Peters Twp, PA Once Sued to Stop Act 13, Now Considers Drilling

I Saw the LightIt’s interesting to MDN that several of the seven Pennsylvania towns that sued the state over the Act 13 law and its zoning provisions–presumably because they didn’t want any Marcellus drilling in their borders–have done a 180 degree turnabout. It happened first in Robinson Township (Washington County), PA–the very township whose name is forever (shamefully) emblazoned on the case, which is called “Robinson v Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.” Voters in Robinson tossed their anti-drilling leaders out of office (see Robinson Twp, PA Offers a Preview into Future of NY Frack Debate). Now it seems Peters Township, another of the seven (also in Washington County), is following the same path. Peters is zoned almost all residential. However, last August Peters voted to evaluate the possibility of Marcellus drilling on and under land in the town. Next Monday night, they begin the process of public hearings to do just that. It’s bitter sweet–bitter that they participated in gutting the Act 13 law, sweet that they finally saw the light…
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Trusted McClendon Lt. Takes Reigns as CEO of Northeast Drilling

Aubrey McClendon has just entrusted the main part of his fledgling new company, American Energy Partners LP (AELP), to a trusted lieutenant. MDN told you last week that AEP was combining their Utica and Marcellus shale operations–on paper separate entities–into one larger subsidiary of AEP called American Energy Appalachia Holdings, or AEA as they now call it (see McClendon Utica/Marcellus Subsidiaries Combine & Form New Company). The man who was/is running AEA is Jeffrey A. Fisher. Until now, Fisher was Chief Operating Officer of the American Energy Partners mothership AELP. Now he’s the CEO of AEA. That is, he’s the CEO over roughly 90% of Aubrey’s newly amassed empire…
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White House Pledges to Cut “Fugitive” Methane by 40-45%

The Barack Hussein Obama administration continues to push its agenda on so-called Climate Change by ramming through unlegislated regulatory actions that threaten the oil and gas industry. The latest Obama boogeyman is that evil, nasty criminal–“fugitive methane.” Supposedly methane (natural gas to the hoi polloi) is a bazillion times more “potent” as a “greenhouse gas” than it’s less nefarious cousin CO2 (carbon dioxide, the stuff you breathe out with every breath). Of course it’s in the best interest of energy companies that extract, pipeline and sell methane to keep as much of it as possible in “the system” and from “escaping” so they can sell it–a fact that seems to escape the our brilliant leader. Inevitably, some methane molecules slip out around valves, through cracks, etc. and into the atmosphere where, according to Obama, it acts to heat Mother Earth. Never mind the average temperature of the earth hasn’t gone up for 18 years now (see Inconvenient Global Warming Fact: Avg Temp Hasn’t Risen in 18 Yrs). Right on cue the President, who persists in shredding the Constitution, is about to feed the next sheet into the shredder by having his EPA issue new regulations to control methane emissions. They claim they can cut methane emissions 40-45% by 2025…
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Williams Spending $100 million Per Month in the Marcellus/Utica

There’s an excellent regional television program in Pittsburgh called “Our Region’s Business” hosted by veteran reporter Bill Flannigan. On December 7, Jim Scheel, Senior Vice President for Northeast G&P for Williams, appeared in a segment on the program (video embedded below). Scheel shared some eye-popping statistics about the Marcellus/Utica, and about Williams and their commitment to the region. Scheel said, among many things in the short 7-minute segment, that in 2014 Williams spent an astonishing $100 million per month on pipeline projects in the northeast region. They currently employ 750 people in the northeast and over the next year or so expect to add another 160 people to the payroll. What an exciting, dynamic company! Here’s a few more stats Scheel mentioned…
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OH Landowners ask Court to Stop OPEN Pipeline Eminent Domain

In December 2014, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gave final approval to Spectra Energy’s OPEN (Ohio Pipeline Energy Network) project in Ohio–a $468.5 million pipeline from Ohio to the Gulf Coast (see FERC Approves OPEN Pipeline in Eastern OH, Gas Goes to Gulf Coast). The project includes building 76 miles of new pipeline from Columbiana County to Monroe County (slicing through Belmont County along the way) to connect to the Texas Eastern Pipeline. The pipeline will then reverse its flow–making it bidirectional–in order to carry Marcellus and Utica Shale gas from eastern Ohio to the Gulf Coast. As soon as FERC issued final approval, Texas Eastern, the owner of Spectra Energy, started to issue eminent domain notices to landowners along the 76-mile route who aren’t playing ball with them. A husband and wife are pushing back. With the assistance of the Ohio 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, Roger and Lana Barack of Belmont County have filed their opposition to Texas Transmission’s notice to take “immediate possession” of their land. The Baracks and The 1851 Center call the manner in which Texas Transmission is trying to take their land “abusive” and in essence, a midnight railroading of innocent landowners…
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Jan Drilling Productivity Report: Marcellus Continues Steep Climb

MDN’s favorite month report is back. The U.S. Energy Information Administration produces a monthly Drilling Productivity Report (DPR). Released on Monday, the latest DPR shows natural gas production in the Marcellus Shale region continues its rapid expansion. In January, EIA says the Marcellus will have produced on the order of 16,319 million cubic feet of gas per day (or 16.3 billion cubic feet per day). In February, they say the number will be 16.6 Bcf/d–up another 231 million cubic feet per day. The Utica Shale is expected to gain 74 million cubic feet of gas production per day from January to February, and the Utica’s oil production is expected to go up another 4,000 barrels per day over the next month…
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Philly Clean Air Council “Studies” Shell Cracker Plant Impacts

The Philadelphia-based Clean Air Council, a partisan, anti-drilling organization, has just issued a so-called Health Impact Assessment (HIA) for the proposed Shell ethane cracker plant in Monaca, PA (full copy embedded below). The so-called HIA has a long list of “recommendations” for Shell, most of which will cost big bucks to implement. The HIA has no official standing and Shell can completely ignore it if they so choose. However, Shell says they’re studying it now and will consider the information it conveys as they continue to evaluate their plans to build a $2-$3 billion ethane cracker near Pittsburgh. Below we have the press release from the anti-drilling Clean Air Council, along with some initial response from Shell…
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