Chesapeake Re-Signs Expiring Utica Leases in Columbiana County OH

lease agreementAlthough Chesapeake Energy under Doug “the ax” Lawler has sold off everything but the kitchen sink (see Potential Buyer for Chesapeake’s Dry Gas Utica Acreage?), and fired everyone but the janitor (see The Great Chesapeake Massacre II: Lawler Fires Another 740 People), in a turnaround, Chesapeake has decided to re-sign leases with at least some landowners in the Utica Shale in Columbiana County, OH where leases are expiring this year. Go figure! So far this year Chessy has re-signed 63 leases in Columbiana County…
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Bloom Off the Rose? McClendon $eeks Help from Investment Banks

bloom is off the roseWe always thought Aubrey McClendon could sell snow to Eskimos–as the now-politically incorrect but old saying goes. Aubrey can charm money out of your grandmother. At last check more than a year ago he’d raised $8.7 billion of OPM–other people’s money–for use in his aggressive drilling ventures (see Aubrey McClendon Raises Huge $8.7B for Shale Drilling…So Far). We’re pretty sure that number exceeded $10B at some point over the past year. But then this year we began to hear whispers that Aubrey wasn’t paying his bills (see Problematic: McClendon’s AEP Not Paying Some of its Bills). And then Bloomberg published a hit-piece saying Aubrey had sold his investors a bill of goods (see Has Aubrey McClendon Finally Hung Himself with High Debt?). Indeed it appears the bloom is off the money-raising rose for Aubrey. According to inside sources, Aubrey has hired investment banks (plural) to help him find more money to keep going…
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OH Informal Working Group Report: No High Severance Tax for Now

no taxMDN told you back in April that OH Gov. John Kasich’s insistence that the state budget include a higher severance tax would not happen as part of the 2015 budget (see Celebrate! Ohio Severance Tax Increase Dead in 2015). We also told you about an informal “working group” of OH Senate and House members, called 2020 Tax Policy Study Commission, who are studying the possibility of a new severance tax sooner rather than later (see Ohio Legislators Continue Dalliance with Kasich Severance Tax). That informal group released their formal report last Thursday (full copy below). The members of the group recommend NO TAX AT THIS TIME and further study of the severance tax issue. Specifically, they said with the industry stressed the way it currently is now, you risk killing it if you slap on a high tax. Finally! Some common sense from Republicans in OH. Of course that didn’t sit well with liberal Republican Gov. Kasich who wants to transfer the wealth from one particular group of companies to a different group who haven’t earned it. Kasich sounds more like the commie-lib Bernie Sanders than he does a Reagan Republican, which is what he was elected as back in the day when he joined Congress during the Reagan revolution (we were there, we remember)…
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Mountain Valley Pipeline Files FERC Appl, Now Just Matter of Time

Mountain Valley Pipeline proposed route
Click on map for larger version

It’s finally official. Although the length of the pipeline changed from 330 miles to 301 miles, and although the number of project partners expanded from the original EQT and NextEra Energy to include WGL Holdings, Vega Energy Partners, and RGC Resources, and although over 100 landowners blocked survey access (later taken to court to force access)–the $3.5 billion Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) stretching from Wetzel County, WV to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsylvania County, VA filed an official application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last Friday. Now it’s just a matter of time. Yes it will take a few years to get it approved and built, but the most important step has been accomplished…
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Philly Transport Authority Building Marcellus-Powered Electric Plant

win-win-winGood old fracked Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale gas will begin powering passenger trains in Philadelphia starting in 2017, if all goes according to plan. SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) announced as part of its “sustainability” efforts they plan to build their own electric generating plant powered by Marcellus Shale gas. The $26.8 million plant will save them money, be better for the environment, and heat SEPTA’s largest bus garage (with excess heat from the plant) to boot. It’s a win/win/win all the way around…
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Scranton Landfill Expansion Decision May Rest on Fees Paid to DEP

government shakedownThe Keystone Sanitary Landfill is Pennsylvania’s third busiest landfill–located on the outskirts of Scranton. The Keystone Landfill accepts drill cuttings from Marcellus drilling. Last year Keystone applied for a permit to expand the landfill once again–but instead of outward, they want to expand it upward, making it higher, to gain more capacity. At present about 10% of the incoming waste stream at the landfill is shale waste. The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) had, as of last summer, delayed granting the expansion request pending more study (see DEP Delays Scranton Landfill Expansion; Requires Study). As of April, the DEP was still studying Keystone’s proposal (see DEP Still Studying Keystone Landfill Expansion, Plans 2nd Hearing). Finally there’s been some “progress” on the issue. The DEP provided feedback to Keystone on which benefits in their application they would consider in making a decision, and which they would not. Among the benefits they won’t consider is a donation to help restore the nearby Eddy Creek (destroyed by coal mining in the area). Among the benefits they will consider? Money paid to the DEP…
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Biggest Companies in Marcellus Warn Wolf: No New Severance Tax

don't you dareLast week 17 top Marcellus Shale-related executives–including those from CONSOL Energy, Chevron, Huntley & Huntley, MarkWest Energy, Williams and Columbia Pipeline Group–sent a letter to the Pennsylvania legislature and to PA Gov. Tom Wolf. The letter point blank said don’t slap a new/high severance tax on Marcellus Shale in addition to the already-high tax (called an impact fee). We couldn’t find a copy of the letter to share with you. However, we do have reaction from America’s most liberal governor, Tom Wolf, whose office responded with the “same tired argument” always trotted out by Wolf: he still wants to tax shale to give the money away to teachers’ unions in return for electing him to office. We don’t know how many times we have to say this: these are not empty threats by the industry. The industry is telling Wolf exactly what will happen if he institutes the tax–they’ll leave town…
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Duke Energy Buys Piedmont NatGas for $6.7B, Marcellus Connection

bigger fish smaller fishDuke Energy, the largest electric power holding company in the United States and a utility with 7.3 million customers in the southeast and Midwest, announced today they are buying Piedmont Natural Gas for $4.9 billion in cash and the assumption of $1.8 billion in existing debt–for a total deal price of $6.7 billion. Piedmont is a midstream and natgas LDC (local distribution company, or utility) with operations primarily in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. This is the story of a big southern electric utility buying a smaller southern natural gas utility. So why is it important for the Marcellus/Utica? Because Piedmont has been active in two very important pipeline projects in the Marcellus/Utica–and that project ownership will now go to Duke…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, Oct 26, 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: NY pipelines going live Nov 1; Marcellus picks up housing tab in PA; Patriot-News reporter gets defensive about her biased articles; StateImpact PA continues advocacy “journalism”; EQT elects a new board member; PennEnvironment lies again; pipelines desperately needed in New England; natgas rig count down for the count; and more!
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