Rumor: Chief Oil & Gas has Closed it’s Marcellus Office Near Pittsburgh

rumor millThis is breaking news. MDN has received a tip that Chief Oil & Gas, a sizable and active driller in the Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale, has just closed its Appalachian regional office in Wexford, PA (near Pittsburgh). Unfortunately we don’t have any further details at this time. We don’t know what it means for the future of Chief’s Marcellus drilling program. We don’t know what has happened to Chief’s workers. Stay tuned and we’ll bring you more when we hear more. Below is a chart from the 2015 Marcellus and Utica Shale Databook (Vol. 1) showing the number of permits for Marcellus wells by Chief going back to the beginning of 2013…
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Major Milestone: More than 1,000 Utica Shale Wells Now Online

milestoneThe Ohio Utica Shale has just passed a major milestone on its way into the history books. There are now more than 1,000 producing Utica Shale wells in Ohio, with nearly another 1,000 permitted (with half of those already drilled). Although the pace of drilling has slowed, the Utica is turning out to be a worthy rival to the Marcellus. It’s not there yet! But keep a close eye on the Utica. The Utica may one day surpass the Marcellus in production, given the incredible volumes of gas that come from Utica wells…
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Williams Completes $300M Pipeline Expansion in Virginia on Time

Williams Southside Expansion project
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How in the world did this happen?! Williams, which operates the mighty Transco, the largest natural gas pipeline in the United States, has just completed and put into service the Virginia Southside Expansion project. The project, which was put into service to the day they predicted it would be (September 1st) as predicted in their original transmittal letter to the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission back in December 2012, consists of 91 miles of new Transco pipeline laid next to existing pipeline across Virginia (from Pittsylvania County to Brunswick County); 7 miles of new pipeline in Brunswick County; new compressor stations; and other assorted upgrades. The $300 million project will flow 270,000 dekatherms per day (dth/d) of new natgas supplies, enough gas to serve 1.6 million households, but primarily built for the purpose of fueling Dominion’s new 1,300 megawatt electric-power generating plant Brunswick County. The project will also serve increasing local distribution demand in nearby North Carolina. Aside from the fact that anti-fossil fuel nutters have been relatively silent about this project, the interesting thing to MDN is that some of the upgrades come outside of Virginia–in New Jersey and Pennsylvania where portions of the existing Transco mainline were upgraded to be bidirectional, meaning Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale gas will now be able to flow southward…
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Shell Begins Building Bridge to PA Cracker Plant Site

bridge to somewhereShell continues to act as if it has already made the decision to build a $2-$3 billion ethane cracker plant complex in Beaver County, PA, even though they continue to refuse to say they’ve made a decision. What’s our evidence? In June Shell finally purchased the land where the cracker will be built, the former Horsehead zinc smelter property in Potter that will be the primary location of the cracker plant IF it gets built (see Shell Buys Beaver County, PA Property for Future Cracker Plant). Also in June Shell received an air quality permit from the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (see Shell Receives Air Quality Permit from PA DEP for Cracker Plant), a critical authorization for them to proceed. The latest evidence? Shell just began construction of a bridge to haul dirt over a major highway without disrupting traffic…
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Wolf Floats Trial Balloon of 3.2% Severance Tax via Proxies

trial balloonA Pennsylvania Democrat in Republican clothing, Gene DiGirolamo (“Republican” House member from the Philadelphia area), along with a hard-left Democrat, Steve Stroman (director of Penn’s Woods Conservation Advocates), have penned a “bipartisan” column in the Harrisburg Patriot-News on how a “principled” and “reasonable” severance tax compromise will create education nirvana in Pennsylvania. The column is so shot full of lies we can’t even begin to count them. This is pure propaganda from two lefties who want to tax and spend PA into the ground once again, as it existed under Ed Rendell before Tom Corbett fixed it by cutting excessive and out-of-control education spending. Our pair of lefties say just a piddly little 3.2% severance tax will be all that’s required–even though until now nothing less than 5% (actually it turns out to be 17.3%, see PA Official Admits Wolf Severance Tax Highest in Nation @ 17.3%) is what these thieves have demanded. Their attitude is, “OK, you’ve made your point, NOW we’ll cave a little bit.” The proper response to DiGirolamo and Stroman, who appear to be Gov. Wolf’s proxies in floating this particular trial balloon, is this: STUFF IT…
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NY Gov Cuomo Asked About Secession Rally, Lame Response

I see your lips movingA very old and trite but true saying: Q: How do you know when a politician, like NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo, is lying? A: When he opens his mouth. Our illustrious man-child governor was in Syracuse yesterday to drop off a bag of money with $50 million, and an impertinent reporter had the gall to ask His Lordship about the secession rally held in Chenango County on Sunday (see Southern Tier Pro-Drillers Rally to Secede from New York State). Lord Cuomo responded: (a) things aren’t as bad as they seem, (b) things are getting better in the Southern Tier, (c) there’s still work to do, and (d) I’ve exhausted my own ideas, it’s now up to those poor dumb hicks in the Southern Tier to help themselves. That’s the gist of his comments…
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FERC Approves Important Utica-to-Gulf Coast Pipeline Reversal

approvedLast October MDN told you about an exciting project from Boardwalk Pipeline Partners’ Texas Gas Transmission pipeline that will reverse the flow from the Louisiana Gulf Coast all the way to Ohio (see Texas Gas Seeks to Reverse Flow of Pipeline from OH to LA). The $110 million project, called the Ohio-Louisiana Access Project, would turn Texas Gas Transmission’s pipeline bidirectional and will not involve any new pipeline construction. It will provide an important new way for Utica and Marcellus drillers to get their gas to markets in the Midwest, South, and even to other countries via exports of LNG. As is typical, anti-fossil fuelers flooded the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) with negative comments about the project because it will encouraging more fracking. Undeterred, FERC approved the project last week, responding to antis (as they have before) by telling them FERC’s charter does not allow it to consider the source of gas or “climate change” or any of the other cockamamie things antis are worry about. FERC decides on projects based on how a project will affect the people and environment where the project gets built… Continue reading

Mass. Approves Plan for Utilities to Buy Gas from New Pipeline

gnashing teethWeeping. Wailing. Gnashing of teeth. Ripping clothes and sitting in sackcloth and ashes. That’s some of the reaction from lunatic anti-fossil fuelers in Massachusetts after the Mass. Dept. of Public Utilities (DPU) approved long-term contracts for three utilities–Berkshire Gas, National Grid and Columbia Gas–to buy natural gas supplies from the hated, evil Kinder Morgan Northeast Energy Direct pipeline. That is, the three utilities will buy more gas from Kinder IF the pipeline ever gets built. We’re still a long way from backhoes digging up ground to lay new pipeline, but we’ve just taken a big step forward with this decision by the DPU. What’s next for the loons of Mass? Yep–you guessed it. They’re planning to take the DPU to court…
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Ohio EPA Seeks “Pre-Comments” on Compressor Station Permit Plan

speak nowCompressor stations in Ohio, needed to flow natural gas through numerous new pipelines being built, require a permit from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in order to get built. The Ohio EPA considers each application independently, a laborious and long process. In an effort to streamline that process, the Ohio EPA is accepting comments during a “pre-comment” period from now until September 18 on a plan to issue general permits for compressor stations. A general permit is, essentially, a cookie cutter approach. If midstream companies agree to the provisions in the general permit, they will use certain types of equipment and certain standards, allowing the permit process to speed along much faster. Once the pre-comment (in essence, give us your feedback) period is over, the EPA will issue draft “final” general permits for full public comment, which will run for 30 days…
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Analyst Says Don’t Worry Even Though Rex Energy’s Stock Down 80%

don't worry be happyPennsylvania-based Marcellus driller Rex Energy, which we’ve long called our “little energy company that could, and does,” has taken a beating in the stock market. Rex’s stock is down more than 80% over the past year (down 37% in the past 3 months) and the company appears on David Fessler’s “Oil Company Death List” (see 19 Oil/Gas Companies on “Death List” – 8 are in Marcellus/Utica). Is it curtains for our little Marcellus driller that could? End of the line? Dallas Salazar, an analyst at CapGainr in Austin, Texas who writes for the Seeking Alpha investors website, says don’t sweat it–Rex is going to be “just fine”…
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Dominion Does it Right: $1M in Grants for Housing, Food, Health Care

the right wayHats off to Dominion, a major natural gas utility and midstream (i.e. pipeline) company operating in Connecticut, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia–essentially operating in the Marcellus/Utica region. We’ve noted on a number of occasions the generosity of Dominion with their philanthropy (see Dominion to Issue $1.5M in Education Grants in Energy, Environment, and Dominion Awards $1M in Grants to Colleges in Marcellus/Utica, and Two WV Colleges Get $100K Grant from Dominion Foundation as just a few examples). Dominion has just done it again. The Dominion Foundation announces they will give away $1 million in grants in $50,000 chunks to local nonprofits in the regions they serve to help with shelter, access to health care and food security (feeding hungry mouths). Nonprofits are invited to apply for a grant…
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