PA State Budget Deal Close, with NO Severance Tax

Yesterday afternoon Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman told the media that talks on finishing the state budget are “closer than we’ve been in some time.” He also cautioned, “nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to.” As for a severance tax, Corman said current discussions do not include a severance tax, which is interesting as Corman is one of the traitorous Republican Senators who voted for a severance tax back in July (see Traitorous PA Senate Republicans Pass Severance Tax Bill). Maybe he’s now seen the light? So how will the state raise more revenue to meet its voracious appetite to overspend? Basically from three sources: (1) truck stop slot machines and “mini” casinos; (2) borrowing against future tobacco settlement payments; and (3) new taxes on warehouses. We haven’t 100% dodged the severance tax bullet for this year, but we’d say we’re 99% sure there will be no severance tax as part of the final budget, which is very good news…
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Fed Judge Rules for Seneca Resources in PA Injection Well Fight

An update in the ongoing case of a proposed injection well in Highland Township (Elk County), PA. In 2013 the radical leftist group Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) convinced ignoramuses in Highland Township to pass a so-called Community Bill of Rights. Seneca Resources, a driller with leases and an active drilling program in Elk, had planned to drill an injection well on their own property to dispose of their own flowback and produced water. The CELDF-inspired ordinance in Highland prevented it, and Seneca threatened to sue the town (see Seneca Resources Threatens to Sue PA Town over Injection Well). Seneca made good and filed to sue, but the town and CELDF tried to block the lawsuit. Didn’t work. The lawsuit advanced. New supervisors were elected and promptly voted to overturn the so-called Community Bill of Rights (see Elk County Town Wises Up, Abandons Effort to Block Injection Well), enraging the nutters. However, last November enough locals remained fleeced to pass a so-called home rule charter which contained language making injection wells illegal. The charter was/is essentially the Community Bill of Rights under a different name and different legal structure. In an effort to extract itself from a legal hellhole of its own making, the new Highland supervisors asked a federal judge to rule in favor of Seneca Resources, but to not make Highland pay legal fees and penalties for delaying the injection well (see PA DEP Issues 2 Wastewater Injection Well Permits, Sues 2 Towns). Last Friday the judge did rule in favor of Seneca, gutting provisions in the home rule charter that attempt to regulate oil and gas (and its waste). It is a legal victory for Seneca Resources and their plan to drill an injection well in Elk County…
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Sales Tax Revenue in OH Counties with Utica Shale Soars

New research done by our friends at Energy in Depth has found that sales tax revenue generated by Ohio’s top eight Utica Shale counties–Belmont, Carroll, Columbiana, Guernsey, Harrison, Jefferson, Monroe and Noble–rose 45% from 2011 to 2016, while sales tax revenue in the state’s other 80 counties rose an average of 30%. That is, shale counties (collectively) brought in 15% more revenue into both county and state coffers than non-shale counties. Ohio levies a 6.75% sales tax on goods sold. Of that, 5.75% goes into the state budget (the black hole in Columbus), while 1% stays in the county budget. Conclusion: shale is helping to fund the entire state. That is, all state residents benefit from the shale industry in Ohio, in a very tangible way. Here’s the update from EID showing how shale counties are outperforming non-shale counties in the Buckeye State…
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Competition Heats Up Between W. Canadian & Marcellus/Utica Gas

Last week MDN reported the Canadian National Energy Board (NEB) had approved of TransCanada’s plan to lowball the price to haul natural gas all the way from Alberta (in western Canada) to the Toronto Dawn Hub in eastern Canada (see Canadians Approve TransCanada Pipe Lowball Plan to Compete with M-U). TransCanada cooked up a deal last year to pipe natural gas from Canada’s West Coast to the East Coast in order to fend off cheap supplies of Marcellus/Utica gas that will flow into Canada when/if the NEXUS and Rover pipelines get built (see TransCanada Pipe Drops Price 42% to Compete with Marcellus/Utica). TransCanada dropped their pipeline price to lure drillers by (theoretically) making it less expensive to get gas from western Canada, some 2,400 miles away, than from the Marcellus, just 400 miles away. TransCanada’s pipeline theoretically can ship 3.5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas from west to east. When Rover Pipeline is full online sometime in 2018, it will ship up to 3.25 Bcf/d of Marcellus/Utica gas to the Dawn Hub. If NEXUS Pipeline ever gets built, it too will one day flow gas all the way to the Dawn Hub–up to 1.5 Bcf/d. TransCanada is attempting to get there first. In this clash of the titans, between western Canadian gas and Marcellus/Utica gas, who wins? There will be a number of winners, including the drillers shipping the gas. And the pipeline companies shipping the gas. But perhaps the biggest winners will be Ontario residents who use natural gas. Their prices to buy and use gas are heading much lower…
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Sierra Club in Court Oct 18 Against Cove Point, 2 More LNG Plants

The deep pockets of the radical Big Green group, the Sierra Club, continue to vex the oil and gas industry. The Sierra Club is involved in so many lawsuits against our industry, you literally need a score card to keep track. Three of the cases the Clubbers have on deck come before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in two weeks–on Oct. 18th. The three cases involve Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved LNG export projects. One of the three is Dominion’s Cove Point project, which is due to export its first shipment this month or next (see Cove Point to Begin LNG Exports in October or November!). The other two LNG projects in the Clubbers’ sights are both Cheniere Energy projects–Sabine Pass and Corpus Christi. Sabine Pass is currently the only LNG export plant in operation in the U.S. The Sierra Club lawsuit against all three projects challenges FERC’s approval of them, arguing the plants negatively affect the environment and will make Mom Earth sick. While no one expects these lawsuits to go anywhere, you never know, which is why it’s important to keep an eye on it…
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Ethane Storage a Hot Topic at Shale Insight – Who Will Use It?

One of the major themes at last week’s Shale Insight conference was NGLs (natural gas liquids), in particular ethane–and how the petrochemical industry that uses those NGLs will revolutionize the economic landscape of western PA, eastern OH, and northern WV–the tri-state area. One of the hottest of the hot topics is ethane storage. As we reported in early September, a research team from West Virginia University spent the past year studying geologic regions in 50 counties in the Marcellus/Utica Shale region to see if our region would support a proposed $10 billion ethane storage hub (see WVU Appalachia Ethane Storage Hub Final Report – We Need it Bad). The conclusion? Heck yeah! WVU researchers released their findings in a 181-page report titled “A Geologic Study to Determine the Potential to Create an Appalachian Storage Hub for Natural Gas Liquids.” Among the study’s findings: A shale ethane storage hub could help create $36 billion in investment and more than 100,000 permanent jobs. The report and its findings were on the lips of a number of speakers at Shale Insight…
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FERC’s Rapid Response in Sabal Trail Case Shuts Down Sierra Club

In August the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled in a case that (we previously thought) may have long-term, very negative consequences for the oil and gas industry related to pipeline development (see DC Court of Appeals Legislates New Law re FERC & Global Warming). The litigious, 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 (SMP) 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). The Sierra Club said the three projects together didn’t take into consideration an increase in carbon and methane that would result from the three projects serving electric generating plants, and that said carbon and methane will contribute to global warming. The D.C. Court of Appeals agreed and 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. In a brilliant move, last week FERC filed a draft supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) to fulfill the court’s order. In it, FERC looks at the potential for extra carbon/methane in the atmosphere from several electric generating plants fed by the SMP pipelines. As for evaluating the overall effect on Mom Earth, FERC said there currently is no accurate method available that can do it. In other words, this lawsuit that the Clubbers so fervently thought would lead to stopping all sorts of projects just fizzled out (we can’t be happier) thanks to FERC’s quick action. FERC has effectively shut down the Sierra Club’s best chance of stopping pipeline projects…
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EIA’s 2016 Natural Gas Annual Report – TX Down, PA Up

Last Friday the U.S. Energy Information Administration, our favorite government agency, released its Natural Gas Annual 2016 report (full copy below). Weighing in at 214 pages, this report is full of data. It is a datamonger’s dream come true. A few highlights: In 2016, U.S. dry gas production actually FELL from the previous year, the first time that has happened since 2005. Texas saw the biggest dry gas production decline (10%), while Pennsylvania had the biggest increase in production (10.2%). This is the fourth straight year PA production has gone up–thank you Marcellus Shale! Natural gas consumption across the country reached a new record high–for the seventh year in a row. Imported natural gas went down again–for the ninth year in a row. Here’s the full report, and a few bullet point highlights to feed your inner datamonger…
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“Fugitive” Methane on the Rise. Why? Cow Farts & Burbs

We’ve written in the past about silly nutters who stay awake at night worried that the earth is going to fry to a crisp–any decade now. Often the oil and gas industry (i.e. fossil fuels) are blamed for an increase in methane in the atmosphere. But the reality, as we’ve written many times before, is that agriculture–cows and rice paddies–are the real culprit. In Oct. 2013, we wrote this article: Cows Belch Methane Like a Fire Breathing Dragon! In Feb. 2014, this: Biggest Producer of “Fugitive” Methane is… Cows?! By August of 2016, the nutters had truly lost their minds, attaching experimental backpacks on cows to trap fugitive methane: Environmentalists Lose Their Minds, Strap Methane Backpacks on Cows. In Oct. of 2016, a pair of studies: NOAA Research: Cows & Rice Farms Biggest Source of Fugitive Methane and 2nd Study Affirms Cow Burps & Rice Paddies Causing Fugitive Methane. Must be something about the month of October and methane anxiety. The fake news outlet Washington Post has just run yet another article on methane and how it gets into the atmosphere. Once again the researchers have concluded (for the umpteenth time) that the increase we are seeing in so-called fugitive methane in the atmosphere largely comes from cows–burping and farting…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Tue, Oct 3, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Potter County restarts natgas resource center; Tellurian charters LNG tanker; DOE Sec. Perry wants FERC to adopt new rule for coal, nukes; Perry’s new rule would “roil” energy markets; EPA ends climate awards; new LNG intelligence service launches; Saudis, others up oil production, prices fall; drilling commences in UK Bowland Shale; and more!
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