Range Fires Back: Proof We Didn’t Cause PA Methane Migration

return fireYesterday MDN told you about the new, negative tone being set at the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection by its new leader, Sec. John Quigley, by fining Range Resources for a case of methane migration (see PA DEP Slaps Range with Record $8.9M Fine for Methane Migration). Perhaps Quigley has adopted EPA Region 6 administrator Al Armendariz’s philosophy of making an example of one or two companies (see EPA Region 6 Administrator: Crucify Energy Companies). Quigley says Range did a sloppy cement job on a gas well they drilled in 2011 and has refused to correct the situation. Range immediately fired back, very loud and very clear, that water wells in that area had high levels of methane in them BEFORE any drilling took place–and Range has the documented pre-drilling tests to prove it…
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Gov Wolf & Co Wipes Away 151K PA Jobs by Changing Formula

poofPoof! Some 151,000 jobs that had been created by the Marcellus Shale industry, according to Pennsylvania officials, disappeared overnight. PA Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration (Republican), voted out of office last November, used to say (based on numbers from the PA Dept. of Labor and Industry) that the Marcellus Shale industry is responsible for creating 240,000 jobs in the state (see Hundreds of Thousands of Marcellus Drilling Jobs in PA). That number includes people in other industries that serve the Marcellus industry. PA Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration (Democrat) now comes along to say that number is bunkum. Wolf and his minions want to lower the public’s perception that the Mighty Marcellus is a jobs-creating engine like nothing ever seen in the state–so they’ve just arbitrarily wiped off 151,000 of those jobs by saying the way the number was originally calculated was wrong. They say the “real” number is more like 89,000. Welcome to Wonderland where you have your truth and I have my truth and the only casualty is THE truth…
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New Bill Pushes 12.5% Guaranteed Minimum Royalty for PA Landowners

One of the big disappointments last year, for landowners, was the failure to pass House Bill (HB) 1684 which would clear up language from the Guaranteed Minimum Royalty Act of 1979. The GMRA of 1979 says landowners are supposed to get 12.5% minimum in royalties. Chesapeake (perhaps other drillers too) found loopholes and drove a truck through them, claiming marketing and pipeline transportation expenses that they deducted from royalties–leaving some landowners with checks for (literally) a few dollars (see Bradford County, PA Landowners Sue Chesapeake over Royalties). HB 1684 would have cleared up the language and ensured landowners get 12.5% as a minimum–but the bill was met with opposition from the drilling industry (see Rare Schism Between Landowners & Drillers over PA Royalty Law). The bill ultimately failed to get to the floor for a vote. But 2015 is a new year, and PA State Rep. Garth Everett, with the backing of the PA National Association of Royalty Owners (NARO), will introduce a brand new bill next week that is largely a reconstituted HB 1684. So far 35 members have signed on as co-sponsors. Everett and NARO are planning a “bill launch party” in the Capitol Rotunda for next Tuesday, June 23 at 1:30 pm. They want every single landowner who can to show up as a sign of support…
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Drilling Slowdown Creates Domino Effect in Susquehanna County, PA

Low natural gas prices and lack of pipelines is affecting more than just the drillers in Susquehanna County, PA–it’s also affecting landowners, gas workers, and the businesses that depend on all of the above. Drillers in northeastern PA (as well as elsewhere) are laying down their drilling rigs. Fewer rigs means fewer new wells being drilled, meaning no royalties for those landowners. And it means fewer jobs for workers, and less business for companies that provide goods and services to drillers, the people who work for them, and landowners with less disposable income. A TV station in NEPA shines a light on the situation in Susquehanna County…
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False Alarm: Halcon Resources has NOT Resumed Utica Drilling

In January, Halcon Resources said it was slashing its drilling budget and would do no drilling in the Ohio Utica in 2015 (see Halcon Resources: Slashes Drilling Budget 50%, No Utica for 2015). In February, Halcon CEO Floyd Wilson, famous for speaking his mind, responded to an analyst question about their plans for the Utica by joking (see Halcon CEO Floyd Wilson: “What’s the Utica?”). So imagine everyone’s surprise when the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) released a report recently that listed a permit for a Halcon site in Trumbull County (the northern Utica where Wilson once said he wouldn’t drill any more sh***y wells) with a status of “DRILLING”. The Youngstown Business Journal understandably trumpeted this big news (see their story: Halcon Resumes Drilling in Trumbull County). Halcon was quick to respond. It seems that there is no active drilling at that site in Trumbull County–they wanted the permit re-issued just in case they may one day resume drilling. The designation of “DRILLING” in the ODNR report was inaccurate…
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NEPA Tungsten Plant Begins Converting Marcellus Gas into Hydrogen

This is the story of how abundant and cheap Marcellus Shale gas is helping to secure the jobs of 550 people in Bradford County, PA, people who work in a business that has nothing to do with the Marcellus Shale industry. Yesterday, Global Tungsten & Powders Corp. in Towanda, PA held a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new piece of equipment at the company’s plant that will convert Marcellus Shale gas, extracted locally, into hydrogen used in enormous quantities at the plant. The Global Tungsten plant in Towanda is one of the country’s largest users of hydrogen (who knew?). The company uses hydrogen to manufacture tungsten products at the plant, including components for solid oxide fuel cells (i.e., big batteries). Until now, liquid hydrogen has had to be trucked to the plant daily, from hundreds (even thousands) of miles away. The new equipment unveiled yesterday, which will be owned and operated by Air Products, will provide 80-90% of the plant’s hydrogen needs. Just one more way this evil, nasty fossil fuel called Marcellus Shale gas is benefiting Pennsylvanians (jobs and economy) AND making the planet a better/safer/greener place to live…
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KM’s SECOND Binding Open Season for Utica/Marcellus NGL Pipeline

Last summer, in response to a reader’s query, MDN went nosing around to bring you the status of what had been called Kinder Morgan’s Y-Grade NGL pipeline from the Utica/Marcellus to the Gulf Coast. We found, at the time, the project is still very much alive (see Kinder Morgan Y-Grade NGL Pipeline from NE to SW Still Alive). We also learned at that time the name had been changed to be the Utica Marcellus Texas Pipeline (UMTP) Project. Kinder Morgan’s plan is to repurpose nearly 1,000 miles of existing Tennessee Gas Pipeline, reversing the flow to go from north to south, and changing the hydrocarbons in the pipeline to be NGLs. As we pointed out in December, that has some of the anti-pipeline kooks in Kentucky all riled up (see KY Antis Now Opposing Kinder Morgan Y-Grade NGL Pipeline). Yesterday Kinder Morgan announced a binding open season to sign up shippers for UMTP (see the announcement below). But wait a minute! KM ran an binding open season in January/February 2014. Must be they had no (or few) takers then. Will they get enough customers the second time around?…
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NEXUS Pipeline Files Draft Reports w/FERC, Rejects CORNy Re-Route

Last Friday the NEXUS Gas Transmission pipeline, a $1.5-$2.0 billion natural gas pipeline that will carry Utica and Marcellus Shale gas spanning 11 counties in Ohio, 3 counties in Michigan, and eventually connect to the Dawn Energy Hub in Canada, filed a full set of twelve draft environmental Resource Reports with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). A summary of the filing (included below) shows there are six large customers for the pipeline in Ohio (gas processors, utilities and large industrial companies). In addition to information about who will use the pipeline and the economic benefits that will come from the pipeline, NEXUS also filed information on alternative routes for the pipeline. Of note, one alternative route, proposed by the Coalition to Reroute NEXUS (CORN, which we’ve dubbed CORNy), is flat out rejected by NEXUS. CORNy wants to move the pipeline away from the Canton-Akron area. NEXUS says that’s a bad idea, for lots of reasons…
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Business & Labor Unions Join Forces to Promote Pipelines in PA

You don’t normally think of local Chambers of Commerce (business owners) and labor unions (rank and file workers) as breaking bread together. And they NEVER commingle their membership roles in order to lobby local, state and federal authorities on policy and regulation. Until now, that is. In Pennsylvania, two Chambers of Commerce on opposite sides of the state, the Delaware County Chamber and the Washington County Chamber, along with two labor unions, the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) with 25,000 members and the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 66 with 7,000 members, have all joined forces. And what has the power to cause management and labor to join forces? The Marcellus Shale. The four organizations together have formed the Pennsylvania Energy Infrastructure Alliance, a “broad-based coalition in support of timely approval for critical energy infrastructure in the Commonwealth.” The main focus of the Alliance is to promote the benefits and building of pipelines…
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Shell-BG Megamerger Approved by US Federal Trade Commission

Well that was quick! On Tuesday Shell announced they’re received approval by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to proceed with their buyout/takeover of BG, the former British Gas. You may recall we brought you the news about the Shell-BG deal in April, pointing out at the time the deal is mainly about LNG (see LNG Love Story: Shell Makes Play to Buy BG in $69.7B Megamerger). Getting approval from the FTC this fast is a good sign, according to Shell CEO Ben van Beurden. Shell needs to obtain approval from every country where BG does business–not just the U.S. According to Shell, they’re still on track to complete the merger in “early 2016″…
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