Powelson Under Fire for Calling Enviro Jihadists, “Jihadists”

Two days ago MDN reported on comments delivered by Rob Powelson, currently a member of Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) and via that role, currently the president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). Powelson gave a talk at the Upstream PA conference in State College earlier this week–in which he said, “The jihad has begun…At the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission groups actually show up at commissioners’ homes to make sure we don’t get this gas to market. How irresponsible is that?” (see Potential FERC Com. Powleson Calls Anti-Fossil Fuelers “Jihadists”). We applauded Powelson for speaking the truth about the nature of environmental radicalism that has morphed into a religious war against fossil fuels. Groups like Food & Water Watch, THE Delaware Riverkeeper, the Clean Air Council and others are similar to radical Islamists who perpetuate jihad and terrorism. For radical Islam, the object is to forcibly convert non-Muslims to their religion–Islam. Or kill them if they won’t convert. For radical environmentalists, the object is to forcibly convert American residents into abandoning the use of fossil fuels–the green “religion.” Or politically “kill” them if they don’t follow the green philosophy. Powelson’s comments were spot-on. When bullies show up at FERC Commissioners’ homes and menace them, that’s WAY over the line. Now those same radical environmentalists are in a religious fit over Powelson’s remarks, demanding that he resign from the PA PUC for his “racist” remarks. Earth to eco-nuts: Powelson soon will resign from the PUC, when Trump nominates him as a FERC Commissioner! In the meantime, Powelson has had to “walk back” his remarks, apologizing (never apologize!!!) for using the term “jihad.” Why? That’s EXACTLY what these people are!…
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2nd Wayne Natl Forest Lease Sale Hauls in $5.2M, Double Expectations

After 10 loooooong years of waiting, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) finally auctioned its first round of property leases for shale drilling in Wayne National Forest (WNF)–located in Ohio (see BLM Auction Leases 17 Parcels, 719 Acres in OH Wayne Natl Forest). The BLM plan was to auction 33 parcels totaling 1,600 acres. As it turns out, only 17 parcels totally 719 acres actually got auctioned. At the last minute the BLM withdrew 881 acres (16 parcels) because there are remaining issues with ownership title of the mineral rights. The 719 acres was all leased by noon and brought bids ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 per acre. Yesterday the second round of properties in WNF were auctioned–an additional 1,180 acres. BLM was hoping to to get at least $2 million from the auction. They got $5.2 million! The lowest price was for a 5-acre plot that sold for $1,002 per acre (total $5,010). The highest price was an eye-popping $10,001/acre for 39.68 acres (total $396,840). Yikes! Between the first and second auctions, 1,840 acres have been auctioned for a total of $6.9 million. Up to 40,000 acres total may, at some point, be auctioned. The next auction is scheduled for June 22. Here’s what we know about the auction that closed yesterday (we have a list of the properties auctioned and the winning bids)…
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Anti-Pipeline Jihadists Pressure FERC re Atlantic Bridge Project

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In January the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gave its final stamp of approval for Spectra Energy’s Atlantic Bridge project (see FERC Approves Atlantic Bridge Project for New England/Canada). Atlantic Bridge will beef up capacity on the Algonquin Gas Transmission and Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline systems–to move more Marcellus/Utica gas to New England and Canada. Anti-fossil fuel jihadists like Food & Water Watch and the two U.S. Senators from Massachusetts, Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren and Ed “inside trader” Markey are doing their best to stop the FERC-approved project (see Mass. Senators Ask FERC to Reverse Atlantic Bridge Certification). The newest attack comes from Food & Water Watch, attempting to pressure/bully FERC into stopping construction until a “re-hearing” request is decided. Groups that don’t like a FERC decision can file for a re-hearing. FERC has X many days to consider the request until it is automatically denied. Once a re-hearing request is denied by FERC, enviro-jihadists can then file a lawsuit in court to try and make their case–but not before the re-hearing is denied. Since FERC does not currently have a quorum of three Commissioners to decide a re-hearing request (after Norman “cry baby” Bay left in a huff), FWW and others are demanding FERC put the brakes on Atlantic Bridge construction projects…
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Enbridge Axing 1,000 (Mostly) Spectra Energy Jobs

Last September MDN reported on a midstream deal with major implications for the Marcellus/Utica: Canadian pipeline operator Enbridge Inc. announced an all-stock deal to buy out pipeline operator Spectra Energy, based in Houston, for $28 billion (see Canadian Enbridge Buying US Spectra Energy for $28B). Spectra has a number of critical pipeline infrastructure projects under way or planned in the Marcellus/Utica region, including the planned Access Northeast pipeline to New England, the mighty NEXUS pipeline planned to span Ohio, the currently under construction Algonquin Incremental Marketing (AIM) pipeline project, and three projects (Access South, Adair Southwest and Lebanon Express) under way to expand one of the largest natural gas pipelines in the U.S. (and in the northeast)–the Texas Eastern Transmission (Tetco) pipeline. The merger was completed in February (see Spectra Energy is No More – $28B Merger with Enbridge Complete). Unfortunately, this week Enbridge announced they are axing around 1,000 jobs (6% of the workforce), to “address the overlap” and optimize “synergies” in the newly-combined company. Most of the 1,000 jobs being axed are from the Spectra workforce in the Houston area. We wonder how many top managers were “overlap” and “synergy optimized?” Yeah, likely none…
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PennEast Celebrates Lawsuit Dismissal, Takes Swipe @ Riverkeeper

As we reported yesterday, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed a year ago by THE Delaware Riverkeeper against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (see Fed Judge Dismisses Dela. Riverkeeper Lawsuit Against FERC). The lawsuit aimed to shut down the entire agency by defunding it (see THE Delaware Riverkeeper Sues FERC, Tries to Close it Down). The lawsuit claimed FERC can’t objectively make decisions about projects like the Penn East Pipeline (running from the Wilkes-Barre area to New Jersey) because FERC derives some of its operating revenue from the projects it either approves or does not approve. In other words, Delaware Riverkeeper tried to shut down a national agency because they object to a single pipeline project. Liberal U.S. District Justice Tanya Chutkan found Riverkeeper’s arguments lacking, to say the least. It took a day, but PennEast released their own statement about Riverkeeper’s lawsuit going down in flames. It is an interesting response from PennEast and continues a trend in what we’ve previously noticed: PennEast has (finally) taken the gloves off and is pushing back hard against enviro-jihadists like Riverkeeper…
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Judge Grants Atlantic Sunrise Pipe Access to Schuylkill Property

Ryan Regec owns 78 acres in Schuylkill County, PA (eastern part of the state). He plans to subdivide the property into smaller properties and sell the building lots–but the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline is coming through a portion of the property, and Mr. Regec says that means he can’t subdivide and sell it the way he planned. Regec has, in the past, allowed surveyors from Atlantic Sunrise on his property–but recently has refused. Atlantic Sunrise (i.e. Williams) took him to court to force access to complete their surveys, and Williams just won. A judge for the U.S. Middle District Court in PA issued an order allowing Atlantic Sunrise access. A spokesman for the pipeline says the pipeline will only cut through a small portion of Mr. Regec’s 78 acres. Regec claims his subdivision plans will be destroyed. Who’s right?…
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Dear President Trump – New York Needs Your Help with Fracking

MDN friend Brad Gill, executive director of the Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York (IOGANY), recently wrote and sent a letter to President Trump. It’s a great letter. He highlights the plight of NY’s diminishing oil and gas industry and identifies the reason for it–Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his ban on fracking. Brad asks President Trump to “help restore” the o&g industry in NY. The implication is that Trump can restore it by restoring our Constitution right to frack. Will Team Trump listen and help? Below is a copy of Brad’s letter, and our concluding thoughts…
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Court Says was OK for ETE to Scuttle $33B Williams Takeover Deal

Last year an elaborate midstream drama unfolded before our very eyes. Energy Transfer Equity (ETE) pushed and prodded and poked and cajoled and insisted, and finally with the help of an inside corporate raider, forced Williams to agree to a buyout/merger (see Williams Accepts ETE’s “Indecent Proposal” – Price Went Down $10B). Then the bottom dropped out of the price of natural gas and drillers scaled back drilling and consequently midstream (i.e. pipeline) companies like ETE and Williams got pinched. And ETE got cold feet (see ETE Wants Out of Williams Merger/Takeover, Offering $2B Breakup Fee). Williams said “not so fast, you wanted us, you’ll be taking us” and consequently sued ETE to force the merger to happen (see Merger Turns Sour: Williams Sues ETE/CEO Kelcy Warren). However, in the end, the merger never happened (see Dead as a Doornail: ETE Terminates Merger with Williams). Since breaking the agreement, Williams and ETE have been in court battling over lots of things, including a $1.5 billion breakup fee. Earlier this week an appeals court ruled ETE was within its rights to break the deal. What does that mean about paying Williams a breakup fee?…
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Eco-Terrorists Burn Holes in Dakota Access Pipeline in 2 States

Dakota Access Pipeline “peaceful” protesters

Eco-terrorists are responsible for using a blowtorch to burn holes in two different above-ground valve sites for the newly completed Dakota Access Pipeline. One of the site was in North Dakota. The other in Iowa. It was a criminal act of terrorism meant to cause an oil spill or worse. It is the kind of thing we have (unfortunately) come to expect from twisted, evil eco-jihadists in their screwed-up mission to rid the planet of fossil fuels. Here’s what we could find out about these terrorist acts…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Mar 24, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: 7 permits issued last week in OH Utica; PA gov’s mixed signals on shale gas; US shale drillers leaving thousands of oil wells unfinished; State Dept. to approve Keystone XL pipeline; Chesapeake Energy’s liquidity matters; Trump plans to reverse Obama climate change policy; China’s LNG imports on the rise; and more!
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Gas-Fired Plant (& Cracker?) Coming to Center Port Terminal in OH

[NOTE: In the original version of this post, MDN incorrectly referred to the name as Center Point Terminal. It is, in fact, Center Port Terminal. Sorry!] One of MDN’s sharp subscribers emailed us with an exciting tip. On March 27 a public meeting will be held in Woodsfield, Ohio (Monroe County) about building a 485 megawatt gas-fired power plant–to be built on twenty acres of the 200 acre former Ormet site, now known as Center Port Terminal. That much we have been able to confirm. Our tipster also speculated this new power plant may be used to provide electricity to an ethane cracker. We have not, so far, been able to verify the cracker rumor. Here is what we do, and don’t, know about this new power plant project coming in Monroe County…
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Fed Judge Dismisses Dela. Riverkeeper Lawsuit Against FERC

It took a whole year, but a federal court has just thrown out a frivolous lawsuit filed by Maya van Rossum, THE Delaware Riverkeeper, which attempted to defund the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Last year MDN reported on the lawsuit filed by Maya and company–a lawsuit which aimed to shut down the entire agency by defunding it (see THE Delaware Riverkeeper Sues FERC, Tries to Close it Down). Delaware Riverkeeper filed their lawsuit against FERC in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia–one of the most liberal jurisdictions in the country. The lawsuit claimed FERC can’t objectively make decisions about projects like the Penn East Pipeline (running from the Wilkes-Barre area to New Jersey) because FERC derives some of its operating revenue from the projects it either approves or does not approve. Liberal U.S. District Justice Tanya Chutkan found Riverkeeper’s arguments don’t hold water (pun intended). In her 20-page opinion (copy below), Chutkan doesn’t buy Maya’s BS line that FERC is hopelessly biased. Although Maya tried to spin the bad news as good (because Riverkeeper achieved “standing” in the case), the decision is, in fact, a crushing blow for Maya and her merry band of eco-nuts…
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OH Court Says Grandkids Can Claim Mineral Ownership Under DMA

MDN has previously highlighted the importance of last year’s Ohio Supreme Court decision with regard to the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act (DMA). In September 2016 the OH Supreme Court ruled in three DMA cases, saying all of the other cases come under those three (see Important: OH Supreme Court Finally Rules on Dormant Mineral Act). Following that ruling, we brought you insights on what it means from international law firm Jones Day (see One More Look at Important OH Supreme Court DMA Decision). We later ran a copy of an analysis done by attorney David Wigham, who said, “[T]he landscape regarding title and ownership to mineral interests in Ohio has significantly changed” (see Expert Says OH DMA Decision “Significantly Changed” Mineral Rights). The ramifications of the Supreme Court’s decision continues–and various aspects of the now-settled law are still, well, getting settled. Under the DMA if a surface landowner advertises his or her intent to reclaim mineral rights (when the rights have been dormant for period of years), the rights owners have a certain amount of time to respond to reassert their ownership. But what if the original rights owners are now dead. Can their heirs, as in grandchildren, claim those rights? Under a case just decided in Ohio’s Seventh District Court of Appeals, the answer to that would be, “Yes”…
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Williams Launches PA Media Campaign to Promote Atlantic Sunrise

Williams is in the years-long (and almost impossible) process of building the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project–a $3 billion, 198-mile pipeline running through 10 Pennsylvania counties to connect Marcellus Shale natural gas from PA with the Williams’ Transco pipeline in southern Lancaster County. On Feb. 3, 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gave its final approval for the project (see FERC Approves Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline! Cabot Grabs More Capacity). From FERC’s perspective, Atlantic Sunrise can start the bulldozers any time–except the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) has not yet granted some necessary permits. As we reported earlier this month, Williams is keeping up the gentle pressure (see Williams Keeps Pressure on PA DEP to Issue Atlantic Sunrise Permits). That pressure continues. Williams has just launched an “expanded” media campaign, complete with on-air commercials, which aim to “educate the community about these benefits and the importance of designing, constructing and operating critical natural gas infrastructure projects in Pennsylvania.” The new media effort is also meant to ratchet up the pressure on the DEP another notch…
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NJ’s Lib Dem Senators Bash PennEast Pipe Over Arsenic “Concerns”

New Jersey’s reliably lefty Democrat U.S. Senators, Cory Booker and Robert Menendez, played to their fringe, unhinged base of eco-nut supporters by sending a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission claiming the PennEast Pipeline project, due to run through a small portion of NJ, “may” cause problems with arsenic–as in releasing the toxic substance into drinking water supplies from digging trenches and erosion. It is a flat out, bogus, BS claim–and they know it. But they were put up to the letter-writing task by some of their Big Green donors, including ReThink Energy NJ and New Jersey Conservation Foundation. It’s nothing new that campaign contributions (i.e. bribes) buy you access. PennEast has responded that the issue has already been addressed in their application with FERC–there is a plan to monitor and protect against any potential disturbance of the ground that would cause arsenic levels to increase. That’s what responsible adults do. They respond in an adult-like, responsible manner. Unlike the other side…
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EnerVest Selling 1,100 Wells, 361K Acres in Appalachia

In September 2012 EV Energy Partners/EnerVest put 539,000 Ohio Utica Shale acres on the auction block. It didn’t sell. In 2013 they announced they would begin selling sections piecemeal, a strategy that has netted a few sales since then (see EnerVest Strategy: Sell Utica, Drill Vertical, Expand Midstream). However, EnerVest still retains a lot of Utica acreage. According to the NGI’s Shale Play Factbook, EnerVest owns 903,000 acres, slightly less than powerhouse Chesapeake Energy. In 2014, EnerVest made another run at trying to figure out how to get oil out of their acreage (see Utica Shale Oil Far from Dead – EnerVest, EQT Try Again). In September 2015, EV Energy Partners, a subsidiary of EnerVest, purchased property from the mothership EnerVest in the Appalachian Basin, San Juan Basin, Michigan and Austin Chalk for $259 million (see EV Energy Partners Buys $259M in Wells/Leases from Parent EnerVest). And last year, in 2016, we brought you a story about EnerVest experimenting with drilling horizontal wells in the Ohio Clinton sandstone layer (see EnerVest Likes Clinton Sandstone “Utica-lite” Oil Wells in OH). The company remains active. MDN friends at Kallanish Energy have some new news about EnerVest. In yet another “drop down” deal, EnerVest is selling 360,621 acres of leases and 1,100 wells in the Appalachian Basin to EnerVest Operating, yet another subsidiary. [NOTE: MDN read the news wrong on this. EnerVest previously bought the leases/wells and now THOSE leases/wells are for sale–to someone else. This is not a drop down deal. Apologies to our friends at Kallanish!] The land and wells cover West Virginia, Virginia and Kentucky. We suspect that most, if not all, of the wells are conventional (non-shale) wells. However, the possibility remains that some of the wells are shale wells. And certainly the land has potential for horizontal shale drilling, which is why we’re interested in this bit of news…
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