Chesapeake, Access & Williams in Complex 3-Way Midstream Deal

bouncing ballChesapeake Energy has sold off its remaining midstream operations (pipelines, compressors and processing plants) to Access Midstream Partners for $2.16 billion. The sale includes Chesapeake’s midstream assets in the Marcellus and Utica Shale region, along with assets in the Eagle Ford, Haynesville and Niobrara shale plays.

At the same time (keep your eye on the bouncing ball here), midstream giant Williams paid $2.4 billion to buy a 50% stake in Access Midstream. That is, the two deals are connected—Chesapeake to Access, Access to Williams. On paper, Chesapeake sold its midstream properties to Access, but it practice it seems the sale was actually to Williams via Access Midstream. In addition, Williams announced that Chesapeake is “supporting” their effort to build a natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline from the Marcellus/Utica area to the Gulf Coast.

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7 States Threaten EPA Lawsuit over Methane Emissions

An out-of-control New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is the ring leader for seven northeastern states who say they plan to sue the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to force the EPA to enforce even stricter air emissions rules (if such a thing is possible) to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas drilling. Earlier this year the EPA introduced far stricter rules that require drillers to install expensive new equipment to trap leaking (so-called “fugitive”) methane—perhaps driving some of them out of business in two years when the new rules are fully implemented.

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PDC Energy: Production from 1st Utica Well, 2013 Forecast

PDC Energy issued their 2013 forecast yesterday, along with an impressive production report on their first Utica Shale well, drilled in Guernsey County, OH. They plan to spend $53 million next year to drill and complete five horizontal Utica Shale wells in Ohio. Part of that budget will also be spent on additional acreage to lease—acreage contiguous to their existing leased acreage. (Landowners who are not yet leased, here’s an opportunity for you.)

PDC also has a joint venture in the Marcellus Shale and plans to allocate $48 million for its 50% share toward drilling and completing 14 wells and certain midstream infrastructure projects (pipelines/processing) .

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Feds ‘Hope’ States will Use BLM Rules for ALL Fracking

We are on a very dangerous and slippery slope. The federal government, under Barack H. Obama, has its sights set on usurping individual states’ rights (guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution) to regulate oil and gas drilling. MDN has pointed out for more than two years that the EPA wants to regulate fracking—an illegal act in our considered opinion. More recently the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) at the Dept. of Interior has gotten in on the act by issuing draft rules for fracking on federal lands. Word came yesterday from the Obama administration that the new BLM rules slated to be finalized this year will now be delayed until early 2013.

In addition to the delay from BLM comes word (an edict?) from the Obamadroids that they “hope” the states will use BLM’s finalized rules as a “template” to regulate all fracking and shale drilling—even on private land. It’s an awfully short step from “hope” to “demand” when it comes to Washington politicians and an out-of-control federal government.

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Columbia NatGas Pipeline Explodes Near Charleston, WV

This is big news because it’s so extremely rare: A 20-inch natural gas transmission pipeline—the Columbia Gas Transmission pipeline (owned by Nisource)—exploded near Sissonville, WV, 10 miles north of Charleston. The resulting fire burned for more than an hour and has shut down a portion of nearby Interstate 77 for at least two days.

The explosion happened not far from the Lanham Compressor Station, although there is no indication the compressor station had anything to do with the explosion. An investigation into the explosion is just beginning and there are few known facts. The (rather thin) details as we know them:

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ExxonMobil Predicts World Fossil Fuel Usage Up 5% by 2040

ExxonMobil, not only the world’s largest energy company but the world’s largest company period by revenue, publishes an annual Outlook for Energy. Yesterday they issued the 2013 edition (embedded below). The annual publication is an inside look at how some of the world’s keenest minds in energy view what’s coming down the road for energy over the next 30 years.

A few (very interesting) highlights from this year’s edition:

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Westchester County, NY Bans Fracking Wastewater

The Westchester County Board of Legislators voted on Monday (unanimously) to ban fracking fluids from the county. The ban specifically disallows treatment of fracking fluid wastewater in municipal treatment plants (already illegal under DEC rules) and a ban on using the salt from fracking wastewater to treat roadways during the winter.

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