Federal Judge Rules Fayette County Injection Well Ban Illegal

Gavel-falling.jpgIn January, three liberal Democrat county commissioners from Fayette County, WV, with the backing and help of the radical WV Mountain Party, voted to ban injection wells in the county (see WV County Officially Bans Injection Wells; Children Brainwashed). The ban was intentionally written so broadly it would also ban the operation of more than 500 vertical oil and gas wells in the county. The next day EQT sued to overturn the ban (see EQT Sues WV County that Banned Injection Wells, Seeks Injunction). Not long after, a U.S. District Court judge slapped an injunction on the county preventing them from enforcing the ban at least until a hearing was held (see Judge Stops WV County from Enforcing Injection Well Ban, For Now). One of the chief architects of the ban, from the Mountain Party, admits the ban was intended to stop all oil and gas activity in the county (see Anti Admits Fayette County, WV Ban Aims to Shut Down All O&G Wells). Fearing they would lose the EQT lawsuit, in March the commissioners backed away from the position of banning everything to do with drilling in the county. They revised the proposed ban regulation as a tactic to avoid losing their court case (see Fayette WV Commissioners Change Ban to Focus on Injection Wells). Last Friday a federal judge ruled as we knew he would to toss out Fayette’s illegal ban. That is, EQT just won the case and the taxpayers of Fayette County have three lib Dems to thank for wasting money in legal fees to defend the indefensible…
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Halcon Resources Strikes Deal to File Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Halcon ResourcesAs MDN told you in May, Halcon Resources, a Utica Shale driller that “guessed wrong” by leasing 140,000 Utica Shale acres in the northern part of the play (in Ohio) and currently doesn’t drill on any of that acreage, is preparing to file for bankruptcy (see Another One Bites the Dust: Halcon Resources Filing for Bankruptcy). The company is still preparing. On Friday Halcon outlined how they will go about filing–converting some $1.8 billion of debt into shares of stock/ownership in the company. Here are the specifics of how Halcon will file in the near future, the agreements they have and still seek to reach with existing debtholders…
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Antero Will Use Its Own Midstream Co on Newly Acquired WV Acreage

antero resourcesOn Friday MDN reported that Antero Resources has just cut a deal with Southwestern Energy to purchase 55,000 net acres located in Wetzel, Tyler and Doddridge Counties in West Virginia for $450 million (see Antero Takes Southwestern to Cleaners in Deal for 55K Marc. Acres). As we observed (which no one else reported), Antero paid far less for the acreage than Southwestern did in 2014 when they purchased it from Chesapeake Energy. We spotted an interesting tidbit from SNL Financial: One of the attractions for Antero is that they will use their own midstream company to pipe the gas they produce from the newly purchased property. There are no preexisting contracts in place with another midstream company. So Antero will make money in two ways: by producing the gas, and by transporting it. Smart. Another interesting tidbit: While Antero says the acreage is in its “core” area, a Barclays analyst calls it “second best” acreage for Southwestern…
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Will ETE Use FTC’s “Condition” to Scuttle Proposed Williams Merger?

Gulfstream Natural Gas System map
Gulfstream Natural Gas System map

As MDN reported on Friday, the Federal Trade Commission has granted conditional approval of the Energy Transfer Equity (ETE)/Williams merger deal. The one condition FTC made is that Williams must sell its 50% ownership in Gulfstream Natural Gas System LLC, located in Florida (see As the (Midstream) World Turns: FTC Approves ETE/Williams Merger). ETE has been looking for a way to back out of the deal without losing its shirt in the process. So the question becomes, Will ETE use the FTC condition to scuttle the deal? Or at a minimum, use it to drive Williams back to the table to renegotiate the deal?…
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4 Common Sense Energy Bills Advance in PA Legislature

Pennsylvania State Capitol
Pennsylvania State Capitol

As the fiscal year in Pennsylvania draws to an end, PA legislators in both the House and Senate are working on a number of proposed new laws that will make the Keystone State less onerous for energy producers and more business-friendly in general to drillers and those in the Marcellus Shale industry. Four such bills are actively making their way through the legislative process and look promising: Senate Bill (SB) 1195 extends the review period for legislators to review Wolf’s idiotic plan to comply with Obama’s onerous Clean Power Plan; SB 279 establishes a council to help the Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) to get its head straight when it comes to crafting new drilling regulations for conventional (non-shale) drillers; SB 562 provides for more transparency and timely communication, preventing Big Green organizations from pushing through new regulations with the DEP in the dead of night as they do now; and SB 805 will allow large energy users to opt out of state-sponsored energy efficiency programs–because those users are already more efficient that the state-run programs. Here’s the run down on where each bill sits, along with a copy of the latest versions for each bill…
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Shell’s PA Cracker Plant Will Increase Shale Drilling in Region

Shell ChemicalsThe euphoria over Shell’s announcement last week committing to building a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker plant in Monaca (Beaver County), PA still hasn’t subsided (see Breaking: Shell Pulls the Trigger, PA Ethane Cracker is a Go!). Although the plant won’t be ready for five years–it takes that long to build one–already the plant has been a shot in the arm. As we noted on Friday, commercial real estate is taking off in the region (see Shell Cracker Plant Will Spur Real Estate Deals 150 Miles Away). However, there is another reason the Shell cracker is good for PA and for the shale industry: it will encourage more shale drilling. Currently Marcellus and Utica drillers have very limited options when it comes to selling ethane. Ethane is an NGL (natural gas liquid) that comes out of the borehole along with methane and other hydrocarbons. Some estimates say in the NGL-rich area of southwestern PA and eastern OH, some 20% of what comes out of the ground is ethane–at least for some wells. Right now most drillers have to dispose of that ethane–it’s an expense! When the cracker starts up operations, that ethane can be sold to Shell, helping the balance sheet of drillers. If you can get more money from what you’re getting out of the ground, you’ll do more drilling. Pretty basic common sense. In anticipation, CONSOL Energy already has a contract to sell Shell some of its ethane…
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How Republican Tom Corbett Convinced Shell to Locate Cracker in PA

Gov-Tom-Corbett.jpg
Former Gov. Tom Corbett

There’s no question that Tom Corbett was ten times the governor that Tom Wolf is now. Wolf is an undisputed disaster. Good thing Corbett is the one who brokered the deal to get Shell to select Pennsylvania as the location for its multi-billion dollar ethane cracker plant. A big tax incentive helped lure Shell to the Keystone State, no question about it. But that’s not the only reason the company decided on PA. When it comes to business and sales, there are a couple of tried-and-true axioms. One of those axioms is that people do business with people–not companies. Another is this: people buy from people they know, like and trust. Take any one of those elements away, and you don’t make a sale. So how did Tom Corbett “sell” Shell on PA as the location? There were a number of factors, but one way that stands out as a shining example: Corbett treated the Shell execs to a Pittsburgh Steelers game…
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Time to Fire Cindy Dunn, Last of Wolf Admin’s PennFuture Radicals

PA Sec of DCNR Cindy Dunn
PA Sec of DCNR Cindy Dunn

When the disastrous Tom Wolf set up his administration upon winning the governorship, three members of his cabinet were all from the same radical, Big Green group: PennFuture. There was Wolf’s Secretary of Policy, John Hanger (now gone, supposedly to spend more time with his wife and daughter in Massachusetts); Wolf’s Secretary of the Dept. of Environmental Protection, John Quigley (fired for conspiring with Big Green groups and getting caught doing it); and Wolf’s Secretary of the Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), Cindy Dunn. She’s still around, but as MDN friend Tom Shepstone writes, it’s now time to fire her too. Dunn has been caught using taxpayer money to send her staff to Big Green reeducation events–to properly indoctrinate them and send a little coin to her comrades in the movement…
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CRS Report: An Overview of Air Quality Issues in Natural Gas Systems

CRSThe Congressional Research Service (CRS) works exclusively for the United States Congress, providing policy and legal analysis to committees and Members of both the House and Senate, regardless of party affiliation. As a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, CRS has been a valued and respected resource on Capitol Hill for more than a century. Recently CRS wrote and published a report titled “An Overview of Air Quality Issues in Natural Gas Systems” (full copy below). The report looks at federal, state and local activities to help control air pollution from oil and gas–both drilling and pipelines. Without taking sides, this report provides information on the natural gas industry and the types and sources of air pollutants caused by the industry. The report examines the role of the federal government in regulating these emissions, including provisions in the Clean Air Act and EPA’s onerous regulatory activities. The report concludes with a brief discussion of the issues. Worth a read…
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2016 Intl Energy Risk Report: US More Energy Safe than Ever

Chamber of CommerceEach year the U.S. Chamber of Commerce issues an energy security risk report. The latest “Annual International Index of Energy Security Risk” (full copy below) shows the U.S. has jumped up the list by two spots in the world’s top 25 largest energy users. The jump up the list means the U.S. continues to improve its energy security. Why? According to the report–because of the miracle of hydraulic fracturing of shale. The report not only reviews America’s energy risk, but the risk for other countries as well. Who’s safe? Who’s vulnerable?…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, Jun 13, 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: Cuomo uses Hulk to announce theft of upstate; Obama admin shakes down Marathon Petroleum for $335M; Mass. Senate passes 10-year fracking moratorium; the route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline; S&P says Chesapeake Energy technically in default; cheap natgas won’t last; Continental restarts drilling after oil hit $50/barrel; methane madness; and more!
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