SWEPI Puts 9,346 Acres of PA Marcellus Leases Up for Auction

auctionFrom time to time exploration and production companies (aka “drillers” or “producers”) decide to sell leases for acreage they don’t plan to drill on or under. Typically when a new play is discovered there is a bit of a land rush as drillers begin leasing. In the Marcellus, a driller may decide to concentrate on a specific county in the state, as Cabot Oil & Gas did with Susquehanna County in northeastern PA. Cabot happened to hit the jackpot with some of the most productive gas wells on the planet. Other times, when the leasing is done and drilling has begun drillers begin to figure out where they want to spend their money. It takes a lot of money to drill a Marcellus well–on the order of $7 million. Eventually drillers find there are isolated tracts of acreage they’ve leased that don’t fit with their future plans, so they either horse trade and swap, or perhaps put the acreage leases up for public auction. Such is the case with Shell’s SWEPI subsidiary. They recently posted three largish tracts of leased acreage up for auction–two in Tioga County, PA and one in Potter County, PA. Here’s a description of the land SWEPI is trying to dump…
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FERC Gives WV to VA Mountain Valley Pipeline Provisional Thumbs Up

thumbs-up.jpgThe Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has given a preliminary thumbs up to the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a $3.5 billion, 301-mile pipeline that will run from Wetzel County, WV to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsylvania County, VA. The project, which filed an official application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last October, is being built by EQT, NextEra Energy and several other partners (see Mountain Valley Pipeline Files FERC Appl, Now Just Matter of Time). The project has faced stiff opposition from landowners in West Virginia (see Mountain Valley Pipeline Sues 103 WV Landowners for Survey Access). The project has also faced opposition from landowners in Virginia (see Mountain Valley Pipeline Wins Right to Survey in VA w/o Permission). Last Friday FERC issued a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for both the Mountain Valley Pipeline and an associated project called the Equitrans Expansion Project. FERC’s DEIS runs a mammoth 781 pages (full copy below) and says the pipeline “would result in limited adverse environmental impacts, with the exceptions of impacts on forest.” In other words, FERC is giving the project a thumbs up…
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DC Liberal Says Shell Cracker a Bad Deal for PA Taxpayers

unbelievableThis story is unbelievable on so many levels. A pointy-headed liberal who cloisters himself inside the insular Beltway of Washington, DC made a trip to Pittsburgh last week to talk to a small class of 70 students at Carnegie Mellon University. In this talk the lib proclaimed that the “incentives” provided by PA to Shell to lure a cracker plant to the state are, essentially, monies the state didn’t have to spend and a burden to the taxpayers of PA because Ohio and West Virginia may also reap some of the benefits of the cracker (without “paying” for it). The lib’s operating assumption is that 100% of everyone’s money belongs to the all-knowing government–including money made by big, evil corporations like Shell. He further states that by granting a few exemptions on taxes to Shell, PA is taking money out of the pockets of common folk. His philosophy and assumptions are so twisted it’s beyond belief. What’s more twisted is that the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote a major story about the talk–as if it’s news…
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OH Business Roundtable Report: Build New Pipelines NOW

brt-logoThe Ohio Business Roundtable (BRT) is a partnership of the CEOs of leading Ohio companies that collectively account for more than $1 trillion in annual revenues, $1 trillion in market value and $2.6 trillion in assets. BRT’s members employ 2.6 million men and women, invest hundreds of millions of dollars annually in combined charitable contributions and research and development, and generate billions of dollars in sales for small and medium-sized businesses that are part of the supply chain. When the BRT in Ohio talks, people had better listen. Here’s the latest in what the BRT has to say: The state (i.e. Gov. Kasich) needs “a comprehensive reworking of the state’s energy policies in order to accelerate shale gas development.” No more tiptoeing around. Build those pipelines and build them NOW. That’s the upshot of a new report from the BRT titled, “Improving Ohio Energy Competitiveness” (full copy below). The report is backed up by detailed research from powerhouse consulting company McKinsey and Co. (their research is also embedded below). The BRT’s report points out the importance of the state’s natural gas-fired electric generating plants and says without more pipelines, new power plants won’t get built. The two issues are joined at the hip–vitally important for Ohio’s shale drillers, midstream companies, electric generators and yes Ohio’s electric ratepayers as well. LISTEN UP: Here’s what the BRT had to say…
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NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo Halts Pilgrim’s (Pipeline) Progress

Pilgrim Pipeline logoLast November, MDN told you about Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings, developing an East Coast pipeline to carry refined petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel, heating oil, and jet and aviation fuel northbound from Linden, New Jersey to Albany, New York (178 miles). In addition, a second Pilgrim pipeline will carry crude oil from Albany south to NJ and other locations. Two pipelines, side by side, liquids flowing through them in different directions (see Will Pilgrim Pipeline be Allowed to Settle in the NY World?). The oil that would flow south from Albany comes from trains delivering crude from the Bakken Shale play–a double evil in the sight of radical anti-fossil fuelers. So they turned up the pressure on the spineless Cuomo (see NY Antis Hope Gov. Cuomo Will Halt Pilgrim Pipeline’s Progress). It appears the pressure, once again, has worked. Last week the state Dept. of Environmental Conservation and the state’s Thruway Authority, working together, informed Pilgrim they will need to submit to a detailed anal exam, called a full environmental review, before obtaining approval. Anti-fossil nutters are rejoicing that the project has been slowed (gives them a chance to kill it). But Pilgrim is also spinning the news as a good thing–saying they welcome the full environmental review to prove the safety and righteousness of their proposal. Can this actually be good news for both sides?…
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Obama EPA Official Called OMB “Dickheads” re Fracking Regs

potty-mouthA senior official in the Obama administration who works for the Environmental Protection Agency has a potty mouth. That’s probably the rule rather than the exception. However, this particular potty mouthed person–Michael Goo (formerly the EPA’s policy chief)–has been caught colluding with radical environmentalists at the nutty Sierra Club. Goo called some of the people working at the White House Office of Management and Budget “dickheads” because they were opposed to implementing federal regulations to control fracking. Quick reminder: The U.S. Constitution leaves development of oil and gas resources up to the individual states to regulate. That is, the federal government cannot (legally) regulate fracking, a part of oil and gas development. But the Fascists inside the Obama administration earnestly lust for and desire the power to control oil and gas drilling–not only on public lands, but on private lands as well. Using a Freedom of Information Act request, the Energy and Environment Legal Institute got its hands on a text message sent by Goo to the Sierra Club lamenting about the “dickheads” at OMB. Goo has been caught red-handed using input from the Sierra Club to craft official government regulations…
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Europe INEOS Not Only Wants Marc/Utica NGLs, but Our People Too

ineosSwiss-based company INEOS is a young but rapidly growing chemical company with roughly $40 billion in sales per year. INEOS’ competitors would be companies like BASF, Bayer and Dow Chemical. They have their fingers in a lot of pies. For example, the company currently has two ships that shuttle Marcellus and Utica Shale ethane from Philadelphia to Scotland and Norway (see Ineos Gets Ready to Begin Ethane Exports from Marcus Hook, PA). INEOS has also been tapped to provide the technology for an ethane cracker plant to be built in Belmont County, OH (see PTT Taps Swiss Company INEOS for OH Cracker Plant Technology). And INEOS owns their own cracker plant in Scotland (see Cracker Plant in Scotland “Brought Back to Life” Thx to Marcellus Ethane). INEOS officials were on a junket visiting CONSOL Energy last week, looking at CONSOL’s Ohio Utica operations, and let slip not only do they love our ethane and natural gas, they also love our people and technology and hope they can poach some of each to take back to Europe. INEOS is getting ready to start fracking on the other side of the pond and they want some of our “talent and expertise”…
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NY AG Doubles Down on ExxonMobil, Investigates Writedowns

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NY AG Eric Schneiderman

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is a man drunk on his own power. He’s being investigated for collusion with other AGs in targeting ExxonMobil over charges the company didn’t say, strongly enough, that they believe in the fairy tale of man-made global warming. And therefore they have “deceived” and “misled” the public (and investors) over how the evil, nasty, dirty fossil fuels they produce are killing Mom Earth. What’s really happening is that Schneiderman is trying to deny Exxon and the people who work there, their right to free speech under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. Now that Schneiderman’s sham case is falling apart and he himself is being investigated by the U.S. Congress, what does he do? He doubles down and finds another false excuse to target Exxon: this time it’s over the issue of writing down assets…
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