How are the surging natural gas prices affecting drilling this year, and what about going into 2022?  Are the gas companies taking advantage of these higher prices?  What`s next?

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I'm not an insider, but their play (CNX's) is Dry Utica and they've got an acreage position in all these counties. They proved up Westmoreland/Armstrong border with the most #1 and #2 most prolific wells (maybe anywhere in the World, ever?). The gas is there, it's a matter of figuring out how to get it out of the ground without blowing the other strata or casings to smithereens and having a blowout like they did at Shaw 1G. EQT is the other Armstrong Co player of note who can fully develop the Utica themselves.

Interestingly Penn Energy (active more toward Butler, and NW of the Allegheny R in Armstrong with complex 3rd party investor deals in the Marcellus) was saying 5 years ago that the Marcellus in S. Central PA was not Tier II or III but every bit as good as the core-of-the-core in SW PA and OH, acreages and ownership was just more fractionalized, so that the factory-production methods EQT was using in Greene, Washington, and Belmont Cos that require contiguous acreage wasn't as readily done, so the major E&Ps disparaged it.

Meanwhile, MDS (Snyder Brothers) has brought in some very eye-popping Marcellus wells (they're keeping the light on for someone, HBP well and acreage isn't conventional, any longer. 

EQT themselves was on the cusp of proving up Armstrong Co in the Dry Utica in 2017 when the merger with Rice put the brakes on moving their Utica rig to Kittanning Twp after it was announced. EQT is actively plugging but under Toby Rice it's not clear they'd come back to S. Central PA until someone else proves up the Utica here  

Exco had positions and JV's in place around N. Armstrong and could get active again.

Nobody else was more buried by the hedges than CNX. Just about everyone laid down their rigs to become pure-play financial instruments corporations, some more successfully than others. They've mostly been economic engines the past couple of years, paying down debt and buying back stock.

Hopefully one or another comes back to S Central PA soon.  Who it will be is whoever gains enough of an acreage position, probably by joint venturing with the ones who hold by production. In Armstrong County, that looks like Snyder Bros, Kriebel Bros (who has zero permits going forward, statewide), Vernard L. Shumaker (besides just CNX or EQT that is).

re: acreage split in Marcellus. In NEPA (Susquehanna county, etc.) they have ALL infrastructure in place including pipelines to move gas. They r set up in a minimum 600 acre groups (maybe 1,000 ac.)

CABOT drills more around us SWN just sits on it. As you state & I agree they r basically waiting for someone to buy their leases. Our leases have changed hands at least 2x, SWN being our 3rd holder.

they only put pumped for 1 month outta several years owning. They kept stating “price has to be over $3.50 to break even…”

Sure sounds like Armstrong & Indiana counties could become target areas in the future.  Northern Westmoreland County seems to be getting all the attention now from Olympus & CNX.  Olympus is drilling all Marcellus wells & CNX is mainly drilling Utica with a few Marcellus wells added in.  CNX bought all those old Dominion leases back about 15 years ago and planned to drill Marcellus wells throughout Indiana County, and then they became a Utica driller.  That Shaw well problem seems to have really set back CNX.  Is it a matter of who drills the first Utica well further north then Bell Pointe in Westmoreland County to start the movement?  It would seem CNX has that edge.  Who is getting the better acreage advantage to move forwar?.  Pipeline takeaway will be a problem too.  If drilling Utica wells is so difficult and hazardous, why not just drill more Marcellus!

Who is Vernard L. Shumaker?  Is Greylock Productions active in those counties too?

Consol (precursor to CNX) bought into HBP production acreage and then entered into a JV with Noble for Shale drilling to the tune of a couple of billions in CapEx. That's when a bunch of their alleged HBP acreage shook out as $600M in defective leases. That was costly, too, a dozen years ago. Consol had early been largely into coal, once, and some of that HBP might have been CBM wells? The shape-shifting of who begat what modern day companies starts to look like 3-Card Monte, and I think it's by design to obfuscate and keep landowners off balance. I've got some unleased acreage that I'm glad is not HBP or that the Dry Utica gas didn't come out of the ground at $.65 due to the basis differential a few years back. Things are going to get pretty interesting from a landowner's POV if gas stays above $6 on HH as predicted. (It dipped slightly below for a couple of days around the end of Jun/early Jul, and I'm calling that a market manipulation that saved some hedge fund or hedged E&P several billions more pain) 

Vernard L. Shumaker is a conventional well driller since the late 1990's who CNX allowed to do farmouts, possibly to hold acreage by production. Anyone who can chime in to confirm or add to that, please do

Bear in mind that takeaway is fixed capacity, while a falloff/declining production from not drilling any new wells for several years suggests the Allegheny Connector up into Armstrong Co maybe has some headroom. EQT MidStream built or owned that pipeline, and it's why Kittanning Twp was the location where EQT was going to prove up the Utica 

Doesn't the Transco pipeline extend all the way to the new LNG port at the mouth of the Chesapeake in MD? Takeway doesn't have to extend to Louisiana to export any longer. Too, since most/all the old coal plants in PA have been replaced by gas-fired powerplants, the takeaway doesn't have to extend any farther than the nearest one to be impactful

I think that pipeline was called "The Big Pine" or something similar with a pine tree name reference.  EQT has several large pads in that area of Armstrong County, and I think that pipeline cut down south of Shelocta through Indiana County to a connection point with the Transco Pipeline.  This pipeline should be under used today without those Utica wells you mention.  A company called Infinity Natural Resources is building pads and drilling Marcellus wells nearby now.

Here's Mountain Valley Pipeline in the news today:

Some very good news.  Will only gas from WV feed into this pipeline or will gas from PA feed into it too?

Very interesting hearing your history with CNX.  From what you describe it sounds like acreage or leases located in the southwestern corner of PA.  I don`t think there were any CBM wells in Indiana or Armstrong counties for Consol.  What do you mean by defective leases?  Nice to hear you have acreage that is not leased.  I hope you can benefit from being in a Utica unit someday.  I had forgotten about the Noble deal.  CNX has come a long way since those early years.

I own minerals in a CNX well in Ritchie County WV that started as a joint partnership with Noble. We were paid by both companies. Then Noble sold to CNX.

I never knew they hedged like that! So, they were/are betting against themselves? &/or ng prices?


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