Deer Lakes School Signs Lease for $3,100/Acre + 18% Royalties

money bagAttention Martian parents from the Mars School District in Middlesex Township (Butler County), PA: In Allegheny County (bordering Butler County on the south) the Deer Lakes School District has just signed a lease to allow shale drilling under school property. Why are you Martians so afraid of shale drilling? (see Martian Arrogance: Town MUST “Protect Us” from Drilling via Zoning) At Tuesday night’s school board meeting, Deer Lakes board members voted to lease 110 acres of school property for drilling under (not on) with Huntley & Huntley, Inc. The lease terms are $3,100 per acre in a signing bonus and 18% royalties–yielding a nice check for $341,000 to the school just for signing. Those terms are not quite as rosy as last year’s deal struck by Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald who negotiated what turns out to be close to $4,000 per acre (and an 18% royalty) for leasing 1,180 acres in Deer Lakes Park (see Allegheny Co Exec Bests Range on Deer Lakes Park Lease Deal). The county park is literally a stone’s throw from the school…
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Judge Puts NC Fracking on Hold Pending Outcome of Lawsuit

Last July MDN told you that the first permits to frack shale wells in North Carolina would start to be issued this July (see North Carolina Shames New York: Fracking Begins in 2015). The NC Mining and Energy Commission did its part and completed regulations in March (see Triassic Park: North Carolina Becomes 34th State to Frack Shale). Everything was set to go. And then the lawsuits began. A NC judge has issued a ruling that prohibits the Mining and Energy Commission from issuing any permits until another case currently before the NC Supreme Court–questioning the legality of the appointment of several boards that manage state resources and the environment–plays out. It’s a pretty safe bet that the first permits to frack in NC won’t happen in July…
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PA Snubber Flourishes in Industry Downturn – Lessons Learned

There’s no denying that with the number of drilling rigs reduced in the Marcellus/Utica, the supply chain–those businesses that service the industry–have also seen a reduction in business. You can’t lay down 30% of your rigs and not have some kind of effect on the industry. But not every supply chain business has been negatively affected. Deep Well Services (DWS), a “snubbing” oilfield services company headquartered in Pennsylvania, continues to break new revenue records and grow the payroll with new employees. Last July they had 128 employees. As of May this year, they have 140, and by the end of the year that number will be 190. That’s really saying something in this current downturn in the industry. How did they do it?…
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PA Landowners Beware Antis Wanting to “Help You” w/Pipeline Deal

Landowners in northeast and central Pennsylvania should be wary of (and avoid) a new effort to try and recruit them into a “landowner group” that’s really just an anti-drilling group being formed to fight Williams and their much-needed Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project. Two anti-drilling kids (or youths, if you prefer) are spearheading the effort. Alex Lotorto is one of them. Alex has been one of the community agitators against the natural gas fired electric generating plant proposed for Jessup, PA (see Serial Protestor Alex Lotorto Seeks New Venue in Jessup). Alex and another twenty-something anti-driller, Allison Petryk (from New Jersey), recently conducted a meeting for unsuspecting landowners at the Tunkhannock Public Library in Wyoming County…
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Vermont Wackos (Including AARP) Oppose 43-Mile Natgas Pipeline

The fossil fuel hating nutjobs are out in force in Vermont. Anti-drillers who hate fracking because they hate natural gas because natural gas is an evil, nasty “fossil fuel” are trying to stall progress on a 43-mile natural gas pipeline Vermont Gas Systems is laying between Chittenden and Addison counties to deliver clean burning natural gas to Vermonters. Those opposing the pipeline include the wackos from a group called Rising Tide Vermont. But unfortunately, the pipeline is also being opposed by the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association (companies that deliver fuel oil) and opposed by even the socialist Vermont AARP. Who knows why the old farts association is opposing the pipeline–probably because no one paid them off (as others have done in the past). It’s a sad state of affairs, but Vermont Gas Systems is going on the offensive with a PR campaign…
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Moody’s Says O&G Company Default Rate in 2015 Going Higher

On Tuesday Moody’s Investors Service released a new report titled “Oil and Gas: The Bad, Ugly and Good.” The 12-page, which will set you back $550 (or free if you’re company subscribes to Moody’s) says, in essence, because the price of oil is recovering slowly, instead of quickly, “weaker oil & gas issuers are at a much greater risk of default.” That is, some drillers in 2015 will either go under or get bought out. How many? A high level summary of the report (below) doesn’t say how many. What it does say is that of all the companies rated by Moody’s with a credit rating of B3 or lower (too much debt, not enough revenue), 15% of all the companies in that list are oil & gas companies. That’s up from 8% of all companies in the list a year ago. In other words, it’s getting worse for drillers (or exploration & production companies, as it’s more properly called)…
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New Bill “Encourages” FERC to Make Speedier Pipeline Approvals

Senator Shelley Moore Capito, from West Virginia, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, recently introduced a bill that speed up the approval time for new pipeline projects. The “Oil and Gas Production and Distribution Reform Act” strengthens the role of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to better coordinate government agencies involved in the pipeline permitting process. That is, it gooses FERC and tells them to hurry it up (especially with Marcellus and Utica pipeline projects)–and reportedly gives them new tools and new deadlines to do so…
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Happy Memorial Day! MDN Off Friday & Monday

Memorial DayHave a great Memorial Day weekend–and don’t forget to remember and commemorate those who have given their lives for this country, to protect and defend her. MDN will be off on both Friday and Monday (no stories). We’re taking a long weekend to be with family and recharge the batteries. We’ll do so in one of our favorite spots on Mother Earth–in beautiful Lancaster County, PA.

Every Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day MDN editor Jim Willis makes a short trip to the Broome County Veteran’s Memorial Arena in Binghamton, NY. Outside the Arena on one of the corners is a memorial where the names of Broome County residents who have fought and died in every war ever fought–from the Revolutionary War through the current war on terror in Afghanistan–is etched in stone on a series of pedestals. It is a small version of our own Viet Nam Wall, if you will. It is Jim’s way of honoring the war dead–to simply pay a brief visit and remember them. Read some of the names. Reflect on the price they paid–the ultimate price.

Perhaps there is a similar monument where you live. Or a Memorial Day parade. Or something else. Find a way this Memorial Day to remember the war dead and be thankful for the freedom you have–because it was purchased with a very high price: the lives of those people.