FERC Alters PennEast Hearing Process to Reduce Antis’ Bleating

goat bleatingWe’ve sat through our fair share of public hearings and open houses for pipelines–from Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) hearings to state agency hearings to open houses sponsored by midstream companies (see Vicariously Attend FERC Scoping Hearing on Constitution Pipeline). The script is always the same. Anti-fossil fuel freaks show up and perform before the cameras and microphones. That’s what they are there to do–engage in a circus act. When they are denied such an opportunity, they complain (see Williams’ Smart Open House in Lebanon County Confounds Antis). FERC hearings are always the same–show up and sign up to speak, with 3 or 4-minute allotments for each speaker. And speakers are taken in the order in which they signed in. Those in the audience who are for or against typically applaud or issue boos and insults. We have often said FERC personnel should get hazard pay for sitting through 4-hour marathons of this nonsense. FERC has wised up. They held a public hearing last night in the Bethlehem, PA area for the proposed PennEast Pipeline project. Instead of a public forum, FERC set two private rooms with a stenographer in each. FERC recorded comments two-at-a-time, in private. And they saved themselves all of the theatrics by anti-drilling trolls. And of course, that didn’t sit well with the antis. Most of the antis who spoke were reading from cue cards prepared for them by THE Delaware Riverkeeper, Maya van Rossum. The antis are so dumb they can’t even form their own thoughts about why they are against the project! Too funny…
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Lawsuit Against Chesapeake, Anadarko Heads Back to PA Court

court-gavel.jpgLast December Pennsylvania’s felony-indicted Attorney General, Kathleen Kane, brought a lawsuit against Chesapeake Energy, Anadarko and Williams accusing them of, among other things, royalty fraud (see PA Atty General Sues Chesapeake Energy, Williams for Royalty Fraud). In May MDN reported that Chesapeake and Anadarko had filed to dismiss Kane’s complaints against them, accusing Kane of attempting to litigate federal antitrust claims in state court (see Chesapeake, Anadarko Try to Wiggle Out of PA Royalty Lawsuit). In June Kane fired back by filing a motion to keep the case in state, not federal, court (see PA AG Files Motion to Keep Chesapeake Lawsuit in State Court). Yesterday U.S. Middle District Judge Christopher C. Conner granted Kane’s motion–the case will stay in state court…
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Jury Finds PA AG Kathleen Kane Guilty of Committing Felonies

Kathleen Kane convicted
Kathleen Kane convicted

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane is no longer just felony-indicted. She’s now felony-convicted. Yesterday a jury of six women and six men spent 4 1/2 hours in deliberation following Kane’s trial for committing perjury, among other crimes, and they found her guilty of all nine counts against her. We’ve chronicled this long, sordid affair from the beginning. Kane is an enemy of the drilling industry–she has been from the beginning when she filed criminal charges against XTO Energy for an accidental spill that happened years before she took office. That case was settled just a few weeks ago (see Shakedown Complete: XTO Pays PA AG $400K to Make Case Go Away). Kane’s crimes and subsequent trial have nothing to do with the Marcellus industry. Although she is the top law enforcement officer in the state, Kane is now a convicted criminal facing up to 28 years in jail for her crimes. Yet she still has not resigned her office. If Kane does not resign within the next day or two, look for the PA legislature move swiftly to impeach, convict and forcibly remove her from office…
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Shell Working on 94-Mile Ethane Pipeline to Feed PA Cracker

ethane.jpgAll the way back in February MDN brought you exclusive news that Shell had begun approaching landowners in Beaver County to get them to sign easements for two ethane pipelines to feed the mighty cracker plant they plan to build in the county (see Exclusive: Shell Leasing Land for 2 Pipelines to PA Cracker Plant). At that time Shell had still not fully committed to building the cracker–something they finally did in June (see Breaking: Shell Pulls the Trigger, PA Ethane Cracker is a Go!). NGI’s Shale Daily has broken a story that gives us new details. Shell is working on a 94-mile ethane “pipeline system” with two “legs” to feed the cracker, confirming the tip we received in February. The new ethane pipeline system has a name: the Falcon Ethane Pipeline System. Here’s brief details about the new ethane pipeline system…
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Chesapeake Borrows $1B to Pay IOUs; Bankrupt or Brilliant?

Chesapeake EnergyYesterday Chesapeake Energy, the secon largest natural gas producer in the United States (and the largest Marcellus producer, by far) issued three press releases. The first release said the company is working to obtain a five-year bank loan for a staggering $1 billion. The second two releases outlined what they will do with that money: pay off older IOUs. We also spotted commentary on the company’s $1B plan. One analyst predicts Chesapeake is heading for a pre-packaged bankruptcy, similar to what other o&g companies have done, and this massive loan/debt repayment is proof. Another analyst says Chessy CEO Doug Lawler is brilliant and that this move will strengthen Chessy’s stock in the long-term and make the company more solvent. Which one is right? They both can’t be right…
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EIA August DPR: Utica Production Up, Marcellus Down

EIAYesterday MDN’s favorite government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), issued our favorite monthly report–the Drilling Productivity Report (DPR). The DPR is the EIA’s best guess, based on expert data crunchers, as to how much each of the U.S.’s seven major shale plays will produce for both oil and natural gas in the coming month. The EIA projects natural gas production cumulatively across all shale plays will once again fall in September–the seventh consecutive month it will have fallen. However, as was the case in last month’s report, the Utica stands alone and against the trend by showing an increase in production month over month. Last month the EIA predicted the Utica would increase production by 5 million cubic feet per day, or MMcf/d (see EIA July DPR: Utica Only Play with Increased NatGas Production). This month’s report shows the Utica is expected to increase production by an average of 9 MMcf/d. Also of note, last month Marcellus production was projected to drop by 26 MMcf/d, while this month the production drop is projected to be 33 MMcf/d. That is, the rate of production decline in the Marcellus is accelerating. Here’s the lowdown from the EIA…
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Halcon’s Market Cap Falls Below $50M, NYSE Threatens to De-List

Halcon ResourcesThe New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has certain minimum standards if a company wants to continue trading stocks on the exchange: The company’s stock price must be trading for at least $1 per share, and the company’s market capitalization must be at least $50 million. Market cap is pretty easy to calculate: it’s the number of outstanding shares times the per-share price. If you have 50 million shares of stock and the price is trading for $1/share, you’re there. You meet the NYSE’s requirements. Various companies with operations in the Marcellus/Utica have fallen short and have been warned by the NYSE that unless they get their act together, they would be de-listed. Some turned it around (see Eclipse Resources Dodges a Bullet – Stock Won’t Get De-Listed), and some didn’t (see Magnum Hunter De-Listed from NYSE; Still Shopping Eureka Hunter). Halcon Resources, a driller with 140,000 Utica acres it doesn’t bother to drill on, was warned in June by the NYSE that their share price, trading under $1/share, is too low (see NYSE Threatens Halcon Resources with De-Listing of Stock). In July Halcon filed for bankruptcy (see Halcon Resources Files for “Pre-Packaged” Bankruptcy). The NYSE has just issued another warning to Halcon: the company’s market capitalization has now fallen below $50 million…
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Williams to Appoint 3 New Board Members, Replace Raiders Who Quit

Williams logoThe big news in the midstream world over the past year was the attempted merger/takeover of Williams by Energy Transfer Equity. That deal finally fell apart in June (see Dead as a Doornail: ETE Terminates Merger with Williams). The only thing left still going on to do with that botched attempt is lawyers arguing about who owes what to whom (keeps the lawyers gainfully employed). After the deal failed, some Williams board members (namely two corporate raiders) attempted a palace coup. They tried to oust Williams CEO Alan Armstrong. When that effort failed, nearly half of the Williams board–who thought they would get rich quick by a sale to ETE–up and quit (see Half of Williams Board, Including 2 Corporate Raiders, Quit). Since last month Williams has been down 6 out of the original 14 board members. Time to fix that. Yesterday Williams announced it will name three new independent directors to the board in time for the annual meeting in November. No names were floated as potential candidates…
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Deloitte Oil & Gas M&A Report: Lowest Activity in Years

Deloitte“Everyone” thought that with low prices for oil and gas, and companies not able to turn a profit and heading into bankruptcy, that there would be a flurry of mergers and acquisitions in the oil and gas industry. “Everyone” was wrong. According to the just-released “Oil & Gas Mergers and Acquisitions Report – Mid-year 2016” from powerhouse consulting firm Deloitte (full copy below), M&A activity in the o&g industry is at its lowest point in years. The number of deals in the first half of 2016 was 198, an “extremely low” number compared to what it has been in past years. Where were the highest number of M&As? The number one shale play where deals were done was the Permian Basin–an extremely oil-rich shale layer in western Texas and southeastern New Mexico. The number two shale play where deals were done was, yep, the Marcellus Shale. Here’s the low down…
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U.S. Shale Gas Production to Drive World NatGas Production Growth

EIAAccording to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) International Energy Outlook 2016 and Annual Energy Outlook 2016, natural gas production worldwide is projected to increase from 342 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2015 to 554 Bcf/d by 2040. The largest component of this growth is natural gas production from shale resources, which grows from 42 Bcf/d in 2015 to 168 Bcf/d by 2040. Shale gas is expected to account for 30% of world natural gas production by the end of the forecast period. And the largest component of the growth in shale will come from the good ole U.S. of A. Check out the forecast and the graph showing the shale miracle…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Tue, Aug 16, 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: Cabot production could double in 2 years; Marcellus/Utica takeaway capacity heading south; NE rig count goes up, but not in PA; John Hanger takes on StateImpact PA; Chesapeake Energy goes over Niagara Falls without a barrel; and more!
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