PA Senate Slips Anti-Landowner Measure into State Budget Bill

Not only did the Pennsylvania Senate pull a real boner by voting for a severance tax and gross receipts tax (see Traitorous PA Senate Republicans Pass Severance Tax Bill), they also slipped another provision in the PA budget bill that, until now, has gone unnoticed. This new provision has big implications for both landowners and drillers. The Senate slipped in Section 1610 (see the language below) which changes established lease law with respect to oil and gas wells that no longer produce anything. Under existing law, when an oil or gas well stops producing–and the landowner quits getting royalty checks–the lease is considered terminated. Done. Finished. Under Section 1610, drillers can resurrect those dead leases under a couple of conditions. If the landowner doesn’t officially state “your lease is now dead since you’re not producing anything” a driller quick-like-a-bunny restarts production at the well and sends the landowner a check, it would re-start (or continue) the existing lease with its existing terms. Or if the driller sends a notice to the landowner stating its intention to drill a new well on the property, and if the landowner doesn’t object (given a 3-month time limit), the driller is free to begin drilling a NEW well, under the OLD lease terms. Section 1610 really stinks, in our humble opinion. It means a driller can drill a new shale well after an old conventional/vertical well quits producing–without having to sign a new lease or pay a new bonus or negotiate a new royalty rate. Doesn’t seem right to us!…
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Businesses Learn How to Get a Piece of $6B Shell Cracker Pie

As the mighty $6 billion Shell ethane cracker begins construction in Beaver County, PA, plenty of local (and regional) businesses are asking the question: How can we get in on the action? How can we win contracts for goods and services? The Beaver County Chamber of Commerce aimed to help answer that question yesterday at a 3-hour event held at the Club at Shadow Lakes. The “Doing Business in the Era of Shell” seminar drew a crowd of 300+. Some of the speakers were from Louisiana–where they went through a similar process when SASOL built an $11 billion petrochemical project there. Here is some of the wisdom passed along to those who attended…
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DC Court of Appeals Legislates New Law re FERC & Global Warming

Yesterday the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled in a case that may have long-term, very negative consequences for the oil and gas industry related to pipeline development. The profoundly litigious (and anti-fossil fuel) radicals of the Sierra Club previously filed a lawsuit against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) blaming FERC for not considering mythical man-made global warming as it conducted a review of three pipelines in the southeast. The Southeast Market Pipelines Project is an umbrella project for three natural gas pipelines in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. The linchpin of the project is the Sabal Trail pipeline, which travels from Tallapoosa County in eastern Alabama, across southwestern Georgia, and down to Osceola County, Florida, just south of Orlando (nearly 500 miles). Sabal Trail will connect with two other pipelines. The first is the Hillabee Expansion, which will boost the capacity of an existing pipeline in Alabama and feed gas to Sabal Trail’s upstream end for transport to Florida. The downstream end of Sabal Trail connects to the Florida Southeast Connection, linking to a power plant in Martin County, Florida, 120 miles away. MDN has covered Sabal Trail and the Hillabee Expansion because of its potential to flow Marcellus/Utica gas all the way to Florida (see Williams Hillabee Project Goes Online, NatGas Flowing to Florida). The Sierra Club nutters said the three projects together didn’t take into consideration an increase in carbon and methane that would result from the three projects getting approved, and that said carbon and methane will contribute to (don’t laugh) global warming. The D.C. Court of Appeals agreed (copy of the decision below) and has instructed FERC to reconsider its environmental assessment of the three projects–vacating an approval of the main part of the project, the Sabal Trail pipeline. Just one teeny tiny problem (for the nutters), all three pipelines–Sabal Trail, Hillabee Expansion and Florida Southeast Connection–are up and running. While the radicals hope the three will now be shut down, that’s unlikely to happen. Frankly, it’s all a mess at this point with respect to those specific pipelines and their future. The larger consideration coming from this court decision, however, is for projects not yet FERC approved, including (according to the Sierra Club) the PennEast Pipeline, which they sincerely hope FERC will now not approve…
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PTT Global Buying Land Next to Proposed Ohio Cracker Site

Work is now underway on Shell’s $6 billion ethane cracker in Beaver County, PA. What’s the status of the region’s second likely cracker plant, in Ohio? PTT Global Chemical previously announced they are interested in building a $5 billion petrochemical complex, including an ethane cracker, in Belmont County, OH at the site of the old R.E. Burger power plant. However, they have repeatedly said a “final investment decision” (FID) will not happen until the end of 2017. This is the same routine Shell used. In fact, Shell dragged out their FID a lot longer than PTT has. As with Shell, we look for signals that the FID will be a positive decision to move forward with construction. And as with Shell, we see those positive signs. Shell purchased the land for the site before announcing their FID. As we told you last month, PTT has now done the same–buying the former R.E. Burger site from FirstEnergy for $13.8 million (see PTT Global Buys Land for Belmont, OH Ethane Cracker Plant). Shell then bought some of the surrounding land next to the original site. And now we see the same behavior from PTT, which has signed option agreements to buy land from eight properties in the area close to the R.E. Burger site. We take that as a VERY good sign about the future of this project…
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FERC Issues Rover 8 Commandments to Restart Horizontal Drilling

Rover is a $3.7 billion, 711-mile natural gas pipeline that will run from PA, WV and eastern OH through OH into Michigan and eventually into Canada. While Phase 1A of the pipeline is essentially done and ready to begin service by the end of this month (see Rover Pipe Ready to Flow! Seeks FERC Permission for Aug 31 Start), other important parts of the pipeline are not done. If Rover wants the entire pipeline to be up and running by the end of the year, they must restart underground horizontal directional drilling (HDD) in various locations where it is now stopped. In Ohio, Rover experienced a series of mishaps, the most serious of which spilled 2 million gallons of non-toxic drilling mud in a swamp near the Tuscarawas River back in April (see Rover Pipeline Accident Spills ~2M Gal. Drilling Mud in OH Swamp). An investigation by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) found the presence of diesel fuel in the drilling mud, which means the mud wasn’t so non-toxic after all (see OH EPA Says Diesel Fuel Found in Rover 2M Gal Drilling Mud Spill). Rover believes sabotage may have been the cause (see ET Says Accident or Anti Sabotage Caused Diesel in Rover Mud Leaks). Since April, FERC has blocked all new underground HDD for the Rover project. Rover has asked (begged, pleaded) FERC, several times, for permission to restart the HDD work–at least in a few select locations. In July FERC gave Rover an initial todo list to get back in its good graces, but still would not lift the ban on HDD (see Frustrated FERC Gives Rover Todo List, HDD Drilling Still Blocked). FERC has finally responded with a list of eight (big) things Rover must do before HDD drilling can restart. We call them FERC’s Eight Commandments…
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Energy Transfer Sues Big Green Groups for Inciting Terrorism in ND

It’s about time our side litigated back! Energy Transfer, the company that built the Dakota Access Pipeline, filed a lawsuit yesterday against rabid, radical “green” organizations including Greenpeace, Earth First! and others, for manufacturing and disseminating “materially false and misleading information about Energy Transfer and the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) for the purpose of fraudulently inducing donations, interfering with pipeline construction activities and damaging Energy Transfer’s critical business and financial relationships.” Because of Greenpeace and other Big Green groups, DAPL was delayed, people were hurt during protests, violent acts were committed, property was damaged and the environment that the protesters profess to love was also damaged. It was a coordinated and organized attack against Energy Transfer, so the federal lawsuit is suing using federal and state racketeering statutes. Energy Transfer says Greenpeace led an organized effort to put eco-terrorists on the ground among regular protesters. Finally! Someone willing to call out these jerks and take the fight back to them! You may wonder why we cover this story here on MDN. Energy Transfer is also building the Rover and Mariner East 2 pipeline projects here in the Marcellus/Utica region. Both projects are vigorously opposed by Big Green groups with paid protesters. This lawsuit puts other Big Green groups on notice–your days of smearing and lying and agitating are over…
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Energy Attorneys Hint it’s ‘Lights Out’ for Constitution Pipeline

On Monday we brought you the sad news that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has ruled against the Constitution Pipeline and their lawsuit against the Cuomo-corrupted New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation (see Court Rejects Constitution Pipe’s Case Against NY DEC; Now What?). To boil it down to its essence, the court said the DEC had the right to reject issuing stream crossing permits for the critically-needed pipeline, even though it would shut down the project. That is, individual states have the right to stop a federally-approved project. Frankly, it’s distressing. The one sliver of light is that the DEC took too long to issue their rejection–more than the one year allowed. Constitution may be able to request an approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), overruling the DEC, because the law in question provides that if a state doesn’t issue (or reject) a permit within one year of application, FERC then has the right to issue the permit. So we might still win on a technicality. That’s our hope. But we spotted analysis of this court decision by two energy attorneys–people who work for drilling-friendly law firms. Their analysis is sobering. They hint (our words) that it is likely “lights out” for the Constitution–that the project will not get built. Are they right?…
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NY AG Schneiderman Takes Russian Oil Money, Attacks US Shale

NY AG Schneiderman

If this doesn’t beat all. New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has, for years, been at the center of a conspiracy to shake down Exxon Mobil by claiming the company “knew” that burning its fossil fuels would lead to man-made global warming, and that Exxon actively worked to suppress that knowledge in the public sphere. Earlier this year Schneiderman refused (still refuses) to turn over emails that show he has been colluding with Big Green groups and those who fund them in a conspiracy against Exxon (see NY’s AG Schneiderman Sowing the Seeds of His Own Destruction). It’s now time to remove Schneiderman from office. Evidence has come out that Schneiderman has accepted more than $60,000 from a Ukranian billionaire with ties to Russia’s big oil companies. That is, Scheiderman has taken campaign money (bribes?) from Russian oil–and turned around and attacked American oil and gas. Schneiderman is fully behind New York’s ban on fracking. He’s also in there fighting against natural gas pipelines. Scheiderman has also received a whopping $251,000 from liberal billionaire Communist George Soros (and the Soros family). Soros is another Exxon enemy. So how does that work Mr. Schneiderman? You take money from Russian Big Oil and Communists, only to turn around and attack America’s shale industry? Really? It’s corrupt, and Schneiderman needs to go, NOW…
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Radicals Admit #ExxonKnew Effort Aimed at Suppressing Free Speech

A radical activist “closely aligned” with the #ExxonKnew campaign to try and bankrupt the oil giant has admitted the campaign is not really about a “cover-up” by Exxon that it “knew” global warming is real and that its oil/gas is contributing. In a bombshell admission, Naomi Oreskes says the #ExxonKnew campaign is actually about punishing Exxon for arguing against specific Big Green climate policies–not about what the company “knew”. That is, she admits it is about removing Exxon’s right to free speech. Shutting them up. Bullying them into silence. This is how free speech dies folks–when the fascist left demands nobody says anything they don’t like. Thankfully, Exxon is sticking up for free speech and our First Amendment rights…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Wed, Aug 23, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Youngstown City Council votes today on anti-fracking charter amendment; rig count steady in Ohio Utica; Kinder Morgan pipe expansion in Connecticut topic of public hearing; antis flood Virginia gov with form letters opposing pipelines; BHP quits the shale business; red flag for US shale; Microsoft and Halliburton team up; PHMSA should play more active role in natgas pipelines; China’s LNG imports double; and more!
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