Court Says ETE Can Terminate Williams Merger; Williams Votes Today

As the World TurnsBig news happened in the Energy Transfer Equity (ETE) proposed merger/buyout of Williams to report. Last Friday a Delaware court ruled that ETE is contractually entitled to terminate its merger agreement with Williams. However, in a press release, ETE doesn’t say it has officially terminated the agreement. In commenting on the ruling, Williams said they still don’t think ETE has the right to wiggle out of the deal and Williams is pushing forward with holding a vote today by shareholders to approve (or not approve) the merger. As we have maintained now for a month or more, we don’t think the merger will happen–and we think all of the press releases and votes, etc. is posturing in preparation to launch lawsuits. The court’s decision essentially says ETE can terminate the agreement and won’t owe Williams any money for their trouble. ETE wanted this merger in the first place and pursued Williams for nearly a year to get it (see Williams Accepts ETE’s “Indecent Proposal” – Price Went Down $10B). But Williams is not lily white innocent in this ongoing soap opera. Lurking in the background pulling strings are corporate raiders on Williams’ board–people who want to line their pockets with cash from this deal (see Evil Corporate Raiders Double Investment (& Control) in Williams). Even though ETE wants out of the deal and even though (in our opinion) Williams is better off not merging, Williams will continue to push for a merger/takeover, so the raiders can get buckets of cash. Below we have a copy of the court opinion from Friday, along with a couple of analysts’ thoughts on what happens next…
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More on PA’s Potential Gross Receipts Tax on NatGas

no-tax.jpgLast Friday MDN told you about the latest plan to tax Pennsylvania natural gas–something called a gross receipts tax (see Ploy to Rename PA Severance Tax as “Gross Receipts” Tax). We now have a bit more detail on what that plan is. A gross receipts tax is nothing more than a sales tax that would be assessed on users of natural gas. It’s meant to transfer wealth from those who use natural gas into the pockets of Big Education (i.e. teachers unions), the same way a severance tax was meant to do. There is an important difference between a gross receipts and a severance tax. A severance tax would tax all natgas coming out of the ground. A gross receipts tax would tax only that gas sold and used in Pennsylvania–by end users (consumers, businesses, power companies, etc.). So the gas that gets shipped out of state wouldn’t be taxed. And therein lies the rub. Not only is Wolf & co. trying to use a shell game to move the tax around and make it appear that it’s not a tax on the drilling industry, their plan (we’re convinced) is to get this idiotic tax in place and then, next year or the year after, begin talking about how “unfair” it is that all of that gas going out of state isn’t taxed the way the gas is taxed in state–and “we have to close the loophole.” That’s how the game is played by tax & spend liberals like Wolf. Our advice to GOP legislators: JUST SAY NO. PA has a spending problem–not a taxing problem. Here’s the latest on the gross receipts tax idea…
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Yale Arrives in Belmont County to Study the Evils of Fracking

YaleDon’t worry, you stupid farmers in Belmont County, OH. A really really smart liberal from Yale University (who believes in the fairy tale of man-made global warming) has arrived in your midst and is willing to pay you big money–$20 (yes, twenty dollars)–to participate in a “study” with a pre-determined outcome that you’re being poisoned by fracking. The latest laughable “research study” by a small group of Yale “researchers” is underway in Belmont. The researchers are looking for 100 local yokels who are willing to tell them how they’ve been harmed by fracking, so the researchers can plaster the Yale name on yet another fraudulent study funded by Big Green organizations. We’ve seen this movie before. In 2014 Yale researchers released a similar study of 180 people in Washington County, PA, funded by Heinz Foundation and other Big Green funders (see Research for Hire: Anti Groups Sponsor Latest Yale Frack “Study”). At least in that earlier study the authors were honest enough to admit there was no evidence that fracking was affecting local residents. The outcome of this new Belmont County study is already decided, based on earlier anti-fracking advocacy work done by the study’s main author, Nicole Deziel…
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Dominion Cove Point LNG Now 38% Built, Rapid Progress Continues

Dominion Cove Point Terminal
Dominion Cove Point Terminal – click for larger view

At last check in March of this year, Dominion’s Cove Point LNG export facility, being built in Maryland, was 24% done (see Cove Point LNG Export Plant Now 24% Complete, Rapid Progress). We’re not three months later and that number is now 38% done. No wonder the odious Sierra Club and other Big Green groups are trying so hard to block work on it! Dominion just filed a monthly status and progress report (full copy below) for Cove Point and they report the facility is 38% built. They also report the engineering is about done (99.8% complete) and equipment purchases are also done (99% complete). This is refreshingly good news. There is nothing stopping the facility now…
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What Happens in PA When No Mineral Rights Owner is Found?

Heir HuntersWhat if you’re an heir to land that was drilled on or under in Pennsylvania? There may be money “ready and waiting to be distributed”–there for the asking. But the asking is a bit complicated. In cases where the owner(s) of the mineral rights for a piece of property is unclear, the PA Dormant Oil and Gas Act (DOGA) comes in to play. What is DOGA and how does it work?…
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Ruptured TETCO Pipeline in PA Offline Until November

Spectra blazeAn update on Spectra Energy’s Texas Eastern Transmission’s (TETCO) “Delmont Line 27” which exploded in Westmoreland County, PA on April 29 (see Texas Eastern Pipeline Explodes near Pittsburgh, Antis Celebrate). We previously told you that not only was Line 27 out of commission, so too were three other pipelines running through the same corridor, meaning 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day is not reaching certain mid-Atlantic markets (see Update on Spectra Pipeline Explosion Near Pittsburgh). The early evidence points to corrosion along welded seams, although the jury is still out and the exact cause may not be known for months (see Preliminary Guess on TETCO Pipeline Explosion Cause: Corrosion). One of the four lines that was offline (Line 19) was examined and certified by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) in early May to go back online (see TETCO Pipeline Up & Running Post-Explosion; Antis Exploit Accident). However, the other three lines have remained idle pending further investigation (see TETCO PA Pipeline Explosion Still Limiting NatGas Flow Month Later). We now have an estimate of what else needs to be done, and how long it will take to do it…
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Big Green Groups Oppose STRONGER Review of VA Drilling Rules

STRONGERVirginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) wants an independent, third-party review of proposed natural gas drilling regulations in the state. The last time such regulations was reviewed was in 2004, over a decade ago. A lot has changed since then. At that time, a group called the State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental Regulations (STRONGER) performed the review. It’s only natural that the same group do the new review–so the DMME hired STRONGER to do it. And that has anti-drilling nutjobs in a tizzy. Eight radical anti-drilling groups say STRONGER has industry backing and will not be fair and impartial in their review. In other words, STRONGER won’t recommend rules so strict as to ban fracking, which is what the radicals want. Here’s the thing: STRONGER has members of Big Green groups as part of the organization–including Earthworks and Trout Unlimited. STRONGER receives funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Dept. of Energy (DOE). So how do the nutters figure STRONGER isn’t objective or unduly influenced? If anything, STRONGER is influenced toward being too cozy with Big Green causes…
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Appeals Court: Mariner East 2 Eminent Domain Can be Challenged

Gavel-falling.jpgIn February, a Philadelphia judge for the Court of Common Pleas (low-level court in PA) ruled in favor of the anti-drilling Clean Air Council against Sunoco Logistics Partners and their Mariner East 2 pipeline (see Philly Judge Says Case Against Mariner East 2 Can Proceed). The ruling was nothing more than “this case has merits” (in the eyes of the judge) and can proceed. The case itself is challenging the right of Mariner East 2 to use eminent domain against landowners in building the new pipeline. The Clean Air Council’s argument is that since most of the natural gas liquids that will flow through the pipeline will get exported or otherwise not used in PA itself, that moves Mariner East from being a public utility with eminent domain power to an interstate pipeline more properly reviewed and permitted by federal authorities. It’s a delay tactic, because if Mariner East 2 were to come under the aegis of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and eventually permitted, they would also be entitled to use eminent domain. But a FERC review would take years. Sunoco LP appealed the ruling and last week the appeals court rejected Sunoco’s arguments, sending the case back to the lower court where it will now be tried…
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FERC Tells Rover, Leach XPress Pipes to Redesign Routes in SE OH

FERC logoTwo major pipeline projects have just received a big red light from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), pending changes to their plans. Energy Transfer’s Rover pipeline, a $3.7 billion, 711-mile Marcellus/Utica natural gas pipeline that will run from PA, WV and eastern OH through OH into Michigan and eventually into Canada, along with Columbia Pipeline’s Leach XPress, running from Marshall County, WV through Ohio to Leach, KY, got word from FERC that a small section where the pipelines cross must be reworked or it’s a “no go” for both projects…
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No Wonder UK is Leaving EU – Germany to Ban Fracking Indefinitely

Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel – Germany’s inept Chancellor

Yes, EVERYBODY is talking about the United Kingdom’s Brexit vote–the vote to leave the European Union. Frankly, we didn’t think our British friends had the spine to do it. We’re pleased they do (have the spine) and did (vote to exit). Have no fear, the financial markets are not going to melt down. The world is not coming to an end–well, maybe the Utopian “borderless” world advocated by elitist snobs has just come to an end. The question is, Why did 52% of Brits vote to leave the EU? Most of the reason seems to be opposition to illegal aliens flooding into the country unchecked–because those illegals are pouring over the borders (actually invited into) countries like Germany first. The Brits have also grown tired of being dictated to by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Aside from Obama, Merkel is the worst, most inept leader of any Western country. Here’s an example of her ineptness: Merkel previously advocated and got passed a fracking ban (for shale wells) in Germany until 2021. She’s just won support to make Germany’s frack ban permanent, “until further notice.” No wonder the Brits want out of an alliance headed by a dolt like Merkel…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, Jun 27, 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: No big Appalachian deals anytime soon; when will price recovery in natgas take place; smaller drillers healthy during downturn; NFG gets new director; New England’s need for more pipelines; new pipeline planned for NJ bay; SEC charges Breitling Energy CEO for fraud; digital will change o&g companies; and more!
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