Penn State Claims Link Between Fracking & Earthquakes, Without Research

Penn StateWhat has happened to one of the world’s finest research universities? A press release issued yesterday by Penn State touts their participation in helping set up a seismic monitoring system throughout Pennsylvania. In the announcement, Penn State researchers openly admit this about a series of tiny quakes in western PA that couldn’t be felt at the surface: “We have not done enough analysis of the data to make any conclusions yet, but there is a correlation spatially and temporally between the fracking and the earthquakes.” In other words–“We haven’t actually done the research, but we’re going to say there’s a connection between fracking and earthquakes–because we feel like it.” That’s not science–that’s politics. Real scientists observe first, then conclude. Penn State is reversing that order–they already have their conclusions, now it’s just a matter of warping the observations to fit their conclusions. Sad…
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Unusual: Full Court to Hear Case Against Obama Clean Power Plan

court-gavel.jpgWe’ve written plenty about President Obama’s draconian, so-called “Clean Power Plan” (see our stories here). In a nutshell, Obama and his servile Environmental Protection Agency are attempting a massive federal takeover in how electricity gets generated–by requiring more electricity is produced by so-called renewable sources. They’re doing it through limiting carbon dioxide emissions from power generating plants. It puts coal out of business completely. But the dirty little secret is that Obama is also taking aim at natural gas too (see Obama Stabs Natural Gas Electric Plants in Clean Power Plan). More than half of the states have joined together to to stop the plan by filing a lawsuit. In a surprise move, the U.S. Supreme Court stopped the EPA from implementing the plan until the lawsuit brought by the states gets a full airing (see Supreme Court Shocker – Justices Halt Obama’s Clean Power Plan). The first step in the process of getting that airing happens at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In another move that surprised everyone, the DC District Court on Monday announced that the full court (9 of 11 justices) will hear the case and not the normal three-judge panel. Typically you start with three judges, and any decision can be appealed to the full court (which typically gets denied), and from there it goes to the U.S. Supreme Court. The DC court is removing a step so the process goes faster. Is that good (for those of us who believe this is unconstitutional), or bad? Depends on the news source you read…
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Fairmount Santrol 1Q16: Revenues Down 52%, Sand Sold Down 8%

Fairmount Santrol logoFairmount Santrol is a proppant manufacturer/supplier headquartered in Ohio. Proppants are things like sand and ceramic beads used to “prop open” tiny fractures created in hydraulic fracturing of shale oil and gas wells. In other words, Fairmount Santrol is a regional sand supplier for shale drillers–and a good proxy to understand what’s happening (or not happening) in our neck of the woods when it comes to drilling. If drillers aren’t drilling as much, that will show up first in the balance sheets of companies like Fairmount. And so it does. Fairmount reports in their first quarter 2016 update that revenues in 1Q16 were down 52% from 1Q15. But you can’t automatically assume that means there was half the drilling one year later. Fairmount also reports the volume of sand sold was down just 8% from 1Q15 to 1Q16. Why the discrepancy between revenue and volume? Fairmount doesn’t say, but we think we know: drillers have been putting the squeeze on supply chain companies like Fairmount, forcing them to deeply discount their prices…
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Atlas Energy 1Q16: Production Down, but Hedging Yields $3.41/Mcf

Atlas Energy logoAs MDN has previously noted, Atlas Energy has been in financial trouble for some time. Just a few years after the company sold two different tranches of their vast Marcellus assets for a cumulative $12 billion, the company’s stock was tossed off the New York Stock Exchange and relegated to the Pink Sheets as a penny stock (see Atlas Energy “Penny Stocks” Begin Trading Today on OTCQX). In February the relatively small company laid off ~125 employees (see Atlas Energy Update – 125 Layoffs Companywide). In March, the company announced they’ve rejiggered their debt–restructuring, converting some first into second liens (see Atlas Energy Rejiggers Outstanding Debt, Converts 1st to 2nd Liens). Earlier this week Atlas released its first quarter 2016 update. The company reports production has fallen–from 271 million cubic feet equivalent per day (Mmcfe/d) in 1Q15 to 237 Mmcfe/d in 1Q16–down 12.5%. They did, however, turn a nice profit on what they produced. Due to “hedging,” Atlas got $3.41 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) for their gas in 1Q16. At the time the average Henry Hub price was around $2/Mcf. Here’s the update from Atlas…
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TransCanada’s July 1 Merger with Columbia Pipeline Advances

TransCanadaIn March MDN reported that Canadian midstream giant TransCanada wants a bigger piece of the Marcellus/Utica pipeline pie and has decided to buy Columbia Pipeline Group for $10 billion (see TransCanada Makes Play to Buy Columbia Pipeline for $10B). Columbia Pipeline shareholders are due to vote on the deal in June (see Columbia Pipeline Shareholders to Vote on TransCanada Deal June 22). There are numerous regulatory hoops to jump through before the merger/purchase becomes official. TransCanada has announced another such hoop has been successfully jumped through. On Tuesday, TransCanada announced the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Anti-Trust Improvements Act (HSR Act) was terminated early by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. That means the FTC has taken a look and doesn’t object…
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Full Page NYT Ad Calls NY AG Schneiderman, Others “Un-American”

abuse-of-power-ceiIn March MDN brought you news of an environmental Nazi confab in New York City, headlined by New York Attorney Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Al Gore (see Climate Change Hucksters, Incl. NY AG & Al Gore, Threaten O&G). The aim of the meeting was to overtly threaten any company or individual who disagrees with their perverted views on man-made global warming. Schneiderman and other far-left, liberal Democrat attorneys general will “investigate” (i.e. bully) businesses, organizations and individuals who dare to disagree with them. It’s breathtaking in its abuse of power. If ExxonMobil disagrees with Schneiderman’s views on global warming and says so–watch out! Here comes a lawsuit to shut them up and shut them down (see Rise of the New (Environmental) Nazis – Free Speech Under Attack). The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) recognizes the dangerous threat to our freedoms posed by Schneiderman and other out-of-control AGs with their abuses of power. On Tuesday the CEI published a full page ad in the New York Times (VERY expensive) calling out Scheiderman and others–exposing their duplicity and bullying and attempts at censoring free speech. The ad, signed by 43 organizations, legal experts, and individuals who value the First Amendment of the Constitution, calls Scheiderman and those aligned with him “un-American.” We couldn’t agree more…
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Albany Common Council Votes to Oppose Pilgrim’s (Pipeline) Progress

Pilgrim Pipeline
Pilgrim Pipeline – click map for larger version

Last November, MDN told you about Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings, developing an East Coast pipeline to carry refined petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel, heating oil, and jet and aviation fuel northbound from Linden, New Jersey to Albany, New York (178 miles). In addition, a second Pilgrim pipeline will carry crude oil from Albany south to NJ and other locations. Two pipelines, side by side, liquids flowing through them in different directions (see Will Pilgrim Pipeline be Allowed to Settle in the NY World?). In April we told you about a strategy by New York anti-fossil fuel freakers to stop Pilgrim’s progress by using local town bans (see NY Antis Attempt to Stop Pilgrim Pipelines with Local Bans). Although it’s not a full-blown ban, the liberal Democrats who infest Albany, NY’s City Common Council voted on Monday night to approve a non-binding (i.e. toothless) resolution voicing their irrational opposition to the Pilgrim Pipeline project. Why? Because they view it as “an environmental risk” and a “public health hazard.” In other words, they have no reason why, other than to score political points with their base of crazy Democrat voters…
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Report: Hydraulic Fracturing Market to Reach $81 Billion by 2024

723757Here’s a little good news, for a change. Research firm Grand View Research (headquartered in San Francisco) has just published a pricey new research report (a single copy will set you back $4,700) that projects the global hydraulic fracturing market will be worth $81 billion by 2024–in just eight short years. Grand View’s researchers say much of that value/revenue will come in the “plug and perf” (i.e. fracking) part of the industry. It will be driven primarily by two countries–the United States and (wait for it….) China. We haven’t heard a lot about fracking in China, but that country is definitely making major moves to unlock vast shale reserves beneath its soil. The Chinese don’t have to worry about silly things like getting permission from citizens–not in a brutal dictatorship like China. They just do it. Although we haven’t seen the full report ourselves, Grand View has shared some of the key, high level insights they gleaned from their research. Here are some interesting facts and tidbits…
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Oil And Gas Sector: Trouble Ahead with Bankruptcies

CreditsafeCreditsafe USA, which calls itself the world’s “most used supplier” of company business intelligence, on Tuesday released what they call “startling statistics” about “the troubled oil and gas sector.” They are, of course, trying to sell subscriptions to their service by releasing this “news.” However, we found their press release interesting, for a couple of reasons. One reason is because Creditsafe’s research shows that the oil and gas sector contributed a staggering, words-can’t-even-describe-it $220 billion to the U.S. economy in 2015. It represents a “significant percentage” of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). The big problem they identify is that oil and gas companies are starting to drop like flies–declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy. What lies ahead for our economy if that trend continues?…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Thu, May 19, 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: Market impact of 2016 northeast natgas production trends; 1,312 Utica wells now producing; mini-LNG plant coming in NJ; Cheniere ships 9th LNG export cargo; 50% of LNG exports may get shut-in; European natgas prices collapse; and more!
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