WV Class Action Against EQT re Royalty Deductions Heads to Court

It’s been five years in the making, but finally a class action lawsuit that began in 2013, on behalf of 10,000 West Virginia landowners and royalty rights owners against EQT’s practice of deducting post-production expenses from royalty payments, will finally get its day in court in two weeks. That’s what we learn from an extended article published by ProPublica and the Charleston Gazette-Mail on the topic of WV drillers and their practice of “whittling away payments” from rights owners. Just over a month ago MDN told you about an elderly WV couple who won their private lawsuit against EQT on the same matter (see EQT Loses Post-Production Deduction Lawsuit to WV Couple). Based on the outcome of that lawsuit, EQT should be a tad nervous about this class action proceeding to trial.
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It’s Here! EQT Midstream Division Now Split into Standalone Co.

As of today, EQT Midstream, a division of EQT (the driller), is no more. In its place is Equitrans Midstream Corporation–a completely new, standalone company that is no longer tied to, nor a part of, EQT. The changeover happened at 11:59 pm Eastern time last night. Today is the first full day of a new era for EQT and its former midstream division. Thomas F. Karam is president and chief executive officer of the new Equitrans Midstream. What led to the split between EQT (the driller) and EQT (the midstream company)? We’ll explain.
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Chesapeake Signs Frac Sand Deal with Hi-Crush for Marcellus

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Hi-Crush Partners announced yesterday they’ve gotten Chesapeake Energy to sign a new, long-term frac sand supply agreement to buy Northern White frac sand to support Chessy’s completions program in the Marcellus (in Pennsylvania) and Powder River Basin (in Wyoming). Northern White sand comes from mines in Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota. But sand is sand, right? Why schlep sand all the way from Wisconsin (via rail) to Pennsylvania? Because sand is *not* just sand. Northern White has special properties that make it superior for fracking.
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NJ Antis Rally Against Williams NE Supply Enhancement Compressor

Stop compressor station rally in NJ

The Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) is a Williams Transco Pipeline project meant to increase pipeline capacity and flows heading into northeastern markets (see Time to Support Transco’s Northeast Supply Enhancement Project). There are a number of components to NESE, but the key component, the heart of the project, is a new 23-mile pipeline from the shore of New Jersey into (on the bottom of) the Raritan Bay–running parallel to the existing Transco pipeline–before connecting to the Transco pipeline offshore. Williams wants to build a compressor station on the Jersey side to help push the gas through. Antis rallied yesterday just prior to a NJ DEP public hearing on the project, to express their opposition to the Franklin Township (Somerset County) compressor station.
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Update on ACP, MVP Projects – Will Delays Affect Gas Markets?

We’ve covered, it seems endlessly, news about two important new pipeline projects coming in the Marcellus. One is EQT Midstream’s (now Equitrans Midstream) Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), a 303-mile pipe from West Virginia to southern Virginia. The other is Dominion Energy’s 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina. MVP will, when it’s done, carry 2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas to southern markets, and ACP will carry 1.5 Bcf/d. Both pipelines chart a similar path south. And both pipelines are now stalled, dogged by frivolous lawsuits filed by so-called environmental groups. Both have announced delays for their final completion dates. Our friends at RBN Energy look in detail at both projects, and what a delay may mean for drillers in the Marcellus/Utica. Are more pipeline constraints on the way in our region?
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Game On: NFG Accepts US EPA “Methane Challenge”

We’re not much of a fan of the federal Environmental Protection Agency–especially the agency under the jackboots of the Obamadroids. The Obama years saw egregious abuses and wild new regulations that tried to stamp out the fossil fuel industry. In March 2016, we told you about a new “voluntary” program set up by the Obama EPA called the Natural Gas STAR Methane Challenge Program (see Dominion & NiSource Bow Down to Lord Obama, Worship the EPA). The program is aimed at trying to reduce the amount of so-called fugitive methane escaping into the atmosphere from oil and gas sources (never mind far more methane escapes into the atmosphere from the agriculture industry than oil and gas, such facts just get in the way of partisan politics). We’re still not sure we like the program, but it has (at least for now) remained voluntary. NFG, National Fuel Gas Company, with all five of its subsidiary companies, has just signed on to the program–to prove their dedication as good stewards of environmental resources.
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IEA WEO 2018: US Will Provide Half of World O&G Growth by 2025

Each year the International Energy Agency (IEA) issues a special World Energy Outlook report. The 2018 edition was released earlier today. A couple of quick facts/findings from the report: (1) The United States is on track to produce half of the growth for the world’s output of oil and gas by the year 2025–just seven short years away. Incredible! The reason is, of course, the miracle of shale fracking. (2) China will surpass the entire European Union to become the world’s largest buyer of natural gas by 2040. (3) There will be a sharp tightening of oil markets in the 2020s. (4) There is no single solution to turn emissions around: renewables, efficiency & a host of innovative technologies are all required.
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Energy Stories of Interest: Tue, Nov 13, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: Syracuse’s BlueRock Energy sells big chunk of its business; LNG tanker docks at Cheniere’s Corpus Christi plant as 1st shipment nears; The pre-winter rapid rise in U.S. natural gas prices; The new bear market in oil; Big Data adds up to big savings for upstream players; Toshiba exiting U.S. LNG to focus on core businesses; Ahead of Trump-Xi meeting, record-setting oil exports to China at zero for 2nd month.
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Anti Group Loses Penn Twp Frack Ban Case in PA Commonwealth Court

The last time we checked in (June) on a brewing frack ban in Penn Township (Westmoreland County), PA, a challenge to a local ordinance which allows Apex Energy and Huntley & Huntley to drill and operate wells rested with a county judge. Things have since rapidly progressed. We’re guessing the local judge ruled in favor of allowing the wells to be drilled because the case was appealed to PA Commonwealth Court. Late last week the judges in Commonwealth Court issued a ruling in favor of Penn Township’s “special exception” permits awarded to Apex Energy, allowing them to drill shale wells.
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Eversource Gives Up on New England Pipe, Blames Boston Tragedy

Utility giant Eversource (formerly Northeast Utilities), one of the companies backing the Access Northeast pipeline project, is calling it quits on the project. At least for the foreseeable future. Access Northeast, a proposed ~$3 billion project, would connect four different pipeline systems: Texas Eastern, Algonquin Gas Transmission, Iroquois and Maritimes & Northeast. Eversource desperately needs the gas that would flow through the connected system, but after the Columbia Gas tragedy near Boston in September (see Local NatGas Pipes Explode Near Boston Killing 1, Injuring 25), Eversource says completing the Access Northeast project is unlikely, due to public opposition. So the bean counters inside Eversource have written off the company’s $33 million stake in the project, reckoning its worthless.
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Marcellus LNG Export Plant in NEPA Will Generate Lots of Traffic

Last week MDN brought you the exciting news that New Fortress Energy is planning to build an LNG (liquefied natural gas) liquefaction plant in Wyalusing (Bradford County), PA (see Big News! Marcellus LNG Export Plant Coming to Landlocked NEPA). The $800 million plant will supercool and liquefy locally extracted Marcellus Shale gas and ship it first by truck, eventually by rail, to “customers in the U.S. as well as abroad.” The plant received initial blessing from the Wyalusing Town Planning Commission last week. But not all is butterflies and unicorns. At a planning commission meeting, a New Fortress Energy official revealed that the plant will generate 10-15 tractor trailer trips per hour–24/7/365. That’s a truck turning in to the facility once every 4-6 minutes–call it an average of one every 5 minutes.
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Philly Antis Furious that ME2 Pipe Going Online by Christmas

Last week MDN picked up on news shared by top management for Energy Transfer that their long-delayed Mariner East 2 pipeline system will be up and running by the end of the year (see Energy Transfer 3Q18: Mariner East 2 Pipeline Online by Christmas). In order to get the full pipeline running, they’ve had to patch together substitute pipelines in a few areas where construction of the final pipeline is stalled due to problems like sinkholes. Antis have now picked up on the fact that ME2 will be live “by Christmas” and are furiously crying foul–that they couldn’t stop the project. They claim the “patchwork” of substitute pipelines will be dangerous and unsafe. Their complaints amount to a lot of spitting and sputtering.
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NY Antis Prefer Burning Coal to NatGas at Ithaca Power Plant

The battle continues to rage in the lib Dem socialist utopia of Ithaca (Tompkins County), NY over a plan to convert a local coal-fired electric generating plant to use much better-for-the-environment and far-less-polluting natural gas. Yet local antis, who irrationally (and we mean clinically insane) hate fossil fuels, continue to object and preen themselves at county board meetings to object to converting the plant. They object to the conversion because natural gas is a “fossil fuel”–the modern form of eeeeevil in their eyes. And so (once again, demonstrating clinical insanity), they prefer to keep the plant burning coal. The plant will have to burn something. We don’t see any of these same antis volunteering to unhook themselves from the electric grid. The electricity flowing to their homes needs to get generated somehow, and it sure ain’t renewables doing it.
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Study: Marcellus Drilling Doesn’t Affect Brook Trout All That Much

Trout Unlimited (TU), previously outed as an anti-fracking organization (see Trout Unlimited, Other Groups Outed as Radical Green Groups), is promoting a research study recently authored by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) titled “Brook trout distributional response to unconventional oil and gas development: Landscape context matters” (full copy below). TU believes the study offers proof that fracking hurts brook trout. We scanned the study and came to the opposite conclusion. Using a count of the number of certain kinds of trees in a given habitat as a proxy for how well trout will do, or not do, the study concludes that there is some minor degradation in brook trout habitat when drilling comes to town. But only in places where the habitat had already been damaged by other non-drilling activities.
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Energy Stories of Interest: Mon, Nov 12, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: Philadelphia Bar Assn pushes lawyers to become radicalized on global warming; Eight permits issued in Ohio’s Utica shale; Using Marcellus gas in area becomes a priority; Pennsylvania Auditor General gives DRBC a whitewash; The fractivist trail of hypocrisy and double standards; DOE names well-known WVU professor to lead NETL; IPSCO Tubulars opens coating facility in Wilder, Kentucky; Utility to provide Thanksgiving to victims of gas disaster; The never-ending saga of the Keystone Pipeline; NJ nutjobs go on 14-day fast to protest global warming; Natural gas prices are jumping today, and this move could continue; Millennials, oil and gas and the “energy transition”; China passes Japan to become world’s largest natural gas importer; Saudi Aramco ‘on way to becoming gas powerhouse’; Oil is oversold.
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