New Drilling Rules Take Effect in PA, Despite Objections from Industry

objectionMDN previously reported that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) planned to publish the final regulations in the Oct. 8 Pennsylvania Bulletin (see PA’s New Article 78a Drilling Regs Go into Effect Oct 8). The Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association (PIOGA) previously sued asking the Commonwealth Court to block the new regulations based on the legal fact that key parts of Act 13, which Chapter 78a is based on, have been “enjoined” that prevent certain Chapter 78a provisions from being adopted in their current form. Essentially PIOGA (a) warned PA agencies they should not publish the new regulations, which prevents the regs from going into effect, until the invalid provisions are removed, and (b) further sued to keep the regulations stopped (see PIOGA Makes Legal Play to Stop Chapter 78a Regs from Taking Effect). PIOGA’s play to block the new regs didn’t work–at least not yet. On Friday the DEP moved forward with publishing the new rules. The new rules are in effect NOW, as of Saturday. However, yet another round of public comment will be accepted on the now-in-place rules, with a deadline of Dec. 7…
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Unbelievable: PA Dems Continue to Push for Severance Tax

unbelievableLet’s be honest: Pennsylvania already has a severance tax. It’s called an impact fee + corporate income tax. The combination of the two taxes in PA levies a collective “tax” on drillers as high OR HIGHER than other oil and gas states, like Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. To enact a new/extra severance tax on PA drillers, as Democrats like Sen. John Yudichak (Wilkes-Barre area) propose to do, would kill off what little drilling is happening in PA. It would make drilling in PA unprofitable. Yet Yudichak and others in his party see the recent PA Supreme Court decision as an excuse to push, one more time, for a severance tax. What is it about Democrats and their insatiable lust for your money?…
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Baker Hughes Sept US Rig Count Up by 28, M-U Count Up 7

trending-upThe Baker Hughes rig count, watched closely by those in the industry (the benchmark used across the world) has been trending up in the U.S. since July. BH released their venerable count for September on Friday and once again the counts have gone up–very good news indeed. BH is reporting an average of 509 active rigs in the U.S., up 28 from August. MDN performs its own rig count for the Marcellus/Utica, using BH’s numbers for Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. The Marcellus/Utica rig count was up for the second month running. In September the M/U rig count jumped up by 7. The biggest gainer was Pennsylvania, up by 5. West Virginia was up by 2, and Ohio stayed even…
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Intl Plastics Co Selects W PA for Regional HQ Thx to Shell Cracker

first-of-manyIn June, Shell announced a final investment decision (FID) to move forward with building a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker plant in Pennsylvania (see Breaking: Shell Pulls the Trigger, PA Ethane Cracker is a Go!). While everyone is excited about the jobs and money that will be spent to build the plant, the much larger benefit will come when petrochemical manufacturers build new plants in the region to take advantage of low-cost polyethylene that will come from the cracker. We already have our first case of a major manufacturer announcing a new plant in the region, thanks to the Shell cracker…
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Jim’s Notebook: Benposium East Predicts Future for Oil/NatGas

reporter-notebookOn Sept. 30 MDN editor Jim Willis attended S&P Global Platts’ Benposium East event in New York City. According to a description for the event, “The Benposium East 2016 Conference empowers attendees with proprietary, forward-looking energy market fundamental analysis. It explores the most important aspects of crude, natural gas, and electric power markets and pricing while providing data and information to help market participants stay ahead of the curve headed into 2017.” In MDN’s plain-spoken words, Platts got a number of their really smart analysts together, along with a few outsiders, to give traders and investors an update on what they see coming in the short, medium and long-term with respect to oil, gas and electricity. It was a top notch event. We already brought you coverage for one of the sessions on Marcellus/Utica production (see Will Marcellus/Utica Grow Fast Enough to Offset Declines Elsewhere?). Jim wrote up his notes on each session and is making those notes available below. Although Jim received a copy of the PowerPoint slide presentations, Platts does not allow public redistribution of their slides–sorry, we can’t share them with you. However, you may pick up some gems from the notes we took, primarily on where prices and production are heading for both oil and natural gas…
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Range’s Dennis Degner Named VP of Southern Marcellus Shale

Dennis Degner – Range Resources

Range Resources has a new vice president for their Southern Marcellus Shale Division. His name is Dennis Degner. Range ran an interesting article on Dennis in the Washington Observer-Reporter–a profile of how he got into the oil and gas business. It’s an interesting look at a key player in the Marcellus. Dennis grew up on a farm in Texas. Learn how he got from chemical engineering in Texas to gas development in Pennsylvania…
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$1B Electric Plant Planned Near Chicago, M-U Connection?

Indeck Niles Energy Center concept – click for larger version

In August MDN told you about a new natgas-fired electric power plant being built outside of Chicago, in Indiana (see Indiana NatGas Electric Plant Seeks Permission to Double Size). As we said at the time, “There has been no mention of Marcellus/Utica gas feeding the plant, but our own speculation is that a lot has changed since this plant was first planned. One of the big changes has been a reversal of the Rockies Express (REX) pipeline, owned by Tallgrass, which now flows gas from the Marcellus/Utica west to Illinois (right through Indiana) delivering northeast gas to the Greater Chicago area, where this plant will be built. So that has MDN wondering if the St. Joseph Energy Center will get some yummy northeast gas to power it.” It seems quite likely that Marcellus/Utica gas will feed that new plant. We have yet another new Chicago-area electric plant to tell you about that falls into the same camp–a new plant that we suspect will get Marcellus/Utica gas to power it. Indeck Energy recently announced a plan to build a $1 billion electric generating plant (powered by natural gas) in Niles, Michigan, not far from Chicago…
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New Study Says Shale Gas Killed King Coal, Not Obama Regulations

old-king-coalThe refrain is growing louder. In the past couple of weeks MDN editor Jim Willis has heard that Obama’s EPA regulations haven’t killed the coal industry–it was lowly natural gas that slipped in with a knife and did the dirty deed. We first heard that at the recent Benposium East event (see today’s story for Jim’s notes from that event), and also from Our Dear Leader himself, BHO (see Obama and Man-Child Leo DiCaprio Talk Global Warming at WH Event). When you start hearing the same thing from multiple sources within a short period of time, it always makes us suspect there’s collusion going on. In addition to those high-profile comments, we now get “research” from Case Western Reserve University that purports to prove the same thing: natural gas killed coal, not hyper-restrictive regulations from the Obama EPA. The research shows that the price of natural gas has been cheaper than coal for an extended period of time, and correlates to a switching from coal to natgas, ergo (the researchers say) it was really natgas after all and not Obama’s insane regulations that killed old King Coal…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, Oct 10, 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: Southwestern’s Fayetteville assets can’t keep up with Marcellus; Northeast natgas to Gulf Coast export markets; Waterville, OH tries to keep NEXUS out; jobs and dollars follow ethane to Philly; North Dakota protesters “hostile, armed”; diorder in OPEC ranks; and more!
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