Cabot O&G to Supply NatGas for All of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre

how cool is thatAs we pointed out in January, UGI, a large northeast Pennsylvania utility (and midstream) company persevered against anti-progress, anti-drillers and eventually won and built the Auburn pipeline (see UGI Wins! Auburn Pipeline with Marcellus Gas in NEPA Goes Live). As we pointed out last week, UGI is building two more pipelines that will increase their delivery capacity by another 300 million cubic feet per day–all of it being supplied by Cabot Oil & Gas from Susquehanna County (see UGI Energy Building 2 New Pipelines in NEPA for Cabot O&G).

Now comes word from UGI that by this fall, “most” of the natural gas supplied and used by consumers in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area will be Marcellus Shale gas supplied by those two new pipelines. That means, in essence, that a single company–Cabot Oil & Gas–drilling in a single northeastern PA county–Susquehanna–will be supplying enough gas to meet all of the needs of NEPA’s largest metro area. Very cool. Ever cooler–Cabot has plenty of gas leftover to pipeline to New York, New England and other points in the U.S. and beyond. Behold the miracle of safe, effective and efficient hydraulic fracturing…
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Rumor Mill: Aubrey McClendon Buying Enduring Resources

rumor-mill.jpgReuters is reporting the rumor that Aubrey McClendon, former CEO of natgas behemoth Chesapeake Energy and current CEO of a new startup–American Energy Partners–is close to sealing a deal to buy Enduring Resources. Enduring is a shale driller with active rigs in both Utah and Texas. Rumor has it that the deal values Enduring at $2 billion, which is about how much money Aubrey has raised so far for his drilling program in the Utica Shale.

We told you before and will tell you again–never sell Aubrey McClendon short. Chesapeake (and corporate raider Carl Icahn) will come to rue the day they booted Aubrey out the door. Here’s what Reuters says about the rumor…
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Gastar, Stone Energy Jump on the Utica/WV Bandwagon

Gastar has traditionally concentrated on Marcellus Shale drilling in the northern panhandle of West Virginia. However, Gastar is currently drilling its first Utica Shale well in WV–in Marshall County. Based on results from others who have tried the Utica in WV, they believe they’ll have a winner.

It’s not cheap to drill the Utica in WV. The Utica/Point Pleasant formation sits two miles down. It typically costs $7 million to drill a Marcellus well in WV’s northern panhandle area–but a Utica well will cost them something like 3x that amount. And Gastar is still tickled pink and believe they’re going to make boatloads of money on it…
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Status Report on PA Royalty Bill HB 1684 – Recess Limbo

As MDN told you three weeks ago, Pennsylvania House Bill (HB) 1684 has hit some turbulence on its way to quick passage (see PA HB 1684 Guaranteed Minimum Royalty Act Hits a Snag). The bill, as originally introduced, was supported by the PA chapter of the National Royalty Owner’s Association and would provide for landowners to receive a minimum 12.5% in royalties, disallowing some of the shenanigans Chesapeake Energy has engaged in with reducing post-production expenses via a back door (see PA NARO Alert: Tell Your State Rep to Vote YES on HB 1684).

But along the way the drilling industry objected–rather loudly–saying lease contracts signed by two parties, the landowner and the driller, should not be modified by the legislature (see Rare Schism Between Landowners & Drillers over PA Royalty Law). Since the original bill, a number of amendments have been proposed, one of them that may well get adopted, that would fundamentally gut the intention of the bill to provide a minimum 12.5%. Lawmakers debated HB 1684 and amendments last week–before adjourning and heading out of town for a 3-week recess (wish we had a 3-week vacation whenever we wanted!). Here’s a status report and update on what happened last week and where things now stand with HB 1684…
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Chesapeake’s CEO Celebrates Axing 1,200 People Making Carl More $

We’re not sure there’s all that much to celebrate at Chesapeake–unless you’re Doug Lawler, Carl Icahn’s toady who’s axed over 1,200 people (see The Great Chesapeake Massacre: Lawler Fires 800 People in One Day) and sold off everything but the kitchen sink. Doug managed to increase production a paltry 11% in first quarter 2014 while hacking away at just about everything. Big whoop.

Excuse us if we don’t join in the victory lap now being taken by Lawler after he decimated the company’s people on his way to making corporate raider Carl Ichan more money in 1Q14…
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PA DEP Publishes First Annual O&G Report + Video (Very Cool)

Last week the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) published their first-ever Oil and Gas Annual Report–for the year 2013 (full copy below). The report celebrates the miracle of fracking shale in PA and the DEP’s hard work to keep it safe. Along with the report (with a lot of great information) the DEP has released a video starring some of the hard-working people for the Office of Oil and Gas Management. It is a FABULOUS video–we’ve embedded it below. Please give it a watch and as you have time, peruse the 31-page first-ever Annual report.

First up, the DEP press release announcing the report and its raison d’être…
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Rogue Federal EPA Tries New Power Play to Regulate Fracking

On Friday the rogue and out-of-control federal Environmental Protection Agency continued its rogue and out-of-control ways. Even though the drilling industry has formed to register the chemicals used at every single well drilled, and even though many states require their drillers to file reports with FracFocus, and even though anyone, including you and me as well as the EPA can run a quick search on any well to find out what chemicals have been used–the EPA is considering their own rule on reporting. On Friday the EPA issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR, full copy embedded below) that threatens to bring down the jackboots of the EPA on the necks of drillers everywhere–requiring them to do what they already do. In their ANPR the EPA says maybe new regulations will be federal regs (in violation of the U.S. Constitution which stipulates the states regulate oil and gas drilling), or maybe it will be voluntary, maybe it will be just a report filed with the feds, maybe a report filed with a third party (like FracFocus). Lots of maybes in the generic, mealy-mouthed ANPR.

Make no mistake. This is the beginning of a huge power grab–something the EPA has lusted for. The clock is ticking on the failed Obama administration and they want to grab any power–by law or fiat–that they can. The EPA has NO business regulating oil and gas drilling in the United States–unless we hand it to them on a silver platter. Once published in the Federal Register there will be a 90-day comment period. Let’s flood the power-crazed EPA with comments telling them “no thanks.” Below is the EPA press release along with a copy of the draft ANPR…
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PA Farmers Flourish Thanks to Marcellus While NY Farmers Fail

A rather long, and surprisingly pretty balanced, article appeared over the weekend in The Buffalo News comparing and contrasting Pennsylvania and New York’s approach to the issue of shale drilling. The reporter actually talked to a number of sources on both sides of the drilling issue and wrote a good article that presents the facts of the economic miracle happening in PA, and the economic misery happening in upstate NY because of our state’s dithering. You can tell it’s a good article when the cadre of about a half dozen anti-drillers (pathetic people with no lives apart from opposing drilling) flock to the comments to condemn the article and condemn those who dare to post a positive comment about drilling.

The article opens with the classic tale of two cities theme, comparing the fortunes (or lack thereof) of two farmers on opposite sides of the NY/PA border…
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Sunoco Builds Stronger Case for Mariner East as Public Utility

Brilliant move or manipulating the system? Your view will depend on your drilling proclivity. Late last week Sunoco Logistics, in a bid to strengthen its case before the PA Public Utility Commission (PUC) that the Mariner East pipeline should be considered a public utility, filed an application to deliver propane from western PA to its Twin Oaks terminal in Delaware County (eastern PA) using the Mariner East. By delivering propane from one end of the state to the other and redistributing it to customers in that area, Sunoco is attempting to prove that it is a public utility under PA’s definition.

MDN has chronicled Sunoco’s fight to use eminent domain against some recalcitrant landowners who refuse to allow the pipeline to cross their property in western PA, and homeowners in eastern PA who don’t want new compressor stations built along the pipeline’s existing route (see Sunoco Logistics Faces Hostile Crowd Over NGL Pipeline Station). Sunoco claims they are a public utility corporation with the right of eminent domain. Anti-drillers (and possibly some pro-drillers) fighting them claim they are not a public utility. The case is before the PA PUC and Sunoco has just hired attorney Michael Krancer and the legal beagles from the Blank Rome law firm to help out (see Sunoco Hires Big Gun Law Firms to Help Complete Ethane Pipeline). Looks like the legal assist is already paying off with this new strategy…
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Washington, PA Officials Try to Stop Marcellus Boarding House

In early February MDN told you about the rank hypocrisy of those in Washington, PA who are trying to block the rehabilitation of an old, unused and in-disrepair convent from being converted into housing for Marcellus Shale workers (see Marcellus Prejudice on Display at Washington, PA Church). The story has advanced since then. Seems that a second developer has picked up the property from the original buyer with the same thought. The new developer, Phive Starr Properties, is proving to be a tad more assertive.

Phive Star had the gall to tell Washington officials last week that there’s a big old hole in their zoning laws and that by provisions in their own laws the city can’t keep out a boarding house in the former convent property. Which has city officials “scrambling” (and butt covering) to see if there’s anyway they can still prevent it…
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New Issue: Ban Use of Cheap/Imported Steel Pipes in PA Marcellus?

A new issue comes to light–for us anyway. The chairman of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, Robert F. Powelson, writes an editorial in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer that claims America’s steel industry–in particular PA’s steel industry–is suffering from cheap steel pipeline imports from places like South Korea. The pipeline imported is used in shale drilling, namely in gathering pipelines and perhaps larger transmission pipelines. A lot of pipeline is also used during the drilling process itself. Powelson says “oil country tubular goods” or OCTG pipeline is illegally “dumped” on the market–meaning it’s sold below the cost to manufacture it. And that cuts some of the economic benefits PA would otherwise realize if PA or OH steel plants created that pipe.

Powelson’s proposed fix? Amend the Pennsylvania Gas and Hazardous Liquids Pipeline Act (Act 127) and require companies to report to the PUC the country of manufacture of the steel pipe used to transport natural gas from unconventional wells in PA. Would that work?…
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Small Businesses Target Marcellus Industry in SW PA

We’re always amazed at how many businesses find new work and new sources of revenue–which leads to expansions and new jobs–because of the Marcellus and Utica Shale. It is an economic engine like nothing we’ve seen in our lifetime. Not even Obama spending your money like a drunken sailor can come close to matching the economic miracle created by the Marcellus Shale. (Reminder: Every time the government spends money it comes from YOU and it destroys wealth–it never creates wealth.)

Recently a sign shop and a screen printing business (think customized t-shirts) in Washington County, PA merged to form a new business. That new business has just opened a second location in the heart of the Washington, PA business district. The main attraction? You guessed it–the Marcellus Shale and all of the businesses it’s attracting. The new sign sign shop, which bills itself as a “business branding company,” is targeting, in part, companies in the Marcellus supply chain…
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