PA Gov Wolf Tries to Walk Back Ban Comment, PIOGA Doesn’t Buy It

passive aggressiveIs Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf an extortionist? Or is he just dumb? Last week, in response to a reporter’s question about his proposed severance tax and what might happen if it doesn’t pass the legislature, Wolf said this: “You know, the alternative is not really no tax… the alternative is no drilling – a ban as in the case of New York” (see PA Gov Wolf Turns Bully, Threatens Ban on Drilling Absent New Tax). What the heck did he mean by that? And why are there NO mainstream media outlets covering it? Yesterday Wolf tried to walk back his comment without looking like a dolt. He didn’t succeed. The Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association (PIOGA) is fighting mad and says Wolf’s comment is tantamount to extortion (see their letter below). So which is it Gov. Wolf? Are you threatening the Marcellus industry in your state–pay the tax or die? Did you take one too many Xanax pills before the presser last week and you “misspoke”? What, precisely, did you mean by your comment?…
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15 NY Towns Consider Seceding from NY, Join PA Due to Frack Ban

secedeThere is an effort underway–a serious effort–for towns along the border in some upstate New York counties to secede from New York State and join Pennsylvania. Why? Because of New York’s ban on hydraulic fracturing. And no, this is not an early April Fool’s joke. MDN first started hearing of secession talk shortly after Gov. Cuomo’s disgraceful cabinet meeting in which he let bootlickers Howard Zucker (State Health Commissioner) and Joe Martens (DEC Commissioner) take the fall for a ban on fracking–a ban Cuomo himself wanted. We saw some signs and heard a few mentions of secession and chalked it up to understandably high emotions over Cuomo stealing away their future. But it seems it’s not just so much hot air. A group called the Upstate New York Towns Association has done some polling and found 15 towns along the border area of NY are ready to make the leap. There are, however, some major hurdles in the way…
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Access Northeast Pipeline — Pulling Ahead of Kinder’s NED Project?

Spectra Energy’s Access Northeast pipeline project is shaping up to be a worthy competitor to Kinder Morgan’s proposed expansion of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline, a project they call Northeast Expansion Direct (NED). On Wednesday, Spectra announced a new partner for Access Northeast–National Grid–along with an open season to sign up more potential customers–mostly electric generating companies (called LDCs or Local Distribution Companies) that use natural gas to fire their plants. The new partnership means Spectra has locked up electric generating plants that serve 70% of all the electric customers in New England–and they’re trying to get even more. Spectra is also trying to build as little new pipeline as possible, using looping (new pipeline laid next to existing pipeline) in areas where extra capacity is needed. Below we have the announcement about the open season and National Grid joining the project, a copy of the Access Northeast project map, and a brand new study by ICF commissioned by the Access Northeast partners that details how this project will save New Englanders $1 billion+ per year in electric costs. We also throw in a few of our own observations on this bold plan and whether or not the region can support both the Access Northeast and NED projects…
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New Peer Reviewed Study: Marcellus Fugitive Methane is Minuscule

A new study on methane emissions in the Marcellus by researchers at the University of Colorado’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has just been published in the peer reviewed Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. The study, titled “Quantifying atmospheric methane emissions from the Haynesville, Fayetteville, and northeastern Marcellus shale gas production regions” (full copy below), finds very little methane leakage in the Marcellus Shale region. This study is one more nail in the coffin of the wild theories of professors Robert Howarth and Tony Ingraffea (from the once-great Cornell University) about “fugitive methane” leaking out all over the place, heating up Mother Earth. In fact, this new research finds leakage from Marcellus operations is between 0.18% to 0.41%. That’s less than 2/10ths of a percent to about 4/10ths of a percent on average. It’s minuscule…
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Noble Energy 2014 in Review, Spending $900M on Marcellus in 2015

Noble Energy issued a pair of announcements yesterday. One was their their fourth quarter 2014 and full year 2014 results, the other was “guidance” or projections for what they plan to do in 2015. Noble is a big company with drilling both onshore and offshore. Of interest to us is their Marcellus program. In 2014, Noble drilled 24 Marcellus wells and they drilled their very first Utica well (in WV). According to Noble’s guidance, they plan to spend roughly $900 million on new Marcellus drilling in 2015…
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Low Temps Used to Mean High Natgas Prices, But No More

Boston keeps getting hammered by snow storm after snow storm–more than 7 feet of snow in the past month. The polar vortex is dipping all the way down into the Deep South (Georgia et al). It’s minus 8 at MDN headquarters this morning in Binghamton, NY! So what’s the price of natural gas doing? Must be going through the roof like last winter, right? Wrong! The price of natural gas is still low, and according to one commodities trading expert, it’s going lower over the next month or so–despite the frigid temps in the northeast. Why? In two words: Marcellus/Utica…
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