EPA Fines Crestwood’s NY Facility $312K for Paperwork Violations

pay fines here signThe rogue and out-of-control federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues its bullying ways when it comes to the oil and gas industry. Just coming to light (for us) is an action last week by the EPA to fine Crestwood Midstream’s Finger Lakes LPG Storage subsidiary $312,000–for not filing the right paperwork for their facility in upstate New York. Note that the fines are NOT for leaking methane or propane, NOT for endangering the public, NOT for actually doing ANY kind of environmental harm. The fines are for not filing the proper paperwork. The EPA is behaving like the mob running a protection money racket. Crestwood has to pay the EPA $154,000 in fines, and then pay $158,000 for new equipment for three local fire departments located near the facility. The antis are already using this paperwork violation as yet another reason to bleat and blat about Crestwood’s proposed underground propane storage facility along the shores of Seneca Lake. The paperwork violation is for a Crestwood/Finger Lakes LPG Storage facility in the next county–nowhere near Seneca Lake where the proposed propane facility is located. Makes no difference. Antis say it’s yet more evidence that Crestwood can’t be trusted to safely operate the propane storage facility…
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War of Words Continues in PA Royalty Civil War

civil-warBradford County, PA landowners and their titular leader, county commissioner Doug McLinko, are keeping up the pressure on PA’s legislators to pass House Bill (HB) 1391 to guarantee landowners receive 12.5% royalties. Earlier this week we noted the county had released a powerful new video to support their cause (see Bradford Landowners Release Powerful Video: PA Royalty Ripoff). The video was followed up by an impassioned letter to the editor from McLinko, appearing in the Harrisburg Patriot-News’ website, under the title, “Tell lawmakers to stop the mugging in The Endless Mountains.” Not to be outdone, the Marcellus Shale Coalition responded a few days later with a “we feel your pain, but this bill isn’t the answer” letter to the editor of its own…
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Schlumberger 3Q16: Turns a Profit, but Profits Down 82% Y/Y

SchlumbergerSchlumberger, the world’s biggest oilfield services company, issued their third quarter update yesterday. It was a mixed bag, with some good news and some not-so-good news. Like Halliburton, their chief rival, Schlumberger turned a profit in 3Q16 (see Halliburton 3Q16 Earnings Surprise: Turns a Profit!). Halliburton made a measly $7 million in 3Q16, while Schlumberger made $176 million. Halliburton went from losing $3.2 billion in 2Q16 to making a $7M profit, while Schlumberger went from losing $2.2 billion in 2Q16 to making $176M. However, if you look at the third quarter for each company compared with a year earlier, Halliburton’s 3Q16 profit was up 113% from 3Q15 to 3Q16 (going from -$53M to +$7M), while Sclumbeger’s profit went down 82% (from +$989M to +$176M). Hence the headlines in the financial press are trumpeting Schlumberger’s 82% decrease. The further good news for Schlumberger is that they maintained their workforce at around 100,000 employees–after having previously axed 50,000 jobs over the past couple of years. CEO Paal Kibsgaard said the o&g industry hit the bottom of the cycle in 2Q16 and Schlumberger (and by extension the industry) “stabilized” in 3Q16…
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Southwestern Energy 3Q16: Still in Red, but Trims Loss by Half

southwestern energySouthwestern Energy issued its third quarter 2016 update yesterday. The good news is that the company continued to drill in 3Q16 in the Marcellus, and was able to lower their losses. Southwestern is still in the red, losing $735 million in 3Q16. But that’s down from losing $1.8 billion in 3Q15–so they cut their losses by more than half. Still, you can’t be in the red forever. The average price Southwestern received for natural gas in 3Q16 was $1.73 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf), down from the $2.21/Mcf they averaged in 3Q15. In northeast PA Southwestern drilled 18 new wells in 3Q16, completing 9 of them. However, production in NEPA was down, from 93 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in 3Q15 to 84 Bcf in 3Q16. In Southwestern’s southwest PA/WV area they drilled 4 new wells and completed 8 wells. Production in that region stayed even at 37 Bcf/d. The company said they expect to exit 2016 with 85 drilled but uncompleted wells (DUCs). Here’s the update issued yesterday…
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Kinder Morgan 3Q16: Start Building Broad Run Expansion in WV

Kinder MorganKinder Morgan, the largest midstream company in the U.S., posted their third quarter 2016 update on Wednesday. The company reports its first financial loss of the year, swinging from making $186 million in 3Q15 to losing $227 million in 3Q16. A lot of that was a paper loss–a writedown on the value of the Midcontinent Express Pipeline, and from expenses incurred from the sale of their part-ownership in the Southern Natural Gas system. As they usually do, Kinder offered updates for their major pipeline projects. The one that caught our eye is news that Kinder plans to begin construction in December of the Broad Run Expansion Project increasing capacity along the Tennessee Gas Pipeline from West Virginia to Mississippi and Louisiana, allowing Antero Resources to ship more Marcellus/Utica gas to the southeast. Here’s the Kinder update…
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FERC Delays Enviro Review of Atlantic Sunrise Pipe to Dec 30

delayedSome more disappointing news for Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project, a $3 billion, 198-mile project running through 10 Pennsylvania counties to connect Marcellus Shale natural gas from PA with the Williams’ Transco pipeline in southern Lancaster County. One week ago MDN brought you the news that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) announced it is actively reviewing two alternative routes for the Central Penn Line (an important part of the Sunrise project), accepting public comments on the two alternative routes until Nov. 14 (see Cabot Issues Update on Atlantic Sunrise – Possible Route Change). Translation: a delay for the project. Yesterday the Atlantic Sunrise got another delay from FERC when the agency filed paperwork stating they will now not issue a final environmental impact statement (FIS) until Dec. 30th, meaning a final “go ahead and build it” decision won’t come now until March 30, 2017. Bummer…
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FERC Settles Investigations into 3 NE Pipelines Overcharging

case closedIn January of this year, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) launched five investigations into four pipelines, three of which operate in the northeast, to determine whether or not those pipelines have been “substantially” overcharging their customers with the excuse of “we have to recover our costs” (see FERC Investigates 3 Northeast Pipelines for Overcharging). Although you might think the free market would govern what pipelines charge, pipelines, like other utilities, don’t operate in a totally free market. You can’t just up and leave one pipeline and take your gas to another. The government grants permission to operate, and the government keeps an eye on the rates charged–just like they do with your local gas and electric company. In the case of interstate pipelines, the government agency monitoring how much they charge is FERC. Apparently someone complained and FERC is now on the case. The three pipelines in the northeast were put under the microscope: Empire Pipeline, Iroquois Gas Transmission System and Columbia Gulf Transmission. The case is now closed for all three…
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EPA Continues Drive to Control O&G – Issues Ozone “Guidelines”

EPA-fingers-crossed.pngThe rogue and out-of-control federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues its drive to illegally control oil and gas drilling in this country. Their latest transgression: the EPA has just issued new ozone “guidelines” for oil and natural gas systems, to supposedly reduce smog-forming emissions in large population centers. The new guidelines are not, the EPA says, required regulations (yet), but only “recommendations for state and local air agencies to consider as they determine what emissions limits to apply to covered sources in their jurisdictions.” We all know today’s “recommendations” are tomorrow’s “regulations.” That’s how it works with overbearing statists. The thing is, the EPA has issued these so-called guidelines BEFORE their own research is all done. They’ve jumped the gun once again…
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Duke U Researcher Tries to Repair Reputation with Wastewater Study

Duke logoFor years now the radical Park Park Foundation has been buying its research from a few select professors at a few select universities. One of the scientists for sale is Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment (see Duke Hit Piece on Shale Water Usage from Same Park-Sponsored Prof and Latest Case of Duke U Bought & Paid “Research” by Park Foundation). Here’s how it works: Park funds Dr. Vengosh’s “research,” and he conveniently “discovers” all sorts of nasty things about shale fracking, publishing his “research” in obscure, peer reviewed journals. Mainstream media picks it up and runs it. Readers who only scan headlines get the impression fracking is evil. Mission accomplished for Park (another hit on fracking) and for Vengosh (another buck in his pocket). That’s how it works in the world of bought-and-paid-for fractivism. But when the Park Foundation doesn’t pay the bill for the research, Vengosh turns in research that doesn’t slam fracking. Case in point: Vengosh has just published yet another study, this time in the journal Science of The Total Environment, funded by the National Science Foundation. Vengosh’s new research finds there’s really nothing to worry about after all when it comes to Marcellus Shale wastewater. He goes so far as to say with proper treatment, shale wastewater “potentially could have beneficial reuses.” Imagine that? From the same guy who previously bashed fracking as one of the world’s evil activities…
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