Antero Resources Picks Up a Cool $1B from “Delevering” Initiative

Ever hear the word “delevering” used in a sentence? How about this: “Antero Resources announces completion of $1 billion delevering program.” Yeah, financial mumbo jumbo. What the heck is delevering? We’re not quite sure. But we can interpret Antero Resources’ announcement yesterday for you, which included the aforementioned sentence. Here’s the translation: Antero has raised $1 billion by selling new units (think shares of stock) in its pipeline subsidiary ($311 million raised), and by monetizing its natural gas hedge portfolio ($750 million raised). Yes, back into the financial lingo weeds to figure out what is meant by “monetizing” the company’s “hedge portfolio.” We’ll take a stab at explaining it, below. Bottom line up here at the top: Antero figured out how to raise another $1 billion, used to pay off money Antero had borrowed under its massive $4 billion line of credit. Antero is one of the biggest (and best) drillers in the Marcellus/Utica, which is why we care about where and how they raise money…
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Texas Private Equity Firm Forms to Invest in Marcellus/Utica

District 5 Investments, an energy-focused private equity firm based in Texas, has formed a new subsidiary called Pathfinder Resources in order to invest in the Marcellus/Utica region. According to an announcement yesterday, Pathfinder will focus on acquiring “producing and non-producing oil and gas mineral interests, royalty interests and non-operated working interested” across the U.S., but starting first in the Marcellus/Utica. Investment sizes range from $5 million to $35 million. Here’s the latest investor to grab a piece of the Marcellus/Utica pie…
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Civil Debate in Plum, PA re Proposed Wastewater Injection Well

As MDN reported in July, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the agency in charge of approving oil and gas wastewater injection wells, is currently reviewing an application and plan from Penneco Environmental Solutions (division of Penneco Oil Co.) to convert a plugged gas well into a brine (wastewater) injection well in Plum, PA–near Pittsburgh (see New Frack Wastewater Well on the Way in Allegheny County, PA). PA has just a handful of wastewater injection wells–less than 10. The most recent two such projects were vigorously opposed by the municipalities where they are located–Highland Township in Elk County, and Grant Township in Indiana County. The towns eventually backed down when they were sued by the PA DEP over their illegal actions (see PA DEP Issues 2 Wastewater Injection Well Permits, Sues 2 Towns). Although we expected a huge push-back in Plum, if a meeting held yesterday to debate the project is an indicator, perhaps the push-back won’t be as much as we thought. Yesterday a panel of experts–both pro and con–interacted with a crowd of around 100 people in Plum Council’s chambers. One of the people on the pro side was MDN friend Dave Spigelmyer, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition. One of the people on the con side was Doug Shields, former Pittsburgh councilman and now paid agitator/protester for the radical Food & Water Watch. You might think there would be fireworks at such a meeting–but there wasn’t. The biggest surprise of the meeting is that there were no surprises–it was civil. No shouting. No theatrics. No loud-mouthed protesters. Such a project comes with serious questions and concerns–like earthquakes and water contamination. Those issues and more were addressed at the meeting…
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First-Hand Account: Rover Pipe’s Negative Impact on One Ohio Farm

Not everyone on the “pro” side of the pipeline issue is happy with Rover Pipeline and the work they’ve done in Ohio. You know that MDN is supportive of the Rover project. You also know that MDN believes Craig Butler, director of the Ohio EPA, is way out of line with his campaign to fine Rover $2.3 million. However, Rover is not lily white in their handling of building the pipeline across Ohio. They’ve made mistakes. And they’ve made some enemies of the people who should be their biggest supporters–farmers whose land they cross. MDN editor Jim Willis recently spoke with one of those farmers, from the Definance, OH area. Ben Polasek owns a farm that has been in the family for four generations. He plants wheat, corn, and soybeans on his Ohio land. Polasek says he is a strong supporter of the energy industry–and of pipelines. However, he says, “Rover has not shown any respect for the landowners of this project.” Polasek says Rover made promises–like being able to access fields he needs to plant–only to see those promises broken. He also believes Rover didn’t properly plan for the heavy rains that caused his property to become a mud pit in areas where Rover was working. With pictures (below) and an impassioned letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (also below), Polasek is asking FERC to hold Rover responsible for the damage done to his, and other farmer’s, property…
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PA Sending Wrong Message to O&G, Petrochemical, Manuf Industries

Charlie Schliebs – Stone Pier Capital Advisors

Over the years MDN editor Jim Willis has had the pleasure of meeting many great people–both in the shale industry and in other industries that overlap with shale energy. One such person is Charlie Schliebs, managing director of the Pittsburgh-based Stone Pier Capital Advisors. Charlie is a long-time MDN subscriber (and friend). He’s a money guy, having had a hand in a number of deals to finance Marcellus/Utica drilling. He’s also smart, and a mover-and-shaker–well-connected with many of Pennsylvania’s top business and political leaders. Recently Charlie composed an editorial to share with his clients and friends. The original intent was to write about the severance tax and the sellout by PA’s Republican Senate. However, the editorial grew to encompass the state’s treatment of the petrochemical and even construction industries. We asked Charlie for permission to bring you his editorial, and he graciously agreed. In it, he offers some insight into his original support for Tom Wolf during the last gubernatorial election, his profound disappointment with Wolf (be sure to read about the event Charlie hosted in which then-candidate Wolf participated and made an arrogant fool of himself), and how Wolf settled on a 5% severance tax plan, based on an off-hand remark by EQT. This is great stuff–real behind-the-scenes stuff only someone like Charlie can write about. Take time to read the whole editorial…
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Corrupt DEC Bans PA Marcellus Brine in NY, Tightens Other Brine Use

The Andrew Cuomo-corrupted New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC), run by NRDC gang member Basil Seggos, has just slammed the door on New York towns using brine from the Pennsylvania Marcellus. Earlier this week the DEC posted new final regulations as part of “strengthening” the state’s solid waste regulations, referred to as Part 360. Brine is another name for produced water. When you drill a hole deep in the ground, well below the water table (which sits at maybe 200 feet down), over time water from the depths (a mile or more down) will come to the surface. This is not wastewater used in fracking (called flowback), but naturally occurring water (brine). It’s called brine because it contains a lot of minerals–far “saltier” than ocean water. There are a number of ways to dispose of all that water coming out of drilled wells for years after they are drilled–dispose of it via an injection wells, recycle it, or in some cases, treat it and use it as a deicer on roadways. Many towns use brine for that purpose. The DEC’s new regulations stipulate that if a town wants to use brine from conventional oil and gas wells, that’s fine (with certain restrictions). But if the brine comes from a Marcellus Shale well–it’s banned. Keep in mind there is virtually no chemical difference between the two. Which leads us to the conclusion that this is one more very intentional swipe at the shale industry by a state that is closed for business…
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Community College of Beaver County Preps Students for Cracker Jobs

Looking to land a job at Shell’s $6 billion ethane cracker plant when it’s up and running in a few years? A new program set up by Shell with the Community College of Beaver County (CCBC) may give you a leg up. CCBC offers a program in process technology that leads to an associate’s degree. As of this spring, 45 people were enrolled. CCBC expects 70 people to enroll this fall. CCBC’s process technology degree is just one part of their effort to train people for advanced manufacturing careers with Shell and other petrochemical companies. CCBC is partnering with businesses, nonprofits, other colleges to form the Tri-State Advanced Manufacturing Consortium which will help prepare students and retrain workers to meet the needs of energy and manufacturing companies throughout the region. More deets on getting trained for a future cracker job…
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Sourcewater Gets Investment from OH Cracker Plant Partner Marubeni

Sourcewater is a cool company. A lot of water is used, and generated, when it comes to shale drilling. Millions of gallons of water is used to frack shale wells, and over time, millions of gallons of wastewater (flowback and brine) is generated and must be disposed of. Companies have entire departments dedicated to the task. Sourcewater came along a few years ago and created an online marketplace where those who need to buy water, and those who need to sell water, can find each other. How cool is that? The company is a spinout from MIT’s Energy Ventures program. Smart people behind it. Currently Sourcewater services/covers water needs in the Marcellus/Utica (Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia), along with Texas, Oklahoma and Alberta (Canada). Sourcewater is about to grow. The company announced earlier this week that Marubeni Corporation (financial company based in Japan) is making an investment in the company. No numbers were shared. The news caught our attention because (a) Sourcewater operates in the Marcellus/Utica, and (b) Marubeni is the money behind the forthcoming ethane cracker in Belmont County, OH…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Sep 22, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Wayne Forest lease sales change lives with nearly $7M to date; WV’s Charlie Burd ‘Man of the Year’; Shell teaches kids about energy jobs; corrupt Cuomo colludes with other governors to fleece residents re climate change; PA’s traitorous Republican Senate rejects House no-severance tax budget; stealth boom in forgotten shale competes with Marcellus/Utica; US LNG exports continue to rise; and more!
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Northeast Energy Management Goes Bankrupt; Auctioning Rigs, Assets

It’s always sad when we have to report that a Marcellus/Utica-focused company goes out of existence. Northeast Energy Management, which operated under the name Northeast Energy with headquarters in Indiana, PA, claimed to be “a leader in tophole drilling in the Marcellus/Utica shale” and “a preferred contractor for many of the largest oil and natural gas exploration and production companies.” Perhaps it was, but it is no more. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court – Western District of Pennsylvania back in January of this year. As of yesterday the court ordered the company’s assets to be liquidated at auction. A live and online auction will take place next week, on Sept. 27, featuring two Schramm drilling rigs, Detroit Diesel engines with pipe handlers, trailer mounted and skid mounted air compressors, boosters, generators, accumulators, trailers and a variety of tractors, pick-up trucks, construction equipment and other drill site related equipment. Here’s the the details about the auction and how you can participate…
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Ohio EPA’s Craig Butler Goes Nuts, Demands $2.3M from Rover Pipe

From the day the first backhoe began digging in Ohio, it has appeared that Ohio EPA director Craig Butler has had a grudge against Rover Pipeline. We’re not saying Rover hasn’t had its fair share of environmental transgressions that need to be monitored and rectified. But Butler has been on a one-man mission to punish Energy Transfer, the builder, demanding (without legal authority) insanely high “fines” from ET Rover. At first it was $400,000. Then $900,000. Now Butler says ET owes the state $2.3 million! Butler is trying to draw in Ohio’s Attorney General into the confusion in order to shake down Energy Transfer and make them pay. Yesterday Butler held a conference call with the media (MDN wasn’t notified/invited) where he made wild allegations. What seems to have precipitated Butler’s media bender is a decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Monday to allow ET to resume horizontal directional drilling (HDD) in most Ohio locations, after banning it for several months (see FERC Lifts Rover Horizontal Drilling Ban, Pipeline Work Resumes). On yesterday’s call Butler said, “I’m not overly happy that they’re [FERC] allowing them [Energy Transfer] to restart operations while we [Craig Butler, Ohio EPA] have outstanding issues.” Butler has issues all right. Butler is kind of drunk on his own power. It’s time for someone (maybe the AG?) to investigate Butler and find out if he’s colluding with Big Green groups. Is the OEPA short on money in its budget? Where does the revenue from such fines go? And on what statutory authority can OEPA levy a fine on a FEDERAL project? Inquiring minds want to know…
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Ohio EPA Grants Water Permit to NEXUS Pipe, “Learned” from Rover

At a staged media event yesterday, Ohio EPA director Craig Butler had no end of insults for Energy Transfer and their Rover Pipeline project, making wild claims that the company now owes the state $2.3 million in fines (see today’s companion story). However, at the same media event, Butler had faint praise for another project–NEXUS Pipeline. The OEPA issued a federal water permit for the project on Tuesday. NEXUS is a $2 billion, 255-mile interstate pipeline that will run from Ohio through Michigan and eventually to the Dawn Hub in Ontario, Canada. The project is co-owned by DTE Energy of Detroit and Spectra Energy (now part of Canadian company Enbridge). NEXUS got final approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in August, the first major pipeline to get approved following a newly restored quorum at FERC (see New FERC Quorum Votes Final Approval for NEXUS Pipeline). At yesterday’s media circus, Butler said he and his agency have learned from their “mistakes” with Rover, and that NEXUS’ application includes much more detailed plans. Although OEPA likes the NEXUS paperwork, the agency is requiring more “contingency and storm water planning” from NEXUS as a condition of the permit…
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New MarkWest Processing Plant Approved by Smith Twp in SWPA

Smith Township, Washington, PA

In August MarkWest Energy (now part of MPLX) briefed Smith Township (Washington County, PA) officials on plans to build a new natural gas processing plant (see Update on MarkWest Processing Plant Proposal for Smith Twp). The project was first introduced last fall, but then went quiet until May of this year. MarkWest plans to initially building one cryogenic plant and one de-ethanizer at what it calls the Harmon Creek Complex. Eventually MarkWest wants to build four cryogenic plants and two de-ethanizers at complex. Smith officials understandably had questions and wanted certain things in writing before they would consider issuing a “conditional use” permit for the project. Apparently the questions got answered. On Monday, Smith supervisors voted 3-0 to approve the project. However, the backhoes are not firing up just yet. Before the project can get built, the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection must issue an air permit (GP-5) for the project. Anti fossil fuelers were not happy with Smith’s approval, claiming MarkWest has been hiding the full scope of the project…
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PA Gov. Wolf Visits NEPA to Barter for Marcellus Severance Tax

Hoping to pressure the Republican legislature to adopt a budget with a new severance tax, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (Democrat) visited two towns in northeast PA yesterday that are in the heart of Marcellus Shale country. One of those towns is the bucolic village of Tunkhannock, in Wyoming County. MDN editor Jim Willis visited Tunkhannock a few months ago to attend an Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline rally (see Atlantic Sunrise Pipe Rally: ‘Time to Kick Politicians in the Ass’). During his visit yesterday, Wolf said there has been progress in the budget talks, but things are stalled at the moment. The big point Wolf made, the reason for the visit, is that $1 million of state money promised to Tunkhannock to run gas lines in the area for local utilities to tap into abundant, local Marcellus gas is on hold because of the budget impasse. Wolf was dangling a $1 million carrot, implying that if the local yokels want that money to run new gas lines, they dang well better support his plan to pass the budget–a plan that includes a severance tax on the Marcellus. That’s how we read it. From Tunkhannock, Wolf traveled north to Montrose, in Susquehanna County, where he visited the Endless Mountains Hospital–a hospital largely built with Marcellus money from Cabot Oil & Gas. If Wolf’s severance tax had been in place, that hospital would not have gotten built…
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PennEast Pipe Files Water Permit Request with USACE, Antis Erupt

Click map for larger version

Last week PennEast Pipeline, a $1 billion, 118-mile pipeline from Luzerne County, PA to Mercer County, NJ, filed a request with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for water crossing permits (full copy below). PennEast has faced a series of legal challenges–in particular from virulent Big Green groups THE Delaware Riverkeeper (Maya van Rossum) and the New Jersey Sierra Club (Jeff Tittel). Somehow Big Green groups seem to have been able to exert undue influence over the New Jersey Dept. of Environmental Protection, which rejected granting water permits in June (see NJ DEP Rejects Water Permit for PennEast Pipeline – What’s Next?). However, PennEast continues to make progress. In April the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a favorable, final environmental impact statement for the project, which is typically a prelude to issuing a final go-ahead (see FERC Issues Favorable Final EIS for PennEast Pipeline Project). Earlier this year, in February, the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection issued a water permit for the project, which is being challenged in court by Big Green groups (see PennEast Pipeline Gets 401 Water Quality Certificate from PA DEP). PennEast acknowledges the Army Corps will still need information from other government agencies before it grants a water permit–but that’s OK. PennEast is simply getting its ducks in row by filing now, which has antis like van Rossum and Tittel in a dither…
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Rich Homeowners in Philly Suburb Claim ME2 Work Stirring up Arsenic

Rich, snobbish homeowners in an “upscale” Philadelphia suburb development are asking an appeals court to stop Sunoco Logistics from building the Mariner East 2 pipeline through the edge of their high-priced development because, they claim, the digging is disturbing the dirt (which is what digging does) and disturbing the dirt is causing lead and arsenic to become dislodged. The lead and arsenic are supposedly in the dirt as a result of pesticides used when the land was an apple orchard. The claim is flat out BS–Barbara Streisand. The Andover Homeowners Association in Thornbury Township (Delaware County) is the same group that a few weeks ago acted like five year-olds by intentionally stepping over a painted line put there to protect them from a ME2 construction zone (see Philly Antis Step Over the Line (Literally) at ME2 Pipeline Site). Spoiled rotten children grow up to be spoiled rotten adults. Here’s the latest tactic to stop a pipeline from the gentry class–just because they don’t like how digging a pipeline makes their development look to the neighbors…
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