Williams Buys Out EVEP Interest in Utica East Ohio Midstream for $575M

small potatoesIn early February, MDN told you that EV Energy Partners, a company with a huge amount of leased acreage in the Ohio Utica Shale region, was looking to sell its 21% interest in Utica East Ohio (UEO)–a midstream/pipeline company operating in Ohio (see EVEP Wants to Sell Interest in Utica East Ohio/More Utica Acreage). Yesterday EV announced they found a buyer–none other than Williams, EV’s partner in UEO. Williams currently owns 49% of UEO and is paying EV $575 million in cash to relieve them of their 21%, for a grand total operating interest of 70% ownership…
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Mountain Valley Pipeline Sues 103 WV Landowners for Survey Access

A month ago MDN told you that some West Virginia landowners were complaining about strong-arm tactics being used by EQT and NextEra US Gas Assets and their Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project to build a 330-mile pipeline from Wetzel County, WV to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsylvania County, VA (see WV Landowners Say They’re Bullied by Mountain Valley Pipeline). At the time, MVP threatened to sue over 100 landowners who were not allowing their survey crews access in order to survey and find the best path for the pipeline. It’s not a threat any more. Last Friday MVP filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Beckley, WV asking the court to force three corporations and 103 other property owners in 10 WV counties to let survey crews on their land. As we pointed out a month ago, such a lawsuit depends on eminent domain. The problem is, MVP isn’t yet approved by FERC, so the right of eminent domain doesn’t exist yet–at least that’s our understanding of how it works…
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Envelope Please: Top 5 PA Marcellus Shale Gas Producers for 2014

Top 5Who were the top 5 natural gas producers in Pennsylvania for all of 2014? The names of the companies won’t surprise you if you’ve read MDN for any length of time. But the order of the list may surprise you, and the number of active wells for some of them likely will surprise you…
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PA DEP Gives Public 45 Days to Comment on O&G Rule Changes

The 2012 Act 13 law required the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) to update sections of the older 1984 PA Oil & Gas Act (see Rewrite of 1984 PA Oil and Gas Act Underway). That process was pretty much done and dusted under PA Gov. Tom Corbett. But then his Secretary of the DEP, Chris Abruzzo, resigned near the end of Corbett’s term, throwing the department into some disarray (see PA DEP Sec. Chris Abruzzo Resigns Following Porn Email Scandal). Tom Wolf won the governor’s race and installed John Quigley to head up the DEP and Quigley had other ideas about the rewrite that was nearly done (see PA DEP Sec Quigley Pulls a Fast One, Changes Drilling Rules). Now that Quigley has changed things up, he’s going to give the “public” a good long look. Instead of the typical 30 day comment period, Quigley’s DEP announced yesterday they will give the public three hearings and 45 days (ending May 19) in which to comment on their changed new rule changes…
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Why < 9% PA Towns Haven't Passed O&G Zoning Regs: Anti-Drillers

There’s a reason that less than 9% of communities in the 33 Pennsylvania counties with shale drilling have passed ordinances specifically aimed at the drilling industry. They look at the grief experienced in places like Middlesex Township (Butler County) where Martians–a few parents from the local Mars School District–are agitating to prevent a shale well from being drilled 3/4 of a mile from the school (see Rex Drilling Operation Near Mars School Put on Hold). Those towns see how so-called non-profits like the Delaware Riverkeeper are operating outside of their jurisdictional (we would argue outside of their legal) parameters, costing communities like Middlesex big bucks (see Dela. RiverKeeper, Clean Air Council Cost Middlesex Residents $35K+). Other towns look at that festering mess and say, “no thanks,” which is kind of ironic since the towns themselves sued to overturn portions of the Act 13 law, giving them the right to enact their own oil and gas zoning regulations…
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Patterson-UTI Rig Counts Drop More than 14% in 1Q15

How much is drilling slowing down across all U.S. shale plays? This little statistic may illustrate it. Patterson-UTI operates (leases out) drilling rigs for shale and conventional drilling. They are one of the biggest rig firms in the Marcellus/Utica. If you were to average the first three months of the year–January through March–Patterson-UTI operated an average of 165 rigs in the U.S. and 8 rigs in Canada. But if you looked at just the month of March, Patterson UTI operated an average of 142 rigs in the U.S. and 4 rigs in Canada. That’s a pretty steep drop in numbers over the course of just a few months–more than 14%…
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EIA: Marcellus Biggest US Gas Field, Eagle Ford Biggest Oil Field

top 100Last week our favorite government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, published an update to their U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Proved Reserves research. The update/report, titled “Top 100 U.S. Oil and Gas Fields” (full copy below) shows the 100 largest U.S. oil and gas fields by their estimated 2013 proved reserves. That’s the top 100 oil fields, and a second list for the top 100 gas fields–based on 2013 estimates for reserves. It probably won’t surprise you to learn the #1 gas field in the U.S. is the Marcellus. It may (or may not) surprise you to learn the #1 oil field in the U.S. in 2013 was the Eagle Ford (again, based on reserves). It likely will surprise you, as it did us, to not find the Utica/Point Pleasant anywhere in either list! But then we remembered that the Utica was just getting under way in 2013. Still, not even in the top 100? Seems a bit off to us…
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EPA Expanding CWA (Again), Applies to Shale Drillers re Wastewater

We have mixed emotions about a new rule proposed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that further extends the Clean Water Act behemoth by applying it (yet again) to regulating the oil and gas industry. The new rule, titled “Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Oil and Gas Extraction Point Source Category” (document number EPA-HQ-OW-2014-0598, full copy below) would prevent untreated frack wastewater from being treated by municipal sewer and water treatment plants. The entire rule is created because once upon a time this sort of thing did happen in Pennsylvania, before then PA DEP Secretary Michael Krancer put a stop to it in 2012 (see PA DEP, Marcellus Shale Coalition Admit Drilling Wastewater Likely Contaminating Drinking Water). The EPA thinks because PA used to do it, there’s nothing to say they might not fall into their old, bad habits and do it again “someday,” so the EPA wants to put a new unvoted-on law in place to prevent it…
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Nonpartisan Brookings Research Finds Huge Benefits from Fracking

The nonpartisan Washington, DC-based think tank the Brookings Institution recently published a detailed paper on the enormous benefits of shale gas to American society as a whole. Titled “Welfare and Distributional Implications of Shale Gas” (full copy below), the research paper finds that the average American household that burns gas now saves $200 per year on the cost of that gas, a cumulative economic impact of adding $13 billion more in disposable income into the economy. In fact, as of 2013, Brookings finds the “fracking revolution” as they call it, has improved the economic well-being of consumers a staggering $74 billion per year. All because of the miracle of fracking…
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Broadview Heights, OH Moms: Don’t Frack With Us

Yoko Ono and Sean LennonThree weeks ago anti-drillers in the Cleveland suburb of Broadview Heights were handed a crushing defeat in which a County Common Pleas Court judge struck down a so-called community “bill of rights”–the only “right” of which was to deny legitimate oil and gas drillers the ability to conduct business. We pointed out what sore losers anti-drillers are (see OH Antis Handed Crushing Defeat in Broadview Hghts Home Rule Case). The immediate reaction from the small group of antis in Broadview Heights was to engage in borderline sedition–calling the government and the courts illegitimate. They’ve appeared to dial back that rhetoric just a tad (perhaps their lawyer told them to pipe down), but they’re still PO’d (personally offended). Last night Mothers Against Drilling In Our Neighborhood (MADION) held a rally to spout and vent…
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