NY Landowners Plan to Use Bankrupt GASFRAC’s Waterless Frack Tech

giving up not an optionIn September MDN brought you the news that the buyer of the bankrupt Canadian waterless fracking company, GASFRAC, is shelving the waterless propane fracking product the company was known for (see New Owner “Mothballs” GASFRAC’s Waterless LPG Technology). Our comment at the time was: “The mothballing of the GASFRAC technology raises and interesting question for the effort to frack a well in Tioga County, NY, where a group of farmers had planned to use LPG fracking technology on a test well (see NY Landowners File to Frack Horizontal Well w/Waterless Tech). We sure hope they weren’t pinning their hopes on GASFRAC.” An article in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin tells us that yes, the Tioga County landowners who want to frack New York’s first Marcellus well were–and still are–planning to use the GASFRAC technology. According to a rep from the Tioga landowner group, they have access to the equipment and technology from GASFRAC to do an LPG frack should they get a green light from the state…
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Columbia Pipeline’s East Side Expansion Project Goes Online

we are onlineYes, it takes years from the first announcement of a new pipeline project until it’s done and “in service.” In October 2012 MDN told you about a new project from then NiSource and it’s Columbia Pipeline subsidiary called the East Side Expansion (see NiSource Announces Pipeline Expansion Project for Marcellus). Since that time NiSource and Columbia have been separated into two companies with Columbia Pipeline keeping the East Side Expansion project, a project that adds 312 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) on the Columbia pipeline system. East Side Expansion involves upgrading compressor stations and adding two short segments of new natural gas pipelines in Chester County, PA and Gloucester County, NJ (Philadelphia area). The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the project in December 2014 and construction began shortly after (see FERC Approves Columbia East Side Project in SE PA). Last Friday Columbia announced the East Side Expansion project was placed in service, three years after it was first announced. FERC is hardly the “rubber stamp” organization anti-fossil fuel objectors make it out to be, conducting multi-year top-to-bottom reviews to ensure public safety and to ensure the environment is not adversely affected by new pipeline projects…
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PA Judge Rejects Landowners’ Challenge to Mariner East 2 Pipeline

court gavelA Pennsylvania state judge last Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit by three Cumberland County landowners against Sunoco Logistics Partners over the company’s assertion of eminent domain to build the Mariner East 2 pipeline across their property. Sunoco is currently pumping propane through the Mainer East 1 pipeline and has plans to add a second and third pipeline next to the existing pipeline, collectively called Mariner East 2. All told, Sunoco LP is spending an eye-popping $3 billion to build out the Mariner East project which flows natural gas liquids (propane, ethane, others) from as far away as eastern Ohio to the Philadelphia-area Marcus Hook refinery. The judge, in tossing out the lawsuit, further strengthens Sunoco LP’s argument that the Mariner projects, which will distribute the NGLs flowing through them both within PA and beyond PA, is in fact a public utility under PA law and entitled to use eminent domain, if necessary, to build the project…
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Dominion Spins Off Marcellus Gathering System into New Company

spin offDominion is a huge utility/pipeline company operating in 13 states and organized into multiple corporations–but all under the broad umbrella known as Dominion. One of the pieces of the company is called Dominion Transmission, Inc. (DTI)–the interstate and gathering pipeline segment of the company, headquartered in Richmond, VA. Dominion has just announced they will strip out the gathering pipeline bits of the business from DTI and put them into a new company (on paper) called Dominion Gathering & Processing, Inc. It also appears that DTI itself will be renamed to Dominion Resources, Inc. The value of the transaction (what Dominion will essentially pay itself) is $434 million for the gathering assets. Why all of the musical chairs and setting up new corporations on paper? This time it doesn’t appear to be about tax advantages, as it so often is. Dominion is making the change because gathering systems are not regulated under FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) rules the way interstate pipelines are. By unbundling the gathering pipelines/compressor plants/etc. from the company that operates the interstate pipeline, Dominion can better compete with others in the midstream space. That is, right now because the gathering assets are part of the same company as the interstate pipeline, those assets are subject to FERC regulatory hoops and nonsense–so Dominion is removing those assets from that nonsense–sort of untying their hands to be on a level playing field with others…
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Williams Joins Columbia & Hilcorp in Pennant Midstream JV

joint ventureIt’s been a while since we’ve heard anything about Pennant Midstream, a joint venture between Columbia Pipeline Group and Hilcorp’s midstream subsidiary Harvest Pipeline Company with assets located mostly in the Mahoning Valley area of Ohio. Columbia, the lead jv partner, announced today that Williams (currently being bought out by Energy Transfer Equity) will become the third partner in the jv. Williams will have an initial 5% ownership share, although it’s not clear to us how much they’ve initially invested for that 5%. However, should Williams want to pony up cash for expansions to the system, they can achieve a full one-third ownership in time. Here’s the announcement with the details Columbia has decided to share…
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Positive Sign: Short Selling of Magnum Hunter’s Stock Decreases

positive signShares of Magnum Hunter Resources’ (MHR) stock have, like almost all other oil and gas company stocks, taken a beating over the past year. In September the New York Stock Exchange sent MHR a notice that their stock has been trading under $1.00 per share for more than 30 consecutive days and is in danger of being de-listed (see Magnum Hunter Stock Avg Falls Below $1, Receives NYSE Warning). At one point in the past few weeks the stock traded as low as $0.30 per share. We’ve previously covered how a company’s share price affects its ability to borrow money and remain in business. We’ve also given you a tutorial on something called “short selling”–traders buying stocks on the bet that the stock price will go down instead of up (see “Short Selling” – An Important Signal for Marcellus-Related Companies). If a significant number of traders believe your stock is moving lower, and it’s already under $1.00 per share–let’s just say that’s not a good sign for the future health of the company. Short selling of MHR stocks decreased rather significantly from the end of August to the middle of September–which is a sign that investors believe the company’s stock is heading higher…
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Patterson-UTI Rig Counts Continue Downward Spiral in September

downward spiralSince March MDN has been watching the active number of rigs operated by Patterson-UTI Energy as a proxy for whether or not we’ve “turned the corner” on falling rig counts in the Marcellus/Utica. Patterson is a major drilling contractor with operations in the Marcellus/Utica region. We won’t recount all of the numbers here, for that you can read our story from August (see Patterson-UTI Active Rigs (Sadly) Falls Again in August). What do the latest numbers, from September, show? The downward spiral continues…
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MPR Frac Sand Terminal Rising in Belmont County, OH

the sandmanMPR Transloading & Energy, part of MPR Supply Chain Solutions, operates a 20-acre transloading site on the shores of the Ohio River in Belmont County, OH, just across the river from Wheeling, WV. MPR is working hard to finish a new, large sand hopper at the site so trucks hauling frac sand can pull under it to quickly load and head off to drill sites in the region. There’s just one small problem: There are only 35 rigs operating in eastern Ohio and West Virginia today, half of the number that were operating just a year ago when the sand hopper was planned. That is, there’s less demand for sand…
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NH PUC Grants Liberty Utilities Final Approval to Buy Gas from NED

nprIt’s kind of funny to hear anti-drilling liberal NPR reporters interview each other and present it as news. Hilarious, in fact. They do their dead-level best to sound objective (which they aren’t) and knowledgeable (which they sometimes are) and haughty (which they always are). Here’s what precipitated the latest round of self-interviews. In July, MDN told you that the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) had given preliminary approval to Liberty Utilities (a NH utility company) to purchase firm capacity on Kinder Morgan’s proposed Northeast Energy Direct extension of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline (see Kinder Morgan Scores Important Victory in NH to Build NED Pipeline). Late Friday, the PUC gave their final approval, so it’s now a 100% done deal. If the pipeline gets built, one of the customers will be Liberty Utilities. And that’s a big problem for anti-fossil fuel nutters whose strategy has been to get deals like the Liberty Utilities deal blocked–thereby denying Kinder the customers they need to build the pipeline. With no one to talk to but themselves, the NPR “reporters” discussed this latest development and what it may mean for the anti-fossil fuelers in New England who oppose it…
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Cabot O&G Gives a Tour to Big Green Group – Trout Unlimited

change heartsSometimes you have to reach out to the other side (i.e. the unreasonable enemy of fossil fuels) to try and convince them that the oil and gas industry is not Satanic. We don’t bother with trying to convince them (lost cause in our opinion), but kudos to those who have the patience to try it. Case in point: Cabot Oil & Gas recently hosted a delegation from the Big Green/radical group Trout Unlimited (TU). TU, you may recall, is the sad story of a once great group co-opted into being a radical green group (see Trout Unlimited, Other Groups Outted as Radical Green Groups). That is, at least some of the leaders of TU are in the pocket of Big Green. Perhaps it’s different with some in the rank and file. TU held its 2015 annual meeting in Scranton, PA this year, so Cabot invited delegate from across the country who were attending to tour some of Cabot’s operations in nearby Susquehanna County, PA. MDN friend Bill desRosiers from Cabot files the following report…
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Utica Summit III to Convene in North Canton on October 13

Utica Summit IIIMDN is happy to support the Utica Summit III, a forum for high-level conversation about what is possible, now and in the future, because of the technology that permits horizontal drilling of the shale plays in the United States. Utica Summit III, presented by the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, The Repository, and ShaleDirectories.com, is scheduled for Tuesday, October 13, 2015 at The Conference Center, Kent State University at Stark (North Canton, OH). The crowd size is limited and past events have sold out. In addition to six main speakers, this year’s event will also include comments from no less than three U.S. Congressman…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, Oct 5, 2015

best of the restThe “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Columbia pushing Mountaineer XPress; heating prices in frackless NY fall due to PA fracking; updates on two recent OH court cases impacting drillers; PA DEP still listening; Dela. Riverkeeper self-destructing; states have to step carefully around the EPA; WV drilling museum; gas bears go bathing; will LNG replace coal and oil; BLM still trying to regulate o&g; and more!
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