New Draft Drilling Regulations in PA: Wastewater Impoundments Out

red tapeThe Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) has been working on revisions to oil and gas regulations, something called Chapter 78, since 2011. In 2012 the new Act 13 drilling law required the DEP to update Chapter 78 to reflect the new reality of shale drilling. Over the past three years, the DEP held nine public hearings and received some 24,000 public comments on the proposed changes (see PA DEP Extends Roadshow for Public Comment on New Drilling Rules). The new rules were supposed to be over and done with long before now, but got derailed by last year’s election cycle. New governor, new secretary of the DEP, and guess what? The proposed rules have changed yet again. There’s a new due date too: the final rules won’t be ready until early 2016. Yesterday the DEP released yet another revision to the rules (we’ve lost track how many times the rules have been revised and changed). Drillers under Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf and his PennFutureDEP Sec. John Quigley want to increase the red tape drillers must navigate. Among the changes in this latest draft (full copy below) are…
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OH Law Firm Asks FERC to Stop ET Rover Pipeline Eminent Domain

Columbus, OH law firm has filed a motion with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) challenging Energy Transfer Partners’ ET Rover application before FERC. The issue at the heart of the motion is to prevent ET Rover from invoking eminent domain and steamrollering over landowners, building the pipeline without an agreement in place with each individual landowner first. When pipeline companies have the power of eminent domain, they hold all the cards. They can say, “Here’s the offer–take it or leave it–and if you leave it, we’ll build the pipeline through your land anyway at the price we want.” We’ve never been fans of eminent domain for pipelines. Far better for pipeline companies to work it out with landowners and pay them–or reroute it through someone else’s property who will play ball. We acknowledge it’s a thorny issue and not completely black and white. ET Rover is an 830-mile, $4.4 billion pipeline that will flow Marcellus and Utica Shale gas from PA, WV and eastern OH through OH into Michigan and eventually into Canada (see ET Rover Pipeline’s 800-Mile Journey Begins with FERC Filing). The bulk of the pipeline will run diagonally from southeast to northwest across Ohio. Just yesterday we told you about ET Rover’s program to help landowners (see ET Rover Pipeline Hires Land Stewards to Protect the Land in OH). The motion filed with FERC, from what we can tell in reading the press release and the motion itself (embedded below) is not an attempt to stop ET Rover–it’s an attempt to give landowners more negotiating power and leave them firmly in control of whether, and how much, they will accept to allow the pipeline through their property…
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NYS DEC Releases 2013 Annual Report: Not One Marcellus Mention

By Andy Leahy

Sometime last week, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation’s Mineral Resources Division quietly posted its 2013 annual report–finally getting around to covering that year’s activity in the extractive (and regulatory) industries, concerning oil, gas, and other minerals. The report covers a year that ended some 14 months previously, which is a typical breakneck schedule in the Empire State for finishing up these kinds of things. No surprises on the highlights. Natural gas production was down 11%. Oil production was down 5%. Completed wells were down 3%. Drilling permits issued were down 5%. How about the number of occurrences of such phrases or words as “Marcellus shale,” “Utica shale,” “hydraulic,” “frack,” or possibly even “SGEIS”?…
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Who’s Still Leasing Land and Where in WV?

Who’s leasing land for drilling–and where? Perhaps the bigger question is, are drillers still leasing land?! The answer to that would be a resounding “yes, they are still leasing.” We don’t have a comprehensive overview of where people are leasing, but we spotted a list of leases filed with the clerk in Wetzel County, WV and found it interesting. Here’s who leased, how much acreage, and which energy company they signed with (sorry, no lease terms with signing bonuses and royalties, just acreage & driller)…
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Last Chance to Join MDN at Pittsburgh Industry Summit on March 25

Oil & Gas AwardsThe 3rd Annual Northeast Oil & Gas Awards event is now just two weeks away. This is a final shout-out to MDN readers and our exclusive offer to you: Attend the Industry Summit during the day for free, saving you $199 (see details for how to signup here: Exclusive for MDN Readers: Attend Pittsburgh O&G Industry Summit FREE). MDN editor Jim Willis will moderate two of the panel discussions during the Industry Summit. During the evening our industry’s top performers in a number of categories will be honored at an invitation-only dinner. This year’s Guest of Honor will be Lou D’Amico, president of the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association (PIOGA). Below we have a copy of the program for Industry Summit, a list of the categories in which companies compete for recognition, and the list of companies that are this year’s finalists, up for the top prize in each category…
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With Cheap/Abundant Marcellus Gas, Why Aren’t Utility Bills Lower?

The price of natural gas is low–and seems to be staying low–for an extended period. In the dead of a brutal winter (for the northeast anyway) the price of natgas has stayed below $3 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf). This morning it was $2.68 Mcf. So what aren’t consumers–those who heat with natural gas–seeing lower prices on their monthly utility bills? None other than the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) tackled that very question yesterday in their Today in Energy publication. We have their article below. In a word, the reason consumers don’t see lower prices is…”regulation”…
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Gas-Powered Electric Plant to be Built “on Thousands of People”

Since 2013 we’ve been tracking the story that Invenergy, a company that builds and operates clean energy electric generating plants like those powered by natural gas, plans to build such a plant near Scranton, PA (see Marcellus Gas to Power Combined-Cycle Electricity Plant in NE PA). In October 2014, Invenergy purchased the 80-acre parcel in Jessup where they plan to build the plant (see Invenergy Buys Land in NEPA for Natgas Electric Generating Plant). In January of this year, the first in what will be a string of public hearings was held in Jessup (see Public Hearing on NEPA Proposed Marcellus-Powered Electric Plant). There was understandable concern from some area residents about air quality and other issues. Now that the plant is getting much closer to reality, it’s time for the anti-drillers to come out–and right on cue, they have. One of them is quoted as saying the plant will “be built on thousands of people. Literally thousands of people.” Wait. Did we miss something? Is this plant being built on top of cemetery? Is Invenergy planning on killing thousands and throwing the bodies in a trench so they can construct a plant on top of them?…
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Crestwood Midstream Floats $700M in IOUs

It’s still the season to float “unsecured notes” (i.e. IOUs) for both drillers and pipeline companies. The latest we’ve noticed is Crestwood Midstream. A year and a half ago Crestwood merged with and bought out Inergy, creating a large pipeline and processing plant company with major operations in the northeast (see Crestwood/Inergy Complete Their Merger Today, Worth $8B). Yesterday Crestwood floated notes hoping to score $700 million in cash, to be used to pay down older debt. Here’s their announcement…
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World’s Best Investment Bank in the Oil & Gas Sector for 2015

It takes a lot of money to fund an oil & gas company–whether they are drillers, pipeline companies or the myriad of associated supply chain companies. It takes millions–billions! Who has that kind of money? Investors, typically investment banks. And who is the best investment bank in the whole wide world? Obviously it’s the one that will give you money! However, Global Finance magazine conducts an annual survey and based on various criteria, they have just awarded CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce), Canada’s fifth largest bank, with the honor of World’s Best Investment Bank in the Oil & Gas Sector for 2015…
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