New Marcellus-Fired Electric Plant Coming in Clinton County, PA

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It seems like Marcellus gas-fired electric generating plants are popping up faster than early summer dandelions around Pennsylvania. However, appearances can be deceiving. Decisions and plans to build these vitally important energy infrastructure projects aren’t made at the drop of a hat. They take years. For example, we spotted an article about the groundbreaking for a new natgas electric plant in Clinton County, PA that will take place next year, in 2018. The $800 million Renovo Energy project (in Renovo, PA) is a 950 megawatt dual fuel (natural gas and ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD)) combined cycle electric generating plant proposed for the Renovo Industrial Park. Clinton County is located in central PA, surrounded by prolific Marcellus-producing counties including Lycoming, Centre and Tioga. This recent article is the first we had heard of the plant. However, the plant was first announced in April 2015. The official application for the project was filed with the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (along with an application fee of $29,700) in August 2015. Here is the information we could locate on this power plant, including the full application (with site plan), and a reference that plant will get its gas from the Dominion Transmission interstate pipeline…
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“Privileged White” Actor James Cromwell Jailed for Power Plant Protest

James Cromwell as Zefram Cochrane in Star Trek

Hollywood actor James Cromwell is not only a privileged, spoiled 77-year old, he’s also self-loathing–because he’s white. That’s what we take from an article appearing in People magazine and its interview with Cromwell, who starred in movies like Babe, The Sum of All Fears and (one our favorites), Star Trek: First Contact. Cromwell, a Manhattanite, maintains a home in Orange County, NY (i.e. “Upstate”). When Cromwell learned that an electric generating plant that burns evil fossil fuels (natural gas) would be built near his home, he thought he would do what all Hollywood stars thinks will work–shut the project down by protesting. You know, because he’s famous. What a dope. After initial court challenges went nowhere, CPV (Competitive Power Ventures) began building the $900 million Valley Energy Center project in Wawayanda, NY (see Orange County, NY Marcellus-Fired Electric Plant OK’d by Judge). In December 2015, Cromwell and a few star-struck sycophants got themselves arrested for illegally blocking the entrance to the construction site (see Actor James Cromwell Arrested Protesting NY Power Plant Site). The wheels of justice grind slowly, but finally, two years later, the “Wawayanda Six,” as they call themselves, were found guilty and ordered to pay a fine. Some of the six did, but Cromwell and a few others refused. So last Friday Cromwell went to jail, where he’s sitting right now, for a seven-day sentence. Prior to heading off to the clink, Cromwell gave an interview to People in which he says, among other things, that’s he’s “excited” to be going to jail. He then said this: “So yes, I’m excited. I’m excited because I will have had an experience that not a lot of privileged white people have, what it’s like to be in there. What that system does to people who have no choice of how long they’re in there — they’re not gonna be in there for a week, they’re gonna be in there for years.” Our translation: Cromwell hates himself because he’s white and he’s privileged. Which is kind of ironic–because he tried to stop a $900 million project that will benefit the unprivileged people living in his area (with jobs and local tax revenue) precisely by USING his white, privileged status. Talk about conflicted!…
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EnerVest Goes Bust, from $2 Billion to $0 – Impact in M-U?

Private equity firm EnerVest owns a lot of acreage and wells (most of them conventional) in the Marcellus/Utica region. In addition to investing in land and wells, EnerVest also has its own upstream subsidiary, EV Energy Partners. In March of this year, EnerVest put 360,621 acres of leases and 1,100 wells in the Appalachian Basin up for auction (see EnerVest Selling 1,100 Wells, 361K Acres in Appalachia). Bids were due by the end of March. We never heard the outcome, but judging from the EnerVest website (Acquisitions & Divestitures), we don’t think they sold anything. Why go on about EnerVest and their Appalachian assets? Because EnerVest, which once had a value of $2 billion, is now worth nothing. Zero. Nada. Not because of their Appalachian assets, but because EnerVest took on heavy debt to finance purchases in oil plays–in Texas and Utah. Now investors, including pension funds and banks, have essentially lost their investments. They may see “pennies on the dollar” when it’s all over and done. So how does this affect the Marcellus/Utica?…
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PennFuture Tries to Bully Allegheny County re Lease Revenue

The true colors of PennFuture, a radical anti-drilling group, are now revealed for all to see. In June, MDN warned you that Big Green groups like PennFuture are attempting to “weaponize” a recent PA Supreme Court ruling (see PA Anti Strategy: Weaponize Recent Court Ruling Against Shale Dev). The Supremes, in a sharply divided decision, sided with a virulent anti-drilling group, the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation, against the state, saying that any revenue generated from leasing and drilling on *state-owned land* must be used solely for conservation and the environment (see PA Supreme Court Hands Antis Partial Victory re State Land Drilling). The decision is based on the Oil and Gas Lease Fund Act, which states any revenue from oil and gas leases (and signing bonuses) generated for the Commonwealth (that is, for the state of Pennsylvania) “shall be placed in a special fund to be known as the ‘Oil and Gas Lease Fund’ which fund shall be exclusively used for conservation, recreation, dams, or flood control or to match any Federal grants which may be made for any of the aforementioned purposes” (see Radical Enviros Now the Tail Wagging the PA DCNR Dog re Funding). Radical groups have wasted no time. PennFuture is now bullying Allegheny County (Pittsburgh area) by saying any revenue raised by leasing county land for drilling, like parks and airports, must be spent on Big Green causes groups like PennFuture approves of, and not anything else. Which is ludicrous. However, they are citing the recent Supreme Court decision and using it as a bludgeon to force a change in the way lease revenues are spent. In other words, those revenues are now a poison pill. If municipalities like counties and local towns can’t spend lease money the way they want, it removes the incentive to lease those properties in the first place…
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Rover Pipeline’s Phase 1 In-Service Date Slips to “Late Summer”

As recently as July 7th, Energy Transfer Partners, builders of the mighty 711-mile Rover Pipeline project that will run from PA, WV and eastern OH through OH into Michigan and eventually into Canada, said that a portion of Phase 1–from Cadiz, OH to Defiance, OH–will be completed and go online this month, in July (see ETP Says Much (Not All) of Rover Phase I Will Go Online in July). But then the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) sent ET a pretty hefty todo list on July 12th (see Frustrated FERC Gives Rover Todo List, HDD Drilling Still Blocked). ET has finally changed its tune–and target date. The company now says Phase 1 will not be completed and online until “late summer”…
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Rover Still in Hot Water w/FERC Over Demolishing This Old House

In May 2015, Rover purchased a house in Carroll County, OH, located near where the pipeline, and a compressor station for that pipeline, is due to run. Rover bought the house to use for offices for several Rover affiliate companies. After buying it, Rover determined the house was “ill-suited for its intended purpose” and decided to demolish it. Problem was/is, that house was under consideration to be added to the National Register of Historic Places. The house was not yet on the list of Historic Places, but was on a list of properties under consideration. Their action in demolishing the house landed Rover in hot water with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (see Rover Pipeline in Hot Water Over Demolishing Historic House in OH). FERC said Rover should have reported their decision to demolish the house. Rover had to pay a “fine” of $2.3 million “to a fund administered by the Ohio History Connection Foundation and the State Historic Preservation Office” (see Rover Pipeline Paying $2.3M for Knocking Down Historic OH House). The thing that rankles is that the Ohio History Connection Foundation and its Ohio State Historic Preservation Office is a PRIVATE nonprofit organization–it’s not even a true state agency! At any rate, Rover paid their hush money, so that’s the end of it, right? Wrong. Last week FERC issued a “Staff Notice of Alleged Violations” related to this old house. The notice says Rover “did not fully and forthrightly disclose all relevant information.” FERC also said, “Rover falsely promised it would avoid adverse effects to a historic resource that it was simultaneously working to purchase and destroy.” In other words, we’re not done with you yet…
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Why Corp Raider Jana Won’t Succeed in Derailing EQT/Rice Deal

One of our favorite oil and gas analysts, Richard Zeits, says it’s a long shot at best that the corporate raiders at Jana Partners will be able to scuttle EQT’s planned purchase of Rice Energy. In June, EQT announced a deal to buy out Rice Energy for $6.7 billion in cash and stock, and assume $1.5 billion in debt, for a total deal price of $8.2 billion (see EQT Buys Rice Energy in $8.2B Deal, Becomes #1 Gas Producer in US). A few weeks later so-called “activist investor” (i.e. corporate raider) Jana Partners, in league with the Cohen family (Atlas Energy) started a proxy fight to block EQT’s takover/merger with Rice Energy (see Proxy Fight: Jana Partners, Atlas Tries to Stop EQT/Rice Deal). Instead of buying Rice, Jana is demanding that EQT split itself into two companies–upstream (drilling) and midstream (pipelines). These kinds of machinations are far above our understanding when it comes to high finance. However, there is a guy who eats, sleeps and breathes this stuff–Richard Zeits of OIL ANALYTICS. In an analysis piece on the Seeking Alpha investors website, Zeits says, “Jana’s activism is unlikely to derail” the deal. Here’s his reasoning…
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EIA July Drilling Rpt: US & M-U Production Hit New Record Highs

Yesterday, MDN’s favorite government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), issued our favorite monthly report–the Drilling Productivity Report (DPR). The DPR is the EIA’s best guess, based on expert data crunchers, as to how much each of the U.S.’s seven major shale plays will produce for both oil and natural gas in the coming month. Get ready to break new records once again. In August we will hit the highest output of shale gas we’ve seen, ever. All seven major plays will produce an amazing 52.8 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas, and 5.6 million barrels of oil per day. Both numbers are up from July when it’s expected we will produce 52.0 Bcf/d of gas and 5.5 million barrels of oil. US shale continues to surprise and delight Americans, and confuse and confound OPEC. Which is just how we like it. In August, the Marcellus Shale is project to get a huge jump–one of the biggest we’ve seen, up 201 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) to a new Marcellus record of 19.75 Bcf/d of production. The Utica will go up 104 MMcf/d to 4.55 Bcf/d of natgas production. Truly impressive! Here’s the latest version of our favorite report…
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Mark Zuckerberg Goes Fracking in North Dakota, Antis Have Meltdown

Mark Zuckerberg is the very wealthy and quite young founder and CEO of Facebook. As is typical of his generation and in the tech world, Zuckerberg is a flaming liberal. But you have have to give the guy credit. He not only founded Facebook, he grew it–to one of the biggest companies (value-wise) in the world. And he hasn’t screwed it all up. So he’s learned something. He’s teachable. Apparently Zuckerberg thinks if someone like Donald Trump can win the presidency, he might be able to himself. So Zuck has been traveling across the county, visiting various companies/factories/etc. Last week the Zuck was in North Dakota, visiting the Bakken Shale. Which may seem unusual. Zuckerberg is a big renewables guy. However, Zuckerberg wanted to see fracking, its workers and the communities around it, first-hand. He cautioned against the dangers of “demonizing” people who work in the fossil fuel industry. You know, our opinion of Zuck just went up a few notches. Maybe this kid can learn. He’s keeping an open mind. But of course some of his biggest fans, anti-drilling snowflakes, had a meltdown and took to social media to castigate their former hero…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Tue, Jul 18, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: M-U rig counts double those of a year ago; natgas is saving farms and building communities in PA; discrimination lawsuit in the Marcellus; it’s not your father’s Haynesville Shale; China opening up to US oil; why nuclear is going bust; electric vehicles, breakout or breakdown; drilling costs starting to rise; and more!
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