Cabot Completes $2.5M Endowment for Lackawanna College 1 Yr Early

Cabot O&G regional HQ in Dimock, PA

Cabot Oil & Gas is such an impressive company. They are, without a doubt, one of our favorite Marcellus/Utica drillers. We know! You’re not supposed to have favorites among your “children.” We can’t help it. Cabot is a favorite child for us. The company pumped $4.6 billion into Susquehanna County the first 10 years they were in the county (see Amazing: Cabot O&G Invests $4.6 BILLION in One PA County in 10 Yrs). Some $1.5 billion of that amount was lease bonuses and royalty payments–direct into the pockets of landowners. The other $3.1 billion was money Cabot spent in the county to drill there–money that was spread around to contractors, suppliers and workers. It is an incredible story, and certainly would be “enough” if Cabot left it at that. But Cabot hasn’t settled for just benefiting the community with an enormous amount of investment–an investment that benefits Cabot’s own business. Cabot is also one of the biggest philanthropists in Susquehanna County (perhaps THE biggest). In 2012, Cabot gave $2.2 million, that was matched, helping to raise $4.4 million for a new hospital in the county (see Cabot Effort Raises $4.4 Million for PA Physicians Clinic). Then in April 2014, Cabot announced it would donate $2.5 million to Lackawanna College (Scranton, PA) over a five-year period (Cabot Oil & Gas Does it Again – $2.5 Million Gift to Lackawanna College). The gift funds the School of Petroleum & Natural Gas located in New Milford, PA, and is the largest single private donation in the history of Lackawanna College. Cabot has just completed fully funding the $2.5 million Lackawanna gift–a full year ahead of schedule…
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Fracking Trespass Case (Rule of Capture) Still Reverberating in PA

Last week MDN brought you the news that the Pennsylvania Superior Court handed down a decision that has the power to greatly restrict, perhaps even stop, Marcellus drilling in PA (see PA Superior Court Overturns “Rule of Capture” for Marcellus Well and PA “Rule of Capture” Case has Power to Limit Marcellus Drilling). The issue, in brief, is that last week’s Superior Court decision disallows using an age-old principle called the “rule of capture” when it comes to shale drilling and fracking. It opens the door to a myriad of frivolous lawsuits claiming that a fracture, a crack created during fracking, is draining gas from a neighbor’s property without justly compensating the neighbor for the gas. Was the court’s decision a big deal? Or was is not such a big deal? We’ve seen stories appear every day since the decision, some indicating the decision is monumental in scope and impact–others saying meh, not so big after all. Which is it? We still believe the issue turns on how far cracks extend out from a wellbore during fracking–and whether you can accurately measure the distance of such fractures. If the cracks extend just a few hundred feet, the court decision is not a big deal. Most drillers stay at least 350 feet from the boundary line when drilling a well–meaning the cracks that drain gas do not extend to neighboring properties. However, if the cracks, the fractures, extend out more than a few hundred feet, say more than 300 feet, that’s a problem. Southwestern Energy responded in the lawsuit that IF their cracks had intruded (trespassed) under the boundary line, it would fall under “rule of capture”–the legal principle of he who gets there first, wins. The court ruled otherwise. We’re still haunted by the definition used (and accepted) in the lawsuit that says fracking fluid and sand can travel up to 3,000 feet…
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PA “Rule of Capture” Case has Power to Limit Marcellus Drilling

As we indicated in our post yesterday, the Pennsylvania Superior Court has handed down a decision that has the power to greatly restrict, even stop, Marcellus drilling in PA (see PA Superior Court Overturns “Rule of Capture” for Marcellus Well). This is a legal issue–and MDN is not written by a lawyer. Hence our earlier misreading of the importance and facts in the Superior Court decision. The issue, in brief, is that Monday’s court decision disallows using an age-old principle called the rule of capture, which we previously described. The rule of capture works for conventional drilling where underground deposits of oil and gas are in pools and the pool may exist underneath multiple surface property owners. Whoever gets there first and sucks the oil/gas out, wins. That’s the rule of capture in a nutshell. And it makes sense. You can’t be held responsible for oil and gas moving from one place to another as it’s extracted. And who knows how much of the pool is located under your property, or your neighbor’s property? The Superior Court justices ruled that the rule of capture doesn’t work for hydraulic fracturing because gas (and oil) trapped in shale rock does not freely move from one place to another as it does in a pool. The judges say the gas would “stay forever” where it is without fracking. In the case of Briggs v. Southwestern Energy, the Briggs family (in Susquehanna County, PA) alleges that when Southwestern drilled and fracked on the Briggs’ neighbor, the fracking was done close enough to their property that some of the gas located under their property (unleased) was released and extracted through the Southwestern well–a “trepass.” Southwestern countered that IF such a “trespass” took place, it falls under the rule of capture. The ultimate issue boils down to this: How far do fractures extend from a lateral well? An expert energy attorney told MDN off the record that Monday’s decision “could change the entire Pennsylvania shale industry” in two important ways…
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A (Very) Rough Method for Calculating Royalties on Cabot Wells

Cabot Oil & Gas, one of our favorite Marcellus drillers, has just published a new PowerPoint slide deck presentation as part of an investor’s conference they attended earlier this week (the Scotia Howard Weil Energy Conference). Normally a new slide deck isn’t all that big a deal. However, thanks to MDN friend Chris Acker who pointed it out to us, there is some new information in the deck worthy of note. Back in December MDN brought you the news that Cabot had signed a deal to sell off their Texas Eagle Ford Shale assets in order to concentrate solely on the Marcellus (see Cabot O&G Sells Texas Eagle Ford Assets for $765M, Focus on Marc.). The slide deck notes that the Eagle Ford divestiture closed on Feb. 28th (slide #3). Also in the slide deck is a mention that Cabot plans to experiment with drilling “upper Marcellus” wells in the second half of 2018 (slide #11). Most (all?) of the wells they’ve drilled to date are “lower Marcellus.” A successful program of drilling upper Marcellus certainly bodes well for existing landowners with existing lower Marcellus wells–perhaps Cabot will revisit those pads to drill new wells? Slide #11 has some great information on it. We’ve used it to create a (very) rough royalty estimation calculator for Cabot landowners…
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Cabot O&G Continues Tradition of Philanthropy in NEPA Communities

The following guest post was written by Rick Hiduk:

Cabot Warming Hearts at Coldest Time of Year

It has been a particularly cold couple of months, and those most effected by winter’s bite tend to be the less fortunate families in our region and their children. Since Thanksgiving, Cabot Oil & Gas has been reaching out to the community in a variety of ways and brightening the lives of hundreds of area residents. While Cabot has become known for its ongoing philanthropy, the initiatives covering the holiday season were especially well received, helping more than 800 families in northeast Pennsylvania…
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Cabot Asks Court for Stiffer Fine Against NEPA Lawbreaking Anti

A little-known (outside of northeast Pennsylvania) anti-driller, Vera Scroggins, was fined $1,000 in April 2015 in Susquehanna County court (see PA Anti-Driller Fined $1K for Trespassing on Cabot O&G Site, Jail?). Vera’s biggest claim to fame is her potty mouth treatment of FrackNation filmmaker Phelim McAleer (watch it here). She is a repeat trespasser on Cabot Oil & Gas drilling sites and has been warned, repeatedly, to stay off their land–for her own safety and the safety of others. Scroggins runs so-called tours where she shows New York City celebrities and other urbanites (who don’t know the difference between a cow’s udder and a roof gutter) the gas fields of Susquehanna County, claiming drilling operations somehow harm local residents. In 2015, the judge had enough. He said at the hearing that Vera had 45 days to pay the $1,000 fine for her latest violation and if she didn’t, she was going to jail. Apparently she paid. However, she’s at it again. Cabot says Vera has continued her trespassing ways and is now (allegedly) in contempt of court for disobeying the judge’s orders. Cabot is requesting Vera be find $5,000 and chip in money for their legal fees. Some people never learn…
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Cabot O&G Asks Judge to Make Dimock Anti Pay for Extortion, Slander

Cabot Oil & Gas is tired of being sued, and slandered, by people like Dimock resident Ray Kemble and his ambulance-chasing lawyers. So in August Cabot sued back–for $5 million (see Cabot O&G Countersues Dimock Anti, Lawyers). Kemble lives in Dimock Township, in Susquehanna County, PA. Kemble and other families claimed Cabot’s drilling in the area (10 years ago) caused problems with their water wells–a claim strongly refuted by Cabot. Cabot settled with most of the landowners, including Kemble. But a couple of Kemble’s neighbors did not settle. They sued and, in a sham trial, won a jury award of $4.2 million (see Dimock Jury Levies $4.25M Judgement Against Cabot in Dimock Case). However, a federal court later threw out the verdict and the $4.2 million judgement (see Fed Court Overturns $4.2M Dimock Judgement Against Cabot O&G). The judge said the Dimock lawsuit would have be re-tried. Our theory is that news of a potential new lawsuit and the previous OJ-like jury’s award of $4.2 million must have got old Ray a thinkin’…What if? So in April Ray and lawyers from two law firms launched yet another frivolous lawsuit against Cabot, litigation over something previously settled. It was a naked attempt to shake down Cabot for money in a quick settlement. But Cabot called them on it, filing a counter-lawsuit seeking $5 million–against Kemble, and against lawyers Charles Speer (Speer Law Firm) and Edward Ciarimboli and Clancy Boylan (Fellerman & Ciarimboli). Yesterday motions in Cabot’s counter-lawsuit were argued before a judge in Susquehanna County…
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UGI Pipeline to Feed Scranton NatGas-Fired Power Plant “On Track”

Invenergy is currently building a state-of-the-art, combined cycle 1,480 megawatt Marcellus-fired electric generating plant in Jessup, PA, just outside Scranton. Construction on the plant–called the Lackawanna Energy Center–has been under way for well over a year now. Some 1,200 people are currently working at the site. MDN previously reported that Cabot Oil & Gas with their prolific Susquehanna County production will feed the plant (see Cabot Cuts Deal to Supply PA’s Largest NatGas-Fired Electric Plant). We also reported that two different companies are building pipelines to supply Cabot’s gas to the plant–UGI and Kinder Morgan’s Tennessee Gas Pipeline (see UGI to Feed Jessup, PA Electric Plant with Marcellus Shale Gas and NEPA Pipeline for Power Plant Gets Positive FERC Assessment). We have a pipeline update. Work on UGI’s pipeline began in May and is close to being done…
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PA DEP Fines Cabot $99K for Paperwork Violations, Air Emissions

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) is picking on Cabot Oil & Gas–or more properly, shaking them down for some cash. Yesterday the DEP announced it had reached an “agreement” with Cabot whereby Cabot will pay the DEP $99,000 “for air quality violations related to equipment at natural gas wells throughout Susquehanna County.” But that’s not all, Cabot failed to file some paperwork–a far more egregious violation for the DEP: “Cabot failed to submit complete compliance demonstration reports for 20 gas wells.” Bad, bad Cabot. Here’s news of the DEP’s latest shakedown of a company that has (so far) invested over $4.6 billion in a single northeast PA county…
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Cabot O&G 3Q17: Marcellus Production 2 Bcf/d, $32M Profit

Cabot Oil & Gas, one of our favorite Marcellus drillers, released its third quarter 2017 update on Friday. Some of the things we learn from the report and the analyst phone call held by Cabot’s top brass: Production grew another 12% during 3Q17. In the Marcellus, Cabot’s natural gas production averaged just over 2 billion cubic feet per day gross (Bcf/d). If you use U.S. Energy Information Administration numbers from the most recent monthly drilling report, Cabot’s 2 Bcf/d equals 8% of all Marcellus production, and 3.3% of all shale gas production in the U.S! That’s truly amazing, considering it all comes from Susquehanna County (with a couple of wells in neighboring Wyoming County), in northeast PA. Profitability returned in 3Q17 with net income of $32 million, versus a net loss of $16.7 million in 3Q16. In the Marcellus, Cabot drilled and completed 13 net wells and placed online into production 15 net wells. They now have 49 “fourth generation” wells online and producing at an average of 4.4 Bcf per 1,000 feet. They also have 12 “fifth generation” wells online. One of the highlights for Cabot during 3Q17 was the announcement that Williams is now building their $3 billion, 198-mile Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline project. Cabot says when the pipeline is done in mid-2018, Cabot will flow 1 Bcf/d of gas to new markets. Cha ching! New markets equal higher prices and more profitability for the company. Below is the full 3Q17 update, followed by remarks from CEO Dan Dinges made during the analyst call…
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Marcellus Driller Cabot Oil & Gas: Wall Street’s NatGas “Unicorn”

Cabot Oil & Gas has long been one of our favorite Marcellus drillers. We are friends with several members of the Cabot team. We are impressed with their many acts of philanthropy in northeastern Pennsylvania–donating millions of dollars to worthy causes in the local community where they drill. As we’ve pointed out many times, Cabot somehow spins gold out of hay in Susquehanna County–producing something like 2.5% of all the natural gas that’s produced in the U.S. from a single county. They have some of the best rocks in the shale business. Cabot’s assets have not gone unnoticed on Wall Street, where investors and analysts call the company “a unicorn.” While the term unicorn as applied to a company can have several meanings, as applied to Cabot the meaning is clear: the company is rare, and desirable. In an Investor’s Business Daily article, several analysts gush about Cabot in light of the beginning of construction of the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project. Cabot will be the main shipper on the new pipeline. Analysts are predicting next year, in 2018, Cabot’s production will increase 23% from this year. And in 2019, one analyst says Cabot production will be up a whopping 47%! You begin to see why Cabot has a reputation as a unicorn on Wall Street…
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Atlantic Sunrise Work in NEPA Beginning “Very Soon,” Locals Hired

Williams representatives were on hand earlier this week in Tunhannock, PA (Wyoming County) to present a briefing to local politicians and community leaders on the status of the now-under construction Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project. Atlantic Sunrise is a $3 billion, 198-mile natural gas pipeline project running through 10 Pennsylvania counties to connect Marcellus Shale natural gas from northeastern PA with the Williams’ Transco pipeline in southern Lancaster County. Much of the attention has focused on Lancaster County and a small group of antis who oppose the project there. However, Atlantic Sunrise will begin its journey to Lancaster in Susquehanna County, PA–in the northeastern tip of the state. Construction in Susquehanna and adjacent counties is scheduled to begin “very soon,” according to Williams rep Mike Atchie. When it does begin, some of the people working on it will come from the same counties where it’s getting built. Last week the Teamsters held a job fair in Harrisburg (see Harrisburg Job Fair Oct 6-7 Looks to Fill 400 Pipeline Jobs). Of those streaming through, nearly 200 people filled out job applications. Five of the people who showed up have already been hired and are on job sites working–less than a week later! Another 100+ were enrolled in safety training classes and instructional courses. Here’s an update on the advent of Atlantic Sunrise construction in NEPA…
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India’s RIL, Carrizo Sell NEPA Marcellus Assets for $210M

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) is the single largest company in India, and one of the largest energy companies in the world. RIL invested $3.5 billion in a Marcellus joint venture with Atlas Energy in 2010, and later battled Chevron to buy Atlas–but Chevron won, so RIL became a jv partner with Chevron. RIL currently has 3 U.S. shale joint ventures: the Chevron jv in the Marcellus (owns 40% of that acreage), a jv with Carrizo Oil & Gas in the northeast PA Marcellus (owns 60% of that acreage), and a jv with Pioneer Natural Resources in the Texas Eagle Ford (owns 45% of that acreage). Back in 2015, RIL signaled they are looking to dump all of their U.S. shale assets (see Indian Giant RIL Looking to Dump its Marcellus Joint Ventures). It took a few years, but earlier today Banpu, Thailand’s largest coal producer, announced that is has purchased all of the RIL/Carrizo jv (from both RIL and Carrizo) in northeastern PA–for $210 million. Does Banpu sound familiar? It should. This is the fifth investment Banpu, via its American subsidiary Kalnin Ventures, has made in the northeast Marcellus…
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2 Dimock Families Suing Cabot O&G Settle Out of Court

Some big news that both Cabot Oil & Gas and the two families suing them seem to want to keep quiet: they’ve settled out of court. Brief background for those new to MDN and to the “Dimock” story: There were 14 families along the Carter Road area of Dimock Township, PA (Susquehanna County) that reportedly experienced turbidity in their water from methane migrating, supposedly from Cabot’s drilling operations nearby. The state Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) investigated in 2010 and declared Cabot guilty and imposed stiff fines and requirements, including a requirement to install permanent water treatment systems at each home and even an offer to each of the families to pay twice what their property was worth at the time (see PA DEP Takes Aggressive Action Against Cabot Oil & Gas over Dimock Township Methane Contamination). We won’t recount all of the twists and turns we documented over the years, including research that showed Cabot wasn’t responsible for the methane migration. All of the 14 properties either sold to Cabot or got their water systems repaired–except for two holdout families who were riding the horse of hope that they could sue Cabot for big money and retire millionaires. For a time, it appeared their plan worked. Last year, in March 2016, a trial took place in Scranton. It was a sham trial, with the lawyer for the two families engaging in borderline unethical practices in the courtroom in her attempt to influence the jury. One of the two families admitted, under oath on the witness stand, that their water had too much methane in it BEFORE Cabot Oil & Gas began to drill nearby. The same family, the Elys, later built a 22-room, $1 million mansion on the same property AFTER they admit there was trouble with the water. And yet the jury found Cabot at fault and awarded the Elys $2.75 million. The other family suing Cabot got $1.49 million (see Dimock Jury Levies $4.24M Judgement Against Cabot in Dimock Case). The verdict was obviously brain dead and a federal court judge threw the verdict and judgement out, saying a brand new trial would have to take place (see Fed Court Overturns $4.2M Dimock Judgement Against Cabot O&G). There will now be no new trial. Last week both sides settled the case “amicably”–whatever that means. We’ll tell you what it means. It means Cabot paid big bucks to make it all go away–although they won’t admit it…
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PA Gov. Wolf Visits NEPA to Barter for Marcellus Severance Tax

Hoping to pressure the Republican legislature to adopt a budget with a new severance tax, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (Democrat) visited two towns in northeast PA yesterday that are in the heart of Marcellus Shale country. One of those towns is the bucolic village of Tunkhannock, in Wyoming County. MDN editor Jim Willis visited Tunkhannock a few months ago to attend an Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline rally (see Atlantic Sunrise Pipe Rally: ‘Time to Kick Politicians in the Ass’). During his visit yesterday, Wolf said there has been progress in the budget talks, but things are stalled at the moment. The big point Wolf made, the reason for the visit, is that $1 million of state money promised to Tunkhannock to run gas lines in the area for local utilities to tap into abundant, local Marcellus gas is on hold because of the budget impasse. Wolf was dangling a $1 million carrot, implying that if the local yokels want that money to run new gas lines, they dang well better support his plan to pass the budget–a plan that includes a severance tax on the Marcellus. That’s how we read it. From Tunkhannock, Wolf traveled north to Montrose, in Susquehanna County, where he visited the Endless Mountains Hospital–a hospital largely built with Marcellus money from Cabot Oil & Gas. If Wolf’s severance tax had been in place, that hospital would not have gotten built…
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