§ Shale Gas Drilling & Fracking Quite Active But Moderating ~ $-Natural Gas Much Cheaper

by admin on February 25, 2023

Natural gas forecast doesn’t reflect the current volatility!

Chesapeake Energy to reduce drilling amid natgas price slump

From an Article by Reuters, Business & Industry Connection, February 23, 2023

(Reuters) U.S. natural gas producer Chesapeake Energy Corp said it would pull back on drilling and completing wells this year as natural gas prices have crashed to a quarter of what they were last summer.

Chesapeake said it will drop two rigs in the Haynesville region that covers parts of Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana this year, and one rig in Marcellus shale of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. “We certainly see that it’s prudent to pull back capital, and we think we’re seeing others do the same,” Chief Executive Nick Dell’Osso said of energy firms pulling back in a shale gas play in Louisiana and east Texas. “We’re making money on the capital that we are investing but the margins are not nearly on a full cycle basis what they were historically,” he added.

Other operators, primarily private firms, were also pulling back activity in that region, he said. Earlier this month, Comstock Resources Inc said it would cut drilling rigs to seven from nine this year.

Henry Hub natural gas futures on Wednesday briefly dipped below $2 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) for the first time since September 2020, and were down from last year’s $8 peak.

Shares of Chesapeake were up 2.3% to $79.77 in midday trading. Chesapeake, which previously announced plans to sell its oil position to focus on gas production, on Tuesday said it would sell oil assets in South Texas to chemical maker INEOS for $1.4 billion.

That deal comes a month after it agreed to sell a separate part of its assets there to Wildfire Energy for $1.43 billion. Chesapeake expects to receive $1.7 billion in after-tax proceeds from those sales. Rival shale oil producer Diamondback Energy on Wednesday said it was increasing its non-core asset sale target to at least $1 billion by the end of this year, up from $500 million previously.


Natural Gas Price Volatility ‘Simply Noise’ for Heavily Hedged CNX, Says CEO

From an Article by Andrew Baker, NGI Shale Daily, January 27, 2023

CEO Nicholas Deluliis hosted a conference call to discuss fourth-quarter and full-year 2022 results for Canonsburg, PA-based CNX, formerly part of CONSOL Energy of Pittsburgh.

Appalachian Basin pure-play CNX Resources Corp. is aiming to lock in elevated natural gas prices and protect itself from market swings through an aggressive hedging strategy.

Also, “from a macro perspective, we expect the recent pricing volatility to continue in 2023 as the US domestic markets continue to fluctuate with shifting weather expectations, uncertain domestic production levels,” and growing liquefied natural gas demand from around the world. “How gas prices unfold in 2023 will depend on a difficult to predict combination of those three core elements.”

The CEO said “while the extreme volatility in the natural gas markets will significantly impact near term results, prices along the strip are still materially higher than in recent years and as such, the rates of returns on previous capital investments remain not just high, but improved in this environment…” As a result, “the future business plan not only remains intact, but even stronger,” he added.

CNX is forecasting capital expenditures (capex) of $575-675 million in 2023, including $430-475 million for drilling and completions. Total capex in 2022 was $566 million. Plans are to run one to two drilling rigs and one continuous, all electric hydraulic fracturing crew throughout the year, Deluliis said.

‘Modestly Lower’ Output ~ CNX is expecting “modestly lower” production in 2023 versus 2022, he said. Management expects production levels to be at their lowest during the first quarter, then to accelerate as the year progresses. Production “is a result for us, not an objective within our strategy and business model,” he told analysts.

“Most importantly, we’re expecting to return to our 2022 production level run rate around mid-year 2023 plus or minus, and from there return to more elevated annual levels in 2024 and beyond,” the CEO said.

Also, “this annual capital budget assumes a full year of the increased inflationary cost environment that we experienced during the latter part of 2022 and reflects our desire to use the highest quality crews and products and to make the best long-term focused decisions to help derisk our plan.”

The company expects to bring online 30 wells for the year, including 27 in Southwest Pennsylvania (SWPA) and three in Central Pennsylvania. The SWPA wells would comprise 23 in the Marcellus Shale and four in the Utica Shale, with average lateral lengths of 14,500 feet and 13,600 feet, respectively.

Deluliis noted that “today’s higher capital costs are more than offset by the increased pricing outlook that we continue to hedge into.” The company has hedged 82% of its expected natural gas volumes for full-year 2023.

The company “will continue to add higher priced hedges in what is an elevated natural gas price environment compared to when a lot of the hedges were originally put on,” Deluliis said. He added, “Locking in these increased pricing levels translates to significant future margin expansion that will add material free cash flow compared to the original seven-year plan that we put out in 2020.”

In other words, “we believe that the volatility that we’re seeing in the commodity markets [is] simply noise as it relates to our sustainable business model and long-term plan,” said Deluliis. “Despite the uncertainty in the gas markets we are currently seeing in 2023 along with the uncertainty around the broader economy, we are confident in the sustainable business model that we have created.”

As to the potential for mergers and acquisitions (M&A), Deluliis said, “I think the kind of bolt-on opportunities are fairly reduced at this point. There’s not a lot of private equity operators left and we always compare any potential M&A opportunity to the opportunity of doing M&A on ourselves through our buybacks, so it’s a pretty high hurdle when you come at it from that perspective. There’s currently nothing kind of on our radar from that perspective given where our share prices are trading.”

CNX generated a company record $707 million of free cash flow in 2022, Deluliis highlighted. The company fetched an average realized gas price after hedging off $2.76/Mcf during 4Q2022, versus $2.54 in 4Q2021. The full-year average price was $2.92/Mcf in 2022, up from $2.57 in 2021.

Realized hedging losses totaled $360 million during the fourth quarter, compared to losses of $400 million in the corresponding 2021 period. Production averaged 1.53 Bcfe/d in 4Q2022, down from 1.72 Bcfe/d in 4Q2021. Full-year 2022 production averaged 1.59 Bcfe/d, compared to 1.62 Bcfe/d in 2021.

CNX reported net income of $1.17 billion ($6.64/share) for the fourth quarter of 2022, up from $630 million ($3.02) in 4Q2021. For full-year 2022, CNX posted a net loss of $142 million (minus 75 cents/share), versus a loss of $499 million (minus $2.31) in 2021.

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Marcellus Shale News February 26, 2023 at 2:47 pm

Some 40 New Shale Well Permits Issued for PA-OH-WV (Marshall County)

New shale permits issued for Feb. 5-12 in the Marcellus/Utica increased nicely last week. There were 40 new permits issued in total last week, including 25 new permits for Pennsylvania, 11 new permits for Ohio, and four permits issued in West Virginia.

The week before, there were only 26 new permits issued.

Last week the top receiver of new permits was Seneca Resources, with six new permits for Tioga County, PA. Coterra Energy received five permits for Susquehanna County, PA. In Ohio, Encino Energy and Ascent Resources both received four new permits–in Carroll and Harrison counties, respectively.


Marcellus Shale News February 26, 2023 at 2:50 pm

Some 35 New Shale Well Permits Issued for PA-OH-WV Feb 13-19 (Doddridge & Tyler Counties)

New shale permits issued for Feb. 13-19 in the Marcellus/Utica remained elevated last week. There were 35 new permits issued in total last week (down slightly from 40 the week before), including 27 new permits for Pennsylvania, three new permits for Ohio, and five permits issued in West Virginia. Last week the top receiver of new permits was Coterra Energy, with 13 new permits for Susquehanna County, PA. The number two permittee was Apex Energy with five permits in Westmoreland County, PA.


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