PA DCNR Publishes Lease Agreements for Deals Under Rivers/Creeks

who owns itIn February 2015, MDN did a deep dive into the issue of Pennsylvania leasing underneath rivers and streams to allow Marcellus/Utica Shale drilling (see PA DCNR Program Leases Under Rivers/Creeks for Marcellus Drilling). PA maintains the state owns the land underneath any river or creek that is “navigable” and therefore has the right to lease it for drilling, denying the landowners who own the land along the banks of that stream signing bonuses and royalties. It is a thorny issue. Does the state actually “own” the land under rivers and creeks? It’s an issue that (seems to us) should be litigated and decided. In that story in February MDN brought you a list of river and creek deals signed, as of early January, with an indication of who signed and how much the signing bonus was for. At the bottom of that list (we’ve included the list below for your convenience) are six deals with Shell’s SWEPI–five of the deals for tracks of river/creeks in Tioga County, PA, and one in Forest County, PA. Interestingly, the Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), the state agency doing the leasing on behalf of the state, has just published notification for those six SWEPI deals in the May 2 Pennsylvania Bulletin which include the full details for each deal…
Continue reading

FirstEnergy Says Talk of Selling Land for OH Cracker “Premature”

Two weeks ago MDN brought you the good news that two foreign companies–one from Thailand and the other from Japan–are teaming up with the aim of building a $5 billion ethane cracker plant in Belmont County, OH (see It’s Official: Belmont County Chosen as POSSIBLE Cracker Plant Site). A day later we shared with you Belmont County’s enthusiasm for the project, and our own “cracker fatigue” (see Belmont County Elated with Cracker Plant Announcement (Drip)). These projects take years and have more ups and downs than a roller coaster. It seems our words of advice to temper enthusiasm for this new project are already bearing out. Utility company FirstEnergy owns the land where the cracker plant would, theoretically, be built. FirstEnergy is saying wait a minute, we haven’t agreed to sell that land to anybody…
Continue reading

US Attorney Looks for “Environmental Crimes” in Marcellus/Utica

On Friday MDN told you of an observation about anti-drillers trying to criminalize accidents and (in some cases) sloppy neglect when it comes to Marcellus and Utica Shale drilling (see Youngstown Injection Wells Previously Shut Down Resume Operation). The emphasis on so-called “environmental crimes” seems to be coming from the federal government–in the Youngstown case, from the EPA. We spotted another such effort–this one from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in southwest PA (Pittsburgh). U.S. Attorney David Hickton began meeting (colluding?) in December with the FBI, EPA, and the PA DEP and PA anti-drilling Attorney General “to discuss opportunities for improved environmental enforcement.” Another such meeting is scheduled for this week…
Continue reading

Williams Says Some Marcellus Drillers Shutting in Production

Last week top management from midstream heavyweight Williams participated in an analyst call to discuss first quarter 2015 results and to talk about what to expect going forward in 2015. The one that that stands out about the call is that Williams is facing lower volumes of gas flowing through their pipelines in some areas of the Marcellus Shale because drillers are “curtailing” or shutting-in some of their wells to wait for natgas prices to go up. Sometimes drillers do that. They have a lot of expenses sunk into a well. If they believe the price will rise in the near or medium term, they sometimes throttle back and wait. How much are drillers shutting in? Williams figures it will be between 300-500 million cubic feet per day (Mmcf/d) of production…
Continue reading

MarkWest Energy Management Reshuffle Elevates Marcellus/Utica

MarkWest Energy, one of the largest (if not the largest) midstream company in the Marcellus/Utica, has just announced a reshuffling of senior management that will affect the northeast region. Randy S. Nickerson, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer for MarkWest, will retire in early 2016. His retirement has set off a flurry of dominoes and people changing chairs. With respect to the Marcellus/Utica, effective June 1, Greg Floerke, currently the Senior Vice President of Operations for the Northeast Region will be promoted to Randy Nickerson’s position. That leaves an opening that will be filled by David Fitch, currently the Vice President of Engineering for the Northeast Region. Fitch will replace Floerke as the head of operations for the Northeast Region. Why does it matter?…
Continue reading

UPS Adds 64 New LNG Tractor Trailers to Fleet in Harrisburg, PA

Two years ago we tipped our hat to UPS, the worldwide package delivery service, for their commitment to growing their natural gas fleet with a plan to add 700 new LNG (liquefied natural gas) tractor trailers to the fleet (see UPS to Grow NG Fleet with Additional 700 LNG Tractor Trailers). Good news: UPS has done it again. The company announced last week they are adding another 64 new LNG tractor trailers to the fleet–this batch based in Harrisburg, PA. No doubt cheap, abundant Marcellus Shale gas had something to do with that decision…
Continue reading

UMD Junk Science Research “Links” Shale Drilling to Air Pollution

A new anti-drilling “study” (i.e. junk science) has just been released by anti-drillers at the University of Maryland–pretending to be real science when it’s not. The study claims to show that locations hundreds of miles “downwind” from active shale drilling operations end up with higher levels of ethane in the air than other locations. Of course the “researchers” didn’t bother to conduct similar tests and analysis for locations not downwind from drilling. They found a spike in ethane concentrations in the air in Baltimore and immediately jumped to the conclusion it’s from Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale drilling, and then worked hard to connect a bunch of dots that would “prove” just how nasty and vile this whole Marcellus shale drilling thing really is (and consequently why it should be banned in PA, WV and OH). Predictable, and sad that yet another institution like the University of Maryland has prostituted itself on the alter of Big Green…
Continue reading

PA Teacher Pollutes Minds of 7th Graders Against Electric Plant

An anti-drilling teacher is brainwashing her seventh grade students into opposing the Invenergy natural gas-fired electric plant proposed for Jessup. Using lessons she’s teaching her students about the great Aristotle and his teachings on rhetoric, Ms. Grace Piconi-Augelli claims her students can sniff out fraud and subterfuge when they see it–and they (or rather Ms. Piconi-Augelli) see it with Invenergy and their plan to use clean burning Marcellus Shale gas to power what will be the state’s largest natural gas-fired electric plant. Ms. Piconi-Augelli is teaching her students about rhetoric, but apparently she skimmed over the section on Aristotle’s teachings on logic…
Continue reading