Bad to Worse: PA Royalty Owner Asks Court for Chessy Class Action

from bad to worseChesapeake Energy continues to find itself under the metaphorical gun with respect to royalty payments in Pennsylvania. The PA legislature is considering a bill (HB 1684) that would plug a legal loophole and require Chesapeake and other drillers to pay landowners a 12.5% minimum royalty regardless of post-production costs (see PA NARO Alert: Tell Your State Rep to Vote YES on HB 1684). Landowners in Bradford County sued Chessy held an anti-Chesapeake rally to further express their extreme displeasure (see Bradford PA Landowner Rally over Chesapeake Royalty Shenanigans). Gov. Corbett asked PA’s anti-drilling Attorney General, Kathleen Kane, to investigate (showing how bad it’s gotten–to stoop to asking her to get involved).

And now from bad to worse: a company that owns royalty rights in PA, Scout Petroleum, claims they’ve been screwed out of royalties by Chesapeake and has asked a judge for a full refund and to force Chesapeake into arbitration and grant class-action status to the whole, festering mess…
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Act 13 Case Goes Back to Court, Drillers Petition to Join Lawsuit

The Marcellus Shale drilling industry in Pennsylvania is trying to make some lemonade from the truckload of lemons handed to them by the PA Supreme Court’s ill-fated decision to let seven selfish townships gut the state’s Act 13 drilling law passed in 2012. We’ve covered the issue extensively (see a list of MDN’s Act 13 articles here). Perhaps the most egregious and outrageous miscarriage of justice in the case is that the drilling industry, which is directly affected by the case, was never allowed to join the case. The courts said they didn’t have “standing”–and yet those same courts allowed the virulently anti-drilling Delaware Riverkeeper Network to be party to the case. Simply boggles the mind.

The PA Supreme’s in their “wisdom,” decided the zoning portions of the case and sent the rest of the case back to a lower court so they could finish gutting the Act 13 law. As MDN previously reported exactly a month ago, the drilling industry has, once again, respectfully requested they be allowed to join the case now that it’s in the home stretch (see Drillers Petition PA Court (Again) to Participate in Act 13 Case). While the drilling industry can’t undo what has been done by the Supreme Court, it is clear that they believe they can lessen the damage done if they win certain arguments in lower court–arguments like affirming the Public Utility Commission’s authority to review whether a zoning ordinance crosses the line and preempts state oil and gas law. In other words, the seven selfish towns may not have gotten their own selfish way after all–not entirely. The hearing on whether to allow the industry to join what’s left of the lawsuit is today…
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Gastar Shuts-in Marshall County Wells Due to Pipeline Explosion

Last Saturday morning a Williams pipeline in Marshall County, WV ruptured and caught fire (see Williams Pipeline Rupture/Fire in Marshall County, WV). We still don’t know the cause for sure, but it’s looking like there was a small landslide from a hill that triggered the rupture and explosion.

Already that single 12-inch pipeline is having an effect on some Williams customers. Gastar Exploration with wells in Marshall County issued a statement on Monday to say they’ve had “shut-in” their wells in the area because of the pipeline outage. We have the Gastar statement below, along with a first-hand, eyewitness account of the explosion from a nearby neighbor…
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CONSOL Energy Doubles Marcellus Production in 1Q14

CONSOL Energy is early out of the chute with a heads up on their first quarter 2014 performance. The company says natural gas production for 1Q14 was 48.4 billion cubic feet equivalent (Bcfe), which is up 23% from 1Q13 (however Marcellus production doubled in the same period). CONSOL also said they are on track to produce 215 – 235 Bcfe by the end of this year.

A full operational report with all the details is coming April 29. In the meantime, here’s CONSOL’s short-and-sweet press release from Monday:
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Rex Energy Releases #s for 3 Utica Wells in Carroll County, OH

Even though the “sweet spot” of the Utica Shale has moved from northern to southern Ohio (eastern portion of the state), that doesn’t mean Carroll County in the northern part of the play–the original “sweet spot”–is going away any time soon. Rex Energy released production numbers yesterday for their three-well Ocel pad, located in Carroll County. All three wells on the pad are producing natural gas (methane), natural gas liquids (NGLs) and condensate (natural gasoline). The production numbers for the three wells are very respectable…
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NOVA Visits Pittsburgh, Takes About Sarnia Cracker Expansion

Last December MDN brought you the news that NOVA Chemicals, which operates the Corunna ethane cracker plant in Sarnia, Ontario (Canada) plans to expand their cracker plant using more Marcellus and Utica Shale ethane (see NOVA Chemicals Plans Expansion of Corunna Cracker in Sarnia). At that time NOVA said they will expand capacity by an additional 20% gradually between 2014 and 2018.

At a special event in Pittsburgh designed to strengthen the already-strong connection between Pennsylvania and Canada, called Pop-Up Canada, NOVA vice president John Hotz provided a few more details about NOVA’s plans for the Corunna cracker plant…
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Anti-Drilling Groups Want PA DEP to Investigate 2-Yr Old EQT Spill

News flash: A bunch of virulently anti-drilling groups, including PennEnvironment, PennFuture, the [so-called] Responsible Drilling Alliance, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Clean Water Action, and the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper are asking the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) to investigate a two-year old spill of frack water in Tioga County, PA by EQT. Further news flash: said virulently anti-drilling groups think EQT is an “irresponsible operator” in the Marcellus. Film at 11.

Here’s the propaganda fundraiser (also called a press release) issued by said virulently anti-drilling groups:
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Maryland PSC Approves NatGas-Fired Electric General Plant

Somehow, some way, the only state even more dysfunctional than New York when it comes to the issue of natural gas drilling, the State of Maryland, has just approved a new natural gas-fired electric generating plant in Cecil County, MD. And it only took them 11 months to approve it. Wonders never cease!

The Maryland Public Service Commission on Tuesday gave final approval to the 1,000-megawatt Wildcat Point Generation Facility. Let the wailing, gnashing of teeth and (most importantly) useless protests by global-warming-nutter-anti-drillers begin! Details about the new plant to be built…
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Stark County Still Sitting Pretty in the Utica, Even Without Drilling

Stark County, OH has gone through dramatic changes in a short period of time. Just a few years ago Utica Shale drilling near Stark County was hot with Chesapeake Energy leading the charge in places like neighboring Carroll County. Stark (and its largest city, Canton) were the beneficiaries of all that drilling in the northern part of the Utica play. Today? The “sweet spot” of Utica drilling has moved south, and yesterday’s hot areas like Stark and Carroll are today’s cold areas. Or are they?

Although drilling in Stark never really took off and although drilling in nearby Carroll is starting to decrease, that doesn’t mean Stark is not benefiting, in a big way, from Utica drilling. David Kaminski, the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce’s director of energy and public affairs, said Stark County is still sitting pretty with respect to the Utica…
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Plugging in to Panda Power’s Electric Generation Supply Chain

As we reported in December, Panda Power Funds, a private equity firm located in Dallas, TX, purchased the rights to build two electric generating plants–one in Bradford County, PA and the other in Lycoming County, PA (see Panda Power Buys Rights for 2nd Marcellus-Fueled Electric Plant). Construction on the Bradford County plant, dubbed Panda Liberty, is under way now. Panda is spending northward of $1.3 billion to build the two plants–an incredible amount of money that’s being pumped into the northeastern Pennsylvania economy.

MDN spotted an article that mentions Panda and their projects, including the two PA electric plants. The reason that we bring it to you is that it provides background on the vendors Panda is using to build the plants. Which may be of interest to companies that would like to plug into the supply chain and see if they can drum up some business from these two projects…
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Envrio-God Says Forget About Global Warming, It Can’t Be Stopped

Saving the planet from global warming is beyond our ability. We’ve lost the battle. Time to give it up and instead get ready for anarchy–retreat to “climate controlled” cities and let everyone else fry. Oh, and someday down the road all organic life will probably be gone–humans will someday live on in digital form–our consciousness will be embedded in machines.

No, the above is not the plot of a new dystopian Hollywood movie starting teenagers who will save the world from itself in The Hunger Games Meets Robocop. The above is the new theme being espoused by James Lovelock, an increasingly nutty (some might say senile) and former darling of the worldwide global warming movement. MDN highlighted Lovelock’s summer 2012 support for fracking (see Iconic Environmentalist James Lovelock Loves Fracking). His support for fracking got Lovelock thrown out of the Mother Earth Worshippers Club–also known as environmentalism. The crotchety old Lovelock, who’s always spoken his mind, says in a new book it’s all over with respect to global warming and we just need to admit it and instead try to control its effects in areas where we can, like select cities…
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