Energy Transfer: Rover Phase 1A Done Next Week; ME2 Half Done

Those opposing two major Energy Transfer projects–Rover Pipeline and Mariner East 2–will not be happy with the good news coming from ET this week. The company issued its second quarter update and held a conference call yesterday. During the call we learned that Phase 1 of Rover, a $3.7 billion, 711-mile Rover Pipeline project that will run from PA, WV and eastern OH through OH into Michigan and eventually into Canada, is “substantially complete” with Phase 1A expected to be done next week and online asap. Phase 1A stretches from Cadiz to Defiance, which is most of Ohio. Phase 1B is a short segment from Seneca to Cadiz, and once ET gets clearance from FERC to drill horizontally under Captina Creek, it will only take them about 40 days to complete Phase 1B. If ET can convince FERC to allow them to restart more horizontal directional drilling (HDD) work, Phase 2 will be done soon as well–and the entire project will be up and running by the end of the year. More good news for Rover: The temporary ban on HDD work for Rover in two West Virginia counties that began two weeks ago has now been lifted by the WV Dept. of Environmental Protection. As for ET’s Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipeline project that stretches across Pennsylvania, 80% of the pipeline has been strung, more than 70% is welded and over half has been lowered in and covered up. As we reported yesterday and again today, ET subsidiary Sunoco Logistics Partners (building ME2) has brokered a deal with several radical environmental groups that will slow the project down some, but slow and done is better than no progress at all. Here’s an update on the good news about Rover and ME2…
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Gulfport Energy 2Q17: $106M Profit, Drills Northern Utica Well

Gulfport Energy, which is the second most active driller in the Ohio Utica, behind Chesapeake Energy, has (so far) drilled 303 Utica wells and owns 211,000 acres of leases in the Buckeye State. Gulfport, which drills mainly in the Utica (but also the SCOOP, in Oklahoma) reported their second quarter 2017 production numbers on July 31 (see Gulfport 2Q17: Most Active Utica Quarter Ever, 29 Wells Added). As we pointed out, they separate their production update from their financial update. On Tuesday the company turned in its financial report for 2Q17. The company done good–real good. A year ago, in 2Q16, Gulfport lost $340 million. This year, in 2Q17, Gulfport made $106 million in profit. Quite a turnaround–almost half a billion dollar swing in one year! On a conference call, Gulfport CEO Mike Moore mentioned they drilled their first Utica well in Jefferson County, OH–“our farthest northern well drilled to date.” Below are comments from this week’s conference call, along with a full 2Q17 update–production & financial…
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Rex Energy 2Q17: Sells Waterline, Deal with BP to Market NGLs

Earlier this week Rex Energy issued its second quarter 2017 update. During 2Q17 Rex drilled 2, completed 6 and put online into sales 4 wells in their Butler County, PA acreage. They also began drilling a new 4-well pad in Butler. In the company’s Carroll County, OH acreage, Rex drilled a 3 wells on a single pad. The big news from the update was a deal with BP to market Rex’s natural gas liquids (or C3+) production, and the sale of a water pipeline owned by Rex in Salineville, OH for $8 million. Rex’s finances didn’t do so well. In 2Q17 the company lost $10 million versus making a $16 million profit in 2Q16. Production picked up a bit, from 173.4 million cubic feet equivalent per day (MMcfe/d) in 1Q17 to 177.1 MMcfe/d in 2Q17. The official statement said 2Q17 production was “constrained” during the quarter “due to unplanned maintenance downtime in the company’s midstream services.” Which means they had hoped it would have been higher than 177.1 MMcfe/d. Looking forward to 3Q17 Rex says they plan to bring 12 new wells in Butler County online…
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Judge Approves Sunoco Deal w/Devil; Radical Groups Brag About Win

Yesterday MDN brought you the news that Sunoco Logistics Partners had cut a deal with the devil, meaning three radical Big Green groups, to slow down but eventually complete work on the Mariner East 2 natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline project in Pennsylvania (see Sunoco Strikes Deal with Devil, “Settles” with Anti Groups re ME2). The deal means Sunoco has to re-submit plans for underground horizontal direction drilling (HDD) in 47 locations to the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) for review. The DEP will then get 21 days to review those re-worked plans. But the plan needed to be blessed by Environmental Hearing Board Judge Bernard Labuskes Jr. first. Yesterday Judge Labuskes gave the plan his stamp of approval. Now the three Big Green groups–Clean Air Council, Mountain Watershed Association, and Delaware Riverkeeper Network–are bragging about their victory. High-fiving each other and taking pot shots at the DEP and one of their own–Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf. Wolf is not “pure” enough for Big Green nutters. Only a complete shut-down of the project would be acceptable, which Wolf does not support. However, the Big Greeners are pragmatic. They’ll take half a loaf–in this case slowing the project down…
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OH Law May Keep 7th Anti-Frack Measure Off Youngstown Nov. Ballot

In May, MDN told you that virulent anti-drillers in Youngstown, OH, puppets of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), have once again circulated a petition to put a so-called Community Bill of Rights ballot measure on the ballot this November (see Youngstown Antis Seek to Legalize Anarchy with 7th CELDF Petition). The same people have tried six times before–and the ballot measure failed every single time. However, this time is different. In addition to the usual no fracking, no pipelines pablum, this 7th petition has language that makes it legal to break the law. If the ballot measure were to pass, and if an anti got it into her head to sit in front of a bulldozer that was about to clear ground for a wellpad, or dig a trench for a pipeline, the police would not be able to arrest and remove the anti. It would be within her rights to sit there and block legal, legitimate activity–all in the name of saving Mom Earth. It would create mob rule. The sad news is that the petition garnered enough signatures to appear on the ballot this November (see Youngstown Frack Ban Vote on November Ballot – for 7th Time). The happy news is that under a new Ohio state law giving county boards of elections more discretion, the Mahoning County Board of Elections will almost certainly block the measure from appearing on the November ballot–because the anti-frack ballot measure conflicts with established state law that only the state can regulate the oil and gas industry…
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NEPA School w/2 Marcellus Wells in “America’s Best High Schools” List

In 2014 MDN told you about a rural school district in northeastern Pennsylvania–the Elk Lake School District in Susquehanna County–that had (gasp) drilled two Marcellus Shale wells right on the school campus (see Rural NE PA School Nets $1.7M in Royalties from 2 Marcellus Wells). Not only does that tiny school district still rake in the royalties, they also heat with natural gas (see Elk Lake School LOVES Their 2 Marcellus Shale Wells & Gas Heat). Now comes word that Elk Lake SD is in an elite group–recognized by U.S. News & World Report as among the top 6,041 “Best High Schools in America” for 2017. The U.S. News rankings look at data on more than 22,000 public high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia. Schools were awarded gold, silver or bronze medals based on their performance on state assessments and how well they prepare students for college. Elk Lake made the cut–getting a bronze award–putting them in the top tier of schools in the country. We mention it for two reasons: (1) The revenue Elk Lake gets from their gas wells, and from saving money on heating with gas, is likely a big contributor to Elk Lake’s success; and (2) other school districts, like the Mars School District in Butler County, PA (adamantly opposed to shale drilling 3/4 of a mile away) can learn something from Elk Lake…
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Making the Case for MORE NatGas, via Pipelines, in Massachusetts

We wonder if the residents of Massachusetts, which is hellbent on blocking ANY new natural gas pipeline–local or interstate–know that since the year 2000 some 200,000 Massachusetts households have switched to/added natural gas for heating and other uses. We also wonder if Mass. residents know that the the Brayton Point coal plant in Somerset, a plant that closed two months ago, provided enough power to keep the lights on for 1.5 million Mass. residents. Or that the sole surviving nuclear power plant in Plymouth, the Pilgrim nuclear plant, is closing in two years. And that 11 more electric generating plants (coal-fired) in the region are in danger of closing over the next few years. It doesn’t take a lot of brain power to predict (a) electric rates will go even higher for New England residents, people already paying 4x what other areas of the country pay for electricity, and (b) at some point there just won’t be enough electricity, meaning brownouts and blackouts. Singing kumbaya and fantasizing that wind mills and solar panels (which make up less than 3% of our national electric supply) will ride in to save the day is dangerously stupid. Stephen Dodge, executive director of the Massachusetts Petroleum Council, makes a convincing case for more natural gas via pipelines in New England…
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US Exports Now 2.4% of NatGas Production, Heading for 11% in 2019

A sharp MDN reader recently brought to our attention some exciting news. The only export facility currently in operation is Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass facility. In July Sabine Pass (in southwestern Louisiana, right on the border with Texas) exported 2.19 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of American-produced natural gas to other countries. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that in May (most recent month available) the entire production of natural gas in the U.S. was 89.5 Bcf/d. When you run the math, you find that Cheniere alone, with that one facility, exported 2.4% of all U.S. natgas production. The EIA published an article yesterday (below) that predicts the U.S. will become a net exporter of natural gas–exporting more than we import–THIS YEAR. EIA also predicts by the end of 2019 we will be exporting 9.5 Bcf/d of natural gas. If overall production stays about the same, which is a pretty safe guess, that means we will be exporting 10.6% of the natgas we produce, to other countries. Amazing! Of course, production may increase as prices increase, so that 10.6% may be under 10%. But you get the idea. With just LNG exports alone an important new market is opening up over the next two years for our shale gas. One of those export facilities coming online (later this year) is Cove Point, Maryland, which will be exporting Marcellus/Utica gas…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Thu, Aug 10, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Report says Northern Access Pipe won’t hurt wildlife; IOGA WV names new president; Bechtel completes Driftwood LNG study; is Shell’s “lower oil price forever” sentiment unrealistic; new WOTUS rule will provide clarity says EPA; Dear Millennials – Big Oil is not the enemy; and more!
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