Williams Shareholders Vote “For” ETE Merger; Appeal Court Ruling

As the World TurnsYesterday 63% of Williams Companies shareholders voted in favor of a merger with Energy Transfer Equity at a specially called meeting at Williams’ HQ in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Specifically, they voted to approve the merger and receive their proceeds in all cash, thank you very much. Not that it makes a hill of beans worth of difference–because the deal is dead. Last Friday ETE won the right to walk away from the deal not owing Williams anything (see Court Says ETE Can Terminate Williams Merger; Williams Votes Today). As we’ve maintained for some time, this is all window dressing and legal posturing. Williams also said yesterday they will appeal the courts decision from last Friday, maintaining they (Williams) believes ETE is still contractually bound to buy (and more importantly pay) the big investors of Williams. Below are a pair of announcements from Williams about yesterday’s vote, along with some analysis…
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Event Speakers Say More Crackers on the Way in the Northeast

North-East-US-Petrochemical (1)There was lots of cracker talk at the first Northeast U.S. & Canada Petrochemical Construction Conference & Exhibition in Pittsburgh yesterday. According to NGI’s ace reporter for Shale Daily, Jamison Cocklin, excitement over the Shell cracker announcement from a few weeks ago was “palpable” at yesterday’s event. There was plenty of talk about the Shell cracker–but the talk coming from the event that interests MDN is talk about both the PTT Global Chemical cracker planned for Ohio, AND the Braskem cracker planned for West Virginia. These other two world class cracker plants (similar in size and scope to Shell’s project) “remain on track.” Now that is news!…
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Canadian Cracker Eyes Utica Ethane, Adding $2B Polyethylene Plant

Corunna cracker site

NOVA Chemicals Corunna cracker site – click for larger version

Shell recently committed to building a “world class” ethane cracker in Butler County, PA, outside of Pittsburgh (see Breaking: Shell Pulls the Trigger, PA Ethane Cracker is a Go!). And as we mention in a companion story today, there are two more ethane crackers likely to be built–in Ohio and West Virginia (see Event Speakers Say More Crackers on the Way in the Northeast). With all of the cracker excitement, it’s easy to forget there’s already cracker plants processing Marcellus/Utica ethane–in the Gulf Coast and in Canada. Waaaay back in 2011 NOVA Chemicals signed a couple of agreements with Marcellus drillers to get ethane to feed their Ontario-based Corunna cracker plant (see NOVA Chemicals Signs Second Agreement for Marcellus Ethane to Feed its Corunna Cracker Plant). Marcellus ethane began flowing to the Corunna plant in July 2013 (see Big News: Marcellus Ethane Now Exporting to Canada Cracker Plant). In 2014 NOVA announced when the UTOPIA pipeline project is done, the Corunna plant will begin to take in Utica Shale ethane as well (see Canadian NOVA Chemicals to Ship Utica Ethane via UTOPIA). In March of this year, NOVA announced a $400 million upgrade on the way to the Corunna plant so it can handle even more Marcellus, and Utica, ethane (see Canadian Cracker Gets $400M Upgrade to Handle More Marc. Ethane). That upgrade will take 4-5 years. The new news is that NOVA is now planning to build a new world-class polyethylene facility near the Corunna cracker, and they’ll spend $1-$2 billion to do it. Behold the awesome economic impact of a cracker…
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Progress: PA Minimum Royalty Bill Heads to Full House for Vote

Garth Everett

PA Rep. Garth Everett

Pennsylvania State Rep. Garth Everett introduced a bill last year to guarantee landowners get a minimum of 12.5% royalties, regardless of post-production deductions (see New Bill HB 1391 Will Guarantee PA Landowners 12.5% Royalties). Organizations like the PA chapter of the National Association of Royalty Owners (NARO) fully support the bill. However, drillers make the counterargument that duly signed contracts which allow for certain deductions should not be swept away with the stroke of a pen. The industry is steadfast against this and other bills like it. This spring HB 1391 got a brief hearing in the House (see Landowners vs Drillers: PA Minimum Royalty Bill Gets a Hearing). Since that time it went nowhere fast. That is, until two weeks ago when Everett used a legislative “stunt” to attach the bill to other legislation, quickly retracting it, in an effort to focus attention on the bill again (see Rift Continues Between Drillers & Landowners re Royalty Bill). Looks like Everett’s stunt worked, at least to some degree. The bill was just moved out of a House committee where it was stalled. The full House of Representatives will now consider the bill–but not likely before this fall. Still, it’s progress…
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Sierra Club Petitions FTC to Stop Atlantic Coast Pipeline

lawsuitIt’s time to sue the nutjobs at the Sierra Club out of existence. The “non-profit” so-called environmental organization is a menace to all Americans. It’s a vipers nest of lawyers who exist solely to line their own pockets. The way they do it is to file lawsuits and “petitions” by the dump truck-load (generating work for lawyers). One of the projects they’re trying to stop is the much-needed Dominion Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a 550-mile, $5 billion project that will run from West Virginia into Virginia and on into North Carolina–benefiting the residents of all three states (see New Coalition of Same Old Antis Opposes Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Sierra Club Pressures WV County to Oppose Atlantic Coast Pipeline). The Sierra Club’s latest tactic to try and stop the project is to petition the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with wild claims that the project violates antitrust laws. We have a copy of the paperwork/petition they filed with the FTC (full copy below). It runs 1,215 pages long! How’s that for a mountain of legal horse manure…
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Southwestern Energy Buys More Time with Banks, Debtholders

southwestern energyIt seems running an E&P (exploration and production) company these days is an exercise in debt management. How you keep the company out of bankruptcy court. The latest effort in that regard comes from Southwestern Energy, a major Marcellus/Utica driller. Yesterday Southwestern announced it has cut deals with its bankers and debtholders to push out the due date on its loans/IOUs another two years beyond the existing due date. That buys the company more time to, well, more time to figure out what else to do: wait for natgas prices to go up; fire more people to reduce overhead; pull a rabbit out of the hat; whatever. Here’s the announcement from Southwestern that they’ve just bought more time…
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FMC Technologies/Technip Merger Approved by Obama DOJ/FTC

M&AApparently it’s just fine with the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) if a French company, like Technip, wants to buy an American company, like FMC Technologies. The DOJ and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have just given the green light for the two to merge to create a new $13 billion oilfield services company (see FMC Technologies & Technip to Merge, Create $13B Oilfield Giant). FMC does work in the Marcellus/Utica, hence our interest. However, if it happens to be two American companies that want to merge–say Halliburton and Baker Hughes–the DOJ refuses to sign off (see Obama DOJ Kills Halliburton/Baker Hughes Merger, Deal “Terminated”). Why is that? Below is a statement from FMC announcing the Technip deal has been cleared to proceed under the Hart–Scott–Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976…
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Brain Dead: Youngstown Antis File Petition for 6th Frack Ban Vote

flatlineHow many times will the antis who pretend to be concerned about people’s health, but really are irrationally afraid of emitting carbon (although they do it with every breathe), demand a vote on a frack ban in Youngstown that nobody wants? So far the loons have managed to fabricate enough signatures to get a frack ban measure on the ballot five times, most recently in November 2015 (see OH Supreme Court Puts Youngstown Anti-Frack Measure on Ballot). The ballot initiative has failed ALL FIVE TIMES. The Ohio Supreme Court tossed ballot initiatives in Ohio municipalities where it actually was passed (see OH Antis Handed Crushing Defeat in Broadview Hghts Home Rule Case). And yet….and yet the loons of Youngstown have done it again. They’ve fabricated enough signatures to get a frack ban initiative on the ballot for a sixth time. What do you call that? We call it brain dead…
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Fired Cheniere Energy CEO Charif Souki’s Revenge: Driftwood LNG

Driftwood LNG

Driftwood LNG map – click for larger version

You may recall that evil corporate raider Carl Ichan fired the CEO of Cheniere Energy, Charif Souki, in December 2015 (see Evil Corporate Raider Carl Icahn Claims Another CEO Scalp). Souki is the founder and was the CEO of a company that opened the first LNG (liquefied natural gas) export facility in the U.S.–on the coast of Louisiana. Like Aubrey McClendon before him, who was also fired by Icahn, Souki decided to start up a new company to compete with his old company (see Revenge: Fired Cheniere CEO Starts Competing LNG Company). That new company, Tellurian Investments, is bearing fruit. Tellurian has established a subsidiary called Driftwood LNG. Driftwood has begun the pre-filing process with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to build an LNG export facility in Louisiana…
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Dem Platform Calls for Prosecuting Free Speech on Global Warming

brainwashedchildren.jpgIf the Democrats ever gain control of the White House and Congress again, it will spell the end of our First Amendment free speech rights. That much is certain. How do we know? Radicals in charge of the Democrat Party platform have added a plank that specifically calls for prosecuting anyone who disagrees with the myth that mankind is causing the earth to heat up. Never mind the earth ISN’T ACTUALLY HEATING UP AND HASN’T BEEN FOR 20 YEARS! (see Inconvenient Global Warming Fact: Avg Temp Hasn’t Risen in 18 Yrs) Facts are things to be ignored in the hyper-political universe of lib Dems. Like Hitler and Stalin before them, they want to take away your right to express dissent–something sacred under our Constitution. Not only do these nutjobs want to prosecute people for free speech–forcing us to behave like programmed robots–they want to take us back to the Stone Ages by dumping all fossil fuel use by 2050. Need we say more? If you pull the lever for these people, you’ll get what you so richly deserve…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Tue, Jun 28, 2016

best of the restThe “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: PA, OH rig counts remain same, WV goes down; Kasich picks Dem for PUCO; new conventional drilling regs on the way in PA House; new Hilton going up near PA cracker site; WV floods affect some midstream operations; natgas prices continue to rise; feds appeal court ruling striking down BLM fracking rules; ethane exports “about to pop”; TransCanada sues US over Keystone XL; and more!
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Court Says ETE Can Terminate Williams Merger; Williams Votes Today

As the World TurnsBig news happened in the Energy Transfer Equity (ETE) proposed merger/buyout of Williams to report. Last Friday a Delaware court ruled that ETE is contractually entitled to terminate its merger agreement with Williams. However, in a press release, ETE doesn’t say it has officially terminated the agreement. In commenting on the ruling, Williams said they still don’t think ETE has the right to wiggle out of the deal and Williams is pushing forward with holding a vote today by shareholders to approve (or not approve) the merger. As we have maintained now for a month or more, we don’t think the merger will happen–and we think all of the press releases and votes, etc. is posturing in preparation to launch lawsuits. The court’s decision essentially says ETE can terminate the agreement and won’t owe Williams any money for their trouble. ETE wanted this merger in the first place and pursued Williams for nearly a year to get it (see Williams Accepts ETE’s “Indecent Proposal” – Price Went Down $10B). But Williams is not lily white innocent in this ongoing soap opera. Lurking in the background pulling strings are corporate raiders on Williams’ board–people who want to line their pockets with cash from this deal (see Evil Corporate Raiders Double Investment (& Control) in Williams). Even though ETE wants out of the deal and even though (in our opinion) Williams is better off not merging, Williams will continue to push for a merger/takeover, so the raiders can get buckets of cash. Below we have a copy of the court opinion from Friday, along with a couple of analysts’ thoughts on what happens next…
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More on PA’s Potential Gross Receipts Tax on NatGas

no-tax.jpgLast Friday MDN told you about the latest plan to tax Pennsylvania natural gas–something called a gross receipts tax (see Ploy to Rename PA Severance Tax as “Gross Receipts” Tax). We now have a bit more detail on what that plan is. A gross receipts tax is nothing more than a sales tax that would be assessed on users of natural gas. It’s meant to transfer wealth from those who use natural gas into the pockets of Big Education (i.e. teachers unions), the same way a severance tax was meant to do. There is an important difference between a gross receipts and a severance tax. A severance tax would tax all natgas coming out of the ground. A gross receipts tax would tax only that gas sold and used in Pennsylvania–by end users (consumers, businesses, power companies, etc.). So the gas that gets shipped out of state wouldn’t be taxed. And therein lies the rub. Not only is Wolf & co. trying to use a shell game to move the tax around and make it appear that it’s not a tax on the drilling industry, their plan (we’re convinced) is to get this idiotic tax in place and then, next year or the year after, begin talking about how “unfair” it is that all of that gas going out of state isn’t taxed the way the gas is taxed in state–and “we have to close the loophole.” That’s how the game is played by tax & spend liberals like Wolf. Our advice to GOP legislators: JUST SAY NO. PA has a spending problem–not a taxing problem. Here’s the latest on the gross receipts tax idea…
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Yale Arrives in Belmont County to Study the Evils of Fracking

YaleDon’t worry, you stupid farmers in Belmont County, OH. A really really smart liberal from Yale University (who believes in the fairy tale of man-made global warming) has arrived in your midst and is willing to pay you big money–$20 (yes, twenty dollars)–to participate in a “study” with a pre-determined outcome that you’re being poisoned by fracking. The latest laughable “research study” by a small group of Yale “researchers” is underway in Belmont. The researchers are looking for 100 local yokels who are willing to tell them how they’ve been harmed by fracking, so the researchers can plaster the Yale name on yet another fraudulent study funded by Big Green organizations. We’ve seen this movie before. In 2014 Yale researchers released a similar study of 180 people in Washington County, PA, funded by Heinz Foundation and other Big Green funders (see Research for Hire: Anti Groups Sponsor Latest Yale Frack “Study”). At least in that earlier study the authors were honest enough to admit there was no evidence that fracking was affecting local residents. The outcome of this new Belmont County study is already decided, based on earlier anti-fracking advocacy work done by the study’s main author, Nicole Deziel…
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Dominion Cove Point LNG Now 38% Built, Rapid Progress Continues

Dominion Cove Point Terminal

Dominion Cove Point Terminal – click for larger view

At last check in March of this year, Dominion’s Cove Point LNG export facility, being built in Maryland, was 24% done (see Cove Point LNG Export Plant Now 24% Complete, Rapid Progress). We’re not three months later and that number is now 38% done. No wonder the odious Sierra Club and other Big Green groups are trying so hard to block work on it! Dominion just filed a monthly status and progress report (full copy below) for Cove Point and they report the facility is 38% built. They also report the engineering is about done (99.8% complete) and equipment purchases are also done (99% complete). This is refreshingly good news. There is nothing stopping the facility now…
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What Happens in PA When No Mineral Rights Owner is Found?

Heir HuntersWhat if you’re an heir to land that was drilled on or under in Pennsylvania? There may be money “ready and waiting to be distributed”–there for the asking. But the asking is a bit complicated. In cases where the owner(s) of the mineral rights for a piece of property is unclear, the PA Dormant Oil and Gas Act (DOGA) comes in to play. What is DOGA and how does it work?…
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