Sexy New Marcellus Maps & Info from EIA

The number-crunching wizards at our favorite government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), have constructed yet another superb report. Using well data provided by various state agencies, EIA wizards have constructed a series of new maps showing the extent and structure of the Marcellus Shale–where its productive and prospectively productive regions are located. Here’s some sexy new maps and important information to go along with them from our friends at the EIA…
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PA’s First Monthly O&G Production Report Goes Live

Pennsylvania has now moved to the head of Marcellus pack when it comes to production reporting. Previously drillers in the state were required to file production numbers with the Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) every six months, but last October the Republican state legislature passed a bill that Republican Tom Corbett signed into law moving reporting from every six months to every month (see 2 Bills on PA Gov’s Desk: Monthly Production #s, Lease Termination). The first monthly production report, for January 2015, is now available. The DEP says 80% of drillers filed on time (representing 99.5% of shale wells in the state). What do the numbers show?…
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Judge Rules Royalty Lawsuit Against Chesapeake in PA Continues

Last June MDN told you about a class action lawsuit filed by the Suessenbach Family Limited Partnership. Using a Wilkes-Barre, PA law firm, Suessenbach launched a “sprawling class action” lawsuit against Chesapeake Energy and Access Midstream accusing the two companies of a $5 billion scheme to defraud landowners out of royalties rightfully due to them (see 2nd PA Class Action Lawsuit Against Chesapeake re Royalty Fraud). MDN previously covered how the Chesapeake/Access scheme worked (see Chesapeake Shafting Landowners out of Royalties Mess Gets Messier). In December, another class action lawsuit was settled (see Chesapeake’s PA Royalty Settlement Affects Some, Not All Landowners). However, Suessenbach soldiered on with their lawsuit. Chesapeake tried to have the Suessenbach lawsuit tossed, but a federal judge earlier this week denied that motion and has ruled there’s enough of a case for Suessenbach to continue…
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PA Dem Seeks Severance Tax Break for 2 P&G Wells in His District

One of the unsung hero stories we’ve told a few times on MDN is about the only Proctor & Gamble manufacturing plant in the world that is 100% energy self-sufficient. It’s located in Wyoming County, PA (see PA P&G Plant: 100% Energy Self-Sufficient from Marcellus Gas and P&G Plant in NEPA Adds Marcellus CNG Filling Station). The reason the P&G plant is energy self-sufficient and in fact the reason it sells energy back to the local power utility is because it drilled and operates two Marcellus Shale wells on company property. The gas from those wells feeds an electric generating plant that produces more electricity than P&G can use at the plant. It’s a very cool story. But now, here comes Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf who wants to tax the shale gas industry into oblivion. The severance tax he’s proposing would apply to the two wells on P&G’s property–even though they don’t sell the gas for a profit. So local PA Rep. Mike Carroll, a Democrat from Avoca (who supports Wolf’s tax and spend policies), is trying to carve out an exception for the two P&G shale wells because…well because P&G is in his district employing lots of Carroll’s voters and no doubt a big contributor to his campaign coffers, either directly or via the salaries P&G pays to people who work at the plant and contribute to Carroll…
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FERC Will Not Oversee UTOPIA NGL Pipeline Project in Ohio

In December 2013, MDN told you about Kinder Morgan’s new NGL (natural gas liquids) pipeline cleverly named UTOPIA (Utica To Ontario Pipeline Access). UTOPIA is a $500 million, 210-mile, 10-inch pipeline from Harrison County, Ohio to Riga, Michigan and from there connecting with another pipeline heading into Windsor, Ontario (see UTOPIA is Coming! The UTOPIA Pipeline, that is…). Kinder has held an open season and in January 2016 they will file a full application and target November 2016 to begin construction. What we didn’t know, or realize (until today) is that all of the new pipeline that needs to be constructed for the project will happen within Ohio. No new pipeline is needed in Michigan or indeed into Ontario. Why is that important? Because newly constructed pipeline doesn’t cross state lines, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will not be involved with approving or overseeing construction for the project. Because it’s all within Ohio, the lead agency for approval and oversight will be the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, with an assist from the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (an agency drunk on its own power)…
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Hilcorp to Build New Gathering Pipeline in NWPA

Hilcorp remains very active in northwestern PA. The company has filed paperwork and plans to build several new pipelines in Lawrence and Mercer counties. They will build a buried gathering line (what they call the Weiser-Varano pipeline), a buried “fluids pipeline” and an above-ground temporary water pipeline. The details as we know them…
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Syracuse U Divests from Fossil Fuels, NYU Says “Irresponsible”

Silly (and frankly stupid) “green” students at universities who apparently don’t have enough homework to keep them busy have lately been protesting and attempting to get the schools their parents pay so much money to, to divest from any stock holdings in evil, filthy, nasty fossil fuel companies. No, we’re not making this up. These idiots, who believe in global warming fairy tales, are demanding, like the petulant undisciplined children they are, that universities pull out a gun and just shoot themselves in the head financially. And you know what? Syracuse University has just done it. They’ve just committed financial suicide by bowing to pressure from children and divesting any fossil fuel stocks from their $1.2 billion endowment. Forcing Coach Jim Boeheim to retire, and now divesting from fossil fuels? We’re officially no longer Orange basketball fans. Meanwhile, the divest from fossil fuels issue was extensively studied by New York University–and they concluded to do such a thing is nuts…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Thu, Apr 2, 2015

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading:
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Sad Day: Worker Killed at Marcus Hook Refinery NGL Project

Marcus HookIt’s always a sad day when we report a death related to the Marcellus/Utica industry. Thankfully it doesn’t happen often, but the fact it happens at all is almost too much to bear. We know it’s not realistic to expect no fatalities, but still… On Monday afternoon around 2:30 pm a worker at the former Marcus Hook refinery–which is being converted into a natural gas liquids terminal–was killed after a pylon fell on him. The worker’s name has not yet been released, but it is reported he was in his 50s and from New Jersey and worked for engineering firm AECOM, a contractor working at the site. In a profoundly inappropriate manner, a member of the anti-drilling group Protecting Our Waters jumped on the death as an opportunity to push her anti-drilling message…
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PennEast Payola? Buying Support One Community at a Time

In March 2014 MDN wrote about Williams spreading money around with local fire departments and other non-profit organizations in communities where they want to build the much-needed Constitution Pipeline (see Constitution Pipeline Payments to Groups – Donations or Payola?). The Constitution ended up paying out more than $1 million in grants to local groups. Our point at that time was maybe Williams should wait until the pipeline is approved and built before they hand out money. It just seemed to us like a not-so-transparent attempt at influencing (buying?) support for the project. Do we need that support? Sure! But wait until the pipeline is approved and built, and THEN help out those communities and be a good corporate citizen. Seems our advice fell on deaf ears. PennEast Pipeline is now trying the same tactic. Yesterday PennEast announced another round of community grants–handing out $70,000 this time around. PennEast is giving $5,000 each to 14 different organizations, most of them fire & ambulance departments in Pennsylvania and New Jersey…
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M3’s New Stonewall Gathering System Extends Existing AGS in WV

All the way back in 2011 MDN told you about M3 Midstream’s Appalachia Gathering System (AGS), a local gathering pipeline system to serve dry gas production areas in northern West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania (see New Marcellus Shale Pipeline Coming to Southwestern PA, Northern WV). AGS was slated to be approximately 130 miles of large diameter gathering pipeline spanning Washington and Greene counties (in PA), and Monongalia, Marion and Harrison counties (in WV). Since that time we haven’t heard much–the project has flown mostly under the radar. It has, however, popped back up in the news in WV, so we thought it would be a good time to give you an update on the project…
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Struggling Rex Energy Gets JV Partner, Slashes Budget Again

Rex Energy, our little energy company that could (and does) continue to drill in the Marcellus/Utica, is struggling. Rex has, like all companies, been hit with low commodity prices for natural gas, a shortage of pipelines to get the gas to markets, and consequently has scaled back on plans for 2015. Although Rex had a great 2014 with production up some 66% over 2013, in December the company announced they would trim the 2015 budget by 44% over 2014 (see Rex Energy Reduces 2015 Marcellus/Utica Drilling Budget by 44%). In February Rex was included in a list of 19 companies on one analyst’s “death list”–meaning they owe a lot more money than they bring in–in Rex’s case they owe 5 times as much as they bring in annually (see 19 Oil/Gas Companies on “Death List” – 8 are in Marcellus/Utica). Shortly after that, Rex put 28K PA acres up for sale in their non-core area, to raise cash (see Rex Energy Looks to Sell 28,300 Marcellus Acres in Bid to Raise $). And that brings us to yesterday, when Rex announced they are slashing their drilling budget again, by another 30%, and they’ve taken on a joint venture partner for some of their acreage in a bid to keep drilling…
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WV Forced Pooling Bill HB 2688 May Get Another Vote This Fall

After five years of trying, it seemed that a forced pooling bill was finally going to pass in West Virginia during the 2015 WV 60-day legislative session. But at the literal eleventh hour of the last day of the session, it failed (see The Real Story of Why Forced Pooling Bill Failed in WV). The bill this time was House Bill (HB) 2688 and was introduced and championed by Delegate Woody Ireland, R-Ritchie. Ireland was a bit dumbstruck after HB 2688 failed and he didn’t have much to say. But Woodie is talking now–and talking about re-introducing the bill this fall…
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It’s Official: Williams Files with FERC for Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline

It’s finally time for the sun to rise on Williams’ Transco Atlantic Sunrise pipeline project. It seems like we’ve covered the story of Atlantic Sunrise forever–a $2.1 billion project consisting of compression and looping of the Transco Leidy Line in Pennsylvania along with a greenfield (brand new) pipeline segment of 178 miles, called the Central Penn Line, connecting the northeastern Marcellus producing region to the Transco mainline near Station 195 in southeastern Pennsylvania (see Atlantic Sunrise Will Pump $1.6B into Economy, Create 8K Jobs). We’ve covered many of the anti-drilling nutball antics in opposing the pipeline (see Convicted Lancaster Protesters Taunt Williams After Court Date). Even though Williams has conducted countless meetings and filed reams of paperwork–it was only yesterday that Williams filed the full, complete, and official application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), asking FERC to approve the project…
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Power Lines and Pipeline Corrosion – A Quick MDN Primer

MDN told you yesterday about a story in the anti-drilling Albany Times Union newspaper that seeks to spread FUD–fear, uncertainty and doubt–about the proposed Kinder Morgan Northeast Extension Direct pipeline (see Albany Times Union Says Electric Lines will Corrode NED Pipeline). The meme trying to be spread by the TU is that if Kinder moves forward with a plan to co-locate the pipeline along miles and miles of high voltage power line corridors, the power lines will eat away the pipeline and turn it into a ticking time bomb that will one day explode. That’s our words, not the TU’s words, but that’s clearly the impression the TU reporter attempts to convey in the article. We poked fun at the notion that electric lines corrode pipelines. However, it does happen! No less than three sharp MDN readers, one of them from the federal government, emailed with information about the phenomenon of pipeline corrosion from AC power lines. The upshot is that a) this is a known issue, b) there are ways to safely mitigate any potential corrosion from AC power lines, and c) pipelines have been co-located along power line corridors for decades–safely…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Wed, Apr 1, 2015

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading:
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