CONSOL to Begin Drilling at Pittsburgh Airport Next Week

coming next weekThe last hurdle has been jumped for CONSOL Energy with their plan to begin drilling at Pittsburgh International Airport. MDN has extensively covered the plan put forward by CONSOL to drill 47 wells on airport property–a plan that will ultimately net the airport something like $1 billion in revenue (see CONSOL Energy Reveals Drilling Plan for Pittsburgh Airport). The last hurdle was zoning permit approval from Findlay Township, where the property is located. MDN pointed out more than a month ago that Findlay was holding things up (see Local Town Slows CONSOL’s Plan to Drill at Pittsburgh Airport).

Wednesday night, Findlay supervisors voted 2-1 to approve CONSOL’s permits to drill at the airport. But not without 23 “conditions” attached to their approval, including limits on noise, working hours, creation of a public complaint hotline and air monitoring throughout drilling operations. Still, CONSOL was happy with the end result and says they’re ready to begin, as early as next week, a drilling program that will be “a model for the entire nation”…
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EQT Leaving the Utica? Maybe. Guernsey County Wells Disappoint

On a quarterly earnings call yesterday with analysts, EQT said they have drilled 8 wells in the Utica Shale, along the western side of the Utica, with 3 of those wells online. And they are not happy with the results. Therefore, effective immediately, their planned program to drill 21 Utica wells this year has gone to 0 while they “evaluate” the wells they’re completing and bringing online. Meanwhile, EQT is moving the money they would have spent to drill the 21 Utica wells (all of them in Guernsey County, OH) into drilling an additional 8 Marcellus and 13 Upper Devonian wells this year.

Antero Resource recently reported some less-than-stellar results in the same general area, along the western edge of the Utica…
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EQT 1Q14: Marcellus Doing Great, Utica Not So Much

Yesterday EQT released their first quarter 2014 results, along with conducting an analyst call. One of the bigger pieces of news is that EQT is not happy with their Utica Shale well results (see our companion story today). However, the rest of the news was very positive. Production was 30% higher than a year ago, expenses were 17% lower, and EQT’s midstream division is humming right along too.

EQT drilled 64 gross wells in 1Q14: 46 wells targeting the Marcellus, 14 wells targeting the Huron, and 4 wells targeting the Upper Devonian Shale. In 2014, EQT will complete and evaluate 5 Utica wells drilled in 2013 but will not drill any more wells on its Ohio Utica acreage–at least until after this year. Instead, EQT now expects to drill 8 additional Marcellus wells and 13 additional Upper Devonian wells for a total of 194 Marcellus wells and 43 Upper Devonian wells in 2014. The change does not result in any additional capital outlay. Below is a portion of the update released by EQT yesterday, and the full transcript of the analyst call (lots of really interesting stuff)…
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Cabot 1Q14: Marcellus Continues to Soar for Cabot

Cabot Oil & Gas published their first quarter 2014 update yesterday, and the news continues to be spectacular. On more than one occasion MDN has noted how Cabot continues to spin gold from hay–making money hand over fist in the dry gas Marcellus of Susquehanna County, PA, even in a low commodity price environment. This latest update continues that trend. Cabot’s production is up 34% from the same time last year. Net income is up 102% over last year. And costs are down 19%.

Here’s the Cabot 1Q14 update:
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Noble Energy 1Q14: Marcellus Experiments Paying Off

Noble Energy is a big driller involved in a number of resource plays–both onshore and offshore. One of their offshore operations–off the coast of Israel–has transformed Israel from energy dependent to becoming almost completely energy independent. Yesterday in the parade of quarterly earnings updates, Noble released their update for first quarter 2014. Noble is a big driller in the Marcellus Shale and their northeast program, which is what interests us, continues to perform very well for the company.

Of particular interest to MDN is a brief paragraph about Noble’s Marcellus program and the experimentation they’ve been doing–and the impressive results they’ve been getting from those experiments…
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Republicans (!) Seek to Slow Approval of Deer Lakes Park Lease?

To us, a somewhat strange case in the ongoing effort for Allegheny County, PA to lease land under Deer Lakes Park for drilling. Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald squeezed Range Resources hard and negotiated a deal to allow Range to drill under (not on) Deer Lakes Park for a $4.7 million in signing bonus and 18% royalties, which will net the county something over $70 million over the next 20-30 years (see Allegheny Co Exec Bests Range on Deer Lakes Park Lease Deal). It’s a sweet deal. The only thing that remains is for the 15-member county council to approve it.

The strange part is a bid by a pair of Republicans to enlist outside legal counsel to review the lease–when council already has its own attorney for that purpose. Normally it’s the Republicans who are pro-drilling. The effort to get outside counsel, which failed in committee along a party-line vote of 5-2, is nothing more than a “stall tactic” according to Rich Fitzgerald. That’s the strange part–why would the Republicans want to delay this lease? Council will meet next Wednesday to take up the Deer Lakes Park lease again–hopefully to approve it…
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Baker Hughes to Publish Frack Fluid “Secrets” on FracFocus

Baker Hughes, a major oilfield services company that competes with Halliburton and Schlumberger has “quietly” implemented a new policy to disclose all (even proprietary) ingredients used in their fracking fluids, according to a report by EnergyWire. The full recipes for each fracking fluid used at every well will be filed with the FracFocus.org website. FracFocus has been knocked around and pilloried by anti-drillers since it was launched, including an attack by Harvard (see FracFocus Responds to Flawed Harvard Study + MDN has a Question). The fact is, FracFocus just keeps getting better and better (see FracFocus 2.0 – Fracking Fluid Chemical Registry Gets Even Better).

You don’t hear much these days from anti-drillers throwing out the argument, “The industry keeps its fracking fluids secret,” except from a few out-of-touch, hardened wackos. That’s because the drilling industry makes all chemicals known–and now, even the tiny bit of “secret” in their secret sauce…
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New PA Regs Limiting NOx/VOC Likely Affect Compressor Stations

The Babst Calland law firm has put out an alert that proposed new rules recently issued by the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board to require “reasonably available control technology” (RACT) will affect “hundreds of facilities” that produce nitrogen oxides (NOx) or volatile organic compounds (VOCs), requiring them to spend money and install new equipment. There are nine source categories covered by the new rule, and although none of those categories say “compressor stations,” one of them is “turbines” which may cover compressor stations. At any rate, pipeline compressor stations are a major source of NOx and VOCs and will almost certainly be affected by the coming changes.

Here’s the Administrative Watch for the RACT proposed rules, issued by the legal beagles at Babst Calland:
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The Only Oil Industry Exec Loved by NY’s Anti-Drilling Wackos

There’s a reason why the so-called Elected Officials to Protect New York–a group of numskull politicians in New York State who oppose drilling so they can get more votes–trots out a “retired high-ranking oil executive” who’s already made his millions and doesn’t give a #$%@ about anyone else making money–to declare the miracle of hydraulic fracturing can’t be done safely. The reason? Because they can’t find anyone else from the industry to do it–like someone who has actually been in charge of a fracking operation and knows how safe it is (unlike the “retired high-ranking oil executive” who retired before high-volume fracking came around). And so, one rich, old, white guy is the darling of New York’s anti-drillers and gets major play in anti-drilling publications like the Albany Times Union, while thousands of oil company executives that actually oversee fracking are never consulted for their opinion about a subject on which they are expert. Figures.

Anti-drilling politicians trot out the retired executive–who has a summer home in swanky Cooperstown next to other retired, rich, white liberals–to denigrate one of the highest achievements of mankind yet: hydraulic fracturing. He thinks all fracking should be shut down–it ain’t safe, ya know. And the TU, in dictation mode, dutifully “reports” it. Meanwhile, the retired executive sips another martini with his rich, white, liberal neighbors…
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4 Anti Groups File Petition Against Sunoco Logistics with PUC

Last Friday an environmentalist lawyer, on behalf of a group of residents from West Goshen, PA, filed an official request (or petition) with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) to argue that Sunoco Logistics and its Mariner East natural gas liquids pipeline should not be granted “public utility corporation” status (see More Pushback from PA Residents on Proposed Mariner East Pipeline). Four well-funded anti-drilling groups joined in the chorus and filed their own petitions with the PUC by the deadline on Monday. Those groups include The Delaware Riverkeeper (see Delaware Riverkeeper Gets a French Kiss from Phila. Inquirer), the Clean Air Council, the Pipeline Safety Coalition and the Mountain Watershed Association.

All of the groups filing argue that Sunoco Logistics–actually a subsidiary called Sunoco Pipeline–does not meet “the legal standard” to qualify as a public utility corporation–which is not to be confused with being a public utility proper…
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MarkWest Energy Board Change: Bailey Retiring, Bruckmann Joining

A change on the way to the board of directors for MarkWest Energy–arguably the biggest midstream player in the Marcellus/Utica region. MarkWest announced today that Keith Bailey is retiring from the board in June. In his place MarkWest is putting forward for nomination William Bruckmann III, currently a consultant but formerly with Williams. Here’s the announcement:
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See Awesome Shale Technologies on Display at SGICC Awards

For the third year running the Ben Franklin Shale Gas Innovation and Commercialization Center (SGICC) is holding a contest for the best shale gas-oriented innovations/new products/new service ideas. This year’s contest will award $25,000 to four winners (see 2014 Ben Franklin Shale Gas Contest – $100K in Cash Prizes!). The deadline to enter the contest is long over (Feb. 1st). However, you can attend the awards ceremony–FREE–in Pittsburgh and get a close-up look at the 13 finalists and their awesome products and services. And see who takes home the prize money!

Here’s an announcement from the SGICC with details about attending the awards ceremony on May 15th in Pittsburgh…
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