UIL Makes it Official: $1.86B Deal to Buy Phila. Gas Works is Dead

pulled the plugSensing that the corrupt Philadelphia City Council will not budget–will not even talk to UIL Holdings about their proposed $1.86 BILLION offer to purchase the municipal-owned Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW)–the company has pulled the plug on the deal. It’s now officially 100% dead. Even though UIL has assured and reassured anyone who would listen that they won’t come in and fire the union workers, and that they would accelerate an already-ambitious schedule of upgrading PGW’s failing pipeline infrastructure, City Council members are stuck in the pockets of powerful unions and shadowy others in the background who opposed the deal. UIL has been more than patient. Philly’s dream of being an “energy hub” in the northeast is also dead along with the deal…
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WGL & Antero to Provide Marcellus Gas to India via Cove Point

An exciting announcement yesterday. You know that Dominion was given the green light in September and is now building an LNG (liquefied natural gas) export facility in Cove Point, Maryland (see Dominion Gets Final Fed Approval to Build Cove Point LNG Plant). Dominion has already lined up Japan and India to purchase all of the LNG the plant can produce. The question has remained, who will ship natural gas to the plant, and where will that gas come from? Stands to reason most of it (perhaps all of it) will come from the Marcellus and Utica. We previously told you that Cabot Oil & Gas is one of the suppliers–supplying 0.35 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of gas to Japan when the plant is up and operating (see Cabot Signs Deal to Export Gas via Cove Point, MD). We now know of the first official supplier for India: WGL Midstream, using Marcellus gas supplied by Antero Resources…
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FERC Approves OPEN Pipeline in Eastern OH, Gas Goes to Gulf Coast

Christmas continues to come a few weeks early for some of our biggest midstream (pipeline) companies. MDN told you earlier this week that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) had approved the Constitution Pipeline from NEPA up into NY. We now have word that FERC has approved Spectra Energy’s OPEN (Ohio Pipeline Energy Network) project in Ohio. Spectra originally announced the project in December 2011, a project that will build 76 miles of new pipeline from Columbiana County to Monroe County to connect to the Texas Eastern Pipeline, and then reverse the flow–make it bidirectional–on the Texas Eastern in order to carry Marcellus and Utica Shale gas from eastern Ohio to the Gulf Coast. Spectra finally filed a full, official application with FERC in February of this year (see Spectra Energy Files Formal Request with FERC for OPEN Pipeline). On Tuesday, FERC gave its final blessing for the OPEN project…
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Skeptical MA Farmers Hear From/Talk To Kinder about TGP Expansion

The Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation is holding its annual two-day convention yesterday and today at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. One of the talks yesterday was given by reps from Kinder Morgan, to talk about the proposed expansion of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline through (now) only part of Massachusetts. What can farmers expect if the Northeast Energy Direct (NED) project cuts across their land? Even though 90% of the pipeline will track with an existing power line right-of-way, how deep will the pipeline be buried? How much of a right-of-way will be required? What about trees? Those questions and more were addressed…
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EIA: Proved Reserves for Natgas Up 10% Last Year, Marcellus Leads

If you knock around the oil and gas industry more than a day or two, you’re bound to hear industry veterans talking about (particularly in reports to investors) something called “proved reserves.” Proved reserves, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), “are those volumes of oil and natural gas that geological and engineering data demonstrate with reasonable certainty to be recoverable in future years from known reservoirs under existing economic and operating conditions.” That is, proved reserves are what’s in the ground now, can be gotten out, and we can prove it. A new report issued yesterday by the EIA says proved reserves for natural gas went up a huge 10% last year–to an all-time record high of 354 trillion cubic feet. And where did proved reserves go up the most? Yep, the Marcellus in PA and WV…
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NY’s “Progress” to Control Bakken Crude Trains Passing Through

The issue of shipping Bakken crude oil on rail cars, many of which pass through New York State on the way to the Port of Albany, continues to be news in the Empire State. MDN told you in July that all New Yorkers are now less safe because of actions by the state government to disclose to the public (not just first responders) routes those shipments take through NY state (see New York Caves to Anti-Drillers Again: Discloses Oil Train Movements). Just coming to light for MDN, in January of this year Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order (EO) 125 directing state agencies to conduct a “coordinated review” of NY’s crude oil incident prevention and response capacity. Earlier this week the agencies provided a status update to Cuomo (full copy embedded below). The upshot seems to be the state is pointing fingers at the railroad industry and the federal government, telling them to get their act together to protect NY residents…
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Nutjob Alert: Philly Rally Today to Protest Fossil Fuels

A bunch of kooks and environmental radicals are gathering this morning in Philadelphia because, well, because they have nothing better to do. The rally is, unbelievably, against fossil fuels. And how will these nutters get there? By driving cars, taking trains and buses, etc. All of which use fossil fuels. That’s after getting up this morning in a home heated by fossil fuels and getting dressed with clothes that have fossil fuel fibers in them and shoes and sneakers manufactured from fossil fuels. And so the “we hate fossil fuelers” from 350 Philadelphia, Berks Gas Truth, Clean Air Council, Clean Water Action, THE Delaware Riverkeeper, Food & Water Watch, Keystone Catholics, Maypop Collective, North of Washington Avenue Coalition, Penn Environment, Pennsylvania Federation BMWED – Teamsters, Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, Philadelphia Area Student Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaigns, Philadelphia Be the Change, Philadelphia Interfaith Power and Light, Protecting our Waters, Rising Tide Philly, Sierra Club, Beyond Natural Gas will gather this morning to protest against fossil fuels. How rich…
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Thorny Issues in Using Independent Contractors in Shale Drilling

Most exploration & production (E&P) companies–the ones who risk the money to have oil and gas wells drilled–don’t actually DO the drilling themselves. They hire it done by using oilfield services companies like Schlumberger, Halliburton and Baker Hughes. In addition, they hire just about everyone done–from security at well pads to earth moving to water trucking to you name it. The shale drilling industry, particularly in the Marcellus and Utica, is a bonanza for local businesses or “independent contractors” that plug in to the industry supply chain. However, there are some negatives for E&Ps when it comes to using independent contractors rather than having employees on the payroll do the work. The sharp lawyers at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease say lawsuits alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act are now more common than employment discrimination cases for oil and gas companies. They’ve just issued an alert/advisory on the pros and cons of using independent contractors in the oil and gas industry…
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