Major Step Forward – FERC Issues Favorable DEIS for PennEast Pipe

PennEast Pipeline Route Map
PennEast Pipeline Route Map – click for larger version

THE Delaware Riverkeeper, Maya van Rossum, is “spitting” mad. Why? Because the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has signaled it will approve the PennEast Pipeline, a $1.2 billion, 119-mile desperately-needed natural gas pipeline from Luzerne County, PA to Mercer County, NJ that will haul Marcellus Shale gas from northern PA to markets in southeastern PA and NJ. On Friday FERC issued a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that finds while there are a few things to fix in the PennEast plan before the pipeline gets built, they are fixable and the pipeline won’t have significant environmental impacts. van Rossum, upon learning of the favorable DEIS, said “The deadline for comments is an offensive abuse of power and spit in the face of all the communities that will be so deeply harmed by this project.” Needless to say, FERC’s decision put a smile on our face. PennEast calls it a “major step forward.” Indeed. It all but assures that this project will get approved and built…
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PA Gov Wolf: PAers Will Build the Cracker, Unless They’re Stoned

are you on drugsAlthough he still wants to tax the Marcellus Shale industry out of his state, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (with the dubious title of “most liberal governor in the U.S.,” see PA Gov Tom “Severance Tax” Wolf: America’s Most Liberal Governor) couldn’t resist jumping on the bandwagon to take some credit for what his predecessor, Gov. Tom Corbett, actually accomplished: luring Shell to build a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker facility in the state (see PA Gov Wolf Attempts to Take Credit for Shell Cracker Decision). Since the Shell cracker is already a done deal and will create oodles of jobs, Wolf is now conveniently “for” the project. He made a visit to Beaver County, PA last week, where the cracker plant will get built, for a roundtable discussion with local leaders. Wolf told them local leaders he wants to ensure it’s Pennsylvanians who fill the ~6,000 construction jobs required to build the plant. His only concern? PA residents may be too stoned to pass a drug test…
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Bill Tweaking Article 78a Shale Drilling Regs Dies in PA House

It's Dead JimIn June Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf was forced to accept half a loaf–he agreed to reject new drilling regulations for the conventional drilling industry in the state, if lawmakers would allow his administration’s rework of shale drilling regulations to take effect (see PA Gov Wolf “Eager” to Sign Drilling Law Forced Down His Throat). So we got a new set of drilling rules for shale, referred to as Article 78a, while the rules for conventional (Article 78) will get yet another revision. The Marcellus industry didn’t oppose the reworked rules in part because they thought they could tweak some of the more onerous aspects of them. Two weeks ago the PA Senate passed Senate Bill (SB) 1229, making modifications to three aspects of Article 78a creating the most fuss with shale drillers (see PA Senate Approves Bill Tweaking DEP Chapter 78a Shale Regs). As we noted at the time, Gov. Wolf threatened to veto the legislation. Whether Wolf’s toothless threat mattered or not we don’t know, but we do know that late last week the House failed to pass the bill and left town for summer vacation. That is, SB 1229 is dead…
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Southwestern Puts 2 Rigs Back Online in Susquehanna County, PA

southwestern energyOn Friday MDN reported Southwestern Energy’s second quarter 2016 update, with indications that things are turning around for the company and that they intend to re-start their drilling program in the Marcellus (see Southwestern Energy 2Q16: Bleeding Slows, 17 New Marc/Utica Wells). On Friday, Southwestern’s top brass held their analyst conference call to discuss the update and add more color commentary. And what color it was! Southwestern CEO Bill Way said they’ve already reactivated some rigs and plan to continue that pattern. Coincidentally, we received confirmation of Southwestern’s statements from an MDN subscriber who sent us proof that Southwestern re-started two rigs just last week in Susquehanna County, PA…
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Halcon Gets Majority Buy-in for “Pre-Packaged” Bankruptcy

Halcon ResourcesMDN told you in May that 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, was preparing to file for bankruptcy (see Another One Bites the Dust: Halcon Resources Filing for Bankruptcy). In June Halcon outlined how they will go about filing–converting some $1.8 billion of debt into shares of stock/ownership in the company (see Halcon Resources Strikes Deal to File Chapter 11 Bankruptcy). It’s called a “pre-packaged bankruptcy” because the company gets all of the debtholders to agree before the plan is filed. Stockholders (i.e. owners) on the other hand, get screwed. Their stocks become worthless at the end of the process. On Friday Halcon issued a statement outlining their progress. They now have enough debtholders signed up to move forward with filing the pre-packaged bankruptcy…
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PA Supreme Court Decides “Title Washing” OK in Mineral Rights Case

Gavel-falling.jpgYou’ve heard of “whitewashing” before. How about “title washing?” No, we hadn’t either. But this funny sounding practice has a great deal to do with mineral rights in Pennsylvania, with possible implications for landowners and drillers. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a 5-0 ruling last week that upholds the practice of title washing in the Keystone State. What in the world is it, and how does it affect landowners and drillers? In the case of Herder Spring Hunting Club v. Keller there had been a tax sale in 1935 for a property in Centre County, PA where the mineral rights had previously been separated. Prior to 1948 if mineral rights that had been separated were not properly recorded (it was incumbent on the owner of the subsurface rights to ensure the sale was recorded at the assessor’s office), and the surface land was later sold, both the mineral rights (subsurface) and the surface land became part of the sale. That, in essence, was title washing. After 1948 a law prevented this from happening, so such cases only apply to land sold before 1948. The legal beagles at Babst Calland have a good overview of what the practice of title washing is, and how the Court’s decision affects Pennsylvanians. We also have a copy of the decision embedded below…
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TransCanada’s Plan to Undercut/Displace Gas from the Marcellus

TransCanadaOne of the important new markets that Marcellus and Utica Shale drillers have been salivating over is Canada. Indeed, flows of natural gas, via pipelines, have increased to Canada over the past several years (see Marcellus/Utica Gas Increasingly Heads to Canada via Pipeline). One of the promising new markets for Marcellus gas is Canadian LNG exports (see List of LNG Export Projects for Marcellus/Utica Shale Gas). However, Canada is feeling a bit PO’d (personally offended) with the U.S., especially since Lord Obama rejected the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada. Along has come a bold new proposal from TransCanada, which recently bought the U.S.-based Columbia Pipeline Group, to use existing pipelines from Western Canada to Eastern Canada–from Alberta to Toronto–to ship more natgas. The aim is to make is less expensive to get gas from Western Canada, some 2,400 miles away, than from the Marcellus, just 400 miles away. Should Marcellus drillers be concerned? Maybe. TransCanada is about to launch an open season for their bold, new plan to undercut the Marcellus…
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5-10K Fractured Anti-Frackers March on Dem Convention in Philly

Bernie protesters
Bernie anti-frack protesters – credit: CNBC

Depending on the source you read, somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 rabid Bernie Sanders pinko commie fans marched in Philadelphia last night, on the eve of the Democrat National Convention. Their raison d’etre? To “DEMAND” a national ban on fracking. If true (one never knows with habitual liars), an anti-fracking crowd of that size is the biggest we’ve heard of. Congrats! Apparently there were two different groups marching–they couldn’t even coordinate a unified march. Typical. Below is some of the coverage of these wackos marching in the sweltering heat last night…
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The (Rotten) Apple Doesn’t Fall Far from the Al Gore Green Tree

look at meOn June 29 a group of 26 “religious” (we use that term very loosely) radicals were arrested for stopping work on a 5-mile pipeline near Boston. We reported on one of the organizers of the crime, Tim DeChristopher (see Religious Radicals Arrested for Stopping Work on Boston Pipeline). Another person arrested that we didn’t mention was the daughter of Al Gore, Karenna Gore. Like most spoiled rotten children of privilege, Karenna isn’t happy that nobody noticed she got arrested. So, because of her star-power name, she was granted the opportunity to write an op-ed for the Boston Globe so she could tell the world, “Look at me! Look at me! ME ME ME ME”…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, Jul 25, 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: Shale gas food for thought for skeptics; NE PA E&P pain is powergen’s gain; EQT’s production levels; FirstEnergy closing coal plants in OH; Talen Energy laying off 131 nuke workers; 2 LNG export plants OK’d in Gulf Coast; wackos rally in Richmond over pipeline; Schlumberger cut 16K jobs in 1H16; ConocoPhillips laying off 1K more; and more!
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