Chesapeake

Chesapeake Fall from the Barnett

All,

John McFarland at Oil and Gas Lawyer Blog has a thought provoking post about Chesapeake's trade to Saddle Barnett Resources, LLC in the Barnett Shale. It is incredible that Chesapeake is essentially trading what used to be it's most prized asset while paying $334 million to extricate itself from an onerous gas purchasing agreement.

It should not be lost on the shareholders that the gas purchasing agreements were an accounting trick that Chesapeake negotiated with itself before the midstream company spun off as Access Energy. To quote from McFarland's piece,

"Recall that Chesapeake originally built out its own gathering system for its Barnett wells, which was held in an affiliate called Chesapeake Midstream. It spun those assets off into a separate, public entity called Access Midstream, but not before entering into a gathering agreement with its affiliate that provided very favorable terms to Chesapeake Midstream, including payment of a minimum volume commitment, which required Chesapeake to pay for a minimum volume of gas, even if it could not provide the gas. This gathering agreement greatly enhanced the market value of the spinoff, Access Midstream, which was later acquired by Williams. Since gas prices have remained low, Chesapeake has not been able to deliver its minimum volume commitment, increasing its gathering and transportation costs to the point where they exceeded the price it could get for its gas."

If that's not Funny Money, I don't know what is. Another case of management's incentives not being aligned with investors and most importantly a board consisting of know-nothing yes men who found their rubber stamp at the 11th hour.

More to follow,

Berlin

The Golden Trend and the Junkyard Dog

All,

While the SCOOP and STACK receive most of the national press from bankers who love generalizations, trends, and acronyms, the venerable Golden Trend of Garvin County and McClain County has once again regained prominence.

The Golden Trend is roughly contained by a box constructed with Township 3N-4W in the lower left and Township 5N-3W in the upper right. The field was drilled beginning in late 1940s and has been productive in zones at many levels in the hydrocarbon column since that time. In 2015, production from the active wells totaled 2,853,809 barrels of oil and 41,493 mmcf of gas.

There have been three large trades in the field in the past two months. Rimrock Resource Operating (Tulsa) purchased the Merit Energy assets. Casillas Petroleum (Tulsa) purchased the Chesapeake Golden Trend package and is the undisclosed buyer of Continental Resources' "non-core" SCOOP assets which includes the Golden Trend leases.

With Merit and Casillas' entry into the play and the recent exploration activity by Citizen Energy II (Tulsa) and Eagle Exploration Production (Tulsa), the Golden Trend is poised to again become an active area of the Anadarko Basin.

Despite the obvious presence of hydrocarbons, nobody has promised these companies a rose garden. With as many as 10 vintage producing units in a single governmental section and with the base leases often dating back to the 1950s, land and title issues abound. Applications at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission have been protested and unresolved for months. With respondent lists numbering well over 500 parties, operators are bound to cross paths with those who would like to thwart progress and horizontal development.

It will be quite the melee for the four Tulsa operators as they scrap to put together horizontal units two acres at a time.

More to follow,

Berlin

Aubrey K. McClendon, an Oilman

Oklahoma Oil and Gas Mineral Owners,

Mr. McClendon passed today. He pioneered the modern land grab and the lease play. One didn't have to deal with the dinosaurs or the remains of the Seven Sisters if he owned it all. No farmouts or drill-to-earns needed. McClendon re-invented the landman profession and made a company's land strategy pivotal to their success.

It's fair to say he was responsible for enriching more Oklahoma mineral owners in the last decade than anyone. Oil and gas lease bonuses skyrocketed when Chesapeake came to town. Mr. McClendon directed the acquisition of millions of acres and the spending of billions of dollars. There will not be another like him for some time. Fair winds and following seas.

More to follow,

Berlin

The Patch In Oklahoma

Times have been better, but they have been worse. Oklahoma oil and gas operators are in a pinch. Did Chesapeake experience a dead cat bounce today? Will Linn Energy survive to the winter wheat harvest in Tuttle, Oklahoma? Lease prices are down and the litigating is up. The only thing we know about prices is that no private equity shop or big Wall Street bank will ever hit the nail on the head. They will always be wrong. "This time is different," "macro-price environment," "commodity headwinds," "the land grab is over," "SCOOP STACK MERGE," "NAPE was interesting," "lot of cash sitting on the sidelines," "ENCAP or NGP?" It doesn't even matter. It's all a game. Not "the Greatest Game," but a good one. Pawns hand over their money and take a 2%/20% haircut for the chance to sit at the table. It's a resources play they say, don't even need geologists. A damn shame.

More to follow.

Berlin