PIOGA Opposes Bill to Regulate Unregulated PA Gathering Pipelines

PIOGAIn just about every state in the country, before you start digging a hole in the ground for some reason (water well, septic system, laying an underground electric line, etc.)–the first thing you do is call 811 or some similar phone number. The “one call” or “first call” reaches a state-authorized (not necessarily state-run) office where they have, on file, maps detailing any kind of underground cables, pipelines and other infrastructure. If such underground structures exist, a representative of the owner for the underground line will, if necessary, stop by and mark the areas so when you do begin digging, you don’t hit it. Makes sense. A bill under active consideration in the Pennsylvania legislature, Senate Bill (SB) 1235, “enhances” the existing 811 law in PA. One of the “enhancements” is that it removes an exclusion for low-pressure natural gas gathering pipelines from being required to be part of the 811 system. Many owners of excluded lines voluntarily participate in the programs. The bill also would transfer regulatory enforcement power over the lines from the Department of Labor to the Public Utility Commission. The Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association (PIOGA) is pushing back against the removal of the exclusion for conventional production lines and the most rural (“Class 1” under federal law) gathering lines…
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Marc. Shale Coalition Files Lawsuit to Block PA Chapter 78a Regs

lawsuitOn Oct. 8, after five years in the making, Pennsylvania adopted new shale drilling regulations (see PA’s New Chapter 78a Drilling Regs Go into Effect Oct 8). Although the regs were ready at the end of the Gov. Tom Corbett Administration, Corbett fumbled the ball and the regs didn’t get adopted, which left them vulnerable to the incoming left-leaning Tom Wolf. Wolf’s people mangled the regulations under the Dept. of Environmental Protection Dictator/Secretary John Quigley, who got fired over unethical collusion with Big Green groups (see Smoking Gun: Copy of the Email that Got John Quigley Fired). Some of the good stuff remained, but onerous new elements were introduced. Although the Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association (PIOGA) represents PA’s conventional (non-shale) drillers, [Correction: PIOGA represents BOTH conventional AND unconventional (shale) drillers] they immediately filed an appeal of the new regs with the PA Supreme Court (see PIOGA Makes Legal Play to Stop Chapter 78a Regs from Taking Effect). The Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC), which represents shale drillers–the group affected by Chapter 78a–has made noise about the new regs, but hasn’t done anything to stop the regs–until now. Yesterday the MSC filed its own lawsuit to block the new regs [Note: we now have a copy of the lawsuit, see it below]. The MSC’s lawsuit was filed in PA Commonwealth Court…
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Cabot Issues Update on Atlantic Sunrise – Possible Route Change

route-changeWe spotted a press release issued yesterday by Cabot Oil & Gas, providing an update for the Williams Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project. Which kind of surprised us. Why would Cabot issue an update on someone else’s pipeline? Is Cabot an investor in the project? We asked–the answer is “no.” However, Cabot is the major shipper that will use the Central Penn Line portion of the Atlantic Sunrise project. And that’s what the announcement was about. Cabot said the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has announced it is actively reviewing two alternative routes for the Central Penn Line, accepting public comment until Nov. 14. OK, so that sometimes happens. Is it worth a press release? Then we read that this development means yet another delay for the Atlantic Sunrise project–and investors immediately punished the stock for both Williams and Cabot. Ah, now we understand! The press release is to reassure investors that Cabot believes FERC, while slowing things down a little, won’t delay things too long. THAT’S what the press release is really all about…
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Dominion Announces $145M Project to Expand Gas Supply to DC & MD

ema-map-298wDominion recently announced a new pipeline project called Eastern Market Access Project. The project will beef up two compressor stations in Virginia, build a new compressor station in Maryland, and add a couple of pipeline taps near Washington, D.C. The purpose of the $145 million project is to deliver more gas to Washington Gas, and to deliver gas to a new gas-fired electric power plant being built in Maryland. We suspect Marcellus/Utica gas will be the added gas flowing to both Washington Gas and the new electric plant in Maryland. [Note: A Dominion spokesman later confirmed to us that the gas will come from either the Marcellus or Utica plays.] You may recall that in May 2015 Washington Gas announced a plan to invest in Marcellus wells in Greene and Clearfield counties in PA (see Washington Gas $126M Deal to Bring Marcellus Gas to DC Suburbs). That plan was later nixed by Virginia regulators (see Virginia Rejects Deal for DC-based Utility to Buy Marcellus Wells). Perhaps Washington Gas will get the last laugh after all with new quantities of Marcellus gas flowing through the Dominion Eastern Market Access project…
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TransCanada Launches Open Season to Lowball Marcellus/Utica Gas

open seasonYou may recall that TransCanada, one of Canada’s leading midstream/pipeline companies, cooked up a deal to pipe natural gas from Canada’s West Coast to the East Coast in order to fend off cheap supplies of Marcellus/Utica gas that will flow into Canada when/if the NEXUS and Rover pipelines get built (see TransCanada Pipe Drops Price 42% to Compete with Marcellus/Utica). TransCanada dropped their pipeline price by 42% to lure drillers by (theoretically) making it less expensive to get gas from Western Canada, some 2,400 miles away, than from the Marcellus, just 400 miles away. But all is not butterflies and unicorns with the TransCanada plan. Drillers are balking at having to sign a 10-year agreement in order to get the favorable pricing (see TransCanada’s Plan to Lowball Marcellus/Utica Gas Delayed). The delay is no more. TransCanada has launched a binding (sign on the dotted line) open season for potential customers to sign up for the lowball plan. They have until Nov. 10th. Will it work? We notice that TransCanada has relaxed the 10-year commitment a little bit. Shippers can cancel their contracts after five years, IF they pay higher shipping fees for a final two years. So TransCanada went from 10 years to 7 years, with really low prices for the first five years. Is it enough?…
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PA State Senator Says Let’s Stop Fracked PA Gas Going to NY!

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PA Sen. Gene Yaw

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo may have started a peeing match he’ll end up losing, by denying permission to build the Constitution Pipeline (see NY Gov. Cuomo Refuses to Grant Permits for Constitution Pipeline). At a midstream (i.e. pipeline) conference held yesterday in Pennsylvania, one of the speakers–PA Sen. Gene Yaw from northeastern PA–said half jokingly (and half seriously) that he’s contemplating introducing a bill that would prohibit PA’s fracked gas from flowing through pipelines into New York State. Such a thing, if it ever happened, would CRUSH New York economically. It would (deservedly) bring the Empire State to its collective knees. Of course such a thing isn’t going to happen–but still, just joking about it sends a very loud message to the man-child running the Empire State: You’re on notice buddy, if you don’t allow pipelines to get built, there WILL be consequences…
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EQT Sells AVC Pipeline System to Itself for $275M

EQT logoEQT, one of the largest Marcellus/Utica drillers, also owns a sizable pipeline subsidiary, EQT Midstream. EQT announced yesterday it is transferring ownership of its Allegheny Valley Connector pipeline system, which includes several Marcellus Shale gathering pipeline systems, from the Mothership to the child company. They will take $275 million out of one pocket and put it in a different pocket–on the same pair of pants. Such is how things are done in high finance. EQT picked up Allegheny Valley Connector in a $720 million deal with Peoples Natural Gas in 2013 (see Pittsburgh Driller & Gas Utility Co Want to Swap Assets). Allegheny Valley Connector is located in the Marcellus Shale region and its primary function is to store and transport natural gas to numerous Peoples’ interconnects, including use by Peoples and other gas suppliers to provide local distribution service to Peoples’ customers. Here’s the announcement that EQT is transferring ownership on paper…
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List of Companies Nominated for 2017 Northeast Oil & Gas Awards

Oil & Gas AwardsThe 2017 Northeast Oil & Gas Awards has received a boatload of nominations for the upcoming awards ceremony in Pittsburgh next March. LOTS of nominations. The folks at the Oil & Gas Awards will be contacting each nominee to see if they want to participate this year. Below is the entire list of nominees. Note: there is still time to nominate your company! The deadline is Dec. 14th. Below we have a list of everyone nominated so far, and the list of categories for which your company can be nominated…
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Time to Boycott Patagonia for Anti-Pipeline Radicalism

boycott.jpgWe doubt many MDN readers buy Patagonia outdoor wear (appeals mainly to aging hippies). But just in case, we thought we’d pass along something we noticed. The store chain is making a push to sign up Democrat voters, which doesn’t surprise us. As part of their overt political activism, the Washington, D.C. Patagonia store also elected to bash the Dominion Atlantic Coast Pipeline project. We thing that deserves a call to boycott their stores and their brand…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Oct 14, 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: Maryland county council members support statewide frack ban; OH Lt. Gov. talks jobs & Utica; gas prices hit 22-month high; EIA says $3+ gas through 2017; EIA erroneous data lead to spike up in gas price?; oils dirty little secret threatens higher natgas prices; Mexico’s growing natgas demand; and more!
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