OH Amish Flip Royalty Rights for Tax-Free Lump Sum Payment

Breaking AmishWe may have just found a good reason to become Amish. The Columbus Dispatch has an article today about how some (many?) in Ohio’s Amish community are “flipping” their royalty rights–selling future potential royalty payments for a lump sum now–and leaving Ohio for greener pastures in PA or NY–in areas where shale gas drilling is either nonexistent or far less active than it is in the white hot eastern OH area.

The reason to become Amish before you flip your royalty payments? Apparently there’s an arcane section in our beloved tax code that allows the Amish to sell their royalty rights TAX FREE (if they relocate). The Amish get to keep 100% of the proceeds. To which we say: Pass the shoo-fly pie–we’re goin’ Amish!…
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Summit Midstream Buys Gulfport’s Interest in Ohio Gathering

Summit Midstream, until recently, has had midstream operations (pipelines, processing plants) in other major North American shale plays–but they are actively moving into the Marcellus and Utica Shale. In June MDN reported that Summit Midstream had purchased the Mountaineer Midstream gathering system from MarkWest Energy for $210 million in WV (see MarkWest Sells Doddridge County, WV Pipeline System to Raise Cash). On Friday, Summit purchased a significant joint venture share in the Ohio (Utica Shale) Gathering system for an undisclosed sum (although NGI’s Shale Daily is reporting the deal is worth $190 million). We have the Summit press release below, but it’s heavy and dense with joint venture this and partnership within partnership that.

Here’s the MDN simplified view of the deal…
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Magnum Hunter’s 3 Ormet Wells in Monroe County – Okay Results

Some interesting production numbers from three wells drilled by Triad Hunter, the drilling subsidiary of Magnum Hunter, on property owned by the now bankrupt Ormet Corp, a huge aluminum smelter plant. The wells are in Monroe County, OH, the home of the (so far) most productive Utica Shale well in the state–the Yontz well drilled by Antero Resources (see Antero Resources Utica Well Produces Stratospheric 38.9 Mmcf/d).

Monroe County is south of Belmont County and in what is now believed to be the sweet spot of the sweet spot in Utica Shale drilling–which includes Belmont, Harrison, Guernsey, Noble and Monroe counties. The production numbers for the three Magnum Hunter wells are, well, not all that impressive when compared to the Antero well and other wells in the southeastern OH area. Production for the MH three wells range from 2.7 to 5.1 million cubic feet per day of natural gas. However, the three wells together produce an average 1,788 barrels of condensate, which is impressive, because condensate sells for (a lot) more money than methane…
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Maryland Update: Marcellus Drilling a Distant & Ellusive Dream

A periodic check on the state of shale drilling in Maryland shows that like New York, Maryland has all but killed drilling in their state with a long, drawn-out, so-called “review” of fracking. The price of gas is so low, and the prospects and ease of drilling in neighboring states like PA, WV and OH is so convenient, that most energy companies have simply said “bye bye” to the two counties in western MD that contain recoverable Marcellus Shale gas.

Will there ever be drilling in MD? Oh perhaps one day, if Maryland politicians (mostly Democrats) ever get off the metaphorical pot and get regulations adopted to allow it. However, at this point the prospects are pretty grim. Energy companies are letting years-old leases lapse, writing them off as losses and not re-signing, which is bad news for Maryland landowners in Garrett and Allegany counties. All four companies that had previously filed for permits to drill shale wells have withdrawn those permits. In other words, Marcellus drilling in MD is, at this point, dead as a door nail. Here’s an update on the MD situation from the “helpful” AP:
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EQT Gathering Gets USACE Green Light for Armstrong County Pipeline

EQT Gathering wants to install an 8.1 mile gathering pipeline in Armstrong County, PA. Some of the pipeline crosses federal lands and requires the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to conduct an environmental assessment and judge whether or not the project would significantly impact “natural and cultural resources.” The Corps has done their investigation and has issued an FONSI–a Finding of No Significant Impact. Which means sometime after a 30-day public comment period (during which shrill anti-drillers will no doubt wail and moan), EQT will be able to move forward with the project. A happy ending!

The statement issued by the Corps:
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Middlesex Bans Fracking – A Tad Ironic, Wouldn’t You Say?

Does anyone else see the irony that a place with the word “sex” as part of its name has banned something called “fracking”? (Yes that observation is juvenile, but sometimes you need a bit of juvenile fun.) The story is this: a bunch of hepped up lefties, egged on by the odious and misnamed Food & Water Watch, got enough people to the polls to ban fracking in a place where there isn’t any interest in fracking–Middlesex County, NJ. The vote is an empty symbol to be sure, but important all the same because the people of Middlesex County are sending a very loud message to the shale drilling industry: drop dead.

Perhaps the good people of Middlesex would like to quit using natural gas to heat their homes, heat their water and cook with–you know, just to be consistent with their “strong beliefs” on fracking–because the majority of their natural gas now comes from fracking. What’s that? Not on your life? Take your filthy hand away from that gas shut-off valve! Yeah, hypocrites often operate that way…
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Anti-Fracking Slottjes Use Norse Energy NY Lawsuit as Fundraiser

The husband and wife legal team of David and Helen Slottje are using the Article 78 lawsuit filed by Norse Energy against Gov. Cuomo, and Commissioners Martens and Shah as a shameless fundraiser. The Slottjes have made a career out of touring cities and towns in upstate NY, attempting to convince innocently ignorant town board members to illegally ban fracking, thereby denying the Constitutional rights of landowners throughout entire municipalities. The Slottjes have been doing it for years now. (See our initial impression of Helen Slottje from February 2010 in this article: DISH, Texas Mayor Calvin Tillman Visits Binghamton – Marcellus Drilling News was There.)

All of that traveling and “pro bono” work needs to be funded somehow. So whatever the Park Foundation won’t pay them, they have to raise themselves, which they do by using a front organization called the Community Environmental Defense Council (Incorporated). The Slottjes are rather shameless in the yarns they spin, all the while sticking their hands out. Here’s the latest example of “never let a good crisis (or lawsuit) go to waste”…
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JLCNY Sends Gov. Cuomo a Lump of Coal for Christmas

This one put a smile on our faces. The Joint Landowners Coalition of New York (JLCNY) sent around an email that encourages those who support drilling to print out and send a copy of the postcard we’ve embedded below. It shows a picture of a lump of coal and tells Cuomo he’s on the naughty list this year–but he still has a chance to redeem himself and make the nice list for next Christmas. Love it! It’s funny yet serious at the same time. The JLCNY hopes drilling supporters will print it out and send it (multiple times) over the next 30 days. We add our voice to theirs and encourage you to do just that.

Here’s the message (and postcard) from Santa and the JLCNY:
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Continued Resistance to NH Propane Terminal Expansion

Sea-3, otherwise known as Trammo, continues to encounter local opposition to its plans to expand a propane terminal in Newington, NH. Trammo (until last year the company was called Transammonia) is the 24th largest private company on the Forbes list. Trammo has operated the Sea-3 propane terminal in Newington since 1975, handling up to 200 million gallons of liquefied propane annually. Current capacity at the terminal is 2 million gallons per day traveling in and out by truck and rail car. The company has asked the local town for permission to expand the rail yard at the terminal to handle more propane.

The controversy comes in that Trammo originally said they want to expand the terminal in order to export propane. More recently they’ve changed their tune and now say the expansion may include some exports, but the focus will be on regional distribution in New England. The reason it’s an MDN story? It’s Marcellus & Utica Shale propane that would flow into the facility…
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ShaleNavigator Online Mapping Launches “Pro Plus” Subscription

Our buddy Ed Camp today announced a new service/product bundle for his excellent ShaleNavigator online mapping service. For those who don’t know, ShaleNavigator is a web-based mapping software that displays information specific to the leasing and development of shale plays in the United States, with particular focus on Marcellus and Utica development. Other U.S. Shale plays are available as well within the interface. MDN uses ShaleNavigator to create the awesome maps that are the heart and soul of our Marcellus and Utica Shale Databook series.

Ed announced today that the ShaleNavigator service now has a “Pro Plus” subscription level that allows up to 100 property reports to be generated per month. Check out the press release below for details, and for a link that will let you trial ShaleNavigator for 7 days. We encourage you to give ShaleNavigator a test drive over the holidays while you have time to check it out!…
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Merry Christmas from MDN

MDN wishes you all a very Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays.

We will take off Christmas day and the day following and will be back on Friday to catch you up on all the latest Marcellus and Utica Shale news.

– Jim Willis