DC Court to Rehear Atlantic Sunrise Pipe Eminent Domain Decision

Lawsuit aims to castrate FERC

Here we go again. In August a three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) had the right to approve Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project, including the right to use eminent domain to build it before details are finalized over compensation to landowners (see DC Court Upholds FERC Authority in Approving Atlantic Sunrise Pipe). The Sierra Club and other Big Green groups, with endless mountains of money from people like Mike Bloomberg and Tom Steyer, kept pushing and finally convinced the entire DC Circuit (all of the judges, call “en banc”) to rehear and reconsider the case already decided by three of their number.
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Equitrans Cancels Trinity Energy Contract re Mountain Valley Pipe

Last week Equitrans subsidiary EQM Midstream Partners (formerly EQT Midstream) canceled a contract with Texas-based Trinity Energy to build portions of the now-stalled Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project. You may recall that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) stopped all new construction on MVP in October, until a new U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permit that passes muster with the courts can be issued (see FERC Shuts Down All Mountain Valley Pipeline Construction). We’re not sure what Trinity was doing in the meantime with a shutdown of construction in place, but Trinity reps expressed surprise that their MVP contract has now been canceled.
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Slowdown in Texas Permian Will Benefit Marcellus/Utica

U.S. shale regions (click for larger version)

Yesterday was the final day of the Hart Energy Marcellus-Utica Midstream Conference being held in Pittsburgh. While the first day’s sessions had “a somewhat downbeat tone” (see M-U Drillers Tell Pipeline Companies to Lower Fees, or Else), the second day’s sessions were more optimistic–especially with respect to our region’s prospects to ship natural gas and NGLs to other regions.
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2 Dozen Antis Protest at Weymouth Compressor Site – 4 Arrested

Weymouth protesters block entrance to compressor site (Credit: Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Earlier this week MDN told you the great news that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has green lighted construction of a compressor station in Weymouth, Mass., and that Enbridge (the builder) said they will begin construction any day now (see Stop Press! Enbridge to Begin Construction on Weymouth Compressor). Indeed, crews are at the site getting things ready, and that brought out “more than two dozen” (according to a CBS report) anti-fossil fuel protesters. Some of the protesters couldn’t help themselves and tripped over into committing a crime by blocking the entrance to the facility so crews could not come and go with equipment. Typical.
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IEEFA Report Says Marcellus/Utica Drillers in Financial Trouble

Masquerading as a nonpartisan, independent nonprofit, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) reportedly “conducts research and analyses on financial and economic issues related to energy and the environment.” The Institute’s stated mission is “to accelerate the transition to a diverse, sustainable and profitable energy economy.” In other words, they’re anti-fossil fuels. We spotted an article appearing on OilPrice.com that quotes a new “study” issued by IEEFA. The article opens by saying, “drillers in Appalachia are in particularly bad shape.” Is it true? Is the end near? Is it a shalepocalypse?
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U.S. Exports More Oil than Imports for First Time in Half Century

Our favorite government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, brings us news that (so far) the lamestream press refuses to share. In September the United States exported 89,000 barrels per day (b/d) more petroleum (crude oil and petroleum products) than it imported. That’s the first month this has happened since monthly records began in 1973! The first time in recorded history! But not a peep from the press or their Big Green overlords. This is ALL due to the miracle of shale drilling.
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Shale Energy Stories of Interest: Fri, Dec 6, 2019

MARCELLUS/UTICA REGION: Future of oil and gas in Ohio Valley looks bright; NATIONAL: Analysis: US oil, gas rig count falls by 4 to 691, Permian totals slide; N. American shale primed for growth despite possible oil price declines; Gas lobby group goes on attack to halt move to ban new hook-ups; Natural gas outpaced renewable energy in reducing greenhouse gases; Moore’s Law misapplied (video); INTERNATIONAL: As Lopez Obrador focuses on oil, U.S. natural gas exports to Mexico soar; Europe was favored destination for US LNG in November amid activity ramp-up.
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Chesapeake Arranges $1.5B Loan to Pay Off Old Debt, Stock Soars

In an impressive feat of financial jiu-jitsu, Chesapeake Energy has just snapped closed the mouths of those who said the company was imminently heading for bankruptcy following the company’s third quarter update (see Chesapeake Energy 3Q – Slash Drilling 30%, Bankruptcy Possible). Yesterday Chessy issued three press releases to announce it has swapped out some of its old debt for 70 cents on the dollar, and has arranged a 4 1/2 year loan for $1.5 billion. Chesapeake stock soared 17% higher on the news.
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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine Meets with PTT re Cracker – Still No FID

PTT Ohio cracker site (click for larger version)

Near the end the year for the past 3-4 years we inevitably hear that PTT Global Chemical will not, as promised or implied, make a final investment decision (FID) about building a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker in Belmont County, Ohio, but that the FID will instead happen “next year.” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (RINO) met with PTT representatives yesterday to discuss the project. No announcements. No new promises. No FID announced. Another disappointment (cue George Michael song “Last Christmas”).
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M-U Drillers Tell Pipeline Companies to Lower Fees, or Else

Today wraps up the Hart Energy Marcellus-Utica Midstream Conference being held in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately MDN editor Jim Willis could not attend this year. But Pittsburgh Business Times‘ ace reporter Paul Gough did attend, and he’s reporting some interesting comments at yesterday’s sessions. Pipeline companies offered frank and sobering comments. Times are not good for Marcellus/Utica drillers right now due to low low prices, and that translates into times being not good for pipeline companies too. But, “we’ve been here before” said one speaker, and better days are ahead…when prices once again increase.
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Gov’t & Atlantic Coast Pipe File Briefs with U.S. Supreme Court

Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) previously filed a request with the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit that judicially creates a new law stipulating pipelines can’t cross under the Appalachian Trail without (no kidding) an Act of Congress. The Supremes get 8,000 such requests each year, and accept maybe 80 (or 1%). Lightning struck. The ACP case was accepted by the Supremes in October (see U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Atlantic Coast Pipeline Case). Briefs by ACP and the Trump administration were filed on Monday.
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Rover, NEXUS NatGas Exports to Canada Currently “Maxed Out”

For some time we’ve been concerned about competition for Marcellus/Utica gas coming from western Canada being piped to Canada’s East Coast (see TC Energy Plan to Move Western Canadian Gas to East Coast Approved). TC Energy’s (formerly TransCanada) plan to haul gas over 1,000 miles across the continent at steeply discounted rates seemed like it was working (see TC Energy Cuts Rates 3rd Time to Sell W. Canada Gas to New England). Maybe we worried for nothing. S&P Global Platts is reporting Canada’s net imports of U.S. gas at the Dawn Hub have surged.
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PA DEP Targeting NatGas Storage Operators Using Act 13 Law

In October MDN reported that Equitrans (formerly EQT Midstream) had settled an outstanding issue with the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) over the company’s failure to produce a “verified statement” that proves they have turned over every rock and branch looking for old conventional wells that are not mapped in a natural gas storage field in Greene County, PA (see PA DEP Fines Equitrans $650K for SWPA Gas Storage Field Violation). According to law firm Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, gas storage is “no longer under the radar” in PA.
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FirstEnergy Loses OH Supreme Court Case to Block Referendum

The mafiosi at FirstEnergy lost their lawsuit filed with the Ohio Supreme Court in a bid to block a referendum aimed at giving all Ohio residents the right to vote to overturn an ill-conceived corporate welfare law passed that puts $1 billion into FirstEnergy’s pocket in order to keep two failing nuclear power plants open. Although they lost the case, FirstEnergy claims the Supreme Court decision is a “victory” for their attempt to keep their grubby hands on taxpayer’s money. How does that work?
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Shale Energy Stories of Interest: Thu, Dec 5, 2019

MARCELLUS/UTICA REGION: PA EQB to consider regulations controlling methane emissions from existing oil & gas operations; Cracker plant workers, companies donate $40K to local charities; Center Township food pantry receives donation from pipeline company; Families to receive Toys for Tots; OTHER U.S. REGIONS: ExxonMobil moves Massachusetts AG’s “political” lawsuit to federal court; Rev. Jesse Jackson, activists push for natural gas pipeline to Pembroke Township; Colorado city extends moratorium on drilling permits; NATIONAL: Hedge funds pile into petroleum on rosier economic outlook; INTERNATIONAL: The world’s top 10 carbon dioxide emitters.
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