EPA Fines PA Gas Plants for Accidents that Haven’t Yet Happened

Minority ReportIt’s something straight out of the Tom Cruise movie Minority Report. The federal Environmental Protection Agency has fined the owner of five Pennsylvania natural gas processing plants and one West Virginia plant (six plants total) $50,221 for spills and leaks at the plants–that never happened. The EPA says Elkhorn Gas Processing hasn’t done enough to prevent such incidents from potentially happening, and therefore the EPA is shaking them down and making them pay for possible future violations. Perhaps it’s more like The Godfather than the Minority Report? Talk about an abuse of power! Do you need any further evidence that the Obama EPA is totally out of control?…
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Western PA Municipal Authority Overpaid $785K in Gas Royalties

Oh oh. The Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County has been collecting royalties for gas drilling on property it doesn’t own the mineral rights for. How much? The Authority was paid $785,000 in royalties that actually belong to the heirs of the former property owner. The Authority will have to pay the royalties back–but not in a one-lump sum. They’ll stretch out payments from now until September 2017…
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War of Words: Battle to Sell MarkWest Energy to Marathon Heats Up

The war of words continues in what increasingly appears to be a losing battle for MarkWest Energy to convince enough shareholders to vote in favor of a proposed sale to Marathon Petroleum. We told you two weeks ago that John Fox, former CEO of MarkWest Energy, came out strongly against the deal (see Former MarkWest Energy CEO Urges Vote Against Marathon Buyout). Since that time Marathon has increased the amount of cash they’re willing to offer–twice–from an original $675 million to now $1.28 billion (see Marathon Ups Cash Offer for MarkWest 2nd Time – Deal in Trouble?). The original deal was worth around $20 billion when you include unit swaps and other considerations. Now the deal is worth around $15 billion due to unit prices plunging over the past few months. Two days ago MarkWest promoted the news that Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), an “independent” proxy advisory firm, was recommending unitholders vote in favor of the deal. Yesterday John Fox issued his own rebuttal to ISS and continues to say this is “fundamentally a bad deal” and that ISS’ own report supports his arguments against the deal. It’s getting hot in the kitchen!…
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OH Grange Issues New Study, Supports NEXUS & Rover Pipelines

The people who are most affected by pipelines being built across their property are farmers–that’s a fact. Farmers often have questions and concerns when a new pipeline project is proposed that will cross their land, rightfully so. They’re cautious, they’re careful, they have a vested interest in preserving their land. So it’s big news that the Ohio State Grange, part of the nation’s oldest national agricultural advocacy group, has endorsed both the Rover and NEXUS pipelines in the Buckeye State. Energy Transfer’s Rover is a big, $4.2 billion, 711-mile new pipeline project from the Midwest Hub near Defiance, OH to Livingston County, MI, connecting with the Vector pipeline. Spectra Energy’s NEXUS Gas Transmission pipeline project is a $2 billion pipeline that will carry Utica/Marcellus gas through OH, MI, and eventually connect to the Dawn Energy Hub in Canada. The Grange’s support of these two projects is a big deal. As part of their announcement, the Ohio Grange released a new report titled, “Natural Gas Pipeline Infrastructure and Its Impact on Michigan and Ohio Agriculture” (full copy below) which finds, among other things, that there is no SAFER way to transport natural gas than by underground pipeline…
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Former Fed Prosecutor Says NY AG Targeting Exxon “Tip of Iceberg”

MDN is privileged to receive great insights from many sources. We currently have over 30,000 unique monthly readers. Sometimes those readers send us unsolicited comments and news worth sharing, like this time. John Marti, a former federal prosecutor and U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota (now a partner with the international law firm Dorsey and Whitney) sent us his insights into the investigation being run by New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Schneiderman, you may recall, is conducting a witch trial in an attempt to shake down Exxon Mobil for billions over the company’s previous statements about mythical global warming (see NY AG Targets/Accuses ExxonMobil of Lying about ‘Climate Change’ and NY AG Schneiderman Launches the Climate Witch Trials). Schneiderman is attempting to criminalize First Amendment free speech. Marti has some sage advice for fossil fuel companies. He warns that Schneiderman’s action is “the tip of the iceberg”–with more companies likely to end up in the crosshairs…
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Lebanon County Antis Want Public (Spectacle) Mtg or No Mtg at All

The demands of anti-drillers in Lebanon County, PA are illustrative of their true motivations. Two different anti groups–Lebanon Pipeline Awareness and Concerned Citizens of Lebanon County–are demanding Lebanon County commissioners have an open public meeting with two pipeline companies. The two pipeline companies are Williams (Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline) and Sunoco Logistics Partners (Mariner East 1 & 2 pipelines). If the meeting is not open and public, so these nutters can pummel representatives of the companies in public and have it broadcast everywhere–they want no meeting at all. Williams and Sunoco had agreed to non-public meetings that INCLUDE members of these two groups–to answer their questions. But the pipeline companies, and the county commissioners, don’t want a circus. That means no cameras/media, and the meeting is not open so it can be packed by large numbers of antis. The companies are willing to sit down and talk like adults and answer questions and address concerns–like adults. But that’s not what Lebanon Pipeline Awareness nor Concerned Citizens of Lebanon County really want. They want to behave like petulant children throwing a temper tantrum for everyone to witness. Evidence: Instead of taking the private meeting, they (the antis) want no meeting at all…
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Overwhelming Support for Wayne Natl Forest Drilling @ BLM Mtg

On Tuesday, the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) held a hearing on the possibility of allowing shale drilling in Wayne National Forest (WNF), the only national forest in Ohio with portions in Athens, Gallia, Hocking, Jackson, Monroe, Morgan, Noble, Lawrence, Perry, Scioto, Vinton, and Washington counties. WNF is a “patchwork” of public land scattered among private land. Some 60% of the mineral rights below WNF are privately owned. Some 250 landowners turned up at a hearing in Marietta (Washington County), OH to show their support for drilling in WNF…
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Noble Energy Cancels Midstream IPO, Couldn’t Raise $237M

That didn’t take long. Last week driller Noble Energy launched an initial public offering (IPO) for a new midstream subsidiary. They hoped to raise $237-$262 million by offering 12.5 million shares at $19-$21 per share (actually “units”). We didn’t bother reporting it at the time because the new midstream company would own and operate a pipeline system in the DJ (Denver-Julesburg) Basin in Colorado. However, what makes the IPO news now for the entire shale industry at large, including the Marcellus/Utica, is that the company has stumbled–pulling the IPO because of lack of interest/low offers for units, which may portend a similar fate for other midstream IPOs in other shale plays…
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Halcon Resources Refinances More IOUs at High Interest Rate

Halcon Resources, a company that “guessed wrong” by leasing 140,000 Utica Shale acres in the northern part of the play and currently doesn’t drill in any of that acreage, is one of the eight Marcellus/Utica companies on David Fessler’s “Oil Company Death List” (see 19 Oil/Gas Companies on “Death List” – 8 are in Marcellus/Utica). In August, Halcon refinanced $1 billion worth of outstanding IOUs with a third lien, paying a 13% interest rate on debts that had been 8.875% to 9.75% (see Halcon Resources Put on Notice by NYSE; Refi Debt at Higher Rate). Yesterday Halcon launched yet another offer–this time offering second liens for IOUs. The new interest rate offered is 12% for debts that previously had rates of 8.875% to 9.75%. We don’t pretend to understand high finance, but why would anyone, in these market conditions, purchase a second or third lien IOU? That means one or two other people are in line before you to collect money if the company defaults and can’t repay the IOUs, which seems like all too real a possibility…
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Real Climate Science Discussed in Paris on Dec 7 @ Heartland Conf

You may or may not be aware that the Obama Administration is in league with foreign powers to attempt to strip away our national sovereignty (the right to rule ourselves) under the guise of global warming nonsense–that mankind is causing or about to cause Mother Earth to fry. The way liberal/socialist/communists are attempting to foist this great hoax on the world is at an event called the United Nations Conference of Parties (COP-21), taking place this year on December 7-8 in Paris. All of the biggest global warming hoaxers from around the world will assemble (and party) in an attempt to get the United States to sign a treaty giving up our national sovereignty–and when we do, we’re finished as an independent country. So why should these nutball hoaxers have all the fun? The Heartland Institute has decided to assemble leading climatologists and scientists on Dec. 7 in Paris to discuss some real climate science. Heartland is calling it the “Day of Examining the Data” and will make the “compelling case that an objective examination of the latest climate science shows humans are not causing a global warming crisis.” Love it! Of course mainstream media won’t report a bit of it–because mainstream media doesn’t cover real news any more, they simply report propaganda–what they want you to hear. We have the lowdown on who will present at Heartland’s event–the only real scientific conference being held in Paris on Dec. 7…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Nov 20, 2015

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Skelos mad at Cuomo frack ban; Williams honored by women’s group; Ashtabula opposes injection wells; PA drillers already pay big taxes; MA academy opposes pipeline; investors line up for VT natgas plant; o&g layoffs hit 233,000; natgas storage hits historic high 4 Tcf; bond investors give up on Chesapeake; Energy Transfer – go big or go home; and more!
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