eCORP International and the Tioga County (NY) Landowners Group, also known as Southern Tier Energy Partners (STEP), released details of their new deal to lease 135,000 acres in Tioga County, NY with an eye to using LPG waterless fracking (press release below). It is an interesting deal—not at all typical of the usual leases between drillers and landowners. Perhaps it’s the way of the future in a low commodity gas price environment?
Here’s the low down: eCORP and STEP crafted a deal that makes landowners majority owners of shell companies that control the land. That is, the landowners will become “drillers,” or rather silent partners with the main driller, eCORP—but partners nonetheless, and they collectively will be majority partners, with eCORP a minority partner. eCORP and STEP are tying the knot and getting married—for this deal.
The plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed last week seeking to overturn PA’s newly adopted Act 13 law that overrides local municipal zoning ordinances of the oil and gas industry, filed a motion yesterday asking the court for an injunction to prevent the new law from going into effect on April 14.
Pittsburgh City Council, long-time opponents of the Marcellus Shale drilling industry, passed a resolution called a “Will of Council” yesterday supporting the lawsuit filed by seven municipalities, the Delaware Riverkeepers and others against the State of Pennsylvania’s newly adopted Act 13 law. The Act 13 law replaces local zoning ordinances with a state ordinance when it comes to oil and gas drilling (see this MDN article about the lawsuit). Council President Darlene Harris sponsored the measure and all nine city council members signed it. A full copy of the resolution and a letter signed by all council members is embedded below.
Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar recently said that his agency is working on new regulations that will lower the risk of water supplies becoming tainted from hydraulic fracturing operations. Whatever that means. Sec. Salazar was touring a “man camp” housing settlement in the Bakken Shale area of North Dakota on Monday and during a back and forth with the press had this to say on the topic of hydraulic fracturing:
A website MDN has previously highlighted, FrackTrack.org, has published an interactive map that helps Pennsylvania residents track whether or not their county and local municipality has voted to accept the recently passed impact fee law (screen shot below). The map includes a clock counting down to the final deadline. The first deadline under the new law is for counties, which was 60 days from when the measure passed. The second deadline is for municipalities, which is 60 days after that. Combining the two you get 120 days total, of which we now have 69 days left.
Yet another Pennsylvania utility is lowering rates customers pay—this time it’s a rate cut for electricity by Peco Energy which supplies the Philadelphia area. Low cost natural gas is being used in electrical generating plants and the utility is passing along the lower cost to produce electricity to its customers, thanks in part to an abundant supply of Marcellus Shale natural gas.