FERC Slaps NY AG; No Re-Hearing on Constitution Pipe Tree Clearing

noIt’s now apparent that the fix has been in from the beginning–that New York’s corrupt Gov. Andrew Cuomo, colluding with New York’s corrupt Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, were on a mission to block the construction of the federally approved Constitution Pipeline, due to run from Susquehanna County, PA into Upstate New York (to Schoharie County). Before Cuomo decided to take the breathlessly lawsless act of blocking the pipeline by denying stream-crossing permits (being challenged in court), the Constitution asked for permission to begin clearing trees along the pipeline’s path. In January 2016, Schneiderman immediately objected (see NY AG Objects to Williams Tree Clearing for Constitution Pipeline). The Constitution never received permission and so did not clear any trees in New York State. Except–some trees did get cleared, by the landowners themselves. Landowners who wanted to realize the most money from trees that will eventually be cut were cutting the trees ON THEIR OWN, without the help, consent, assistance, or any form of aide from the Constitution. Schneiderman’s response? The Constitution should have known those stupid farmers would cut the trees and should have done something to stop it. So in May 2016, Schneiderman asked FERC to investigate the Constitution over the tree clearing matter, something called a “rehearing” (see NY Attorney General Asks FERC to Investigate Constitution Pipe and NY AG’s Allegation of Tree Cutting by Constitution Pipe a Fraud). FERC just got back to Schneiderman, and told him, NO…
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REX Pipe Begins Flowing Extra 800 MMcf/d Marcellus/Utica Gas West

rex-pipelineThe Rockies Express Pipeline (REX), originally built from Colorado and Wyoming to Monroe County, OH to bring natural gas from west to east, last year reversed the flow for a large and important section of the pipeline. On August 1, 2015 the section of REX from Monroe County, OH to Mexico, MO reversed the flow and began to carry 1.8 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of Utica and Marcellus Shale gas to the Midwest, including to the greater Chicago area. REX has been hard at work on plans to expand capacity even more by beefing up compressor stations along portions of the pipeline. Their efforts have paid off. REX previously filed a plan with FERC to add another 800 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of capacity along the same portion of the reversed pipeline. Yesterday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gave REX the go-ahead to start additional compressors added at three locations along the route…
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Green, OH Threatens NEXUS Surveyors with Arrest for Trespassing

no-trespassingThe city of Green in Summit County, OH has put NEXUS Pipeline on notice that if surveyors show up to survey in the city and if those surveyors don’t have permission from the landowner, or a judge’s order, those surveyors will be arrested and charged with trespassing. Apparently Green hasn’t gotten the memo that pipelines are the safest form of transportation on earth–period. NEXUS, as well as other pipeline projects, face a classic Catch-22 situation. In order to get the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to grant a certificate to build the pipeline, the pipeline company must first conduct initial surveys to plan the route. With a certificate from FERC in hand, the pipeline then has the power of eminent domain to use on recalcitrant landowners to build the pipeline across their land. The open question is whether or not the pipelines can use eminent domain to conduct the survey ahead of a full FERC certificate. That’s the Catch-22. Surveying doesn’t do a single thing to a property, other than a few guys and gals running around for a short time looking through a transit and taking measurements. It’s a shame that landowners, in some cases, won’t even allow that. So Green has put NEXUS and the world on notice that the city and its residents don’t want to participate in the riches that come from shale. Fine. Let them eat dirt…
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PA County Judge Attacks Mariner East 2 Status as Public Utility

court-gavel.jpgSunoco Logistics Partners, the builder of the Mariner pipeline projects, has fought a long and hard legal battle to be recognized as a public utility in Pennsylvania–especially with regard to the next big project in the lineup, the Mariner East 2 pipeline. ME2, as it’s called, is a $2.5 billion, 350-mile natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline that will run from eastern Ohio through the state of Pennsylvania to the Marcus Hook refinery near Philadelphia. From the beginning anti-pipeline fanatics have tried to derail the project by claiming it is not a public utility (with the right of eminent domain) as defined by PA’s statutes. In July 2014 two administrative law judges working for the PA Public Utility Commission (PUC) said ME2 is not a public utility (see Setback for Mariner East NGL Pipe – Judges Say Not Public Utility). But a few months later, the Commissioners of the PUC overruled them and said yes, it is a public utility–always has been, always will be (see Major Milestone: PA PUC Rules Mariner East IS a Public Utility). However, the antis continued to challenge it in court. Finally, in July 2016, PA’s Commonwealth Court in hearing an appealed case ruled in favor of Sunoco, saying that ME2 is regulated by both the PUC and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and it therefore has the right to use eminent domain (see Sunoco LP Wins Major Court Decision for Mariner East 2 Pipeline). However, a county judge in Lebanon, PA has just rendered a decision that once again attempts to question ME2’s classification as a public utility. The decision, and how it impacts ME2, is complicated…
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Study: Do PA Towns Spend Impact Fee Revenue on Stated Purpose?

spendOne of the lasting, positive legacies of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, predecessor to the current disaster of a governor, Tom Wolf, is signing into law Act 13, which updated PA’s laws for Marcellus Shale drilling. Among the provisions of Act 13 is something called an impact fee–far better and more fair than a so-called severance tax. As we wrote at the time, the impact fee is really 60% fee and 40% tax. Most of the revenue raised, 60% of it, stays local in the communities impacted (hence the name) by drilling. Those communities have higher expenses for first responders, water and sewer, and other government expenses, due to an increase in drilling activity. But in order to get the deal done in Harrisburg, Corbett and the Republicans had to agree to grease the palms of bureaucrats with 40% of the revenue raised from the fee, to be spread around to various agencies (see PA’s New Tax on Drilling (er Sorry, Impact Fee)). Whatever. At least 60% of the money stays local. The question is, are the local towns and communities receiving their portion of the money using it for what it was intended? A pair of University of Pittsburgh at Bradford professors received a grant to study that very question. The resulting report, “Analysis of Act 13 Spending by Pennsylvania Municipalities and Counties” (full copy of 68-page report below) was published in July. What did it find?…
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Virginia County Embraces Atlantic Coast Pipe as Business Magnet

Atlantic Coast Pipeline Route - Southern Virginia
Click for larger version

So often mainstream media simply lies about public attitudes toward pipelines–attempting to paint a picture of mass opposition to filthy fossil fuels flowing through exploding pipelines. Nonsense. Let’s take Dominion’s $5 billion, 594-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) as an example–a natural gas pipeline that will stretch from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina. In October a poll was released showing Virginians support ACP by a 2-to-1 margin (see Poll: Virginians Favor Atlantic Coast Pipeline by 2-to-1). Some forward-thinking counties in Virginia, like Buckingham County, are embracing ACP with open arms. Just last week we noted the very adult-like behavior of Buckingham County’s Planning Commission in approving a compressor station for ACP, with some 40 conditions attached (see VA County Planners Approve Atlantic Coast Pipeline Compressor Stn). Buckingham’s leaders are lauding ACP as an economic and jobs magnet. The county’s largest employer, Kyanite Mining Corp., has just signed an agreement with ACP to use natgas from the pipeline…
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Ultra Petroleum Gets 67% Debtholders to Agree to Bankruptcy Plan

Ultra PetroleumUltra Petroleum, based in Houston, TX, is an independent exploration and production (E&P) company mainly focused on drilling in the Green River Basin of Wyoming. Ultra also drills for oil in the Uinta Basin/Three Rivers area in Utah. In addition, Ultra maintains a position in the Pennsylvania Marcellus shale with leases on 184,000 gross (91,000 net) acres–no small amount. They aren’t currently drilling on their Marcellus acreage, but if prices change, they likely would. At the end of April Ultra filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy (see Ultra Petroleum (with 184K Marcellus Acres) Files for Bankruptcy). Shareholders tried to get an official equity committee approved to protect their interest (see Update on Ultra Petroleum Bankruptcy). That effort failed–the trustee denied the motion. So equity holders (stockholders), with the aid of Ultra’s management (who happen to be stockholders themselves) adopted a new strategy: wait them out. Management asked for an extension to file their bankruptcy plan, which would put a plan filing date out to next spring (see Ultra Petroleum Trying to Force Debtholders to Deal re Bankruptcy). It seems that management is using time against debtholders as a tactic to force them to the table to deal–and they’ve now done it. Ultra announced last week it has a deal supported by a full two-thirds of outstanding debtholders and plans to move forward. Unlike other o&g companies forced into bankruptcy, Ultra is not wiping out existing shareholders under their restructuring deal…
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De-Listed Atlas Resources Begins OTC Trading as Titan Energy

atlas-resource-partners-logoIn July MDN reported that the New York Stock Exchange de-listed trading for shares in Atlas Resource Partners (see Atlas Resource Partners Close to Chapter 11, NYSE De-lists Units). As predicted and portended by the de-listing, the company then filed for bankruptcy (see Atlas Resource Partners Filing for Bankruptcy Tomorrow). In September, Atlas emerged from bankruptcy sporting a new name: Titan Energy (see Atlas Resources Partners Exits Bankruptcy Renamed as Titan Energy). When it emerged from bankruptcy, Titan was trading on the Pink Sheets, as a penny stock. Since that time, things have vastly improved and last week the OTC Markets Group announced that Titan (stock ticker of TTEN) has qualified and is now upgraded to trade on the OTCQX® Best Market system. That is, the stock is now trading “over the counter” with another 10,000 stocks. It has risen from penny stocks hell and, as of this morning, was trading at $23 per share…
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GE Oil & Gas Invests $25 Million in LNG Co Tellurian

keep finger in the pieSeems like GE Oil & Gas is putting its fingers in every U.S. o&g pie it can. In October GE announced it would pursue Baker Hughes for a merger/buyout (see Breaking: Who Needs Halliburton? Baker Hughes Merging with GE O&G). Now it’s investing $25 million (chump change for GE) in Tellurian Investments. Tellurian, you may recall, was founded and is run by Charif Souki, the fired co-founder of Cheniere Energy. Souki was bounced out of LNG company Cheniere by evil corporate raider Carl Ichan (see Corp Raider Carl Icahn Admits He Fired Cheniere CEO Charif Souki). So Souki started Tellurian which in turn is on a mission to build Driftwood LNG to compete with his old company Cheniere (see Fired Cheniere Energy CEO Charif Souki’s Revenge: Driftwood LNG). GE’s investment will help advance the Driftwood project. Sadly, there are no heros in this story. Souki disgraced himself when he went on CNBC and said he would consider renouncing his U.S. citizenship if Donald Trump won the presidency (see Will Charif Souki Renounce His American Citizenship?). Like a host of spineless Hollywood types who threatened to leave if The Donald won, Souki has yet to man up and actually do it. We’re still waiting…
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API’s Marty Durbin: It’s Time to Build More Pipelines!

pump-up-the-volumeWe spotted a great editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer (of all places) written by the American Petroleum Institute’s (API) Marty Durbin. Marty used to be the head of the American Natural Gas Association (ANGA) before it merged with and into API. Marty’s column looks forward to Donald Trump’s presidency and to getting back to “smart energy policies” as opposed to the dumb energy policies we’ve gotten under Lord Obama. As we read the column, it dawned on us that the real point Marty is making is this: It’s time to build MORE pipelines in this country! Not less. It’s time to push the advantage and to lock in fossil fuel use for the next couple of generations. Love it! Give Marty’s excellent column a read…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Tue, Nov 29, 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: Cove Point gets new project director; anti-pipeline “protesters” ordered to leave by Dec 5; Texas flipping from gas exporter to gas importer; oil war is over–America won; shale wars – the oil price awakens; Japan shows why the world needs more fracking; and more!
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