NY Rally Fires Up Landowners to Fight Cuomo Frack Ban

JLCNY Protest Rally at Holiday Inn ArenaNew York landowners assembled in downtown Binghamton, NY at the Holiday Inn yesterday to attend a protest rally organized by the 70,000-member Joint Landowners Coalition of New York (JLCNY). The crowd at the rally was enormous–at least 500 people (perhaps more) who filled a banquet hall and spilled out into the corridor. The crowd was fired up and ready to do something to counter Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to ban fracking in the Empire State. MDN editor Jim Willis was there and witnessed something he has not previously witnessed: conservative, quiet, “salt of the earth” farmers and landowners were mad and loud and noisy and they wanted Gov. Cuomo to hear it. It seems Gov. Cuomo has stirred up a sleeping giant and that giant is now on the move. The one question on everyone’s mind at the meeting, What can we do now?…
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McClendon Utica/Marcellus Subsidiaries Combine & Form New Company

After getting the unceremonious boot out the door from Chesapeake Energy in early 2013, the company he co-founded 24 years earlier, it only took a few months for Aubrey McClendon to form a new company and raise billions of dollars of new capital investment (see He’s Baaaack! Aubrey McClendon is Back in OH Shale Country). The new company is called American Energy Partners (AEP). Since AEP’s founding, McClendon has done what he always does–create a plethora of subsidiary companies on paper for tax purposes, or to (temporarily) hide his ownership interest. McClendon has put the pedal down and has aggressively formed companies and attracted, at last count, nearly $9 billion (see Aubrey McClendon Raises Huge $8.7B for Shale Drilling…So Far). Part of McClendon’s strategy has been to spin off his new empire into “pure play” subsidiaries (see Another Brilliant McClendon Move: ‘Pure Play’ Public Companies). Yesterday, AEP announced that two of Aubrey’s biggest pure play subsidiaries, American Energy – Utica and American Energy – Marcellus, will combine to form a new pure play company called American Energy Appalachia Holdings…
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OH Researchers Confirm Hilcorp Fracking Caused Low-Level Quakes

According to one graduate student and two professors at Miami University of Ohio, the fracking done by Hilcorp in the Youngstown area DID cause some low-level earthquakes (see ODNR Says Youngstown Earthquakes “Probably” Caused by Fracking). The three researchers are set to publish an article titled “Earthquakes Induced by Hydraulic fracturing in Poland Township, Ohio” in the February/March issue of the peer-reviewed Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. Using a technique called “template matching” the researchers say they could identify 77 earthquakes, all except one that could not even be felt at the surface (and the one was barely felt) and matched those quakes to fracking activities by Hilcorp. The researchers stressed that the only reason the quakes happened was because Hilcorp was fracking directly over top of a previously unknown underground fault. They also said it was a very small portion of the frack operations that led to the quakes…
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Lancaster, PA Antis Request United Nations Interfere in Pipeline

Anti-drillers and anti-pipeliners (typically one and the same) will do just about anything to further their cause–including asking a foreign power to intervene to stop the activity they don’t want. Eight people were arrested yesterday for trespassing as part of an anti-Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline protest in Lancaster County, PA. The eight were part of a group of 30 or so antis who showed up with the intention to stop Williams from breaking ground on the pipeline in that area. One of the eight arrested was Carlos Rivera, chief of the Northern Arawak Tribal Nation. Rivera says Williams should not be allowed to lay pipeline across Native America (i.e. Indian) land located in Lancaster County. So Rivera is filing a request with the United Nations, claiming the land is protected by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Good luck Carlos…
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PA Forced Pooling for Utica Wells Remains Unclear, Confusing

As MDN previously reported, the single most productive Utica Shale well ever (to date) was drilled by Range Resources–in Pennsylvania (see Range Resources Drills Highest-Ever Initial Producing Utica Well). Because of the way PA’s laws are written, producers cannot use forced pooling for Marcellus layer wells they want to drill–but they can use PA law to file forced pooling requests for Utica layer wells. Given the success of Range (and others) with drilling Utica wells in PA, it’s a sure bet that sooner or later such a request will be filed. Problem is, the forced pooling law was written in 1961 and was designed for conventional/vertical wells, not unconventional/horizontal wells. The law was due to have a test by Hilcorp, but Hilcorp abandoned their request in September 2014 (see Hilcorp Drops Forced Pooling Request in W PA). With that case gone, forced pooling for Utica wells remains a muddled mess in PA…
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Mariner East Pipeline Passes Test in Lebanon, PA

Sunoco Logistics’ Mariner East 1 pipeline that runs from southwest Pennsylvania all the way to a refinery near Philadelphia continues to make progress on beginning to flow both propane and ethane. We’ve written numerous stories on the project (see the list here). Almost all of the pipeline is already in the ground–has been for decades–and will be repurposed from transporting oil to transporting natural gas liquids. The current situation is this: Sunoco Logistics is still fighting a legal battle to build 18 pump and 17 valve stations in 31 municipalities along the route. We don’t have any update on the legal battle, but we do have an update on testing of the pipeline. In October we told you that a section of the pipeline near Lebanon, PA was being tested (see Mariner East NGL Pipeline Begins Tests in Lebanon, PA). Good news, the test is complete and the pipeline, in that area, passed with flying colors…
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Public Hearing on NEPA Proposed Marcellus-Powered Electric Plant

In August 2013, MDN told you about plans by Invenergy to build a combined-cycle electric generating plant near Scranton, PA that would be powered by locally extracted Marcellus Shale gas (see Marcellus Gas to Power Combined-Cycle Electricity Plant in NE PA). In October 2014, Invenergy purchased the 80-acre parcel where they plan to build the plant (see Invenergy Buys Land in NEPA for Natgas Electric Generating Plant). These things, however, take time. A lot of time. Years, according to Invenergy. Last night residents from the township where the plant would be built, Jessup, attended a standing-room only meeting. Press accounts indicate the room was divided with some in favor and others opposed to the project…
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Will Some Marcellus/Utica Drillers be Takover Targets in 2015?

Even though oil prices set one foot over the price cliff starting last year (both feet are now over the cliff), top flight research firm IHS reports that mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the energy sector, particularly in the “upstream” (drilling) area, were brisk in 2014. Upstream M&A rose 23%, to $173 billion, according to IHS. Year over year, M&A activity in the Marcellus/Utica region doubled, going up by 16%. Not surprisingly if you’re an oil & gas company with debt up to the neck and low or no hedging on the prices you receive for your oil & gas, you’ll be in the cross-hairs for a takeover in 2015, according to IHS…
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LOL: Anti-Fossil Fueler Says Pipelines are Like ‘Parasitic Worms’

We noticed a letter to the editor, published by the increasingly anti-drilling Pittsburgh Post Gazette, in which the author says pipelines, like the proposed $5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline that will run from West Virginia to North Carolina, are “parasitic worms” traveling under the surface. Obviously it’s another case of FDS–Fracking Derangement Syndrome–which has metastasized in the head of someone who grew up watching Captain Planet cartoons. Fossil fuels are evil, don’t ever cut down a single tree, throw away your flyswatter–you get the idea. Rather than pipelines “worming” their way under the ground like parasites that eventually kill its host, we’d say a better metaphor is that pipelines carrying natural gas and oil are like the veins and arteries in your body–delivering life-giving nourishment (energy) to every part of the body. Without them, you’d die. In fact, counter to the notions of this silly letter writer, without natural gas and oil and the pipelines they run through, many millions of Americans would die…
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