Monday, November 30, 2015

ODNR: Ohio's Mineral Resources Valued at Over $2.1 Billion

From the Ohio Department of Natural Resources:
A just released mineral industries report from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) shows the development of Ohio’s mineral resources in 2014 produced more than $2.1 billion worth of geologic commodities, including increases in the mined amount of limestone, salt, sand and gravel. 
The 2014 Report on Ohio Mineral Industries: An Annual Summary of the State’s Economic Geology contains information regarding the production, value and employment totals of Ohio’s various mineral industries. Some highlights include: 
Mineral industries produced $188 worth of resources per Ohioan. 
Approximately $1.1 billion worth of coal was produced in 2014—the seventh year in a row Ohio’s production value topped $1 billion. 
For the first time in the state’s history, nonfuel industrial-mineral production values exceeded $1 billion. 
Salt production exceeded 5 million tons in 2014—an increase of more than 37 percent from 2013 production values.
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Anti-Drillers Sound Alarm About Radium Release if Fracking Occurs in Wayne National Forest

From The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register:
Opponents of natural gas fracking in the 241,000-acre Wayne National Forest believe the process will release radioactive radium and other hazardous materials, while those in favor said drillers need to operate in the woodland so mineral owners can realize their properties' profit potential.

The forest covers much of Monroe County, home of two notable fracking-related accidents last year. Environmentalists fear the dangers of fracking, in addition to risks associated with the pipelines needed to transport the natural gas, oil and liquids derived from the wells. Now , the Columbus-based Buckeye Forest Council hopes to prevent the US Bureau of Land Management from allowing fracking in the wildlife area. 
"It took 350 million years for radium and its daughter elements to become isolated from the surface of the earth so that our carbon-based life forms could even develop," Terry Lodge, an attorney working for the council, said. "The worst threat oil and gas workers and the public have never heard of from fracking is that nearly 100 percent of the wastes are radioactive. "
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Friday, November 27, 2015

Agricultural Sector to Benefit from New Natural Gas Pipeline Infrastructure: New Study

From a press release from Ohio State Grange:
The Ohio State Grange today released a new analysis examining the interrelationship between the agricultural sector and access to affordable natural gas supplies in Ohio and Michigan. The analysis, conducted by Hillsdale College Professors Dr. Gary Wolfram and Dr. Charles Steele, examines two key aspects of new underground natural gas pipeline projects: safety and the net benefits they deliver to the farming community.

“Agriculture is the traditional industry of America’s Midwest and the livelihood of millions of Americans,” said Lisa Tharp, Legislative Director of the Ohio State Grange. “It’s important to recognize the positive impact that natural gas pipeline infrastructure will have on farming in the 21stcentury. Increasing access to affordable natural gas will serve as a great benefit to our region’s farmers that face increasing costs.”

In recent years, Ohio has become a new epicenter of energy development with natural gas production increasing from less than 7 billion cubic feet a day five years ago to more than 87 billion cubic feet a day today. The increase in production has led in turn to proposals, such as the Rover pipeline project, to build new pipeline infrastructure in Ohio and Michigan in order to move those products to market. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is currently reviewing the applications for proposed natural gas pipelines projects that would cross parts of Ohio and Michigan. For one such project, the Rover pipeline project, FERC recently released their proposed timeline for the project that would see a final decision made by end of October 2016.

“Farmers across our region and country are are projected to face falling agricultural commodity prices,” noted Dr. Wolfram. “Natural gas is a major component of farming operations and expenses. Building new natural gas infrastructure can reduce costs for famers by increasing access to affordable natural gas.”
View the new report below or by clicking here.

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Ohioans Thankful For Gas Price Drop to Six Year Lows, Saving Consumers $7 Billion

by Jackie Stewart, Energy in Depth

Ohioans have much to be thankful for this year. Not only has shale investment brought over $33 billion to the state (creating thousands of jobs and millions in tax revenues), but this holiday season, travelers can be especially thankful for cheap prices at the pump.
Today, drivers from across the state have seen gas prices have fall to six year lows, dipping under $1.50 in some areas, a drop of more than 20 cents in just one week. In the Cincinnati area,gas prices have dropped 62 percent! That’s not the only good news this holiday season, either. The drop in gas prices means consumers will save a reported $7 billion at the pump during this holiday season, or about $40 per driver. So, feel free to invite your in-laws over for Thanksgiving, as this saving means Thanksgiving dinner for 8 people, according to the Farm Bureau. The Cincinnati Enquirer quoted Patrick DeHaan, a petroleum analyst for Gasbuddy, who said,
“In Cincinnati the prices we’re seeing are at the lowest average since March 2009. At that time, the nation was struggling to emerge from the most precipitous economic downturn since the Great Depression.”
Of course, the lower gas prices are a direct result of our increase in shale development. Low gas prices impact every fabric of our society, and are particularly a welcomed relief to families during the holidays. As Marshall Doney, President and CEO of AAA said,
“This Thanksgiving, more Americans will carve out time to visit friends and family since 2007. While many people remain cautious about the economy and their finances, many thankful Americans continue to put a premium on traveling to spend the holiday with loved ones. One holiday gift has come early this year. Americans will likely pay the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2008. Lower prices are helping boost disposable income, and enabling families to kick off the holiday season with a Thanksgiving getaway.
Take a look at some of the stations in Ohio over the last 24 hours, according to Gasbuddy:
As we know, shale development has pulled us out of that great depression, driving unemployment rates down in Ohio and across the country, and supporting middle class jobs with vigor. Now it’s providing low gas prices just in time for the holidays.
The Buckeye State is grateful for the harvesting of Utica shale, which has led to our economic recovery, savings at the pump, and ultimately more holiday cheer. Happy Thanksgiving!
Copyright Energy in Depth. Reprinted with permission.  View original here:

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Group in Ashtabula County Launches "Brine Ain't Fine" Campaign

From the Star Beacon:
Ashtabula County Water Watch, an all-volunteer grassroots environmental group, is preparing an educational campaign on the potential dangers of hydraulic fracturing wastewater, or brine, called “Brine Ain’t Fine.” 
The campaign kicks off today, in conjunction with a “National Day of Action” organized by several national anti-fracking groups, and ACWW is seeking more volunteers to inform the local community about frackwater’s hazards.

Though brine is classified as saltwater — making it OK to dump into more than a dozen county Class II injection wells, or to spread on county roads as a dust suppressant — fracking chemicals in the brine solution are often radioactive or carcinogenic, as watchdog groups have found. 
Stephanie Blessing, an ACWW coordinator who also farms organic vegetables in Jefferson, said with the county government and municipalities’ recent concerted effort to stand up against the proliferation of injection wells — calling for a moratorium on new wells until local regulatory control is restored — now is the time to start a community discussion and spread awareness.

Blessing is a West Virginia transplant who helped organize Kentucky communities against mountaintop removal and coal mining in the state. The oil and gas industry is “the same monster,” she said.
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Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District to Spend $1.4 Million in Oil and Gas Money on Improvements

From the Akron Beacon Journal:
The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District will spend $1.4 million from gas and oil leasing revenue on improvements at three lakes. 
Charles Mill will get boat ramp and paving improvements. 
Leesville’s South Fork boat ramp will be replaced. 
Atwood will get a new handicapped accessible trail of 1,000 feet and an 800-foot-long pedestrian bridge connecting the parking lot at Marina West to the new Welcome Center at the park entrance. A new kayak-canoe launch is also planned.
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Energy Job Recruiter: Oil and Gas Industry Job Losses Exceed 233,000

From NGI:
Oil and gas industry losses worldwide now exceed 233,000 and are expected to continue into 2016, according to energy sector job recruiter Swift Worldwide Resources. 
The Houston-based firm said in mid-June that the number of job losses in the industry exceeded 150,000 (see Shale Daily, June 16). However, layoffs escalated through September. 
"As the end of November draws closer, the number of job losses is shown to be over 233,000," the firm said. 
Swift CEO Tobias Rad said the rate of job losses "has unfortunately increased, with almost 25,000 publicly announced job losses in the last two months alone." There's "limited incremental investment in the sector and no sign of an immediate turnaround," which means "the situation is likely to get worse." Total job losses now are forecast to exceed 250,000 in 2015, with more job losses expected in 2016. 
"With very limited new job openings for either direct hire employees or contractors, this figure represents a real and substantial loss to the upstream industry, which will be hard to replace once the market recovers," Read said.
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Investors Giving Up on Chesapeake Energy?

From Bloomberg:
Credit investors who lent $11 billion to Chesapeake Energy Corp. are starting to give up on the company, the second-biggest junk-debt issuer in the U.S. energy industry. 
Nearly all of the energy producer’s bonds plummeted to their lowest levels ever on Thursday as oil dropped toward a more-than six-year low. Chesapeake notes were the second-most actively traded in the high-yield market, just behind Petrobras Global Finance BV.

One of Chesapeake’s bonds dropped 9 cents on the dollar, while the price of credit-default swaps -- used by investors to protect against defaults -- rose to the highest ever. The company’s shares sank to a 13-year low.

"We are seeing investors capitulate to the reality of the situation," said John McClain, a money manager at Diamond Hill Capital Management Inc. in Columbus, Ohio, which oversees $16 billion. "They have a lot of debt, they are burning through cash and their earnings profile is not getting any better. They are trading worse than their credit rating suggests, and there is almost certainly a downgrade coming."
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Report: Earthquakes Linked to Less than One Percent of All U.S. Injection Wells

by Katie Brown, Energy in Depth

Fewer than one percent of wastewater injection wells across the United States have been potentially linked to induced seismicity, according to a new report by Energy In Depth. The report, entitled “Injection Wells and Earthquakes: Quantifying the Risk,” consults data from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and several peer-reviewed studies to examine the number of injection wells that have been suspected as causing earthquakes, compared against the total number of operating injection wells. The report includes breakout statistics for several states as well, including OklahomaTexasColoradoNew MexicoOhioKansas, and Arkansas.
Below are the key findings, by the numbers:
  • Total number of U.S. disposal wells – 40,000 (approx.)
  • Number of U.S. disposal wells potentially linked to seismicity – 218
  • Percentage of U.S. disposal wells potentially linked to seismicity – 0.55%
  • Percentage of disposal wells operating without seismicity – 99.45%
  • Total number of Class II injection wells in the United States – 150,000 (approx.)
  • Percentage of Class II injection wells potentially linked to seismicity – 0.15%
  • Percentage of Class II injection wells operating without seismicity – 99.85%
The report helps to quantify the risk of induced seismicity from underground wastewater disposal, demonstrating that despite prevalent media coverage of each seismic event, the number of wells even potentially linked to earthquakes is comparatively small across the United States. Even in the individual states where most of the attention on induced seismicity has been focused, the vast majority of injection wells are operating aseismically.
In recent years, scientists, regulators, and industry have come together to implement a number of measures to mitigate the risk of induced seismicity, including resource and data sharing to empower states to adopt best practices. Many states have also updated their rules and guidelines for injection well permitting, and companies have spent tens of millions of dollars in mitigation procedures – many of which were voluntary – in order to further reduce risks.
To access the full report, and the state specific fact sheets, click the links below.
Copyright Energy in Depth. Reprinted with permission. Click here to view article in its original location.

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Southwestern Energy Borrows $750 Million to Pay Down Other Debts

From a Southwestern Energy press release:
Southwestern Energy Company (NYSE: SWN) today announced that it entered into a $750 million three-year term loan agreement and used its proceeds to pay down balances under its existing credit facility and commercial paper program. The term loan is unsecured and includes an interest rate calculated based upon the Company's credit rating (currently 137.5 basis points over the current London Interbank Offered Rate). The term loan is prepayable at any time and requires prepayment from the net cash proceeds of any issuance of debt or equity securities and sales of assets, with certain exceptions. The other provisions in the term loan are substantially the same as those contained in the existing revolving credit facility. 
The Company also filed an automatic shelf Registration Statement ("new shelf") on Form S-3 that will replace the Company's former automatic shelf Registration Statement on Form S-3 dated November 9, 2012 ("old shelf"). The old shelf expired on November 13, 2015, the third anniversary of its effective date, in accordance with the rules pursuant to the Securities Act of 1933. The Company filed the new shelf due to the expiration of the old shelf and not in anticipation of any specific securities offerings. 
"We are pleased with the strong support from our banks in moving $750 million of our existing debt to the term loan and increasing our liquidity. We are committed to creating long-term value to our shareholders. The actions announced today reflect sound financial policies that are aligned with this commitment. We also remain committed to a flexible capital program that is responsive to the commodity price environment and anticipate outstanding debt to remain flat or decline throughout 2016," remarked Steve Mueller, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Southwestern Energy.
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Producing Utica Shale Wells in Ohio Increase by 59 in Latest Report

The latest weekly permitting report from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources reveal another relatively slow week of permitting, although the number of producing wells did see a significant increase.

Six new permits were issued by the ODNR last week.  Five of those six permits are for drilling in Belmont County (four to Gulfport Energy and one to XTO Energy), and the one other permit was issued to Chesapeake Exploration for the Edie 17-13-6 well in Carroll County.

The activity last week brings the new total number of permits for horizontal drilling in Ohio's Utica shale to 2,085.  The new cumulative total of wells drilled stands at 1,645.  The most significant increase was in the number of producing wells, which jumped by 59 from 1,059 to 1,118.  The Utica rig count didn't drop for the first time in four weeks, holding steady at 19.

View the report below or by clicking here.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Marathon Continues Putting More Cash Forward for MarkWest Acquisition

From The Courier:
For the second time in a week, Marathon Petroleum Corp. on Tuesday boosted its purchase offer for MarkWest Energy Partners, this time by about $200 million in cash. 
The deal, which MarkWest unitholders will vote on Dec. 1, is now valued at about $10.65 billion, according to Dow Jones News Wires. 
MarkWest, based in Denver, is the nation’s second largest natural gas processor. 
The second increase of the purchase offer came after former MarkWest Chief Executive Officer John Fox said the deal was a bad one, even after Marathon’s improved offer last week, when an additional $400 million in cash was offered. 
He was not impressed Tuesday with Marathon Petroleum’s second increase. Both revisions are “too small and too late … I am still against this awful deal,” Fox said. He recommended MarkWest unitholders vote against the deal.
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Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Held at New CNG Station in Carrollton

From WTOV 9:
Feelings of growth and opportunity were expressed Tuesday for the ribbon cutting ceremony in Carroll County, where all eyes are focused on the future.

Officials kicked off the long-awaited grand opening of the Carrollton School District's compressed natural gas station. It's located right beside the power training center, where students will learn trades and skills in the oil and gas industry. 
It's also part of a partnership between the school and private companies like American Natural. For more than 2, years they've been working together on the project. 
"We have worked really closely with the school district to utilize the grant fund to make the vision come to fruition here," Andrea Feinstein of American Natural said. 
The school is capitalizing on the local natural resources available right under the community's feet, a first of its kind on its property, according to Superintendent Dave Quattrochi.
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Friday, November 20, 2015

EPA Chief Gina McCarthy Says Banning Fossil Fuel Extraction on Federal Lands Isn't Extreme

From The Daily Caller:
The head of the Environmental Protection Agency said it wouldn’t be “extreme” for the government to ban all coal, oil and natural gas production on federal lands, but was quick to add governments had broader things to consider in crafting energy policies. 
“I don’t think it’s extreme,” Gina McCarthy said in a recent interview with Bill Loveless of Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy. “I think it’s a valid position for agencies and entities that are solely looking at environmental issues.” 
McCarthy’s remarks were in response to a question from Loveless asking her if it’s an “extreme” position for environmentalists to call for a ban on coal, oil and gas production on federal lands.

“So I mean do you think that it’s extreme then for those that might say, ‘Well let’s stop. Let’s keep all the oil and gas that’s in the federal property in that property going forward. Stop it from being produced. Same goes for offshore Alaska. Stop it from being produced because it’s just going to contribute to the problem, the environmental problem,” Loveless asked.
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Protesters Turn Out in Athens County to Fight Injection Wells

From the Athens News:
Around 40 protesters waived anti-fracking signs Tuesday at U.S. Rt. 50 highway drivers, with many honking in support, as part of a national day of action meant to call awareness to the oil and gas horizontal hydraulic fracturing industry.

The protesters were gathered at the rest area off the highway near Torch and Coolville in southeast Athens County, about 500 yards away from the K&H fracking waste injection well site up a nearby hill and beyond the trees.

Frances Spencer, from Coolville, said that she attended the day of action not only to raise awareness but to “get rid of them, if we can,” referring to the two K&H injection wells on the site.

“I’m older, and the impact of all this taking place, it might not affect me but what about the next generation? The little ones? I’m worried about the little kids,” she said. “What are they going to have to live with if we don’t fight this and get rid of it?”
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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Cleveland State University Publishes New Three-Part Study on Shale

From Cleveland State University:
A new report on the economic development opportunities offered by Ohio shale shows that shale development may present new business and job opportunities beyond traditional exploration and production activities, such as drilling and producing new wells. 
Additional jobs and economic opportunity may also exist in: 
  • Midstream oil and gas activities, such as transportation, storage and processing.  
  • New downstream activities, including use of natural gas in power generation, refining operations and compounding, as well as distribution and conversion of petrochemicals into commercial plastics products. 
The study, conducted in three parts, was prepared collaboratively by the Center for Economic Development and the Energy Policy Center at Cleveland State University’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs. Commissioned by the Regional Economic Competitiveness Strategy (RECS) Shale Committee with support from the Economic Growth Foundation and JobsOhio, the report provides economic development professionals, businesses and workforce agencies with a better idea of the opportunities for growth in Ohio’s upstream, midstream and downstream industries related to shale development. 
“The intent of the research team is to provide current and transparent data in one place showing the wide range of opportunities that shale hydrocarbons may present to Ohio,” said Iryna V. Lendel, Ph.D., co-author of the report and associate director of the Center for Economic Development at CSU. 
Andrew R. Thomas, report co-author and executive-in-residence at CSU’s Energy Policy Center, said the study also suggests that additional benefits could be realized from resources mined in Ohio but deployed regionally.  “Ohio should be more than just an extractive economy in which minerals are taken out of the ground and shipped elsewhere to create wealth,” Thomas said. “There could be opportunities to manufacture products here from local resources, employing a local workforce and building a supply chain here.”
You can view the 3 parts of the study below.

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Senate Bill Nullifying Carbon Emissions Rule Faces Veto Threat from White House

From Raw Story:
The White House issued a veto threat on Tuesday for a resolution from the Republican-led U.S. Senate that would nullify new regulations to cut carbon emissions from power plants, the central piece of President Barack Obama’s climate plan. 
The Senate sponsors of the motion have said the Environmental Protection Agency regulation, which is also being challenged in U.S. federal court by 26 states and more than a dozen industry groups, would hurt jobs in coal-dependent regions.

Late on Tuesday, the Senate passed, 52-46, the measure challenging the administration’s plan to cut emissions from existing power plants. It also passed, in an identical vote, a similar resolution that the White House has threatened to veto dealing with new coal power plants. 
The White House said the Senate resolution “threatens the health and economic welfare of future generations by blocking important standards to reduce carbon pollution from the power sector” and said Obama would veto the bill.
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Iran Plans for Increased Oil Exports Once Sanctions Are Lifted

From The Washington Post:
Iran said Tuesday it will export an additional 500,000 barrels of oil a day after sanctions are lifted under a landmark nuclear deal in a bid to reclaim its market share despite low prices. 
Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh told reporters Iran plans to double its crude oil exports as sanctions are lifted, which officials expect to happen in early 2016. Iran plans to begin exporting an additional 500,000 barrels of oil a day six months later. 
OPEC member Iran currently exports 1.1 million barrels of crude oil per day and hopes to get back to its pre-sanctions level of 2.2 million, last reached in 2012. Iran’s total production now stands at 3.1 million barrels per day. 
“Our exports will be doubled within a short period of time after the sanctions are lifted,” Zanganeh said.
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Op-Ed Says More Shale Drilling Can Help Fight Terrorism

President Obama says he's taking every step to thwart the Islamic State terrorism threat. Alas, that isn't so. We can and should drill our vast oil and gas resources to reduce petro-dollar funding of ISIS. 
But for this administration — hyper-obsessed as it is with its crusade against fossil fuels — fighting a war against terrorism remains a distant second priority. 
The dollars ISIS uses to buy arms, train terrorists, make bombs and build a network of murderous operatives around the world come from Middle East oil. 
Every credible news agency and intelligence report tells us they are able to wreak world havoc because they have as much as $50 million of oil money flowing in each month. 
One obvious way to disrupt those now threatening to launch Paris-like attacks in London, Washington, D.C., New York and elsewhere is to produce more oil right here in the U.S. — depriving terrorists in the Mideast of a major part of their revenue stream.
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The comments on the article reveal a mix of opinions on this idea.  What do you think?  Would more oil and gas drilling in the U.S. really deal a blow to ISIS?

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Investor David Einhorn Shares Thoughts on Consol Energy's Ability to Survive

From Business Insider:
On Monday, Greenlight Capital's David Einhorn gave his long thesis for Consol Energy, a natural-gas exploration and coal company that has lost 77% of its value since the start of the year. 
The presentation was given at the 2015 Robinhood Investors Conference. You can check it out on Greenlight Capital's website. 
Einhorn says he's still holding on to the company despite the ultra-low price of natural gas because he thinks the company can hold on, too. 
More specifically, he thinks the company has enough to wait until 2018 to invest in new projects, instead of spending money when sales won't generate enough revenue to cover costs. 
See if you agree.
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Analyst: Magnum Hunter's Problems Raise Questions About the Resource Play Business Model

From Seeking Alpha:
In many respects, Magnum Hunter's situation is not unique. The company has deserved investors' broad recognition for its entrepreneurial culture and ability to build significant assets from scratch. The current default notwithstanding, the company's assets portfolio in impressive and, under normal circumstances, would provide multiple options for future growth. 
Thinking of the drivers behind the credit crisis that many participants in the U.S. E&P industry are currently facing, it is important to recognize that the resource play business model in the E&P space in the past decade was based not only on growing cash flows from operations but also - and in some cases predominantly - on value creation through the capture of assets early in their life cycle with a subsequent resale upon partial delineation or development. 
By capturing large tracts of prospective acreage at low cost, proving up that acreage - often with a limited number of wells - and moving on to the next project upon partial or full monetization, operators have been able to lock in significant gains for their shareholders. Sponsoring midstream MLPs was one of the forms of leveraging future cash flows from the resources in the ground. 
Value-creating potential of such business model was recognized not only by developers and speculators, but also by institutional investors, senior lenders, overseas capital providers, analysts, etc. In fact, the model worked very well for a long time. 
The problem, of course, is that the market's appetite and capital available for asset purchases dried up in step with the decline in commodity prices. Magnum Hunter is not the only company that is effectively "stuck" with a portfolio of assets that just a year ago appeared to be a cash equivalent but now cannot find a buyer at any reasonable price. 
The obvious danger of the resource play business model is that it has become heavily dependent on "resource play lending." At the trough of the cycle, when a significant portion of the captured assets becomes idle, there is not enough value left to support loans priced for the cyclical peak. 
Unfortunately, in the event the current commodity price environment persists, several more companies in the E&P sector may ultimately find themselves with no liquidity-enhancing options left. It is also important to note that once liquidity shortages develop, events begin to unfold with remarkable speed. The following paragraphs from Magnum Hunter's latest 10Q filing - which I included in full - is a remarkable illustration to pressures that companies face during the liquidity crunch and a must read for investors in the sector.
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So, as MHR seems to be headed for bankruptcy, it's fair to wonder how many similar stories we may hear as the low oil and natural gas prices continue.

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Ohio Legislators Tour Industrial Park, Look to Develop Oil and Gas-Related Jobs

From Shale Play:
Ohio Sen. Lou Gentile and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan visited the Hannibal Industrial Park on Thursday to tour the site and discuss developing more oil and gas-related jobs there. 
Hannibal Real Estate LLC acquired the property from Ormet Corp. eight years ago and launched the industrial park in 2012. Today, the 122-acre site houses 20 companies and employs more than 200 people. 
Managing Director David Reid led Gentile, D-Steubenville, and Ryan, D-Ohio, on a tour of three of the park's tenants, starting with Kelchner Inc. Although it's primarily an excavation company, Kelchner performs welding and fabrication at the Hannibal location. 
Kelchner Vice President Brett Landis informed the legislators that his company currently works with 30 other businesses. He said the "big push" within today's gas and oil industry is to get cracker plants in place. 
Gentile has been an advocate for Thailand-based PTT Global Chemical to proceed with a proposed $5.7 billion ethane cracker in Dilles Bottom. PTT has already committed $100 million for engineering and design plans.
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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

GreenHunter Reports Third Quarter Results

From GreenHunter:
GreenHunter Resources, Inc. (NYSE MKT:GRH) (NYSE MKT:GRH.PC), a diversified water resource, waste management, environmental services, and hydrocarbon marketing company specializing in the unconventional oil and natural gas shale resource plays within the Appalachian Basin, announced today financial and operating results for the three months and nine months ended September 30, 2015.  
Third Quarter Financial and Operational Highlights and Current Developments
  • The Company reported positive adjusted EBITDA of $482 thousand for the third quarter of 2015.
  • Injection volumes for the three and nine month period ended September 30, 2015 were 969 thousand and 2.6 million, respectively compared to 1.0 million and 2.9 million for the corresponding year ago period, respectively. 
  • In late July 2015 GreenHunter announced commencement of two new disposal wells at its Mills Hunter facility located in southeastern Ohio. The initial combined injection rate for these two new wells is approximately 6,000 - 8,000 barrels per day. The increased injection capacity effectively raises the Company’s overall disposal capacity by approximately 50%. There are two additional wells which are in final stages of regulatory approval at this location that are expected to be placed in service over the next ninety days.  
  • The Company previously ordered eight new Peterbilt trucks and specialized condensate rated DOT 407 trailers.  Three of these truck/trailer combinations were completed in the third quarter of 2015 and two were actively working at the end of the quarter.  Four additional trucks were in the process of having the trailers installed at quarter end and the remaining truck was still on order, which is expected to be delivered sometime in December 2015.  DOT 407 trailers are designed to transport mixed loads of condensate and brine which generate higher margins.   
  • GreenHunter Resources continues to attract new customers and work with a diverse client base of small, mid, and large cap exploration and production companies.   In the third quarter, no one customer represented more than 21 percent of GreenHunter’s total revenue. 
  • The Company has continued to decrease selling, general and administrative expenses, excluding non-cash stock compensation, from $2.1 million in the third quarter of 2014 to $1.5 million in the third quarter of 2015, a decrease of 29%.
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Four New Permits Issued for Ohio Utica Shale Drilling Last Week

The latest weekly update on permitting in the Utica shale has been made available by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Permitting slowed again last week, dropping from 16 new permits on the previous report to only four on this latest one.  All four permits were issued to XTO Energy for wells in Belmont County.

While four new wells are listed this week, the cumulative total of permitted wells increased by only one (to 2,079).  The number of wells drilled rose by nine, to a new total of 1,644.  The number of producing wells jumped by 25, from 1,034 to 1,059.  Meanwhile, the Utica rig count dropped for the third straight week, going from 20 on the previous report to 19 on this one.

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Monday, November 16, 2015

11/16/15 Links of the Day: Magnum Hunter in Big Trouble, Pickens Lectures Obama, and More

Columbus Business First:  Ohio sees $5.7B in new oil and gas infrastructure since spring   -   "Utica shale drilling activity in Ohio has led to $5.7 billion in new spending since spring, a Columbus law firm has found. According to Bricker & Eckler LLP, the industry has invested almost $33.7 billion since it started..."

Energy in Depth:  Sierra Club (Reluctantly) Admits Fracking has Helped Lower CO2 Emissions   -   "The Sierra Club released a report last week attempting to argue that its “Beyond Coal”campaign is the reason that the United States has been able to achieve dramatic greenhouse gas reductions even though every credible organization from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to the International Energy Agency (IEA) to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) has said that it’s thanks to..."

Plastics News:  Ohio, Pa. and W.Va. hope shale gas brings more investment   -   "Despite animus involving each other’s professional football teams, folks in Cleveland and Pittsburgh have more alike than they would probably want to admit. And that’s certainly true when it comes to the future of the plastics industry in..."

Associated Press:  Without Keystone, industry must find new paths for oil   -   "Following the Obama administration's rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline, the oil industry faces the tricky task of making sure the crude oil targeted for the pipeline still gets where it needs to go. The pipeline, first proposed by TransCanada Corp. in 2008, was projected..."

Energy in Depth:  New Information in Kiskadden Case Reveals Shoddy Journalism from PennLive, Again   -   "When it comes to reporting on accusations against the oil and gas industry in Pennsylvania, the media has a habit of generating headlines that suggest the worst possible scenario, even when that scenario has been ruled out by scientists and regulators. To provide just one example, in last month’s series on fracking, the Harrisburg Patriot-News ran..."

Powersource:  Eclipse Resources said to be exploring a sale after 2014 IPO   -   "Eclipse Resources Corp., the oil and gas explorer active in the Appalachian Basin that went public last year, is exploring a sale, people with knowledge of the matter said. The State College, Pennsylvania-based company has been working with Morgan Stanley in recent months to solicit offers from rival explorers, said the people, who asked not to be identified because..."

USA Today:  How fracking killed Keystone (and is saving the climate)   -   "Environmentalists are correct in calling President Obama’s decision to reject the Keystone XL pipelinea “symbolic” victory, but that description is too generous. For them, it’s a Pyrrhic victory of the first order because the main factor behind..."

The Columbus Dispatch:  Kasich energy plan has critics hot   -   "John Kasich’s energy plan is aimed at sparking the economy by expanding production, but environmentalists say the Republican presidential candidate’s idea would increase pollution and the carbon emissions blamed..."

Seeking Alpha:  Magnum Hunter: Teetering On The Brink Of A Restructuring   -   "Magnum Hunter Resources (MHR) has been dealing with tight liquidity through much of 2015, raising money through asset and stock sales to keep operations going. The sale of its Eureka Hunter stake was supposed to end any liquidity concerns until 2017, but that sale hasn't materialized..."

MarkWest Energy:  Marathon Petroleum Corp. Increases Cash Consideration for MPLX/MarkWest Merger   -   "MPLX LP (NYSE: MPLX) and MarkWest Energy Partners, L.P. (NYSE: MWE) (MarkWest) today announced that in connection with the merger of MPLX and MarkWest,MPLX has agreed to increase the amount of the cash consideration payable to MarkWest common unitholders by $400 million, from $675 million to..."

NGI:  Rex Energy Focused on Maintaining Drilling Program to Hold Core Acreage   -   "In a lean commodity price environment, Rex Energy Corp. is focused on financing a drilling program active enough to hold down its acreage in Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio heading into 2016. CEO Thomas Stabley told investors..."

Seeking Alpha:  The Rise of Rice Energy   -   "From an investor's point of view, the energy sector is currently in a unique situation. Plummeting and volatile prices have caused large drops in quality companies. Many see fear in a bear market, especially one as significant as oil; however, to the right eye, diamond shaped opportunities lie in the rough market. Rice Energy (NYSE:RICE) can be this..."

Bloomberg Business:  Gas-Gushing Wells Have U.S. Stockpiles Swelling to Record   -   "U.S. natural gas drillers facing the lowest seasonal prices in two decades are trying to cut back supplies. The only problem: They’re too good at their jobs. Rigs are freeing record volumes of gas from new wells in six out of the seven largest U.S. shale deposits, Energy Information Administration data show. That’ll keep supplies expanding to all-time highs this year and next even as..."

Seeking Alpha:  Eclipse Resources' (ECR) CEO Benjamin Hulburt on Q3 2015 Results - Earnings Call Transcript   -   "Eclipse Resources is continuing to focus on execution and efficiency in this challenging commodity environment. I'm pleased to announce that we had another outstanding quarter both operationally and financially, and I'd like to congratulate all of our superb employees for excelling at managing the things that we can control. We remained highly focused on lowering costs..."

Forbes:  President Obama, "No" is Not an Energy Plan   -   "There’s a question I get often when it comes to leadership. The question is this: “What makes a great leader?”  It’s simple. Be willing to make decisions and accept the consequences. Take into account all the information available, and make a call. That’s the most important quality in a good leader. Don’t fall victim to what I call the “ready-aim-aim aim-aim” syndrome. You must be willing to fire. It helps to be..."  From Ohio to Texas, the ripple effects of energy jobs touch many   -   "Bless or curse hydraulic fracturing, but you can't doubt its value to oil and gas workers. From Pennsylvania and Ohio to Texas, energy production provides some of the most financially rewarding jobs. Almost everyone else ought to be envious. Take Texas, where the shale revolution began..."

SNL:  In dire financial straits, Magnum Hunter contemplates Chapter 11 protection   -   "Magnum Hunter Resources Corp. is exploring the possibility of undergoing Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection or private restructuring as it founders under the weight of heavy debt, a dismal balance sheet and plummeting shares brought about by the prevailing commodity price slump. "Based upon current commodity prices, we do not expect our cash flow from operations to be sufficient..."

The Denver Post:  More study, same result on fracking   -   "One of the stock charges used by those who campaign to ban hydraulic fracturing in oil and gas drilling is that it endangers groundwater supplies. And yet the pile of studies largely refuting this fear-mongering keeps growing..."

Heartlander Magazine:  Study of Premature Births Fails to Show Fracking Connection   -   "Serious methodological errors render unreliable the findings of a recent study titled “Unconventional Natural Gas Development and Birth Outcome in Pennsylvania, USA,” which suggested pregnant mothers living near hydraulic fracturing sites could be at a higher risk of giving birth to premature..."

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CELDF: We Won't Help Community Pay Damages Stemming From Attempting Injection Well Ban

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) has been in the news quite a bit as a very active organization which has been behind the push for bans on oil and gas activity in many different towns.  It has been previously documented that the organization has no problem being involved in influencing community leaders to enact regulations banning fracking, injection wells, and the like, but is quick to leave the community to fend for itself when subsequent legal trouble comes its way.

Now there is a new example of how the CELDF operates.

From the Pittsburgh Business Times:
On Nov. 3, Grant Township residents voted to redesignate the township under the commonwealth’s Home Rule Charter designation. As part of its charter, it specifically banned injection wells. 
“The people of Grant Township spoke loud and clear: They have rights, and they will protect those rights,” said Chad Nicholson of the Mercersburg­based Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, which assisted Grant Township with the rewriting of its municipal laws. 
Whether or not rewriting municipal laws will keep injection wells out of the township is up for debate. Matt Burger, who leads the energy legal practice at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC in Pittsburgh, said it probably won’t. 
“What they’ve done has absolutely no impact on (Judge Baxter’s) analysis,” Burger said. What’s more, PGE and Grant township are still in litigation over more than $1 million in alleged damages PGE hopes to recoup. That case is going to trial in March. If Grant loses that case and is forced to pony up $1 million, it could be in real trouble. 
“Grant Township runs a substantial risk of having to declare bankruptcy,” said James V. Corbelli, an attorney and shareholder with Pittsburgh­based Babst Calland. “Despite that, they’re continuing to pursue this.” 
When CELDF’s Nicholson was asked if the nonprofit would pick up the tab if Grant Township found itself on the losing end of its federal case, he didn’t mince words. 
“We are providing legal assistance to the township at no cost,” he said. “Any damages awarded by the court against the township would have to be paid by the township.”
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Ohio Supreme Court Sending Mixed Message About Home Rule Fracking Regulations

From the Athens News:
A potentially pivotal case in Ohio’s continuing debate over whether local communities can ban or zone oil and gas drilling activities hit a wall at the Ohio Supreme Court on Tuesday.

The high court dismissed without comment a complaint for mandamus (court order) filed by Beck Energy of Ravenna, Ohio, against the Akron suburb of Munroe Falls. The lack of explanation by the Supreme Court, though not at all unusual, makes it difficult to interpret the significance of the decision, though it definitely didn’t favor the oil and gas industry.

Beck, the lead plaintiff in a landmark Ohio case involving local oil and gas regulations, Morrison (Munroe Falls) vs. Beck Energy, sought an order from the Ohio Supreme Court stating that Munroe Falls cannot use its zoning ordinance “to prohibit drilling for oil and gas in 99.06 percent of the city’s territory.”

The recent debate over Ohio cities and counties’ efforts to ban or regulate oil and gas drilling, fracking and/or waste disposal has mainly involved proposed community bill of rights that assert an innate right of local citizens to pass laws to protect their environment.

So far, those efforts haven’t had much luck with Ohio courts, including the highest one, the Supreme Court. The courts have backed up state officials and the oil and gas industry’s contention that only the state, not local government, has the authority to regulate oil and gas.
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Multiple Lawsuits Filed Against Chesapeake Over Unpaid Royalties in Ohio

From Farm and Dairy:
First lawsuit filed 
Zehentbauer Family Land, Hanover Farms and Evelyn Frances Young, who lives in Summit County but owns land in Carroll County, filed a lawsuit against Chesapeake Exploration in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court in late October. The lawsuit also names Total E&P USA Inc., Pelican Energy and Jamestown Resources, which have working interest in the wells involved. 
The Zehentbauer Family Land and Hanover Farms lease calls for 17.5 percent gross royalties and the Young lease calls for 20 percent gross royalties to be paid. 
Seeking class action 
They are asking the lawsuit to be certified as a class action lawsuit since the Zehentbauer family oil and gas lease is a representative of a group lease signed by hundreds of Ohioans. 
According to the lawsuit filed by the Zehentbauer family, the lease is one that was negotiated with various landowner groups for either Ohio Buckeye Energy or Chesapeake Explorer. 
Second lawsuit 
A second lawsuit, Hope Christian Fellowship, of Wellsville, et. al against Chesapeake Exploration was filed Nov. 4 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, in Youngstown. 
The lawsuit claims there are 2,000 people and organizations that could be part of the lawsuit, and plaintiffs are also asking the case to be certified as class action. 
According to the court documents, most of the leases called for royalties equal to one-eighth of the proceeds from the sale of gas and oil from the well pads.
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Will Low Oil Prices Force Saudis to Blink and Change Strategy?

From MarketWatch:
Saudi Arabia is feeling some significant fiscal pain as a result of a collapse in oil prices it helped to engineer. But that doesn’t mean the world’s most important oil producer is likely to change its tune. 
Here’s a recent pair of headlines out of the desert kingdom: 
  • An International Monetary Fund official told The Wall Street Journal that Saudi Arabia and fellow Middle Eastern oil exporters face a combined $1 trillion budget shortfall over the next five years if crude oil prices remain near present levels and economic reforms aren’t introduced soon.
  • Bloomberg reported that Saudi Arabia delayed payments to government contractors as slumping oil prices pushed the country into deficit for the first time since 2009.
Those developments have oil bulls salivating. They argue that Saudi Arabia and its fellow members of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries overestimated the resiliency of U.S. shale producers when they embarked on a price war aimed at taking market share back from the U.S. and other non-OPEC producers.
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