Smoking Gun in NY? Cuomo Political Aides Met with Shah & Martens

smoking gunLet’s give credit where it’s due. Gannett repeatedly filed Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests to get schedule details about former Commissioner of the New York State Dept. of Health (DOH) Nirav Shah. Gannett has been fishing to see who Shah talked to in his now 1.5+ year “review” of proposed fracking regulations–a process that Shah himself said should only take a few weeks to complete (see NY Health Com. Nirav Shah Says Fracking Health Review Almost Done). Not long after that statement, Shah did some major backpedaling and refused to peg a date when he would finish his review (see Cuomo Underling Shah: “No Timetable” on Fracking Decision). It’s now a year and a half later. The question we posed at the time was, who’s pulling Shah’s strings? Thanks to some (rare) investigative reporting by Gannett–now we know. Andrew Cuomo was and is pulling the strings, and there’s a smoking gun to prove it…
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Rice Energy’s Bigfoot New Reigning Utica Well Champ – 42 Mmcf/d!

Rice Energy’s corny well names have, in this case, turned into a self-fulling prophecy. Rice announced yesterday that their first Utica Shale well–the Bigfoot 9H in Belmont County–is producing an initial 41.69 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. That production places the Bigfoot on top of the heap as the most productive Utica well so far–flying by Antero Resources’ Yontz well (see Antero Resources Utica Well Produces Stratospheric 38.9 Mmcf/d). In addition to this huge news, Rice also announced they’ve increased their line of credit and they’ve lined up more pipeline capacity for their Utica Shale gas…
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Good News: Maryland Approves Dominion Cove Point LNG Plant

First the Dept. of Energy approved it (see Celebrate! Dominion Wins DOE Approval for MD LNG Export Facility), then the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (see FERC Final EIS: Cove Point Won’t Hurt Environment), and now, the Maryland Public Service Commission has approved Dominion’s plan to build a ~$3.5 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plant in Cove Point, MD. Specifically, the PSC issued a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) last Friday. The certificate is needed to allow Dominion to install two 65-megawatt steam turbine generators that produce electricity. The waste heat from two combustion turbines, which are used to drive compressors to produce LNG, will be recycled to produce steam to drive the steam turbines. The PSC’s action is yet another important milestone/hurdle passed by Dominion on their inevitable way to building and operating the plant…
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Obama’s Climate Madness Metastasizes – EPA Kills Coal Electricity

blackoutsGet ready for rolling blackouts. We predict a run on candles at the local Walmart. We’re talking, of course, about President Obama’s EPA unilaterally forcing coal generating electric plants to shut down in the coming years because they can’t meet strict new carbon emission standards (coal is made from…carbon). All of the wind and solar and purple unicorns in the world won’t replace the electricity that’s about to go away thanks to the Obamadroids. Some of the slack will be taken up by natural gas–but it’s a hollow victory for natgas because electric power plants won’t be able to convert quickly enough and infrastructure won’t be in place soon enough to prevent mass electric outages. And no, we’re not kidding…
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Aubrey McClendon Announces 2 New Hires for AEP’s Utica Operation

Aubrey McClendon announced yesterday that he’s made a couple of key hires for his new company American Energy Partners. Now working at AEP is Jeff Agosta, who becomes AEP’s Chief Financial Officer for the Utica Shale division. Agosta is the former CFO for oil drilling giant Devon Energy (from 2010-2014). Devon previously flirted with a few Utica Shale wells but has since moved on to other projects. Although no salary was mentioned by AEP in their announcement, Agosta earned a tidy income of $1.6 million at Devon in 2013, and prior to that, $4.4 million in 2012 (according to Reuters). Did Agosta’s pay cut at Devon had something to do with his being in the job market? In addition to Agosta, McClendon rescued another friend from the clutches of Carl Icahn and Chesapeake Energy. Jeff Mobley most recently served as senior VP of investor relations and research at Chesapeake. He becomes senior VP of major acquisitions at AEP…
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MarkWest Washington, PA Plant Struck by Lightening Reopens

At 6:00 pm last Wednesday night lightening struck the MarkWest Energy gas processing complex in Chartiers (Washington County), PA, otherwise known as the Houston complex (see Lightening Strike at MarkWest Chartiers Plant Causes Evacuation). The strike caused a small fire and an evacuation of residents living in the area. MarkWest announced yesterday the complex has been reopened–most of it anyway. Plant III is still closed pending repairs, so in the meantime, MarkWest is rerouting some incoming gas to their complex in Majorsville, WV…
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MarkWest Beefs Up Bluestone Plant in NWPA – Mostly for Rex Energy

Good news for drillers in northwestern Pennsylvania–particularly Rex Energy. MarkWest announced yesterday they doubled the processing capacity at their Bluestone plant in Butler County, PA. The Bluestone II plant is now online and operating and processing an additional 120 million cubic feet of gas per day. In addition to the new plant, MarkWest has added ethane and heavier fractionation capabilities to the original Bluestone plant–20,000 barrels per day. And they’ve completed a 32-mile ethane pipeline which connects to the Mariner West pipeline, flowing ethane all the way to Sarnia, Ontario…
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Watch Who’s For & Against Change in DOE’s LNG Approval Process

Last week MDN told you about the Dept. of Energy announcement that they’re changing the way they approve potential LNG (liquefied natural gas) export projects to non-free trade countries (see DOE Changes Way They Evaluate/Approve LNG Export Facilities). We said at the time that while we appreciate that the DOE wants to streamline and turn a two-stage process into a single approval process, we have some deep reservations about the change-up. So we noticed, with interest, that the anti-drilling Sierra Club praised the change, and the pro-gas Center for LNG (CLNG) expressed deep reservations, not unlike our own, which verifies our own thinking and skepticism about this policy change…
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