Big News: Williams Partners Buying Access Midstream for $6B

Big-news.jpgReally big news in the midstream (pipelines & processing plants) world, not only for the Marcellus and Utica Shale, but for other major U.S. shale plays as well. Williams announced yesterday (Sunday!) that they are buying Access Midstream for $6 billion (actually $5.995B, but we’re rounding it up). Access, you may recall, is the renamed and former division of Chesapeake Energy called Chesapeake Midstream (see Chesapeake Midstream Changes Name to Access Midstream).Williams says they will pay for half of the purchases with “equity,” meaning ownership via stock and shares in Williams, and the other half with debt borrowing and cash on hand in the kitty. The proposed merger is expected to be completed later this year. What does it mean for the Marcellus/Utica?…
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Range “Sludge” in WV Landfill Not So Radioactive After All

The West Virginia Dept. of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) is telling everyone to calm down over so-called radioactive “sludge” being dumped in WV landfills. You may recall not long ago a load of drill cuttings was refused at a southwest PA landfill for being “too radioactive” and sent to a different landfill, owned by the same company as the PA landfill, in WV (see Range Radioactive Containers Sent to WV for Disposal). That got everyone up in arms–that Range was “secretly” shipping stuff that will make those poor hicks in WV glow in the dark. So the WVDEP slammed the door on any more imported “radioactive sludge” (see Curious: Everyone’s Happy with WV Ban on Imported Drilling Sludge). The WVDEP launched and investigation and found the so-called sludge, or drill cuttings, have next to no radioactivity…
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Rice Energy Does 2nd Deal with Belmont County, $8,200/Acre!

In April, Belmont County officials signed a lease with Rice Energy to allow drilling on 406 acres of county-owned land for a staggering $7,500 per acre and 20% royalties. They liked it so much, they immediately put another 426 acres up for bid (see Belmont County Shopping New Deal to Lease Additional 426 Acres). It didn’t take long for Belmont County to sign a new lease with Rice for the second parcel–for an even higher $8,200 per acre signing bonus with 20% royalties…
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Caving on PA Severance Tax Renamed as a “Pivot”

Funny how we euphemize things so often–making up words and using alternative words instead of just saying the honest thing. You find it happening a lot in the political world–like right now in Pennsylvania where the media says PA is likely to “pivot” on the issue of a severance tax on Marcellus Shale gas. According to “insiders.” Pivot actually means “cave” or “throw in the towel” or “admit defeat.” If Republicans allow it to happen, that’s what they’re doing. “Insiders” means “rat-fink leakers”–people who don’t have the guts to go on the record. Some Republicans in Name Only (RINOs) like Sen. Edwin Erickson, R-Delaware County, want to steal the hard-earned money from shale drillers and give it away to those who haven’t earned it–teacher’s unions. No where in the PA budget debate do we see the option of doing with less–like what happens in the real world with real budgets. Instead, the philosophy of PA’s Dems and RINOs is tax a single industry that’s producing money and give it to another industry (Big Education) that vacuums up money like a Hoover…
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Goldman Sachs Report on What’s Holding Back the Shale Revolution

The analysts at Goldman Sachs released a new report earlier this month titled, “Unlocking the Economic Potential of North America’s Energy Resources” (full copy embedded below). The report says the clock is ticking and time is limited for North America to take advantage of the shale oil and gas boom currently under way. And what, pray tell, is holding us back? Certainly not capital (i.e. money) for drilling. Rather, it is money for what the report’s authors say is on the “demand response” side of the equation. That is, the infrastructure (pipelines) to get oil and gas where it needs to go, and manufacturing plants to take advantage of all this cheap, abundant energy, which would provide magnitudes more jobs…
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Clearfield County Residents: Get $100 to Learn about Marcellus

How would you like to earn a cool $100–just for learning about Marcellus Shale drilling? That’s the promise from Penn State to those who live in and around Clearfield County, PA. Penn State, using funding from the National Science Foundation, is offering a 10-week course called Marcellus Community Science Volunteer Program on Monday nights in DuBois. Adults will learn all about the science behind shale drilling, along with its benefits and drawbacks. This is not the first group Penn State has done this with. They ran the same course earlier this year…
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New Zoning Law Needlessly Restricts Drilling in SWPA Borough

Pittsburgh, PA is located in Allegheny County. So you can imagine that any town, borough or hollow in Allegheny is somehow in the Pittsburgh political orbit–including Jefferson Hills. Most large cities like Pittsburgh lean liberal in their politics, and surrounding neighborhoods often lean that way too. Like Jefferson Hills (population 10,619). Last week Jefferson Hills Borough Council voted 6-0 to lard on new restrictions for shale drilling–on top of the already strict standards set up by the state Dept. of Environmental Protection. The new unnecessary standards create a “conditional use” situation where a driller has to get paperwork signed in triplicate for every minor step in the drilling process…
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