American Energy Closes on “Tier I” Assets – Exclusive Details

Last week MDN brought you news about a relatively new company called American Energy Partners, Inc., based in Allentown, PA, and their subsidiary company Gilbert Oil & Gas (see American Energy Partners Invests in “Tier I” Marcellus Assets). AEP and subsidiary Gilbert said last week they had cut a deal to buy some “Tier I” assets in the Marcellus. However, there were no specifics. Yesterday AEP and Gilbert issued a new press release (below) to say the deal is now completed and they now own those Tier I assets. Again, no specifics. So MDN reached out to AEP to ask for further details. We got a response–which still does not name the seller, but does tell us how many Marcellus wells they bought, how much acreage is part of the deal, and in which Marcellus Shale county the assets are located. As far as we know, this is exclusive–nobody else has this information. We also have a thought on who the seller may be…
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WV Builder Tells PSC Power Plant Can Burn Methane AND Ethane

Energy Solutions Consortium, aka the father and son team of Andrew and Matthew Dorn–have been trying to build a 750 megawatt natural gas-fired electric plant in Follansbee (Brooke County), WV for years. In fact, the Dorns have a number of gas-fired electric plant projects on the board for WV, and have since 2015 (see Big News: 3 More Marcellus-Powered Electric Plants Coming to WV). However, the regulatory environment in WV creeps along, like molasses, and none of the projects are even under construction–yet. Last month WV’s Commerce Secretary Woody Thrasher said WV is downright unfriendly to electric plant projects (see WV Sec Commerce Says State Unfriendly to Gas-Fired Power Plants). Never a truer word spoken. Yesterday Andrew Dorn was in Charleston to testify before the state Public Service Commission about his company’s plans for the Follansbee plant. One of his comments caught our eye. The plant will be able to flip back and forth between burning methane and ethane, depending on the price. Dorn said his dual-fuel plant will give drillers in the region an outlet to sell their ethane, in case they can’t sell ethane to a cracker plant…
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PA House Passes New Budget Bill w/No Sev. Tax, Wolf Demands Tax

Yesterday the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed House Bill (HB) 542 to try and finalize the three month plus late PA budget. This latest bill (see the summary below) uses mostly borrowing, against tobacco settlement money and small tax increases on online businesses and fireworks distributors to balance this year’s budget. The bill does NOT include a severance tax. Sounding like Johnny One-Note, PA Gov. Wolf immediately said any final deal must include a Marcellus-killing severance tax, or he won’t sign it. Some of the traitorous Republicans in the Senate still want to see a severance tax too (see Traitorous PA Senate Republicans Pass Severance Tax Bill). As we reported yesterday, RINOsaur Sen. Gene DiGirolamo believes a Senate committee will today report out his horrible 3.2% severance tax bill (see RINOsaur DiGirolamo Says Vote on PA Severance Tax Coming Soon). Talk of a 3.2% severance tax is false, because it would be added on top of the existing impact fee (i.e. tax) which is already the equivalent of a 5%+ severance tax. DiGirolamo’s bill, if passed, would vault PA into the position of having the highest effective tax on oil and gas in the country–killing any new Marcellus drilling in the state. Existing wells deplete over time, so in essence it would be a moderately slow death to the industry (and tax revenues from it)–dissipating to nothing in 5-10 years. Which is just fine for “Republicans” like DiGirolamo. At any rate, here’s the details on the House plan passed last night, with NO severance tax, and Johnny One-Note’s insistence on a tax…
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Michigan DEQ Claims Rover Discharged Polluted Water into Wetland

Rover Pipeline has been served a violation from the Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality claiming the company discharged polluted water from its drilling operations into a wetland. Which may sound familiar, because Rover was cited for fouling a wetland in Ohio with 2 million gallons of drilling mud back in April (see Rover Pipeline Accident Spills ~2M Gal. Drilling Mud in OH Swamp). However, the Michigan story is completely different. Water coming from the pipeline project in Michigan (Washtenaw County) appears to contain gasoline in it. The water has a “sheen” and smells of petroleum. The DEQ theorizes that Rover’s work in the area has disturbed existing underground pollution from a now-closed gas station. Water that previously seeped into ground and was polluted by the old gas station is now (according to the theory) making its way into an area wetland. The pollution already existed–Rover didn’t cause the pollution. But the DEQ says Rover work caused the pollution to change locations, so Rover is to blame…
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Antis Rally in PA to Stop Construction on ME2, Other Pipelines

A group of anti-fossil/anti-pipeline radicals held a rally yesterday to spread lies and innuendo about the safety of pipelines in general, with a focus on stopping construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline project in particular. Supposedly 150 people turned up (including Democrat lawmakers) to bash pipeline projects in the Keystone State. What mainstream media reports don’t tell you is that it was a staged event, organized by the loathsome Food & Water Watch–a Big Green group that lobbies against all fossil fuel projects. Media reports tell you a bunch of moms and dads and kids “negatively impacted” by pipelines showed up to plead their case. Bunkum. It was a publicity stunt, and the calls by these radicals to suspend pipeline construction are a pipe dream (pun intended). Here’s how it was reported, followed by the real story…
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H&H Drilling Plan for Upper Burrell Still on Pause, Some Progress

Huntley & Huntley has plans to drill shale wells in Upper Burrell Township (Westmoreland County), PA. As MDN reported in June, a landowner in Upper Burrell filed an appeal against Upper Burrell’s zoning ordinance that allows drilling in rural, agricultural districts (see Westmoreland Zoning Challenge Heads to Court, Delays H&H Drilling). H&H plans to drill a well near where the woman lives, and she’s arguing such drilling will violate the state’s environmental rights clause and “devalue her property.” The case was supposed to go to township’s Zoning Hearing Board, but all of the (many) lawyers involved agreed to instead move it to county court, making the process faster and less expensive. The same woman then sued the town claiming the town’s very right to issue conditional use permits in agricultural-residential districts is unconstitutional (see Frivolous Lawsuit Delays H&H Drilling in Westmoreland County, PA). Even though legal wrangling may prevent a final outcome any time soon, the town is moving forward anyway. The Upper Burrell Planning Commission voted yesterday to approve H&H’s drilling plans, passing it back to the board of supervisors for a final sign-off…
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Shell Gives Shout-Out to Center for Responsible Shale Development

Greg Guidry is the executive vice president of Shell’s unconventionals business. That is, he’s in charge of shale drilling for the company. Talking to a reporter at the Energy Dialogues LLC’s North American Gas Forum earlier this month, Guidry said shale is “a future growth opportunity because of its long-term growth potential.” Guidry is interested in promoting shale as “a lower-carbon energy source.” He believes the way to properly promote shale gas is by partnerships between the oil and gas industry and non-governmental organizations (NGO). Guidry then used the Center for Responsible Shale Development (CRSD), a group headquartered in Pittsburgh, as the model for how such a partnership can and should be done. In March 2013, the Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD) burst onto the scene. It had been a closely guarded secret, the creation of a few hand-picked people from both industry and the environmental movement working together to see if there is any common ground on which both sides can agree that shale development would be safe, sustainable AND affordable. They worked hard for over a year and finally hammered out a set of 15 standards that if a driller (or midstream company or contractor) would meet, it would get a stamp of approval from both the industry and environmental groups as being a good goobie–a safe driller. In January of this year the CSSD changed its name to CRSD–the Center for Responsible Shale Development (see Chevron Recertified as Safe Driller; CSSD Changes Name to CRSD). So far only four drillers have gone through the process of certification: Shell, Chevron, EQT and CONSOL Energy. Guidry wants to see more operators sign up…
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EDF Accuses New England Gas Utilities of $3.6B Market Manipulation

Once upon a time the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) held out the veneer of practical environmentalism–people who would at least listen to the fossil fuel industry and in some rare cases, reach their hand across the isle to work on initiatives with the industry (for example, they are a partner in the Pittsburgh-based Center for Responsible Shale Development). But over the past few years that veneer has been stripped off, and now the EDF has been exposed as a hack organization, just like all the rest of the loons on the left. Case in point is their latest propaganda, issued last week. The EDF published a “report” that makes the rather preposterous claim that New England customers have overpaid utility bills by $3.6 billion due to collusion between the natural gas and electricity industries. EDF spins the outlandish theory that Avangrid and Eversource brilliantly conspired to create Enron-style fake gas shortages involving a whopping 3.5% of the capacity of the Algonquin pipeline–all in order to drive up electric clearing prices for a wind farm Avangrid didn’t yet own, a rarely dispatched Avangrid oil peaker run under rate of return, and three crappy, rarely operated oil and coal plants in New Hampshire–plus nine little hydro dams that Eversource was trying to unload for years (finally sold last week). EDF’s tall tale is so bizarre (and hard to follow) it’s laughable. However, mainstream fake news media picks it up and regurgitates it to an unsuspecting public, so we’re here to set the record straight on yet another Big Green hoax…
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RAND Report: Fracking Creates Jobs for STEM Workers in PA-OH-WV

In 2014, Chevron launched the Appalachia Partnership Initiative (API) with $20 million to fund education (for students) and training (for workers) in STEM–Science, Technology, Engineering and Math across 27 counties in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio (see Chevron Launches Appalachia Partnership Initiative with $20M). Chevron’s partners in the effort are the Allegheny Conference and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. So how is the API doing in its mission? That was what RAND Corporation was hired to study. RAND has just published an analysis of the first two years of API’s efforts (see the study below). Among the key findings: “Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing has created a need for workers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia.” Although the oil and gas industry is just now coming out of a several-year slump, RAND says in the future there will be a shortage of workers for the industry. API is hoping to fill that gap, and is (according to RAND) making progress. But more needs to be done…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Wed, Oct 18, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Credit rating dropped on Philadelphia Energy Solutions unit; Al Gore talks climate crazy in Pittsburgh; PA Supreme Court decision causing uncertainty re enviro rights; fights break out in Upstate NY over wind farms; the Haynesville Shale is reborn, rig count triples in 12 mos; colder winter on the way, natgas customers to pay more; and more!
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