US Natgas Production in Jan Down Slightly from Record-High Dec

Bentek Energy, a division of Platts, is fresh out with its estimate of natural gas production numbers for January 2015. Bentek previously predicted that December 2014 was the (so far) all-time high in U.S. natural gas production (see Marcellus/Utica Lead in New Record High Production for Dec 2014). What about January? Did we break the record again? Alas, no. Bentek says January production retreated just a bit from December’s record high–but January 2015 was still up 10.5% over January 2014 production…
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Anti-Driller Banned from FERC Headquarters for Disruptive Behavior

With delusions of grandeur and fancying himself a latter-day Gandhi, the radical anti-fossil fuel activist Ted Glick, from the anti-drilling Chesapeake Climate Action Network, has been banned from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) building in Washington, DC. It seems FERC has had enough of Glick’s disruptions of their meetings–so they’ve shown him to the door. Glick, boasting about the FERC ban on his blog, relates the story of recently arriving at FERC HQ (he got there from his home in New Jersey via transportation from fossil fuels, after waking up in a home heated with fossil fuels, cooking a meal with energy from fossil fuels, and putting on clothes and shoes made with fossil fuels), to attend a small meeting arranged by some of his anti-drilling buds with one of the FERC commissioners…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Thu, Feb 5, 2015

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading:
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US Coast Guard Approves Brine Shipping via Barge on Ohio River

Big NewsSome big news coming from GreenHunter Resources, the wastewater disposal arm of MagnumHunter Resources. As MDN has chronicled for the past several years, MagnumHunter has been trying to secure a permit from the U.S. Coast Guard to transport frack wastewater via barges down the Ohio River. The Coast Guard floated a preliminary plan to allow it all the way back in November 2013 (see More on Coast Guard Plan to Allow Barging of Frack Wastewater). However, until now, they have withheld permission due to meddling by The White House and other federal agencies. According to a conference call last week, MagnumHunter/GreenHunter officials said the Coast Guard “quietly” granted permission in December to allow them to begin barge shipments down the Ohio River. The permission apparently applies only to brine, or “produced water” and not flowback for frack wastewater…
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Canadian LNG Exports, New England Pipelines & the Marcellus

Let’s return to the topic of exporting Marcellus/Utica Shale gas. You may recall MDN did a roundup of potential export facilities for Marcellus/Utica Shale gas back in August. Most of those facilities are located in Canada (see List of LNG Export Projects for Marcellus/Utica Shale Gas). The biggest hurdle to feeding those projects is not technical but instead is political/philosophical. Anti-fossil fuelers in New England are vigorously opposing new pipelines to the region from the Marcellus even though it would deliver cheap, abundant, clean-burning natural gas that would ultimately lower their own electric rates. Must be they like paying 2-3 times for electricity what everyone else across the country pays. Sprinkle in talk of using some of the gas that would flow through those pipelines for export and they go berserk. However, that’s not to say they don’t have some (minor) points that need to be considered. Let’s delve into the specifics of how (and why) northeast gas should flow to Canada, how much, and whether or not it would affect the price New Englanders ultimately have to pay for electricity…
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CONSOL Proved Reserves Jump 19%, Completed 53 Wells in 2014

Yesterday CONSOL Energy, the coal company that’s rapidly converting into a gas drilling company, issued an update to say that their proved gas reserves jumped 19% in 2014 over the same estimates in 2013. CONSOL says they now can reasonably expect to extract 6.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, of which 89% is in the Marcellus Shale. CONSOL produced 236 billion cubic feet equivalent of natural gas in 2014. They drilled and completed 53 new wells in 2014…
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Mass. Town Sues FERC to Stop Pipeline Claiming Gas is for Export

A bunch of aging New Englanders hippies have no problem whatsoever with the federal Environmental Protection Agency running roughshod all over the Constitution with its edicts that shut down coal-powered electric plants and threaten oil and gas drilling, but the same people turn around and have filed a lawsuit against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) claiming a law granting FERC the power to regulate pipelines, including pipelines that will flow oil and gas for export, is unconstitutional. That’s real chutzpah. We’ve previously written about the Deerfield, MA Town Health Board and their puffery in presuming to “ban” the Tennessee Gas Pipeline expansion through their town on the basis that some of the gas flowing through it would be exported (see Deerfield, MA Hoping Kinder Morgan Sues Them over Pipeline “Ban”). Deerfield can’t get FERC to sue them, so Deerfield has decided to sue FERC instead…
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PennFuture Does Happy Dance for Stopping Range Wells in SWPA

The anti-drilling organization PennFuture–once the employer of newly nominated Secretary of the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection, John Quigley, and the organization whose president was, until recently, Cindy Dunn, now nominated as Secretary of the PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources–is once again celebrating that shale drilling won’t happen. PennFuture has just pushed out a press release to claim credit for stopping Range Resources from drilling at a site in Washington County because the well pad would be a mile away from a school. They’re such heroes, such champs of the environment. What a positive organization serving the great good in PA (not!)…
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WV to VA Mountain Valley Pipeline Changing Routes?

Last October the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a 330-mile project that will run from Wetzel County, WV to Pittsylvania County, VA, completed a successful open season to sign up potential customers (see EQT’s WV to VA Pipeline Open Season a Success, FERC Filing in Oct). However, the map we included in the October article is changing. The current path will take it through Giles, Montgomery, Roanoke and Franklin counties before ending at the Transco pipeline in Pittsylvania County. Word is out that the pipeline has been looking in Craig County, VA, which borders Giles, as an alternative path…
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Majority of “Scientists” Oppose Fracking, According to Pew Research

A new survey out by the Pew Research Center says a majority of “scientists” have a negative view of fracking. The survey says 66% of “scientists” surveyed (that is, members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, AAAS) are against the use of fracking for oil and gas, while 31% are in favor of fracking. The same survey says 51% of American adults are against the use of fracking and 39% are in favor of it. The clear implication, the thing Pew and anti-drillers want you to take away from this, is that “scientists” are impartial and, frankly, smarter than the average person. And by gaw, if a scientist believes fracking is evil, you should too (you dope). The only problem is, what if the scientist is against fracking not because of the science, but because of a personal political/philosophical viewpoint? Is their opinion still “better” and “more worthy” and “more informed” than the average person’s?…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Wed, Feb 4, 2015

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading:
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OH Gov. Kasich Increases Proposed Severance Tax Rate by 236%

tax increaseIt now appears Ohio Gov. John Kasich (RINO), wants to completely kill Utica Shale drilling. On Monday he released his latest budget and his severance tax proposal has gone from his previously preferred rate of 2.75% to an astonishing 6.5%–a 236% increase. Yes, you read that right–it’s not a typo. Over the past several years, Kasich has squabbled with his own Republican legislature over how much of (not if) an increase there should be. The legislature proposed 2.25% as a new severance tax rate, Kasich wanted 2.75%. Eventually the legislature proposed a compromise at 2.5% (see OH Repubs Sell Out on Severance Tax, Kasich Wants Even More!). Kasich dearly wanted that extra 0.25% and held out, losing the battle. There was no increase passed. Kasich, whom we refer to as “the foreigner hunter” for his jingoistic disdain for “foreign” oil and gas workers from exotic places like Texas and Oklahoma, has just upped the ante considerably with a proposed 6.5% severance tax. Did Ohio just become Colorado and is Kasich now smoking pot?…
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WPX Finalizes Sale of NEPA Marcellus Leases/Wells to Southwestern

WPX Energy announced yesterday they have completed the sale and transfer of some 46,700 acres of leases and 63 operational Marcellus Shale wells in northeastern Pennsylvania to Southwestern Energy. MDN first told you about the $300 million deal in early December (for details and a map, see: First Shoe Drops: WPX Sells 1/2 Marcellus Assets to Southwestern). As we said at the time, that was the first shoe. We’re still waiting for the other shoe. WPX owns acreage and/or wells in Centre, Clearfield and Westmoreland counties, in southwestern PA. According to WPX spokesperson Susan Oliver-Stough, the company is actively shopping those assets too. When sold, WPX’s presence in northeast shale drilling will be done…
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EVEP Wants to Sell Interest in Utica East Ohio/More Utica Acreage

EV Energy Partners (EVEP) is a master limited partnership, or MLP, which distributes profits to “unit holders” instead of plowing profits into more projects. They like to invest in mature, already drilled wells and pipeline companies–things that act like an annuity throwing off profit with very little risk. Over the years EVEP amassed a huge amount of acreage in Ohio–before the Utica was known–mostly for conventional (vertical only) wells. However, some of that property is in prime Utica territory–so EVEP has been looking, since 2009, to sell it. They reiterated that in November (see EVEP Selling More Ohio Utica Acreage in 2015). There’s another fleeting reference to selling more Utica leases in EVEP’s fourth quarter 2014/guidance for 2015 press release issued yesterday. The “new news” (for us) in yesterday’s announcement is that EVEP plans to sell their 21% interest in Utica East Ohio–a midstream/pipeline company operating in Ohio…
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PA DEP Looks Ahead 1,000 Yrs, Changes Landfill Rules for Cuttings

In the Year 2525Citing concerns over radon, the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection “quietly” change the rules on Marcellus drillers near the end of last year with respect to disposing of shale cuttings at landfills. Starting on Jan. 1 of this year, landfills must move to a monthly, instead of annual, limit on how much “radioactive waste” they accept from drillers in the form of cuttings (leftover rock and dirt). The new standard is calculated so that a person living 1,000 years from now in a house built on the landfill would not be exposed to levels of radiation over what is considered safe today. Nice to know the DEP is always thinking ahead, a thousand years…
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Peters Twp, PA Pretends to Debate Ordinance to Allow Drilling

PretendersPeters Township, in Washington County, PA, continues to “struggle” with whether or not they will allow Marcellus Shale drilling within their borders. Peters, you may recall, is one of the seven selfish towns that sued the state over the zoning provisions in the Act 13 law, eventually winning at the PA Supreme Court level (see PA Supreme Court Rules Against State/Drillers in Act 13 Case). That “victory” has proven to be a disaster in more ways than one. The court decision does, however, require municipalities with districts zoned industrial to allow drilling, albeit those municipalities have plenty of options to continue stopping it by road use restrictions, etc. It seemed like Peters had finally come to grips and was looking for ways to allow shale drilling (see Peters Twp, PA Once Sued to Stop Act 13, Now Considers Drilling). However, recent comments by town leaders and an email from an MDN reader indicate Peters remains as hardened against drilling as ever…
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