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Briefs -- Chesapeake, Energy Transfer-Williams, EIA, BLM

The Michigan attorney general's (AG) office has begun mailing claim forms to about 700 residents in Northern Michigan who may have been affected by a racketeering and bid-rigging scheme involving Chesapeake Energy Corp. in 2010 that caused lease prices on their land to plummet. In April, Chesapeake agreed to create the fund to settle multiple antitrust, fraud and racketeering charges brought by AG Bill Schutte (see Daily GPIApril 24June 25, 2014June 5, 2014). Landowners had claimed they were notified by Chesapeake land representatives in 2010 concerning leasing their land, but nearly all of the leases were later canceled. Chesapeake also was charged with colluding with Encana Corp. during a 2010 state oil and gas leasing auction to suppress prices (see Daily GPI, March 19, 2014June 26, 2012). Encana settled in 2014 and agreed to pay $5 million. Chesapeake pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor charge each for attempted antitrust violation and false pretenses. If Chesapeake abides by the settlement terms, the misdemeanor charges would be dismissed in March and all other criminal charges would be dismissed by the state. The claims period ends Feb. 25. Questions should be directed to the AG's Division of Corporate Oversight at (517) 373-1160.

Energy Transfer Equity LP (ETE) and The Williams Companies Inc. said they expect to comply next month with a Federal Trade Commission request for more information related to the antitrust review of their planned merger. The companies intend to combine in a $37.7 billion deal, including debt, to make what they say will be the third-largest energy franchise in North America and a top-five global energy company (see Daily GPISept. 28).

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) has added four countries to its assessment of technically recoverable shale resources, resulting in a 13% increase in the global assessed total resource estimate for shale oil and a 4% increase for shale gas. A total of 26 formations within 11 basins were analyzed in Chad, Kazakhstan, Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), though "there is currently no shale exploration underway in any of the four countries, meaning the new assessed resources are not yet economically recoverable," EIA said. All current production of oil and natural gas in the countries is from non-continuous resources (from high-permeability formations). Chad produced an estimated 78,000 b/d of oil in 2014; Kazakhstan 1.7 million b/d of oil and 1.9 Bcf/d of gas; Oman 943,000 b/d and 2.8 Bcf/d; and UAE 3.7 million b/d and 5.6 Bcf/d.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Colorado held the first of three public information open houses Monday in Glenwood Springs, CO, to gain feedback from local citizens on its draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for 65 existing oil/gas leases in the White River National Forest, including ones in the Thompson Divide. Release of the DEIS has spurred concerns in the industry of future development being blocked (see Shale Daily, Nov. 19). Similar meetings will be held Tuesday and Wednesday in DeBeque and Carbondale, respectively. The DEIS presents five alternatives, ranging from no changes in the leases to canceling all of them. Written comments on the DEIS will be taken through Jan. 8, a BLM spokesperson said.

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