Criminals Arrested Blocking Crestwood Seneca Lake Facility

We Are Seneca Lake
We Are Seneca Lake criminals being carted off in a paddy wagon

When someone organizes and repeatedly shuts down a legal, functioning business with so-called “civil disobedience,” it’s not civil and it’s not an act of disobedience–it’s a crime. If you show up with a bunch of nutters to block the entrance to a facility once and the cameras are there to record it–you’ve made your point. Anti fossil-fuel radicals opposed to creating an underground propane storage facility in a depleted salt mine along the shore of Seneca Lake (in upstate New York) have recently stepped up their so-called civil disobedience at the facility–staging weekly blockades at the site three weeks in a row. One of those instances was on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, when Sandra Steingraber, so-called scholar in residence at Ithaca College (where she’s paid to agitate and never teaches a class) invoked the name of Dr. King attempting to tie the great civil rights struggle with anti-fossil fuel nuttery. It’s offensive. Below is a rundown, with the names of the latest criminals who have colluded to try and shut down a legal business, Crestwood Midstream, from operating the facility they own at Seneca Lake…
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EIA: New Pipelines Continue to Boost Marcellus/Utica Gas Prices

It’s a pretty simple case of cause and effect, and economics 101. If you build more natural gas pipelines from the northeast to other regions, drillers can sell their gas to new markets. New demand = higher prices. And that’s just what’s happening in the Marcellus/Utica. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) pointed out in a recent Natural Gas Weekly Update that prices being paid in the Marcellus/Utica have gone UP because of new pipelines (see New Pipelines in the Marcellus Dramatically Improved Prices in 2H15). The great researchers at EIA have now expanded on that theme and have posted a new article on their Today in Energy which expands on that theme…
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Invenergy Eyes SWPA for Second Marcellus-Powered Electric Plant

Invenergy is in the process of building a $500 million Marcellus gas-fired electric plant in Jessup (Lackawanna County), PA–near Scranton, PA in the northeastern part of the state (see PA DEP Approves Jessup, PA Marcellus Gas Electric Plant). When built, and every indication is that it will get built this year, the Jessup plant will be the largest gas-fired plant in the state, generating 1,480 megawatts of electricity by using clean-burning Marcellus Shale gas. Invenergy now has their eye on building another Marcellus-powered electric plant. This time it’s much smaller (just 550 megawatts) and it’s located in southwestern PA–in the Pittsburgh area…
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Captain Mercaptan Superhero is Back in Baltimore!

Captain-Mercaptain
Captain Mercaptain! (Pugh, what’s that smell?)

Captain Mercaptan is back! You may recall last fall MDN had a good time poking fun at Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE) and Marvel for creating a superhero, called Captain Mercaptan, based on one of the worst odors known to mankind (see Captain Mercaptan to the Rescue! Super Hero Named After Foul Odor). Mercaptan is the chemical added to natural gas that gives it that distinctive rotten eggs smell. It’s added as a safety precaution–so your nose can tell you if there’s a natural gas leak. Who knows how many lives that smelly chemical has saved over the years? The PR folks at BGE decided to create a superhero based on the odor as a way to educate kids about the potential dangers of natural gas if they should smell it. Last week BGE announced the kickoff of the 2016 “Adventures of Captain Mercaptan, BGE Natural Gas Safety Hero Challenge.” Don your capes kiddies! Oh, and bring along a gas mask. That Captain Mercaptan dude smells!…
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Antero’s Proved Resources Up 4% to 13.2 Tcfe, 3P Hits 37.1 Tcfe

Antero Resources, with 569,000 under lease, is one of the biggest leaseholders and one of biggest drillers in the Marcellus/Utica. Every year, in order to comply with Securities and Exchange Commission rules, companies like Antero revisit and revise what they call “proved reserves.” That is, how much gas (and NGLs and oil) do they have in the ground? There’s different types of reserves, with proved having the highest confidence. There’s also the “3P” reserve number: proved, probable and possible. 3P has a lower standard to qualify. The news from Antero is that as of Dec. 31, 2015, the company has 13.2 trillion cubic feet equivalent (Tcfe) of natural gas sitting under their leased acreage. That’s a 4% increase over year-end 2014. Antero’s 3P reserves totaled 37.1 Tcfe at the end of 2015…
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Noble Energy Cuts Stock Dividend 44%, Lowers 2016 Capex 50%

In an announcement made on Tuesday, Noble Energy, a driller with a significant presence in the Marcellus/Utica, said the company is reducing dividend payments for its commons stock–lowering the payment by 44% to 10 cents per share. MDN recently told you that both Rex Energy and Chesapeake Energy had suspended dividend payments on preferred stock, not common stock (see Rex Energy Suspends Preferred Stock Dividends to Conserve Cash, and Chesapeake Energy Suspends Preferred Stock Dividends, Saves $170M). Noble’s move is a bit different–lowering (not eliminating) dividends on common stock. All of these companies are engaging in strategies to hold on to some of the money in the organization so they can keep the lights on and keep drilling. But it’s a Catch-22. Investors are owners of the company, and they like to get paid. Receiving dividends is an important part of why they invested in the first place. But if the company keeps paying, it risks going out of business and then their shares of stock are worthless. No good choices. Noble also announced on Tuesday they are budgeting to spend $1.5 billion in 2016, which is down 50% from 2015…
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Energy Transfer Lowers 2016 Capital Budget by $750M

Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), a huge midstream company in the process of buying out Williams, another huge midstream company, announced yesterday they are scaling back capital spending in 2016. Last November ETP forecast they would spend on the order of $4.95 billion in 2016. That number is now $4.2 billion after ETP identified $750 million in further cuts it will make to the budget…
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ISO New England: We Need More NatGas, Pipelines for Electric Grid

ISO New England, the independent, not-for-profit corporation responsible for keeping electricity flowing across the six New England states, held a conference call/webinar on Tuesday. On the call, Gordon van Welie, president and CEO of ISO New England delivered a “state of the grid” address. On the call van Welie revealed that 49% of all electricity produced in New England now comes from natural gas-fired power plants–a number that will only go higher as nuclear and coal facilities are shuttered. According to van Welie, more gas-fired plants are needed, and pipelines like Kinder Morgan’s Northeast Energy Direct (NED) and Spectra Energy’s Access Northeast are needed to get cheap Marcellus gas to the region. Natural gas and electric generation are truly joined at the hip. The relationship is between natgas and electricity is tight and getting tighter as electric generation becomes a key market for drillers…
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Cheniere’s Sabine Pass LNG Export Plant Delayed

Corporate raider Carl Ichan isn’t have a good week. His tinkering at Chesapeake Energy hasn’t turned out so well. The company’s stock is hitting new lows. Yesterday Chesapeake’s stock closed at $3.27 per share, down from the mid-$20s just a year ago. Ichan, you may recall, fired Chespeake’s co-founder, Aubrey McClendon–so he has no one to blame but himself. Icahn recently did the same thing at Cheniere Energy–a company building an LNG export facility in Louisiana. Ichan fired Cheniere CEO Charif Souki in December (see Evil Corporate Raider Carl Icahn Claims Another CEO Scalp). Since then, things have gone downhill at Cheniere. The first shipment of LNG from the facility was supposed to happen this month, January 2016. The latest statement from Cheniere says it will be more like late February or even March before the first LNG shipment sets sail. Completing expanded capacity (extra “trains”) at the Louisiana facility is also behind schedule…
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Shell Shareholders Vote in Favor of BG Buyout/Merger

Shareholders in Shell just voted to cut 10,000 jobs. Well, not exactly. Shell’s shareholders voted yesterday to approve Shell’s plan to buy BG Group in a $69.7 billion megamerger. As we explained in April 2015 when the deal was first announced, this is a deal about LNG (see LNG Love Story: Shell Makes Play to Buy BG in $69.7B Megamerger). Why the snarky remark about voting to cut 10,000 jobs? Because last week that’s what Shell said they would do once the merger is approved. They plan to ax 10,000 jobs in Shell and at BG (see Shell to Cut 10,000 Jobs After Buying BG; Exiting Shale Drilling). One down, one to go. BG shareholders vote on the merger today. If they vote “yes” as is expected, the merger will be complete on Feb. 15. Expect the pink slips to appear in the mailbox starting Feb. 16. Happy Valentine’s Day…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Thu, Jan 28, 2016

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: MarkWest & Marathon consider opening butane refinery; things getting worse before better in Appalachia drilling; Marcellus producers looking for new markets; CNG garbage truck explodes in NJ; is the end in sight for natgas slide?; EPA tries to fiddle in FERC’s business; rosy future for natgas; and more!
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