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Shale pioneer Chesapeake could file bankruptcy. FINALLY ! The consolidation begins

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(edited)

Bankruptcy in my opinion if oil prices settle lower at around $50.

Even at current levels they would violate their bond or creditline convenants. Leverage ratio apply to creditline. Assets sales at very least or restructure.

Disastrous report.

The weak mismanaged over leveraged shale players will fold. 

Strong will survive.

Chesapeake was once a leader in Shale. Downfall was "grow at any cost" strategy thinking natural gas would always trade between $7 to $9 m/btu and oil always $100 plus.

Consolidation could start soon. 

Edited by Jabbar
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54 minutes ago, Jabbar said:

Disastrous report.

The weak mismanaged over leveraged shale players will fold. 

Strong will survive.

Chesepeak was once a leader in Shale. Downfall was grow at any cost strategy thinking natural gas would always trade between $7 to $9 m/but and oil always $100 plus.

Long time coming, they were lucky to last this long, need to get rid of these fiscally sick companies and make this segment of the Industry healthy and responsible.

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We'll see what happens. They still have a good deal of assets to sale off and help reduce debt load. Perhaps theyll pull themselves through if they downsize significantly and focus on their most profitable areas. 

To be fair, they've been riding bankruptcy for a long time now. Maybe they'll live on the edge just long enough to pull through.

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(edited)

If they have been on the verge of bankruptcy how did they pony up 4 billion for Wildhorse Resources just a few months ago?

Edit: I'm not trying to be sarcastic

Edited by El Nikko
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28 minutes ago, El Nikko said:

If they have been on the verge of bankruptcy how did they pony up 4 billion for Wildhorse Resources just a few months ago?

Edit: I'm not trying to be sarcastic

You could ask the same (kind) of question about Occidental and Anadarko…  

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Just now, Ward Smith said:

You could ask the same (kind) of question about Occidental and Anadarko…  

I've got to say, this story gave me some mixed feelings...kinda laughed if I'm honest.

Without saying too much this year has been absolute hell because of it lol

I wonder what will happen to the hundreds of wells that WH drilled

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4 minutes ago, El Nikko said:

I've got to say, this story gave me some mixed feelings...kinda laughed if I'm honest.

Without saying too much this year has been absolute hell because of it lol

I wonder what will happen to the hundreds of wells that WH drilled

Oxy cut their budget.  Not sure what is going to take place, I know the pace they have been fracing this last quarter is going to be reduced come next year.

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(edited)

Readers here should remember that the US Bankruptcy Courts are NOT what they are in say the UK or Canada.  The BK courts exist for the specific purpose, declared by Congressional Statute, of rehabilitation of the Debtor.  Usually, this means that the secured creditors get together and agree on a rehabilitation plan, which may (and typically does) result in some haircuts, and the unsecured creditors get a few pennies on the dollar.  If there are wage contracts that are onerous, the Court disposes of them.  If there are supplier contracts that are onerous, including royalty contracts, the Court disposes of them, also.  Bankruptcy Court is designed, not to "fold" a company,  but to rehabilitate it - and that process can be brutal on creditors.

Just to give you a bit of the flavor of how this works, I glance over to the United Airlines bankruptcy.  Now, in its heyday, Xerox was making a ton of money.  So some bright young hire from some MBA School suggested that Xerox set up Xerox Leasing, and purchase and finance fancy aircraft from Boeing and lease them to United, so that United could have a straight operating lease, and Xerox could capture the depreciation to offset against other income.  Sounded great, the young maverick finance guys at Xerox all got bonuses for their brilliant thinking - and United headed into the ashcan.  

In the bankruptcy, due to the collapse of air travel after 9/11,  United went back to those Xerox guys and said, in effect:  "You know those fancy planes you have on lease to us for $200,000 a month?  Well, from here on it, you get $50,000 a month.  You don't like it, we will fly the planes to that boneyard in Arizona, you can go pick them up any time."   Now, what is Xerox going to do with all those planes? There is no market for them.  Who is your customer going to be?  Air Zanzibar?  Air Congo?  Those guys don't have any money.  You are stuck.  You have exactly one customer - United Airlines, and they both cannot pay you that 200K, and have no inclination to pay you.  So you eat it and take that 50K, it is still the best deal you can find. Otherwise your planes pay you zero sitting out there in the desert. 

So Xerox takes the deal, eats the losses, and fires the smart MBA types who dreamed up that folly.  And what you learn from this is that the BK Court can whack you in the shorts if you are a creditor, so don't get all carried away with your subordinates' bright ideas, most are folly soon enough.

Now, back to the oil patch:  How about these Chesapeake guys?  Can they pull it off in a Chapter 11?  Well, if there is a Battle Plan (known as the Chapter ll Plan of Rehabilitation), and you can float it past the Chapter 11 Trustee and the US Trustee and the BK Court Judge, then you can pull it off because you have cost-shifted some of your debts onto the shoulders of your creditors. It does not stop you from drilling, from pumping, from selling.  What it does do is put a halt to your bleeding, to service the old debt.  Valving off debt is a specialty of the BK COurts.  If you are the creditor, now is the time to start quaking in your boots. 

Don't ever delude yourself that a bankruptcy petition is the end of the road for any company.  As long as there is no Section 363 bid for the assets of the company that the US Trustee is going to support as being in the best interests of the parties before the Courts, it is the creditors, not the Debtor, that will be on the losing end, when the dust settles.  That is how it works in the admittedly unique US system.

Edited by Jan van Eck
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8 minutes ago, Jan van Eck said:

Readers here should remember that the US Bankruptcy Courts are NOT what they are in say the UK or Canada.  The BK courts exist for the specific purpose, declared by Congressional Statute, of rehabilitation of the Debtor.  Usually, this means that the secured creditors get together and agree on a rehabilitation plan, which may (and typically does) result in some haircuts, and the unsecured creditors get a few pennies on the dollar.  If there are wage contracts that are onerous, the Court disposes of them.  If there are supplier contracts that are onerous, including royalty contracts, the Court disposes of them, also.  Bankruptcy Court is designed, not to "fold" a company,  but to rehabilitate it - and that process can be brutal on creditors.

Just to give you a bit of the flavor of how this works, I glance over to the United Airlines bankruptcy.  Now, in its heyday, Xerox was making a ton of money.  So some bright young hire from some MBA School suggested that Xerox set up Xerox Leasing, and purchase and finance fancy aircraft from Boeing and lease them to United, so that United could have a straight operating lease, and Xerox could capture the depreciation to offset against other income.  Sounded great, the young maverick finance guys at Xerox all got bonuses for their brilliant thinking - and United headed into the ashcan.  

In the bankruptcy, due to the collapse of air travel after 9/11,  United went back to those Xerox guys and said, in effect:  "You know those fancy planes you have on lease to us for $200,000 a month?  Well, from here on it, you get $50,000 a month.  You don't like it, we will fly the planes to that boneyard in Arizona, you can go pick them up any time."   Now, what is Xerox going to do with all those planes? There is no market for them.  Who is your customer going to be?  Air Zanzibar?  Air Congo?  Those guys don't have any money.  You are stuck.  You have exactly one customer - United Airlines, and they both cannot pay you that 200K, and have no inclination to pay you.  So you eat it and take that 50K, it is still the best deal you can find. Otherwise your planes pay you zero sitting out there in the desert. 

So Xerox takes the deal, eats the losses, and fires the smart MBA types who dreamed up that folly.  And what you learn from this is that the BK Court can whack you in the shorts if you are a creditor, so don't get all carried away with your subordinates' bright ideas, most are folly soon enough.

Now, back to the oil patch:  How about these Chesapeake guys?  Can they pull it off in a Chapter 11?  Well, if there is a Battle Plan (known as the Chapter ll Plan of Rehabilitation), and you can float it past the Chapter 11 Trustee and the US Trustee and the BK Court Judge, then you can pull it off because you have cost-shifted some of your debts onto the shoulders of your creditors. It does not stop you from drilling, from pumping, from selling.  What it does do is put a halt to your bleeding, to service the old debt.  Valving off debt is a specialty of the BK COurts.  If you are the creditor, now is the time to start quaking in your boots. 

Don't ever delude yourself that a bankruptcy petition is the end of the road for any company.  As long as there is no Section 363 bid for the assets of the company that the US Trustee is going to support as being in the best interests of the parties before the Courts, it is the creditors, not the Debtor, that will be on the losing end, when the dust settles.  That is how it works in the admittedly unique US system.

Jan- It seems that Chapter 11 and pure bankrupcy are two different things, as I see it Chapter 11 is a tool to stop outright bankruptcy ?? 

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(edited)

https://www.linkedin.com/posts/joe-dancy-8069637_chesapeake-stock-tumbled-and-thats-bad-activity-6598023666347372544-suDr

Chesapeake stock dropped 29% to 91 cents on Wednesday, an all-time low. Chesapeake’s shares were downgraded to Sell from Hold at Tudor Pickering, but that doesn’t seem to be the reason for the decline. Instead, it seems that reality is setting in.

That damn reality issue is the big problem as its real...

Edited by James Regan
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54 minutes ago, James Regan said:

Jan- It seems that Chapter 11 and pure bankruptcy are two different things, as I see it Chapter 11 is a tool to stop outright bankruptcy ?? 

Nope, Chapter 11 is "pure bankruptcy."  What you are probably thinking of is Chapter 7, the liquidation chapter.  But remember, there is NO discharge of debts in a Chapter 7, not officially, what you end up with is the complete dissolution of the debtor and all the assets are sold in an effort to repay creditors.  The corporate charter is not revoked.  In some separate State filing, the company then attempts to terminate its Charter. Companies almost never file a Chapter 7; they all go to 11, and then the tangled Court process begins.  Some of these will play out for years on end. Could go to a decade.  Meanwhile the Debtor Company can quietly continue chugging along, shedding its onerous burdens. 

If the stock price in the secondary markets, such as the Stock Market i.e. Nasdaq or TSX, collapses, it is an indicator that the larger holders, typically investment funds that hold pension money, have no confidence and are dumping, thus flooding the secondary market and collapsing the price.  Some of those collapses can be spectacular, down to 99%. If you have seriously steady nerves you can speculate and buy up some shares for a few pennies, and if management pulls it off and does a rehabilitation, the returns could be spectacular.  After all, a stock that goes from six cents to three dollars is getting you a return of 4,800% if it is in one year.  But it is classic casino gambling, unless you know something the rest of the market does not. Wall Street thrives on inside knowledge, which is why the cops call that "insider trading."  Happens all day, every day.  It is what the Street does for a living - insider trading. Cops or no cops. 

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11 minutes ago, Jan van Eck said:

Companies almost never file a Chapter 7; they all go to 11, and then the tangled Court process begins.  Some of these will play out for years on end. Could go to a decade.  Meanwhile the Debtor Company can quietly continue chugging along, shedding its onerous burdens

Jan, this is where my doubts came from, take Seadrill well into Chapter 11 but still trading, looks like a total lifeline, ie while being tangled up in courts the company still trades and possible manages to rescue itself?

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(edited)

11 hours ago, Gerry Maddoux said:

Still, tribute needs to be paid to Aubrey McClendon and Tom Ward. Mr. George Mitchell made fracking for natural gas a reality down in the Barnett Shale, but it was Aubrey who latched onto the concept and developed the Haynesville Field. Remember, before those two events, the United States was screaming, our presidents saying that we were going to run out of natural gas. 

Aubrey was a gun-loving gunslinger who overpaid for minerals more than I do, and that's saying something. God bless him, he didn't realize the magnitude of what he'd wrought until it was too late. Everyone was used to conventional wells. He saw these gigantic numbers and swung a deal with the board so he could take a pretty good percentage of each well. By the time he realized the rapid decline curve, it was too late. He would still have been alright if he hadn't played the stock market so hard. 

Anyway, while the history of fracking is long (creek water jazzed with napalm pumped into a well in the old Kanas Hugoton Field), it was Mr. Mitchell who discovered the sickness, McClendon who created an epidemic, and people have had fracking fever ever since. Chesapeake would likely have survived if Aubrey had . . . he was so charismatic he could not only get gas out of a rock, blood out of a turnip, but money from the tightest-fisted Wall Street banker.

Looking backward, it seems like they were drunken fools. However, during a precarious time in history, the frackers--especially those at Chesapeake--made us secure in the knowledge that domestic natural gas was in abundance. And God bless them for that.

"By the time he realized the the rapid decline curve. It was too late."

He knew the production decline rate of shale gas. His days at Chesapeake gas was selling at $12 to $14  m/btu.  He didnt realise the rapid price decline rate to $2.50 .

"Chesapeake would have survived if Aubrey would have . . "

He was not at Chesapeake at the time. Thrown out.  Aubrey was in debt and pledged most of his personal assets as collateral.

He was a shale pioneer and very generous philanthropist in the good times.  His car crash into a bridge support at 88 mph in 50 mph zone with no braking or skid marks the day after his federal indictment was deemed and accident and provided insurance proceeds for his family.

RIP

 

 

Edited by Jabbar
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(edited)

11 hours ago, James Regan said:

Jan, this is where my doubts came from, take Seadrill well into Chapter 11 but still trading, looks like a total lifeline, ie while being tangled up in courts the company still trades and possible manages to rescue itself?

Usually, but if you look closely at Chesapeake there is little chance of avoiding at least reorganization  My opinion.  

Edited by Jabbar
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(edited)

8 hours ago, Jan van Eck said:

Readers here should remember that the US Bankruptcy Courts are NOT what they are in say the UK or Canada.  The BK courts exist for the specific purpose, declared by Congressional Statute, of rehabilitation of the Debtor.  Usually, this means that the secured creditors get together and agree on a rehabilitation plan, which may (and typically does) result in some haircuts, and the unsecured creditors get a few pennies on the dollar.  If there are wage contracts that are onerous, the Court disposes of them.  If there are supplier contracts that are onerous, including royalty contracts, the Court disposes of them, also.  Bankruptcy Court is designed, not to "fold" a company,  but to rehabilitate it - and that process can be brutal on creditors.

Just to give you a bit of the flavor of how this works, I glance over to the United Airlines bankruptcy.  Now, in its heyday, Xerox was making a ton of money.  So some bright young hire from some MBA School suggested that Xerox set up Xerox Leasing, and purchase and finance fancy aircraft from Boeing and lease them to United, so that United could have a straight operating lease, and Xerox could capture the depreciation to offset against other income.  Sounded great, the young maverick finance guys at Xerox all got bonuses for their brilliant thinking - and United headed into the ashcan.  

In the bankruptcy, due to the collapse of air travel after 9/11,  United went back to those Xerox guys and said, in effect:  "You know those fancy planes you have on lease to us for $200,000 a month?  Well, from here on it, you get $50,000 a month.  You don't like it, we will fly the planes to that boneyard in Arizona, you can go pick them up any time."   Now, what is Xerox going to do with all those planes? There is no market for them.  Who is your customer going to be?  Air Zanzibar?  Air Congo?  Those guys don't have any money.  You are stuck.  You have exactly one customer - United Airlines, and they both cannot pay you that 200K, and have no inclination to pay you.  So you eat it and take that 50K, it is still the best deal you can find. Otherwise your planes pay you zero sitting out there in the desert. 

So Xerox takes the deal, eats the losses, and fires the smart MBA types who dreamed up that folly.  And what you learn from this is that the BK Court can whack you in the shorts if you are a creditor, so don't get all carried away with your subordinates' bright ideas, most are folly soon enough.

Now, back to the oil patch:  How about these Chesapeake guys?  Can they pull it off in a Chapter 11?  Well, if there is a Battle Plan (known as the Chapter ll Plan of Rehabilitation), and you can float it past the Chapter 11 Trustee and the US Trustee and the BK Court Judge, then you can pull it off because you have cost-shifted some of your debts onto the shoulders of your creditors. It does not stop you from drilling, from pumping, from selling.  What it does do is put a halt to your bleeding, to service the old debt.  Valving off debt is a specialty of the BK COurts.  If you are the creditor, now is the time to start quaking in your boots. 

Don't ever delude yourself that a bankruptcy petition is the end of the road for any company.  As long as there is no Section 363 bid for the assets of the company that the US Trustee is going to support as being in the best interests of the parties before the Courts, it is the creditors, not the Debtor, that will be on the losing end, when the dust settles.  That is how it works in the admittedly unique US system.

That's an excellent explanation thanks, you are right the meaning is very different elsewhere.

I just googled one of our old clients that filed for bankruptcy in 2015/2016 and yep they still exist, how bizzare.

Edited by El Nikko

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4 hours ago, Jabbar said:

His days at Chesapeake gas was selling at $12 to $14  m/btu.

Are you sure about that? Aubrey and Tom Ward started CHK in 1988 or '89, mostly in Beckham County, where I grew up. Reagan had long before rescinded the "floor" of $12 NG drilled from deeper than 10,000 feet. That happened about 1987. Prices plummeted (maybe $4?)

4 hours ago, Jabbar said:

He was not at Chesapeake at the time. Thrown out.  Aubrey was in debt and pledged most of his personal assets as collateral.

Both he and Tom Ward were pushed out the door. Tom flourished. Aubrey did not, primarily because he lost over 95% of Chesapeake stock at the time of the 2008 crash. But before they were sent out the side door with Golden Parachutes, they were very good together in a fledgling industry almost created by day by day changes. Some of the wells they drilled for us would not have been drilled otherwise--some turned out great and others not so much, a pretty good average for a brand-new industry.

5 hours ago, Jabbar said:

His car crash into a bridge support at 88 mph in 50 mph zone with no braking or skid marks the day after his federal indictment was deemed and accident and provided insurance proceeds for his family.

I'm no apologist--it was his life--but there were a few taps of the brake pedal. Aubrey was a flamboyant person. His business enterprises when it came to bidding on hot properties followed the template of just about every wildcatter that came before him. He was fearless.

*Remember, natural gas has always been tinkered with--and men's fortunes have followed federal intervention like a river seeking the lowest canyon. Way back in the thirties, they ran the first pipeline across our property--it came from the old Shamrock Field. My grandfather was promised free NG for the rest of his days--there was no regulation. But the following year, as he told the story, the Natural Gas Act came into being--gas was regulated interstate. In the fifties, the dreaded Phillips Decision extended those price controls right up to the wellhead, which was great for the consumer but disastrous for the producer . . . and that lasted until the cold winter of 1976, when factories and schools in the frigid NE closed because of the scarcity of NG. Believe it or not, in the early eighties lots of industrial customers actually switched from NG to coal because it was cheaper and the supply was more reliable (read: the feds messed with it less). Without Aubrey, there would have been no CHK. Without Aubrey, it wouldn't be failing either. If he had lived, and if CHK had exercised the good judgment to hire him back, I rather suspect he'd be right in the middle of the Delaware sub-basin, rolling the dice.

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(edited)

4 hours ago, Gerry Maddoux said:

Are you sure about that? Aubrey and Tom Ward started CHK in 1988 or '89, mostly in Beckham County, where I grew up. Reagan had long before rescinded the "floor" of $12 NG drilled from deeper than 10,000 feet. That happened about 1987. Prices plummeted (maybe $4?)

Both he and Tom Ward were pushed out the door. Tom flourished. Aubrey did not, primarily because he lost over 95% of Chesapeake stock at the time of the 2008 crash. But before they were sent out the side door with Golden Parachutes, they were very good together in a fledgling industry almost created by day by day changes. Some of the wells they drilled for us would not have been drilled otherwise--some turned out great and others not so much, a pretty good average for a brand-new industry.

I'm no apologist--it was his life--but there were a few taps of the brake pedal. Aubrey was a flamboyant person. His business enterprises when it came to bidding on hot properties followed the template of just about every wildcatter that came before him. He was fearless.

*Remember, natural gas has always been tinkered with--and men's fortunes have followed federal intervention like a river seeking the lowest canyon. Way back in the thirties, they ran the first pipeline across our property--it came from the old Shamrock Field. My grandfather was promised free NG for the rest of his days--there was no regulation. But the following year, as he told the story, the Natural Gas Act came into being--gas was regulated interstate. In the fifties, the dreaded Phillips Decision extended those price controls right up to the wellhead, which was great for the consumer but disastrous for the producer . . . and that lasted until the cold winter of 1976, when factories and schools in the frigid NE closed because of the scarcity of NG. Believe it or not, in the early eighties lots of industrial customers actually switched from NG to coal because it was cheaper and the supply was more reliable (read: the feds messed with it less). Without Aubrey, there would have been no CHK. Without Aubrey, it wouldn't be failing either. If he had lived, and if CHK had exercised the good judgment to hire him back, I rather suspect he'd be right in the middle of the Delaware sub-basin, rolling the dice.

My "history" regard shale gas relates to 2008 to 2013.  

During the Shale gas heyday in this period things were fast and loose. IF he did rig bidding process for new acreage I'm sure he wasn't the only one by far. 

Whatever caused happened the horrible crash it was a great loss.  He should be remembered for his accomplishments and gracious generosity. 

Regard the $12 to $14 m/btu this was during the height of Shale gas 2008 to 2013. 

Remember at this time natural gas was factored as a % of crude oil price.  These amounts were paid at Henry Hub. The U.S. was building LNG Import terminals and pipelines INLAND . Japan was paying as much $20 m/btu.

Edited by Jabbar

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34 minutes ago, Jabbar said:

Regard the $12 to $14 m/btu this was during the height of Shale gas 2010 to 2013. 

You must surely be talking about a country other than the United States, and perhaps that's my oversight. About the peak price of natural gas in the US in 2010 was $5. Then, in 2011, it really fell off a cliff: $3.80-$4 at the Henry Hub. I have sold natural gas since 1962. Briefly, in the early eighties, we got up to $13, but that was for deregulated deep gas. In brief, shale gas ruined the natural gas market. Indeed, if Cheniere hadn't retrofitted the LNG terminals from import to export, we'd be in a much worse shape. 

Carry on. And we're probably coming from different lands, different markets. 

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(edited)

2 hours ago, Gerry Maddoux said:

You must surely be talking about a country other than the United States, and perhaps that's my oversight. About the peak price of natural gas in the US in 2010 was $5. Then, in 2011, it really fell off a cliff: $3.80-$4 at the Henry Hub. I have sold natural gas since 1962. Briefly, in the early eighties, we got up to $13, but that was for deregulated deep gas. In brief, shale gas ruined the natural gas market. Indeed, if Cheniere hadn't retrofitted the LNG terminals from import to export, we'd be in a much worse shape. 

Carry on. And we're probably coming from different lands, different markets. 

You're correct. I'm wrong.  Pre 2008 market crash traded 12 to 14. 

After markets crash traded down. Factored to oil which went to about $40.  In 2009 at around $7 m/btu (I think) Exxon bought XTO for $41 Billion. Overpaid.

https://www.macrotrends.net/2478/natural-gas-prices-historical-chart

Most agreed shale gas started around 2006.  The chart above gives highs and lows Henry Hub. Wide range within any year

2008 high $13.31

Back in 2005 as high as $18. 

Edited by Jabbar

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Gerry, do you follow the growth of natural gas use worldwide? What do you project for the future use of this clean and cheap resource?  

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12 minutes ago, ronwagn said:

Gerry, do you follow the growth of natural gas use worldwide? What do you project for the future use of this clean and cheap resource?  

I expect it to become the dominant fuel, as do you. 

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8 hours ago, Jabbar said:

Usually, but if you look closely at Chesapeake there is no chance . My opinion.  

I hope you are wrong, Chesapeake has led the industry where it needed to go. Natural gas is the best energy answer worldwide IMHO. 

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22 minutes ago, ronwagn said:

Gerry, do you follow the growth of natural gas use worldwide? What do you project for the future use of this clean and cheap resource?  

I expect it to become the dominant fuel, as do you. 

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3 hours ago, El Nikko said:

That's an excellent explanation thanks, you are right the meaning is very different elsewhere.

I just googled one of our old clients that filed for bankruptcy in 2015/2016 and yep they still exist, how bizzare.

Nothing bizarre about it, that is the American way.  Ch 11 industries can continue for a decade, as long as you have management with that fighting spirit.  And a Judge who is patient. 

My machine RAM is overloaded, have to clean it out and then will write further on this interesting issue

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