Titan Energy Puts 494K Appalachian Acres Up for Sale

Titan Energy, which used to be known as Atlas Energy/Resource Partners, is today listing what appears to be the rest of the acreage they still own on the Appalachian basin–some 494,229 acres–including rights for drilling in the Marcellus/Utica. An astonishing 100% of the acreage is HBP, or held by production–meaning there are working or drilled wells. Not all of it is shale-related. We suspect a good portion of the acreage is conventional (vertical only). However, there is a significant number of acres where Marcellus/Utica drilling can be done that the sale should pique the interest of competitors. The acreage is being offered in seven states: New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. In addition to rights in the Marcellus/Utica, rights are also available in the Upper Devonian, New Albany and Chattanooga shale plays. Here is the low down on the acreage sale, along with a reminder of who Titan (nee Atlas) is, and why this is an important sale…
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Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Gets Final Approval by FERC

Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline map – click for larger version

Friday saw a flurry of activity at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)–the federal agency in charge of evaluating and authorizing interstate pipeline projects. Today is FERC-day on MDN, because there was so much news from Friday! Perhaps the most important news coming out of a list of approvals was FERC’s final blessing on Williams’ $3 billion Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project–a 198-mile pipeline project running through 10 Pennsylvania counties to connect Marcellus Shale natural gas from PA with the Williams’ Transco pipeline in southern Lancaster County. In addition to the pipeline, two new compressor stations will get built, and when the whole thing is done, an extra 1.7 billion cubic feet per day of northeast PA Marcellus Shale gas (from Cabot Oil & Gas and Seneca Resources) will flow south. On Friday, FERC issued a final certificate for the project, allowing Williams to build it. We can’t wait until Williams goes through and knocks down the magic tree house built by environmental wackos in an attempt to stop the project (see PA Antis Build 2nd Magic Tree House to Stop Atlantic Sunrise Pipe). That’ll make for some great headlines when it happens. However, Williams isn’t starting up the bulldozers just yet. Before they can begin, Williams still needs permits from the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. However, permits from PA & the Army Corps is perfunctory. It’s now over. The antis have lost and the good guys have finally scored a victory! Construction will begin on the main portion of the pipeline in mid-2017…
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ET Rover Pipeline Gets Final Approval by FERC

ET Rover Pipeline map – click for larger version

Perhaps the second most important (some might argue first in importance) pipeline to be approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) last Friday is Energy Transfer’s Rover Pipeline project. Rover is a $3.7 billion, 711-mile Marcellus/Utica natural gas pipeline that will run from PA, WV and eastern OH through OH into Michigan and eventually into Canada. Energy Transfer says with certificate in hand, they will have Phase 1 of the project done by July of this year, and Phase 2 by November of this year. Does that mean the bulldozers are already moving? Not just yet. The first thing to happen is tree clearing, which must be done by March 31 (you can be sure the chainsaws are already going this morning). Then FERC staff will check on things. There is still the outstanding issue that ET knocked down a historic house without permission (see Rover Pipeline in Hot Water Over Demolishing Historic House in OH). FERC is still sore over that one and withholding permission to begin the bulldozers until they decide on just how expensive the punishment will be. But the good news is that FERC has signed off, and the project will now get done–this year. Which drillers reserved capacity on Rover? Antero Resources, Eclipse Resources, EQT, Gulfport Energy, Rice Energy, Range Resources and Southwestern Energy…
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Rayne Xpress Gets FERC Approval to Begin Construction in KY

Rayne XPress map – click for larger version

In January, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) voted to approve and issue a certificate to Columbia Pipeine’s Leach XPress and Rayne XPress pipeline projects (see FERC Approves $1.8B Leach & Rayne XPress Pipeline Projects). The two projects work hand in glove to move Marcellus/Utica gas all the way to the Gulf Coast (see Columbia Gas: $1.75B for 2 Projects to Send Marcellus Gas to Gulf). You might think (as we did) that when FERC granted the final certificate, that would be the end of the story. Start the bulldozers, begin building! But no, such is not the way it works in bureaucrat-land. It seems FERC also needed to issue a “Mother May I?” certificate to begin construction, which they did on Friday (amidst a flurry of other certificates issued)…
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NFG’s Northern Access Pipe in NY/PA Gets FERC Approval

NFG’s Northern Access 2016 Pipeline map – click for larger version

National Fuel Gas Company (NFG), the Buffalo-based utility giant with both a drilling subsidiary (Seneca Resources) and a midstream/pipeline subsidiary (Empire Pipeline) filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in March 2015 for a pipeline project they call Northern Access 2016 (later renamed to simply Northern Access Project, dropping the “2016” part). The $455 million project includes building 97 miles of new pipeline along a power line corridor from northwestern Pennsylvania up to Erie County, NY. The project also calls for 3 miles of new pipeline further up, in Niagara County, along with a new compressor station in the Town of Pendleton (see NFG’s Marcellus Pipeline from NWPA to NY Hits Resistence). In July 2016, FERC issued a favorable Environmental Assessment, paving the path for full approval (see NFG’s Northern Access Pipeline Gets Favorable FERC Review). NFG had hoped to have the project done and in-service by November of this year. However, due to foot-dragging by FERC, NFG recently announced the project would get delayed (see FERC Delay Pushes Back NFG’s Northern Access Pipeline Project). Perhaps that announcement was premature? On Friday, FERC approved the project and granted NFG their certificate to build it, although NFG is still saying the new/delayed schedule is the schedule they will stick to in building it…
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TGP Orion Project in NEPA Gets Final Approval by FERC

TGP Orion Project map – click for larger version

In October 2015, Kinder Morgan’s Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP) filed their official, full application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) seeking approval for their Orion Project (see Tennessee Gas Pipeline Files PA Orion Project with FERC). The project will cost $143 million and construct 13 miles of “looping” pipeline in Pike and Wayne counties, Pennsylvania. The project will boost capacity on the TGP by another 135 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d), allowing TGP to pump more Marcellus Shale gas to Mid-Atlantic and New England states. According to the original plan, the TGP Orion upgrade will be complete and in-service by June 2018. TGP told FERC if they didn’t get an approval by Jan. 31, all bets are off on the timing for building the project (see Kinder Morgan Asks FERC to Approve Orion Pipe Project by Jan 31). It was Feb. 3 and not Jan. 31, but we’re betting the project will now get done on time–because FERC granted the necessary certificate on Friday…
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FERC Commissioner Norm Bay Targets M-U on Way Out the Door

Looks to us like Donald Trump’s faith in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur was well-placed. As we previously noted, Trump has put LaFluer in charge of the agency as Chairman, which caused the existing Chairman of FERC, Norm Bay, to resign in a huff (see FERC Commissioner Resigns Threatening Major M-U Pipeline Projects). LaFleur has been a FERC Commissioner since 2010 and was, at one time, the Chairman. Norm Bay was elevated by then-President Obama to become chairman, knocking LaFluer out of that role. Did she quit in a huff? No. She’s an adult. (By the way, both LaFleur and Bay are Democrats, so this isn’t a party thing.) When the shoe was on the other foot, Norm decided to take his marbles and go home, potentially damaging a bevy of important pipeline projects. With only two Commissioners left out of five slots, there isn’t a quorum and votes cannot be taken–until Trump gets new nominees approved. LaFleur has gotten more done in the past week that she’s been in charge than Bay got done over the past year–at least with respect to approving Marcellus/Utica projects (witness five key projects receiving approvals last Thursday/Friday that we’ve written about today). In one of the decisions issued by FERC last Friday, Bay got a final dig in on the Marcellus/Utica region by calling on FERC to exceed its constitutional authority and “analyze the environmental effects of increased regional gas production from the Marcellus and Utica” shale regions. Apparently Bay thinks there may be too many pipelines getting built, and he’s worried about man-made global warming, among other lefty things…
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Radical Enviro Groups Suing to Block Wayne Natl Forest Drilling

In December the Bureau of Land Management proceeded with an online auction for BLM-controlled land in Ohio’s Wayne National Forest (see 10-Yr Wait is Over, BLM Auctions Wayne Natl Forest Leases Today). The BLM plan was to auction 33 parcels totaling 1,600 acres. As it turns out, only 17 parcels totally 719 acres actually got auctioned (see BLM Auction Leases 17 Parcels, 719 Acres in OH Wayne Natl Forest). At the last minute the BLM withdrew 881 acres (16 parcels) because there were remaining issues with ownership title of the mineral rights. The 719 acres was all leased by noon and brought bids ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 per acre–a laughably small (but important) amount of acreage because it will allow drilling units to be formed with nearby private acreage. The BLM recently announced they will hold another auction in March (see BLM Leasing Another 1,186 Acres in Wayne Natl Forest on March 23). Progress! We suppose it’s not surprising that four radical environmental organizations–on the far outreaches of the environmental movement–have just issued a notice to announce they are suing to stop any drilling in WNF. Which four groups?…
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New Arkansas Study Finds Fracking Does NOT Affect Streams

We caught sight of an interesting new study just published in the journal BMC Microbiology by researchers at the University of Arkansas/Fayetteville. Researchers studied (did in the field studies) of streams both near and far from fracking activities in the Arkansas Fayetteville Shale. No, the research is not directly about the Marcellus/Utica, although our shale plays are mentioned several times in the study. However, the research and its results apply to our region as well as all shale plays. In the study just published titled, “Do biofilm communities respond to the chemical signatures of fracking? A test involving streams in North-central Arkansas” (full copy below), researchers looked to see if the chemistry of streams was altered by nearby fracking activity. They evaluated “benthic biofilm community composition as a proxy for stream chemistry” to see if bacteria and other tiny critters that show up under a microscope display differences between the streams near fracking, and those not near fracking activity. What did they find? No difference. No change. No impacts from fracking on streams and the microbiology of those streams. What they did find is that streams are affected by agriculture and urbanization…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, Feb 6, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Processing plants in PA/OH improve economic development; frack ban bill introduced in Maryland legislature (again); trust-funders fun Delaware Riverkeeper; Indians tell paid Dakota Access Pipeline protesters to get lost; more Eagle Ford landowners sue Chesapeake Energy re royalties; green hysteria over Trump’s pipeline populism; SO2 emissions down thx to natgas; House votes to overturn Obama rule on natural gas flaring; and more!
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