FERC Slaps Rover Pipeline with Stop Drilling Order

You can’t see we didn’t warn Rover Pipeline. In our story yesterday about the Ohio EPA’s frustration with Rover over regular spills of drilling mud (and other violations), we pointed out that the OEPA’s language is “Not good news for Rover, when one of the main state regulators (that can stop the project) is leveling criticisms like that” (see Ohio EPA Slaps Rover Pipe with $431K Fine for Spills, Other Issues). We also said, in the last sentence of that post, “Rover needs to get this situation under control before an emergency stop work order is slapped on them.” Such an order, more or less, has now been issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Yesterday FERC sent a letter (copy below) to Rover telling the pipeline it can no longer drill horizontally underground for the pipeline in some locations–until it complies with certain measures outlined by FERC and gets FERC staff sign-off every step of the way. In other words, Rover has likely just been delayed–due to its own haste and by not displaying the proper contrite attitude toward the OEPA. No one to blame but themselves…
Continue reading

Williams Tries an End-Run Around NY DEC for Constitution Permit

Does Williams have an “ace in the hole” with respect to the Constitution Pipeline? The Constitution, a ~$900 million, 124-mile pipeline planned to run from Susquehanna County, PA into Upstate New York, was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in December 2014 (see FERC Issues Final Approval for Constitution Pipeline in PA/NY). After a year and a half of delays from the New York State Dept. of Conservation (DEC), an organization now corrupted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the DEC capriciously denied stream crossing permits for the project (see NY Gov. Cuomo Refuses to Grant Permits for Constitution Pipeline). Williams, the builder of the project, subsequently sued in federal court to force the state to issue the permits. The outcome of that lawsuit is due any month now (see Constitution Pipeline Still Waiting on “Biggie” Court Decision). However, Williams is now attempting another strategy, parallel to their lawsuit, that may grant them game, set and match. The stream crossing permits withheld by the NY DEC are permits issued under Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act. The DEC has the (delegated from the federal government) responsibility for issuing or denying Water Quality Certification (WQC) under Section 401. What if the feds were to snatch back that responsibility for themselves? Williams is asking the Trump White House to have the Army Corps of Engineers step in and grant the WQC for the Constitution under Section 401–as a replacement or substitute for the DEC. Such a move is allowed under the law–if a state refuses to act within a “reasonable” time period. If the Army Corps does step in and grant the Constitution a WQC, it would, in a word, emasculate the DEC and strip them of a great deal of their power–something we’ve previously warned about (see Bloomberg Predicts Court Will Strip NY’s Right to Stop Constitution). Will it work?…Continue reading

Crestwood Drops Seneca Lake Natgas Storage Plan, Keeps LPG Plan

Seneca Lake LPG facility – click for larger version

MDN has extensively covered the fight to get the Seneca Lake Storage Project permissioned. In 2009 Inergy filed a request to convert a depleted salt cavern along the shore of Seneca Lake (in Schuyler County, NY, near Watkins Glen) into a propane/natural gas storage facility. Inergy was later bought by and merged into Crestwood Midstream, and Crestwood Midstream later became Crestwood Equity. The New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has been sitting on its hands from the beginning, refusing to grant the necessary permits to allow the facility to open. Sound familiar? Same old delay and later deny strategy from man-child Andrew Cuomo. The plan, from the beginning, is to store both natural gas and LPG–or liquefied petroleum gas, commonly known as propane. Due to the ongoing delay from the NY DEC, last May the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which would oversee construction of the project, granted a two-year extension for the project to be completed (see Stalled Seneca Lake Propane Storage Project Gets FERC Extension). In a regular report filed with FERC on May 9, Crestwood’s Arlington Storage subsidiary (the company on paper attempting to build the facility) withdrew its request to build the portion of the project that would store natural gas–the “Gallery 2” project. However, Crestwood/Arlington Storage is still pushing forward with LPG (propane) storage at the Seneca Lake facility. A small-but-dedicated group of nutjob antis are heralding this as some sort of “tremendous victory.” It is nothing of the sort. The main part of the project has always been about storing propane, not natural gas…Continue reading

Rex Energy 1Q17 Full Update – Swings to Black, Drilling Picks Up

In April, Rex Energy, a driller focused mainly on the Marcellus/Utica (headquartered in State College, PA), issued an operational update (see Rex Energy 1Q17: Production Drops 8.5%). Earlier this week the company issued a full 1Q17 update. What does it show? Rex swung from losing $62 million in 1Q16 to making $2.1 million in 1Q17–quite a turnaround! This update also includes a fuller look at the drilling that did happen in 1Q17, and what the company plans for the balance of 2017. In Rex’s Legacy Butler Operated Area (Butler County, PA), the company has begun drilling 4 wells on a single pad and plans to have them completed and online in 3Q17. In Rex’s Moraine East Area (also Butler County) the company drilled 7 gross (3.3 net) wells and completed 4 gross (1.4 net) wells in 1Q17. In addition, Rex had 12 gross (5.5 net) wells awaiting completion at the end of 1Q17. In Rex’s Warrior North Area (Carroll County, OH), the company plans to drill 12 gross (10.2 net) wells by the end of 2017, with most of them not going online until 2018. Below is the full update, along with select portions of the earnings call where Rex’s CEO shares some interesting insights…Continue reading

Gulfport Energy 1Q17 – Spud 26, Completed 5 Utica Wells

Gulfport Energy turned in their first quarter 2017 update earlier this week–a very impressive report. Gulfport reports producing an average 849.6 million cubic feet equivalent (MMcfe) per day in 1Q17–8% higher than 4Q16 and 23% higher than 1Q16. They scored an average price of $2.68 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) for the gas they sold. Perhaps most impressively, the company went from losing $242 million in 1Q16 to making a profit of $154 million in 1Q17–a swing of $396 million. Gulfport is a big Utica Shale driller. During 1Q17, the company spud (began to drill) 26 new Utica wells. The average length of each well was 8,145 feet. They hooked up 5 Utica wells to pipelines. On an earnings call, Gulfport CEO Michael Moore said 38% of their Utica well completions during 1Q17 included fracture treatment designs of “greater than 2,500 pounds [of sand] per foot.” That’s a lot of sand! Marcellus and Utica drillers typically find more sand = better production–and that’s what Gulfport is finding. Gulfport works with Mammoth Energy and Evolution Well Services–which operates rigs run by natural gas instead of diesel fuel. Below is the full 1Q17 update, along with comments from Moore delivered during the quarterly earnings call…Continue reading

Report: Marcellus Shale Gas “Wreaks Havoc” on PJM Power Market

Moody’s Investors Service issued a report earlier this week saying an abundance of cheap, clean-burning Marcellus Shale gas threatens to “wreak havoc” in the electric generation market in the PJM area, which covers all or parts of DE, IL, IN, KY, MD, MI, NJ, NC, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV, and Washington, DC. According to Moody’s researchers, a large influx of natural gas power plants entering PJM Interconnection, due to cheap gas supplies from the Marcellus Shale, will pose “severe challenges for generators operating in the region” in the next few years. Because of the Marcellus “glut,” new plants coming online will drive down power prices, which “could lead” to widespread closures of coal power plants, and pressure operating margins for all generators, including other gas-fired plants. The prediction is that a low-price Armageddon will result in widespread corporate casualties. What can be done to avoid this hideous future? Nothing. The only thing power plant operators can do is cut their debt load, which they are doing. In other words, good old American competition (coming from Marcellus Shale gas) is making the PJM electric industry get leaner and more efficient. Imagine that…Continue reading

Update on Goldboro LNG – Labor Agreement Signed to Build

We’ve kept an eye on several LNG export projects along the Eastern shore of Canada (most of them in Nova Scotia) for some time. Why? Because they’re a huge potential market for Marcellus and Utica Shale gas. One of those projects, in Nova Scotia, is the Goldboro LNG project from Pieridae Energy. The U.S. Dept. of Energy approved the plant for exporting to non-free trade agreement counties in February 2016 (see Goldboro LNG Project Gets Final DOE Approval – Good for Marcellus). In August 2016, Honeywell announced it was selected to provide the Goldboro project with automation and safety systems and serve as the integrated main automation contractor (see Signs of Life in Canadian Goldboro LNG Export Project). And in October, Pieridae signed a labor contract to build the plant (see Pieridae Energy Signs Labor Contract to Build Goldboro LNG). That labor contact, originally signed in October, was recently ratified by a 85% of the union members expected to work on the project. It is yet another milestone along the way to building the Goldboro LNG plant…Continue reading

Turn So/So Shale Wells into High Performers with Refracking

Hold that decline curve! Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory have done “extensive data mining” and analysis of 20,000 shale gas wells. In a paper published in the journal Applied Energy titled “The shale gas revolution: Barriers, sustainability, and emerging opportunities” (full copy below), Los Alamos researchers say that refracking existing wells with new technology can transform those wells from “diminished producers” (so/so wells) into “high-performers” long after the wells had supposedly hit peak production. “We hypothesize that manipulating tail production could re-revolutionize shale gas extraction,” said lead author of the study, Richard Middleton. Refracking eliminates the cost of drilling a new bore hole, and provides a smaller environmental footprint. What’s not to love! Let’s get refracking…Continue reading

Dominion Gets a Name Change, New Logo

As of yesterday, midstream and utility giant Dominion and all of its various subsidiaries has changed its name–adding “Energy” to the end. No longer is the website dom.com (a catchy URL that’s easy to remember). As of today, the URL is dominionenergy.com (we need to talk to someone in their branding department–all those extra keystrokes are nuts!). Dominion Resources, Inc., has become Dominion Energy, Inc., complete with a new logo. At least they still have the same stock ticker, a plain “D”. A whole list of subsidiary companies controlled by Dominion have also changed their names. Dominion East Ohio has become Dominion Energy Ohio. Dominion Hope has become Dominion Energy West Virginia. Questar Gas, bought by Dominion last year (see $4.4B Dominion-Questar Merger Happens Tomorrow), has become three companies: Dominion Energy Utah, Dominion Energy Wyoming, and Dominion Energy Idaho. And oh, what’s this? The newly renamed Dominion Energy, Inc. (the parent company) turned around and on the same day renamed itself to Dominion Generation, Inc. Got it all straight? No, we don’t either. That’s why you need Dominion’s scorecard…Continue reading

Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Thu, May 11, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: NY banned fracking, then spends $95M to buy natgas buses; Wayne Natl Forest lawsuit prime example of “litigious battles to drive regulation”; Johnson Controls goes after o&g market with new testing lab; PA Dems now want severance tax to fund environmental conservation; Conn. House passes permanent ban on fracking waste–a state where there is none; RINO John McCain deserts GOP again, BLM methane rule stays; EIA revises US gas output higher in 2017; Tellurian makes progress on Driftwood LNG; and more!Continue reading