PDC May Un-pause OH Utica Shale Drilling Earlier than Expected

unpause buttonPDC Energy announced at the end of 2014 they would not drill any new wells in the Ohio Utica Shale in 2015 (see PDC Energy Pushes Pause Button on OH Utica Drilling for 2015). Not long after that, PDC announced early results from an Ohio Utica well pad they named (we kid you not) “Dynamite” (see PDC Energy’s Interesting 2014 – “Dynamite” in the Utica). Kind of a twisted sense of humor, no? Because of the results PDC continues to get from the Dynamite well pad, they told analysts on an earnings call earlier this month they may un-pause drilling in the Utica sooner than anticipated. When? If the price of crude oil hits $70 per barrel (right now it’s just shy of $60/barrel), PDC has said it will likely begin drilling again in the Utica. However, even if the price is in the mid- to high-sixties, that may be enough to tempt them to re-enter the Utica, given their “Dynamite” results…
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KY Court Decision Goes Against Pipelines re Eminent Domain

In December of 2013, a group of people opposed to the Bluegrass natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline in Kentucky called KURE (Kentuckians United to Restrain Eminent Domain) sued the Bluegrass, a joint venture of Williams and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, to prevent them from using eminent domain (see Bluegrass NGL Pipeline’s Eminent Domain Challenged in KY Court). The argument was that the NGLs flowing through the pipeline just pass through Kentucky and don’t benefit local Kentuckians, therefore the pipeline has no right to use the state’s eminent domain law to force landowners to accept the pipeline. That is, it’s not a permitted utility under the definition of the law. In March 2014, a circuit court judge agreed with KURE and told Bluegrass they could not use eminent domain (see Judge Rules Bluegrass Pipeline Cannot Use Eminent Domain in KY). That takes a pretty big stick away from the Bluegrass in their fight to lay the pipeline. Not long after the judge’s decision Williams gave up on the project, although Boardwalk didn’t (see Williams Stops Work on Bluegrass Pipeline, Boardwalk Says “It’s Not Dead”). The circuit court judge’s decision was appealed, and last week the Kentucky Court of Appeals upheld the previous no-eminent domain decision. This new decision has implications for the Bluegrass to be sure, but it has even more implications for an active project now under way by Kinder Morgan…
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Lawsuit Won’t Stop NC Agency from Drilling Test Holes in Shale

An interesting twist in the story out of North Carolina where a judge recently halted the forward momentum on fracking in the Tar Heel State that was set to begin in July (see Judge Puts NC Fracking on Hold Pending Outcome of Lawsuit). Even though Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald W. Stephens’ decision means the Mining and Energy Commission (MEC) can’t issue permits for drilling and fracking in shale deposits, that isn’t stopping the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) from contracting with a private drilling company to sink a series of test holes in Stokes, Scotland, Hoke and Cumberland counties starting June 12 to see whether shale gas is present in those locations…
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Rice Energy CFO Buys Another 6K Shares of Rice Midstream Stock

Grayson T. Lisenby, senior vice president and chief financial officer for Rice Energy, likes what he sees in the company he works for. Lisenby recently bought another 6,000 shares of Rice Energy Midstream stock, which makes his total stake in the midstream subsidiary 27,652 shares, worth $457,000. It’s always a good sign when management eats its own dog food. In particular, if the money guy, the CFO, likes what he sees enough to put his own money at risk, that’s a really good sign…
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Seventy Seven Energy Sells Trucking Subsidiary for Undisclosed Sum

MDN recently told you Seventy Seven Energy–an oilfield services company with major operations in the northeast, the old Chesapeake Oilfield Operating division of Chesapeake–continues to operate in the red, which it has done since it became its own company in July 2014 (see Seventy Seven Energy 1Q15: Red Ink Continues to Flow Heavy). We also told you the company recently secured a $100 million loan (see Seventy Seven Energy Secures $100M Loan to Keep on Drillin’). Seventy Seven announced yesterday they are selling their trucking company subsidiary, Hodges Trucking (rig hauling company), for an undisclosed amount of money to Aveda Transportation and Energy Services Inc…
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OOGA: Cracker Plants Would Turn Ethane from Expense into Cash

There are three potential, large scale ethane cracker plants in play in the Marcellus/Utica region: Shell with a proposed plant in Beaver County, PA; Odebrecht with a proposed plant in Wood County, WV; and PTT Global Chemical with a proposed plant in Belmont County, OH. Of the three, Shell’s project seems the most likely to get built. The Odebrect plant is on hold, and the PTT plant is the new kid with lots of fanfare–but it’s way to early to gauge whether or not it’s a serious venture. We’ve written a number of stories over the years about the enormous economic benefits of a cracker plant–the jobs in building the plant, and then the jobs at the plant and the jobs for dozens/perhaps hundreds of satellite plants that will locate near it. The economic impact from a single cracker plant is upward of a staggering $20 billion. One of the often overlooked and little-talked-about aspects of the plants is what it will do for drillers. Right now a lot of ethane, the hydrocarbon that will feed these plants, is being produced in the tri-state area of PA, WV and OH. And right now ethane is an expense. Ethane is costing drillers money! They have to dispose of it somehow. When a cracker plant opens, drillers can then sell ethane to the plant and make money on ethane. It magically turns from an expense into cash…
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Carnegie Mellon Study on Challenges of Water Mgmt in Fracking

MDN spotted a newly published study in the journal Environmental Chemistry titled “Current perspective on produced water management challenges during hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas recovery.” The study, authored by two researchers from Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, takes a look at the impact of shale drilling on water resources–particularly the wastewater that results from fracking. MDN does not have a copy of the study. The abstract (below) doesn’t give us much to go on as to whether or not the authors believe fracking can be done safely. We also don’t know who funded the research. We offer you the summary and abstract (below) as a heads up that you can expect to read more about the study. That is, you can expect to read more about it unless the conclusion from the study says the challenges of fracking can be adequately managed. If that’s the finding, you can rely on mainstream media to totally ignore this study…
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Pittsburgh Newspaper Calls Out Dela. Riverkeeper over Penn East

It’s so unusual we have to highlight it. One of two major newspapers in Pittsburgh, the Tribune-Review, has called out THE Delaware Riverkeeper over its opposition to the Penn East Pipeline. The Penn East, if built, will run 114 miles from the Scranton, PA area to the Trenton, NJ area. An editorial in the Tribune-Review last Friday questions the true motivation of THE Delaware Riverkeeper in their opposition to Penn East and tells the group, in so many words, to put up or shut up. Tell us exactly how the pipeline will “damage” the environment–and if you can’t, go away and leave us all in peace to build a pipeline with tremendous economic benefits in both jobs and lower energy costs for consumers…
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Another Reality TV Show Looks to Exploit Shale “Suddenly Rich”

We don’t much care for reality TV shows–especially those that aim to exploit regular folks. The story of fracking and the “untold riches” that flow from it have been the fodder for previous so-called reality TV shows–shows that bombed (see Blood and Oil: New “Reality TV” Series about OH Oil Company and Who Wants to be a (Fracking) Millionaire?). There’s nothing so predictable as a bad idea getting recycled for television. So here we go again. The same people behind “Real Housewives of Orange County” has put out a casting call for people who have struck it rich by signing leases for shale fracking. The new series, titled “Suddenly Rich,” will cast more than just folks who got rich from fracking. They’ll cast people getting rich from the lottery, insurance payout, etc. In other words, they want to show how sudden big money was squandered by poor idiots that don’t know their head from other parts of their anatomy. In a word, it’s about exploitation…
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Propane Gets its Own Congressional Caucus, Support from OH/PA/NY

No doubt you’ve heard of Congressional caucuses, right? They are informal groups composed of members of Congress, dedicated to the promotion of a single issue or cause. One of the most prominent such groups, perhaps the most well known, is the Congressional Black Caucus. (Can you imagine a group called the Congressional White Caucus? But we digress.) There’s the Blue Dog Coalition–a group of liberal Democrats pretending to be conservatives. How about the Republican Study Committee? No, they’re not Congresspersons who need to study more. They’re a group of conservative Republicans promoting social and economic conservative values (i.e. traditional values this country was founded on). There are, according to the Congressional Research Service, some 694 (!) such groups or caucuses in the U.S. Congress. Here’s number 695: the Congressional Propane Caucus. Yes, propane, a natural gas liquid (and filthy hydrocarbon destroying Mother Earth through evil global warming) now has a group of both Republicans and Democrats (truly bipartisan) Congresspeople who have formed a caucus to promote and legislate and protect and push the use of propane–a fossil fuel. The brand new Propane Caucus has among it’s members Congressman from the Marcellus and Utica Shale region–from Ohio, Pennsylvania and (yes) even from New York…
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NYer Sets Out to Make a Fracking Documentary that Tells the Truth

MDN friend Victor Furman is a man on a mission. Vic is a New York landowner and a “shale gas activist” working with the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York (JLCNY). Vic is also co-host of the JLCNY’s JLC United Good News Table Talk Radio Show. Vic is passionate about restoring New Yorkers’ Constitutional rights to allow shale drilling. Vic’s latest project: He’s going to make a shale gas documentary–without the help of HBO and its liberal backers. Instead, Vic needs some help from pro-shale gas supporters. He’s going to travel to states that allow shale drilling and film the people who live close to it, telling their stories and reporting what he sees. As Vic says, he’ll report it all, “good, bad or indifferent.” Here’s the low down on Vic’s effort to get the truth out about shale drilling…
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