Fire at Range Resources Well Pad in Washington County, PA

Range Well Pad Fire
Photo Credit: NewsChopper 2/KDKA

A “large fire” broke out at a Range Resources well pad in Washington County, PA last night. Fortunately no one was injured. The fire was caused by “equipment failure” according to Range. The fire did not at any time involve the well itself. It was a fire in the machinery on the well pad. The details as we know them…
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Breaking: Coast Guard Says They Did NOT Grant Barge Permission to GreenHunter

PinocchioWas GreenHunter fibbing when they claimed the U.S. Coast Guard has given them permission to barge produced water down the Ohio River? MDN brought you the news yesterday that parent company MagnumHunter CEO Gary Evans and GreenHunter COO Kirk Trosclair said they have received approval from the U.S. Coast Guard to ship produced water via barge down the Ohio River (see US Coast Guard Approves Brine Shipping via Barge on Ohio River). You can listen to them say it themselves on this analyst phone call. However, according to an article in today’s Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Coast Guard is saying that’s not true–they have NOT yet given a final go-ahead to GreenHunter…
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GreenHunter Faces Challenge to Get Wheeling Barge Facility OK’d

Yesterday MDN shared the big news that GreenHunter Resources has now received permission from the U.S. Coast Guard to haul produced water via barge down the Ohio River (see US Coast Guard Approves Brine Shipping via Barge on Ohio River). Today that assertion is in question (see our related story on the Coast Guard’s response). Aside from the question of whether the Coast Guard did or did not grant permission for barging of produced water, GreenHunter has another problem–getting permission to load the water onto barges in the first place at their facility in Wheeling, WV…
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PA High Tax Game Plan: Keep Impact Fee, Add Severance Tax To It!

Here’s how tax-devouring Democrats and RINOs in Pennsylvania plan to pass a Marcellus-killing severance tax: Step 1: Keep the impact fee (which is really a tax) in place, which amounts to the revenue that a 2% 3.2% severance tax would raise. Never mind the state’s corporate income tax more than makes up the other 3% of a proposed 5% severance tax. The media, and politicians, intentionally ignore that inconvenient truth. [UPDATE: MDN has it from a highly-placed and trustworthy source that impact fees now being paid by drillers are actually closer to a 3.2% severance tax, not 2% as we previously noted.] Step 2: Introduce a severance tax bill of 3.2% severance tax bill, offered as a “compromise” that lets local communities keep their 60% of the impact fee, but steals money from landowners and drillers (the other 3.2%) to give to teachers’ unions, feeding the beast to keep it at bay (and to pay back a campaign debt). Step 3: After a year or two, when it’s apparent that Harrisburg’s continuing out-of-control spending hasn’t been reigned in and drilling slows down so there’s less tax revenue coming in, just goose the 3.2% tax all the way up to 5% or higher. That’s the plan of Reps. Gene DiGirolamo, R-Bensalem; Tom Murt, R-Hatboro; Harry Readshaw, D-Pittsburgh; and Pam DeLissio, D-Philadelphia as they introduce their “fair and reasonable” 3.2% severance tax bill…
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Dominion Selects PA Company to Manufacture 540 Miles of Pipe

Keepin’ it in the family. Love it. Dominion plans to build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline–a 550-mile, $5 billion natural gas pipeline that will flow, cheap, abundant, clean-burning Marcellus Shale gas from West Virginia into Virginia and North Carolina (see Dominion Commits to Major New Marcellus/Utica Pipeline Project). Provided the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approves it, construction will begin in 2016. Yesterday, Dominion announced that a Pennsylvania company near Harrisburg–Dura-Bond–has been selected to manufacture 540 of the 550 miles of the pipe needed for the project. It is, according to Dura-Bond, the largest order in the company’s history. The announcement doesn’t disclose the terms of the deal, but we do know it will generate 150 new jobs at Dura-Bond and inject a huge amount of money into the Harrisburg-area economy starting later this year. American/Pennsylvanian jobs, American/Pennsylvanian company. All in the heart of the Marcellus…
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Anti Groups “Outraged” at Mariner East 2 Open House Invite

Once again the Philadelphia-based anti-drilling group Clean Air Council (CAC), along with THE Delaware Riverkeeper (Maya van Rossum) have their collective knickers in a twist. The two groups are “outraged” that Sunoco Logistics, in sending around invitations to an open house on the Mariner East 2 pipeline, didn’t send one to them. Not only that, but the invites that were sent out–to landowners and elected officials–said the invite is “not transferable” to anyone else. We could hear the howls and screams from Philly all the way up here in upstate NY!…
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WV Gov Tomblin Signs “We Love You Southwestern” Bill into Law

waiting with bells onLast week MDN told you about the hurry-up-and-pass-it Senate Bill (SB) 280 in the West Virginia legislature. Southwestern Energy has just paid over $5 billion to acquire a bunch of land and drilling operations from Chesapeake Energy, most of it in WV (see Chesapeake Sells Close to 25% of Marcellus/Utica Operation). A new drilling law passed a few years ago stipulates if leases/operations change hands, the new owner must apply for permits to drill all over again, even if the previous owner had already been awarded those permits. The law threatened to shut down a number of drilling operations for new owner Southwestern. So the legislature passed a law “fixing” that problem–in record time. They then hustled it over to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s desk where, as we predicted, he was waiting with bells on to sign it…
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Maryland Delegate Introduces Moratorium, Before Fracking Begins

A member of the Maryland House of Delegates, David Fraser-Hidalgo (Democrat from Montgomery County) will host a news conference today to propose a bill that slaps a moratorium on Marcellus Shale drilling in the state–before such drilling has even begun. This is rich on many levels. First, Marcellus drilling would only happen in 1 1/2 counties at the far western edge of the state. Second, Fraser-Hidalgo sits his rear-end in Montgomery County, a Washington, D.C. suburb–at the opposite end of the state. Third, a commission made up of many his fellow Democrats evaluated fracking for *four* years, and outgoing Democrat Gov. Martin O’Malley recently green lighted fracking–with arguably the strictest rules anywhere (see Maryland Gets Ready to Frack! Gov O’Malley Files New Regulations). All of that is not good enough for Mr. Fraser-Hidalgo. Fortunately Maryland now has a new Republican governor, Larry Hogan, and Fraser-Hidalgo’s bill, if it passes, will be DOA on Hogan’s desk…
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Sen Inhofe Takes EPA’s McCarthy to Task Over “Waters of the U.S.”

We’ll say it again: We love Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe. He doesn’t suffer fools and he doesn’t mince words. Sen. Inhofe chaired a joint hearing yesterday in Washington, D.C. where the “guest of honor” (on the hot seat) was EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. You may recall that the EPA, along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has been trying to redefine what is, and isn’t, a “waterway of the United States” as defined in the 1972 Clean Water Act (see Altoona Hearing on Latest EPA Outrage: Redefining Clean Water Act). If the EPA is successful in redefining it away from the originally-intended “waters that can be navigated,” they will have succeeded in making everything bigger than a mud puddle part of the CWA and therefore subject to the EPA and ergo the EPA would be (unconstitutionally) in charge of oil and gas drilling via the back door of the CWA. This move is dangerous and Inhofe knows it. In opening yesterday’s hearing on expanding the meaning of waterways in the U.S., Inhofe gave McCarthy a what-for to her face…
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US Natgas Production in Jan Down Slightly from Record-High Dec

Bentek Energy, a division of Platts, is fresh out with its estimate of natural gas production numbers for January 2015. Bentek previously predicted that December 2014 was the (so far) all-time high in U.S. natural gas production (see Marcellus/Utica Lead in New Record High Production for Dec 2014). What about January? Did we break the record again? Alas, no. Bentek says January production retreated just a bit from December’s record high–but January 2015 was still up 10.5% over January 2014 production…
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Anti-Driller Banned from FERC Headquarters for Disruptive Behavior

With delusions of grandeur and fancying himself a latter-day Gandhi, the radical anti-fossil fuel activist Ted Glick, from the anti-drilling Chesapeake Climate Action Network, has been banned from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) building in Washington, DC. It seems FERC has had enough of Glick’s disruptions of their meetings–so they’ve shown him to the door. Glick, boasting about the FERC ban on his blog, relates the story of recently arriving at FERC HQ (he got there from his home in New Jersey via transportation from fossil fuels, after waking up in a home heated with fossil fuels, cooking a meal with energy from fossil fuels, and putting on clothes and shoes made with fossil fuels), to attend a small meeting arranged by some of his anti-drilling buds with one of the FERC commissioners…
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