Strategy Change? Some Buy Mineral Rights in OH Instead of Leasing

Change the rulesA change in strategy? The Wheeling News Register is reporting an uptick in the purchase of mineral rights in the Upper Ohio Valley area. If a landowner owns both the surface and mineral rights, the typical situation is that the landowner will lease the mineral rights to an energy company for a certain period of time, receiving an up-front signing bonus. If drilled, the landowner will receive ongoing royalties from any gas (or oil) produced. But in some cases, instead of leasing, energy companies are buying the mineral rights. That is, the mineral rights become separated from ownership of the land on the surface. The energy company then owns the mineral rights, along with the right to use a bit of the surface to locate a drill pad and wells. The landowner selling the mineral rights gets a higher initial signing bonus by selling the mineral rights as opposed to leasing. But they also get zero royalties when selling the mineral rights. It becomes a decision between a little more money now, or a lot more money later. What kind of money are we talking about?…
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Dela. Riverkeeper Loses Bid to Stop Transco Expansion in PA

Question for THE Delaware Riverkeeper: What address should Williams send you the $1,125,000 bill because you blocked their tree cutting for a FERC-approved pipeline extension in Luzerne County? That’s how much it ended up costing Williams after THE Delaware Riverkeeper found a judge in Washington, DC who stopped Williams from clearing trees along the path of the pipeline expansion starting March 11 (see Dela. Riverkeeper Halts Transco Pipeline Upgrade with Lawsuit). Riverkeeper was hoping they could run the clock out because Williams can’t cut those trees from April through October, just in case an endangered Indiana bat decides to roost in a tree. Riverkeeper knows that and wanted to screw with the tree cutting schedule, hoping to buy an additional seven months to mount more legal challenges. The Riverkeeper legal shenanigan cost Williams real money (see Dela. Riverkeeper Leidy Lawsuit Costing Williams $125K per Day). It ended up being 9 days total, until a judge ruled last Thursday that Williams could resume their tree cutting (as we knew they would). Nine days at $125K per day is $1,125,000. Since Riverkeeper lost their case, we think they should pay the bill…
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PA DEP Sec Quigley Pulls a Fast One, Changes Drilling Rules

Perhaps we now know why PA’s Acting Secretary of the Dept. of Environmental Protection, John Quigley, fired the entire DEP Oil & Gas Technical Advisory Board once he took office, something no other incoming governor/administration has done in more than a generation (see Why did PA DEP Acting Sec Quigley Mass Fired Gas Advisory Board?). Why? To pack the board with new members who will agree to onerous changes to the 1984 PA Oil and Gas Act. Changes to the Act were required under the 2012 Act 13 law (see Rewrite of 1984 PA Oil and Gas Act Underway). A very long and detailed process took place over the past three years and that process was very nearly complete–frankly was complete, until Tom Wolf was elected governor. Wolf’s election put the final adoption of new rules on hold. In came the PennFuture administration (Quigley along with Cindy Dunn as head of the Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources and John Hanger as Wolf’s head of policy are all alumni of the anti-drilling PennFuture). The PennFuture brigade has screwed around with the rules, adding their own anti-drilling changes, and they now want the Technical Advisory Board to rubber stamp it. Needless to say, the Marcellus industry isn’t taking it well…
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Noble County, OH in Love with the Leach Xpress Pipeline

It’s not often you read about a pipeline project that’s “well received” by both the elected leaders of a county and the landowners in that county. But such is the case with the Leach Xpress Pipeline in Noble County, OH. Leach Xpress, you may recall, is being built by Columbia Pipeline Group and will begin in Marshall County, West Virginia, cross Ohio and end up in Leach, Kentucky (see Columbia Gas: $1.75B for 2 Projects to Send Marcellus Gas to Gulf). Why are the folks of Noble County in love with the Leach Xpress? For one thing, it will generate $6.2 million per year in tax revenue, with 63% of that going to school districts in the county…
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BLM Introduces “Final” Fracking Rules for Fed Lands – 3 Yrs Late

Last Friday the Dept. of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its final version of new fracking rules for drillers who frack on public and trial lands in the U.S. The BLM has been working on the new rules since 2012 (see BLM Issues Proposed New Rule for Fracking Federal Lands). After negative feedback, BLM reworked the rules several times since the original draft in May 2012. Why does this issue matter for MDN readers? For one, there is some federal land in the northeast–not a lot–but some, that may be impacted. The larger reason is that clearly the overreaching activist federal government under Barack H. Obama has its sights set on federal control of fracking–not just on federal land but all private land as well (see Feds ‘Hope’ States will Use BLM Rules for ALL Fracking). Yes it’s a stretch and ambitious, but then, who in their right mind would have thought Democrat Congress members would have sold out their constituents and passed Obamacare? In other words, stranger things have happened. We need to pay attention to what the feds are doing with fracking. So far, both the oil and gas industry and the so-called environmental movement are not happy with the final rules. In fact, the industry immediately filed a lawsuit to stop the new rules from taking effect–and “environmentalists” like the vapid Mark Ruffalo are kicking up a fuss…
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Marshall County May Lower Property Taxes Thanks to Marcellus

Marshall County is one of the most drilled, and most pipelined, counties in West Virginia. The Marcellus/Utica industry has been good to Marshall County. Really good–in both jobs and tax revenue. In fact, you are not going to believe this (we had to read it a few times)…but the County Assessor in Marshall, the guy who calculates what your property is worth for taxpaying purposes, is trying to convince Marshall County Board of Education members to LOWER property tax rates. Why? Because frankly, they have more money coming in than they can use. The county will realize $712 million in new tax revenue this year–and of that, 72% (or $513 million) will go to Marshall County schools. Incredible! When was the last time you heard of property taxes going down? The question is, what will the board follow the assessor’s recommendation?…
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Greenpeace Co-Founder Says Mankind Doesn’t Cause Global Warming

big newsThis is really big news. It’s really important news. But don’t look for it on ABC/NBC/CBS/MSNBC/CNN/New York Times/Washington Post/Los Angeles Times/Etcetera ad naseum. They won’t run it because of media bias. Dr. Patrick Moore, a Canadian and ecologist, has been a leader in international environmentalism for more than 40 years. He co-founded Greenpeace and currently serves as chairman of Allow Golden Rice. Greenpeace is one of the biggest anti-drilling organizations on the planet (full of wackos). Yet, Dr. Patrick Moore is a climate skeptic. You read that right. Moore does not believe in man-made global warming. In fact, he calls the whole notion of catastrophic global warming from human activity “preposterous.” Below is a portion of a column written by Dr. Moore explaining his sound, scientific reasons for refuting the idiotic notion that mankind is causing the earth to toast…
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Good News & Bad News with Constitution Pipeline in PA/NY

The good news is that the Constitution Pipeline–a pipeline that will flow Marcellus Shale gas from the enormously productive gas fields in Susquehanna County, PA up into New York, all the way to Schoharie County–is getting built. Construction starts in the next three months. The bad news is that construction will cause pain for some of the 651 landowners along its route. Of those 651 landowners, 125 had refused to sign right-of-way agreements with Williams to install the pipeline (19% of the total). The pressure of eminent domain court action forced many of them to sign–really, they had no choice. For those who didn’t sign, the courts have determined compensation (and forced them to accept it) in all but four remaining cases–all of them in New York State. Those cases are now under review and will soon be resolved. It is a done deal and there’s no stopping it. Some of the cases of landowners who opposed the pipeline, highlighted in an AP article, are due to their anti-drilling philosophy. But there is one case that we find distressing–a farmer who didn’t reject the pipeline–he just wanted it moved to a different part of his farm to prevent disrupting future plans…
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Lots of Interest in Building LNG Facility at PGW’s Philly Port

Could LNG (liquefied natural gas) fed by Marcellus Shale gas one day be exported from Philadelphia to Europe? That’s the hope being offered by one company to the struggling Philadelphia Gas Works. Another company also wants to beef up the LNG operation at Port Richmond (owned by PGW), but their plan would be to sell LNG domestically–for use here in the U.S. Now that the corrupt Philadelphia City Council has quashed plans for PGW to be sold and privatized (see Philly City Council Kills the Phila. Gas Works $1.86B Deal), it seems everyone has a “great idea we’d like to run by you” for PGW to consider…
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New Tech Uses “Microbe-Powered Battery” to Clean Frack Wastewater

It’s always fun and interesting to come across new technology in the oil and gas industry. It seems the industry is forever tinkering, testing, trying new things in an effort to lower costs and make it safer for the environment. Yes, oil and gas companies are concerned about the effects they have on the environment, contrary to what idiots like Mark Ruffalo say. The latest innovation comes from researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder where they have invented a simpler (yet very effective) process to simultaneously remove salts and organic contaminants from the wastewater AND produce additional energy at the same time. The new process uses a “microbe-powered battery” to do its magic. We have the low down, including a copy of the published research…
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“Green” Dems Introduce ‘Frack Pack’ Bills to Take Over Drilling

Listen to this load of cow manure coming from so-called environmentalists and their willing accomplices in Congress who are willing to spread it around the Capitol (perhaps hoping to fertilize the spring daffodils). With backing from Big Environment, several members of Congress have introduced a set of bills that mean a federal takeover of all oil and gas drilling in the country. Said Congresspersons are calling the bills the “Frack Pack.” The bills will add another set of teeth to the Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act that will mean the federal government will get to oversee all unconventional oil and gas activity. It’s a lib Dem’s dream come true–except the bills don’t stand a chance. It’s all window dressing–for show and fundraising purposes–to keep the greenies giving their greenbacks to the green whores in Congress…
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