2 Men Indicted by Feds for Vandalizing Chevron Wells in SWPA

handcuffsA Green County man–Heath A. Rankin, 33, of Carmichaels, PA–was indicted earlier this week by a federal grand jury on a felony charge of damaging a shale well (or wells) on the Burchianti Pad in Greene County in March 2014. The pad is owned by Chevron, which is, according to one news source, planning to seek restitution for damages exceeding $5,000 allegedly caused by Mr. Rankin. Another man, Brian Harbarger, 34, of Cumberland, PA–was indicted for the same thing in December 2014. It’s too early to jump to any conclusions. Are they environmentalists that tipped over the line? Are they former/disgruntled employees? Drunk and out for a joy ride? We simply don’t know. Here’s what we do know…
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Chesapeake Tries Waterless Fracking at OH Utica Shale Well

Big NewsSomething we consider pretty big news: Chesapeake Energy is running an experiment with waterless fracking. They’ve contracted with Canadian waterless fracking company GASFRAC to attempt what is the second (that we’re aware of) waterless frack job on a Utica Shale well–in Tuscarawas County, OH. The first waterless frack job done by GASFRAC was for EV Energy Partners on a Utica well also in Tuscarawas County (see Details on GASFRAC’s Waterless Frack Test in OH Utica). We consider it a good sign that Chessy thinks its worth a few million bucks to try it out for themselves. Chessy stresses this is still very preliminary…
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PA Gov Wolf: Forget Burning Natgas, Make PVC Pipe Instead

A question and answer session with PA Gov. Tom Wolf at the Harrisburg Patriot-News reveals a lot about his attitude and thinking with regard to the Marcellus Shale industry. Hinting at his previous statement that if the industry doesn’t agree to his tax he’ll ban them (see PA Gov Wolf Turns Bully, Threatens Ban on Drilling Absent New Tax), Wolf, in answering a question about the drilling industry and how it conducts itself said the industry will “do this [Marcellus drilling] right or we can’t do it at all.” He failed to define what he means by doing it right. Wolf also said that while he’s in favor of extracting Marcellus Shale gas, he (fantastically) thinks it’s a waste to burn it! Instead, HE wants to use it to make things, like artificial wood for decks and PVC for pipes. He’s more interested in solar and wind than he is natural gas (must be John Hanger’s influence). What a mess this man’s thinking is on one of PA’s most important natural resources. He’s going to screw it up if he continues on this dangerously naive course…
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PIOGA Leads the Charge to Defeat Wolf’s Severance Tax

Louis D. D’Amico, President & Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association (PIOGA), is leading the effort to defeat PA Gov. Tom Wolf’s Marcellus-killing, 7.5% severance tax. While virtually everyone else looked away in embarrassment and otherwise ignored Wolf’s threat that you either take this tax like a man or you’ll get banned “like New York,” Lou D’Amico is not looking away and not pretending Wolf never said it. Wolf did say it and he meant it–and he must be stopped. Below is an excellent column Lou recently wrote in which he parses the governor’s comments and offers the industry’s response–setting the record straight. By the way, Lou will be the Guest of Honor at this year’s Oil & Gas Awards event in Pittsburgh on March 25…
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PA DEP Sec Quigley Fumbles Questions at House Budget Hearing

Yesterday PennFutureDEP Acting Sec. John Quigley appeared before the PA House budget hearing to answer questions about Gov. Tom Wolf’s budget proposals for the Dept. of Environmental Protection (i.e. cheerlead and support the highest tax increase on drillers in the state’s history). Quigley was asked why he had fired the members of the DEP’s Oil & Gas Technical Advisory Board (OGTAB)–something no incoming governor has done in a generation, Republican or Democrat (see Why did PA DEP Acting Sec Quigley Mass Fired Gas Advisory Board?). Quigley apparently fumbled around with the question and answered it later, after the meeting, saying the law required splitting the board in two and, “We needed some new blood on the advisory board.” He was asked, during the hearing, who the new members would be on the newly constituted OGTAB. Quigley said he “couldn’t remember” and he later told reporters the board is appointed by the governor and that he “doesn’t do clerical work.” Apparently nominating and appointing a board with people who ultimately guide and control the very policies his department must enforce isn’t important enough for Quigley to bother with. Arrogant or out of touch, take your pick. Later that same day, after some underling got chewed out for Quigley’s poor performance, a press release was issued with the names of the OGTAB members…
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PA DEP Sec Quigley Wants Pipeliners/Towns to Meet Up

kumbayaPA’s PennFutureDEP Acting Sec. John Quigley wants to get the big pipeline companies and the townships through which the pipelines will go to meet at the local Starbucks and “start a conversation.” Which latte do you like? Er no, not that kind of conversation. Quigley acknowledges he doesn’t have a thing to do with interstate pipelines–they’re approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Other agencies (federal and state) oversee the pipelines once they are built. But Quigley thinks if he can get both sides–pipeliners and towns–together and try to at least get a dialogue going, perhaps something good will come from it. Not a bad idea as ideas go. One recommendation: don’t tell the nutters which Starbucks you’re meeting at…
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Does New England Really Need a New Natgas Pipeline?

Don’t look now, but we actually read a pretty fair and balanced report on pipelines to New England…published by PBS! We predict a reporter who will soon be out of a job. The article (which we quote from below) frames up the arguments against and for new natural gas pipelines coming to New England this way: Those against say electric generation that requires natgas really only demands an extra supply in the dead of winter–typically 30-45 days. Because of that heightened demand, it drives electric prices through the roof because the plants have to buy the gas on the spot market. The rest of the year that kind of intense demand is not there–meaning you’ll spend billions on pipelines to solve a 30-45 day problem. And the rest of the year? Some of that gas will go to Canada and likely get exported. Better to use the existing LNG terminal in Boston and import (!) liquefied natural gas, instead of using cheap, abundant Marcellus gas from a few hundred miles away, and use more LNG at electric generation plants. Those who favor building the pipelines see it differently…
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NY’s Millennium Pipeline Launches Open Season to Expand

The Millennium Pipeline–a natural gas pipeline running through upstate New York’s Southern Tier area from Corning, NY to Rockland County, NY–announced a new open season yesterday. The open season will sign up new customers from now until the end of the month, March 31. The Millennium, which is jointly owned by NiSource, National Grid and DTE Energy, plans to expand facilities along the line, increasing capacity. That usually means they will install some new loops, or additional pipelines right next to the existing pipeline, along with upgrades to compressor plants. The purpose? Deliver more clean-burning natural gas to customers throughout the northeast…
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Mountain Valley Pipeline Picks Up 2 New Investors/Partners

Yesterday we told you that some landowners in West Virginia are not happy with what they call threatening letters coming from the Mountain Valley Pipeline (see WV Landowners Say They’re Bullied by Mountain Valley Pipeline). MVP is a 330-mile pipeline from Wetzel County, WV to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsylvania County, VA. It’s a joint venture between EQT and NextEra US Gas Assets. At least it was a jv between the two until yesterday when MVP announced two more partners/investors: WGL Midstream and Vega Midstream. Who’s on top? EQT owns 55% (and manages) the jv, NextEra owns 35%, WGL will own 7% and Vega 3%. Here’s the announcement from yesterday…
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Elk Lake School LOVES Their 2 Marcellus Shale Wells & Gas Heat

I Love GasSeems like it was ages ago now that we told you (and keep telling you) about a rural school district in northeastern Pennsylvania–the Elk Lake School District–that drilled two Marcellus Shale wells on the school campus (see Rural NE PA School Nets $1.7M in Royalties from 2 Marcellus Wells). Not only is that tiny school district still raking in the royalties, they’re also heating with natural gas. Even though there’s been record cold in Susquehanna County this winter, the students and faculty are nice and toasty, thanks to Marcellus Shale gas…
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