The Tide has Turned Against PA Gov Wolf with Latest Tax Proposal

tide has turnedOnce again PA Gov. Tom Wolf is proving himself to be a partisan hack, and certainly not up to the job the good people of Pennsylvania elected him to do. He’s a typical tax and spend liberal (voted the most liberal governor in America by the non-partisan InsideGov, see PA Gov Tom “Severance Tax” Wolf: America’s Most Liberal Governor). Yesterday Wolf unveiled his latest budget proposal. The budget is all interconnected, and a jumbled mess, but the part we’re interested in: He is still pushing for a severance tax. Instead of his original so-called “5%” severance tax on Marcellus Shale production, which according to Democrats at the Pennsylvania Budget Office would really be a 17.3% tax (see PA Official Admits Wolf Severance Tax Highest in Nation @ 17.3%), Wolf has dropped the rate from 5% to 3.5%. But here’s the kicker. Wolf is keeping the extra tax of 4.7 cents per thousand cubic feet AND he will keep the existing impact fee, which has been estimated to equate to a 3.5% to 7% severance tax, depending on the source. ALL of the new tax (presumably not the impact fee, but the new 3.5% + 4.7 cents) would go to education–as a payoff for electing Wolf…
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Shell Paying $69M to Move Water Plant for Cracker Project

positive signShell is currently spending an undisclosed amount of money (millions of dollars) to build a bridge to a site they now own where they may one day build a $2-$3 billion ethane cracker plant in Beaver County, PA (see Shell Begins Building Bridge to PA Cracker Plant Site). Shell is also reportedly spending $80 million to clean up the site (see Shell Paying $80M to Clean Up PA Site for Ethane Cracker Plant). In yet one more positive sign that the project will happen, Shell is spending $69 million to move a water intake site and build a new water treatment site for Center Township–because the current water intake is on the site Shell owns–and Shell needs extra capacity for water treatment. You don’t spend hundreds of millions of dollars to walk away from a project, in our humble opinion…
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Actor Mark Ruffalo Asks PA Gov Wolf to Enact Drilling Moratorium

cluelessAs a general rule, professional actors are some of the most clueless people on the planet. Mark Ruffalo, one of the most clueless of the clueless, was honored at a Pennsylvania college because of it. Ruffalo was honored by Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA (near Harrisburg) with the Sam Rose ’58 and Julie Walters Prize for his environmental cluelessism, er, a, activism. Hey, Ruffalo does a decent job with acting (we enjoy the Avengers movies)–we’ll grant him that. But have you ever noticed the lights are all on with Ruffalo–but nobody’s actually home? Anywho, the awarded Ruffalo, who calls himself “an accidental environmentalist,” will make a trip to Harrisburg today to deliver a letter from “100 organizations” and “25,000 concerned citizens” to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf. The letter will ask Wolf to immediately enact a fracking moratorium in the state. What…radical? No way that will ever happen? Pipe dream? You may have forgetten (but we didn’t) that the Pennsylvania State Democrat Party, before they nominated Wolf to be their leader, adopted an official plank in the party platform calling for the same identical thing (see PA Democrat Party Votes to End Marcellus Shale Drilling Statewide). The clueless Ruffalo is asking for the same thing the Dems have already said they want…
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NC Legislature Makes Local Frack Bans/Moratoria Illegal

illegalLast week we told you how heartbreaking it is to see well-meaning (but ignorant) county officials in Stokes County, NC pass a three-year moratorium on fracking–repeating the same mistakes made in New York State (see Sad: NC County Passes 3-Year Moratorium on Fracking). Don’t look now, but that moratorium is now null and void. The North Carolina legislature passed a law in 2014 that specifically says local municipalities can’t regulate oil and gas exploration–it is the sole responsibility of the state to do so. Some municipalities, like Stokes, thought there were loopholes they could use, and so they enacted a moratorium. The last bill the NC General Assembly approved before adjourning, which is a 41-page “technical corrections” bill (literally passed in the middle of the night) introduced language which closes any perceived loopholes and makes any actions like the one in Stokes illegal. Let the fracking begin!…
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CONSOL Continues Transition, Sells Another $101M in Coal Assets

transformFor those of us who concentrate on the natural gas (and oil) industry, it’s sometimes easy to forget that CONSOL Energy, with major drilling operations in the Marcellus and Utica Shale, began life and is still one of the country’s largest coal companies. We’ve been telling you for years that the company is transitioning from being a coal company to being a natgas company (see CONSOL CEO: Company Transitioning to “More of a Gas Company”). The transition continues. Yesterday CONSOL announced it has sold off more of its coal mining assets for a tidy $101 million…
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FirstEnergy Building $63M WV Electric Substation for NatGas Plant

questionFirstEnergy Corp., an electric utility operating in the Appalachian region, announced yesterday they will construct a new substation near Smithfield, WV along with a new two-mile transmission line–in order to send more electricity to a nearby natural gas processing plant. FirstEnergy is spending $63 million to build the new substation and transmission line. The announcement doesn’t name the owner of the natgas processing plant, but we have a guess…
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Marcellus/Utica Frac Plug Co. Sells Out to Venture Capital Firm

bigger fish smaller fishHybrid Tool Solutions has just sold itself to a venture capital firm by the name of Hastings Equity Partners for an undisclosed amount of money. Hybrid Tool, headquartered in Oklahoma, has major operations in the Marcellus/Utica. The company has a patent pending, unique process for conducting frac plug drill outs. What the heck is that? Along the horizontal section of an underground bore hole, plugs are inserted every so often in order to wall off a section of the pipe where fracking will be done. The plugs divide the pipe into sections so each section can be worked on separately–starting with the section furthest out (the “toe”). After all sections are fracked, a drill is put down the hole to drill out the frac plugs and release the gas to the wellhead, putting the well into production. It is that process of drilling out the frac plugs that Hybrid performs, having done over 800 wells in the Marcellus/Utica over the past two years. By selling themselves (essentially getting new funding), they plan to expand beyond the northeast into other shale plays…
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CLNG Releases Report Bashing Coal in Effort to Promote LNG Exports

stone in glass houseThe Center for Liquefied Natural Gas (CLNG) released a new report earlier this week that purportedly shows the global environmental benefits of exporting LNG. The Pace Global-authored report, titled “LNG and Coal Life Cycle Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions” (full copy below) found greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from coal-generated electrical power to be 92 percent to 194 percent higher than from power generated from U.S.-produced LNG in five key international markets. Yes, CLNG is targeting another fossil fuel, coal, to justify itself–which is not a healthy thing in our opinion. Everyone (except Cornell professors Robert Haworth and Tony Ingraffea) knows that natural gas burns cleaner and is better for the environment than coal. But coal has its place and is an important energy source. At MDN we don’t throw stones in our fossil fuel glass house. CLNG has decided to capitalize on the mass-hysteria surrounding global warming (a condition that doesn’t actually exist) to try and make a case for more LNG exports. A poor strategy–but it’s one CLNG is pursuing, so we’re bringing you their announcement along with a full copy of the report that concludes exporting more LNG from the U.S. is good for Mother Earth…
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Antis Continue Campaign Against Off-Shore LNG Terminal Near NY/NJ

shoot yourself in the footA story we first brought you back in March continues to play out. Liberty Natural Gas filed a plan back in 2010, prior to the Marcellus Shale revolution, to construct an off-shore LNG import (not export) facility off the coast of New York and New Jersey–in the ocean. A floating LNG facility called the Port Ambrose project. A pipeline would run from the off-shore terminal to Jones Beach, NY and from there would connect to a Transco pipeline lateral. Anti-fossil fuelers who hate and oppose all fracking (indeed all fossil fuel use) are also opposed to this project. So what did Liberty Natural Gas do? They tried to convince the antis that importing gas from Trinidad is better than using nasty, evil, vile “fracked” gas (see Liberty Says “Non-Fracked” Trinidad Gas Better than Marcellus Gas). Antis aren’t falling for it. In fact, in something of a funny reversal, antis are now using the argument that since we have so much fracked gas in the country (the very thing they irrationally hate), there isn’t a need for the Port Ambrose terminal. You know, this is the one time we’re in agreement with them!…
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Time to Enter YOUR Company in the 2016 Northeast Oil & Gas Awards

Oil & Gas AwardsIt’s time to enter the 2016 Northeast Oil & Gas Awards contest! As in previous years, Marcellus Drilling News is pleased to promote the annual Oil & Gas Awards for the northeast, held each year in Pittsburgh. The 2016 event will be held on March 30 and nominations for 25 different categories are now open (see the list below). It costs nothing to nominate your own company–or someone else’s company–for an award. Finalists for each award are asked to sponsor a table at a gala ball/event (that’s how the event is paid for). It’s time to take a shot at having worthy companies–yours or someone else’s–recognized for the good work done in our beloved industry…
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IHS Bigwig Address European Petrochem Assoc with Shale Message

Daniel Yergin
Daniel Yergin

Earlier this week Daniel Yergin, vice chairman of powerhouse consulting firm IHS and the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Quest and The Prize, delivered the keynote address at the European Petrochemical Association’s (EPCA) 49th annual meeting in Berlin (Germany). The theme of Yergin’s keynote? Energy has entered ‘new era of shale’ with big benefits for petrochemicals. Below are highlights from Yergin’s insightful keynote address, provided to us by IHS…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Wed, Oct 7, 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: New York using more fracked gas than ever; OH judge backs NEXUS pipeline; Youngstown mayor against ‘bill of rights’; landowner royalty audits; WV severance tax revenues falling; Josh Fox wants to help oil workers by putting them out of work; FERC commissioner resigns; panic in the pipelines; and more!
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