PA DEP Fines Range Resources $4.15M for Wastewater Impoundments

taken to the woodshedRange Resources has just had their knuckles rapped, hard, by the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) with respect to wastewater/recycled water impoundments (i.e. ponds) they operate in Washington County, PA. Range has been fined the most any company has been fined by the DEP in the modern shale era–$4.15 million. They will also be required to close five of the seven impoundments they’ve operated in the county (Range was closing them anyway), and make major upgrades to the two remaining impoundments. There’s no way to sugarcoat this–Range was taken to the proverbial woodshed by the DEP and got a lot more than a switch to the rear-end…
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NJ’s Largest Utility Becomes 5th Partner in PennEast Pipeline

Even though there has been small but shrill opposition to the recently announced PennEast Pipeline, likening it to violating a virgin (see Pavlovian Opposition Continues Against PennEast, Atlantic Sunrise), the project continues to gain momentum. The $1 billion pipeline project that would flow cheap, abundant and clean-burning Marcellus Shale gas from northeast Pennsylvania all the way to Trenton, New Jersey was announced a month ago (see 3rd New NEPA Marcellus Pipeline Proposed, Connects to Trenton, NJ). The project is a joint venture between four companies, including energy utility giant UGI. The new news is that the quartet of partners in the PennEast Pipeline project have just become a quintet–adding PSEG (Public Service Electric & Gas) Power, New Jersey’s largest utility…
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Video: OH Lawyers Explain Dormant Minerals Act & Impact on Utica

An issue MDN has not previously tackled (until now) that is coming to the fore in Ohio is “the Dormant Minerals Right Act” (DMA) in that state. In a nutshell, there are two DMAs in Ohio–one passed in 1989 that went into effect in 1992, and another in 2006 which added certain additional procedural requirements to the 1989 version. The DMA in its various versions provides for mineral rights that had previously been separated from surface rights to transfer to the surface owner under certain conditions. The problem–for drillers and for landowners in Ohio–is in knowing which set of DMA rules to use (1989 or 2006) in determining who owns the mineral rights. It’s a big problem when drillers are spending sometimes up to $10,000-$12,000 per acre in lease bonuses–to say nothing of where to send the royalty check. Some drillers are holding back on leasing because of this issue. A case now sits with the Ohio Supreme Court, Walker v Noon, that will sort out these important issues. The very sharp lawyers at Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler have done a masterful job of explaining the case before the Supreme Court, a case brought by their firm…
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Penn State Study on Marcellus & Hotels: Saturation Point?

Is the hotel room shortage in the Marcellus region (Pennsylvania specifically) about to turn into a hotel room glut? Has there been a bit of “irrational exuberance” on the part of hoteliers to build, build, build to meeting demand, only to lead to too many rooms? That may be one conclusion you can draw from a new report by Penn State researchers. The report, titled “The Impact of Marcellus Shale Development on Hotel Revenues in Pennsylvania” (full copy below), was recently published by the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (CHRIE). It set out to determine just how much of an impact Marcellus Shale drilling has had on the hotel industry in PA. They found that (so far) Marcellus drilling has generated $685 million in new revenue and has led to 1,600 new jobs being created…
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Kinder Morgan Sweet Talks Maine to Support Mass. Pipeline

Here’s an interesting move by Kinder Morgan. On Wednesday, KM issued a press release (below) that they’ve filed an “historic” proposal with the Maine Public Utilities Commission offering the State of Maine a long-term contract for natural gas pipeline capacity with the goal of lowering overall energy costs for Maine consumers. This is the same pipeline, an expansion of the mightly Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP), that KM plans to build across the state of Massachusetts. According to the KM proposal, Maine can purchase up to 200 million cubic feet of natural gas per day from the new pipeline, when/if built, and virtually solve the problem of high electric and gas rates in Maine forevermore. KM already has 63% of the expanded TGP pipeline capacity spoken for (see Kinder Signs up New Customers for MA Pipeline, 63% of Capacity). Looks like they’re trying to fill the rest of the dance card by getting Maine (and a few others) on board. KM’s announcement on Wednesday also included a notice that they’ve done a pre-filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on the Pennsylvania portion of the Northeast Energy Direct project, as the pipeline expansion project is called…
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Big Congrats: ShaleNavigator Sells to Geospatial

A hearty congratulation to MDN friend (and Databook partner) Ed Camp from ShaleNavigator. Ed has just reached an agreement to sell his company, ShaleNavigator, to Geospatial Corporation. Ed will then go to work at Geospatial and continue to run ShaleNavigator as a division of Geospatial. You may recognize the name ShaleNavigator because it is the software used to create the maps in MDN’s Marcellus and Utica Shale Databook. Have no fear, Ed will continue to generate those lovely maps that are the heart and soul of the Databook (speaking of which, Volume 2 of the 2014 series is due out in the next few weeks, stay tuned). Here’s the announcement that it’s time to pop the cork on the bubbly for a an all-around great guy, Ed Camp, and the marriage of his ShaleNavigator with Geospatial…
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Dela. Riverkeeper Opposes New Electric Line Because of…Fracking?

So screwed up are the fossil fuel haters that they’ve taken to opposing a proposed new regional electric power line that would run from Pennsylvania to points in New Jersey, New York and Maryland because (follow this twisted logic)–it runs through Marcellus Shale regions and the new power line will be an incentive for power plants to locate in that region to tap into cheap, abundant and clean-burning natural gas to generate electricity at a cheaper cost than can be generated in other places. And even though fracking has been proven not to contaminate water (see Federal NETL Study: Fracking Doesn’t Contaminate Water Supplies), apparently the word hasn’t yet reached THE Delaware River Keeper herself (Maya van Rossum) because she says the power line will be an incentive for more fracking and fracking is evil ’cause fossil fuels are evil and la la la la don’t tell me otherwise I’m-not-listening…
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MDN’s Prediction of Gastar Stock Offering Scary Accurate

We don’t toot our own horn too often (at least, we hope not), but we want to point out how MDN keeps readers on the cutting edge. Yesterday we brought you the news that Gastar Exploration is a) shifting their drilling focus to a play outside the Marcellus/Utica in 2015, and b) is issuing more common stock, hoping to raise more money for drilling (see Gastar 2015 Budget: Scaling Back Marcellus/Utica Drilling). We said, based on our back-of-the-envelope calculations, we expect Gastar will raise around $100 million from issuing the new stock. After we published yesterday, Gastar released an update on their stock offering to say they expect to raise…
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MDN to Attend Shale Insight Next Week in Pittsburgh

shout outA shout out to MDN readers who may be attending the always-excellent Shale Insight conference next this week in Pittsburgh. If you’re going, drop MDN editor Jim Willis an email ([email protected]). He would like to meet you at the show!

Once again, as in past years, Jim will be hanging out at the NGI (Natural Gas Intelligence) booth. If you haven’t considered going, we give Shale Insight our highest recommendation as the premier show of its kind–covering all things Marcellus (and Utica). Give it a look: // See you at the show!