OH Gov. Kasich Increases Proposed Severance Tax Rate by 236%

tax increaseIt now appears Ohio Gov. John Kasich (RINO), wants to completely kill Utica Shale drilling. On Monday he released his latest budget and his severance tax proposal has gone from his previously preferred rate of 2.75% to an astonishing 6.5%–a 236% increase. Yes, you read that right–it’s not a typo. Over the past several years, Kasich has squabbled with his own Republican legislature over how much of (not if) an increase there should be. The legislature proposed 2.25% as a new severance tax rate, Kasich wanted 2.75%. Eventually the legislature proposed a compromise at 2.5% (see OH Repubs Sell Out on Severance Tax, Kasich Wants Even More!). Kasich dearly wanted that extra 0.25% and held out, losing the battle. There was no increase passed. Kasich, whom we refer to as “the foreigner hunter” for his jingoistic disdain for “foreign” oil and gas workers from exotic places like Texas and Oklahoma, has just upped the ante considerably with a proposed 6.5% severance tax. Did Ohio just become Colorado and is Kasich now smoking pot?…
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WPX Finalizes Sale of NEPA Marcellus Leases/Wells to Southwestern

WPX Energy announced yesterday they have completed the sale and transfer of some 46,700 acres of leases and 63 operational Marcellus Shale wells in northeastern Pennsylvania to Southwestern Energy. MDN first told you about the $300 million deal in early December (for details and a map, see: First Shoe Drops: WPX Sells 1/2 Marcellus Assets to Southwestern). As we said at the time, that was the first shoe. We’re still waiting for the other shoe. WPX owns acreage and/or wells in Centre, Clearfield and Westmoreland counties, in southwestern PA. According to WPX spokesperson Susan Oliver-Stough, the company is actively shopping those assets too. When sold, WPX’s presence in northeast shale drilling will be done…
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EVEP Wants to Sell Interest in Utica East Ohio/More Utica Acreage

EV Energy Partners (EVEP) is a master limited partnership, or MLP, which distributes profits to “unit holders” instead of plowing profits into more projects. They like to invest in mature, already drilled wells and pipeline companies–things that act like an annuity throwing off profit with very little risk. Over the years EVEP amassed a huge amount of acreage in Ohio–before the Utica was known–mostly for conventional (vertical only) wells. However, some of that property is in prime Utica territory–so EVEP has been looking, since 2009, to sell it. They reiterated that in November (see EVEP Selling More Ohio Utica Acreage in 2015). There’s another fleeting reference to selling more Utica leases in EVEP’s fourth quarter 2014/guidance for 2015 press release issued yesterday. The “new news” (for us) in yesterday’s announcement is that EVEP plans to sell their 21% interest in Utica East Ohio–a midstream/pipeline company operating in Ohio…
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PA DEP Looks Ahead 1,000 Yrs, Changes Landfill Rules for Cuttings

In the Year 2525Citing concerns over radon, the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection “quietly” change the rules on Marcellus drillers near the end of last year with respect to disposing of shale cuttings at landfills. Starting on Jan. 1 of this year, landfills must move to a monthly, instead of annual, limit on how much “radioactive waste” they accept from drillers in the form of cuttings (leftover rock and dirt). The new standard is calculated so that a person living 1,000 years from now in a house built on the landfill would not be exposed to levels of radiation over what is considered safe today. Nice to know the DEP is always thinking ahead, a thousand years…
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Peters Twp, PA Pretends to Debate Ordinance to Allow Drilling

PretendersPeters Township, in Washington County, PA, continues to “struggle” with whether or not they will allow Marcellus Shale drilling within their borders. Peters, you may recall, is one of the seven selfish towns that sued the state over the zoning provisions in the Act 13 law, eventually winning at the PA Supreme Court level (see PA Supreme Court Rules Against State/Drillers in Act 13 Case). That “victory” has proven to be a disaster in more ways than one. The court decision does, however, require municipalities with districts zoned industrial to allow drilling, albeit those municipalities have plenty of options to continue stopping it by road use restrictions, etc. It seemed like Peters had finally come to grips and was looking for ways to allow shale drilling (see Peters Twp, PA Once Sued to Stop Act 13, Now Considers Drilling). However, recent comments by town leaders and an email from an MDN reader indicate Peters remains as hardened against drilling as ever…
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PA Towns Don’t Like Gov. Wolf’s Severance Tax Plan

As newly enthroned PA Gov. Tom Wolf considers his misguided attempt at ramming through a Marcellus Shale-killing severance tax, he better talk to PA’s townships–all of which receive at least some money from the current impact fee. If the state suddenly yanks away impact fee revenue from those towns, many of which rely on that money in their annual budgets, Moody’s Investors Service says such an event will be “a credit negative” for those local governments. In other words, you can expect a Moody’s downgrade–making any bonds issued by PA towns more expensive, requiring more taxpayer money to pay back…
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It’s Official: Williams and Access Midstream Tie the Knot

Tie the KnotSeveral weeks ago MDN told you that yesterday, Feb. 2, would be the big wedding day for the merger (actually takeover) of Access Midstream by Williams (see Wedding Day: Williams & Access Midstream Get Hitched on Feb 2). The wedding took place as planned and the marriage is now happily consummated. The groom was Williams (grooms are always men…pushy and domineering ya know). The bride was sweet Access Midstream, previously known as Chesapeake Midstream. Bride Access took the Williams name as of yesterday, creating a midstream behemoth whose market capitalization will come close to rivaling the country’s largest midstream company, Kinder Morgan…
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Report: PA’s Youth Not Impressed with Marcellus Industry

A little over a week ago The Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a bipartisan, bicameral legislative agency that serves as a resource for rural policy within the Pennsylvania General Assembly, published the third report in a series of studies commissioned on the Marcellus Shale and its impact on the state (see New Report: Marcellus Shale Drilling’s Impact on PA Schools). The Center has just published a fourth report. Titled “Youth Perspectives on Marcellus Shale Gas Development: Community Change and Future Prospects” (full copy embedded below), the new report tackles the topic of youth attitudes toward the industry. In a quick pass, it seems PA’s youth are not all that impressed with the industry and what it has to offer them. They don’t like the traffic and noise and believe in some places shale drilling has detracted from the natural beauty of the countryside and harmed wildlife…
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Dominion Buys SC/GA Pipeline Network, Plans for Marcellus Gas?

Dominion Resources, a large energy producer and midstream company operating primarily in the mid-Atlantic and southeast, is behind the the Atlantic Coast Pipeline–a 550-mile, $5 billion natural gas pipeline that will run from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina to deliver 1.5 billion cubic feet per day of Marcellus and Utica Shale gas to VA and NC (see Dominion Asks FERC to Start Environmental Review of SE Pipeline). Yesterday Dominion announced they’ve picked up Carolina Gas Transmission (CGT) for a cool $492.9 million. CGT operates 1,500 miles of FERC-regulated interstate natural gas pipeline in South Carolina and southeastern Georgia. We wonder if Dominion plans to connect the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to CGT and flow Marcellus/Utica shale gas deep into the heart of Dixie…
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New Energy Network Coming This Fall to a Computer/TV Near You

The same people who helped launch television networks like MTV, E!, Nickelodeon and VH1 has been hired to help launch a new 24/7 network (cable channel) devoted entirely to…wait for it…energy! According to a press release issued yesterday, “America’s Energy Network (AEN), is the first and only television network exclusively dedicated to the Energy Industry. AEN plans to officially launch in the fall of 2015. The network’s goals will include creating, marketing and distributing original content and programming focused on important and timely issues to positively shape the industry and to build an informative, interactive and creative digital media destination to highlight the industry’s business, lifestyle, values and community.” You can be sure shale will be a big part of the programming for the new AEN. And the biggest shale play in North America is the Marcellus, so one might assume the Marcellus will be a big topic for AEN. How cool is that?!…
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