in the summer of 2014 to service wells drilled as part of CONSOL & Noble’s drilling joint venture (see CONSOL & Noble Energy Form New Marcellus Midstream Company). Following Noble’s exit from the Marcellus last year, they began to shop their 50% share of CONE, and thought they had found a buyer in Quantum Energy Partners–for $765 million. However, as we reported in December, that deal hit a snag (see Noble’s 50% CONE Midstream Sale in Trouble – Shopping Deal to CNX). Not long after, CNX Resources (formerly CONSOL Energy) issued a press release to announce they had cut a deal to buy Noble’s 50% CONE share–for $305 million, which is 60% less than of the deal price Noble previously worked out with Quantum (see CNX to Buy Noble’s 50% Share of CONE Midstream for $305M). Two bits of news to share with you regarding the CONE deal: (1) the deal is now done, and (2) CNX Resources has renamed CONE Midstream to be CNX Midstream–which should not be a surprise since the NE part of CONE is now gone, and since the CO part changed its name. Here’s the news…
Continue reading

Dynacorp Energy & Energes Merge to Form EnerCorp Sand Solutions

Energes, an an oilfield services company providing flowback, well testing and sand management services, has just sold off its Oilfield Solutions subsidiary to Dynacorp, a Canadian designer and manufacturer sand filtration, sand cyclonic, and flowback equipment, for an undisclosed amount. The two private companies, both with a presence in the Marcellus/Utica region, are merging to form a new company: EnerCorp Sand Solutions. EnerCorp will be “a leading provider of sand management products and technologies for the oil and gas industry” according to the official announcement. Dynacorp, the company doing the buying, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Intervale Capital, an energy services investment firm based in Houston, Texas. We previously wrote of another company snapped up by Intervale, back in June (see Pro Oil & Gas “Recapitalizes” with PE Firm Intervale Capital). Here’s the news of this “new” oilfield services player, with a big emphasis on sand…
Continue reading

Weatherford Sells U.S. Fracking Business to Schlumberger for $430M

Schlumberger is the world’s largest oilfield services (OFS) company. Weatherford International is the world’s fourth largest OFS company. They both have operations in the Marcellus/Utica region. We’ve posted a number of stories about Weatherford’s financial troubles–and seemingly inevitable march toward bankruptcy (see our stories here). However, Weatherford got a reprieve from its much larger competitor. In March 2017, Schlumberger and Weatherford announced they had formed a joint venture called OneStim, “to deliver completions products and services for the development of unconventional resource plays in the United States and Canada land markets. The joint venture will offer one of the broadest multistage completions portfolios in the market combined with one of the largest hydraulic fracturing fleets in the industry” (see Schlumberger Throws Weatherford a Lifeline, Challenges Halliburton). However, in December, Weatherford signaled they want to/need to sell off parts of the company in order to claw their way out of a $7.9 billion debt hole (see Weatherford Looks to Sell Off Pieces of the Business). First on the chopping block? The JV with Schlumberger. Weatherford announced in late December that instead of a joint venture with Schlumberger, they’re just going to sell their U.S. pressure pumping and pump-down perforating assets to Schlumberger for $430 million in cold, hard cash. In other words, Weatherford has just exited the fracking business in the U.S….
Continue reading

CNX to Buy Noble’s 50% Share of CONE Midstream for $305M

On Monday MDN shared news with you that we believe was exclusive news–nobody else picked up on it. The news was that Noble Energy’s original plan to sell its 50% stake in CONE Midstream to Quantum Energy Partners for $765 million, announced back in May, is in trouble (see Noble’s 50% CONE Midstream Sale in Trouble – Shopping Deal to CNX). We told you that according to a recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing Noble had begun negotiations with CNX Resources (formerly CONSOL Energy), which is the other 50% owner of CONE, to sell Noble’s share to them. It seems we were prophetic. This morning CNX issued a press release to announce they have cut a deal to buy Noble’s 50% CONE share–for $305 million. That’s 40% of the deal price Noble previously worked out with Quantum. Must be it’s a buyer’s market for midstream assets…

12/18/17 Update: On Friday, following CNX’s announcement about buying the rest of CONE from Noble Energy, Noble also issued an announcement (below). Noble’s announcement amusingly leaves out the purchase price–less than half of the previously deal they had with Quantum.
Continue reading

EQT Begins Process of Separating Midstream…into New Company?

Yesterday EQT released details about their plans for 2018 (see our lead story today, EQT Drills Longest Marcellus Well Ever, Reveals 2018 Plans). Plenty of news sources covered that news. However, EQT Midstream, the pipeline subsidiary of EQT, also released an announcement, which received almost no media coverage. And yet there is, for us, some big news in the EQT Midstream announcement. As you know by now, EQT recently bought and merged in Rice Energy, creating the largest onshore natural gas producing company in the United States (see EQT Buys Rice Energy in $8.2B Deal, Becomes #1 Gas Producer in US). EQT bought not only Rice the driller, but Rice the midstream company too. EQT has it’s own EQT Midstream subsidiary. And yet, EQT (the driller) still owns a number of midstream/pipeline assets, on paper, separate from EQT Midstream. Same with Rice Energy–they had Rice Midstream Partners as a subsidiary. It’s all kind of a mish mash–with pipeline assets spread around four (or more) different entities on paper. Yesterday’s announcement by EQT Midstream said (a) the EQT parent company is considering “dropping down” (shifting ownership on paper) for all remaining midstream assets to EQT Midstream, and (b) EQT is also considering combining EQT Midstream and Rice Midstream Partners into one single entity–one division for all midstream assets. Which certainly makes sense. Why not tidy up the operations and get everything under one umbrella? Except we think there may be another reason for combining all of the midstream assets into one, neat, lovable bundle: spinning off the midstream division into its own standalone company, completely separate from the EQT parent…
Continue reading

OH Sand Producer Fairmount Santrol Merging w/Unimin in $170M Deal

Fairmount Santrol, an Ohio-based sand producer that sells sand as a proppant for use in Utica and Marcellus Shale drilling, announced yesterday it has accepted an offer to sell itself to another sand company–Unimin, a subsidiary of Belgium-based SCR-Sibelco. Fairmount Santrol shareholders will get a $170 million payment and 35% ownership in the newly combined company. The new company will have revenues approaching $2 billion per year. Fairmount Santrol’s CEO, Jenniffer Deckard, is expected to become the CEO of the new company (the name of the new company has not yet been decided). However, make no mistake–Fairmount is selling itself. The board of directors for the new company will have 6 members picked by Unimim parent SCR-Sibelco and 4 members picked by Fairmount Santrol. The location of the headquarters is still up in the air. A lot of unknowns at this point. However, one thing that IS known is that this is a done deal…
Continue reading