Antero Pays $15K/Acre, 20% Royalties for MWCD Piedmont Lake Lease

wowAll’s we can say is “WOW!” Last Friday the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) signed another (new) lease with Antero Resources to lease more than 6,300 acres in and around Piedmont Lake, in Guernsey, Harrison and Belmont counties in Ohio. The land is in prime Utica Shale territory and Antero must have wanted it bad, because they paid a $15,000 per acre signing bonus. Plus 20% in royalties for anything produced from the land. That is, by far, the largest bonus payment we have ever heard of in the Marcellus and Utica region.

Landowners in the MWCD area should be thankful. Because of this deal and other leases signed by the MWCD, the rates landowners pay to the MWCD are going down–by 50%–starting next year. What a fantastic story where everyone wins. Landowners win with lower watershed fees, Antero wins by scoring what will no doubt be very productive property for shale wells, America wins with more (and cheaper) natural gas. There are no losers in this scenario. Here’s more on Friday’s meeting of the MWCD board and the decisions they made…
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NY DOH Docs Show Geisinger Fishing for $, Ralph Nader Lurking

The anti-drilling Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association and the Gannett Albany Bureau filed identical Freedom of Information Law (or FOIL) requests in Jaunary of this year to get information about the so-called review of health effects from fracking, a review being conducted by the NY Dept. of Health (DOH) and it’s resigning Commissioner, Nirav Shah. Some five CDs and one DVD full of information later and we have a few interesting tidbits. One tidbit is that Geisinger Health System, which famously launched a multi-year study of the “health effects” of fracking in PA without any money to fund the study (see PA Marcellus Health Study Still No Pulse – Needs Extra $24M), tried to enlist Shah and the NY DOH, no doubt believing NY is flush with Wall Street cash. NY politely declined.

We also learn the wacky Ralph Nader requested a meeting with NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens. Ralph wants all fracking everywhere–from here to Pluto–to stop. Martens politely declined the meeting (time waster for Joey). Here’s an overview, based on the documentation, of what the DOH has–and has not–done in their ongoing, never ending review of the “science”…
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Aubrey McClendon Leases Rigs from Chesapeake to Drill in the Utica

Aubrey McClendon, the former CEO of Chesapeake Energy (before corporate raider Carl Icahn tossed him from the company he founded) is back in business with Chesapeake. Sort of. McClendon’s new company, American Energy Partners, which is set to go great guns in the Ohio Utica Shale, is leasing drilling rigs from Chesapeake for $26,000 per day–six of them (with a seventh at $23,500 per day). Makes for strange bedfellows, no? But hey, a rig’s a rig’s a rig. Doesn’t matter who owns it. What matters is to get drilling now, before the competition. And Aubrey is all over it.

However, Aubrey is being mum on the arrangement. Here’s the little that is know, picked up from Chesapeake’s financial filings with the SEC…
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Western PA/NY Pipeline Company Starts Separating NGLs for More $$

Anticipating that Marcellus and Utica Shale drilling will one day come to northwestern Pennsylvania and western New York, the owner of a pipeline system that services 6,500 older vertical wells in that area has just made an upgrade. EmKey Energy has just opened a new $10 million gas processing plant east of Union City, PA where five of EmKey’s underground pipelines converge. And here is the beauty and the brilliance. That new processing plant does nothing more than separate out natural gas liquids from the incoming stream of gas–NGLs that have been there all along but weren’t economical to separate. Now the plant separates butane, propane and ethane and sells them for bigger money than they would have been sold as part of the methane stream.

According to EmKey’s founder Oivind Risberg, the $10 million upgrade is profitable and doing well. But the real gravy train will arrive when shale drilling enters the area and his pipelines hook up to the deeper Marcellus and Utica Shale. That’s when the really big payoff will happen. Brilliant! Here’s more about EmKey’s “make good money now, but boatloads of it later when shale drilling arrives” strategy…
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President Visits Pittsburgh to Talk Jobs, Ignores Shale Jobs

Well, we hate to say “we told you so,” but, well, we told you so. Last Wednesday President Obama and his oafish sidekick Joe “the clown” Biden “took a little road trip” according to the Pres, to visit the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center in North Fayette, PA (near Pittsburgh). The purpose of the trip was to dole out gobs of your hard-earned money to community college professors and students (nothing against either, except when it’s my money going to them!). The Pres announced $600 million in new money–from his Presidential “stash” no doubt. He figures your money will help create jobs out there in flyover country.

We pointed out published comments from both Dave Spigelmyer, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, and Stephanie Wissman, executive director of the Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania, encouraging the Pres to acknowledge the major role Marcellus Shale drilling has played in creating jobs in western PA (see Obama/Biden Pittsburgh Visit Today: Don’t Expect NatGas Praise). Did either the Pres or sidekick Biden give at least a passing nod to shale and the hundreds of thousands of jobs the shale industry has created in the past half dozen years? Nope. Which is just what we predicted. Admitting the private sector is the best jobs-creating engine in existence doesn’t fit the narrative that big government creates jobs. Interestingly, only 300 people turned out for the event. We’ve been to town hall meetings for pipelines with more people than that! Here’s a recap of what the Pres did talk about last week on his shaleless visit to Pittsburgh…
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PA RINO Claims 50 Repubicans Ready to Vote Yes on Severance Tax

If you believe a left-leaning AP reporter and a few RINO sources, Republicans just can’t wait to vote for higher taxes in PA. According to the Democrat who pretends to be a Republican, Eugene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks), there’s “50 Republicans” in the state legislature who would vote for a nosebleed-high severance tax on Marcellus Shale drilling and do so right the heck now.

Really? How about some names Gene? Besides yourself and two or three other southeastern PA RINOs. Frankly, we think it’s smoke and mirrors to prop up your own pathetic campaign. And by the way–when will the Democrats in southeast PA boot people like DiGirolamo and replace him with a real Democrat, and not a pretender?…
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Lawyers Give Heads-up on Cobra Pipeline in Warren, OH

MDN makes no claims to omniscience when it comes to Marcellus and Utica drillers and pipeline operators–but it’s not often a completely new name pops up to surprise us–something we had not heard of before. Such is the case with Cobra Pipeline. According to the Cobra Pipeline website: “Cobra Pipeline Co., LTD is an Ohio based intrastate natural gas pipeline company headquartered in Willoughby, Ohio. Cobra Pipeline Co, LTD owns approximately 300 miles of intrastate gas pipeline and compression within the State of Ohio. Our system connects natural gas suppliers with major interstate transmission pipeline systems. Cobra Pipeline provides competitively priced gas transportation service as well as operating a safe and efficient gas pipeline system.”

So it appears Cobra is a local gathering system that perhaps at one point connected conventional (vertical only) wells, but increasingly now connects unconventional (shale) wells to larger pipeline systems. The reason it popped up on the radar is because a couple of lawyers recently spoke to a small group of landowners in Marietta (Washington County), OH about Cobra’s plans to come through that area–mostly along an existing route used by Columbia Pipeline. The lawyers were there to give landowners a heads-up and tips for how to negotiate the best deal for a pipeline easement, and what to do if eminent domain rears its ugly head…
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Boston Company’s “Top Gun” Innovation Cleans Shale Wastewater

A former Top Gun instructor and fighter pilot jock who flew hundreds of missions in Iraq and Bosnia, Jim Matheson, is CEO of Oasys Water of Boston. Matheson’s 5 year-old company has developed and is starting to deploy desalination technology used to clean and recycle some of the world’s dirtiest waters–including frack wastewater and brine (produced water). Using a super thin membrane, the process developed by Oasys pulls rather than pushes water through the membrane to capture the smallest contaminants. It is an intriguing technology.

Here’s more on Top Gun Jim Matheson and a product that has the makings of something very important for the shale industry…
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Labor Unions a Powerful Ally for Northeast Shale Industry

Unions in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio are backing shale drilling in a big way, and that’s giving lefty Democrats heartburn. The unions note that in the early days of northeast shale drilling a lot of the help came from out of state–places like Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. But that’s changed. Today most of the workers are local, and many of them belong to labor unions. Regardless of your opinion on labor unions, there is one inescapable fact–their members want jobs and they’re willing to work and work hard in those jobs.

Labor unions have become an important and powerful ally for the drilling industry. Here is that story…
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Striking Similarities Between Keystone XL Pipeline & NY Fracking

The Keystone XL Pipeline and high volume hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in New York State have a lot in common. In fact, we were thunderstruck by the similarities when reading in the Wall Street Journal on Saturday that President Obama has, once again, delayed a decision on the Keystone–likely until after the fall elections. Note how these two are similar: both the Keystone and NY fracking have been in limbo, on hold, for almost the same amount of time–just about six years; both are being delayed by indecisive Democrats who fear the rabidly left nutters in their party that make a lot of noise; both “leaders”–President Obama and Gov. Cuomo–are depending on the media to assist them and for voters to ignore their torpidity on this vital issue; both “leaders” are flagrantly violating law and litigation has ensued in both cases.

Not that it is a Marcellus or Utica story per se, but below is the WSJ article from Saturday. See if you too notice how closely the Keystone XL parallels fracking in NY…
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Feds Play Spin the Bottle with Bio Fuels, Now ‘Worse than Gasoline’

When you live by lack of empirical scientific inquiry, you die by lack of empirical scientific inquiry. Case in point: one of the so-called alternative fuels touted by green freaks are bio fuels–making fuel from corn. A few years ago the federal Energy Department’s Argonne National Laboratory claimed “biofuels made with corn residue were 95 percent better than gasoline in greenhouse gas emissions.” Now? A new study published yesterday in the journal Nature Climate Change, funded by the same federal government, says bio fuels are “worse than gasoline for global warming,” at least in the “short term.”

Of course the underlying research isn’t even real research–it’s the new lazy way of doing research by using “calculations” and scientific hocus pocus. It’s a “best guess” as to whether something is or is not better than good old fossil fuels. But hey, these kinds of games in making outrageous claims that are then debunked a few short years later keep the (taxpayer funded) grant money flowing…
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2 New Books on Fracking, from Cornell Profs & WSJ Reporter

A pair of recently published books on fracking to share with you. The first book bills itself as a reader-friendly, unbiased, guide to the science of fracking. Now don’t laugh, but it’s published by Cornell University, which has some rather famous anti-drilling professors with discredited research–Tony Ingraffea or Robert Howarth. However, this book makes no mention of either Tony or Bobby as authors, which would be the kiss of death if this book is to be taken seriously. And so we bring you the press announcement from Cornell about their latest book for the hoi polloi…
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