EnerVest Pushes Back Against WSJ “Bust” Story

Earlier this week MDN brought you the news, via a Wall Street Journal article, that EnerVest, a huge private equity firm with its fingers in many shale (and conventional) pies across the U.S., has gone bust (see EnerVest Goes Bust, from $2 Billion to $0 – Impact in M-U?). However, when you peel back the onion, the story of EnerVest and their investments in various plays is much more nuanced than the headline suggests. NGI’s ace reporter Carolyn Davis does a masterful job of deconstructing what is really going on. According to an extensive interview Carolyn had with EnerVest chief administrative officer, Ron Whitmire, the Journal got it wrong–at least with some of the key points made in their article. Whitmire said Wells Fargo and other banks are not looking to seize assets to satisfy their investment. He also explained the complicated structure of the company. It’s not just one company, EnerVest and their vast holdings are structured as more than a dozen companies. Although some of those companies are in trouble, the entire pie, according to Whitmire, is not in danger of bankruptcy. Whitmire sees two options at this point for the EnerVest mothership and its “peer” companies: sell, or recapitalize…
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Trial Date Set for Corruption re Wayawanda, NY CPV Power Plant

In September 2016, MDN brought you the sad news that the former head of external affairs and government relations for Competitive Power Ventures (CPV), Peter Kelly, was indicted for bribing New York Gov. Cuomo’s long-time top aide Joseph Percoco to get state approvals for CPV’s $900 million Valley Energy Center natural gas-fired electric generating plant in Orange County, NY (see NY NatGas-Fired Electric Plant an Inside Job for Corrupt Cuomo Aide). Both Kelly and Percoco were indicted. The trial date is now set, for Jan. 8, 2018. The Kelly/Percoco corruption was just one part of a much larger corruption scandal that threatens to taint Gov. Cuomo’s re-election campaign next year. The larger scandal involves something dubbed Buffalo Billions. Corruption runs so deep in New York, we feel filthy just reading about it. Yesterday a federal judge overseeing the larger case split the case in two. The part of the case involving the CPV bribe happens in January, while the Buffalo Billions case happens next May. We try to sort it all out below…
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MSC: PA Impact Fee Far Superior to a Quick Fix Severance Tax

Once again it’s necessary to counter the false narrative in Pennsylvania media that “Pennsylvania is the only state without a severance tax” and “a severance tax will magically fix our over budget mess.” Last week MDN brought you news that 12 so-called Republicans in the PA House were behind an effort to force a vote on a severance tax (see PA RINOs Pressure House Speaker to Allow Severance Tax Vote). The ring leader is Gene DiGirolamo, a RINOsaur (an old RINO, practically a fossil himself) from the Philly area. DiGirolamo has been agitating for a severance tax for more than five years. Responding to DiGirolamo and others braying for new severance tax, Marcellus Shale Coalition president Dave Spigelmyer sent a hard-hitting letter (fully copy below) on Tuesday to PA House Speaker Mike Turzai. Here’s just one fact from Dave’s letter, to set the record straight: “It is simply disingenuous for Rep. DiGirolamo and his colleagues to fail to acknowledge that Pennsylvania already has a tax on drillers – called the Impact Fee – which was enacted in 2012 and is levied on every unconventional natural gas producer in Pennsylvania. For context, Pennsylvania’s Impact Fee brought in more revenue in 2016 than the severance tax collections did in Ohio, West Virginia, Colorado and Arkansas combined.” Did you catch that? PA’s impact “tax” brought in more revenue that the severance taxes in four other major oil and gas producing states–combined. And yet the media, and RINOsaurs like DiGirolamo, persist in lying to the public and repeating, like a mantra, “We don’t have a severance tax, we don’t have a severance tax.” What they are really saying is that they don’t like how the tax revenue generated from the impact tax gets spent. DiGirolamo and his ilk would prefer to give the money away to teachers unions and other supporters–in political payoff–rather than have it go back to the communities where drilling happens, where there is an “impact” (hence the name). Here’s Dave’s hard-hitting, and very truthful, letter to Speaker Turzai, outlining the case against a new severance tax…
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Antis’ Fake Outrage at ME2 Construction “Spills,” Demand Stop Work

Anti fossil fuelers believe they have a new angle in their years-long war to prevent Sunoco Logistics Partners from building the Mariner East 2 twin pipelines across the state: drilling mud spills. When a pipeline company installs a new pipeline, the vast majority of pipe is laid in trenches. However, there are places (creeks, rivers, wetlands, roadways) where you can’t just dig a trench to lay the pipe. In those cases, you drill underground horizontally, something called horizontal directional drilling (HDD). When you drill through rock, you need drilling mud to cool the drill bit as it chews away. Drilling mud is typically bentonite, a non-toxic clay substance used to manufacture things like toothpaste, cosmetics and kitty litter. The only threat from bentonite is that it can smother aquatic life if enough is spilled. Or it can foul a water aquifer–making the water in your well cloudy for a period of time, until it settles. Such an instance recently happened in Chester County, when Sunoco’s drilling for ME2 fouled an aquifer, causing well water for some 15 homes to become temporarily unusable (see Sunoco Stops ME2 Drilling in Chester County Following Water Issue). Sunoco has agreed to run a nearby municipal water line to the affected homes. Sunoco is using HDD in a number of locations, to avoid disturbing surface structures. Along the way, a few gallons of benonite mud have gotten spilled here and there. Literally just a few gallons. But each time that happens, it must be reported. Big Green groups have gotten ahold of the reports and are now (via mouthpiece organizations like StateImpact Pennsylvania) proclaiming Sunoco has “already” experienced “61 drilling mud spills.” And based on that very misleading number (vast majority just a few gallons), those same Big Green organizations are demanding the Dept. of Environmental Protection’s Environmental Hearing Board close down construction, immediately. Stop all work on the pipeline–to give Big Green groups time to try and block the project permanently…
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DRBC’s Anti-Fracking Chickens are Roosting – PA Slashes Funding

For the past two years running, the Delaware River Basin Commission, a cooperative organization with five members–Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers–has received more than half a million dollars per year from PA as its dues to support the anti-drilling organization. The problem is, PA pays its full share, but states like NY and NJ consistently short-change the DRBC. PA Gov. Tom Wolf is a big DRBC fan. Wolf supports the DRBC’s ongoing ban of drilling in the Delaware River Basin–which unfairly denies landowners in Wayne and Pike counties (PA) from benefiting from Marcellus Shale drilling–Wolf’s own constituents. However, the DRBC’s gravy train from PA is now over. Gov. Wolf recently allowed the PA budget to pass, without his signature. Part of the budget bill whacks PA’s contribution to the DRBC to just $217,000 this year–less than half of what is has been getting. The effort to whack the DRBC came from PA representatives in northeastern PA, tired of the ongoing drilling ban. Looks like layoffs are coming to the DRBC. They don’t do a heck of a lot, so why not? Time to toss the bureaucrats out on their rear-ends…
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Organic Farm Manure Offered in Opposition to NEXUS in N. Ohio

We spotted an outrageously fake news story published in something called the Public News Service that quotes an organic farmer in northern Ohio who is opposed to the NEXUS Pipeline–a pipeline that won’t even cross her property. NEXUS is a $2 billion, 255-mile interstate pipeline that will run from Ohio through Michigan and eventually to the Dawn Hub in Ontario, Canada. It is a critically needed pipeline 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. The Ohio organic farmer claims a NEXUS compressor station a mile from her property “will create a toxic cloud” and ruin her crops. She also claims “toxins” leak from pipelines, and that compressor stations “contain dangerous cancer-causing chemicals.” Yes, any time you want to oppose something, throw out the “c” word, to make sure they get good and scared. Other problems caused by pipelines: livestock illness and death; spontaneous explosions; fires; mini-earthquakes. To which we say, what a load of organic bullcrap…
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O&G (Including Marcellus/Utica) Faces Big Hiring Challenge

A recent story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette points out the ups and downs of working in the oil and gas business. It is a cyclical business–with booms followed by busts. Always has been, always will be. When the shale industry took off some 10 years ago in PA, the industry couldn’t find enough people to fill the open positions. Then came a crash in prices two years ago, and along with it, massive layoffs. Not only in the Marcellus/Utica, but nationwide. According to Halliburton, a company that routinely hires tens of thousands, and then lays off tens of thousands, at the end of each cycle, when new hiring begins, some 30% of those who previously lost their jobs say “no thanks” to the industry when the help wanted signs go up again. Can you blame them? Thing is, we’re now beginning a new upswing in the hiring cycle. So the question is, will there be enough workers for the Marcellus/Utica region?…
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Frank Talk About Using Eminent Domain for Pipeline Infrastructure

Here at MDN we’ve always found the issue of using eminent domain for pipeline projects to be thorny. We see both sides of the issue, although we tend to favor the sacredness of one’s property. We tackled the issue back in May (see Dealing Honestly with Issue of Eminent Domain for Pipelines). Our conclusion, in part, was that landowners should understand that the pipelines are coming. Sometimes you can get a company to reroute around your property, or change the course of the pipeline through your property. But to do so, you need to begin early, when the first surveyors show up. Work WITH the company, not against it. If you think you can hire and attorney and prevent the pipeline from crossing your property–you’re not being realistic. We also suggested you should hire an attorney, not to oppose the pipeline, but to watch out for your best interests. We said, “Everybody wins when people are REASONABLE. Look for ways to meet in the middle and be reasonable about a pipeline project. Pipelines are important pieces of infrastructure. Nobody likes having to give up land for a road, or an electric transmission line. And nobody likes to give up land for a pipeline. But once a pipeline is in the ground and covered, you can still use the land for a great many purposes. Keep it in perspective and look for a reasonable solution.” We recently came across another voice on this issue. David Taylor is president of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association. He gives a refreshing perspective on the use of eminent domain for pipelines…
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This Anti-Pipeline Picture is Worth More than a Thousand Words

A very small group of anti-fossil fuelers recently gathered in Samson County, NC to spread lies about the Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) project. ACP is a $5 billion, 594-mile natural gas pipeline that will stretch from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina, bringing Marcellus and Utica Shale gas to the south. The meeting, which local media said had “more than 20” people in attendance, seemed to be mostly representatives from outside Big Green groups pedaling the same tired old lies about pipelines in general, and ACP in particular. Try as they might to spin the meeting as some sort of “movement” among the little guy, the picture accompanying the Dunn (NC) Daily Record can’t cover up the fact there were perhaps a dozen people in the audience–and it looked pathetic…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Thu, Jul 20, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Bringing jobs back to America’s “forgotten communities”; Lebanon County, PA zoning board denies anti challenge to Mariner East 1; WVNCC hosts oil & gas seminars next week; business and labor groups join hands to support Atlantic Coast Pipeline; Enterprise Products prevails in federal court against Energy Transfer Partners; NOAA admits methane emissions coming from cows, not fossil fuels; and more!
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