The Shale Game: Company profiles
September 27, 2010By Alyssa Bindman, Patrick Cobbs, Kerry Grens, and Anna Shipp
Who's drilling in the Marcellus Shale? Here are a few of the most active companies:
Anadarko Petroleum Corporation Anadarko is a Fortune 500 company active in drilling oil and gas from around the world, including Asia, Africa, Brazil, and the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania. Anadarko holds a 25% non-operating interest in the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico that exploded this year, killing 11 people and leading to largest oil spill in American history. In May this year, Anadarko paid Pennsylvania $120 million to lease 32,000 acres of state forest for gas drilling.
Headquarters: The Woodlands, TX Employees (est.): 4300 Marcellus wells drilled in 2010: 60
Atlas Energy Atlas Energy drills and operates wells in the New Albany Shale in Indiana, the Antrim Shale in Michigan, the Chattanooga Shale in Tennessee, and controls mineral rights to 519,000 acres of Marcellus Shale. Recently Atlas entered into a joint venture with India-based Reliance Industries, to develop the Marcellus holdings. Earlier this year the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection fined the company $85,000 for discharging waste and improperly building well facilities.
Headquarters: Moon Township, PA Employees: 872 Marcellus wells drilled in 2010: 24
Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation Cabot’s natural gas production is focused on Northeastern Pennsylvania, though the company also operates in Texas and Colorado. Cabot was fingered for a widely-publicized string of drinking water contaminations in Dimock, Pennsylvania that resulted in explosions and flammable tap water. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection forced the company to shut down production at several wells and provide clean water for residents. The company has said it is willing to cooperate with DEP’s orders, but insists that its operations were not responsible for methane seepage into residents’ water.
Headquarters: Houston, TX Employees: 567 Marcellus wells drilled in 2010: 23
Chesapeake Energy Chesapeake calls itself the second largest natural gas producer in the United States. According to the company, it paid $2 billion in royalties to 130,000 landowners who leased property to Chesapeake. Earlier this month, Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection said bubbles of methane gas in the Susquehanna River were likely due to nearby drilling by Chesapeake.
Headquarters: Oklahoma City, OK Employees: 6850 Marcellus wells drilled in 2010: 93
Chief Oil and Gas Chief Oil and Gas is a private corporation that operates in the Appalachian basin, northern Texas and Central Utah. Earlier this summer a Chief gas well exploded in West Virginia and injured several workers. The company website says Chief is proud of its environmental record, but it has racked up some of the most violations from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection of any gas company this year. Chief is part of an industry group called the Appalachian Shale Water Conservation and Management Committee. Chief’s leasehold in the Marcellus is 560,000 acres.
Headquarters: Dallas, TX Marcellus wells drilled in 2010: 29
CNX Gas Corporation CNX is a publicly traded, Pittsburgh-based gas exploration and production company that merged in 2005 with CONSOL Energy Inc of Canonsburg. The merger was almost botched when a court ruled this May that it was unfair to minority stockholders. A monetary penalty was imposed but the merger went through. CNX claims to be the safest company in the exploration and production industry, but the Environmental Protection Agency plans to fine CNX $157,500 for violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act stemming from improper use and faulty reporting at an underground injection well facility for hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) fluids in Greene County. The move also requires CNX to close down that disposal well.
Headquarters: Pittsburgh, PA Employees: 350 Marcellus wells drilled in 2010: 13
East Resources East Resources is one of a handful of operators in the Marcellus shale gas play that is based in Pennsylvania, though oil company Shell is purchasing the company for $4.7 billion. Earlier this year the Department of Agriculture quarantined cattle on a Pennsylvania farm where wastewater from an East Resources well leaked. An August report (pdf link) from the Pennsylvania Land Trust shows East Resources had the most environmental violations of any gas company this year.
Headquarters: Warrendale, PA Employees: 230 Marcellus wells drilled in 2010: 86
Energy Corporation of America ECA is a privately held Colorado oil and gas company that claims to operate a total of 5200 wells and 5000 miles of pipeline on one million acres of land. The company operates in Pennsylvania as Eastern American Energy Corporation. A Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection report on Marcellus drillers found more than 1400 violations from 2008 to June of 2010, but ECA landed close to the bottom of that list, with less than one violation per well. ECA operates facilities near the Whiteley Creek in Greene County, where the Environmental Protection Agency last year discovered golden algae. The find came after a massive fish kill caused by golden algae in the nearby Dunkard Creek made headlines. Range Resources also operates in the area.
Headquarters: Denver, CO Employees (Est.): 190 - 250 Marcellus wells drilled in 2010: 11
EOG Resources EOG --formerly Enron Oil and Gas -- ranks 40 in Fortune's top 100 companies to work for (Chesapeake Energy also made the list). Most of EOG's natural gas reserves are in the United States, but it also operates in China, Canada, UK and Trinidad. Environmental officials attributed EOG's lax safety adherence to a natural gas well blow-out in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania in July.
Headquarters: Houston, TX Employees: 2100 Marcellus wells drilled in 2010: 34
EQT Corporation Pittsburgh-based EQT, which was known as Equitable Resources until February 2009, holds 500,000 acres in the Marcellus Shale region. The company posts sample hydraulic fracturing recipes on its website.
Headquarters: Pittsburgh, PA Employees: 1,800 full-time Marcellus wells drilled in 2010: 27
Exco Resources Pa. Inc Exco is a publicly traded Texas oil and natural gas company formed in 1955 that operates in East and West Texas, North Louisiana and the Appalachian Basin region along the eastern United States. In May, Exco sold a 50 percent interest in 654,000 acres of Marcellus Shale leases in Pennsylvania and West Virginia for $950,000 to BG Group, a large natural gas company traded on the London Stock Exchange. In January Greenfield Township, Pennsylvania enforced a zoning violation on the first Marcellus Shale well in Lackawanna County – an Exco well. The township is forcing Exco to close the operation down, following a recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision that clarified municipal zoning rights with regard to gas drilling.
Headquarters: Dallas, TX Employees: 802 Marcellus wells drilled in 2010: 13
Pennsylvania General Energy PGE is a privately held company founded in 1978 in Warren, Pennsylvania that has focused on developing natural gas and oil in the Appalachian Basin. PGE claims to hold leases on 439,000 acres in the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania and New York. Those include several Marcellus drill sites in the Allegheny National Forrest. News headlines for PGE include wracking up 45 violations on 18 Marcellus wells since 2008, and teaming up with Exxon Mobile for its Marcellus operations.
Headquarters: Warren, PA Employees: About 100 Marcellus wells drilled in 2010: 18
Range Resources Range is a public company that extracts oil and natural gas in the southwestern United States and in the Marcellus shale. The firm considers itself the discoverer of the Marcellus natural gas resource, first tapping the shale in 2004. Range has led the effort to lift the proprietary veil off hydrofracturing chemicals, though many still criticize the industry for not being forthcoming. Eighty-one percent of its capital budget is directed toward drilling in the Marcellus shale.
Headquarters: Fort Worth, TX Employees: 787 full time Marcellus wells drilled in 2010: 100
Rex Energy Operating Corporation Rex is a publicly traded oil and gas company working in the Appalachian region of the east coast as well as in Illinois, Colorado and Wyoming. The company reports 170,000 total acres of leased land and revenues of $68 million. On August 31 Rex announced a joint venture deal with Sumitomo Corporation of Japan that will garner about $138 million for 12,900 acres of Marcellus leases in Pennsylvania. The company expects the move to take care of its $65 million debt and then some. Rex made headlines July 2009 when several landowners in Westmoreland County, near Pittsburgh, alleged the company used landmen to secure lease agreements with landowners to boost the company’s apparent value, but then refused to pay on those leases. In March of this year the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection shut down two of Rex’s operations and fined the company $45,000 for building a well pad too close to a wetland, and for constructing a hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) fluid impoundment incorrectly.
Headquarters: State College, PA Employees: 163 Marcellus wells drilled in 2010: 16
Seneca Resources Corporation Seneca Resources, a subsidiary of National Fuel Gas Company, produces natural gas from around the United States, including 2,500 wells in Pennsylvania and New York. National Fuel, which is headquartered in Amherst, New York, is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in the Marcellus shale, partly through a joint venture with EOG. The company controls 750,000 acres in the Marcellus shale.
Headquarters: Houston, TX Employees: 147 Marcellus wells drilled in 2010: 28
Snyder Brothers Based in Kittanning, Pennsylvania, Snyder Brothers is a privately-funded exploration and production company focused on natural gas drilling in the state. The company was part of the minority of firms that reported production data on time (.txt link) this year to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
Headquarters: Kittaning, PA Employees (est): 45 Marcellus wells drilled in 2010: 13
Southwestern Energy Production Company Southwestern is a publicly traded natural gas company with offices in Arkansas and Texas. It holds 888,000 acres in the Fayetteville Shale area of Arkansas and claims responsibility for pioneering that gas play. In addition the company claims to hold 115,000 acres in the Northeastern Pennsylvania Marcellus. Thirteen families in Lenox Township sued Southwestern in Susquehanna County Court, September 14, claiming the company well ruined their drinking water and made them sick. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection hit Southwestern with four violations on the site, for things like erosion problems and problems with a waste pit, according a Scranton Times-Tribune article.
Headquarters: Houston, TX Employees: 1702 Marcellus wells drilled in 2010: 12
Talisman Energy Talisman operates oil and gas production world-wide and is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The company has spent $3 billion since 2009 developing its gas business in the Marcellus, Montney and Lorraine/Utica shales. In August the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection fined Talisman $15,000 for spilling hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) fluids.
Headquarters: Calgary, Alberta, Canada Employees: 2800 Marcellus wells drilled in 2010: 181
Ultra Petroleum Ultra controls 320,000 acres of land across North Central Pennsylvania, in addition to its other operations in Southwest Wyoming. This year the company invested $170 million in facilities in Pennsylvania and $400 million in land acquisitions in the state.
Headquarters: Houston, TX Employees: 94 Marcellus wells drilled in 2010: 21
XTO Energy Exxon Mobile recently purchased XTO Energy for $41 billion. According to the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association XTO is ranked 15 (pdf link) for Marcellus shale gas drillers with the most violations from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. This month XTO voluntary abandoned gas drilling near Glacier National Park in Montana to preserve the pristine landscape.
Headquarters: Fort Worth, TX Employees: 3300 Marcellus wells drilled in 2010: 11