Cunningham Using Horizontal Drilling to Target Weir Sand in WV

cunningham logoThis story is, for us, fascinating. A small driller based in West Virginia, Cunningham Energy, is zagging while everyone else is zigging. We told you in 2013 that Cunningham planned to drill three “shallow” horizontal wells in Clay County, WV (see The Injuns are Coming! Injun Formation Drilling, that is). Cunningham targeted the Big Injun sandstone formation, looking for oil. They struck oil this past year (see Cunningham Strikes Oil in West Virginia’s Big Injun Territory). Once again Cunningham is targeting a shallow formation, this time the Weir Sand formation, a few layers below the Big Injun (same group of rocks called the Mississippian system), once again looking for oil. Cunningham announced last week they are drilling two new horizontal wells, this time in Kanawha County, WV…
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Bill Sponsor Says It’s Now or Never for WV Forced Pooling Law

At 11 pm on the last day of the 2015 legislative session in West Virginia, a session that lasts only 60 days at the beginning of each year, the WV legislature voted down what everyone thought was a sure thing to pass–House Bill (HB) 2688, otherwise known as the forced pooling bill (see The Real Story of Why Forced Pooling Bill Failed in WV). As we reported at the time, it was defeated by Democrats who had their knickers in a twist over another bill they wanted passed that Republicans defeated. So the Dems decided to give as good as they got and voted down HB2688 in retribution. Last March, following the negative vote, we said this: “Forced pooling is a dead issue in WV this year. Will it be back next year? You can bank on it.” And back it is. The Republican chairman of the House Energy Committee, Lynwood “Woody” Ireland believes a new version of the forced pooling bill is as fair as it gets for both landowners and drillers. Ireland also believes if the bill doesn’t pass this year, it is likely a dead issue–period. It’s “now or never” for a forced pooling bill in WV…
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Baker Hughes Dec Rig Counts Down Everywhere – Global, US, NE

The number of active drilling rigs worldwide was down by 14 rigs according to the December Baker Hughes rig count report. The worldwide rig count in November was down just 2 from October, which shows the trend of idling rigs is once again picking up steam. Bummer. Active rigs in the U.S. fell by a whopping 46 month over month. There were 760 active drilling rigs operating in the U.S. in November, and 714 rigs operating during the month of December. Ouch. What about active rigs in the Marcellus/Utica? Once again MDN brings you the exclusive chart for Marcellus/Utica rig counts over the past 12 months. This month’s chart is disheartening. The region lost another 5 active rigs in December over those operating in November. Which states lost rigs?…
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Marcellus Ethane Sets Sail for Europe Next Month

We’re almost there! As MDN told you last June, INEOS, one of Europe’s largest petrochemical companies, had commissioned and purchased two tankers to ferry Marcellus/Utica ethane from the Marcus Hook refinery near Philadelphia to Norway and Scotland (see Ineos Gets Ready to Begin Ethane Exports from Marcus Hook, PA). The final leg of the Mariner East Pipeline is ready to go online, and the twin tankers are ready to be loaded. In February, the first shipment of Marcellus ethane will set sail from Philadelphia bound for Norway…
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Columbia Pipeline Gets FERC Approval for WV Utica Access Project

Columbia Pipeline Group has just received a green light from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to proceed with their Utica Access Project. The project will cost Columbia $45 million and involves building five miles of new pipeline and upgrading compressor stations in Kanawha County, WV. When complete, the project, begun under NiSource (before Columbia separated into its own company), will transport 200 million cubic feet per day of Utica Shale gas for Eclipse Resources Corporation to liquid trading points on the Columbia Gas Transmission interstate pipeline system…
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Columbia Pipeline Files to Build $850M WB XPress Project in WV/VA

In addition to receiving Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval for the Utica Access Project, Columbia Pipeline Group has just filed their full, official application with FERC for approval of the $850 million WB XPress Project, consisting of two new compressor stations, 26 miles of pipeline replacement located along existing corridors, and 2.9 miles of new pipeline in Virginia and West Virginia. The WB XPress Project will expand capacity of the Columbia Gas Transmission pipeline in the region by 1.3 billion cubic feet per day, linking Marcellus gas supplies to new markets…
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New Pipelines in the Marcellus Dramatically Improved Prices in 2H15

What a difference a few pipelines can make. Last week the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) issued their Natural Gas Weekly report (excellent report, great overview of the industry at large). One of the brief articles included in last week’s EIA update was story about the “basis differentials” for the Marcellus, and how they’ve narrowed. Basis differential means “how much does the gas trading at a given location trade above or below the standard Henry Hub price.” For example, last summer gas trading at Transco’s Leidy Hub in the Marcellus was trading for $1.65 million British Thermal Units (MMBtus) BELOW the Henry Hub price. In December, the gap had narrowed and Transco Leidy Hub prices were, on average, trading around 89 cents/MMBtu below the Henry Hub price. That’s a vast improvement in just six months. Why the narrowing in trade price? New pipelines came online in the latter half of last year, carting Marcellus Shale gas to new markets. More demand (i.e. new markets) equals a bump up in price…
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AWMS Appeals Decision Upholding Trumbull Injection Well Closure

American Water Management Services (AWMS) owns a wastewater injection well in Trumbull County that supposedly caused a low-level earthquake (that nobody could feel) in 2014. Two wells located at the site, both operated by AWMS, were “temporarily” shut down by the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources following the quake (see ODNR Temporarily Shuts Down Injection Wells After Low-Level Quake). One of the two injection wells was allowed to re-open, but not the other (see ODNR Clears Trumbull Co. Injection Well in August Quake). However, AWMS can’t open just the one well. They need to open both and operate both. The ODNR is supposedly crafting new regulations that will govern the offending well that may or may not have caused the low-level quake and a year-and-a-half later the ODNR has not released those new regs. Meanwhile, everyone at that operation is out of a job. AWMS appealed the closure and last month a county judge threw out the appeal (see Judge Tosses Appeal to Re-Open Trumbull, OH Injection Well). So AWMS has appealed it to the next level up–the 10th District Court of Appeals…
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Pittsburgh Plans to Divest from Mutual Funds that Own Fossil Fuels

Can this POSSIBLY be true? The City of Pittsburgh, which has fashioned itself as “the new Houston” and center of the energy universe, is beginning a program to divest from any investments it has in fossil fuel companies?! It appears it is true. Ever hear the phrase, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you”? Of course the drive to divest is coming from Democrats–they’re the ones who run city government. If they actually go forward with it, we predict they will rue the day they decided to do it. The plan, as it’s been outlined, would be to divest “gradually,” over a period of years. The real kicker is that Pittsburgh doesn’t invest directly in stocks like CONSOL Energy or EQT or many of the other big independents who call the Pittsburgh region home. But they do invest in mutual funds that own those stocks. It is the mutual funds they plan to shed, over time. Talk about blithering idiots…
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Dem Media Spins New PA Severance Tax Proposal as “Conservative”

At least one Republican, Pennsylvania State Rep. Jim Christiana (from Beaver County, PA), is pushing a new severance tax plan he considers kinder and gentler than that proposed by PA Gov. Tom Wolf. Christiana has proposed a tax with a rate of “just” 3%, instead of Wolf’s demand of 5% (see Some PA Republicans Beginning to Cave on Severance Tax). However, Christiana’s tax plan would, in time, increase to 5%–just like Wolf’s. Of course all of these numbers are hocus pocus horse manure. The actual percentage goes much higher when you factor in all of the extras. What’s interesting to us is how Democrat-controlled media organizations like the Scranton Times-Tribune (and its subsidiary the Wilkes-Barre Citizens’ Voice) are attempting to spin this news. They published an article referring to Christiana as a “conservative” trying to imply conservatives are now on board with a severance tax on drilling in the Keystone State. Let us assure you, such is not the case. It is another sterling example of media bias and spin…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, Jan 11, 2016

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Marcellus “most susceptible” to rig departures; DEP gives Keystone Sanitary Landfill more time to make case; CONSOL flaring Greene County well; Penn State caves to global warming nutters; Vermont pipeline goes forward; some E&Ps are zombies–the “walking dead”; world benefits from U.S. LNG exports; OPEC’s trillion dollar miscalculation; and more!
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