EQT 4th Driller to Receive “Sustainable Shale Development” Cert

CSSDAnd then there were four. The Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD) has fought stiff headwinds from the beginning. The organization was founded by a group of shale industry people and environmentalists reaching across the isle to forge strict standards that both sides can live with. Environmental leftists, like Mamma Teresa Heinz Kerry and her Heniz Endowments, pulled support and have actively worked against the CSSD (see She Speaks! Teresa Heinz Kerry Talks re Endowments Firings, CSSD). Other so-called environmental groups like the William Penn Foundation also bailed. But new supporters stepped into the breach to take their shoes (see CSSD Thrown a Lifeline from Richard King Mellon Foundation). On the industry side, not all that many stepped up to receive the CSSD’s thorough examination. So far three organizations have applied for and received CSSD certification: Chevron, Shell and CONSOL Energy. You can now add EQT, one of the founding sponsors of the organization, to the list. EQT’s own Andrew Place–no longer with EQT, now a Commissioner with the PA Public Utility Commission–was the first/interim Executive Director of the CSSD for the first year. So it’s only fitting that EQT practice what they preach and seek certification…
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Martian Victory! 2 Wells Near Mars School Nearly Done Drilling

My Favorite MartianAs we have long chronicled, a few anti-drilling parents from the Mars School District (Butler County, far western part of the state), backed by a couple of Big Green groups from the other side of the state (THE Delaware Riverkeeper and the Clean Air Council, both based in the Philadelphia area), sued Middlesex Township to stop shale drilling in rural portions of the county. Rex Energy had applied for, was legally permitted for, but wasn’t allowed to drill a series of wells some three-fourths of a mile from the Mars School (for background, see our long list of “Martian” stories here). After costing local taxpayers more than $35,000 in legal fees, last November a county judge finally told Rex Energy they could go ahead and drill (see PA County Judge Rules Rex Can Begin Drilling First Martian Well). The fantastic news is, Rex has drilled! The company has drilled two initial wells which will be done within the next couple of weeks. Time to celebrate! NOTE: Somehow, against all odds, no children were harmed in the drilling of these wells…
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Report: Drilling Hasn’t Strained Water Supplies in River Basin

subbasmap_smallThe Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC), charged with overseeing the health and use of the Susquehanna River (nation’s 16th largest river), has just issued a new report that examines the activities of the Commission surrounding its management of water use by the natural gas industry from 2008-2013. The report, titled “Water Use Associated with Natural Gas Shale Development: An Assessment of Activities Managed by the Susquehanna River Basin Commission July 2008 through December 2013” (full copy below) concludes that Marcellus drilling has not strained water supplies in the Susquehanna River Basin. The SRBC, unlike the DRBC (Delaware River Basin Commission) has responsibly managed water resources in its region and has not interfered with shale drilling–but rather has worked with drillers to successfully manage water resources. The DRBC, on the other hand, has been paralyzed, both without and within the organization, into blocking shale drilling within its jurisdiction. Here’s a report from the functional SRBC (as opposed to the dysfunctional DRBC)–a quasi-governmental organization that knows what it’s doing…
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PA Biz Affected by Drilling Slowdown, but Hope is on the Horizon

Don't Stop BelievinYesterday MDN told you the sad news that southwest PA hotel owners have hit a rough patch and some of them are putting their properties on the auction block (see SWPA Hotel Owners Catering to Marcellus Auctions Properties). We have more news today about businesses being adversely affected by the drilling slowdown in PA. This time the stories come from the eastern part of the state. And yes, once again one of the affected businesses is a motel. And also a cleaning service. Even though “it’s tough and getting tougher out there” as well all know, we also spotted a story of hope. George Stark, spokesman for Cabot Oil & Gas, says shale drilling WILL return to PA, and it will return “with a vengeance.” What does that mean?…
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Williams Laying Off 10% of Workforce Ahead of Merger with ETE

cutting jobsSomehow this bit of news escaped us a few weeks ago–perhaps because most of the impacts will happen in Oklahoma. Williams, the midstream giant that is currently being half-heartedly pursued by Energy Transfer Equity in a buyout/merger, is preparing for the eventual merger by laying off 10% of its workforce. Williams says they layoffs are due to “current market forces” and not because of the impending merger. Sorry–we don’t buy it. We suspect the layoffs have a great deal to do with trimming down before the company is eventually sold. Williams employs 6,700 people in North America and in late March they began dumping 10% (~670) of them. Some 100 of those layoffs are happening in the company’s Tulsa, OK headquarters. The others will come from across the country–including here in the Marcellus/Utica region…
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UTOPIA Pipeline Sues Holdout OH Landowners Using Eminent Domain

Utopia_Map
UTOPIA Pipeline map – click for larger version

Just yesterday MDN was commenting that it seems like Ohio antis aren’t all that bothered by Kinder Morgan’s UTOPIA ethane pipeline (see Why is UTOPIA Pipeline Less “Controversial” than NEXUS in Ohio?). Perhaps we spoke to soon! UTOPIA has gotten a lot more controversial since they just filed a flurry of lawsuits against holdout landowners, using eminent domain statutes. The real eye-popper we learn when reading about the eminent domain proceedings is just how much Kinder Morgan was offering for easements to property owners. Of course what you’re offered all depends on how many feet of land the pipeline will cross. Some landowners were offered up to $63,300 for an easement. In some cases, the offers were “more than 10 times the appraised value of the easement.” It’s certainly in a landowner’s best interest to settle before being forced to settle (for far less) via eminent domain. Here’s how it’s going for several landowners who object to the pipeline…
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4 Big Green Groups Pressure PA to Adopt Onerous New Drilling Regs

Chesapeake Bay FoundationThis Thursday the Pennsylvania Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) will take up the matter of approving recently proposed new drilling regulations from the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection. Conventional drillers in PA strong object to the new rules, Aricles 78 and 78a, and sued to stop the IRRC from reviewing them. They lost (see Judge Won’t Grant Request to Stop Adoption of New PA Drilling Regs). Key committees in both the PA House and Senate also object to the new rules (see PA House and Senate Panels Vote to Reject DEP’s New Drilling Regs). So who wants the new rules? You guessed it–radical green groups in the state committed to ending all oil and gas drilling are supporting the new rules, which is all you need to know the rules and just how onerous they are. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation – Pennsylvania Office, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, The Nature Conservancy – Pennsylvania Chapter, and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy wrote a letter (below) asking the IRRC to approve the new regulations…
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Fairmont Brine Gets $90M to Build New Wastewater Recycling Plant

Fairmont BrineFairmont Brine operates a small wastewater processing plant in Marion County, WV. Last year Antero Resources pulled the rug out from under Fairmont by jilting Fairmont and contracting with a French company to build a new $275 million wastewater treatment plant in WV (see Did Antero Pull the Rug Out from Under Fairmont Brine Processing?). But you can’t keep a good man, or a good company, down. Fairmont has taken it all in stride. In fact, the company is one of the few in the catbird seat during this current downturn in the oil and gas market. As we’ve described before, because drillers are drilling less, they are not recycling and reusing produced water (water that comes out of the hole from the depths for years after the well is drilled). What do drillers do with produced water they don’t want to use for fracking and drilling more wells? They either have to haul it to an injection well, or haul it to a facility like Fairmont’s for recycling. Fairmont has just secured a $90 million line of credit to build a new wastewater processing plant in southwest PA. Demand is strong…
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More on Laclede Plan to Tap Marc/Utica Gas for Midwest Powergen

Laclede GroupIn February MDN brought you the good news that Laclede Group (St. Louis-based natural gas utility) wants to build a 60-mile pipeline from St. Louis through southwest Illinois and connect to the Rockies Express (REX) and Panhandle Eastern Pipeline to grab low-cost Marcellus/Utica Shale gas for Midwestern markets (see New Midwest Pipeline to Tap REX’s Marcellus/Utica Gas). Laclede wants to use it not only for utility customers, but to serve new natgas-fired electric plants being planned for the region. We spotted an article that elucidates more on the power gen angle of the proposed new Laclede pipeline, which could become an important new market for Marcellus/Utica gas…
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United Church of Christ Worships Mother Earth This Sunday

Keep it in the GroundWe find nothing (NOTHING!) more repugnant than so-called Christians who used to worship the One True God who have forsaken their vows and instead now worship Mother Earth. They worship the creation instead of the Creator. Such is the case with a group of pastors from the United Church of Christ who will, this coming Sunday, preach sermons that paint fossil fuels as evil and should be “kept in the ground.” We urge parishioners at those churches to stay home this Sunday. In fact, all UCC members should just stay home this Sunday. Perhaps empty offering plates across the denomination will get the attention of the leadership and encourage them to forget this nonsense…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Tue, Apr 19, 2016

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Atlantic Coast Pipeline responds to FERC, now in wait mode; Business Council urges Gov. Cuomo to approve Constitution Pipeline; OH Dem wants to clamp down on injection wells with new law; the future of American shale; the Caligula of commodities; fossil fuel value not affected by so-called climate change; corrupt state prosecutors have been colluding with fractivists; Crazy Bernie’s energy policy – import more oil; and more!
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