Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Tue, Nov 25, 2014

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading:
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Was the Blue Racer Accident in Noble County, OH Preventable?

preventionNearly two weeks ago there was a fatal accident at a Blue Racer Midstream condensate pumping skid in Noble County, OH in which an electrical contract worker was killed (see Blue Racer Midstream Explosion Kills One Worker in OH). There was precious little information about the accident–what caused it–at the time. And since then, we’ve spotted nothing. We know it takes time to investigate such things, but usually there is at least an update or two during that period. We did, however, spot a letter to the editor from a veteran oilfield petroleum engineer who claims the accident was preventable. Since this engineer doesn’t work in the northeast and has no personal knowledge of the accident, we thought it was a pretty brash statement to make. Or was it?…
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Still Time for WV/PA Landowners to Participate in $100M Deal

Landowner coalitions are certainly not new. They began in the Marcellus region around seven years ago when landowners in Pennsylvania banded together to get rates and conditions more favorably than they otherwise could on their own. Smart idea. What is new is that landowners in West Virginia are now banding together because, although Marcellus drilling takes place in the state and much of that land has been leased, the Utica Shale that underlies the state is just now getting started. So landowners, like those in Marshall and Ohio counties (in the panhandle of WV) and Greene County (in southwest PA) are forming new groups to negotiate new leases for the Utica Shale. The Marshall/Ohio/Greene landowner group did just that, recently signing a $100 million deal (see Panhandle WV Landowners Broker $100M Deal with Tug Hill Operating). A few more details about the group and the deal…
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Guest Viewpoint: Best to Lease ALL Rock Layers at One Time

Last week MDN told you about possibility that a rock layer some 20,000 feet below the surface may one day be an important player in natural gas and oil for the northeast (see Trenton-Black River: New Natgas Rock Layer in Your Future?). As part of that story, we wrote the following: “Landowners listen up. When you lease, ALWAYS specify the layer(s) in the lease that you will allow an energy company to drill. That way, in future years when yet other layers are “discovered” to have natural gas or oil deposits, you can re-lease for the new layer. Energy companies will understandably want to negotiate a lease for all layers. Landowners (and their lawyers) need to watch for and construct leases that favor the landowner. A word to the wise…” An MDN subscriber wrote us to take issue with that statement, to point out potential weaknesses in our argument. We are happy (with permission) to bring you the following guest post from Paul David Burke, VP & General Counsel for Huntley & Huntley, Inc…
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New (Utica?) Oil Terminal Operation Coming to Lawrence County, OH

Ergon, a privately-held company headquartered in Mississippi, owns an oil refinery in Newell, West Virginia (since 1997). Earlier this month Ergon reported purchasing a petroleum storage facility/terminal located in Ironton, Ohio. The stated purpose is to increase their capacity to purchase and transport crude oil in the Ohio River Valley region. What is that news?…
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Sunoco Logistics, Regency Energy Presentations from Analyst Day

Last week both Regency Energy Partners, which purchased PVR Partners a little over a year ago (PVR having a major footprint in the Marcellus/Utica), along with Sunoco Logistics, another major midstream player in the northeast, participated in an analyst day last week at Ritz-Carlton in Dallas. While we don’t have a transcript, we do have the PowerPoint slide decks from both companies. And what we find on some of those slides is illuminating…
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Steingraber, 2 Others Sent to Jail for Refusing to Pay Fine

The increasingly shrill (and irrational) Sandra Steingraber, a so-called “scholar in residence” who’s paid to gallivant and protest shale drilling and related fossil fuel issues by Ithaca College, was (once again) arrested, refused to pay her fine, and carted off to jail for refusing to pay a fine because she illegally blocked the entrance to a legally running business that one day hopes to house underground storage of natural gas. The facility is a depleted salt cavern along the shore of Seneca Lake (near Watkins Glen, NY). Steingraber has pulled this stunt before (see NY Anti-Drilling Protesters Jailed After Refusing to Pay Fine). Since she gets no media attention and you wouldn’t know about it otherwise, we thought we’d share the news with you…
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Calendar of Events for Nov 24-Dec 7, 2014 [Free]

Below are upcoming events for this week and next. To see the full list of future events, visit this page: http://marcellusdrilling.com/calendar/.

NOTE: To have an item included, please email it to: calendar@marcellusdrilling.com.
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, Nov 24, 2014

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading:
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Details on Trenton-Black River Horizontal Drilling in NY State

devil in the detailsIt often surprises us which daily stories we write that will catch the most attention/be read the most. Yesterday, our most-read story was the fourth story down the page, about the prospects for horizontal drilling in yet another rock layer (see Trenton-Black River: New Natgas Rock Layer in Your Future?). We mentioned in passing the following: “The Trenton-Black River has been drilled in places like New York State (of all places!) for decades. However, NY’s Trenton drilling has been vertical-only, not horizontal drilling.” That statement was partially incorrect. While the Trenton and/or the Black River has been drilled in NY since 1985 (nearly 30 years) and the majority of the wells have been vertical, there are a number of horizontal wells drilled in the Trenton/BR in NY. We have more details on who’s done the drilling, and where…
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Flip Flop: All of WPX’s Marcellus Wells on the Auction Block

A bit of news we find troubling. MDN has told you, since February of this year, that WPX would not be drilling any new wells in the Marcellus and in fact would be selling their undrilled leases (see WPX Marcellus Assets Being Shopped in “Controlled Auction”). However, we were contacted by WPX spokesperson Susan Oliver to assure us that they were not selling their already-drilled 100+ wells (see WPX Gives MDN an Update on Their 2014 Marcellus Plans). We figured some of those wells may be sold if there was, say, one or two wells on a pad adjacent to undrilled acreage with the opportunity to drill more wells. But for those wells already drilled and fully developed? Those wells, we were told, would remain in the WPX portfolio. However, an article appearing in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Wednesday contradicts that previous assertion…
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Martians & Enviro Groups Continue to Block Rex Drilling in W PA

Martians have successfully delayed Rex Energy from continuing to drill a series of five Marcellus wells on a single pad in Middlesex Township (western Pennsylvania). You may recall that two so-called environmental groups (front groups for rigid anti-drillers)–THE Delaware Riverkeeper and the Clean Air Council, both based on the other side of the state in the Philadelphia area–along with four parents from the Mars school district, filed an appeal of the decision to allow the drilling to occur in Middlesex Township (see Rex Drilling Operation Near Mars School Put on Hold). The Mars school district is some 3/4 of a mile from the drilling site–never mind at least two other schools in PA, one near Mars, allows drilling ON SCHOOL PROPERTY! Nope. The Martians are insistent that Rex not be allowed to drill those wells because it will endanger the kiddies. So a zoning board hearing was held Tuesday night and “continued” until another meeting at the end of December. Town officials say they may end up holding five hearings total on the matter (one for each well?) before it’s concluded. Meanwhile, no more drilling for Rex at that site…
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Little Mahoning Watershed to Testify in Court Case (??)

You have to give the silly anti-fossil fuel nutters one thing–they sure are creative. The latest nonsense to come from the extreme left is that artificial constructs like watersheds now have “rights” and can somehow speak for itself. At least that’s what’s being claimed in a “first of its kind” motion by–yes–the Little Mahoning Watershed (Indiana County, PA). We wonder, what does the Watershed’s voice sound like? And where, precisely, did the Watershed scribble down its statement that was recently delivered to the court? We’d like to see that place and behold that miracle. This would all be rolling-on-the-floor funny if extremists weren’t so hellbent on bastardizing our laws and the U.S. Constitution–to the point our legal system becomes meaningless. The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), which hangs its hat in Mercersburg, PA, says Little Mahoning Watershed spoke to it and whispered it doesn’t want to be polluted by nasty frack wastewater…
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UGI Turns on New Pipeline for Cabot in NEPA

In May MDN told you that UGI Energy Services, a subsidiary of UGI (a utility company in northeast PA) would build two new pipelines in northeast PA for $80 million that will allow them to transport cheap, abundant, locally mined natural gas from Cabot Oil & Gas in Susquehanna County to residents in the greater Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area (see UGI Energy Building 2 New Pipelines in NEPA for Cabot O&G). Today UGI announced one of those pipelines is now completed and flowing cheap Marcellus Shale gas to NEPA residents, which will result in lower rates. The other will be completed in the spring of next year. Now what was that about the “lucky few landowners” who are the only ones to benefit from Marcellus Shale gas?…
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Access Midstream CEO Replaced by COO Under Williams Ownership

Mike Stice is the current CEO of Access Midstream, which used to be the old Chesapeake Midstream before it was spun off into its own company. Access has a large footprint in the Marcellus/Utica region. In June, Williams announced a deal to buy Access Midstream and fold it into their own operation (see Big News: Williams Partners Buying Access Midstream for $6B). The deal is now done and all that’s left are some regulatory approvals and lawyers generating mountains of paperwork back and forth (see Deal Details for Williams/Access Midstream Merger – TTV of $50B!). Williams expects to put its own name plate on the Access door “by early 2015.” So what does that mean for Access CEO Mike Stice? Sayonara, apparently. Williams issued an innocent-looking personnel press release yesterday that says Stice’s #2 man, the current Chief Operating Officer, Robert Purgason, will take over running the Access Midstream division of Williams…
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PGW Sale Still on Life Support – Will City Council Pull the Plug?

The corrupt Philadelphia City Council continues to be, well, corrupt. Although UIL Holdings, the Connecticut utility company doing its darnedest to purchase the municipal owned Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW), has told City Council that they are willing to amend the terms of sale originally worked out by Philly’s Mayor Michael Nutter–to address Council’s so-called “concerns.” UIL is bending over backwards, forwards, sideways–any way it can to make the deal happen. And the response from the corrupt City Council? Crickets. The deal expires Dec. 31 and it looks, as of right now, as if it’s dead…
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