First Shoe Drops: WPX Sells 1/2 Marcellus Assets to Southwestern

shoe droppingAs we’ve been saying for some time, WPX Energy, the spun off but totally independent exploration & production company that was once part of midstream giant Williams, has been looking to exit the Marcellus stage left (see Flip Flop: All of WPX’s Marcellus Wells on the Auction Block). The first shoe has now dropped: WPX announced yesterday they’ve sold all of their Susquehanna County, PA leases and wells to Southwestern Energy for $300 million. We have all of the facts of the deal–how many acres, how many wells–along with answers to questions that landowners still signed with WPX in other PA geographies want to know–primarily, “Are we next?” We also have Southwestern’s take on the deal and (interestingly) what they seem to most value about the deal. It may surprise you…
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WV Looks to Lease More Ohio River, Other State Land for Drilling

West Virginia is interested in leasing more under-the-water land (and under other state-owned land) for shale drilling. You may recall that Gastar recently had the winning bid to drill under 232 acres of the Ohio River as it flows through Marshall and Wetzel counties (see Gastar Wins Lease to Drill Under Ohio River in WV). WV is getting $3,500 per acre and a 20% royalty on gas produced from Gastar–a nifty $812,000 check just for signing the lease, money that goes into the coffers of the state. They like that money and they want more of it–and Gastar is interested in drilling under more WV-owned land…
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PA DEP Fines Cabot $120K for January Water Tank Explosion in NEPA

Here’s one that slipped by us when it happened. On Jan. 11, 2014 there was an explosion at a Cabot Oil & Gas well site in Susquehanna Count, PA. The explosion happened in a brine water storage tank at the site in Jessup Township, caused by a water truck driver (who was injured in the blast). The incident is coming to light now because yesterday the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) levied a $120,000 fine on Cabot. Thanks to the investigative work done by the Scranton Times-Tribune, we know exactly what happened…
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FERC Issues Final Approval for Constitution Pipeline in PA/NY

We’ve been writing about the Constitution Pipeline for, like, forever! The Constitution is planned to run 124 miles from Susquehanna County, PA up into New York State, all the way to Schoharie County where it will connect to both the Iroquois Gas Transmission pipeline and the Tennessee Gas Pipeline. It will flow some 650,000 dekatherms of natural gas per day (enough natural gas to serve approximately 3 million homes), most of it produced by Cabot Oil & Gas, one of the owners of the pipeline. In October, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a final environmental approval (see Constitution Pipeline Gets FERC Final Environmental Approval). Yesterday, FERC issued its final approval for the project–meaning the shovels will now hit the ground and construction will now begin. Horray!…
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Deerfield MA, Kinder Morgan Lawyers Swap Barbs over NED Pipeline

Kinder Morgan has put the town of Deerfield, MA on notice that its attempt to block the Tennessee Gas Pipeline expansion through the town–the Northeast Energy Direct (or NED) project–will not be stopped by a laughable “ban” enacted by the Deerfield Board of (so-called) Health. You may recall MDN covered the Deerfield BOH “order” in October to “cease immediately all of its activities in Deerfield related to the construction of the proposed pipeline within the boundaries of the town” (see Deerfield MA “Bans” Kinder Morgan TGP Pipeline – Or So They Claim). Kinder says, in so many words, nice try, but no cigar…
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Atlantic Coast Pipeline: $25M/Yr in Prop. Tax, $70M/Yr Econ Impact

The arguments by anti-drillers against pipeline projects, like Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline which is slated to run from West Virginia to North Carolina, usually amount to this: “There’s no long-term benefit to the communities through which the pipeline runs. We have to ‘put up’ with the darned thing, but we see no benefit from it.” Benefit meaning money–other than a one-time fee paid to landowners through whose land it runs. Dominion is attempting to counter those criticisms by pointing out that once the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is fully operational, it will be paying in excess of $25 million per year to counties and local municipalities in property taxes (see the list below). During construction, the pipeline will generate nearly half a billion dollars per year in economic impact in WV, VA and NC. Once the construction phase is over, through permanent jobs created and associated ongoing operating costs for the pipeline, Dominion projects the pipeline will spur nearly $70 million per year of ongoing economic activity (see full report below)…
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Who Gets the Kids in NiSource/Columbia Gas Divorce?

At the end of September MDN brought you the news that NiSource, owner of Columbia Gas, will be spinning Columbia off into its own company in 2015 (see NiSource Splits in Two: Columbia Pipeline Will be Separate Company). NiSource the utility will remain focused on being a utility, and Columbia Gas will be spun off into it’s own company called Columbia Pipeline Group (CPG) under a master limited partnership (MLP) structure. It’s an amicable divorce. But you know, when people get divorced, they have to split everything–including the kids. Who gets the kids? NiSource and Columbia issued an announcement today detailing which executives will stay with NiSource, and which will go with Columbia–along with a list of who will sit on which board of directors…
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NY Congressman Gives Gov Cuomo Verbal Slap Over Fracking Issue

Three cheers for Republican Congressman Chris Collins from western New York’s 27th Congressional District (northwest part of the state, including some Buffalo suburbs). In a column appearing in City & State NY, Collins takes direct aim at Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his cowardice on the fracking issue and tells Cuomo–it’s time to open NY for fracking. Collins says he looks forward to NY becoming “the next state to lead American’s energy resurgence.” Here’s part of Collin’s pointed words for Cuomo…
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