PA Gov Wolf “Acts” to Finalize the State Budget, No Severance Tax

Attempting to bluster his way through an epic fail to get a budget agreement done, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf tried to lay the blame for a late budget on House Republicans, for their refusal to pass a severance tax. Yesterday Wolf unilaterally acted to plug a budget deficit (to fill the gap in a wildly overspent budget) by borrowing $1.25 billion from the state’s Liquor Control Board, from future liquor revenue payments. Playing politics, Wolf laid blame on Republicans in the House, saying he has “had enough of the games” and is “drawing a line in the sand.” Wolf’s willingness to act unilaterally by borrowing against future liquor revenues appeared to have stunned Republicans in the House, who rightly ask this question: If Wolf could have acted unilaterally like this to pull forward revenue and plug the gap, why didn’t he do it a month ago to prevent a downgrade in PA’s credit rating? That’s a great question. So who’s really playing politics with the people of PA? Wolf’s official statement belies his petulant, crybaby attitude in not getting his own way with a Marcellus-killing severance tax. Wolf held out hope that traitorous Republicans in the Senate could bully House Republicans into accepting a severance tax. Wolf lost that political gamble and he now must scramble to try and cover his political backside before the next election. Wolf’s base of far-left Philadelphia teachers won’t be happy. Wolf couldn’t get a severance tax passed in his first four years in office–so why expect he can in the next four? Wolf’s future as governor is now on life support–thanks to principled House Republicans who held the line and refused to cave to the pressure. So for now, the budget battle has ended. It’s over. Yes, a few more things need to get done, but the pressure is off. You might as well say the budget for this year is a done deal, WITHOUT a severance tax!…
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Greene County, PA Green Lights APV Marcellus-Fired Electric Plant

In March MDN brought you the news that APV Renaissance Partners (a subsidiary of American Power Ventures) wants to build a 1000 megawatt, combined-cycle power plant at the old Hatfield’s Ferry site in Greene County, PA–to be powered with Marcellus Shale gas (see Marcellus Gas-Fired Power Plant Coming to Greene County, PA). In April, APV officially unveiled their plans for the old Hatfield’s Ferry site, in Monongahela Township (see More Details on Marcellus Power Plant Coming to Greene County, PA). On Monday, the Greene County Planning Commission granted conditional final approval for the project. Before APV gets final final approval from the county, it must first meet a number of conditions–most of them a part of the state permitting process. Here’s the good news that the APV project is one step closer to reality…
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2nd Marcellus-Fired Electric Plant Proposed for Greene County, PA

In reporting on APV Renaissance Partners’ plan to build a 1000 megawatt electric power plant in Monongahela Township (Greene County), PA, today, we noticed an interesting closing paragraph in the story we quoted, which says: “Another energy company, Hill Top Energy Center, also has proposed constructing a natural gas power plant in Greene County. Hill Top has proposed building a 536-megawatt plant on 41 acres of land off Thomas Road in Cumberland Township. A public hearing on Hill Top’s proposed air quality plan will be held by DEP at 6 p.m. Nov. 2 in the Carmichaels Area High School auditorium.” A second Marcellus-fired power plant planned for Greene! Who knew? We went searching for details we could find to share with you about this second project, which will get a DEP hearing in a month…
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Pin Oak Energy Snaps Up 4,300 Acres, 16 Wells from Seneca in NWPA

In August MDN introduced you to a new-to-us driller based in Akron, Ohio–Pin Oak Energy Partners (see New Marcellus/Utica Driller Snaps Up Assets in OH, PA). Pin Oak is owns both conventional and unconventional (shale) oil and natural gas wells, along with associated assets (like pipelines). At the time, Pin Oak currently operated 363 wells producing nearly 5.7 MMcfe/d (32% liquids) across more than 32,000 acres in the Marcellus/Utica region. You can now add another 16 wells (14 Marcellus, 2 Utica) and 4,300 acres to those totals. Yesterday Pin Oak announced they have purchased wells and acreage from Seneca Resources–in Forest, Elk, McKean and Cameron counties in Pennsylvania. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. We can also tell you that last week Pin Oak got an increase in their line of credit with the bank–now able to borrow up to $150 million. Here’s the latest on the newest (rapidly growing) entrant to the Marcellus/Utica…
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Huntley & Huntley Starts Shale Drilling in Plum, PA Next Month

Plum, PA – click for larger version

Huntley & Huntley, a Marcellus/Utica driller headquartered in Monroeville, PA (near Pittsburgh), will begin drilling a shale well in Plum (Allegheny County, also near Pittsburgh), PA next month. It will be H&H’s first shale well in the Borough of Plum. Yesterday H&H spokesman Ed Valentas gave a presentation to the Plum Chamber of Commerce, to update them on what to expect and to dispel some of the fear mongering going on with respect to shale drilling. Construction of the well pad in Plum will begin next month. Drilling the first well is scheduled for February, with fracking soon to follow. Currently H&H has just one well pad (multiple wells) permitted in Plum–but they are considering other locations around Plum too…
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Warning: Secret Pipeline Ban on New York Ballot in November

Next month when New Yorkers go to the polls to cast their votes (an illusory scam in Communist NY), there will be three Propositions on the ballot. One of the three is called, “Authorizing the Use of Forest Preserve Land for Specified Purposes.” The one-paragraph description implies municipalities will have more flexibility in using “preserved” land–so long as they designate the same amount of land to be added back to the pool of preserved land. It also allows bicycle trails and public utility lines to cross preserved land. However, what the description does not say (which can be found in a full reading of the proposition) is this: the proposition “prohibits the construction of a new intrastate gas or oil pipeline that did not receive necessary state and local permits and approvals by June 1, 2016.” So no new intrastate (within the state) pipelines through preserved land, period. Ever. Even though electric lines crossing preserved land are just fine. Why is Gov. Cuomo trying to hide this from residents? Will NY residents even wake up and notice they don’t know what they’re actually voting for (or against)? That’s how sleazy politics is played in the Empire State…
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Patterson-UTI Rig Count Count Slips by 1 Rig to 161 in Sept

As we do every month (and have for more than two years), MDN tracks how many rigs oilfield services company Patterson-UTI Energy reports operating–as a proxy for rig count health in general and rig count health in the Marcellus/Utica in particular. Patterson recently bought out and merged in Seventy Seven Energy (see Patterson-UTI Energy Completes Merger with Seventy Seven Energy). The addition of SSE’s rigs served to rocket Patterson’s rig count number in April and May much higher (see Patterson-UTI Rig Count Continues to Rocket Skyward – 159 in May). With SSE now fully absorbed into Patterson, the rig count number settled down. In June, Patterson’s count went up by a single new rig in North America, to 160. The trend continued in July, with Patterson picking up another 2 active rigs for 162 in North America–the 14th month in a row. Patterson reported last month that in August the rig count held at 162–no new rigs were added (see Patterson-UTI Rig Count Holds at All-Time High of 162 in August). And what about September? It had to happen sooner or later–what goes up must come down. In September, Patterson’s rig count slipped by one, to an average of 161 operating rigs. Hey, it was a great ride that went from June 2016 to July 2017…
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NGSA: NatGas Production & Demand Heading Higher This Winter

Each year the Natural Gas Supply Association (NGSA) issues an annual Winter Outlook assessment of the wholesale natural gas market. Yesterday the NGSA issued its 17th such report. Among their predictions: demand for natural gas will hit an all-time high this winter, even outstripping the infamous Polar Vortex from two years ago. However, production, Canadian imports and existing natural gas in storage (in record numbers) will be able to meet the demand, therefore prices will remain steady–no huge ups, no huge downs. NGSA’s forecasts are based on weather forecasts. They assume this winter will be an average of 13% colder than last winter. We don’t like the sound of that, since we live in the cold northeast! Bottom line from NGSA: “The picture that emerged for the upcoming winter is of a natural gas market experiencing substantial growth in both demand and supply.” Below is the NGSA press release/overview, a copy of the full report, and a copy of the NGSA PowerPoint slide deck, with lots of pretty charts and graphs…
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MDN Launches Redesigned Web Site – We’d Like Your Feedback

Starting today you will notice changes on the MDN website. A new “look and feel” for the site. The overall architecture remains the same–same menu items, same layout of where stories are located, etc. The fonts and colors and use of white space has changed, hopefully making it easier to read on your computer screen. Please note there are likely a few issues with the new site. As much as we test and review, it seems like something always slips through the cracks. So we want your feedback. Have a look around, and tell us what you like/don’t like about the new look. And if you find any problems/issues, please alert us right away. Send your comments to: [email protected].

Also note that this is not the end, but just the beginning. We promise to “go slow,” but there will be more changes coming in the months ahead as we work to drag the MDN website into the 21st Century. Any recommendations you have for adding new features or changes, send those to Jim as well. Thanks for your patience as we work to improve the MDN-reading experience.

Jim Willis, Founder & Editor

Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Thu, Oct 5, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: PA natgas pipeline safety bill heading for full House vote; VA DEQ to make pipeline recommendations in Dec. for Atlantic Coast & Mountain Valley; court orders Vermont AG to sit for deposition in #ExxonKnew case; Shell says energy industry close to voluntary methane emissions; US shale shows signs of fatigue; natgas exports could add $73B to US economy; India wants to rework LNG deals; and more!
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