PA Conventional Drillers File Lawsuit to Stop New DEP Regulations

lawsuitPennsylvania’s small, conventional oil and gas drillers have had enough of Gov. Tom Wolf and his Secretary of the Dept. of Environmental Protection, John Quigley. Last week a trade association representing many of PA’s small, independent oil and gas drillers–the Pennsylvania Independent Petroleum Producers Association (PIPP)–filed a lawsuit against implementation of new rules and changes to existing rules known as Chapters 78 & 78a (see PA DEP Issues “Final” New Drilling Regulations; Industry Pushback and PA DEP On Course to Jam New Regulations Down Drillers’ Throats). PIPP objects to conventional drillers being subjected to many of the same rules as unconventional (shale) drillers. PIPP says the two types of drilling are apples and oranges and to make small drillers jump through the same hoops as big shale drillers will literally eliminate small drillers from the Keystone State–making it unprofitable to continue drilling. So PIPP, on behalf of those drillers, sued to stop the new regulations…
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Williams Pays EPA $14K Penalty for WV Condensate Pipeline Accident

In April 2015 a 4-inch condensate pipeline owned and operated by Williams ruptured in Marshall County, WV following torrential rains and landslides (see 2 Williams Pipelines Rupture in Marshall County After Heavy Rains). Ten days following the break Williams still hadn’t located the rupture which spilled 132 barrels of condensate into Little Grave Creek, a tributary flowing into the Ohio River (see Williams Still Can’t Find Leak in 4-inch WV Condensate Pipeline). Finally, after 15 days, Williams located the break and began repair work to fix it (see Williams Locates WV Condensate Pipeline Leak, Remediation Begins). When you have an accident, it’s costly. Not only will the state take a bite (see WV DEP to Fine Williams for Condensate Pipeline Leak in WV), but the feds want their pound of flesh too. The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last week that a year after the accident they’ve shaken down Williams for $14,440 as a “penalty” for the accident. Under the terms of the shakedown Williams did not admit guilt or culpability–they just paid hush money to make it go away…
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Corrupt NY Gov. Cuomo Pushes Fields of Ugly Solar Panels in Upstate

New York’s Governor, Andrew Cuomo, is as corrupt a politician as they come. He single handedly stopped the safest, cleanest form of energy from taking root in upstate New York–shale gas extraction. In shale gas extraction, once the drilling is done and pipelines are installed–you don’t notice anything. There is no lasting effect. The grass and trees grow back. The “wound” in the ground is healed. There’s a small wellhead that sticks a up a few feet from the ground that can’t be seen from 200 feet away and that’s about it. Instead of allowing minimally invasive shale drilling, Cuomo is now pushing upstate farmers to agree to installing 30+ acre fields with solar panels that blemish the landscape for 30 years or more and kills birds stupid enough to fly directly over it. Cuomo pretends so-called “renewable” energy–like solar–has no side affects. FALSE. Solar has its negatives, just like every form of energy. One of solar’s negatives is that it destroys the landscape on which it sits–making it unusable for anything else and an eyesore that can be seen for miles. Solar is the opposite of shale energy, which allows farmers to plant fields and use their land–even over top of buried pipelines. Farmers can’t use their fields with solar panels sitting on them. This is how corruption works in New York State…
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FERC Denies NY Request to Stop Work on Pipeline Near Nuke Plant

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has just delivered a blistering slap across the face of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. You may recall in early March Cuomo asked FERC to stop Spectra Energy’s work on their Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) pipeline project, an $876 million expansion of the existing Algonquin pipeline system that will carry 342 million cubic feet of natural gas per day to New England states that badly need the gas. Cuomo wanted the work stopped because the pipeline will run close to a nuclear plant (see Gov. Cuomo Asks FERC to Halt Algonquin Pipeline Near Nuke Plant). FERC has just said “nope” to Cuomo’s request. The work to build the pipeline continues…
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PA DEP Won’t Renew Permits that Allow Drill Cuttings to be Reused

A few years ago (not sure exactly when) three companies were issued permits by the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) to reuse drill cuttings–leftover rock and dirt that come out of a borehole–on construction sites. The three companies were issued the permits on an experimental basis. The permits will expire March 1, 2017. Even though DEP officials openly state, on the record, that “drill cuttings aren’t dangerous,” the DEP has indicated they will not renew the permits after they expire. However, the DEP appears to leave the door open to issuing more permits in the future, once they make a final determination after reviewing the results from these three companies. Who are the companies that were issued permits?…
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Ben Franklin Tech Partners Invests $300K in Pipeline Sensor Co.

For more than 30 Years, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central & Northern PA has provided startup funding and business support services to tech-based startups and small manufacturers located in our 32-county footprint. Lately they’ve been investing in Marcellus industry companies. Earlier this month Ben Franklin Technology Partners invested $300,000 in a PA company called Sensor Networks Inc. The company manufactures a “non-invasive” sensor for pipelines that uses ultrasound allowing the pipeline operator to detect corrosion and how thick the wall of the pipeline is. It’s a cool technology and will be hugely beneficial to midstream companies in the northeast and beyond…
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FERC Seeks Input on ET Rover Pipeline – MI Poll Shows 91% Favor

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) wants to know what landowners and residents along the path of the proposed Energy Transfer Rover pipeline think about the project. ET Rover is a 711-mile Marcellus/Utica natural gas pipeline that will serve mostly U.S. customers. The pipeline will cost $3.7 billion to build and run from PA, WV and eastern OH through OH into Michigan and eventually into Canada. The bulk of the pipeline would run through Ohio (see ET Rover Pipeline Launches New Website, Updated Route Maps). We say ET Rover is “for the children” because the pipeline will generate $91 million in taxes for local schools–in its first year alone (see For the Children: ET Rover Pipeline $91M in School Taxes 1st Year). We spotted a story in a Michigan newspaper about the project. The story says FERC is eliciting feedback until April 11 (be sure to comment!). The story is running a poll of its readers asking them if they support or oppose the project. The results aren’t even close. Some 91% (at the time we wrote this) support the project. See a copy of the poll results below…
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PA Court Says Leaseholder Can Sublease Production Rights

We’re not sure how many landowners this may potentially affect, but we found a recent court decision by Pennsylvania Superior Court to be interesting. Landowners who had inherited property (and a lease) in Greene County, PA asked the court to “sever” the lease into two parts. The lease is with EQT and its affiliates and is 50 years old–long before Marcellus drilling. The landowner makes the case that because EQT had assigned the production rights to a third party and had never themselves drilled, the lease is terminated. There are two parts to the lease: one which said EQT had up to 10 years to extract oil and gas, the other that EQT can store natgas underground. The landowners were looking to end that portion of the lease that allows drilling because EQT never drilled on or under the property–and by assigning those rights to someone else, they have abrogated their rights under the lease. The court disagreed and said you can’t “sever” production rights from storage rights. If one OR the other happened, under the original lease, that is enough to make all parts of the lease ongoing and enforceable. Our description is likely not very good. Here’s what the legal beagles at Vorys say about the case, along with a copy of the decision…
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Anti-Fossil Fuel Insanity Metastasizes in Brains of Rockefellars

Question: How did John D. Rockefeller make his billions? Answer: Oil. John Rockefeller worked hard and integrated multiple Pennsylvania refineries into a single company that eventually became Exxon Mobil–the largest oil company headquartered in the U.S. (and one of the largest in the world). As often happens with the generations that follow the one who worked so hard to establish a family fortune–the kids and grandkids and great grandkids were soft. Clueless. Everything handed to them on a silver platter. Which left their brains susceptible to the virus of liberalism–a virus that kills brain cells and renders its victims blubbering idiots. And that’s just what has become of the Rockefeller clan. How’s this for ironic? Last week the Rockefeller heirs announced they’ve sold off all remaining Exxon Mobil stock they owned because Exxon has engaged in “morally reprehensible conduct.” What kind of egregious conduct have they engaged in? Paying for prostitutes to visit drilling platforms offshore for their workers? Bulldozing neighborhoods in poor, third world countries so they can extract oil and gas? Espionage against competitors? Nope. None of those things. The “morally reprehensible conduct” is that Exxon won’t admit that mankind is causing Mom Earth to catastrophically warm up. And that, dear reader, is the highest sin that can committed against the new climate change religion. Which is why we say anti-fossil fuel insanity has fully metastasized in the brains of the Rockefeller clan…
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DOE Publishes First Annual Energy Employment Report

Last week the U.S. Dept. of Energy issued its first-ever annual Energy and Employment Report (full copy below). The purpose is to show how many people work in the energy industry, and how the makeup of what they do is changing. It’s an interesting report. For example, the report says some 3.64 million people work in “traditional” energy industries, which includes producing, transmission, transporting and storing energy. Another 1.9 million people work either full or part-time in the energy efficiency industry. Adding the two together we get 5.54 million people working in “energy.” Of that number, roughly two-thirds work in tradition energy production and one-third work in figuring out ways to reduce the amount of energy we use…
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McClendon’s Child Companies Continue to Run Away from AEP Parent

In June 2015 MDN observed that Aubrey McClendon’s American Energy Partners (AEP) subsidiary companies were leaving as fast as they could (see McClendon’s New Empire Continues to Separate and Leave). Among the first to go was the Utica/Marcellus division of AEP, American Energy Appalachia Holdings, renaming itself Ascent Resources (see Big McClendon News: Sells 35K Utica Acres, Creates New Company). Others have also left the fold. The latest to get out of Dodge is AEP’s Permian Basin company (located in Texas). Like the others, they want nothing to do with the AEP name. The new name is Permian Resources…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, Mar 28, 2016

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Even Rice Energy isn’t immune to low natgas prices; Cove Point LNG on track for 2017 launch; Amtran getting CNG; WV manufacturers focus on natgas investments; another ship docs at Sabine Pass for LNG exports; ETE/Williams deal remains in trouble; anti-fracking presidential candidates; Total knifes Halliburton/Baker Hughes deal in the back; climate scientist investigated for financial irregularities; and more!
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