Shale Insight 2017 – Day One News Roundup

MDN is once again attending the Shale Insight event–in Pittsburgh. Yesterday was the first day of the event. The crowd was definitely smaller than last year when then-candidate Trump spoke to attendees. However, Day One saw a number of heavy-hitting speakers, including Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette, XTO Energy President Sara Ortwein, Chevron Appalachia President Stacey Olson, and People’s Natural Gas CEO Morgan O’Brien. Marcellus Shale Coalition President Dave Spigelmyer served as master of ceremonies and seemed to be everywhere-present during the event (how does he DO that?). From the opening session to the exhibit floor to attending the breakout sessions, MDN editor Jim Willis made the rounds–and took lots of notes. In the coming days he will write up those notes and share them. For now, we have links and extracts of articles from other publications attending and reporting on this year’s Shale Insight…
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Chevron & People’s Natural Gas Team Up to Map Out PA’s $60B Future

One of the big announcements coming from Shale Insight 2017 on the first day was the release of a new study tag-team researched by Chevron Appalachia and People’s Natural Gas. As People’s CEO Morgan O’Brien explained it–everyone assumes “someone else” has a master plan, a statewide strategy for how to develop this phenomenal resource. But when you look around you come to the realization that no one has such a plan. So Chevron Appalachia CEO Stacey Olson approached People’s CEO O’Brien and asked for help to research and author a study that would provide such a plan–a plan to unlock what they believe is a $60 BILLION opportunity for Pennsylvania that will create 100,000 new jobs statewide. The result is a study called “Forge the Future: Pennsylvania’s Path To An Advanced, Energy-Enabled Economy” (full copy below), released yesterday. We now have, according to Chevron’s Olson and People’s O’Brien, the road map. What we need is for people in the industry to step up and seize the day and take action to create that amazing future…
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Bad Blood: Rover Pipe CEO Sends Caustic Letter to Ohio EPA, FERC

Last week MDN brought you the news that Ohio EPA’s director, Craig Butler, has kind of tipped over into the deep end with his rantings and ravings about Rover Pipeline (see Ohio EPA’s Craig Butler Goes Nuts, Demands $2.3M from Rover Pipe). Butler held a conference call with the media where he made wild allegations. What seems to have precipitated Butler’s media bender is a decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) earlier in the week to allow Energy Transfer, builder of Rover, to resume horizontal directional drilling (HDD) in most Ohio locations, after banning it for several months (see FERC Lifts Rover Horizontal Drilling Ban, Pipeline Work Resumes). ET has responded to Butler’s tirade with a hard-hitting (we’d call it caustic) response. In a letter to Butler, carbon copied to FERC, Rover President & CEO Matthew Ramsey essentially says Butler and the OEPA is trying to cover its own mistakes in not requiring storm water permits for most of the project’s life–then coming along after the fact saying Rover didn’t apply for those permits (when OEPA never required them in the first place). Ramsey also said Butler “refuses to recognize the law” that FERC, and not OEPA, is in charge of this project. It gets better. Ramsey says he is “mystified by what you are trying to achieve” by requiring something (said storme water permits) Rover is now voluntarily doing–permits that OEPA itself has approved! This letter really takes the gloves off and (our words) calls Butler a lunatic. Read it for yourself and see what you think…
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OH Landowner Wants High Court to Force Driller to Explore Shale

Back in March MDN told you about an Ohio landowner with an old oil and gas lease where a conventional (vertical only) well was drilled–and still producing–suing the energy company, telling the company to either explore the shale layer, or severe the lease rights to shale so the landowner can lease it to someone who will go after the shale (see OH Supreme Court to Hear Appeal re Driller Who Won’t Explore Utica). The case went to the Ohio Supreme Court and on Tuesday the high court heard oral arguments. Can we divine which way the court may rule, based on comments by the justices? Perhaps…
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Broome Virtual Pipe Project in Limbo, Fenton Board Refuses to Act

In early September, a Broome County, NY judge ruled that the Town of Fenton (Binghamton area) Planning Board did not take a hard enough look at environmental and traffic issues related to their approval of NG Advantage’s plan to construct a facility in the town to compress and load natural gas onto tractor trailers for delivery to regional customers who desperately need the gas–what is called a “virtual pipeline” (see Judge Rules Against Broome Virtual Pipe, NG Advantage to Try Again). The lawsuit was brought by a local school district, which a Freedom of Information Act request reveals is paying approximately $40,000 in legal fees to high-priced lawyers to win the case, stopping the project (we hope Chenango Valley School District taxpapers appreciate their taxes going up to pay for it, and less money available in the budget to “educate” their precious children). NG must now resubmit the project for approval. On Tuesday night, NG did just that–re-applying to the Fenton Town Planning Board. A meeting was held at the local fire hall where some 250 people showed up. The crowd contained those both for and against the project. Unfortunately two of the seven Planning Board members were not present–possibly having resigned due to extreme pressure from bullying antis. So then there were five. Three of the five voted to become the lead agency to review the project, which is the first step in the process. However, three of seven is not a majority. Which puts the project in limbo, not able to go forward. What happens next?…
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Shale Support Holdings Expands M-U Frac Sand Business via Partnership

Shale Support Holdings, which says it is a leading provider of frac sand and logistical solutions to the oil and gas proppant market (headquartered in Texas, with an operations center in Mississippi), is stepping up its presence in the Marcellus/Utica region with a partnership with Tidewater Logistics. The partnership will increase Shale Support’s operations in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Because Shale Support can ship sand direct from Mississippi, which is much closer than most other alternatives, the price for frac sand will be cheaper for customers. Here’s the good news about a new partnership benefiting Marcellus/Utica drillers…
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South Korean SK Group Buys a Piece of Eureka Midstream for $100M

Eureka Midstream, which was once called Eureka Hunter (a subsidiary of Magnum Hunter Resources) popped back up on the radar screen earlier this month (see M-U Pipeline Co. Eureka Midstream Expands Line of Credit to $400M). Eureka, which operates exclusively in the Marcellus/Utica with ~200 miles of local gathering pipelines, announced it had expanded its line of credit from $225 million to $400 million, with an “accordion” option to further expand it to $500 million. Eureka’s former parent Magnum Hunter spun the company off into a standalone company last year, so Eureka did not get dragged through bankruptcy along with Magnum Hunter (see Magnum Hunter Emerges from Bankruptcy with CEO Gary Evans Gone). The newest news is that South Korean SK Holdings, the holding company of SK Group (one of the largest conglomerates in South Korea) has bought itself a piece of Eureka for $100 million…
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WV Sec Commerce Says State Unfriendly to Gas-Fired Power Plants

WV Commerce Sec. Woody Thrasher

West Virginia Secretary of Commerce Woody Thrasher had some harsh words when he gave a speech to House and Senate legislators about his own state. Thrasher said one of the reasons why WV is trailing both OH and PA economically is because WV treats natural gas-fired electric plant projects so poorly. Thrasher had data to back up his claim. In Ohio, 19 natgas-fired plants have been built. In PA? Some 22 natgas-fired plants! Although there’s been plenty of talk–for years–that such plants are coming in WV–the number of gas-fired plants that has actually broken ground to date in WV is…ZERO. Nada. None. Thrasher says power plant owners have concluded it’s just easier, due to regulations and fewer hoops to jump through, to avoid WV and build their projects in OH or PA. Thrasher’s comments were some verbal cold water splashed on the faces of WV’s legislators, in an attempt to get them to address the situation, or risk forever being behind the eight ball…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Thu, Sep 28, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: OH rig count stands at 26; Sabine Pass LNG train 4 ready for service; Zinke says 1/3 of Interior staff disloyal to Trump (and the country); E&P profits shrink in Q1; crude by rail could hamper future pipeline investment; Exxon Mobil replaced by Russia’s Gazprom as world’s biggest energy firm; China continues to invest heavily in LNG; and more!
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