Ohio State University Offering Shale Leasing, DMA Webinars in June

Although many landowners in the Marcellus/Utica (at lease those who are interested) have already signed leases to allow shale drilling on and under their property, not all have. And sometimes leases expire with no drilling. Plus, not all landowners have leases that allow pipelines and other development (like solar projects). The Ohio State University Extension is offering several webinars at the end of June of interest to all landowners general, and Ohio landowners in particular, with an interest in leasing and mineral rights.
Continue reading

Gulfport Caps Utica Production, Delays Drilling to Late 2020

Gulfport Energy, the third-largest (by number wells drilled) producer in the Ohio Utica Shale, issued an update yesterday to its previous plans on drilling in the Ohio Utica (and Oklahoma SCOOP), revising down the amount of natural gas it will produce and revising down drilling activity previously planned for 2020. The company says it will delay until later this year/early next year more of its production than previously announced–due to ongoing low prices for natgas.
Continue reading

OH Landowner Loses Post-Production Royalty Case to Chesapeake

Chesapeake Energy keeps winning Ohio royalty lawsuits in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. In March the company beat a lawsuit by a group of Ohio landowners who claimed Chessy had cheated them out of a collective $30 million in royalties (see Chesapeake Energy & Total Beat Class Action Royalty Lawsuit in OH). In April Chesapeake won a second lawsuit that claimed the company had fraudulently concealed information on royalty statements dating back to 1993 (see Chesapeake Beats Another OH Royalty Lawsuit in Federal Court). And now, a third royalty lawsuit has gone Chessy’s way too. Strike three for landowners.
Continue reading

OH Nuclear Bailout Corruption: Gas Sacrificed for Nuke Investors

FirstEnergy, now calling itself Energy Harbor, somehow got into the pockets (via campaign donations) of enough Ohio politicians (many of them Republican) to convince them to pass a horrible law last year–House Bill (HB) 6. HB 6 grants the company $1 billion in corporate welfare over seven years in a deal to prop up its two “unprofitable” nuclear power plants. Now that the first $150 million is about to flow, how will Energy Harbor use it? To pay its so-called high operating costs? No. Energy Harbor will funnel the money right into the pockets of big investors. It was all a scam.
Continue reading

More Frack Crews Now Active in the Marcellus than the Permian!

This has to be a first in the modern shale era. There are now more active fracking crews working in the Marcellus Shale than in any other shale play, including the oily Permian. There are 450 fracking fleets available in the U.S., but only 70 of them are active right now. The Marcellus is using 31% of those active fleets, while the Permian is using 30%. We never thought we’d live to see the day!
Continue reading

Ohio Supreme Court Accepts AG Case Against Rover Pipeline

In Nov. 2017 the Ohio Attorney General’s office under then-AG Mike Dewine (RINO swamp dweller, now governor) sued Energy Transfer at the prompting of the Ohio EPA claiming the company’s Rover Pipeline project was guilty of “polluting state waters while constructing a natural gas pipeline across Ohio” (see OH EPA Director Manipulates Atty General to Sue Rover Pipeline). A Stark County judge threw the case out in March 2019 (see OH Judge Tosses AG’s Lawsuit Against Rover Pipe Enviro Violations).
Continue reading

Case Affecting Surface & Mineral Owners Goes to OH Supreme Court

There is an ongoing question of whether or not the Ohio Marketable Titles Act (MTA), which impacts Utica shale rights, can be used to return previously severed mineral rights back to a surface landowner, or whether the MTA is superseded by Ohio Dormant Minerals Act (DMA). In February 2019, Ohio’s Seventh District Court of Appeals said the MTA *does* still apply to mineral rights (see OH Court Says Marketable Title Act Applies to O&G Rights). The Seventh Circuit then ruled in a second case in April 2019, reaffirming yet again that yes, MTA applies to mineral rights (see Ohio Court Rules Marketable Title Act Applies re Mineral Rights). The Seventh Circuit ruled in a third case in October 2019 to say YES, the MTA still applies (see Court: OH Marketable Title Act & Dormant Mineral Act Don’t Conflict). Now the Ohio Supreme Court will rule on the matter.
Continue reading

Former EV Energy Partners Looks to Sell or Merge Remaining Assets

click for larger version

In June 2018, EV Energy Partners (EVEP), the drilling subsidiary of EnerVest, emerged from bankruptcy court a mere two months after entering with $355 million of debt erased and sporting a new name: Harvest Oil & Gas Corp. (see EV Energy Partners Emerges from Bankruptcy with New Name). Harvest’s drilling and assets are focused in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, where they own/operate 9,787 conventional wells. (The company cut a deal in March to sell off all of its Michigan assets.) In a fourth-quarter (everyone else’s first quarter) and full-year update released yesterday, Harvest announced it is “actively considering the potential divestiture of all of its remaining assets as well as a potential sale or merger of the Company.”
Continue reading

Chesapeake Beats Another OH Royalty Lawsuit in Federal Court

A few weeks back MDN told you Chesapeake Energy had beaten a lawsuit by a group of Ohio landowners who claimed Chessy had cheated them out of a collective $30 million in royalties (see Chesapeake Energy & Total Beat Class Action Royalty Lawsuit in OH). A second lawsuit by a different set of Ohio landowners in the same court was recently decided. This second lawsuit has gone in Chesapeake’s favor as well. The second lawsuit claimed Chesapeake had fraudulently concealed information on royalty statements dating back to 1993 (for conventional wells). The court found otherwise. Strike two for Ohio landowners.
Continue reading

With Condensate Near $0, Utica Drillers Shift Permits to Dry Gas

Last week MDN highlighted an article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the low low prices Marcellus/Utica condensate has fetched since the beginning of the year (see M-U Condensate Prices Briefly Go Negative, Down 91% from Jan 1). S&P Global is currently reporting prices for Utica condensate have not yet recovered, sometimes still dipping into negative territory. As a result, drillers are reducing their new permits and drilling in “wet gas” areas of the Utica and instead shifting gears to “dry gas” regions.
Continue reading

M-U Condensate Prices Briefly Go Negative, Down 91% from Jan 1

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting Marcellus/Utica condensate, produced in places like southwestern Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio, briefly touched and went below $0/barrel last week, before recovering slightly. The article says the price M-U drillers are getting for condensate is down 91% from January of this year. What’s lacking in the Post-Gazette story is context for how important (or not) condensate is as a revenue stream for M-U drillers.
Continue reading

Conventional Drillers Face Tough Decisions re Stripper Wells

click for larger version

Although some Marcellus/Utica drillers also own conventional (vertical-only) oil and gas wells as part of their portfolio, most conventional drillers are smaller “mom and pop” types of companies. Conventional oil well owners in the M-U, as well as across the country, face some of the same problems as shale drillers with a crash in oil prices: What to do with older wells? Thousands of older conventional oil wells produce as little as 10 barrels of oil per day. These low-producing wells are called stripper wells. With oil selling at $20/barrel, some stripper wells can still break even, but many cannot. It costs an average of $20,000-$40,000 to plug an old stripper well. Sometimes it’s more economic to simply keep a stripper pumping (and losing money) rather than pony up big bucks to close the well. It’s a conundrum.
Continue reading

Chesapeake Energy & Total Beat Class Action Royalty Lawsuit in OH

In 2015 a group of Ohio landowners did what landowners had previously done in Pennsylvania, Texas and elsewhere–they filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against Chesapeake Energy claiming Chessy had screwed them and about 1,000 other Ohio landowners out of a collective $30 million in royalty payments (see OH Landowners File Royalty Class Action Lawsuit Against Chesapeake). It took nearly five years with a lot of twists and turns, but yesterday the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio ruled in favor of Chesapeake, dismissing the claims against them.
Continue reading

Equinor (Statoil) Stops All U.S. Shale Drilling, Incl. Marcellus

Oil and gas drilling giant Equinor (formerly called Statoil) is owned by the Norwegian government. Equinor/Statoil has drilled in the Marcellus/Utica for years. As recently as last June the company reported drilling 9-14 Utica wells per year (see Equinor (Statoil) Drilling Long Utica Laterals, Production Up 5X). The company also drills oil wells in the U.S., primarily in the North Dakota Bakken. All of that–both Utica and Bakken drilling–has come to a screeching halt. Yesterday the company announced it is reducing its drilling budget worldwide by $400 million and is “halting” all U.S. onshore (i.e. shale) drilling and completion activities.
Continue reading

Diversified Agrees to Plug an Extra 2 Wells per Year in Ohio

Diversified Gas & Oil owns close to 8 million acres of leases with some 60,000 (mostly) conventional oil and gas wells. Their focus has been to acquire quality production and cash flow–regardless of the well or commodity type (gas or oil)–in the Appalachian Basin. They currently have over 400 Marcellus/Utica shale wells in their portfolio too. When a gas or oil well quits producing, it needs to be plugged. We were aware of deals Diversified has cut with both Pennsylvania and West Virginia to plug old, non-producing wells (see DEP and Diversified Gas & Oil Compromise on Plugging Old PA Wells and Diversified Deal in WV to Plug 730 Abandoned Wells Over 15 Years). It turns out Diversified also has a deal in place with Ohio to plug old wells, a deal that was recently modified.
Continue reading

Encino Tops IP Charts with Ohio Utica Wells in 2019

Encino Acquisition Partners (aka Encino Energy) bought all of Chesapeake Energy’s Ohio assets for $2 billion in 2018 (see Stop Press: Chesapeake Sells ALL of its Ohio Utica Assets for $2B). The deal included all of Chessy’s 933,000 Ohio acres (with 320,000 net Utica acres) and 920 operated and non-operated Ohio Utica wells. Since that time Encino has quietly become one of the state’s top producers. The biggest news to come from the recently released Debrosse Memorial report is the high initial production (IP) rate for the wells Encino drilled in 2019. The IP rates are through the roof!
Continue reading