Republicans (!) Help Defeat WV Forced Pooling at 11th Hour

celebrateIn a stunning upset at the eleventh hour, WV House Bill (HB) 2688, a bill that allows forced pooling (and a bill that seemed assured of passage just last Friday) died in a rare tied vote. On Friday, we told you HB2688 was all but a done deal (see Looks Like Forced Pooling is, After 5 Years, Coming to WV). So what happened? As predicted, the bill went to the WV Senate where it was passed on a vote of 24-10. The House had previously passed it on a vote of 60-40, but the bill had amendments that took it back to the House for final passage on the very last day of the regular session (Saturday). The last vote on the bill ended up in a rare tie of 49-49. When a vote on a bill ends in a tie, it doesn’t pass. And there it ended. Why did the vote swing from a comfortable margin the first time it passed in the House to a tie the second time? It largely appears to be the efforts of House member Pat McGeehan, a Republican, who calls forced pooling “legal plundering”…
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Rice Energy Pays St Clairsville, OH $8,700/Acre Signing Bonus

In March 2014, St. Clairsville (Belmont County), OH put out a request for bids on 195 acres of city-owned land. The request for proposal (RFP) came and went with no bids (see St Clairsville RFP to Lease 195 Utica Acres Comes & Goes, No Bids). But don’t let that fool you. Drillers were keenly interested in leasing the property. The initial RFP served a legal purpose. After the period for bids closed, the real negotiations began. St. Clairsville was looking for $7,300 per acre signing bonus and 20% royalties. They got an even better deal. In January, Rice Energy handed St. Clairsville with a check for $1,479,251.84 to lease 170 out of the 195 acres–or $8,700 per acre as a signing bonus…
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Ohio 4Q14 Natgas Production Up 25% Over 3Q14, Up 281% Over 4Q13

We didn’t mean to ignore it, but somehow we let slide the fact that Ohio recently (end of February) released their now quarterly production numbers. We have the full list below, embedded as a spreadsheet. The really good news: Ohio’s natural gas production from shale (almost all Utica Shale) rose 25% in a single quarter over the previous third quarter. It rose an amazing 281% over fourth quarter of 2013. Oil and gas together rose 15% from 3Q14 to 4Q14. Here’s the details…
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Dela. Riverkeeper Halts Transco Pipeline Upgrade with Lawsuit

Someone needs to sue THE Delaware Riverkeeper (Maya van Rossum) the way that organization is suing legitimate and legal companies to block legitimate and legal activity in the Marcellus Shale. Delaware Riverkeeper apparently has endless bags of money, made available to them by the Park Foundation, Heinz Endowments and other anti-drilling “non-profit” groups, to file endless frivolous lawsuits. The latest is particularly insidious. Williams has just received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to build a few loops–extra lengths of pipeline immediately next to existing pipeline–for the Transco Pipeline in northeast PA and in NJ (see FERC Approves Williams Leidy Southeast Project in PA/NJ). Part of the requirement by FERC is that Williams cannot cut down trees between April and October–a full seven months–to avoid “harming” the endangered Indiana bat that may (or may not) roost in those trees…
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Dela. RiverKeeper, Clean Air Council Cost Middlesex Residents $35K+

kick them outTHE Delaware Riverkeeper (Maya van Rossum) and the Clean Air Council, both located in the orbit of Philadelphia, have gone all the way to the opposite side of the state to meddle and cause mischief (see Martian Chronicles: Delaware River Basin Shifts to Western PA?). They’ve not only delayed legal and legitimate Marcellus drilling on the other side of the state, now they’ve cost the taxpayers in Middlesex Township (Butler County), PA over $35,000 in legal fees–and the costs keep mounting. Thank you Delaware Riverkeeper and Clean Air Council with your frivolous meddling! Those groups, in league with “four residents” are challenging the right of Middlesex to allow Rex Energy to drill several Marcellus Shale wells on a pad in a rural area that’s 3/4 of a mile away from the Mars School (see Rex Drilling Operation Near Mars School Put on Hold). Their meddling is costing real money–not only for Rex Energy, but also for the taxpayers of Middlesex who are nothing more than collateral damage for Riverkeeper and the Clean Air Council in their war on fossil fuels…
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Kentucky Fracking One Step Closer: Commission Considers 1st Permit

In January, MDN told you that shale drilling/fracking may soon come to Kentucky (see Fracking on the Way in the Bluegrass State? Quite Possibly). Several weeks ago the Kentucky Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, a group that “rarely meets” (last meeting was in 2006) held a meeting to consider granting Kentucky’s very first deep horizontal natural gas drilling permit. The company applying for the permit is Horizontal Technology Energy Company, a subsidiary of Pittsburgh-based EQT. Horizontal Technology wants to drill a well in the Rogersville Shale in the eastern part of the state. No word yet on the result of that meeting…
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Chesapeake’s PA Royalty Settlement Affects Some, Not All Landowners

In December MDN told you about a settlement between “several thousand” Pennsylvania landowners and Chesapeake over the royalty issue–Chessy deducting post-production payments by pipeline companies in what some call a scam that leaves landowners signed with Chesapeake receiving royalty checks that are pennies on the dollar compared to what they should receive. The new settlement for those “several thousand” would be 2/3 of $11 million, after the lawyers get their 1/3 cut (see Chesapeake & PA Landowners Settle Royalty Lawsuit…Again). However, not all PA landowners leased with Chesapeake are happy about it. Two other, separate lawsuits against Chesapeake are proceeding and, according to attorneys, the settlement will not affect these separate lawsuits which are proceeding, unless the leases have a “market enhancement” clause…
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PA’s Anti-Drilling Attorney General Kane Can’t Keep a Press Secretary

rats fleeing a sinking shipRats fleeing a sinking ship? (Oops…Did we just say that with our out-loud voice??) It seems PA’s anti-drilling and law-breaking Attorney General Kathleen Kane can’t keep a press secretary. Kane, you may recall, is using Lanny Davis, lawyer for Bill “BJ in the Oval Office” Clinton who lied under oath (called perjury, a crime) to defend her. Davis was able to help Clinton keep his job as president, largely by smearing the special prosecutor in the case, Ken Starr. Kane figures Davis may be able to help her keep her job as PA’s AG, even though a grand jury found her to have broken the law and violated the oath of her office (see PA Grand Jury Finds Anti-Drilling AG Kathleen Kane Lied Under Oath). It’s interesting to watch the people around Kane, like those that have to face the press every day and lie for her. They just keep leaving. The latest one was there only two months…
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CONSOL Trims 2015 Drilling Budget Another $80M; High-Grade?

On Friday, CONSOL Energy issued a press release with lots of flowery words to say they’re whacking their drilling budget again. Instead of spending $1 billion on Marcellus/Utica drilling in 2015 (previously announced in January), they’ll spend $80 million less than that–$920 million. The language CONSOL uses is interesting: they talk about continuing their focus to “high-grade the development plan to further reduce capital in a lower commodity price environment,” whatever that means. Sounds like gobbledygook to us. They use “high-grade” as a verb. If CONSOL had spent $80M more would that have been considered low-grading the development plan? Medium-grading it? We sometimes find the language of high finance amusing as well as befuddling. Here’s the full announcement from Friday. See if you can make heads or tails of it…
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ACC Report: Shale Means American Chemical Exports Double in 15 Yrs

The shale gas revolution in the U.S. will lead to dramatic growth in U.S. chemical exports over the next fifteen years. That’s according to a new report sponsored by the American Chemistry Council (ACC). Titled “Fueling Export Growth: U.S. Net Export Trade Forecast for Key Chemistries to 2030” (full copy below), the report shows gross exports of chemical products, including plastics, linked to plentiful and affordable natural gas are projected to double, from $60 billion in 2014 to $123 billion by 2030…
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