Are Exports to Blame for High Propane Prices?

what's the dealWhat’s the deal with propane prices? MDN previously pointed out lack of storage in the northeast because of NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s dallying on a decision to allow a new storage facility near Seneca Lake has contributed to rising propane prices (see Northeast Propane Shortage – Andrew Cuomo Partially to Blame). Although Gov. Can’t-Make-a-Decision is partially to blame, so too is the brutally cold (and long) winter we’re experiencing–a winter that casts serious doubt on the notion of man-made global warming.

But there is a possible third reason why propane prices have gone up: exports. U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data shows both a record volume of propane being produced, and a record volume being exported out of the country…
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Village in Belmont County Signs Lease with Gulfport: $7250/Acre

Bellaire is a small village in Belmont County, OH, near the border with West Virginia. Although Bellaire is small (population 4,300), as the old saying goes, location is everything. It just so happens Bellaire sits atop wet gas Utica Shale deposits and drillers in the area want to lease. So Bellaire officials last week signed a contract with Gulfport Energy for a “piddly” 66 acres of village-owned land scattered throughout the town. Just like another deal recently signed by Gulfport with the Shadyside Local School District, Bellaire is getting $7,250 per acre signing bonus and 20% royalties (see School in Belmont County, OH Gets $7,250/Acre from Gulfport).

The taxpayers of Bellaire will appreciate a $478,500 bonus check coming their way for the village coffers…
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Antero’s Utica Numbers Mostly Peaches & Cream, Except Condensate

Last week MDN told you about the steep increase in proved and unproved reserves for Antero Resources–particularly in the Utica Shale (see Antero 2013: 124 Marcellus/Utica Wells Drilled, Reserves Skyrocket). While the news for Antero has been fabulous over the past year or more (including a very successful IPO last year), there is one bit of not-so-good news for the company. The eagle eye of energy analyst Richard Zeits noticed that one metric for Antero went down, not up–the EUR numbers for Utica condensate. EUR is, of course, Estimated Ultimate Recovery–the amount of gas (or in this case condensate or “natural gasoline”) that will ultimately be recovered from their wells.

In his inimitable style, Zeits analyzes the recent announcement by Antero, providing us with a balanced perspective on this fast-growing Marcellus/Utica driller and the dip in their EUR numbers for condensate:
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CSSD’s Andrew Place Talks About 3-Leg Approaches & Firehoses

Eckert Seamans, the Pittsburgh, PA energy law firm that employs the former PA Sec. of Environmental Protection (and pot smoking proponent running for governor) John Hanger, hosted a morning breakfast meeting last Friday in Southpointe to discuss “responsible shale development.” Er, has it been *irresponsible* thus far? At any rate, three speakers were on the agenda for the breakfast conclave, one of whom was EQT’s Andrew Place–the interim and outgoing director of the Center for Sustainable Shale Development, or CSSD (see Center for Sustainable Shale Comes Roaring Back (to Life)).

According to Place, the CSSD takes a “three-leg approach” to the shale drilling issue. And although the public has heard virtually nothing from the CSSD since it’s founding until a few weeks ago when it came roaring back, Place said it’s been a nonstop “firehose” of activity over at CSSD HQ. From the breakfast meeting (that curiously didn’t include Hanger on the speaker’s dias), here’s more on Andrew Place’s comments:
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‘Noise Solutions’ for Drilling/Compressor Plants Locates in NWPA

Here’s a feel good supply chain story. A privately held Canadian company that in 1997 innovated a way to make industrial operations–like noisy compressor plants–quieter, wanted to build a manufacturing plant here in the U.S.–near the oil and gas industry that will use their innovative products. So where did Scott MacDonald, president and CEO of Noise Solutions, look? The northeast of course–Marcellus and Utica territory. He considered New York, but the taxes are way too high and the shale drilling non-existent. He also considered West Virginia and Ohio, which were good choices. But MacDonald settled on Sharon (Mercer County), PA as the new home for a plant that already employs 35 people and is on it’s way to employing 125 or more.

MacDonald and Noise Solutions will spend $5 million to renovate the former Winner International warehouse where the company chose to set up shop. That investment along with the ripple effect of full-time employees paying local and state taxes (and spending much of their paychecks in the local community) gives Sharon a big “economic stimulus” courtesy of this Canadian company. Here’s more about Noise Solutions and their new operation in Sharon, PA…
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PA’s Long-Lived Marcellus Renaissance Can’t be Denied, Even by NY

Judging by the stories we’re now seeing, must be Gov. Cuomo’s internal poll numbers are a lot worse than we thought. So bad that his buddies at Gannett need to try and prop him up by rewriting current history. Get this, the headline for a story in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin actually attempts to make the claim that the economic miracle happening right across our border in PA…isn’t actually happening! Talk about chutzpah. “Pay no attention to all of those jobs–all of that money–all of the new tax revenue. None of it’s real. It’s all a flash in the pan. Here today, gone tomorrow.”

Wow. We guess you can fool some of the people all of the time, going by the PSB’s propaganda…
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In the Year 2020, if the Utica Shale is Still Alive…

Remember the classic Zager & Evans hit song from 1969, “In the Year 2525“? Yeah, brings back memories. (Our headline is a nod to that classic hit.) Let’s dial those numbers back just a bit to say, 2020. A conference organized by the Tuscarawas (OH) Oil and Gas Association, recently held on the Tuscarawas campus of Kent State University, tackled the question: What will the Utica shale region look like by the year 2020?

Some interesting opinions were shared about Ohio’s Utica future by local and state officials along with representatives from the business sector. Energy in Depth’s Shawn Bennett served as moderator:
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Utica Shale Bails Monroe County out of Potential Hole

Ormet, an aluminum plant in Hannibal (Monroe County), OH is the county’s largest employer with 700 people working at the plant. Ormet officials shut the plant down last October claiming they couldn’t get a reasonable agreement on reducing high electric rates for the plant. That’s 700 people out on the street, looking for jobs (see Ormet Workers Rally At AEP). But what’s this? Monroe County Auditor Pandora Neuhart and County Treasurer Judy Gramlich are not worried about sales tax revenues in the county taking a hit from all of those unemployed workers. Why? Because Utica Shale drilling has taken off in the county and tax revenues from drilling are starting to flow in.

New Utica drilling revenue is not jump-up-and-down good news for the displaced Ormet workers (that situation needs urgent attention by Gov. Kasich), but the new Utica revenue is a good sign that regular county operations will not be adversely affected by the Ormet layoffs. Thank you Utica Shale! An update on Utica drilling in Monroe County, and how the now bankrupt Ormet is profiting from it (with wells on their property)…
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