Highlights from 2016 Shale Insight, Day Two – Trump!

Shale InsightWith apologies to Meghan Trainor, the second and final day at Shale Insight was “All about that Trump, bout that Trump–no Hillary.” However, as exciting as it was to hear The Donald (we’ll share the notes we took during his speech below), we heard an even better speaker yesterday: A young man (kid, really) by the name of Alex Epstein, author of the book “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels” and founder of the Center for Industrial Progress. As we did yesterday, we will give you our highlights and impressions of sitting in on several of the days main sessions, followed by a plethora of links to stories from reporters who were there covering the event–mostly those there to cover the Trump speech. We also link to the full text of The Donald’s speech below. Buckle up! Here we go…
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Cause of Williams Leidy Pipeline Explosion in 2015 was Corrosion

report-findingsA Williams Transco Leidy pipeline ruptured in Lycoming County, PA in June 2015 (see Williams Transco Leidy Pipeline Ruptures in Lycoming County, PA). There was no fire–and no one was injured–but families within a 3-mile radius were evacuated as a safety precaution. By 11:45 pm they were allowed to return home. Now more than a year later, the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has issued a report finding corrosion was found on the pipeline–but the corrosion was on the outside of the pipeline, not on the inside…
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Thx to Scotland Shale Ban, Marc/Utica Gets a Huge New Ethane Market

ineosSometimes the boneheaded decisions of others can benefit us. Take, for example, Scotland–where the government has placed a moratorium on fracking until…until the cows come home? Or is it sheep? The Swiss-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. INEOS has its fingers in a lot of pies. One of those pies is an ethane cracker plant in Grangemouth, Scotland. Because Scotland has not, and apparently will not, frack its own abundant, clean supply of natural gas (which would produce associated amounts of ethane), INEOS is forced to look elsewhere for large supplies of ethane–or shut the plant down. Rather than shut it down, INEOS has contracted with Marcellus/Utica drillers who send their ethane to the Marcus Hook refinery near Philadelphia where it then gets loaded onto ships the length of two football fields–to carry the ethane to places like Grangemouth. The first such shipment of Marcellus/Utica ethane heading to Grangemouth is set to arrive over the next few days. And Scotland’s tragic loss is our great gain, because INEOS has signed contracts to keep our ethane flowing to Grangemouth for the next 15 years…
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Guest Post: Why PA HB 1391 Bill is Bad for the Marcellus

guest postWe don’t mind telling you that the royalty issue in Pennsylvania, specifically passage of House Bill (HB) 1391 to ensure landowners are guaranteed 12.5% royalty checks regardless of post-production costs, is a thorny issue for MDN. We can see both sides of the issue, but tend to favor the landowner side–slightly. The drilling industry knows that there is no bigger booster for them than MDN. So our periodic coverage and editorializing in favor of 1391 is a bone of contention. Drillers are not happy with your faithful editor. A long-time MDN subscriber and friend who works for a sizable driller in PA recently wrote us an email that (a) lays out the case for not tampering with existing, signed contracts, and (b) gently chides MDN for taking the landowners side in this issue. We asked for and received permission to bring you his email. As we responded to our friend, we are interested in getting this issue settled quickly. It breaks our heart to see allies divided. We all need to be firing at the other side, not within our own ranks. MDN is happy to run guest posts and views on this issue (or any issue). This letter writer does a good job, and makes a compelling case, for NOT passing HB 1391. Does he change your mind on the issue?…
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Study: Lower Mortgage Defaults, Higher FICO Scores in PA Marcellus

trending-down.jpgThe benefits of shale energy are almost too numerous to list. Contrary to the ninny nannies who spit and spout and preen about yelling the sky is falling if we frack one more well–the OPPOSITE is the truth. Shale is GREAT for America, in so many ways. Channeling our inner Donald Trump, “It’s very very great. So great you won’t believe how great it is. You’re gonna love it!” Here’s just one more way shale is great. A researcher from Clemson University (in South Carolina) poured over mortgage data for the state of Pennsylvania. As you know, not all of PA is blessed with being located in the Marcellus Shale–but much of it is. The intrepid Clemson researcher found in reviewing records from 2004 to 2011 that those with mortgages who live in areas where there is Marcellus Shale defaulted on those mortgages 58% LESS than the statewide average. That is, shale means there’s more money to pay bills, a mortgage being one of them. Might we say that the Marcellus can literally save the family farm? Yes, we can say it, and back it up with data! The Clemson researcher also found living in a shale region boosts your FICO credit score…
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VA Supreme Court to Hear Atlantic Coast Pipe Survey Case

va-supreme-courtIn the southeastern U.S. much of the Big Green opposition to pipelines has centered on preventing pipeline companies from entering properties to complete required surveys. If you can stop the process before it begins (so they reason), it saves them from having to hop in the VW Microbus and go to (pot smoking) anti-pipeline rallies all over the place. Peace man! Landowners in West Virginia and Virginia have challenged the rights of various pipeline companies to enter their property. It happened with EQT’s Mountain Valley Pipeline (see Mountain Valley Pipeline Sues 103 WV Landowners for Survey Access), and it happened with Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline (see Atlantic Coast Pipeline Wins Another Virginia Court Case). Each time these cases have been litigated in Virginia courts, the pipeline companies have won (if not in the first case, then on appeal). However, a high-stakes case has just been accepted by the Virginia Supreme Court in which an 83-year old granny says she doesn’t want surveyors for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to enter her property. Dominion and other pipeline companies have a lot riding on the case…
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Spectra’s Algonquin Apologizes to FERC for Not Asking “Mother May I?”

Mother-May-I.jpgRunning a bulldozer a few feet into a swamp–without written permission–can land you in a lot of hot water. That’s what Spectra Energy is learning following such an incident. Well, we don’t know if it was actually a bulldozer or not, but here is what we do know. On August 28, 2016, Algonquin Gas Transmission (a Sepctra company) experienced a break in the drill stem while attempting the pullback of a 5,000-foot-long HDD (horizontal directional drill) along the Hudson River in New York. The work being done is for Spectra’s Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) Project. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) had an on-site Compliance Monitor, and that person WAS informed that Algonquin believed the break was within a wetland (i.e. swamp) adjacent to the drill entry side, and that Algonquin would like to “excavate the wetland” which includes removing a few trees, to access the drill stem. The Compliance Monitor (sort of like the old Soviet political officer) told Algonquin that he needed more information before taking such an action. Then it all gets muddled. Algonquin says it was a misunderstanding, and the FERC Compliance Officer says they ignored him (our interpretation of what’s being said). At any rate, the upshot is if Algonquin had waited for the written permission slip from the political officer, er, a, Compliance Monitor, there wouldn’t be a story. But Algonquin went ahead, encroaching on about 381 square feet of swamp–about the size of an average living room. And because of it, FERC has rained down hell fire on Algonquin…
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THE Dela. Riverkeeper Sends Letter to Congress: Shut Down FERC

investigationMaya van Rossum, who is THE Delaware Riverkeeper (the river’s mamma), got 182 of her friends, whom she calls “organizations” to sign a letter and sent it to the U.S. Senate demanding (she always demands, never politely asks) for hearings into the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Why? Because they’re actually doing their job–and that just can’t stand. Instead, she wants FERC shut down so no new pipeline projects will get approved. That’s the only acceptable outcome for Mamma Maya. She alleges that FERC is misusing its power under the federal Natural Gas Act. One of Mamma Maya’s friends, CORNball Paul Gierosky (cofounder of COalition to Reroute Nexus, or CORN) says: “FERC is corrupt and needs to be reformed.” What hubris…
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Deloitte’s 2016 Survey: O&G has Finally Turned the Corner

Survey saysEach year the consultants at Deloitte conduct a survey of oil and gas industry professionals. What does this year’s 2016 survey find? The survey, titled “2016 Oil and Gas Industry Survey” (full copy below) finds that 24% of industry executives believe the recovery has already begun, while 33% believe it will begin in early 2017, for a combined 57% who say we’ve either already turned the corner, or soon will. The long, dark night appears to be over and we’re just now seeing the crack of dawn again. Here is what the people who eat, sleep and drink oil and gas say about our cherished industry…
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Report: What If America’s Energy Renaissance Never Happened?

Chamber of CommerceThe U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently launched a “What If…?” series to counter the radical “keep it in the ground” movement–a movement that irrationally hates the use of fossil fuels. In August the Chamber released their first such report, titled “What If…Energy Production was Banned on Federal Lands and Waters?” (see Chamber Report Details Why ‘Keep it in the Ground’ a Disaster). Yesterday the Chamber launched the second report in the series, titled “What If…America’s Energy Renaissance Had Not Actually Happened?” (full copy below). The report uses data from 2009 through 2015 to realistically imagine what the American economy would look like had the energy revolution not occurred. It’s not a pretty picture…
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