Marcellus Worker Killed in Tyler County, WV at Antero Well Pad

We have sad news to report. A young man, just 19 years old, was killed when he was “struck by a truck, then pinned between the truck and a stationary object” at an Antero Resources well pad site in Tyler County, WV last Thursday. Hunter Osborn, of Lewis County, WV, worked for U.S. Well Services, the fracking company hired by Antero. The well pad is called the Hartley East Pad in Middlebourne. Mr. Osborn was pinned between a tractor trailer backing up to unload sand and a sand silo. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of this young man. Below are the details we could find about the accident…
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Cabot Offers Lowball $1K Signing Bonus in Heart of Marcellus

Cabot Oil & Gas has a major presence in Susquehanna County, PA, not far from where MDN is written (just across the border). In fact, Susquehanna County, located in the northeastern tip of PA, is the only county in PA where Cabot drills. It is a “dry gas” zone–and extremely productive. By our reckoning, Cabot alone produces something like 3% of the entire natural gas supply for the entire country. One driller, in one county. It is an astonishing feat! Susquehanna County is rural. The entire county has 43,000 residents (11,700 families). The largest “city” in Susquehanna County is the county seat of Montrose, population 1,600 (750 households). Until now, there has been drilling all around the edges of Montrose, but no drilling directly under the city. That may soon change. Cabot has made an offer on 10.76 acres of land located within city limits. Cabot is offering a lowball $1,000 per acre as a signing bonus, plus 15% royalties. Not long ago Cabot cut deals for $3,500 per acre and 18.75% royalties. It appears this is just an opening negotiating tactic…
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Miracle! NY DEC Approves Dominion’s New Compressor Stations

The anti-fossil fuel nutters in New York have finally lost a major battle they’ve waged against the shale industry for the past 5+ years. In June 2014, MDN told you about the Dominion New Market Project–a project that will build two new compressor plants and upgrade one other compressor station in upstate New York–to help flow more abundant, cheap and clean-burning Marcellus Shale gas from Pennsylvania (and beyond) into the northeast (see Dominion Asks FERC for New Compressors in Upstate NY, WV). The project is projected to cost $159 million and provide 112,000 dekatherms per day (Dth/d) of extra natural gas capacity along ~200 miles of existing Dominion pipeline across upstate New York. The existing Dominion pipeline runs through the Horseheads, Ithaca, Syracuse and Albany areas. In March 2015 MDN friend Andy Leahy wrote about the pitched battle antis waged against the project (see NY Antis Flood FERC in Fight Against Dominion’s New Market Project). The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved Dominion’s New Market Project in October 2015 (see FERC Approves Expansion of Dominion Pipeline in Upstate NY). However, with a ban on fracking in NY, and with projects like the FERC-approved Constitution Pipeline being blocked by the politicized NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC), it seemed like no pipeline projects or anything to do with shale energy would ever get approved–until we dump Cuomo. Then a miracle happened! At the end of 2016, the politicized DEC finally approved Dominion’s New Market Project and the construction of the compressor stations. MDN owes a huge debt of gratitude to Andy Leahy who unearthed what the DEC clearly wanted to keep quiet. Andy found a reference to the New Market Project approval in the left-leaning Politico and went nosing around and found documentation for the official DEC approvals (below)…
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BLM Leasing Another 1,186 Acres in Wayne Natl Forest on March 23

In December the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proceeded with an online auction for BLM-controlled land in Ohio’s Wayne National Forest (see BLM Auction Leases 17 Parcels, 719 Acres in OH Wayne Natl Forest). The BLM plan was to auction 33 parcels totaling 1,600 acres. As it turns out, only 17 parcels totaling 719 acres actually got auctioned. At the last minute the BLM withdrew 881 acres (16 parcels) because there are remaining issues with ownership title of the mineral rights. It appears the title issues are now cleared up, plus some. The BLM announced last week they have another 1,186 acres in WNF that will go up for auction on March 23. Good news indeed! All of the new acreage is located in the prolific Monroe County, OH–meaning drillers can finally unlock some of the potential that has been denied to them because of the patchwork of BLM-controlled land that exists in between privately-owned land. Now drillers can form more units and get back to work…
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Thai Company Banpu Makes 2nd Investment in Northeast Marcellus

1/18/17 Update: The seller has now been identified as Chief Oil & Gas. See the appended press release below from Banpu’s U.S. partner Kalnin Ventures.

Last May, Range Resources sold its portion of a joint venture in northeast Pennsylvania (see Thai Company Buys Out Range Resources’ JV in NEPA for $112M). Banpu Pcl, Thailand’s largest coal producer, invested $112 million to purchase Range’s Marcellus non-operated JV operations in Bradford County, PA. The “Chaffee Corners Joint Exploration Agreement” gave Banpu an ownership share in 62 producing wells and another 14 wells waiting on completion, and a share in 170+ more drilling locations. Talisman is the operator of the wells and the company that does the drilling in the JV. Banpu liked it so much, they’re back. The company announced today it has acquired a 10.24% stake in more Marcellus leases in northeastern PA for $63 million. The information we’re able to locate does not specify who the driller is in which Banpu is sinking money, but the acreage is located near the first deal–presumably also in Bradford County…
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Lancaster County Antis Ramp Up for “Nonviolent” Pipeline Protests

North Dakota Access Pipeline’s “nonviolent” protesters – credit: LA Times

Last week MDN told you about the nutters from the radical group Lancaster Against Pipelines who built a second magic tree house in the path of the proposed Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline (see PA Antis Build 2nd Magic Tree House to Stop Atlantic Sunrise Pipe). As we pointed out then (and on previous occasions) this group is now aligning itself with, and taking its cues from, outside/paid protesters who engaged in criminal acts in North Dakota at the site of the Dakota Access Pipeline project (see Dakota Access Pipeline Protesters Turn Violent; Coming Here Next?). On Sunday, Lancaster Against Pipelines held yet another protest meeting–at the site of the new/second magic tree house. And guess who was there? “Organizers from at least three other states were in attendance to recruit and train people on nonviolent direct action. Some of them had taken part in the monthslong protest against an oil pipeline in North Dakota with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.” Is that the same Dakota Access “protest” where they were firing bullets at police and throwing rocks at law enforcement? Tell us again about this so-called “nonviolent” protest you’re planning in Lancaster…
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Rice Energy Sues West Pike Run Twp re Compressor Station Approval

Tired of having their application to expand a pipeline compressor station blocked, Rice Energy has sued West Pike Run Township in Washington County, PA. In the lawsuit, Rice says that the town had 90 days (under law) to render a decision on the request and did not do so. Eventually the town told Rice “no” to expanding an existing compressor station. The lawsuit asks the court to force the town to approve the application forthwith…
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Penn Township Allows Drilling to Avoid $300M Lawsuit by Apex

This news is a bit dated, from last December, but important nonetheless. Under threat of a $300 million lawsuit, Penn Township (Westmoreland County, PA) voted to allow Apex Energy to build two Marcellus well pads, and arranged for more hearings on four more well pads. In April 2016 Penn Township blocked permits for Apex well pads (see Penn Twp Blocks Apex Energy Well Pad Request, What Next?). In May it happened again (see Penn Twp Commissioners Block Apex Shale Well Request in 3-2 Vote). In June the town began to ramp up talk of uber-restrictions on drilling, via zoning ordinances (see Penn Township Considering More Restrictions on Drilling). And in August, the town held a hearing on a proposed new Marcellus-killing ordinance (see Penn Twp Hearing Discusses Marcellus-Killing Ordinance). Meanwhile, Apex was losing $70,000 PER DAY by not drilling on land for which they held valid, legal leases, and for wells that were duly permitted by the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection. So Apex launched a lawsuit to make the town pay for its harmful actions. By December, the town board was singing a different tune (about time)…
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Independent Report Says Mariner East 2 Pipe Safe for PA Towns

One of the antis’ favorite tactics in opposing the Mariner East 2 pipeline is to claim it’s unsafe. It’s a bomb waiting to go off. Mariner East 2, as a reminder, 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. It will flow mostly ethane, but also propane and butane. One town near Philadelphia where the pipeline is slated to run is West Goshen Township (Chester County). The leaders of the town wanted an honest, independent assessment of the pipeline and its potential danger to residents–so they hired the independent consulting firm Accufacts to study the safety of the project. The report is in (full copy below) and shows not only does Mariner East 2 meet, but in fact exceeds federal minimum safety requirements. There goes another anti argument, disappearing into the atmosphere like burned carbon dioxide…
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EIA: Natural Gas Prices in 2016 Lowest in Nearly 20 Years

How low can you go? Natural gas spot prices in 2016 averaged $2.49 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf), or more commonly per million British thermal units (MMBtu) at the national benchmark Henry Hub. That is the lowest annual average price for natgas since 1999. The monthly average price fell below $2.00/Mcf from February through May, but later increased, ending the year at an average of $3.58/Mcf in December. Marcellus/Utica drillers would LOVE to see prices like $2.49 or $3.58. Prices in the northeast, because of lack of takeaway pipelines, sometimes sank below $1/Mcf at certain trading points…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Tue, Jan 17, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Ohio cracker evaluation period almost over; shale drilling fees debated in PA; National Grid withdraws pipeline application in Rhode Island; feds say oil will linger in mid-$50/barrel range; oil rig count finally went lower again–or did it; Russia admits US main competitor for LNG exports; gas and renewables topple coal a decade early; LNG Limited stock price zooms; OPEC price deal over in 6 months; and more!
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