Amazing: Cabot O&G Invests $4.6 BILLION in One PA County in 10 Yrs

Something truly amazing is happening in rural Susquehanna County, PA, nestled in the northeastern corner of the state (shares a border with Broome County, NY, where MDN is located). At a special event yesterday held in Montrose, the county seat, Cabot Oil & Gas announced a major milestone. Cabot has, over the past ten years, paid out $1 billion in royalties and another $500 million in lease bonuses. Did you catch that? In a single decade, Susquehanna County has received a $1.5 BILLION economic stimulus in private money flooding into the county–from just one of the major drillers working in the county. And that doesn’t include $3.1 billion spent on equipment and crews to do the drilling (a number we verified with Cabot)! There are other companies drilling in Susquehanna County as well. In very real, practical terms, that means school taxes have not gone up–in years. Property taxes have actually gone DOWN. Mortgages have been paid off. Kids have gone to college–without incurring years of debt hanging over them when they graduate. Story after story was shared of how Cabot’s drilling program has resulted in radically changed (for the better) lives in Susquehanna County. Cabot has pulled some 3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas out of what Cabot rep George Stark says is “the sweetest spot to be” in the country. Little known factoid: A single company (Cabot) drilling in one county (Susquehanna) produces nearly 3% of the entire natural gas output in the United States. Amazing! You know what’s even more amazing? Binghamton media blocked all reporting about this major news….
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‘Wayawanda Six’ Convicted of Illegally Blocking NY Power Plant Project

James Cromwell as Zefram Cochrane in Star Trek

For the last couple of years, MDN has reported on a $900 million Marcellus gas-fired electric generating plant coming to Orange County, NY (see Orange County, NY Marcellus-Fired Electric Plant OK’d by Judge). The CPV (Competitive Power Ventures) Valley Energy Center project has been vigorously opposed by local anti-drilling ninny nannies, including Hollywood star James Cromwell. Cromwell is a spoiled rich kid from Manhattan who owns a home near the plant. He’d prefer to keep Upstate pristine, as his own private playground. Cromwell enlisted some neighbors and six of them got themselves arrested in December 2015 for blocking construction at the site (see Actor James Cromwell Arrested Protesting NY Power Plant Site). No matter. The plant is now under construction, as we reported in March (see Construction Update on CPV NatGas Power Plant Near Middletown, NY). Construction of the plant is “moving full-steam ahead” and is on track to go online in early 2018. So what about the criminal protesters? The wheels of justice grind slowly. This week Cromwell and his fellow criminals stood before a judge, after being found guilty for their actions, and were fined $375. The judge told them to pay up by June 29 or go to jail. Cromwell defiantly said he won’t pay, he *wants* to go to jail…Continue reading

Dela. Riverkeeper Loses Martian Case to Stop Rex Energy Drilling

THE Delaware Riverkeeper (i.e. Maya van Rossum) and a small group of anti-drilling parents from the Mars School District (“Martians”) in Butler County, PA, have just suffered a crushing defeat in their years-long battle to prevent Rex Energy from drilling wells “near” a local school. Backed by money and legal help from Philadelphia Big Green groups Delaware Riverkeeper and Clean Air Council, the Martians filed frivolous lawsuit after frivolous lawsuit. The effort is aimed at denying landowners in Middlesex Township revenue from legally permitted drilling. The lawsuits have cost the taxpayers of Middlesex Township over $80,000 in legal fees. Even amid the back and forth lawsuits, at least two of the wells were permitted and drilled by Rex Energy, despite the bleatings of the Martians (see Martian Victory! 2 Wells Near Mars School Nearly Done Drilling). But that didn’t stop the frivolous lawsuits. Using legal assistance from THE Delaware Riverkeeper, the Martians appealed a town ordinance that allows the wells to be drilled about 3/4 of a mile from the local Mars School. A panel of three western PA judges in Commonwealth Court heard arguments in the case last November (see Martians Use Riverkeeper to Continue Court Battle Against Rex). This week the three-judge panel ruled–against Riverkeeper and the Martians…Continue reading

UTOPIA NGL Pipeline Under Construction, Should be Online Jan 2018

In January 2016, Kinder Morgan (KM) committed to building the UTOPIA (Utica To Ontario Pipeline Access) pipeline, a 12-inch ethane pipeline that will run ~240 miles across the state of Ohio where it will connect with another pipeline and (eventually) flow ethane all the way to a cracker plant in Canada (see Kinder Morgan Ready to Move Forward with UTOPIA East Pipeline). However, all was not utopia in UTOPIA–some Ohio landowners got a bumble bee in their bonnet and refused to deal, so KM took them to court (see UTOPIA Pipeline Sues Holdout OH Landowners Using Eminent Domain and UTOPIA Pipeline Still Battling OH Landowners with Eminent Domain). UTOPIA hit a brick wall in Wood County when a judge blocked the use of eminent domain in that county, saying the project does not benefit the public good (see Wood County OH Judge Blocks Eminent Domain for UTOPIA Pipeline). No worries. UTOPIA signed lease agreements with more reasonable landowners and altered the route to avoid the ones who don’t want it (UTOPIA East Pipe Re-Routes Around OH Antis, Drops Eminent Domain). Hey, some people don’t want a truckload of money, who are we to argue? Here’s an update: At a recent industry conference in Ohio, Allen Fore, KM’s vice president of public affairs, said UTOPIA is currently under construction and is due to go online in January 2018…
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NEXUS Pipe Revved Like a Race Car, Waiting for FERC Green Flag

NEXUS is a $2 billion, 255-mile interstate natural gas pipeline that will run from Ohio through Michigan and eventually to the Dawn Hub in Ontario, Canada. Its purpose is to move Utica and Marcellus Shale gas from an over-saturated market in the northeast to markets in the Midwest and Canada. It is a joint venture between DTE Energy and Spectra Energy. Last December, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a positive final Environmental Impact Statement for the project (see FERC Approves NEXUS Pipeline, Project on Track for 2017). The remaining obstacle for NEXUS is to obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity from FERC, to begin construction. NEXUS had hoped to have that approval in hand on Feb. 3rd, when FERC issued a flurry of such certificates. However, NEXUS didn’t get one (see In FERC’s Game of Musical Chairs, NEXUS Pipeline Left Standing). That led some to ask, Is there still a market need for the NEXUS Pipeline project? (see Has the Clock Run Out for NEXUS Pipeline?). According to NEXUS president James Grech, you can lay those doubts and fears to rest. At the Utica Capital Midstream Seminar held earlier this week, Grech told audience members that the project is a “race car sitting there revved and all ready to go,” just waiting for a full quorum at FERC to green light (or rather wave the green flag) so they can begin construction. Grech indicates the project is ready to go, and WILL go, as soon as FERC approves it. That is, if a lawsuit by the CORNballs doesn’t derail it…
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NG Advantage Virtual Pipe “Done Deal” in Broome County, Antis Stymied

MDN recently told you about a proposed “virtual pipeline” (i.e. trucking system) coming to MDN’s neighborhood. NG Advantage wants to build a new compressor station and tap into the Millennium Pipeline where it crosses the Chenango River near Port Dickinson, a suburb of Binghamton, in Broome County (see NG Advantage Virtual Pipeline May be Coming to MDN’s Backyard). NG already has three businesses lined up to buy CNG (compressed natural gas) from the project. So-called “virtual pipelines” compress natural gas and load it onto tanker trucks, and then distribute that gas to businesses that are not fortunate enough to be located near a natgas pipeline. It’s a cool concept that bypasses anti-drilling objections to pipelines. However, virtual pipelines have one negative side-effect for local residents: lots of truck traffic. Fenton’s Planning Board recently approved the project and although we thought it wasn’t quite yet a done deal, apparently it is a done deal, as a small group of antis learned earlier this week at a Town of Fenton meeting. Town of Fenton Planning Board approval is all that’s required. The Fenton Town Board has no say in the matter. It’s “a done deal” according to a town official speaking at the meeting. MDN friend Vic Furman attended the meeting and filed a report. Vic says he faced down the antis following the meeting with some hard truth: the reason they now have to live with this virtual pipeline and the traffic it will generate…is because they objected to an in-the-ground pipeline (the Constitution). Vic said they grudgingly agreed that he’s right…
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Funny: Anti-Fracking Copycat Protest Camp in OH Lasts One Weekend

We’ve all heard and read about the massive protest camp that formed in North Dakota (see Dakota Access Pipeline Protesters Turn Violent; Coming Here Next?). When they finally left their illegal encampment, they left behind an ecological disaster–mountains of garbage–sticking federal taxpayers with a $1.1 million bill to clean it up. It cost the citizens of North Dakota $33 million in police, fire and safety personnel costs over the course of a year. And in the end–nothing. The pipeline is online and flowing oil even as you read this. It was all for nothing. One (of many) flashpoints in the Marcellus/Utica in recent months has been the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) auctioning of federal land in Wayne National Forest (WNF) to allow Utica drilling to begin there. WNF is a patchwork of mostly private, and some federal, mineral rights ownership. The little bit of land leased by the BLM will allow drillers to form units (with adjacent private land) big enough to drill under. Once again out-of-town/paid protesters planned to descend on WNF to protest the BLM sale of land there. It was billed as the next Dakota Access Pipeline camp. These out-of-towners were going to dig in like chiggers and stay for the duration, to make their point. What actually happened? A few showed up and camped for one weekend–then left. In other words, it was an “epic fail”…
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Homeless Shelter, Drug Program, Others Get PennEast Pipe Largesse

PennEast Pipeline has just released a list of 11 non-profit organizations receiving grants of “up to” $5,000 from the pipeline company. It’s not the first time (see our PennEast grant stories here). In fact, by our count, this is the eighth round of community grants given by PennEast. So far the company has handed out more than $600,000 to local organizations, making a huge difference in the communities where the pipeline is due to run. In this latest round: a homeless shelter, an anti-drug abuse campaign, and a number of first responders (police and fire departments). Here’s a rundown on the latest batch of groups to benefit from this important pipeline project…Continue reading

Southwestern Energy CFO Craig Owen Leaving for Rosehill Resources

Southwestern Energy, a huge driller which operates mainly in the Marcellus/Utica region, is losing its chief financial officer, Craig Owen, to a “non-competing” driller, Rosehill Resources. Rosehill drills in Texas and New Mexico, focusing on the giant Permian Basin oil play. Apparently Rosehill made Owen an offer he couldn’t refuse. We certainly don’t take this as bad news for Southwestern–other than losing a talented bean counter. It’s not an indication of problems at Southwestern–just somebody furthering his career. You can’t fault Owen for that. Meanwhile, Southwestern has hung out the “help wanted” sign for a new CFO, in case you know of someone…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Jun 9, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Ohio testing drinking water wells near Rover Pipeline; OH voters reject bailouts for nuclear power; OH Utica well permits recover in May; PA Senate approves bill to promote more use of natgas vehicles; WV severance tax helping budget deficit; the next big U.S. shale play; Shell tanker diverted from Qatar roils LNG market; and more!Continue reading