Southwestern Sells More Assets from 2014 Chesapeake Deal

southwestern energyAs we report today, Antero Resources is buying 55,000 acres of leases in the Marcellus (and Utica) Shale from Southwestern Energy (see Antero Takes Southwestern to Cleaners in Deal for 55K Marc. Acres). The acreage that Southwestern is selling comes from the massive $5.375 billion deal Southwestern made with Chesapeake in 2014 (see Chesapeake Using $1B from Southwestern Deal to Buy Back Stock). The interesting thing is that selling land is not the only recent deal Southwestern has brokered to dump assets from the Chesapeake deal. Southwestern cut a deal (in May) to sell 135 vertical (conventional) and 37 horizontal (shale) wells in West Virginia to HG Energy. Earlier this week Southwestern got approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to sell pipeline contracts to HG Energy too. Which begs the question: How many more Chesapeake deal assets is Southwestern going to sell off?…
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PVR Partners Marcellus Pipeline Flows Increase 60% in 1 Year

Midstream company PVR Partners issued an update yesterday to brag about their Marcellus operations–and well they should. Average throughput on the PVR “Eastern Midstream Systems” increased 60%, from 1.1 billion cubic feet per day average in December 2012 to 1.8 Bcf/d in December 2013. They also completed a total of 101 well connections in 2013 for the Eastern Midstream area.

PVR’s Eastern Midstream includes operations in Lycoming, Wyoming, Bradford and Greene counties in Pennsylvania, and Preston County in West Virginia. Here’s the full PVR update with more details:
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Developments in WV Lawsuit to Rescind $5/Acre Leases

Way back in March MDN told you about a lawsuit filed by landowners in Preston County, WV. They sued Magnum Land Services and Belmont Resources LLC to have leases they were snookered into signing for as little as $5 per acres rescinded on the basis of fraud and a variety of other legal claims (see Update on WV Lawsuit to Rescind $5/Acre Leases). There’s been a major development in the case.

U.S. District Judge Irene Keeley has dismissed charges against 19 employees from Magnum and Belmont because the paperwork was not timely. She also dismissed half the counts brought by the landowners against the companies. Plus, we now have a date for a trial: October 2014. Justice delayed…
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Landmen & Drillers: 6 Steps to Keep a Lease Out of WV Court

The JDSupra Law News website reports on a West Virginia court case that may have far-reaching consequences for landowners in WV and for landmen and drillers operating in the state. The case is called Barber v. Magnum Land Services, LLC, a recent case filed in Preston County, WV, now transferred to the Northern District. The Barber case, according to JDSupra, has the potential to settle many other outstanding cases along the same lines and is being used as a proxy and precedent for other cases.

The Barber case alleges a landman (from Magnum Land Services) pressured a landowner into signing a lease to allow drilling with the statement that if the landowner did not sign, their land would be drilled under anyway and they would not receive any royalties–a veiled (and inaccurate) reference to “the law of capture” in WV. The landman also did not make the landowner aware of other signed offers, withholding important information about the potential value of the lease. The plaintiffs in Barber are using several legal arguments to nullify the lease. We won’t delve into the technicalities of the case (click below to read about it on the JDSupra website). However, JDSupra’s conclusion offers six steps landmen and drillers should adopt in the way they interact with landowners–steps that will help keep their leases out of court:
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Mum’s the Word on New Tygart Valley Pipeline in WV

In December, MDN reported that Houston-based Crestwood Midstream will construct a new 16” inch Marcellus gathering pipeline that will run 42 miles through Preston, Taylor and Barbour counties in northeast West Virginia, connecting to Columbia Gas Transmission’s WB Pipeline in Randolph County, WV, delivering Marcellus gas to the Washington, DC and Baltimore markets (see this MDN story).

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Gastar Marcellus Wells: Strong Production, Lots of Liquids

Gastar Exploration gives the following operational update on their drilling activities in the Marcellus Shale in Marshall and Preston counties in West Virginia, and Butler County in Pennsylvania. Most of Gastar’s Marcellus activity is concentrated in Marshall County, WV, where they plan to complete 24 horizontal wells by the end of 2012.

From the Gastar press release:

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Crestwood to Build New Marcellus Pipeline in NE WV

Houston-based Crestwood Midstream yesterday announced they will construct a new 16” inch Marcellus gathering pipeline that will run 42 miles through Preston, Taylor and Barbour counties in northeast West Virginia, connecting to Columbia Gas Transmission’s WB Pipeline in Randolph County, WV. By connecting to the WB Pipeline the new gathering pipeline will have access to the Washington, DC and Baltimore markets.

The new pipeline will be completed by this time next year and already has a long term “anchor” contract with Mountaineer Keystone, a Pittsburgh-based drilling company that will commence their horizontal drilling program in the area in the middle of 2012.

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Dominion Transmission Sued in WV Over 56 Year-Old Lease – Landowners Want Marcellus Drilling to Begin

Dominion Transmission, the pipeline transport subsidiary of energy giant Dominion, is being sued over a lease deal in Preston County, West Virginia signed in 1955. Dominion drilled a single well in 1959 which let it retain rights to develop more wells in the future in perpetuity. According to the lawsuit, Dominion assigned the lease rights to its subsidiary Dominion Transmission with plans to someday use the geological formations of the land as a natural gas storage field. Such activity would yield no royalties for the landowners who want to nullify the lease and find someone who will actually drill gas wells on the property, specifically tapping the Marcellus Shale.

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