Rumors Circulate that CONSOL May Sell Itself to Noble Energy

rumor mongeringMDN doesn’t do this (too) often, but we’re going to engage in a little Friday idle speculation. A tad bit of rumor mongering. So take this for what’s it worth. MDN has a contact in the Pittsburgh region that tells us that *all* of CONSOL Energy’s field engineers received an email at 3:30 am–this morning–requesting that they report to the center in Canonsburg, PA to discuss dismissal packages. Our contact says CONSOL’s plan is to lay down the rest of their active drilling rigs as soon as existing wells are completed and that they will not drill any new wells for the next 18 months. The really big bombshell is this: rumors are swirling that CONSOL’s CNX gas division is getting ready to sell itself to Noble Energy
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KM Board Approves Scaled-Back New England Pipeline for $3.3B

Yesterday the board of directors for Kinder Morgan approved a $3.3 billion investment in the company’s proposed Northeast Energy Direct pipeline project–a huge project that includes a new supply pipeline from Susquehanna County, PA to Schoharie County, NY, and a new market delivery pipeline from Schoharie County, NY to Dracut, MA. It is the market delivery pipeline as it passes through both Massachusetts, into New Hampshire and then back into Massachusetts that seems to be stirring up the most controversy that the board approved yesterday with a price tag of $3.3B. But beneath the headline news that the board has given the OK to spend big money is the “real” story–which is that KM has chosen to build a smaller 30-inch pipeline rather than the pre-filed 36-inch pipeline they had hoped to build. Why? Because they haven’t gotten any major new customers to sign on for capacity in the pipeline since the initial open season (see Kinder Morgan Fails to Sign Up New NED Customers in Last 8 Mos). The smaller pipeline means smaller compressor stations. It also means a little less disruption when it’s built as KM will need less space to store pipes. But the more modest environmental impacts don’t assuage anti-fossil fuelers who want to eliminate all fossil fuels and, we suppose, go back to the stone ages with camp fires and animal skins for clothes…
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NH Gov Hassan Asks FERC to Schedule More Hearings for KM Pipeline

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan seems to be playing both sides of the fence in the debate to bring cheap, abundant Marcellus Shale gas to New England to help relieve sky-high electric and natural gas prices in the region–particularly in the winter months. Hassan is one of six New England governors who previously backed the concept of a new natural gas pipeline to the region (see Blue State Blues: 6 New England States Want New Natgas Pipeline). Yet lately, Hassan, one of the five Democrat governors supporting a pipeline, seems to be backing away from the concept and calling on Kinder Morgan with its proposed Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline plan to bend over backwards, sideways and any which way it can to please her lib constituents. The latest in her escalating rhetoric is a letter sent Wednesday to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) asking them to schedule more than just three scoping hearings. As we’ve often commented, anti-drilling nutters need cameras and open forums to feel good about themselves. They parade and preen and behave in the wackiest ways when they know a camera and microphone are present. Hassan wants to provide more such opportunities for her supporters…
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Ohio DNR Enacts Expensive New Utica/Horizontal Drilling Rules

Yesterday the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) implemented new horizontal drilling rules that regulate the construction of horizontal well pad sites for Utica Shale and other shale drilling. The new rules require drillers to first submit a detailed well pad site plan, certified by a professional engineer, and then the plan will be reviewed by the ODNR before permits are issued. The ODNR claims the new requirements (full copy below) are “the most comprehensive and proactive horizontal well pad regulations in the country.” Translation: It’s going to cost Utica drillers more money to drill in the Buckeye State starting today…
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Spectra’s OPEN Ohio Pipeline on Track to be Done by End of 2015

Spectra Energy announced a new natural gas pipeline in Ohio called the Ohio Pipeline Energy Network, or OPEN, way back in December 2011. OPEN is an interesting project because it will build 76 miles of new pipeline running through Belmont, Columbiana, Carroll, Jefferson and Monroe counties that will connect to the Texas Eastern Pipeline, and then reverses the flow on the Texas Eastern to carry Marcellus and Utica Shale gas from eastern Ohio to the Gulf Coast. The Texas Eastern will become a bi-directional pipeline, sometimes bringing gas north from the Gulf, other times sending it to the south to the Gulf. Spectra filed their official application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in February 2014 (see Spectra Energy Files Formal Request with FERC for OPEN Pipeline). FERC granted its blessing in December 2014 (see FERC Approves OPEN Pipeline in Eastern OH, Gas Goes to Gulf Coast). Since that time, a few Ohio Landowners filed a lawsuit asking an Ohio court to stop the OPEN pipeline from claiming eminent domain (see OH Landowners ask Court to Stop OPEN Pipeline Eminent Domain). Apparently nothing has come from that lawsuit because OPEN is getting built, right on schedule with plans to be completed by the end of this year…
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Devastating Critique of “Study” Linking Fracking to Health Issues

Yesterday MDN told you about a new “study” that reportedly links the presence of fracking with an increase in hospital visits for serious health issues, like heart conditions (see New Study Claims Marcellus Drilling Causes Serious Health Issues). We did a fast read of the research and explained our concerns about it, including the statement by the authors of the study themselves who admit the study doesn’t actually prove a thing. MDN friend Nicole Jacobs at Energy in Depth has done a deep dive and provides the following devastating critique of that study, including unearthing a video by one of the study’s authors which shows her as a full-throated anti-driller. That is, this “study” was a sham from the beginning, which was kind of our gut instinct when we spotted it…
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New EPA Rule Prevents Sewage Plants from Treating Frack Wastewater

The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which we’ve longed called a rogue agency (it is), is about to issue a new “rule” (i.e. unlegislated law) that prevents municipal sewage treatment plants from accepting untreated frack wastewater. It is the one EPA rule in recent memory that we can support. Of course the rule won’t change a thing. There are no municipal sewage treatment plants accepting untreated frack wastewater anywhere in the United States. It was happening in Pennsylvania back in 2011, but then-Sec. of the Dept. of Environment Protection for PA, Mike Krancer (a Republican), put a stop to it (see PA DEP, Marcellus Shale Coalition Admit Drilling Wastewater Likely Contaminating Drinking Water). Since that time there have been no sewage plants accepting frack wastewater–which proves the states are quite capable of policing such issues on their own. However, because it theoretically could happen, it’s a talking point for anti-drillers and their campaign to, irrationally, eliminate all fossil fuels, except the ones they use. Since there’s no federal law or rule against sewage treatment plants from accepting frack waste, the EPA is about to issue a new rule that officially ensures it never happens again (copy of the proposed rule below). Not wanting to let this momentous occasion go to waste, the anti-drilling zealots at so-called Environment America issued a press release congratulating the EPA (and themselves) for this new rule…
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DustPRO’s Innovative New Solution to Improve Frac Sand Safety in WV

Preferred Technology, headquartered in Radnor, PA (near Philadelphia) has created a cool new product/technology called DustPRO. The new DustPRO coats frac sand with–something, not sure what–that helps the teeny tiny particles of sand behave and not get airborne where they can become a health hazard. Preferred/DustPRO announced yesterday the results of their very first application unit installed in the Marcellus/Utica in Morgantown, WV–and the results are very good indeed…
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Big Oil & Gas Money Flows to Jeb Bush Campaign, Disappointingly

We promise not to wade too far in to presidential politics this year and next. But when the race to replace Obama–and reverse his disastrous decisions–impacts the oil and gas space, we may have a thing or two to say. Like today when we read that big money Texas oil billionaires like Boone Pickens, Hilcorp Energy Co. founder Jeffery Hildebrand and Richard Kinder of Kinder Morgan are financially backing Jeb Bush–a major disappointment in our book. Jeb is a RINO–we’ll NEVER swing a lever for him, even if he’s the Republican Party pick for 2016…
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