CONSOL Feeling Heat over Ethane Exports to Europe, CEO Defends

it's okCONSOL Energy’s CEO Brett Harvey must be getting some heat over the company’s recent announcement that they have signed an agreement to export ethane from the Marcellus to Europe (see CONSOL to Begin Ethane Shipments Next Year–to Europe?!). Why would we say CONSOL is getting blowback? Because Harvey penned an op-ed that appears in The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register giving a spirited defense of their decision. The gist of Harvey’s points, if we might summarize, is this: CONSOL has deep roots and is committed to WV; there’s plenty of ethane to go around, including for exports (and exports bring money into WV); CONSOL is also going to sell ethane to the Odebrecht ethane cracker when/if it gets built; in the meantime, selling ethane to Europe means CONSOL will have more money to invest in WV.

Here’s Harvey’s “it’s OK” op-ed:
Continue reading

Williams Plans $2.1B Transco Pipeline Expansion, 100% Sold Already

Amidst the bad news for Williams last week that the company is being targeted by corporate raiders (see Evil Corporate Raiders Double Investment (& Control) in Williams), was a little bright spot of good news. The company announced they plan to expand the Transco pipeline carrying cheap Marcellus Shale gas (mostly from PA) to the Eastern Seaboard–what they call the Atlantic Sunrise Expansion of the Transco. The good news is that nine drillers have signed binding contracts, already sopping up 100% of the planned 1.7 million dekatherms of expansion. The new customers were not named in the announcement.

Williams plans to spend $2.1 billion on the expansion. They will file a request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in March to get permission to…file a pre-filing. Yeah, it’s complicated–but that’s life in the midstream. Here’s the announcement from Williams:
Continue reading

Expect “Frackgate” to be an Issue in Ohio for a While

Anti-drillers in Ohio, like the Sierra Club, have dubbed the “revelation” that the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) once crafted a communications plan to deal with nutjobs (like them) a scandal, so they’ve take to calling it “frackgate” (see ODNR Ticks Off Anti-Drilling Sierra Club with Drilling PR Plan). Relatedly, we also told you about Gov. John Kasich already throwing in the towel and admitting defeat on the matter of drilling in a single state forest and two state parks (see The Disgusting PR Mess in Ohio – No One Smells Pretty).

You can expect “frackgate” to continue to be an issue in Ohio for a while because of the upcoming governor’s race. As we previously pointed out, the liberal Dems never let a good manufactured controversy (or crisis) go to waste. They’re now whispering about Kasich’s “enemies list” from the ODNR plan (even though Kasich had nothing to do with authoring the PR plan). By the way–they are enemies–of truth and common sense and reasonableness. Being good libdems, they will continue to harp on the “frackgate” issue, using a sycophantic press. Here’s the latest example of an article with absolutely no new information, the only purpose of which is to keep the story alive and in the minds of voters:
Continue reading

Confab in Cleveland: Utica’s Best Opportunities & Biggest Fears

Several speakers at last week’s Crain’s Cleveland Business Shale Summit 2014 predicted a major ramp-up in drilling in the Utica Shale during 2014. Of note: one speaker said based on his informal survey he believes the number of drilling rigs in the play will zoom from 40 to 60 or more by early next year. Another speaker said the Utica looks and behaves a lot like the Eagle Ford Shale play in Texas–and that’s a very good thing. The biggest fears by those in the know? Over-taxation and over-regulation–both issues very much alive in the state legislature right now.

Here’s an excellent run-down on what happened at the Summit by intrepid reporter Bob Downing from the Akron Beacon Journal, including which counties are believed to hold the best drilling opportunities:
Continue reading

PA Supreme Court Won’t Reconsider Act 13, Impact Fee Now in Doubt

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court continues their lunacy. On Friday they obstinately said they would not revisit their decision on the Act 13 Marcellus drilling law passed in early 2012 (see Ongoing Fallout from PA Supreme Court’s Wrong Act 13 Decision). PA Gov. Tom Corbett asked them to reconsider but the haughty response is a big “no way.” And so the very real possibility that the Supreme Court has just shut off the spigot to $200 million+ per year in impact fees. The Supremes vacated large sections of the Act 13 law that involve the collection and distribution of the Act 13 impact fee, a fee that has benefited countless communities around the state–particularly those where drilling’s impact is felt the most (hence the name). Now? Screw you seems to be the attitude of the justices.

And so we hope the seven “brave” townships that sued and kept suing are happy that they’ve just hosed the entire state with their actions–spoiling it for everyone. Congratulations…
Continue reading

Landowner Discovers Chesapeake has $500M Lien on His Property

This one has to go in the “read your contract carefully before you sign, and never, ever sign without a lawyer” category. A Greene County, PA landowner leased his property to Chesapeake Energy a few years ago. His land hasn’t yet been added to a drilling unit. He recently wanted to refinance his mortgage, but the credit union phoned him up with a “small” problem: Chesapeake has put a $500 MILLION lien against the lease his property. Normally the lien is against the oil and gas rights, but in the case of this landowner, it’s not specified in the contract, meaning the lien is against the property itself. And he’s not able to refinance.

Notice the landowner’s advice to other landowners in the last sentence of this story (and TAKE HEED)…
Continue reading

Greene County Chevron Well Fire: 7H Well Capped, 6H in Few Days

Chevron reports that as of yesterday (Sunday) afternoon, Wild Well Control has successfully capped one of two leaking gas wells in Dunkard Township, Greene County, PA. The well capped was the Lanco 7H. However, work to cap the second well at the pad, the 6H, is up next and expected to take “several days” to complete. These are the wells that caught fire after an explosion occurred as workers were completing a hook-up of the 7H (see Explosion & Fire at Chevron Well in SWPA – 1 Person Missing). Unfortunately the explosion and fire took the life of one contract worker (see Remains of Chevron Contractor Found at Greene County Well Site).

The latest couple of updates from Chevron about the accident, the fire and capping of the wells:
Continue reading

Pittsburgh Co Figures Out How to Tap Marcellus Supply Chain

The article below is of the kind that fascinates MDN. It’s about a small tool and die manufacturer in Pittsburgh chasing new business in the Marcellus (and Utica) Shale industry. There are some important lessons learned by the manufacturer: it’s not easy and it’s not quick to plug in to the Marcellus supply chain. Certifications make it easier–but depending on the cert, it costs big money and takes time. Bottom line: There is no quick and easy route to getting your piece of the Marcellus pie. You’re going to have to work and work hard–but then, that’s the way business has always been!

Here’s an instructive tale of hope, determination and ultimately success in plugging in to the Marcellus supply chain:
Continue reading

More Analysis of PA’s 2H 2013 Production Numbers – from NGI

The sharp editors and analysts at NGI’s Shale Daily did a deep dive on the production numbers released last week by the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection and came up with some interesting observations. Among them: production hit 3.3 trillion cubic feet for the year, which is up 1.3 Tcf from 2012 (an amazing 62% increase). Drillers added 700 new wells in the second half of 2013. Pennsylvania State University’s Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research (MCOR) estimates total production will hit 4.5 Tcf by the end of 2014.

Also among the gems are the top five Marcellus producers in 2013 (listed below), which collectively produced 60% of all output in the PA Marcellus last year…
Continue reading

New Staffers on Way at PA DEP O&G Courtesy Higher Permit Fees

PA’s Secretary of the Dept. of Environmental Protection, Chris Abruzzo, told lawmakers last week that he plans to hire “several dozen” new staffers in the oil and gas regulation area of the DEP by using new money from a bump up in well permitting fees. Abruzzo said the current 83 inspectors in the field are enough to get the job done, but what they do need is extra help back in the office–support staff.

MDN told you last September that well permit fees are set to go up 56%–from $3,200 per horizontal well to $5,000 (see Coming Soon: PA Drillers to Pay 56% More for Marcellus Permits). The new fee was approved by the DEP’s Environmental Quality Board but needs several more approvals before going into effect (expected soon). Once it does, the help wanted ads will begin to run…
Continue reading

How the Marcellus & Utica Affects the Price of Natgas

A blogger writing on the Seeking Alpha investor’s website recently published a lengthy (and excellent) article listing 12 reasons why he believes the current price level of $6+ per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) for natural gas won’t last long. The article’s aim is to warn investors not to get caught up in an irrational exuberance and belief that higher gas prices are here to stay. As we’ve commented before, the commodity price for natural gas is of concern to everyone–from landowners to drillers to midstreamers to traders and buyers–the entire gas ecosystem.

The reason we highlight the SA article is two-fold: One is he makes some great points about what influences the price of gas, and second, two of his points concern the Marcellus and Utica…
Continue reading

ACC Says $100B of New Shale-Related Petrochemical Spending on Way

The American Chemistry Council trade group last week announced that shale gas in the U.S. is having an incredible economic impact on the chemical industry. According to the ACC, who keeps track of these things, 148 shale-related chemical industry projects, valued at $100.2 billion, have been announced–so far. These projects include new factories, expansions and process changes to increase capacity. The ACC says the new spending could lead to $81 billion per year in new chemical industry output and 637,000 permanent new jobs by 2023. Astonishing. More than half of the investment is by firms based outside the United States.

Here’s the ACC announcement from last week:
Continue reading