Are Ohio Republicans about to cave on supporting the dreadfully awful idea of high severance taxes on shale drilling in order to “spread the wealth around” by transferring that money into a fund to allow a state income tax cut? Sadly, it seems the answer is “yes.”
Yesterday at a press conference, Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder (Republican from Medina) said he thinks Republicans will support a higher severance tax once their palms are greased with pork projects they understand more about it.
Stone Energy, an independent driller, released its 2013 capital budget yesterday. Stone plans to spend $650 million in 2013, with a full one-third of that (33%) allocated to drilling in West Virginia’s Marcellus Shale. According to the announcement, Stone will use one horizontal drilling rig in the Marcellus next year to drill 26-32 new wells.
EQT Corporation announced today it’s selling its Equitable Gas Company (natural gas utility) to Peoples Natural Gas for $720 million in cash and “certain assets.” Those assets include picking up 200 miles of Marcellus Shale gas transmission pipelines in Pennsylvania as well as four storage pools. According to the press announcement, EQT plans to plow the proceeds back into more drilling and midstream operations in the Marcellus.
Midstream behemoth Williams announced today it is investing $380 million in the new Blue Racer Midstream venture in the Utica Shale. The investment is part of Williams’ ongoing joint venture with Caiman Energy II (Willams owns 47.5%), which concentrates on developing midstream projects in the Utica Shale region.
The Motley Fool investing website published a “round-up” type of article yesterday that focuses on the major players (drillers) in the Marcellus Shale, part of a series that looks at major energy plays in the U.S.
The article starts off by listing the top 11 companies by the amount of acreage they lease. They are (from highest to lowest amount of acreage):
In October, global research company IHS released the first (of three) volumes in a new study titled America’s New Energy Future: The Unconventional Oil and Gas Revolution and the Economy (see this MDN story). Yesterday they released Volume 2 of the study which focuses on the economic contributions from the Lower 48 states—from both states where there is unconventional drilling, as well as from states without unconventional drilling. Yes, jobs and economic benefits are generated in non-drilling states thanks to the borders they share with those that do have drilling.
Volume 2 of the study finds that of the states with no unconventional drilling, New York leads the pack in the number of jobs created for its residents as a result of unconventional drilling (thank you Pennsylvania!). Of those states that do have unconventional drilling (i.e. they allow high volume fracking), Texas leads the way in job creation, followed by Pennsylvania. The study also finds that by 2025 Ohio (because of the Utica Shale) will become the third most job-creating state when it comes to the oil and gas industry.
Three federal officials (beside Obama) who have the most influence and can possibly cause the most damage to our energy independence as a county are the Secretary of Energy, Secretary of Interior and the Administrator of the Environment Protection Agency. The people who currently hold those positions are, respectively: Steven Chu, Ken Salazar and Lisa Jackson.
Immediately following the November election, the Washington rumor mill started, speculating that all three of them would not serve in a second Obama administration (see this MDN story). The latest thinking is that one of them is gone for sure, one is likely to stay, and one is on the fence. Which is which?…