PA Expects $80M in Royalties from Drilling on State Land in 2017

One of the big success stories about Marcellus drilling in Pennsylvania is the money generated from state land leased for oil and gas drilling. You may recall two governors ago Democrat Gov. Ed Rendell was hell bent for leather in leasing state-owned land for drilling ON said land. After his voracious appetite for money was sated and his Democrat cronies in the legislature spent (“blew”) all $444 million of it, Rendell tried to pretend that he’s an environmentalist by slapping an executive order–a moratorium–on any more leasing of state-owned land. Hypocrite. The next Governor, Tom Corbett, lifted that moratorium with an executive order of his own so that another $75 million of badly needed revenue could be raised by leases for drilling under (not on) state land. Then along came the disastrous Tom Wolf. He immediately signed a new executive order banning any new leases on state-owned land (see PA Gov Wolf Signs Exec Order to Ban Drilling Under State Land), cutting off an important new revenue stream. However, a lot of state-owned is, as we said, already leased. And some of it has been drilled on/under–and it produces a prodigious amount of royalties. The PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), which oversees PA’s state land, says they expect to see around $80 million in royalty payments this year. They also report still having issues with some drillers over shorting royalty checks. DCNR says they are owed “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in shorted royalty money…
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“Thousands” in PA Healthcare Send Ltr re Methane Regulations

AFTERNOON UPDATE: We now have a copy of the so-called “open letter” as it was posted from the Scribd website to share with you (see it below). In viewing the properties of the document (image below) you will find that the the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and DC-based Smoot Tewes firm–started by two former Obama campaigners–were behind the letter. Kelsey Robinson, an EDF communications person in Austin, was the author. None of the signatories on the letter are from the EDF. In other words, this was a sham, made-up piece of anti-drilling propaganda from the beginning–and the Post-Gazette reporter played along. Just another example of fake news from a mainstream newspaper.

A small group of anti-drilling healthcare workers (i.e. doctors, nurses, etc.) are, once again, trying to stop Marcellus Shale drilling in Pennsylvania. Their latest angle of attack is a publicity stunt using one of their favorite tools–the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Post-Gazette runs a story today that opens this way: “Thousands of Pennsylvania doctors, nurses and other health care professionals have sent a letter to the Marcellus Shale Coalition, requesting that it stop legal challenges and lobbying against regulations aimed at controlling drilling air emissions and safeguarding public health.” Several paragraphs later we read this: “The letter, scheduled for release Monday, is signed by about 40 individual doctors, nurses and health care workers, and organizations representing more than 40,000 doctors, nurses, researchers, and health professionals.” In other words, “thousands” did not send a letter, but in reality, “about 40 individuals” did. That’s called fake news. And it’s being pedaled by the same rabidly radical antis (who happen to work in the healthcare industry) we’ve heard from before. They are committed to irrationally ending the use of fossil fuels, and they’ve apparently enlisted the help of a sympathetic “reporter” to do it…
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NJ Pinelands Commission Approves 22-Mile Pipe Thru Scrub Pines

In January 2014 MDN brought you the story that due to incessant nagging from the NJ Sierra Club and the NJ League of [Liberal Democrat] Women Voters the Pinelands Commission, which oversees a stand of scrub pines in South Jersey, nixed a plan for a new natural gas pipeline to bring cheap, clean, abundant Marcellus Shale natural gas to South Jersey for use by residents and to feed an electric plant a local utility wants to convert from burning coal to natgas (see Sierra Club, LWV Chooses Coal over NatGas in South Jersey). In May 2014, NJ Gov. Chris Christie replaced two of the “no” voters on the Pinelands Commission, much to the consternation of the antis (see Marcellus Pipeline May Come to South Jersey After All). In August 2015, the staffers who actually do the work of the Commission decided to act, saying that they had the authority to approve the pipeline without a full Commission vote to do so. A panel of three New Jersey Appellate Division judges last November rejected that claim and said if you want to build a pipeline through the scrub pines, the full Commission must vote to do so (see Court Setback for NJ Pipeline Slated to Run Through Scrub Pines). So in January, the Pinelands Commission held a public hearing before scheduling a vote of the full Commission on the project (see Large Crowd Turns Out For/Against 22-Mile Pipeline in NJ Scrub Pines). Last Friday the Commission met and voted to approve the project. Finally! Of course the vote was not without incident. Anti fossil fuelers, behaving like petulant 3 year-olds, continually disrupted the meeting and tried to drown out the voting process with hollering, singing and chanting. In the end the misbehaving children–which included a priest and the head of the NJ Sierra Club–lost. They reacted like the petulant children (in adult bodies) they are, with threats and innuendo…
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SW PA Legislators Give Lib Ladies an Earful on Fossil Fuels

Several southwest Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers (and a Democrat lawmaker) addressed the League of [Liberal Democrat] Women Voters at the group’s annual question-and-answer session with area legislators in Washington, PA on Friday. The Lib Dems attending likely got more than what they bargained for, as the legislators who addressed them stuck up for fossil fuels. The moderator asked a question about so-called clean energy jobs and investing, and promptly got schooled about REAL clean energy–i.e., fossil fuels!…
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Texas Merger Leads to New OFS Company in the Marcellus

Clearlake Capital Group, a private investment firm with gobs of money ($3 billion of assets under management) has purchased a Texas oilfield services company, Globe Energy Services, and a Texas-based industrial equipment rental company, Light Tower Rentals (LTR) and has merged them together into a new company called GlobeLTR. Details of the transaction (how much Clearlake paid) were not disclosed. What does this M&A story have to do with the Marcellus? According to its website, LTR has a meaningful operation in the Marcellus Shale (in Oakdale, PA, not far from Pittsburgh), and while the combined new OFS company will mainly target business in the expanding Permian Basin in Texas, it will also continue operations in other areas, including the Marcellus. Does that mean drilling and fracking (i.e. “pressure pumping”) services will be added to the existing equipment rental business in the Marcellus? We don’t know–but it’s certainly something to keep an eye on…
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PA Anti Hopes to Bring Standing Rock Disaster to Lancaster County

An interesting article in the Harrisburg Patriot-News looks (favorably) at a trouble-making anti from Lancaster County, PA who participated in the illegal activities at Standing Rock, ND. He earnestly hopes he can attract that kind of disruption and mayhem to peaceful Amish Country in an attempt to stop the Transco Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project from getting built. But just like Standing Rock, this effort will fail. What we found interesting is that this is an open admission of something we’ve been reporting (warning about) for months–that some of the miscreants from North Dakota are targeting the Marcellus/Utica for their next round of anarchy. There’s nothing “peaceful” about what these people do…
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Latest Bizarre PR Attack on Mariner East 2 Pipeline

Anti-drilling zealots are sometimes maddening, sometimes funny, and often just plain bizarre. As they are with their latest publicity attack (aided and abetted by PBS reporters) by claiming a couple of townships along the pipeline’s proposed route have ordinances in place that would potentially stop the pipeline in those locations “if only” those lazy, corrupt townships would just enforce the ordinances. That’s the upshot of the argument. One of the towns, Thornbury (Delaware County, a Philly suburb) has a requirement that the subdivision where the pipeline will run must maintain at least 40% of the land in the subdivision as “open space.” The antis claim the pipeline will use enough acreage to reduce the “open space” to below 40%. Ah, Mr. & Ms. Anti, did you know that the pipeline will run underground? And that pipelines lead to MORE permanent open spaces? Nice green fairways that are well-maintained? Lawyers from the usual radical suspects are getting ready to file lawsuits for “force” the townships to pay money defending against this latest inanity…
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FERC Guidance Requests Pipe & LNG Apps. Evaluate Global Warming

It appears President Trump has a problem at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). He needs to get three new conservative Republicans appointed to the Commission stat, to stem the liberal ideology that has taken root from bureaucratic lifers who populate the agency. One of great debates during the Obama reign of terror was the demand (by Obamadroids) that FERC consider the impact pipeline projects would collectively have on mythical man-made global warming. FERC Commissioners steadfastly refused to do so because they are specifically prohibited from doing so under their charter. However, last week FERC issued a new guidance document for midstream companies that file new applications with FERC for pipeline projects. The new guidance, while saying it has not changed any policies or regulations, “advises” (bureaucratic language for “you darn well better do it”) that new pipeline applications should include a calculation of the projects’ “greenhouse gases and weigh the impact on local, state or regional climate goals.” In addition to these new hoops (i.e. non-regulation regulations) imposed by the bureaucrats at FERC, the agency also released a new “guidance” document (i.e. new regulatory hoops) for LNG project applications. Yep, it “advises”–but doe not require–LNG applications to “calculate” potential impacts on mythical man-made global warming…
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PA DEP Extends Public Comment Period for Methane Regs

In December the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) unveiled new regulations to clamp down on methane emissions and other other air pollution that allegedly comes from shale drilling sites (see PA DEP Releases New Regs re Methane & Air Pollution at Drill Sites). The onerous new regulations, not in effect yet, were originally prompted by bullying from the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Even though EPA pressure has disappeared under President Trump, PA Gov. Wolf still intends to push forward with these regulations. According to the DEP, the proposed General Permit 5A (GP-5A) and the revised General Permit 5 (GP-5), “establish updated Best Available Technology (BAT) requirements for the industry regarding air emission limits, source testing, leak detection and repair, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements for the applicable air pollution sources.” After some final tweaks, the DEP released draft versions of the new permits (i.e. regulations) earlier this month (see PA DEP Seeks Public Comment on Regs for Methane, Compressor Stns). The original public comment period was slated to last 45 days, ending in March. The new news is that, for no stated reason, the DEP has extended the comment period until June 5th…
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Cabot O&G 2016 – Production Grows from 3.8 to 4.4 Bcf per 1K Feet

Cabot Oil & Gas, one of our favorite Marcellus drillers, turned in their fourth quarter and full year 2016 update on Friday. In something of a surprise (for us), the company reports losing $417 million in 2016, up from losing $114 million in 2015. However, when you dig into the numbers, you find that it’s a paper loss. Cabot reports “impairments” (i.e. loss of value) in their assets of $435 million for the year. Some $275 million of that was a write-down in the value of oil and gas properties, including pipelines, in West Virginia and Virginia. Cabot drilled 40 gross (38.0 net) wells and completed 76 gross (76.0 net) wells in 2016, exiting the year with 51 gross (45.2 net) drilled and uncompleted wells, of which 29 gross (26.2 net) were in the Marcellus Shale and 22 gross (19.0 net) were in the Eagle Ford Shale. What’s ahead in 2017? Cabot plans to spend more money this year than they did last year–to drill in both the Marcellus and Eagle Ford. Cabot plans to spend $610 million on drilling, completion, and facility capital in 2017. Of that, two-thirds (67%) will go to the Marcellus and one-third (33%) will go to the Eagle Ford. With that money they plan to drill and complete 90 net wells. On the earnings call with Cabot’s top brass, we learn about their “Gen 4” completions in the Marcellus, which have increased estimated ultimate recovery (EUR) rates from 3.8 billion cubic feet (Bcf) per 1,000 feet of lateral well to 4.4 Bcf. Translation: Cabot gets double the gas per lateral foot of well than some of its competitors, which is why they consistently have something like 15 of the top 20 producing wells in the state. Here’s the Cabot update…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, Feb 27, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Don’t let utility reforms hurt OH energy boom; will CONSOL sink or swim; PA budget hearing exposes severance tax game; Dakota Access Pipeline operating “within weeks”; pipeline protesters leave dogs and puppies behind to die; four things driving 2017’s o&g recovery; natgas outlook for 2017; tell the truth about fracking; and more!
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