Blue Racer Midstream to Begin Barging on Ohio River This Year!

Ohio River bargeIt will be fun to watch how anti-fossil fuelers will take this news–and attempt to spin and demagogue it. Blue Racer Midstream, a joint venture between Caiman Energy II and Dominion, owns several natural gas processing and fractionation plants, 650 miles of natgas gathering pipelines, and 155 miles of NGL and condensate pipelines in OH and WV. Blue Racer is a privately-held company, so we don’t have SEC reports and public statements about the company. However, every now again Blue Racer’s upper management shows up at an industry conference, as they did a few weeks ago at the Utica Midstream Seminar in Canton, OH (see Updates on 3 Major OH Pipelines at Utica Midstream Seminar). At the event, Blue Racer CEO Stephen Arata confirmed that in the third quarter of this year the company will begin to use barges on the Ohio River to transport “products” from its Natrium, WV processing plant…
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MDN Exclusive: Analysis of Ohio’s 1Q16 Shale Production

exclusiveThe Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) has just issued production numbers for the first quarter of 2016. Compared with first quarter 2015, production numbers in 1Q16 continue to impress. Natural gas production from shale is up 80% year over year, and oil production is up 24% y/y. Below we have the ODNR’s high level overview of the numbers, along with MDN’s own exclusive analysis showing: the top 25 producing gas wells, the top 25 producing oil wells, and then the top 25 gas and oil wells as ranked by average production per day. There is a difference! The longer an oil or gas well is online, the less it produces. Newer wells produce more. So we show you which wells are not just producing the most quantity overall, but which wells are producing at the fastest (most productive) rates–even if they haven’t yet been online a full three months. We also include a link to the complete list of 1,351 wells included in the 1Q16 ODNR report–in a more usable format than that provided by the ODNR…
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Williams “Incentivizes” Shareholders to Vote for Merger

bribery.jpgOn Friday Williams issued a couple of interesting press releases related to what they hope is a vote to accept Energy Transfer Equity’s offer of a merger. The first press release says the Williams board will pay shareholders 10 cents per share as a bonus if they vote “for” the merger. A little incentive. What we would call a bribe–although there’s nothing illegal about it. It smacks of desperation in our book. But perhaps we know why they’re offering a little more honey to entice people to vote “yes” for the merger. That’s because of the second press release. When the merger was first announced, both ETE and Williams claimed there would be “$2 billion in annual synergies” between the two companies following a merger (see Williams Accepts ETE’s “Indecent Proposal” – Price Went Down $10B). Williams’ second press release on Friday revised that $2 billion “benefit” number down–to almost nothing. Now the claim is there will be $126 million in synergies–94% less than the original claim…
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West Virginia DEP New Rule Changes Affect Shale Industry

WV DEPWest Virginia had a contentious budget battle this year. Why? Because severance tax revenue for coal and oil & gas was down–way down. With no hint of it improving any time soon. WV’s budget heavily depends on severance tax revenue for the state’s annual budget. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin had to call a special session that last 17 days in order to get the budget passed. As part of that special session, new oil and gas rules from the WV Dept. of Environmental Protection were also passed. While the new rules don’t significantly alter existing regulations, the “subtle changes can lead to big headaches when enforced,” according to the legal beagles at Lewis Glasser Casey & Rollins. Here’s a quick overview of the changes, along with a copy of the full rule change document…
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Rift Continues Between Drillers & Landowners re Royalty Bill

Garth Everett
Rep. Garth Everett

Last year yet another new bill was introduced by State Rep. Garth Everett to guarantee landowners get a minimum of 12.5% royalties–regardless of post-production deductions (see New Bill HB 1391 Will Guarantee PA Landowners 12.5% Royalties). Organizations like the PA chapter of the National Association of Royalty Owners (NARO) fully support the bill. However, drillers make the counterargument that duly signed contracts which allow for certain deductions should not be swept away with the stroke of a pen. The industry is steadfast against this and other bills like it. This spring HB 1391 got a brief hearing in the House (see Landowners vs Drillers: PA Minimum Royalty Bill Gets a Hearing). But since then–nothing. That is, until Rep. Everett attached HB 1391 as an amendment to another bill. Everett quickly withdrew his amendment–the purpose was to “call attention” to it and reignite the discussion. Everett was quickly smacked on the knuckles by the drilling industry who is not happy with him for his action…
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Beaver Run Reservoir Tests Since 2011 Show No Harm from Drilling

test tubeIn 2011, the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County, PA began a new water testing and monitoring program for the Beaver Run Reservoir which supplies water to about 150,000 residents (see Westmoreland County, PA Municipal Authority Initiates New Water Testing for Reservoir Located Near Marcellus Drilling). CONSOL Energy has 100 shallow gas wells on municipal property near the Reservoir, and at the time had started to drill Marcellus Shale wells. The Authority also leased land near the reservoir to Dominion Resources, which ended up drilling more than a dozen shale wells on the property. The water testing program was precautionary, to ensure water is not being affected by nearby drilling activity. The Municipal Authority contracted with Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) to do the monitoring and testing. The early results showed no impact from testing (see Water Tests at PA Reservoir Show No Affects from Gas Drilling). The Authority continued to award contracts year after year to IUP–starting at $55,000 and going as high as $100,000 (see Pricetag to Test Water at Reservoir Near CONSOL Drilling Goes Up). The Authority is back, ready to pay again. IUP has just won another contract, this time for $85,000, to monitor and test Beaver Run Reservoir. The amazing point is this: Since the first tests began more than five years ago, there have been a number of shale wells drilled on the property next to the reservoir–and there has been no negative impacts from shale drilling in all that time. Hey anti-fossil fuel radicals: Tell us again how shale drilling “contaminates” water…
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WV is “Major Winner” from Shell PA Cracker Plant

winnerThe good vibes are still reverberating following Shell’s announcement that they will move forward with building a $3+ billion ethane cracker in Monaca, PA (see Breaking: Shell Pulls the Trigger, PA Ethane Cracker is a Go!). It’s fantastic news for Beaver County, PA, and in fact all of PA. We’ve seen immediate positive effects, particularly in the local real estate market with announcement after announcement of new deals being done. However, the location of the cracker will be near both the borders of Ohio and West Virginia. Former state senator and current West Virginia Public Service Commissioner Brooks McCabe says the PA cracker is as good news for WV as it is for PA. He says WV is “a major winner” with the Shell PA cracker announcement. Here’s why…
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Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Like Interstate Highways of Yesteryear

Eisenhower Interstate SystemThere are many reasons why the Williams Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project should and will get built. As we’ve covered over the past week or so, anti-fossil fuelers object because, well, because they irrationally hate fossil fuels. But this is not a new phenomenon. Back in the 50s and 60s when our nation built the Interstate highway system, we heard the very same arguments antis make today: the land will get carved up; our way of life will end; our peaceful existence is threatened; etc. We spotted an excellent “letter to the editor” that lays out the similarities of antis now and then…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, Jun 20, 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: Final PA budget home stretch begins–major issues (like severance tax) unresolved; Atlantic Sunrise FERC hearings, first person account; Virginia Tech changing to natgas; low natgas prices “upend” the utility sector; it’s all about that basin, ’bout that basin; banks have a low oil price hangover; Japan’s May LNG imports down; and more!
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