BIG NEWS: West Virginia is Getting an Ethane Cracker Plant

big newsThe Parkersburg News and Sentinel is reporting that WV Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will make an announcement today that has been years in coming: West Virginia is getting its own “multi-billion-dollar ethane cracker chemical plant” and it will be located in Wood County. If this rumor, which seemingly originates with reliable sources, bears out, this is seriously good news for WV. In fact, we’re jumping up and down happy! For years MDN has been pulling/cheerleading/advocating for WV to get their own cracker–we think they deserve it.

The speculation is that Tomblin sealed a deal for a cracker plant on a recent European trade mission trip (see WV Gov Going to Europe to Find Him a Cracker). While he was in Europe, he said by phone he would have a big announcement a few days after he returned home. We speculated at the time, three weeks ago, that he might be talking about a cracker (see Did Gov Tomblin Find a European Investor for a WV Cracker Plant?). Was our speculation accurate? We will know today…
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JLCNY Landowner Lawsuit Against NY & Gov. Cuomo Ready to Go

MDN recently received an email update from the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York (JLCNY)–posted below. The JLCNY reports their “takings” lawsuit against New York State, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens and State Health Commissioner Nirav Shah is now ready to go. Cuomo, Martens and Shah together form a cabal working against NY landowners by intentionally denying them their 5th Amendment Constitutional private property rights without just compensation. The JLCNY is ready to expose the cabal by filing this case.

According to JLCNY President, Dan Fitzsimmons, the legal team spent over 300 hours preparing the necessary court documentation, called a “complaint” in legalese (we’ve embedded a copy of the complaint below). The lawsuit will be filed on behalf of six New York landowners. The landowners are not (yet) named in the complaint, but if you read the complaint, you’ll see each one is uniquely identified–these are real people that are ready to go to court…
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ODNR Says Methane in OH Water Well NOT Caused by Utica Drilling

In January MDN told you about the Kline family, in Portage County (near Cleveland), who claimed nearby Utica Shale drilling had contaminated their water well with methane (methane migration) to the point they could, yes, light their water tap on fire. It made big headlines at the time and the family (with flaming faucet) was featured on the NBC Today show (see Methane Migration into Water Well Near Cleveland, OH). At the time MDN said it certainly appeared like they had a case against driller Mountaineer Keystone for methane migration. Our assumption was completely wrong.

The Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) performed an extensive investigation of not only the Kline family’s water well but a dozen other nearby water wells. Using test results from before and after drilling, they concluded the methane in the Kline’s water well is NOT from nearby Utica Shale drilling but is instead naturally occurring. Oops. Think the $25 million/year salaried Matt Lauer will now have the Kline family back on Today to ask them if they’re ready to apologize for making a false claim against the driller? Yeah, don’t hold your breath on that one…
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EVEP 3Q13: No New Land Deals to Announce

EV Energy Partners/EnerVest has, almost by happenstance, accumulated a huge position in the Utica Shale–760,000 acres according to NaturalGasIntel.com. They are the second largest leaseholder in the Utica, behind Chesapeake Energy (who has about 1 million acres). A little over a year ago EVEP put half a million of those acres on the auction block. No takers. They eventually sold 22,535 acres in Guernsey, Harrison and Noble counties in Ohio for $284.3 million (see EVEP/EnerVest Cuts Deal to Sell 22.5K OH Utica Acres for $284M).

On a 3Q13 analyst call earlier this week, EVEP Executive Chairman John Walker said there’s still no new deals to announce and that selling off a big slug of their acreage is “too valuable not to be patient.” Translation: Sit tight, we’re still working on it, but we won’t sell it at fire sale prices. It’s going to take more time. Here’s a transcript of John Walker’s opening comments on the analyst call:
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OH Utica Shale Gives Rise to Crop of New Hotels

It seems as if new hotels are springing up all over the Utica Shale in eastern Ohio. The latest announcement: A New York City asset management firm says they’ll spend $5.2 million to build an 83-room hotel in…Carrollton, OH. Where? Exactly. Carrollton isn’t even a city–it’s a village, population 3,200, and it’s in Carroll County–in the middle of nowhere. But Carrollton also happens to be in the middle of one of the hot spots of the Utica Shale. And this hotel isn’t the only new hotel going up in Carrollton! A second hotel is already under construction in Carrollton–for $13.3 million (100 rooms).

Here’s the low-down on the new Carrollton hotel, and several other recently announced hotel projects in eastern Ohio’s Utica Shale region:
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MarkWest CEO Frank Semple Talks about 3Q13 Results on Call

Yesterday MarkWest Energy Partners’ Chairman, President and CEO, Frank Semple, held a conference call with analysts to discuss the company’s third quarter results (see The Marcellus/Utica Games: MarkWest Catching Fire for MarkWest’s 3Q13 update). Semple talked about the company’s financials and about their incredible portfolio of projects underway in the northeast Marcellus and Utica Shale region. Semple talks about what, where and who with respect to their plans for the northeast.

Here’s a transcript of Semple’s remarks from yesterday’s analyst call:
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Endeavour Intl & Samson Exploration Form 50/50 Marcellus JV

One of the Marcellus Shale’s smaller drilling/midstream companies is Endeavour International, with 15,800 acres of leased Marcellus acreage according to NaturalGasIntel.com. Endeavour announced yesterday they’ve sold a 50% stake in their Marcellus assets to Samson Exploration, forming a joint venture with Samson. The amount of cash involved in the transaction was undisclosed.

According to the announcement, Endeavour will use the money from Samson to complete three previously drilled Marcellus wells in Cameron County, PA and hook them up to an EQT Corp. gathering pipeline. The wells should be online by the middle of 2014…
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EQT Hires Valerus for 2 New Compressor Stations in SW PA

Valerus, a Houston, TX-based company with a growing facility in Smithfield, PA manufactures/creates compression solutions–assembling the pipelines, valves, engines, etc.–that move natural gas through a pipeline. Think of them as the people that come in and install the guts of a compressor station.

EQT Corp., a major Marcellus Shale driller, has just hired Valerus to do just that–install new compression solutions at two compressor stations in southwest PA. It means more jobs and more investment on the way in PA…
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