Ohio Utica Production 1Q17 – Oil Down Again, NatGas Up Again

The Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) has just issued production numbers for the first quarter of 2017. The bad news is that oil production continued to slide in 1Q17, down 29% from the same quarter in 2016. However, that’s an improvement from 4Q16 when oil production was down 44% (see Ohio Utica Production 4Q16 – Oil Down, NatGas Up). So oil is down, percentage-wise, but down less than last quarter. The good news continues to be natural gas production, which was up 13% over the same period in 2016, which is in line with last quarter when it was up 14% over the same period in the previous year. Eclipse Resources dominated the top 5 spots on the natural gas production list, all of those wells drilled in Monroe County (with 3 of the top 5 being on one well pad–the Holliday pad). Ascent Resources continued to dominate oil production with 20 of the top 25 most productive wells. However, Eclipse had the #1 most productive oil well, which continues to be the record-breaking Purple Hayes (was the longest on-shore lateral well in the world, until Eclipse drilled another longer one, in Ohio). Purple Hayes is the gift that keeps on giving, quarter after quarter. Below we have the ODNR’s high level overview of the numbers, along with MDN’s own exclusive analysis showing: the top 25 producing gas wells, the top 25 producing oil wells, and then the top 25 gas and oil wells as ranked by average production per day. There is a difference…
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Details on New Marcellus-Fired Electric Plant Coming to Robinson Twp

In delicious irony, Robinson Township (Washington County), PA, one of the original seven selfish towns that sued Pennsylvania and eventually won at the PA Supreme Court, overturning a portion of the state’s 2012 Act 13 shale drilling law (granting towns the right to self-regulate some aspects of oil and gas drilling by using onerous zoning ordinances), is about to get a new Marcellus gas-fired electric plant. That is, a plant that burns the stuff they don’t like drilled. In April, MDN shared a list of five new Marcellus gas-fired plants coming in Southwestern PA (see 5 Big & Small Marcellus-Powered Electric Plants Coming in SWPA). In that list was a project called Beech Hollow Power Plant, to be built by Robinson Power Co. LLC. Other than a mention the plant would generate 950 megawatts of electricity (later revised to 1,000 MW), we really didn’t have any details. Until now. The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued a press release last week to say a public hearing will be held on July 12 at the Fort Cherry Jr./Sr. High School Auditorium in McDonald, PA to accept comments on the project. In issuing the press release, the DEP also posted a couple of documents filed by Robinson Power in applying for the project. It’s pretty much everything you would want to know about the project, chapter and verse. We have it for you below…
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NEPA Landowners Fight to Sue Chesapeake’s Partners

We’re going to take a stab at this, and we are not confident we will get it 100% right. With that as a warning, we recently reported that a case brought by landowners in northeastern PA against Chesapeake Energy over unwarranted royalty deductions suffered a bit of a setback (see Chesapeake Scores Court Victory to Prevent PA Royalty Class Action). Essentially, the landowners (in this case Scout Energy) argued that since the leases signed say royalty disputes must go to arbitration, we want mass arbitration. A class action, in other words. In May, U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann of the Middle District of Pennsylvania (overseeing the case) issued an opinion that said Chesapeake is right in demanding each case get arbitrated individually–not as part of a class action. The landowners in four cases (all of which seem to be joined, or at least moving along together) filed briefs last week to make a new argument. And here’s where we are not 100% sure, but we think the argument is this: OK, we have to go to arbitration and now it has to be individually. However, there are other defendants named in the case (Anadarko, Williams, Statoil, Mitsui E&P). Since the lease language says the lease is between the landowner and the driller (i.e. Chesapeake), that means the other defendants are NOT covered by the arbitration clause and we (the landowners) can still sue them as a class action. Why? Because (allegedly) those companies colluded together with Chesapeake to “reduce, restrain or eliminate competition for gas and mineral rights, operations rights and gathering serves in multiple counties in Northern Pennsylvania.” Oy vey! It keeps getting more complicated as the days go by…
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Sabal Trail Pipeline Begins Service Connecting M-U Gas to Florida

In April MDN provided an update on the Sabal Train Transmission pipeline project (see Marcellus/Utica Gas Soon Heading to Florida Penninsula via Sabal Trail). Spectra Energy (and partners NextEra Energy and Duke Energy) are building Sabal Trail, a $3.2 billion, 515-mile interstate natural gas pipeline in Florida, Georgia and Alabama to deliver Marcellus gas to the southeast. The project has been underway for the past three+ years. Sabal Trail will connect to Williams’ Hillabee Expansion Project, which is a new pipeline spur built off the huge Transco pipeline system (see Williams Building Alabama Pipeline with Marcellus Connection). Williams is reversing a portion of the Transco to bring Marcellus gas south, much of it to feed natgas-fired electric plants. The fantastic news is that last week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) authorized a partial startup of the Sabal Trail project and the Hillabee Expansion that will feed it…
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Mountaineer NGL Storage Facility in OH Not (Yet) Under Construction

In May MDN conveyed the news that it appears Mountaineer NGL Storage, which wants to build a new underground NGL storage facility in Monroe County, Ohio, near Clarington, along the Ohio River (see New Company Announces Open Season for NGL Storage in Ohio Utica), had, according to the story we read, begun construction (see Mountaineer NGL Storage Facility in OH Under Construction). Based on a new article (below), we believe that older story was in error. In October 2016, Mountaineer drilled and completed a test well in the salt formation (see Mountaineer NGL Storage Test in OH a Success, Construction in 2017). But in April of this year, Mountaineer said construction had not yet begun due to problems with red tape (see Mountaineer NGL Storage in Monroe County, OH Caught in Red Tape). A new interview with a company official who says nobody has (yet) signed on the dotted line to use the facility, and that is the holdup now…
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Radicals File Lawsuit Against WV DEP for Approving MV Pipeline

A group of profoundly radical “environmental” organizations filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit last Friday against the West Virginia Dept. of Environmental Protection–for doing their job. Sierra Club, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, Indian Creek Watershed Association, Appalachian Voices and Chesapeake Climate Action Network has sued the DEP because the department had the audacity to conduct a very thorough review, and then issue a stream and water-crossing permit (demanded under federal law) for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). MVP is a $3.5 billion, 301-mile pipeline that will run from Wetzel County, WV to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsylvania County, VA. The project, which filed an official application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in October 2015, is being built by EQT, NextEra Energy and several other partners. This is now SOP–standard operating procedure–for Big Green groups with deep pockets. Sue and keep suing in an attempt to slow and eventually kill off any project that remotely involves fossil fuels. Yes, they are RADICAL, they are EXTREME, waaaaaay outside the mainstream of American society. And they MUST BE STOPPED. When will someone launch weekly lawsuits against these Big Green organizations? Here’s the latest maddening development…
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MSC Tells PA DEP What it Thinks of Onerous New Methane Regs

In December 2016, 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 onerous (frankly, disastrous) 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) in February (see PA DEP Seeks Public Comment on Regs for Methane, Compressor Stns). The shale industry is calling this a potential 5-alarm fire–a direct threat to Marcellus drilling (see Unmasking PA DEP’s War on Shale via Methane Regulations). The Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) has raised awareness of this issue from the beginning, and attempted to work with the DEP to modify the rules. To no avail. The DEP presses forward. So the MSC filed their own official, specific objections to both GP-5 and GP-5A with the DEP last week. We scored a copy of those comments and have them below…
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Exxon Takes Aim at NY AG’s “Heads I Win, Tails You Lose” Witch Hunt

On Friday, Exxon Mobil took the gloves off and went after the out-of-control New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Last year Schneiderman decided he would try to shake down Exxon for billions of dollars, claiming the company wasn’t being honest with shareholders about the threat of man-made global warming, which doesn’t actually exist. He said Exxon should have done more to warn shareholders that they invest in a filthy, rotten, human-killing Big Oil company–a company whose stock will someday implode. We’ve covered Schneiderman’s witch hunt from the beginning (see our stories here). Schneiderman tried to enlist the assistance of other attorneys general, including the fruity Maura Healy from Massachusetts. Some (like Healy) have stayed with him, others abandoned him when it became obvious Scheiderman was behaving like Captain Ahab in Mody Dick, hunting his own great white whale. Schneiderman originally said Exxon underplayed the threat of global warming. Recently, he changed it up and now says Exxon has overplayed the threat. He’s desperate. On Friday, Exxon, in responding to this latest change in tactic, said Scheiderman is making “inflammatory, reckless and false allegations.” You don’t get any more plain-spoken than that! This is now a bare knuckles fist fight. We’re betting on Exxon…
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Reminder: Public Hearings This Week for Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline

Just a quick reminder that the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection is conducting four public hearings, beginning today and running through Wednesday, for the Williams Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project. If there is any way you can make it to one of the hearings to show your support for the project, do it! Below is the DEP announcement sharing the locations for the hearings. Today are two hearings, both from 6-9p, one in Tunkhannock and the other in Lancaster. Tomorrow the hearing is in Bloomsburg, and Wednesday in Annville. Come out to support this critical pipeline project…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, Jun 12, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Stonewall Group receives Telly Award for Shale Crescent ad; Overheated anti-fossil fuel rhetoric fooling young people, says Blacklight researcher; Rick Perry: ‘First-ever’ natural gas exports offer hedge against Russia; The tyranny of the administrative state; Working gas in storage jumps by triple digits; Effort to crush shale producers only made them stronger; and more!
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