Turning Point: EIA Drilling Report Shows Slow Down in Production

turning pointIt is true that what goes up must come down? As a general rule, yes. That age-old wisdom is manifesting itself in both oil and natural gas production from shale plays. Two days ago our favorite report from our favorite government agency–the Drilling Productivity Report (DPR) from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)–was issued. It shows something we haven’t seen before: negative numbers in some of the production columns for some of the shale plays–in both oil and natural gas. No, the Marcellus and Utica are not in the negative (they will both produce more oil and gas in April than they did in March). However, the rate of increase in production for the Marcellus and Utica, indeed all of the shale plays, is much less than it has been previously. Scaling back on new drilling will, sooner or later, affect production. We’re now seeing it in the numbers…
Continue reading

OH Gov Kasich the Bully: Accept My 6.5% Tax or Risk a 10%+ Tax

no bullyingWow. We’re kind of speechless. Ohio Gov. John Kasich (RINO) sure is a sore loser. And a vicious one too. Get this: Kasich is now saying if the oil and gas industry doesn’t lay down and take the high severance tax he’s proposing, some “citizen group or aspiring politician” will probably (wink wink nod nod) push for a ballot measure in the state to create such a tax. And if that happens, his measly 6.5% severance tax will look darned good compared to the 10% or more those wild citizen groups will no doubt push for (see OH Gov. Kasich Increases Proposed Severance Tax Rate by 236%). That is, Kasich just threatened the oil and gas industry with a 10%+ severance tax if they don’t accept his tax in this year’s budget. Talk about a bully! We’re used to this from Democrats, but not from so-called Republicans…
Continue reading

Columbiana Landowners Win Right to Renegotiate Some Lease Terms

In 2008, before the word “Utica Shale” was on people’s lips and in their consciousness, landmen from Patriot Energy Partners “smiled and dialed” calling up landowners in Columbiana County, offering them a whopping $10 (yes 10 bucks) an acre to sign gas and oil exploration leases. Patriot mailed them the contracts, the landowners signed and sent them back, and then got pennies on the dollar for what those leases were actually worth. Patriot then flipped the leases, selling the deep exploration rights to Chesapeake Energy–for $1,100 an acre. Patriot claimed the practice (of hoodwinking landowners and flipping leases) is legal. The landowners wised up and in 2011, 25 landowner families sued to have their leases dissolved. Four years later the case, after going to arbitration, is resolved…
Continue reading

Range Re-Opens 2 of 3 Water Impoundments in Washington County, PA

Last September Range Resources was fined $4.15 million for a series of violations at eight water impoundments they operate in southwestern PA (see PA DEP Fines Range Resources $4.15M for Wastewater Impoundments). As part of the deal worked out with the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) under then-Sec. Chris Abruzzo, Range agreed to shut down five of the eight impoundments. Actually, all eight of the impoundments ceased operation either during or prior to last September. Two of the remaining three impoundments–the “Carter” and “Carol Baker” impoundments–are now back up and running. The Carter impoundment is handling only fresh water these days, while the Carol Baker impoundment has been upgraded and once again handles wastewater. The remaining “Jon Day” impoundment is being upgraded to begin handling wastewater again, when the weather breaks…
Continue reading

WV Landowners Say They’re Bullied by Mountain Valley Pipeline

Last June EQT and NextEra US Gas Assets formed a joint venture to build a 330-mile pipeline from Wetzel County, WV to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsylvania County, VA to deliver abundant, cheap Marcellus and Utica Shale gas to markets throughout the southeast (see EQT Announces New Marcellus/Utica Pipeline to Southeastern US). The new pipeline was dubbed the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project. Since that time, MVP has filed paperwork with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which has jurisdiction on whether or not to build it because the pipeline crosses state lines (see EQT’s WV to VA Pipeline Open Season a Success, FERC Filing in Oct). In February, rumors began to bubble that the pipeline is changing its route (see WV to VA Mountain Valley Pipeline Changing Routes?). There has been some resistance, as there always is, on the part of some landowners who refuse to let surveyors on their property. So MVP sent letters to landowners threatening to sue them if they don’t allow the surveyors access. How can they sue? Using the power of eminent domain–but FERC hasn’t yet approved the project which would trigger the right to use eminent domain…
Continue reading

EQT Sells WV Pipeline Gathering System to Itself for $1B

We’re always somewhat amused by these stories. Sometimes a company will spin off a division into its own company–a subsidiary–and later transfer or “sell” certain assets to the subsidiary. On paper the subsidiary is its own company with its own set of investors, its own board, and its own management. But the primary investor with controlling interest remains the mother company. For all practical purposes, the subsidiary IS the same company as the mother company. Midstream companies tend to do this with some regularity. Back in 2012 we noted that Kinder Morgan did it (see Kinder Morgan Sells Tennessee Pipeline to Itself). This week it’s EQT–selling its Northern West Virginia Marcellus Gathering System, along with a “preferred interest” in another EQT subsidiary, for $1.05 billion to the company’s pipeline subsidiary, EQT Midstream Partners…
Continue reading

ETP Buyout of Regency Energy Has a Date: April 28

In January MDN brought you the big news that Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) is buying/merging with Regency Energy Partners (see Energy Transfer Partners Buys Regency Energy for $25B). Both companies have meaningful operations in the Marcellus/Utica region. These mergers & acquisitions, as you know, take time. Both companies have been busy and Regency reported earlier this week they have a date to make it all final: April 28. On that date, Regency will hold a special meeting at their company headquarters in Dallas, TX to vote on the deal…
Continue reading

NE Wackos on a Rampage: Demand FERC Stop Approving Pipelines

Here’s what passes for thinking in anti-drilling land: Fossil fuels, when burned, release carbon into the atmosphere. Carbon is bad (at least it is for anti-drillers), although you and all other animals breathe carbon out with every breath and plants breathe it in–it’s a requirement for all of life to exist. Still, play along, k? Because natural gas is a fossil fuel, it’s evil. By burning it you pollute Mother Earth and will cause Her to bake with mythical global warming (although we almost froze to death this winter in the northeast). So fracking is the ultimate rape of Mother Earth, as stated by none other than that towering intellect Yoko Ono when singing the song “Don’t Frack My Mother” (see Yoko Ono and Son Sean Lennon Go on Anti-Fracking Tirade). Fracked shale wells require pipelines. If you can stop pipelines, you can stop fracking. Who approves the big pipelines? The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). So who’s the latest target of anti-drilling wackos? You got it–FERC…
Continue reading

UCS “Report” Says Using Natural Gas for Electric Generation Big Gamble

The Union of So-Called Concerned Scientists (UCS) recently issued a new report that says switching to natural gas use, especially for electric generation, is one big gamble and we’re being lured down the primrose path to destruction. According to the “scientists” at UCS, it’s far better to turn the thermostat down to 50 degrees in the winter (called “energy efficiency”) and ride to work via horse and buggy (called “switching to renewables”) than risk using that foul, evil, nasty fossil fuel natgas (natgas, natgas, natgas–echo for evil-sounding effect). One might put more stock in such a report if it were actually authored by scientists–people with degrees in the hard sciences. Instead, its primary author is someone with a political science degree…
Continue reading