Enbridge Withdraws $3B Access Northeast Pipeline Application

Last December Spectra Energy pushed the pause button on their Access Northeast Pipeline project, a roughly $3 billion project in New England to connect four existing pipeline systems (with enhancements): Texas Eastern, Algonquin Gas Transmission, Iroquois and Maritimes & Northeast (see Spectra Energy Puts Access Northeast Pipe to New England on Hold). Spectra’s original strategy was to bring natural gas to New England by cutting deals with electric companies who need the gas to produce cheaper electricity at their natgas-fired power generation plants. However, the green environmental Nazis came out in force against the plan, (sadly) aided and abetted by Spectra’s competitors, and those plans are now in ruins with three states blocking any such plans. So Spectra changed strategies, targeting local natural gas distribution companies (LDCs) as potential customers (see Spectra Energy Changes Strategy re New England Pipeline). Spectra needs customers to sign on the dotted line–committing to long-term contracts–before they can raise the funding and build the project, so they pushed the pause button last December. Since that time, Spectra completed selling itself to Enbridge (see Spectra Energy is No More – $28B Merger with Enbridge Complete). So just to confuse things, the Access Northeast project is now an Enbridge project. Yesterday Enbridge sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the agency that oversees such projects, to officially withdraw the application. But the project is NOT dead. Enbridge says they will be back to file again–once the New England states get their energy policy crap together…
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OH Budget Bill Blocks Forced Pooling of Public Lands

Ohio is about to pass and adopt it’s latest biennial budget. Part of the budget bill includes language to exempt Ohio’s city and town parks from the state’s unitization (i.e. forced pooling) laws. In Ohio, if 65% of the landowners in a proposed unit have agreed to lease their land for oil or gas drilling, the other landowners in the unit can be forced to join the unit to allow drilling under (not on) their land. There are all sorts of requirements before forced pooling occurs, including a $10,000 fee paid by the driller, and a hearing to review efforts made to enroll said recalcitrant landowners. But in the end, it is possible to force landowners who don’t want drilling, to have it. The justification is that those who don’t want it are harming those who do want it by not agreeing to join the unit. Should the action of someone with a few acres deny benefits to all of his neighbors? We’re not saying we support the concept of forced pooling–just giving you our best interpretation of the arguments used to support it. We understand those arguments. We also understand the sanctity of private property. Until now, local towns and municipalities in Ohio were treated like any other landowner. But now, with the new budget, they will get a special exemption. Local municipalities cannot be forced to participate–unless they want to participate–in a drilling unit…
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Noble Energy Exits Marc/Utica, Sale to HG Energy Closes for $1.1B

In May, Noble Energy dropped a bombshell that it is selling its 100% interest in 385,000 Marcellus/Utica acres and wells producing 415 million cubic feet equivalent of natural gas in West Virginia and Pennsylvania for $1.225 billion to “an undisclosed buyer” (see Noble Energy Sells Remaining M-U Assets for $1.2B – Who Bought?). Noble will use the money from the sale to pay down essentially all of the debt the company incurred from its recent $2.7 billion purchase of Clayton Williams Energy–a deal that expanded Noble’s “core Delaware Basin position” (i.e. the Permian Shale in Texas, an oil play). At the time of the announcement, MDN was the only news source that correctly identified the “undisclosed buyer”–which is HG Energy (headquartered in Parkersburg, WV), backed with money from investment firm Quantum Energy Partners. Noble didn’t identify the buyer until earlier this week, when they issued another announcement that the deal is now done. In this latest announcement, Noble did identify HG Energy as the buyer. An interesting aside: The original announcement pegged the deal at $1.225 billion. In the end, it turned out to be $1.125 billion–$100 million less than the original asking price…
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Ambulance Service Sues Rice Energy for $27K re Jan. Well Pad Fire

In January, MDN reported on a well pad fire at Rice Energy’s Papa Bear well pad in Somerset Township (Washington County), PA (see Explosion & Fire at Rice Energy Drill Pad in Washington County, PA). Although no one was hurt, the explosion and fire ended up ruining six of the 20 pumps, and damaging four pumper trucks. As might be expected, local first responders were called to the scene, including four ambulances from Bearcat EMS Inc. Following the initial incident, Bearcat sent a bill to Rice for $26,742 to cover their costs of responding. Rice responded that they didn’t call Bearcat, and that Bearcat didn’t actually do anything, so they don’t owe them a penny. Bearcat, in paperwork filed in a lawsuit against Rice, says even though they didn’t help Rice personnel/contractors, they did provide services to other EMS staff at the scene, over a four-hour period. Therefore, pay up. The matter now sits in court…
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Former Atlas Energy Owners Resurface with New ‘Blank Check’ IPO

Atlas Energy, a once-major driller in the Marcellus Shale, sold much of their Marcellus operations to Chevron in 2011 (see India’s RIL Loses Bidding War for Atlas Energy – $4.3 Billion Deal with Chevron Goes Forward). The Cohen family that runs the company is interesting and colorful. They bought into the company in the 1990s and happened to be in the right place at the right time, just prior to the discovery of the Marcellus (see The Unconventional Rise & Sale of Atlas Energy). In October 2014, the Cohens did it again. Talk about perfect timing! The Cohens sold more of what was left–for a truly astonishing $7.7 billion–to Targa Resources Partners, just prior to the crash of natgas prices (see Atlas Energy/Pipeline Sells Itself (Again) – for $7.7 BILLION!). However, what was left of Atlas hit a few bumps in the road. The company’s stock was de-listed on the New York Stock Exchange and last July Atlas Resource Partners (subsidiary) filed for bankruptcy (see Atlas Resource Partners Filing for Bankruptcy Tomorrow). The company that emerged from bankruptcy was renamed Titan Energy, which put up a huge block of Marcellus/Utica acreage for sale earlier this year (see Titan Energy Puts 494K Appalachian Acres Up for Sale). The Cohens have turned up again. They are offering shares in a new “blank check” company called Osprey Energy, looking to raise $250 million to buy up distressed oil and gas companies. What’s a “blank check” company? We’ll explain…
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Trump Taps Former Wind Energy Lobbyist for FERC Post

Earlier this month MDN reported that extreme partisan Sen. Chuck Schumer had recommended to the White House that Richard Glick, a current a Senate staffer (i.e. swamp dweller) and former lobbyist for the wind industry, should succeed Democrat Colette Honorable as the second Democrat commissioner on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (see Dems Pick Wind Lobbyist for FERC Appointment). Today is Honorable’s last day on the job. At the time, Glick’s nomination was still just a rumor. The White House refused to comment so as to not “get ahead of an official announcement.” We advised Team Trump to give it a pass. They didn’t listen. Yesterday it became official–Trump will nominate Glick for the post. Which is (in our opinion) sad…
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NatGas and Coal Go to War in Central Illinois

For years now, coal and natural gas have been uneasy allies (both being fossil fuels). As mainstream media has endlessly covered, natural gas increasingly displaces coal to generate electricity. That has led to some situations of open sniping between the two camps. Coal wants to protect what’s left of its shrinking market, natural gas pushes the fact that it’s far cleaner to burn than coal. Back and forth it goes. Both camps realize they are under assault by radical environmentalists who desire to end the use of all fossil fuels, no matter how “clean” they are. We spotted an article about a clash between coal and natural gas in Illinois. There are a lot of coal mines near Springfield, IL. EmberClear wants to build a $1 billion, 1,100 megawatt combined-cycle natural gas-fired plant about 15 miles from Springfield. Coal sees it as a direct assault and will lead to the closing of local mines and the loss of jobs. EmberClear isn’t backing down–they will build even without tax breaks. The whole matter appears to us to have progressed from impolite talk and sniping into a full-blown war…
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PA Budget Massively Overspends, Increases Pressure for Sev. Tax

Pennsylvania does not have a revenue problem–it has an overspending problem. Once again the Republican-majority legislature in PA is caving to the siren song/pressure of wild-spending, liberal Democrats and will pass a budget that is $2 billion over the revenue they can reasonably expect–sprinkled with giveaways like an extra $100 million for teachers unions–and beginning next week the Republicans will face a barrage of media stories and pressure to create a severance tax to help make up the difference. Already we’re seeing stories about the need for a “fair gas tax” and that a severance tax is “long overdue.” What about passing a “fair budget” that doesn’t overspend? What about “fiscal responsibility” that’s long overdue? Where are those stories? And, when will Republicans learn to quit playing the Dem’s game?…
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President Trump Unveils 6 Energy Initiatives, Half Involve NatGas

This week has been “Energy Week” at the White House, and yesterday President Trump (we just love saying that, “President Trump”) announced six new initiatives not to just make America energy independent, but to make America energy dominant. We love that too! Energy DOMINANT. Throughout the world. Number one. One of the six initiatives in Trump’s plan was the announcement that Sempra Energy is in negotiations with South Korea to sell them our LNG (liquefied natural gas, see more on that below). That’s a good thing! No doubt some of the gas heading to the Korean peninsula will come from the Marcellus/Utica. Another of the six initiatives announced yesterday is approval for two applications to export LNG from Louisiana. And a yet another initiative involves more offshore drilling for oil and gas. So half of the initiatives announced somehow impact or relate to natural gas (two of which also impact Marcellus/Utica). Here’s the full list of six initiatives announced yesterday in a speech by President Trump…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Jun 30, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Natgas jobs continue climbing in OH, WV; Shale Academy gears up for a new year; Virginia wants more natgas; will central banks derail shale?; National Geographic lies about methane; tourism goes up in shale areas; BHP sorry they invested $20B in shale; “unstoppable” renewables keep stopping; an “dominating” energy policy; with OPEC weak, it’s now Russia v US; and more!
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