New Drilling Rules for PA Take One Big Step Closer to Reality

one step closerShortly after assuming the office of Secretary of the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection, John Quigley (who formerly worked for the anti-drilling Big Green group PennFuture) mass-fired a very important group at the DEP called the Oil & Gas Technical Advisory Board, or TAB (see Why did PA DEP Acting Sec Quigley Mass Fire Gas Advisory Board?). Quigley installed his own yes-men and women in the group, including the illegal move of appointing non-voting members. The reason the make-up of TAB is important is because just prior to Gov. Corbett leaving office, the DEP had re-worked new drilling regulations, a required re-work under the Act 13 law passed in 2012, approved by the existing TAB. The DEP was ready to finalize and publish the new regulations, known as Chapter 78 and 78a, but in the chaos of the campaign and Corbett losing, the DEP fumbled the ball and now that a fox (or rather a Wolf) is guarding the hen-house, the re-worked rules have been re-worked again and Wolf/Quigley needed a new group of people to approve the changes. Hence the mass-firings at TAB. PIOGA is still valiantly resisting this sleazy move by Quigley (see PIOGA Turns Up the Heat on Wolf/Quigley Over TAB/Article 78). Yesterday the DEP met with newly-appointed TAB members to outline the “final” changes they (the DEP) has made and wants the new TAB to rubber stamp…
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Blame PA Fracking for…the High Price of Firewood?

say what?We’ve heard just about everything blamed on fracking. Global warming? Yep–blame fracking because fracking produces natural gas and natural gas, when burned, turns into carbon dioxide and and abundance of CO2 in the atmosphere supposedly heats the planet (although the average temp hasn’t gone up in nearly 19 years now). What about STDs–sexually transmitted diseases? Yep–blame fracking because nefarious roustabouts from “foreign” locations like Texas and Oklahoma show up to work on rigs, and the only off-hours things they do is screw the local women-folk and spread STDs all over the place (do you honestly think they have an ounce of energy left after working a 12-15 hour day lifting heavy stuff at a rig site?). Here’s a new one we’ve just heard for the first time: you can blame fracking in places like Pennsylvania for the high cost of firewood this winter. Say what???…
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Marcellus Driller EdgeMarc Gets $300M from Ontario Teachers

money bagEdgeMarc Energy is a small driller headquartered in the Pittsburgh area, formed in 2012. The company has leased 50,000 acres in the Marcellus and Utica Shales. On Monday EdgeMarc issued a press release to announce they’ve attracted a new investor–the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan–which has promised the company up to $300 million in cash in return for part ownership (called an “equity commitment”). The announcement also says EdgeMarc currently drills and produces natural gas in Monroe and Washington counties in Ohio, and Butler County in Pennsylvania. In checking the latest issue of our 2015 Marcellus and Utica Shale Databook series, Volume 2, we find that EM Energy (which we assume is EdgeMarc) received permits to drill or continue work on 11 different wells in Butler County from May through August 2015 (see our Databook chart below). Including an existing equity commitment from Goldman Sachs, EdgeMarc, a private company, has now sold off $750 million worth of the company to outside investors…
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EXCO Resources 3Q15: $42M Loss, Plan to Turn Things Around

pretty pleaseEXCO Resources is an exploration and production company operating in East Texas/North Louisiana (the Haynesville Shale), South Texas (the Eagle Ford Shale), and in the Marcellus Shale region–in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. EXCO has a sizable Marcellus presence with 145,000 net acres in the Marcellus and having drilled and operating 124 horizontal Marcellus wells. EXCO is also a company in trouble. Their stock price has gone so low the New York Stock Exchange is threatening to de-list them (see More Trouble for EXCO Resources – NYSE Threatens to De-List Stock). In August we pointed out the company’s stock had dropped 96% during the last 5 years, 71% since the beginning of this year, and 86% during the last 12 months (see EXCO Resources #1 Stockholder and his “Distressing” Investment). Moody’s Investors Service isn’t all that impressed either (see Moody’s Downgrades EXCO Resources Credit Profile to the Basement). So it comes as no surprise that EXCO, in issuing their third quarter update, leads off with their “strategic plan” to turn things around (a “pretty please don’t drive us into bankruptcy just yet” plan). Of interest to MDN–EXCO’s Marcellus/Utica program has flatlined this year–no new drilling whatsoever in the northeast…
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Pittsburgh TV Stn Takes Aim at MarkWest over Out-of-State Workers

out of stateLayoffs in the natural gas industry have cut wide and deep. We spotted one article recently that said layoffs worldwide have hit 200,000 (see Forbes: As Oil Layoffs Hit 200,000, A Headhunter Looks At The Bright Side). The Marcellus/Utica region is not immune. We’ve had thousands of layoffs too (see CONSOL Slashes 10% of Workforce – 470 Jobs Gone). When the industry was on the upswing and you couldn’t find enough people to fill all of the jobs, the issue of “outsiders” from places like Texas, Oklahoma, Wyoming and other states coming to work in PA, OH, and WV wasn’t too big a deal. But with jobs disappearing–those jobs that remain are being scrutinized much more closely. And if the jobs that remain are being filled by out-of-staters, that’s not sitting well with a now-skilled and local workforce. Pittsburgh’s WTAE Channel 4 ran a segment on their local news a few days ago that shines a light on this issue. In particular they take a swipe at MarkWest Energy and the huge processing plant they’re building near Evans City (Butler County), PA where it seems like most of the people building the plant hail from out-of-state…
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PA Big Green Groups Elated: Latest EPA Sue-and-Settle Scam Worked

scam alertA gang of Big Green groups are tickled pink–or is it tickled “green”–that their continuous frivolous lawsuits against the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have once again yield the desired result. Radical leftist “green” groups like Earthworks, Environmental Integrity Project, THE Delaware Riverkeeper, and yes, PennFuture (where PA’s current Secretary of the Dept. of Environmental Protection, John Quigley, used to work), had previously sued the federal EPA to force onerous new reporting rules on natural gas processing plants, using lies about the kinds of air pollutants released by the plants. The EPA cooperates with these sleazy organizations in a “sue and settle” scam. “Hey, you sue us for this, a liberal judge will ‘make us’ do it–then we can bypass Congress and everyone else and set up our own laws outside of that stupid old Constitution.” That’s how these groups collude with the EPA (see Environmentalists & Government Collude in “Sue and Settle” Cases). So a group of Big Green groups mostly located in PA were elated when the EPA confirmed their latest sue-and-settle scam had worked. So elated they issued a press release doing a happy dance–loaded up with yet more lies about the oil and gas industry. We bring you their press release below to (a) point out how many sleazy Big Green groups are engaging in this nefarious activity from the Marcellus/Utica region, and (b) point out the incestuous nature of these groups–with people like John Quigley now actually (fantastically) in charge of regulating the oil and gas industry in PA–although he used to actively work against that same industry when he worked for PennFuture…
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OH/MI Forms New Group to Support Rover & NEXUS Pipelines

build the pipelineMay we paint with broad brush-strokes for a moment? It’s been our observation over the years that anti-drillers (and anti-pipeliners, and anti-fossil fuelers) are typically liberal Democrats who have bought into the notion that (a) mankind is catastrophically heating up ole Mother Earth, and (b) they (the lib Dems) are uniquely qualified to run your life for you by choosing your energy sources. They love to tell you how to live your life–i.e. deny you freedom to live your life they way you want to, including selecting your own energy sources. It’s also been our observation that many (not all, but many) of the most vocal antis are hippie retreads who haven’t been this jazzed about a “cause” since the end of the Vietnam war. Yes that’s a very broad generalization and not true in all circumstances–but it’s more true than not. On the other side of the isle, when we’ve attended meetings about fracking and pipelines and FERC scoping hearings–we’ve noticed landowners and small business owners and pro-drillers are the “gray heads with hats” and blue jeans in the crowd. Typically quiet. Perhaps a bit uncomfortable that they’re in the same room with a largely lawless bunch of mouthy antis. The antis tend to form all sorts of groups with innocuous sounding names (Riverkeeper, Mountainkeeper, Trout, Clean Air, Community Rights, etc.). Pro-drillers and landowners? They don’t form groups so much. They don’t protest so much. They’re too busy working their fingers to the bone–paying for the welfare state anti-drillers avail themselves of! So when a group of pro-energy people DO form a group–that’s news. Such a group has formed in Ohio and Michigan in order to support two much-needed pipeline projects–Energy Transfer’s Rover Pipeline and Spectra Energy’s NEXUS Pipeline…
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Youngstown Halloween Scare: the CELDF Ballot Initiative

HalloweenHere’s something that should scare the #$%@ out of you this Halloween: the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF). The CELDF, based in Pennsylvania, is attempting to interfere in other states like Ohio by fleecing local governments into believing they can pass so-called community bill of rights legislation (i.e. “home rule” laws). Problem is, the local communities who have tried it keep getting sued, and losing in court–and taxpayers end up paying tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees in an empty gesture to make a statement opposing shale energy. Our friends at Energy in Depth have put together a video for this Halloween that exposes the CELDF and should scare you to death, especially if you live in Youngstown, OH where a CELDF ballot initiative will be on the ballot this November (next week), for the FIFTH TIME…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Wed, Oct 28, 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: shale projects pump up Columbiana County; PA drillers “adjust” to life with Gov Wolf; clever way to hide compressor plants; PA town opposes PennEast Pipeline; natgas price drops to $2/Mcf; Kinder Morgan & the story of Icarus; crowd-funding oil & gas development; shale companies beating big oil companies; “mourning” low oil prices; and more!
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