WVONGA Makes Plans to Push Forced Pooling Lite in 2018

The West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association (WVONGA) plans to push, once again, for what MDN calls forced pooling lite in the next session of the legislature scheduled for early 2018. Forced pooling legislation in West Virginia has been put forward five times in the past seven years–and each time it has failed to win enough votes in the WV legislature. This year, WVONGA changed tactics and renamed forced pooling as co-tenancy and joint development (see WV Won’t Push Forced Pooling, Will Push Joint Dev. & Co-Tenancy). Co-tenancy says a majority of rights owners can vote to accept a lease for drilling. It corrects a situation in which multiple rights owners are listed for a property–and sometimes (often?) it’s difficult to track them all down and get them to sign on the dotted line. Joint development is a bit more nuanced. Currently there are a number of existing old leases, signed before shale drilling began, that prevents drillers from drilling a horizontal well across an individual property boundary line, until a new lease is signed. Joint development says if the driller already owns the leases on all adjoining properties they want to combine into a drilling unit, they can do so without signing a new lease. WVONGA says it corrects a loophole that prevents more drilling from happening. Rights owners say joint development legislation lets drillers have a freebie–instead of signing a new lease (for more money), the driller gets something never envisioned when the original lease was signed. WVONGA came close this year to getting co-tenancy and joint development passed–Senate Bill 576 (see WVONGA Delivers ~1,000 at Rally to Support Co-Tenancy, Joint Dev.). However, like other forced pooling bills before it, SB 576 didn’t get passed. So WVONGA has signaled it will push once again next year, this time renaming (euphemizing) forced pooling lite as “mineral efficiency”…
Continue reading

More Evidence PA House Repubs Beginning to Cave on Severance Tax

We continue to read articles about the ongoing effort by Pennsylvania Democrats and some squishy Republicans to slap a severance tax on top of an existing impact tax on natural gas drilling in the Keystone State. As we pointed out yesterday, Philadelphia teacher’s unions are in the forefront of a plan to grab money from drillers and funnel it into the pockets of their members (see Drumbeat Continues: Tax PA Shale & Give Money to Teacher’s Unions). The PA Senate cooked up a horrible plan to implement a “modest” severance tax, along with a gross receipts tax that will tax natural gas again, at the consumer level (see Traitorous PA Senate Republicans Pass Severance Tax Bill). The PA House has stood firm, thus far, against the plan. But then we read PA House Majority Leader Dave Reed is beginning to cave (see PA House Beginning to Cave on Severance Tax? Maybe…). We’re now reading about other members, people we long thought solid, like Rep. Garth Everett (Lycoming County) who now says “The new tax on drilling remains an option.” REALLY disappointing, Rep. Everett. The way the conversation is now going, the House doesn’t have the stomach to slap a gross receipts tax (GRT) on natural gas, phones and electric–but they are A.OK with a severance tax. Since the GRT, under the traitorous Senate Republican plan, is supposed to provide around $400 million in revenue and the severance tax $100 million, what happens without the GRT? Will House Republicans ratchet up the severance tax even more? It’s rapidly turning into a mess. Below is the latest chatter we’ve found, along with a new letter from the Marcellus Shale Coalition to the House leadership warning of the precarious situation a new severance tax will create for future job and economic growth in PA…
Continue reading

Big Green Groups Stage Walkout at PA DEP Atlantic Sunrise Hearing

Last night the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) held one final public hearing for the Williams Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project–in Lancaster. As we previously reported, anti-fossil fuel nutters planned to gather prior to the meeting so they could choreograph a “walkout” of the meeting, as a form of protest (see PA DEP to Hold Final Atlantic Sunrise Hearing, Antis Plan Walkout). Indeed that is just what happened. A group of petulant babies got up during the meeting, theatrically put on surgical masks, and walked out. They then held their own meeting outside, to regurgitate the same lies and smears they’ve been spreading for months. Meanwhile, inside the meeting, the adults who remained spoke up about legitimate concerns with the project, which is why the meeting was held in the first place…
Continue reading

EIA Makes Big Changes to Monthly Drilling Report, Combines M-U

MDN’s favorite government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), has just made big changes to our favorite monthly report–the Drilling Productivity Report (DPR). The DPR is the EIA’s best guess, based on expert data crunchers, as to how much each of the U.S.’s seven major shale plays will produce for both oil and natural gas in the coming month. Until now, the EIA has always treated the Marcellus (primarily drilling in PA and WV) and the Utica (primarily in OH) as two separate shale plays. Beginning with this month’s report, they are combined into “Appalachia.” The stated reason for the change: “With the increasing number of wells in Pennsylvania being drilled into the Utica formation and some wells in Ohio producing from the Marcellus shale, the previous regional definitions based on surface boundaries are becoming less meaningful, especially where the two plays overlap. Furthermore, combining the relatively small number of active rigs across the broader Appalachia region should improve the precision of our productivity estimates.” That’s not the only big change. EIA also added a new shale play to the list–the Anadarko Basin (found mostly in Oklahoma, with a few counties in Texas). Because of the addition of the Anadarko, natural gas production is predicted to jump from last month’s predicted 52 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) for August, to a whopping projected 59 Bcf/d in September. The newly combined Marcellus/Utica is projected to go from 24.3 Bcf/d in August to 24.6 Bcf/d in September, up 350 million cubic feet per day. Yikes! Combining the two regions really puts it in a different light…
Continue reading

Perverse Corporate Raider Calls EQT Plan to Buy Rice “Perverse”

Barry Rosenstein – JANA Partners

Corporate raiders buy just enough shares of stock in a company so they can put one or two members on the board of directors and control the company. Once a raider gains control, he fires a bunch of people, sells a bunch of assets, declares the company “healthier” and the stock price goes up. Once the stock price jumps, the raider then sells his shares at a profit and moves on to the next victim. That’s how disgusting, PERVERSE corporate raiders work. So imagine our outrage at reading comments by corporate raider Barry Rosenstein, of JANA Partners, who is trying to stop the merger/buyout of Rice Energy by EQT. Rosenstein calls the deal “perverse,” nothing more than a way for corporate executives to boost their own salaries. Kind of like the pot calling the kettle black, don’t you think?…
Continue reading

Update on MarkWest Processing Plant Proposal for Smith Twp

MarkWest facilities – click for larger version

The MarkWest Harmon Creek Complex planned for Washington County, PA continues to make progress. Last fall NGI’s Shale Daily reported that MarkWest planned to build a new processing plant to process natural gas for Range Resources (see MarkWest Building New Processing Plant in Washington County, PA). But following the initial announcement, all went quiet and the project went on “indefinite hold.” In May of this year, the project restarted when MarkWest officials attended a Smith Township planning commission meeting (the town where it will get built) to discuss the project (see MarkWest’s Washington, PA Processing Plant Plans Reactivated). According to MarkWest, plans call for initially building one cryogenic plant and one de-ethanizer. Eventually MarkWest wants to build four cryogenic plants and two de-ethanizers at the Harmon Creek Complex. MarkWest reps were back before Smith Township supervisors on August 2nd to discuss more about their plans. The town must grant a “conditional use” permit before the project can get built. Before that happens, the town wants certain things in writing…
Continue reading

Michigan County Tells FERC NEXUS Won’t Clean Up After Itself

The Washtenaw County (Michigan) Road Commission has written a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), requesting FERC deny a certificate to build the NEXUS Pipeline because (they claim) NEXUS has bullied them. It seems the Road Commission has been working with NEXUS over the past year to prepare for the pipeline. The Road Commission wants NEXUS to jump through all sorts of hoops, do handstands, backflips, and in general, dance to the Road Commission’s tune. And because NEXUS isn’t willing to bend all the over backwards, the Road Commission is miffed. The Road Commission is the lord of their domain, and no outsider is going to do anything without their permission. So the Road Commission has run to mommy (FERC) and started bawling that NEXUS are meanies and they won’t pick up after themselves and they’re just BULLIES. So FERC should just go ahead and shut the whole $2 billion, 255-mile interstate pipeline project down (that will run from Ohio through Michigan)–because of one whiny Road Commission in one county…
Continue reading

Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Tue, Aug 15, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Appalachinan Basin provides economic boost to northeastern US; Delaware Riverkeeper blithely ignores the rules; Monroe County, OH Chamber preps for economic growth from o&g; pipelines and coal mines intersect under Hare Krishna shrines in WV; update on Sabine Pass LNG exports; the myth of natgas as a bridging fuel; Chesapeake stocks down 41% this year; Mexico becoming biggest export market for US energy; Cheniere opens office in China to attract more LNG deals; China expanding shale drilling; and more!
Continue reading

Signs of Life in Lawrence County, PA NatGas-Fired Electric Plant

A Marcellus gas-fired electric plant planned for Lawrence County, PA, which had been dead, has roared back to life and now looks like it will get built. In February 2013 MDN first told you about a plan by LS Power Development to build Hickory Run Energy–a $750 million electric generating plant at a former manufacturing site along the Mahoning River in North Beaver, PA (see NW PA Town Approves Site for Marcellus-powered Electric Plant). The 900-megawatt plant, when built, would be powered by Marcellus Shale natural gas. A couple of months after the initial announcement, there was some early opposition to the plant (see Supporters, Detractors Meet on Proposed NatGas Power Plant in PA ). The original plans called for Hickory Run to be online and operating sometime in 2016. That never happened. It was at that point the story went cold for us. What we didn’t realize was that the project got sold by LS Power to a subsidiary of Japan’s second largest corporation. In June 2016, Tyr Energy, a subsidiary of ITOCHU Corporation, announced they had purchased the project and that they hoped to have financing and paperwork done by June of this year to begin construction this fall. We don’t know if that schedule still holds, but we do know that South Korea’s KB Asset Management just announced they are investing $150 million in the project–a sure sign that the pieces are now coming together for construction to begin on the Hickory Run Energy plant…
Continue reading

PennEast Pipeline Asks FERC for Expedited Final Approval

Jeff Tittel, the head of the New Jersey Sierra Club, last week called President Trump a “fossil fool in the White House” and panned Trump for doing his Constitutional duty in appointing new members to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Tittel’s latest titillation came in response to PennEast Pipeline sending a letter to FERC last Thursday requesting the agency move forward posthaste with granting the project a final certificate to proceed to construction–something that terrifies Tittel and his sidekick, THE Delaware Riverkeeper, Maya van Rossum. Tittel and van Rossum have staked their reputations and the reputations of their anti-fossil fuel groups on stopping PennEast. So once the bulldozers fire up and begin digging trenches, it’s all over for them. They might actually have to find real jobs. Below is PennEast’s request to FERC along with the instantaneous (and paranoid) reaction from several Big Green radical groups….
Continue reading

Monroeville, PA Close to Passing Restrictive Seismic Testing Ord.

Monroeville, PA (suburb of Pittsburgh) is making moves to restrict seismic testing within municipal boundaries–a move meant to restrict future shale well drilling in the area by Huntley & Huntley. In a July story, MDN brought you the news that Cougar Land Services, a subcontractor working with Huntley & Huntley, is planning to conduct seismic testing in two rural areas of the municipality, including “small portions” of Monroeville’s northernmost and southernmost tips (see H&H: Seismic Testing Coming to Monroeville, Not to Oakmont). Monroeville Council recently voted to publish a draft of its new seismic testing ordinance for 30 days of public comment, which means they intend to adopt it following that period. The restrictions are meant to hassle anyone wanting to conduct seismic testing, i.e. Huntley & Huntley. Which is kind of sad, as H&H is headquartered in Monroeville. Kind of like spitting in the company’s face. Perhaps H&H should consider moving? At any rate, H&H says they are reviewing the ordinance now and if it “is outside the state parameters,” H&H will litigate…
Continue reading

Making a Strong Case for NG’s Virtual Pipeline Near Binghamton

Somewhat surprising for our local Gannett outlet here in Binghamton (the Press & Sun-Bulletin), but on Sunday the newspaper published two opinion pieces that make a very strong case FOR building a natural gas transfer station (i.e. virtual pipeline) in the Town of Fenton, on the outskirts of Binghamton, by NG Advantage. One of the editorials was written by a resident who lives in the community where the station will get built. The arguments are compelling and destroy the NIMBYism and hysterics of local residents opposed to the project. The other editorial is from the fire chief and emergency management director from a community in New Hampshire that has two facilities to decompress gas delivered by NG Advantage. He speaks about the safety of the trucks and the gas carried on them. Bottom line: This facility is safe, the trucks hauling the gas are safe, and it’s good for the economy. There’s absolutely no reason why it should not get built in Fenton (near Binghamton)…
Continue reading

PA’s Regulatory Mess Slows Marcellus Drilling – Time to Fix It

Since Tom Wolf assumed office as governor of Pennsylvania in January 2015, the state Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) has been in a downward spiral when it comes to the speed with which they approve permits for the Marcellus Shale industry. The DEP has a policy of issuing erosion and sedimentation permits 14 days from the date of application. These types of permits are common and necessary when building roads, well pads, etc. Lately it has taken the DEP 250 days to issue those permits! Permits related to drilling wells are supposed to take no more than 45 days. Those permits now average 93 days. The DEP is hopelessly backlogged–and it’s getting worse. When PA’s traitorous Republican Senate sold out and signed on to a Marcellus Shale severance tax back in July, the Senate also approved (as part of the budget bill) fixes to speed up the permitting process (see PA Senate’s “Olive Branch” of “Relaxed Regulations” for Drillers). Since DEP can’t seem to fix its own mess, the Senate is willing to “lend a hand” to help them get it done. Kathryn Klaber, former president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition and now CEO of The Klaber Group, writes about the necessary revisions to PA (and the country’s) regulatory mess. She makes the point loud and clear that tweaking regulations is not an attack on the environment, as radicals seek to spin it…
Continue reading

Drumbeat Continues: Tax PA Shale & Give Money to Teacher’s Unions

The steady, daily drumbeat coming from mainstream (i.e. fake) news outlets in Pennsylvania is that the PA House of Representatives is sitting on its hands, dithering, not doing anything about the so-called budget crisis. The fix is, of course, for the House to accept and pass the ludicrous plan from traitorous Senate Republicans that will tax natural gas a total of four times, with four separate taxes (see PA Business Roars Disapproval of Senate’s Plan to Tax Energy 4X). As we have pointed out, for years, PA Gov. Tom Wolf wants to slap a severance tax on top of an impact tax on Marcellus gas as a way of raising money to give to teacher’s unions (i.e. “education”). We’ve shouted this until we are hoarse, yet no one seems to notice that Wolf is attempting political payback by penalizing one industry in favor of another. From time to time we revisit the topic, using mainstream media’s own words against them–to indict them. Here’s yet another example. So-called Rev. Gregory Holston (from Philadelphia) in addressing a rally attempted to make the case that not adopting a Marcellus gas tax is tantamount to racism–because educational funding in PA is “unfair” and the state doesn’t spend enough on minorities in places like Philly. Standing right next to the “Reverend” at the rally was the president of the Philadelphia Teacher’s Union who said, “we are more than happy to lead the charge for a shale tax.” Do you need any more proof to believe our statement that the severance tax is nothing more than a way to funnel money to teacher’s unions?…
Continue reading

FERC Open Meetings Restart on Sept 20, Some Votes Coming Sooner

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) sent an important signal last week: the agency is open for business and they won’t wait until the first public meeting (Sept. 20th) to begin voting on important pipeline projects. That’s our take after reading a notice posted by FERC, and after reading statements made by a FERC spokesperson. Which is good news for the many pipeline projects currently in limbo. A quorum of voting members was reestablished last week when both Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson were sworn in (see FERC Quorum Restored; New Chairman; List of Stalled Pipe Projects). There are now three (of five) commissioners appointed and working–enough to cast votes on important/big/”controversial” pipeline projects. Typically such votes are cast in an open and public meeting, held monthly. The next such meeting will be held Sept. 20th, according to a FERC announcement. However, the same announcement hints that voting will go on now, ahead of the public meeting, and projects can (likely will) get approved now, ahead of the monthly public meeting…
Continue reading

The Shocking Ignorance of Anti-Fossil Fuel Protesters

Every now again we go on a rant about the hypocrisy, indeed the stupidity, of those who claim we can just stop using fossil fuels altogether–now–and switch to so-called renewables. If we only had the political will. According to the fantasizers, solar and wind and hydro and other non-fossil fuel sources could eliminate the need for fossil fuels. But what they fail to understand or grasp or admit (or perhaps all three), is that without fossil fuels they would not have clothes, houses, cell phones, vehicles for transportation and a host of other modern conveniences. Frankly, without fossil fuel extraction, we would immediately be plunged back into the Stone Ages–with cruel, very short, lifespans. Antis fail to recognize the key role fossil fuels play in our everyday lives. Our ongoing prediction, which will be proved long after we’ve exited this world, is that fossil fuels are here for at least the next 100 years. We spotted a local letter to the editor from a numskull spouting this “fossil fuels will kill us all” meme, and on the same day, an article by the always-excellent David Blackmon, writing for Forbes, which outlines many of the ways life would change without fossil fuels. Together these two pieces show the stark contrast between those who think, and those who don’t…
Continue reading

« Older Entries   Recent Entries »

Password Reset
Please enter your e-mail address. You will receive a new password via e-mail.