Revisiting the EQT “Forced Pooling” Lawsuit

second lookYesterday MDN wrote a summary and interpretation of an article appearing in the Harrisburg Patriot-News about the recent court decision known as EQT Production v. Opatkiewicz, et al (see EQT’s (Mis)Use of 2013 Royalty Law Creates Forced Pooling). MDN friend and one of our legal idols–Dr. Michael Joy (with top law firm Reed Smith, holder of advanced degrees in both geology and the law) wrote to tell us–you’re wrong about your opinion of that case! When someone of Michael’s stature tells you you’re wrong, you step back and do some reflecting to see where you came off the tracks…
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Revisiting the Bakken Crude Shipment Through NY Debate

Let’s revisit the issue of Bakken Shale oil traveling on down the train tracks. MDN has written to criticize New York anti-drillers who fought to get train movement information released–not so people could be safer but so they could use the information in their PR offensive against shale drilling. In the process they’ve made New Yorkers less safe (see New York Caves to Anti-Drillers Again: Discloses Oil Train Movements). Is there, however, another side to this story? A North Dakota resident sent out an op-ed to a number of media outlets, including MDN. In it he calls out his own state government for their unwillingness to force Bakken drillers to first separate out natural gas liquids from the light sweet crude produced in the Bakken–chemicals that make train shipments much more volatile and explosive. He says he supports drilling and simply wants the output from Bakken drilling cleaned up before shipping–to make it safer. Is it really that simple?…
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CONSOL Energy 2Q14: Production Up, Margins Up, Costs Down

CONSOL Energy issued their second quarter update yesterday. Although the company lost $25 million for the quarter due to accounting this and write-down that, the shale drilling division of the company performed like a star. Production was 51.9 billion cubic feet equivalent, up 34% over the same period a year ago. That converts to an average of 576 million cubic feet per day. Although the update contains a lot of information about the Marcellus/Utica, most of it relates to the financial aspects and not to operations. Here’s the brief couple of paragraphs of most interest to MDN:
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Odebrecht Cracker Plant Will be Magnet for Downstream Development

David Peebles, VP of business development for Odebrecht, presented a plan for downstream development related to his company’s proposed ethane cracker plant in Parkersburg, WV at the Department of Energy Quadrennial Energy Review Public Meeting held at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh on July 21st. The presentation shows how the proposed Odebrecht $2B+ ethane cracker plant is just the beginning of “clusters” of downstream manufacturing facilities that will be built. The cracker plant will act as a magnet for other businesses. Peebles presented the plan to DOE Sec. Ernest Moniz. And, we happen to have a copy!…
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Chevron Puts Moon Twp, PA Office Building Project on Hold

In February 2011 Chevron completed the purchase/buyout of Atlas Energy and with it, some 622,000 acres of Marcellus Shale leases. Atlas was located in Moon Township, PA (Allegheny County, near Pittsburgh). In September 2011, Chevron picked up another 228,000 acres–this time from Chief Oil & Gas (see Chevron Continues Aggressive Expansion into Marcellus Shale in PA – Buys Leases for Additional 228K Acres from Chief Oil & Gas). In May 2013 it was rumored that Chevron would build a new, massive 350,000 square foot headquarters in Moon Twp, a rumor that was confirmed when Chevron gained initial approval for the new facility in September 2013 (see Chevron Wins 1st Approval for New Regional HQ Near Pittsburgh). Chevron has just put those plans on hold…
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DOE Releases “New Initiatives” to Cut Fugitive Methane

Ernest MonizThe Department of Energy (DOE) under the guidance of Secretary Ernest “Hair” Moniz, at the direction of the White House, has been on a fools errand to cut down on methane emissions, claiming such emissions are a “potent greenhouse gas” (although the earth isn’t actually warming). Still, when the boss says jump, you say, “How high?” So the DOE has been conducting methane round tables with various environmental and industry participants to try and figure out how they can regulate methane emissions to cut them down to size. The fifth and final round table was held and yesterday Sec. Moniz and the DOE issued several new initiatives to help cut down on methane emissions, part of the larger Obama Administration “Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions”…
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Martians Still Trying to Invade Neighbors to Prevent Drilling

Nasty, and frankly loony, anti-drillers in Mars, PA want to exceed their constitutional authority. They want a 2 mile exclusion zone around the school to deny landowners the right to allow Marcellus Shale drilling on or under their land. State law already prohibits drilling within 500 feet of a school. As we frequently point out, the Elk Lake School District in Susquehanna County, PA has a couple of wells right on school property (see Rural NE PA School Nets $1.7M in Royalties from 2 Marcellus Wells). The Elk Lake wells totally debunk any arguments from Mars parents that their little Martian crumb-crunchers would be damaged by drilling…
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