Rex Energy Sells Non-Operated Assets in 3 PA Counties

Rex Energy, a driller focused mainly on the Marcellus/Utica (headquartered in State College, PA), announced earlier this week that it is selling some of its non-operated oil and gas assets in three Pennsylvania counties: Westmoreland, Centre and Clearfield. Which assets are not described. The buyer is: XPR Resources. The sale amount is $17.2 million. Rex has, in the past couple of years, had stiff challenges, at least on the financial front. It has swapped out old IOUs for new IOUs, converted debt (IOUs) into equity (shares of stock), sold off assets in other basins–a whole lotta stuff to keep on drilling (see our Rex Energy stories here). More recently the company was threatened (for a second time) by NASDAQ with de-listing its stock (see Rex Energy Once Again Threatened with NASDAQ De-listing). And just last month we reported that Rex looks like they’re getting ready to file for bankruptcy (see Rex Energy Preparing to File for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy?). We doubt $17.2 million will help all that much, but it’s better than a sharp stick in the eye. By the way, who is XPR Resources?…
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Penn State Students Brainwashed by “Fossil Free” Campaign

Crazy Bernie Sanders (yes THAT Bernie Sanders, U.S. Senator from Vermont) along with ultra-radical 350.org and its leader Bill McKibben, have launched a new campaign called Fossil Free. It’s actually “thinking free” (as in the absence of all thinking), but we’ll leave that for another post. The new campaign is the ultimate outcome of global warming belief metastasized. Bernie, who is a political rock star for naive young Millennials, appeared with several other speakers at an event in Washington, D.C. that was live streamed to more than 300 “watch parties” across the country. The theme of the campaign is to end the use of all fossil fuels. One of the watch parties was a group of students at Penn State. By all accounts, the young skulls full of mush sat there bedazzled by Crazy Bernie–mouths open, drool trickling down the corner of their mouths. They were brainwashed. They worship this almost-octogenarian for who knows why? The problem is, these kids have not been taught to think critically. They accept, at face value, the lies spread by people like Sanders and McKibben. The kids just automatically believe it–like a blind faith–because Bernie says it. Penn State is (or was) a good school. What’s going on that they’re turning out kids who don’t, and won’t, think for themselves? Here’s recap of the Penn State Crazy Bernie “watch party”…
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PA Chips in $2M to Build NatGas Pipelines in Berks, Centre Counties

In 2016 the Pennsylvania legislature, over the objections of PA Gov. Tom Wolf, voted to shift $24 million away from a boondoggle program called the PA Alternative Energy Investment Act and into a new program called the Pipeline Investment Program, or PIPE (see PA Gov Wolf Launches (Gasp) Pipeline Investment Program). The PIPE program helps fund pipeline construction to manufacturers, hospitals and schools to provide clean-burning, abundant, cheap and home-grown Marcellus Shale gas to those organizations. Since that time a number of PIPE $1 million grants have been doled out. Each time another grant is issued, Gov. Wolf’s publicity team makes a big deal out of it, pretending old Tommy is Santa Claus himself. Nary a word about Wolf’s original objection to the program. Last November Wyoming County got a $1 million grant to help run natgas pipes there (see PA Approves $2.4M Project to Run NatGas Pipes in Wyoming County). On Tuesday, Gov. Santa Claus handed out another two such grants. One $1M grant will go to Berks County (near Philadelphia) to run natgas pipelines to the Hamburg Commerce Park where it will feed 33 businesses and 20 area homes. The other $1M grant will go to Centre County (home of Penn State), where a new natgas pipeline will feed 6 businesses and 89 homes…
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Ultra Petroleum Sells Its 72K Marcellus Acres to Alta Res. for $115M

Ultra Petroleum, based in Houston, TX, is an independent exploration and production (E&P) company mainly focused on drilling in the Green River Basin of Wyoming. Ultra also drills for oil in the Uinta Basin/Three Rivers area in Utah. In addition, Ultra maintains a “non-operated” (someone else does the drilling) position in the Pennsylvania Marcellus shale with leases on 72,000 net acres–no small amount. As recently as May of this year Ultra CEO Michael Watford signaled that the Marcellus acreage is not a drain on their budget, so they would just hold on to it and see what happens (see Ultra Petroleum 1Q17 – Holding on to 72K Marcellus Acres, for Now). What happened is the company saw an opportunity to cash in that acreage, and the wells producing on it, for $115 million in cold, hard cash that they can use elsewhere. Ultra announced a deal yesterday to sell all of their Marcellus acreage/wells, mostly located in Centre and Clinton counties in north-central PA, to Alta Resources. Alta is not a name we’ve seen a lot, but they were one of the first drillers we wrote about just after starting the MDN website back in 2009 (see Texas Billionaire George Mitchell is Betting on the Marcellus in PA). George Mitchell, widely recognized as the father of shale energy, was a partner in Alta and had glowing things to say about the Marcellus. Mitchell died in 2013. His legacy lives on. According to Alta’s website, the company has drilled or participated in more than a thousand wells–in Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Pennsylvania and Alberta, Canada. The most recent news related to Alta in our area, prior to yesterday’s announcement, was their purchase of Anadarko’s Marcellus assets for $1.24 billion in December 2016 (see Anadarko Sells All Marcellus Assets for $1.24B to Alta Resources). Seems like December is the month to watch for an Alta purchase in the Marcellus!…
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Central PA Counties form Co-op to Expand NatGas Service Locally

Juniata County just became the fifth central Pennsylvania county to join the SEDA-COG Natural Gas Cooperative. SEDA-COG stands for Susquehanna Economic Development Association – Council of Governments. Collectively, SEDA-COG is a group of 11 central PA counties. The other four counties that belong to the Natural Gas Cooperative include Clinton, Centre, Mifflin, and Perry. So what’s the big deal about this group? In 2013 MDN reported that SEDA-COG was working on an initiative to bring natural gas to more residents and businesses in their collective 11-county region (see Central PA Counties Cooperate on Infrastructure for More Gas Use). That cooperative effort eventually, in early 2016, gave birth to the SEDA-COG Natural Gas Cooperative group. Between 2014-2016 SEDA-COG conducted two studies to identify key targeted investment areas for establishment or expansion of natural gas service in its 11 member counties. Earlier this year, they issued a final report (full copy below). The report outlines ways in which the counties can cooperate to bring new gas infrastructure (distribution pipelines) to the region–delivering gas to homes and businesses. It is local government at its best, putting their heads together to benefit the entire region. The great news is that these central PA counties either have local shale wells, or are situated close to abundant shale production in nearby counties. Now it’s just a matter of getting folks hooked up to the gas…
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“Father of Marcellus Shale” Terry Engelder Retiring from Penn State

Penn State University professor Terry Engelder, the geologist who first discovered the potential of the Marcellus (and called “the Father of the Marcellus Shale”) is retiring from Penn State in June. The Marcellus Shale boom, while starting with a single Range Resources well in 2004, is largely due to the insights of Engelder. In 2007 he did some “back of the envelope” calculations that showed (first) there is roughly 50 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of recoverable natural gas in the Marcellus. He later revised that number, to 489 Tcf. It was Engelder’s calculations that caught the interest and confidence of drillers who then decided to give the Marcellus a try. The rest is history–and we have Dr. Engelder to thank. Penn State News does a good job in providing a tribute to celebrate the contributions of Engelder to the university’s geosciences department. What will Engelder miss the most when he retires? Finding new shale layers? Figuring out new techniques to extract oil and gas? Maybe a better way of predicting earthquakes? Nope. He’ll miss the people–students and the professors/staff at “one of the finest geosciences departments in the world.” Here’s a proper sendoff for a key figure, a giant in the canon of the Marcellus story…
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Penn State Study: NatGas Power Plants Pose No Radon Risk

A bright and enterprising graduate student at Penn State University cooked up an interesting research project for her graduate thesis. With all this talk about “fracked gas” having boatloads of radon in it, would using such radon-laden gas as the source fuel for a gas-fired electric plant pose a risk to those who live near it? In particular, could the gas-fired plants on Penn State’s own campus be posing a danger to students, faculty and staff that live and work on campus? Alison Stidworthy, a former graduate student in the Department of Meteorology at Penn State (and now employed as a site manager for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection), led the research effort, which was the topic of her master’s degree thesis (copy below). What did Alison find? High levels of radon do not leak from the plants and pose no health issues to those living and working nearby. Which makes perfect sense. How do you get rid of radon in your basement when it’s present? You vent it to the outside, where it quickly dissipates and becomes inert. Alison, along with several of her professors, recently published her work as a study in the Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association...
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Penn State’s Marcellus Center Gets New Co-Director

nyblade
Andrew Nyblade

Penn State has given us some of the best research (and personnel) we’ve ever seen when it comes to the Marcellus Shale. In particular we’re thinking of Penn State’s Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research (MCOR). Great people. Super research. One of the co-directors of MCOR, Michael Arthur, is stepping down from his position (no reason stated in the announcement). In his place will be Andrew Nyblade, professor of geosciences. Here’s an updated/fresh look at MCOR and at one of it’s two leaders…
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New (To Us) Gathering Pipeline in the Centre of the Marcellus

Unit-CorporationIt’s not often we miss something that happens in the Marcellus. No, we’re certainly not omniscient. But not much (we hope) escapes our eye when it comes to drillers, midstreamers and other participants in the Marcellus/Utica region. Here’s one that did! Unit Corporation is a Tulsa-based, publicly held energy company engaged through its subsidiaries in oil and gas exploration, production, contract drilling, and gas gathering and processing. Pretty much the whole upstream and midstream pie. In January 2016 Unit completed 49 miles of gathering pipelines in Centre County, PA. That’s the part we missed. Below are a few excerpts from their recent second quarter 2016 update talking about what they call their Snow Shoe Gathering system, along with a couple of screen shots from the most recent company PowerPoint presentation…
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PA Royalty Owners Meet in State College: Bills, Lawsuits, Boycotts

Last week Pennsylvania landowners (royalty owners) from around the state gathered in State College, PA for the 2016 NARO (National Association of Royalty Owners) PA Annual Meeting and Convention. A variety of interesting topics were addressed, including: support for House Bill (HB) 1391 that guarantees a minimum 12.5% royalty payment to landowners; coming lawsuits from landowners against the state over the state’s aggressive action in claiming ownership of the land under rivers and streams; and a call to boycott all films which star anti-fossil fuel man-child Leonardo DiCaprio…
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Marcellus/Utica Driller Eclipse Resources Looking for a Buyer

One by one the dominoes are falling–companies in the Marcellus/Utica that just can’t hang on any longer are selling themselves. It was only last December that Eclipse Resources, an exploration and production company focused solely on the Marcellus and Utica Shale region, announced it had raised $440 million in a “private placement” of 62.5 million shares of common stock (see Eclipse Resources Gets $440M from New Stock, Trims 2015 Capex 20%). Eclipse drills almost exclusively in the Ohio Utica Shale, even though it’s headquartered in State College, PA. In June, Eclipse went shopping for an additional $550 million pile of cash by offering IOUs (see Eclipse Lowers IOU Offering Expectations – by $100M). Now comes word the company is using Morgan Stanley to shop itself to potential buyers. No word on the asking price or whether or not there’s been any bids…
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Rex Energy 3Q15: $95M Paper Loss, 1st Utica Well Online, Prod Up 15%

Rex Energy and Eclipse Resources are really like two peas in a pod. The people who founded Eclipse, which is shopping itself (see today’s companion story), are former Rex Energy people. Both companies are pure play, concentrating on the Marcellus/Utica, and both companies are headquartered in State College, PA. On Monday Rex Energy issued its third quarter 2015 update. The company lost nearly $95 million for 3Q15–but the entire thing was a paper loss, writedowns for the value of their assets because the price of natural gas took a nosedive. Production for the company was up 15% in 3Q15 over the same period a year earlier. Some of the biggest news we spot in the update is that Rex has been able to squeeze the costs all the way down to $5.2 million per Marcellus well they drill. Also big news: Rex put into production their very first Utica Shale well, drilled in Lawrence County, PA. Here’s the particulars…
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Get the Low Down on PA’s Midstream Next Week in State College

shaledirectoryListen up everyone who has an interest in Pennsylvania’s midstream–pipelines and processing plants. Billions of dollars are being spent in Pennsylvania as the gas industry builds out its pipelines to all parts of the northeast, Middle Atlantic, southeast and Midwest regions of the U.S. The two questions everyone wants to know: (1) Who is spending the money? and (2) Where is the money being spent? The answer to those two questions and more will be answered at the Midstream PA 2015 Seminar on Thursday, October 1, 2015 at the Penn Stater Conference Center in State College, PA. MDN is proud to support this event…
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Marcellus Gas on the Way for PA Customers with No Pipelines

In June MDN told you about a very neat concept–delivering natural gas to customers who don’t live near pipelines and likely never will (see Getting Marcellus NatGas to Rural Customers without Pipelines). As we told you at the time, Compass Natural Gas is building a distribution terminal in Lycoming County, PA that will accept Marcellus Shale gas in, clean it up (get rid of the water in it), compress it to 3600 psi, and load it into specially designed trailers and haul it to customers. We have an update. Work is proceeding on the Lycoming County facility–and Compass will build its second terminal in Centre County, PA. Compass plans six of these terminals in all…
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Chevron Lists Another 6,630 Marcellus Acres for Sale in Central PA

Chevron continues a slow bleed of selling Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale assets in 2015. In February the company put up for sale 12 tracks of Marcellus acreage in Bedford, Blair and Cambria counties in PA–just over 17,000 acres total (see Chevron Selling 17K Marcellus Shale Acres, More Sales Coming). In May, Chevron posted another 11,700 acres for sale in Clearfield and northern Cambria counties (see Chevron Shops Another 11,700 Marcellus Acres in Central PA). In June the company has just listed another 6,630 acres along with four drilled wells–all of it in Centre County…
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