Judge Lets PA Anti-Driller Sip More Lattes, Attorney Claims “Big Win”

Hollow VictoryLast Monday a little known anti-driller with a potty mouth from northeast PA–Vera Scroggins–had her day in court. You may recall that Vera had repeatedly trespassed on drilling sites owned by Cabot Oil & Gas in Susquehanna County and a judge slapped her with a restraining order last year. Vera said the court order prevented her from sipping lattes at the local Price Chopper grocery store (land leased by Cabot) so she got herself a lawyer from the American Civil Liberties Union and asked the judge to reconsider (see PA Anti-Drilling Activist Asks Court to Lift Cabot Restraining Order). Cabot had no objections as long as she’s still barred from active drill sites and Cabot offices. So the judge, late last week, did just that–he tweaked the restraining order to allow Vera to go sip her lattes, but nothing else has changed. That is, she’s still barred from trespassing on active drill sites and Cabot office property.

One of Vera’s attorneys claims the judge’s decision is a “big win.” Er, OK. Whatever. What Vera actually won was exactly nothing, except another 5 minutes of “fame” in local media around Montrose–population 1,617…
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JLCNY Encourages Support of Constitution Pipeline — This Week

MDN has done a fair bit of reporting on a desperately needed new natural gas pipeline due to be built from Susquehanna County, PA all the way to Schoharie County, NY. The Constitution Pipeline will be built by Williams starting later this year, if all goes according to plan (see New Marcellus Constitution Pipeline Announces “Final” Route). Last week MDN told you that both the federal EPA and Dept. of Interior have asked for more time to provide their own comments on the new pipeline (see EPA/DOI Ask for More Time to Review PA-NY Constitution Pipeline). FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, has itself told Williams they will need to make a few adjustments to their plans (see FERC: Constitution Pipeline Should Make Changes to Lessen Impacts).

FERC will ultimately decide whether or not to allow Williams to build the pipeline. We doubt there’s much doubt about the plan–it’s almost certain to be built. FERC themselves say it’s really really needed. However, FERC must go through the motions, and one of those motions is to hold public “scoping” hearings where people (often anti-drillers) show up to gripe and moan about the plan. FERC is conducing a series of four hearings this week, starting today. The Joint Landowners Coalition of New York sent the following email (with hearing details) to request members of the JLCNY and all pro-drillers attend a meeting near them, to show support for natural gas in our region…
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PA Partisan Study Finds PA Needs to Soak Drillers with New Taxes

The partisan Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) last week released a so-called study on oil and gas taxes and concluded (surprise!) PA doesn’t pay enough in taxes (see PA Shale Industry Demonized for “Lack” of Severance Tax). The group compared apples with oranges and did it’s “best” to try and make a “fair” comparison and of course concluded PA drillers need to be drilled themselves–you know, to spread the wealth around in good socialist fashion. A full copy of the “study” is embedded below.

It seems the IFO and PA Democrats are a bit thin-skinned when sources like MDN poke holes in their precious studies and dare to call them what they are: partisan hucksterism. And so news outlets like the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette rush in to try and prop them up with “look at how fair and balanced this study really is” kinds of articles, like this one:
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NARO PA Meeting: CA Speaker Says PA Needs Better Reporting

More from the National Association of Royalty Owners PA chapter annual conference last week in State College, PA. One speaker who runs a California-based oil and gas appraisal firm was taking pot shots at the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection saying that twice a year reporting on production numbers is not enough–especially for those who want an accurate appraisal on what their oil and gas rights may be worth for leasing purposes.

Matt Henderson with Penn State’s Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research also chimed in with some thoughts on DEP reporting. Below is a report from the second day of the NARO event in State College…
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Eureka Hunter Gets New $117M Line of Credit, Expansion Continues

Eureka Hunter Pipeline, a subsidiary of Magnum Hunter, is a small but growing midstream company with most of its operations in West Virginia (see these MDN articles about Eureka Hunter and their recent expansion). Apparently they plan to keep on growing. Today Eureka Hunter announced they’ve got a new line of credit at the bank–for a cool $117 million. Their line of credit can grow to $150 million under the right conditions.

Magnum Hunter CEO Gary Evans says the new credit line means MH itself won’t have to float cash to the midstream subsidiary like it does now–meaning more flexibility and Eureka Hunter can expand faster. And that’s a good thing! Here’s the Eureka Hunter announcement posted today:
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Rural PA County Hopes NatGas Electric Plant Attracts Businesses

Here’s a new twist: Economic development leaders in Bradford County, PA are hoping a local natural gas-fired electrical generating plant now being built will be a magnet that attracts petrochemical businesses to the area. We’ve known for some time (since last year) that Moxie Liberty, which later sold the rights to Panda Liberty, would build a new electrical generating plant near Wyalusing (Bradford County), PA (see Moxie Liberty Sells PA Electric Plant Project to Panda Power). The Panda Liberty plant is now under construction with large cranes and more than 100 workers in and around the site.

Local economic development leaders are hoping the Panda Liberty plant, which will use locally mined Marcellus gas, will catch the attention of petrochemical manufacturers of waxes, lubricants and other products that use natural gas as an ingredient. Already inquiries from such “downstream” businesses have been coming in–a very good sign indeed…
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CNG Truck Fleets Now Mainstream? NY Company Buys 15 CNG Trucks

Is this a sign of things to come? The “received wisdom” has been that compressed natural gas (CNG) used to power cars and trucks is more hope and wishful thinking than it is reality. But maybe, just maybe, the tide as now turned and CNG is more reality than it is hope. Case in point: Trillium CNG, a subsidiary of Integrys Energy Group Inc., announced last September that it will build a new CNG fueling station next door to Willow Run Foods in Kirkwood, NY. Yes, Kirkwood, NY is in MDN’s own backyard! Willow Run Foods is a large packaged foods company that delivers food to fast food restaurants in 14 East Coast-area states.

With trucks running to 14 different states, some of which run on CNG, you have to ask–how will they get home? They’ll have to fill up somewhere. Which means there are enough CNG fueling depots scattered around, at least for some of their regular runs, that CNG will work. Oh, and diesel fuel right now (in the Binghamton area) is $4.37 per gallon. The equivalent CNG is $2.60–so you can see why Willow Run has invested in 15 CNG rigs.
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How Thick is the Marcellus? USGS Report Sheds (a Little) Light

Normally the U.S. Geological Service (USGS) will push out a press release when they release a new study. However, for a recently published report titled “Characterization of the Marcellus Shale based on computer-assisted correlation of wireline logs in Virginia and West Virginia” (full copy embedded below) there was no such press announcement. We noticed the report when it popped up in one of our news gather filters. As you might expect, this new report is heaving on wonky science. It’s weakness (depending on your viewpoint) is that the data they’ve analyzed comes from just 9 wells in Virginia and West Virginia. The purpose of the report is to test some theories on why the Marcellus is thicker in some places than in others.

This report will be of interest to geologists and E&P companies. For the average person? Probably not so much. However, there is a map on page 8 we like and think you will too. That map shows the Marcellus region with the authors’ best guess as to the thickness of the Marcellus layer in various areas throughout the northeast. Remember, usually the thicker the better (the more natgas there is likely to be locked away in the shale)…
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Obama Floats Plan to Save the Planet from Methane (Yawn)

The U.S. is on a mission to control methane because it’s a contributor to the mythical problem that the earth is warming too much–from man. Methane contributes to the so-called global warming problem, so the theory goes. And if we could just control it (i.e. use the heavy hand of government with it’s gun to your head), why, we’d stave off ecological Armageddon! At least until the next generation of deadbeats comes along. One problem–most methane released into the atmosphere comes from termites and cows–but The Great and Powerful Obama(oz) has a solution even for persnickety pests and bovines. We’ll just tax ’em.

Last week the “brain trust” at The White House released it’s government-has-all-the-answers-and-kiss-more-of-your-freedoms-goodbye solution for tackling methane emanations (see a copy of the new White House report on methane emissions embedded below). As you might guess, part of the “solution” is to have the EPA continue its rogue, out-of-control attempts at more regulation of the oil and gas industry–the very industry that is set up to capture as much methane as it can!…
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