SWN “Rigging Up” in WV, Plans to Drill 50-70 Wells in 2015

big sloppy kissIn February, West Virginia passed a new law “fixing” an old law. The old law, which was itself a new law just a few years ago, stipulated if oil and gas leases/operations change hands, the new owner must apply for permits to drill all over again, even if the previous owner had already been awarded those permits. This was a really big problem for Southwestern Energy that had just purchased $5 billion worth of leases and operations from Chesapeake Energy, most of it in WV. So the WV legislature passed, in record time, a law to fix the problem–and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed it (see WV Gov Tomblin Signs “We Love You Southwestern” Bill into Law). And none too soon. We’re now six weeks later and Southwestern says they’re now “rigging up” and beginning to drill in WV, with plans to drill 50-70 wells this year in northern WV. Southwestern is very happy with WV’s quick action and is giving them a big, sloppy kiss right back…
Continue reading

Southwestern Sells Pipeline Gathering System in NEPA for $500M

Yesterday Southwestern Energy announced they’ve struck a deal to sell their local gathering pipeline network in Bradford and Lycoming counties in northeastern Pennsylvania for $500 million to the Texas-based Howard Midstream Energy Partners. From what we can tell, this is Howard’s first foray into the Marcellus–so welcome! The pipeline network includes approximately 100 miles of natgas gathering lines with ~600 million cubic feet per day of capacity. Southwestern plans to use the half bil to pay down a loan coming due in December 2016. Howard Energy says, in their version of the announcement, that they also have a handshake deal with Southwestern to construct and operate a new gathering system for Southwestern in Tioga County, PA…
Continue reading

Judge Rules 7 NEPA Landowners Must Allow Constitution Pipeline

The Constitution Pipeline, a 124-mile pipeline that will flow Marcellus gas from Susquehanna County, PA to Schoharie Couty, NY where it will connect to both the Iroquois Pipeline and the Tennessee Gas Pipeline, received final Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval in December (see FERC Issues Final Approval for Constitution Pipeline in PA/NY). Construction was originally slated to begin long before now, but better late than never. The current plan is to begin construction no later than June 1. The remaining roadblocks are permits from the New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation (which should come very soon), and permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Throughout this entire project most believed the major roadblocks would be in New York State, where most of the pipeline will run. Little did we know that 20 landowners in Pennsylvania (out of 130 along the route of the pipeline) objected and would not let Williams build the pipeline across their property. Williams filed condemnation (eminent domain) proceedings against all 20. In the end, 13 of the 20 settled with Williams, and the other 7 have now been forced, under court order, to allow the pipeline across their property. That decision came earlier this week from U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania…
Continue reading

Gulfport Energy Sues Barnesville, OH for Access to Water in Reservoir

A legal battle is shaping up in Belmont County, OH–in and around Barnesville. Way back in 2012, Gulfport Energy signed a contract with Barnesville to buy water from the Slope Creek Reservoir for 1 penny per gallon. Not long after, the Village of Barnesville (which controls the reservoir) signed a lease with Antero Resources for a sizable sum (see Barnesville, OH Signs Lease with Antero, Receives $6M). Antero also snapped up more acreage in the area (see Antero Offers Barnesville, OH Residents $5,700/Acre 20% Royalties). Gulfport and Antero reached a “mutual development agreement” in June and now Gulfport wants to start drilling in the area–but Barnesville is saying the reservoir is too low because other drillers (Antero?) have drawn it down. So Barnesville won’t let Gulfport, which has its own contract, to access water in the reservoir. Gulfport has just sued the Village to gain access…
Continue reading

Decision on Restarting Trumbull County, OH Injection Well Coming Soon

How long does it take the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources to investigate whether or not an injection well is causing low-level earthquakes? Apparently a long time–6 months at least. Last September two wastewater injection wells were ordered to suspend operations in Trumbull County, OH following an earthquake on August 31st that was so minor nobody felt it (see ODNR Temporarily Shuts Down Injection Wells After Low-Level Quake). Even though nobody felt it, the seismographs at the U.S. Geological Survey picked it up–and that was enough for ODNR. It only took about two weeks for ODNR to clear one of the two wells, the shallower well (see ODNR Clears Trumbull Co. Injection Well in August Quake). ODNR let American Water Management Services (AWMS) restart their AWMS #1 injection well. But so far ODNR won’t let them restart AWMS #2. AWMS is losing big money every day the well is closed, so they filed an appeal with the Ohio Oil & Gas Commission in October. The hearing was (finally) held on March 11…
Continue reading

Williams Files with FERC to Expand Transco Pipeline from NJ to MS

Yesterday Williams announced that its Transco pipeline subsidiary filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for its Dalton Expansion Project, which will expand the Transco and flow more Marcellus Shale gas from New Jersey all the way to Mississippi, primarily for electric generation plants, but also for local natural gas distribution by utilities. Transco had a very successful open season and has customers signed up under binding contracts for 100% of the Dalton Expansion Project, which will increase the Transco’s capacity by 448,000 dekatherms per day of natural gas. To help pay for the project, Williams has entered a 50/50 joint venture with AGL Resources’ Dogwood Enterprise on a portion of the pipeline to be built in Georgia. Here’s the details…
Continue reading

Williams Gets FERC Approval for 11-Mile Pipeline in NE Maryland

Good news! Williams announced yesterday that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved their Transco pipeline application to expand the Transco system and construct an 11-mile pipeline lateral connecting Transco to an electric power generating facility in Cecil County, Maryland. The “Rock Springs expansion project” will transport 192,000 dekatherms of natural gas per day to Old Dominion Electric Cooperative’s soon-to-be-built Wildcat Point Generation Facility. Wildcat will generate 1,000 megawatts of electricity–enough to power 390,000 homes in the region…
Continue reading

List of World’s 21 Biggest Oil & Gas Companies

Over the past decade, from 2004 to 2014, something happened: the miracle of hydraulic fracturing. Because of fracking, the world now pumps more oil than it did a decade ago. During the past decade the price for a barrel of oil went sky high. Now, according to the popular narrative of the day, the price of oil has “collapsed” because we’re swimming in “too much oil.” Who woulda thunk? (Side note: the price for a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude in 2004 was $41.50. Today? About $43. So much for a price “collapse”–it’s more like a “price maintenance.”) For a while some people, like the now thoroughly discredited Art Berman, peddled the “peak oil” theory–that the world was running out of oil and would soon be paying $200 a barrel or more (see Peak Oil Theorist Art Berman Says Shale Gas is Peaking Too). So much for those theories. A decade ago the world was pumping 64.1 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd)–that is, oil and the energy equivalent in natural gas. Today? The world is pumping 80.4 million boepd. So who are the world’s 21 largest oil and gas producing companies? We have the list below…
Continue reading

Boone Pickens Predicts $6 Natgas, Exxon Will Buy Someone – Soon

Oil man T. Boone Pickens is 86 years old. He’s never had a problem with speaking his mind, but the older you get, the more plain-spoken (some would say blunt) you get. And so it is with Boone. He appeared yesterday on CNBC to talk about the outlook for natural gas prices and about “what it will take” for Exxon Mobil to increase its production numbers again. In vintage Boone style, he dropped a couple of bombs. One is that he believes we’ll see $6 natural gas prices once again–in his lifetime (and remember, he’s 86). The other is that Exxon will end up buying a “big independent”…
Continue reading

FERC Clears the Room at DC HQ After Riff Raff Start Mouthing Off

As MDN recently reported, anti-fossil fuel protesters have a new target–the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Nutjobs and people without day jobs regularly show up at FERC headquarters to cause trouble. One of them has been banned, permanently (see Anti-Driller Banned from FERC Headquarters for Disruptive Behavior). It got to the point that when FERC held open meetings where the public can attend, they were routinely disrupted by ne’re do wells. So FERC, earlier this month, adopted a new rule used by other federal agencies to deal with people who become lawless at their meetings (see NGI’s Daily Gas Price Index, Protests Reined in By New FERC Rule). Yesterday was the first open meeting at FERC headquarters in Washington, DC since the new rule went into effect and true to form, the hooligans were out in force. So FERC Chairwoman Cheryl LaFleur stopped the meeting and under the new rules cleared the room of the riff raff who were bleating about the Cove Point LNG export facility currently being built in Maryland…
Continue reading

WV Fixes Above Ground Tank Law, Now Less Onerous for O&G Industry

As MDN reported a year ago, WV legislature passed SB373, the “storage tank” bill, in the closing hours of the 2014 legislative session (see Fate of 3 WV Laws that Impact Marcellus/Utica Drilling). That bill was in response to a chemical leak that affected the drinking water for 300,000 WV residents. Even though the leak was not related to oil and gas drilling (it was related to coal mining), the new rules governing above ground storage tanks for chemicals affect a number of industries, including the Marcellus Shale drilling industry (see Impact of WV’s New Chemical Tank Law on Marcellus Drillers). There was a lot of confusion about the new law which requires just about all aboveground tanks (except your toilet) to be registered. WV ended up creating a new website to handle the confusion around the law (see WV DEP Launches New Website to Assist with Storage Tank Law). The writing was on the wall. It was obvious the law, as written, was totally unrealistic and unworkable. The 2015 legislative session recently closed, but before it ended, WV legislators passed a partial repeal of the 2014 law–to fix it so it’s actually now workable…
Continue reading