Halcón’s bankruptcy plan would eliminate $1.8 billion in debt

Halcón Resources Corp., which produces oil in Texas and North Dakota, said it plans to file for a prepackaged bankruptcy that would wipe out $1.8 billion in debt and help it survive the drop in crude oil prices, according to Reuters. The news service says the bankruptcy marks a setback for Halcón Chief Executive Floyd Wilson's long-running goal to build and then sell the company as he had done with the 2011 sale of Petrohawk to BHP Billiton for more than $12 billion. Halcón had been active in the Utica shale play in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania before suspending drilling operations in those areas in 2014. For more, read the full Reuters story.

National, Ohio, Pennsylvania

Oil companies hedge bets against a fall in prices

Bloomberg reports that oil producers are taking advantage of the rebound in crude markets to lock in protection against another slump in prices. Companies increased their bets on falling oil prices to the highest level in more than four years, the news service says, as U.S. inventories of stored oil remain near an 87-year high and a natural disaster in Canada and militant attacks in Africa curtailed oil output. Bloomberg says energy companies that include Chesapeake Energy Corp. used financial instruments such as futures, swaps and collars to guard against another fall in oil prices. For more, read the full story.

National

Pipeline company looks to move Utica, Marcellus natural gas to Chicago, Gulf Coast

Texas-based Natural Gas Pipeline Co. is trying to determine the level of interest in moving additional natural gas from the Utica and Marcellus shale plays to Chicago and the Gulf Coast, reports the Akron Beacon Journal. The newspaper says the company has opened a non-binding solicitation of interest for expanded pipeline service from the east-to-west Rockies Express Pipeline to the Chicago area and also intends to move natural gas to South Texas as part of the Gulf Coast Southbound pipeline expansion. For more, read the full story.

Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

Higher oil prices are not slowing bankruptcy filings

Three recent bankruptcy filings show that $45-a-barrel oil isn’t enough to rescue energy companies on the verge of collapse, Bloomberg reports. The news service says bankruptcies have accelerated as cash-starved companies “find it almost impossible to raise capital” due to being shut out of the high-yield bond markets, credit-line cuts by banks and slow sales of assets. Citing numbers from law firm Haynes & Boone, Bloomberg says 130 North American oil and gas producers and service companies have filed for bankruptcy protection since the start of 2015. For more, read the full story.

National

Vantage Energy wins auction for Alpha’s natural gas assets

A division of Colorado-based Vantage Energy won the auction for the natural gas assets located in southwest Pennsylvania being sold by Alpha Natural Resources, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. The newspaper says the cash bid of $339.5 million from Vantage Energy Appalachia II LLC was well above the four other bids, including a $200 million stalking horse offer by Rice Energy Inc. that had set the floor for the auction. Alpha filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August 2015 and announced in February 2016 that it wanted to sell the company's core assets, including the natural gas acreage, according to the Business Times. For more, read the full story.

Pennsylvania

Former Magnum Hunter CEO launches oil and gas company

Gary Evans, the former chief executive of energy company Magnum Hunter Resources, has formed a Texas-focused oil and natural gas venture, Upstream reports. The oil and gas newspaper says Evans, who reportedly did not have a role with Magnum Hunter after it recently exited Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, has formed Energy Hunter Resources, which will focus on the Eagle Ford and Permian shale plays in Texas. Magnum Hunter, which has been active in the Utica shale play, is still searching for someone to fill the role left vacant by Evans, according to Upstream. For more, read the full story.

National, Ohio

French official explores ban on imports of U.S. shale gas

French Energy Minister Segolene Royal is investigating legal means to ban the import of shale gas from the United States because France prohibits oil and gas exploration that uses hydraulic fracturing, Reuters reports. According to the news service, Royal told the French parliament that contracts signed by natural gas utility Engie and power company EDF with a U.S. energy producer have led to the import of liquefied natural gas that contained about 40 percent shale gas. "I have asked the two companies why they weren't vigilant,” she said, “and I have also asked for an examination of a legal means for us to ban the import of shale gas.” For more, read the full story.

Global, National

American Energy Partners will shut down operations

American Energy Partners LP, the Oklahoma City-based oil and natural gas company founded by the late shale pioneer Aubrey McClendon, plans to shut down this summer, reports Dow Jones Business News. The news service says about half of American Energy’s 100 employees who remained working after McClendon's death in a car crash in March 2016 were laid off on May 18, but most have found employment with former subsidiaries that were spun off into separate companies, including Ascent Resources LLC which is active in Ohio. The report indicated that the spin-offs, such as Ascent Resources, will not be impacted by the decision. American Energy plans to wind down the rest of its operations over the next three months, according to Dow Jones. For more, read the full story.

National, Ohio

Oil and gas slump causes loss for pipe manufacturer with Ohio plant

Hit hard by the collapse of the global oil and natural gas market, French pipe and tube manufacturer Vallourec posted a net loss of $326 million during the first quarter of 2016, reports the Youngstown Business Journal. The company, which operates Vallourec Star in Youngstown, Ohio, said its revenues fell 36.2% to $771.9 million because of record low production volumes. Vallourec manufactures tubular goods and pipe mostly for the oil and gas industry. For more, read the full story.

Global, Ohio

Range Resources to acquire Texas oil and gas company in $4.4 billion deal

Oil and natural gas producer Range Resources Corp. will acquire Memorial Resource Development Corp. in an all-stock deal valued at $4.4 billion, reports the Houston Business Journal. The newspaper says the agreement between the two Texas-based companies combines Memorial’s focus on gas and oil exploration and development in North Louisiana with Range’s operations in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays in the Appalachian Basin. “This acquisition will give Range strategic positioning in both the Appalachian and Gulf Coast regions, providing greater marketing capabilities and opportunities with added beneficial exposure to growing natural gas demand,” said Range Resources CEO Jeff Ventura in a statement. For more, read the full story.

National, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia
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