It’s War: ETE vs. Obama’s Army Corps of (Politicized) Engineers

its-warAs we pointed out last week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)–which is supposed to be an organization of, well, engineers–has gone hard-left political, no doubt under the direction of Lord Obama (see Army Corps of Engineers Turns Political in Dakota Access Fight). The USACE has taken to leveraging a sycophantic media to boost its message that Energy Transfer Equity, the company building the Dakota Access Pipeline, should stop building the pipeline (which is already 90% built) because it might hurt the feelings of paid mobsters who are protesting it. Our concern with the project is that the same mobsters protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline have promised to come to the Marcellus/Utica next (see Dakota Access Pipeline Protesters Turn Violent; Coming Here Next?). In addition to using the media to rally its cause, the USACE has just announced it will not, for now, grant a permit to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota. ETE is firing back with a caustic press release calling out the USACE as unjust lawbreakers. Yeah, it’s open war now–and Trump can’t assume office fast enough to put an end to the horse manure being pedaled by the Army Corps of Politicized Engineers…
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EIA Nov Drilling Report: Marcellus Production Up for 2nd Month

EIAYesterday MDN’s favorite government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), issued our favorite monthly report–the Drilling Productivity Report (DPR). The DPR is the EIA’s best guess, based on expert data crunchers, as to how much each of the U.S.’s seven major shale plays will produce for both oil and natural gas in the coming month. Last month was a bit of a surprise, with the Marcellus reversing the trend and producing more gas than it did the month before (see EIA October Drilling Report: Marcellus Reverses, Increases Production). This month that trend continues. Marcellus production is predicted to go up an average of 130 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d)! Utica production continues to decline, predicted to drop another 12 MMcf/d from the previous month’s estimate. Even with a big bump up in production in the Marcellus (and an increase month over month in the Permian), it’s still not enough to reverse the trend that overall, production from all of the shale plays cumulatively will go down in the coming month–a drop of 94 MMcf/d. Drilled but uncompleted wells (DUCs) went down for the Marcellus by 7, meaning there are 7 fewer wells to complete (inventory dwindling). The Utica added 1 DUC well to its inventory…
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Martians Use Riverkeeper to Continue Court Battle Against Rex

Maya van Rossum - THE Delaware Riverkeeper
Maya van Rossum – THE Delaware Riverkeeper

MDN previously reported on the injustice happening in Bulter County, PA where a handful of anti-drilling parents from the Mars School District (“Martians”), backed by money and legal help from Philadelphia Big Green groups Delaware Riverkeeper and Clean Air Council, have filed frivolous lawsuit after frivolous lawsuit. The effort is aimed at denying landowners in Middlesex Township revenue from legally permitted drilling. The actions by these radicalized parents have cost the taxpayers of Middlesex Township over $80,000 in legal fees. Landowners with leases got together and sued the radicals to stop this miscarriage of justice (see Shoe Now on Other Foot: Landowners Sue Martian Anti-Drillers). The lawsuit proceeded with the radicals claiming they should be able to sue, but not be sued (see Litigious Martians Cry Like Babies Over $500K Lawsuit Against Them). Unfortunately a county judge has agreed with the Big Money groups from Philly and has tossed the lawsuit against them (see $500K Lawsuit Against Litigious Martians Tossed by County Judge). Meanwhile, at least two of the wells were permitted and drilled by Rex Energy, despite the bleatings of the Martians (see Martian Victory! 2 Wells Near Mars School Nearly Done Drilling). But that hasn’t stopped the Martians, using legal assistance from THE Delaware Riverkeeper, from continuing to sue. The Martians have appealed a town ordinance that allows the wells to be drilled about 3/4 of a mile from the local Mars School. A panel of three western PA judges heard arguments in the case Monday afternoon…
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New Research Helps Locate Abandoned O&G Wells in PA

pnasIn March we highlighted the issue of abandoned oil and natural gas wells in Pennsylvania (see Who Pays for Abandoned O&G Wells in PA?). PA state officials estimate there are as many as 200,000 abandoned oil and gas wells in the state–the vast majority of them conventional wells drilled over 50 years ago. Most of them are not mapped or known. Some of them are hazards for shale drillers who stumble across them when drilling new wells. If you drill horizontally and clip an old/abandoned well, it becomes like an elevator pumping fluids and gas to the surface. Not good. Everyone is committed to finding and marking and capping these old wells–the question is, how do you pay for it? The shale industry says it’s not fair to put the economic burden solely on the shoulders of the Marcellus industry. A new study just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) by researchers at Stanford and Princeton says the number of abandoned PA wells is actually much higher–as many as 700,000! The paper is titled “Identification and characterization of high methane-emitting abandoned oil and gas wells” (full copy below). The researchers are motivated by global warming flummery–desiring to locate abandoned wells which emit varying amounts of methane into the atmosphere. Whatever. The useful thing about this research is that they have discovered a way of sniffing out abandoned wells and determining which ones are emitting the highest levels of methane. Our interest is in the ability to locate, map and avoid drilling through old wells–we welcome this research…
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PA Gov Wolf Basks in Predecessor’s Accomplishment at Cracker Site

basking-in-the-glow
Click for a larger version – credit: captainscratchy.com

For a guy who wants to tax the Marcellus industry out of existence, PA Gov. Tom Wolf sure likes to bask in the glow of the industry’s success. Perhaps the crowning achievement of former PA Gov. Tom Corbett was the wooing and winning of Shell to build a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker near Pittsburgh. It’s hard to overstate just how big a deal the cracker plant is for the state–not only for PA, but also for nearby OH and WV. Shell’s ethane cracker will attract manufacturers to relocate nearby to take advantage of the cheap plastics that will come from the plant. While Shell will invest somewhere on the order of $6-$8 billion, with the coming build-out of manufacturing facilities in the region, it promises to turn into a $20 billion economic boost for the entire northeast. An amazing story! Right now Shell is busy at work clearing the site, which used to be a Horsehead zinc smelting operation. Gov. Wolf toured the site on Monday and was impressed, basking in the glow of what’s happening. Thing is, Wolf didn’t have a single thing to do with the plant coming to PA–other than not screwing up the deal before it was formally announced…
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WV Wastewater Co Grabs Nat’l Headlines re OK Earthquakes

earthquake.jpgFor a number of years we’ve had our eye on Fairmont Brine Processing, headquartered in Fairmont, WV. We originally started writing about the company in 2010 when it was AOP Clearwater (see AOP Clearwater Plant in WV a Big Success in Treating Marcellus Shale Wastewater). New owners expanded the operation in 2014 (see New Brine Processing Plant Coming to Panhandle of WV). Earlier this year Fairmont secured a $90 million line of credit to build a new wastewater processing plant in southwest PA (see Fairmont Brine Gets $90M to Build New Wastewater Recycling Plant). Imagine our surprise at seeing the company’s name in a major Bloomberg article about Oklahoma earthquakes! Brian Kalt, CEO of Fairmont Brine, is floating an idea that will settle the man-induced earthquakes in Oklahoma, which come from injecting shale wastewater deep underground: Don’t inject it anymore. Instead, using Fairmont’s recycling technology to separate out the salty minerals and then release purified water into streams and rivers. That Bloomberg article actually made the Drudge Report for a while yesterday! Kudos to Fairmont and Brian Kalt…
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Without PA’s Energy Voters, It Would have been President Hillary

what-could-have-been-photoWe shudder to think what would have been, if just a few more votes had gone the other way last Tuesday. Last week we authored an article in which we stated, “We don’t think it’s a stretch to say that energy voters in PA handed Trump the White House” (see Who Won in Tuesday’s Election in PA, OH, WV? Shale Energy Won!). Trump’s key campaign person in Pennsylvania, David Urban, said essentially the same thing in an interview with the Pittsburgh Business Times. Urban said that early on, the campaign ceded Philadelphia proper to Hillary, and instead concentrated on other areas of the state where they could amass enough voters to counter the Democrat stronghold in the City of Brotherly Love. The Trump PA strategy in a nutshell, according to Urban: “Make stops early and often. Focus on energy voters. Target areas outside of Philadelphia.” Without PA, Trump would not have won–at least we don’t think so (there are still votes being counted even today). So we say, yet again, THANK YOU to the pro-energy voters in PA who made a Trump victory possible. Here’s portions of the enlightening Urban interview…
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Law Firm’s Post-Election 2016 Update for Energy & Environment

update.jpgThe big Texas law firm Bracewell, which until earlier this year was Bracewell & Giuliani (Rudy left in January), has put together an helpful analysis of what changes we can expect under a President Trump Administration. Although they tackle a number of areas, we were interested to read their predictions for what will be happening with energy and the environment under President Trump. What’s in store for pipelines? Obama’s Clean Power Plan? EPA’s onerous regulations? The Bracewell legal beagles haul out their crystal ball and give us a glimpse…
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Who Will be the Next Secretary of Energy?

Harold Hamm
Harold Hamm

Harold Hamm is the legendary CEO of Continental Resources. Hamm is, along with George Mitchell, Aubrey McClendon, and a few others, one of the original pioneers who figured out how to combine fracking with horizontal drilling to access previously-trapped oil in shale deposits. Hamm’s claim to fame is drilling in the mighty Bakken oil fields of North Dakota. Harold Hamm is, by all accounts, one of the biggest frackers in the world. Hamm addressed the Republican National Convention in July, and tongues immediately began flapping that Hamm was in line to become Trump’s Secretary of Energy if and should he win (see Fracking Legend Harold Hamm – Next Secretary of Energy?). We eagerly stoked those flames. We think Hamm would be a tremendous Energy Secretary. Apparently those rumors are growing stronger. Although Hamm has publicly said he’s not interested, he’s one of three names under serious consideration for the post. And if we were laying money on a bet, we’d pick Hamm…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Tue, Nov 15, 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: Utica Shale picks up funding gaps for OH public schools; court hears arguments in 3 shale cases; will Trump end Williams pipeline delays?; where Trump will make an immediate impact on the energy sector; will Trump’s stance with Mexico affect gas prices?; Jamaica eyes regional LNG hub; OPEC says no $60 oil until 2020; and more!
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