Wayne County, PA Landowner Sues DRBC Over Fracking Ban

lawsuitSome great news to share. A landowner in Wayne County, PA–in the Delaware River Basin–has filed a lawsuit against the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) asking a judge to declare the DRBC does not have jurisdiction to prevent construction of a natural gas well. MDN has chronicled, for years, the lawless actions of the DRBC in seizing power it does not have to block shale drilling in essentially two PA counties where there is measurable quantities of shale gas that could be extracted: Wayne County and Pike County. DRBC’s former director, Carol Collier, is a hardened anti-driller who colluded with Josh Fox in making his infamous propaganda film Gasland. Collier is gone and it was thought her replacement, Steve Tambini would bring some order and sense to the organization (see DRBC Selects Steve Tambini as New Leader, Enviro Groups Unsure). He’s been a dud–at least on the drilling issue. The DRBC has blocked drilling since it considered rules for drilling in 2010, when it put a “temporary” ban in place. Enough is enough. The Wayne landowner is arguing that oil and gas wells, under the DRBC’s charter, do not constitute a “project” that is regulated by the DRBC and therefore are exempt from oversight from the DRBC. Brilliant legal move! Here’s the details, including a copy of the lawsuit as filed…
Continue reading

Vantage Outbids Rice For Bankrupt Alpha Natural’s 27K Marcellus Acres

Vantage Energy logoEarlier this year Alpha Natural Resources (ANR), primarily a coal company with 27,400 acres of Marcellus/Utica Shale leases, filed for bankruptcy and announced it would sell off its Marcellus assets. ANR previously had a joint venture with Rice Energy (which Rice later bought out). Rice was also interested in the 27K acres ANR is selling as part of their bankruptcy–and made a “stalking horse” bid of $200 million for the assets (see Rice Energy Offers Bankrupt ANR $200M for Marcellus/Utica Assets). Other drillers objected to what they considered a sweetheart deal (see EQT, APP Challenge Rice Energy’s $200M Bid for ANR Shale Assets). In the end, Rice didn’t get it anyway. ANR announced yesterday that Vantage Energy won the bidding process–paying $339.5 million for the assets, “far exceeding” Rice’s bid…
Continue reading

Stalled Seneca Lake Propane Storage Project Gets FERC Extension

propane storage at Seneca
Propane storage at Seneca Lake – click for larger version

Some mildly good news for the much-needed propane storage facility proposed for Schuyler County, NY. MDN has extensively covered the fight to get the Seneca Lake Storage Project permissioned. In 2009 Inergy filed a request to convert a depleted salt cavern along the shore of Seneca Lake into a propane/natural gas storage facility. Inergy was later bought by and merged into Crestwood Midstream, and Crestwood Midstream later became Crestwood Equity. The New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation has been sitting on its hands from the beginning, refusing to grant the necessary permits to allow the facility to open. Sound familiar? Same old delay and later deny strategy from Cuomo. Since the DEC is completely dysfunctional at this point, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which is involved with approving the facility, has granted a two-year extension to Crestwood (and Crestwood subsidiary Arlington Storage Company) to give them more time to woo, cajole, entice and do whatever they can to get the DEC off it’s rear-end. Of course the FERC extension has sent the crazies protesters, like Sandra Steingraber, into orbit…
Continue reading

Nine Energy Completed World’s Longest Shale Well – in the Utica

Nine Energy logoEarlier this month MDN brought you the exciting news that Eclipse Resources, a smaller Marcellus/Utica pure play driller headquartered in State College, PA (but drilling mostly in Ohio) has drilled the world’s longest shale well–in the Utica in Guernsey County, OH (see Eclipse Res. 1Q16: Drills Longest Shale Well Ever! “Purple Hayes”). Eclipse’s Purple Hayes well an underground lateral reaching out 18,500 feet–3.5 miles! It took 124 frac stages to complete the well–a massive number of stages. Yesterday we learned that the company doing that completion work was not Schlumberger, the world’s largest oilfield services company. Nor was it Halliburton, the world’s second largest oilfield services company. It was, instead, Nine Energy–a much smaller oilfield service company, not even in the top 10. Congrats to Nine Energy! Here’s what they had to say about their work on a truly historic shale well…
Continue reading

Indiana U Research: Fracking Support Grows When Fees Stay Local

Indiana UniversityNew research just published by Indiana University confirms what those with common sense already knew: If at least some of the fees paid by drillers go into the local township’s coffers instead of the county or state–people in that community are more accepting and favorable to drilling. IU questioned 453 PA residents in June 2014 (takes a long time to publish research) asking a variety of questions. The research shows that the public has more trust that revenues will be spent better by their local municipal government than by the county or state. Don’t you just love it when common sense breaks out? Of course PA’s far-left/liberal governor, Tom Wolf, is tone deaf when it comes to taxing the Marcellus industry. He wants to grab all the money he can and give it to teachers unions. PA has an impact fee which keeps 60% of fees raised local–a plan that works. Wolf wants to add a severance tax on top of the impact fee, which would create the nation’s highest severance tax rate (see IFO: PA Gov. Wolf Proposes Highest Severance Tax in Nation). Here’s a summary of the IU research, a wake-up call to politicians at all levels…
Continue reading

Columbiana, OH Annexes Extra Land to Help a Fracker

ColumbianaMainstream media and the crazies who blat about ending the use of fossil fuels (stupid gits) have so demonized shale drilling the average citizen might assume shale drilling and all of those businesses that support it are from Satan himself. We spotted a story about an Ohio city (Columbiana) that has taken the unusual action of annexing an extra 94 acres of land next to an existing company located in the city so it can legally extend services like water, sewer and electric lines so the business can expand. That’s not unheard of. What is unheard of is that the business in question is Buckeye Transfer–a company that stores water, sand, chemicals and other materials used in (gasp) fracking of Utica Shale wells. Yes ladies and gentlemen, Columbiana is aiding and abetting a fracking company. It’s such an unusual story, we just had to highlight it…
Continue reading

Penn Twp Commissioners Block Apex Shale Well Request in 3-2 Vote

Apex Energy logoLast month MDN told you that the Penn Township (Westmoreland County) zoning board refused to grant a permit to Apex Energy to build a DEP-permitted well pad in the town (see Penn Twp Blocks Apex Energy Well Pad Request, What Next?). Last night the town board followed suit also voted to deny the request in a close vote: 3-2. As we previously mentioned, last year a group of anti-drillers took Apex to court to stop drilling on two wells, with the town backing them. Apex’s lawyers roared that the company was losing $70K per day by not drilling, threatening to sue. The town backed down, and Apex drilled the wells. We’re hoping for a repeat…
Continue reading

WV Woos Japanese to Invest in Marcellus/Utica – Cracker Hunting?

Rising SunStates often send trade delegations to foreign countries looking for investors to set up shop in their states–a sad but necessary activity that’s been going on for years. Just look at the ethane cracker plants announced for the Marcellus/Utica: Shell (headquartered in the Netherlands) wants to build a plant in PA; PTT Global Chemical (Thailand) wants to build a plant in OH; and Odebrecht (Brazil) once wanted to build a plant in WV, a plan that seems to now be dead. Speaking of WV, a new trade delegation is heading back to Japan, seeking more investment in the Mountain State. Among those going is Pat Ford, representing the Northern Panhandle area. One of Ford’s main reasons for going is “discussions on West Virginia’s energy growth, in particular ongoing development of the Marcellus and Utica shale plays for the natural gas industry.” Hmmm. That’s interesting. Makes us wonder if Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is looking for another cracker investor–this time from the Land of the Rising Sun…
Continue reading

Susquehanna Cnty Uses NatGas to Attract New Business, May 19 Expo

open for businessCabot Oil & Gas is a great company that focuses most of its shale efforts in the Marcellus. And every single Marcellus well they drill is located in a single northeastern Pennsylvania county–Susquehanna County. Susquehanna County has been good for Cabot, and conversely, Cabot has been good for Susquehanna County–providing jobs and pumping millions into the local economy. So it was no surprise to learn that Cabot is the main sponsor of a county event being held tomorrow: the Susquehanna County Business Expo. The purpose of the expo? To lure companies to locate or relocate in a relatively rural but rapidly growing county–where the air is good, the people are nice, the taxes are LOW and the gas is plentiful. The not-so-subtle message to businesses located nearby in Broome County, NY (where MDN is written) is that they ought to consider relocating over the border. Specifically in their sights are manufacturers who can leverage the cheapest natural gas in the world! The sad truth is that businesses have been, and continue to, leave the Empire State in droves. Cuomo is driving them out with his obtuse policies. The Expo will be held tomorrow in Montrose, PA. MDN encourages Broome businesses (and business from other areas) to consider attending. Here’s the details…
Continue reading

Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Wed, May 18, 2016

best of the restThe “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: More NGL storage will help northeast; now >1,300 producing Utica wells; OH lease language ‘paying quantities’; PA folly vs. LA foresight; NJ Dems seek to destroy all new pipelines; don’t let the nutters keep it buried in the ground; new natgas-electric tractor trailer; and more!
Continue reading