DC Court Forces “Emergency Stop” of Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Work

The arrogance of Big Green was on full display yesterday as they rushed to stop the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project project and silence lawfully permitted work. In response to a lawsuit filed by the worst of the worst (the Sierra Club) on Oct. 30th, a liberal court in the District of Columbia yesterday slapped the Atlantic Sunrise project with an emergency stop work order–for the entire project. Work had already begun to lay pipe on the property of Catholic nuns in Lancaster County, PA. The nuns call themselves Adorers of the Blood of Christ. We call them Sisters of the Corn (you can read why here). The Sisters have allowed themselves to be used to oppose the Atlantic Sunrise project by a radical professor from Lancaster County, Mark Clatterbuck, someone who engaged in the North Dakota Access Pipeline protests (protests that turned violent). Clatterbuck enlisted the help of his Big Green buddies in the Sierra Club to try and litigate to stop the federally and legally approved project last week (see Sierra Club Asks Fed Court to Stop Atlantic Sunrise Construction). Yesterday we told you that Williams, the builder, was building at the site of the Sisters first because of the involvement of Clattberbuck and Big Green interference–get the hard part done first (see First Atlantic Sunrise Pipe Gets Buried on Nun Property). We were grinning that pipeline on the Sisters’ property would be the first to be laid and buried in the ground, likely done this week. Today the grin is wiped off our face, we must confess. It’s so sad to see egregious abuses of our legal system like this. We expect the stop work order for the project will be temporary–perhaps a few weeks. But one never knows. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals is looking at the question of whether the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was correct in approving the project in the first place last February…
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Landowner Fight to Overturn DRBC Frack Ban Goes to Fed Court Today

The lawsuit filed by a Wayne County, PA landowner against the egregious overreach by the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) to stall/delay/block any shale drilling within the Basin takes a very important step forward today. It’s a step feared by the DRBC and radical groups like THE Delaware Riverkeeper–because this case has the real potential to neuter the DRBC’s claim it can block shale drilling in the watershed. In March, MDN reported that U.S. District Judge Robert Mariani ruled against the Wayne Land and Mineral Group in a lawsuit that challenged the right of the DRBC to stop fracking in the Delaware River Basin (see Judge Tosses Wayne County, PA Landowner Lawsuit Against DRBC). At first blush it may seem like a setback for landowners in Wayne and Pike Counties (in PA) who have been denied the right to lease and allow drilling under their land for the past 10+ years. But looks can be deceiving. As we pointed out in our article, if you read the judge’s decision, he harpoons all of the DRBC’s legal arguments, but in the end rules against the landowner. Why? Because the judge wanted to send the case to a higher court for an ultimate decision–the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. In June, the Wayne Land and Mineral Group filed their brief with the 3rd Circuit (see Wayne County Landowner Files Brief in Case Against DRBC Frack Ban). Today, oral arguments will be heard in what we sincerely hope is the beginning of the end of the DRBC’s illegal frack ban…
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Driller of 1st Illinois Shale Well Says No Thanks, Too Many Regs

In June, MDN brought you the news that the very first application to drill a shale well in Illinois had been made (see Application Filed to Drill/Frack 1st Shale Well in Illinois). Woolsey Operating Co., headquartered in Kansas, filed a high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing (HVHHF) application with the Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources (IDNR) to drill a well in the New Albany Shale layer in the state. On August 31st the IDNR issued the permit. Why is fracking in Illinois of interest for MDN readers? A significant portion of our natural gas shale production is already flowing to the Midwest via the Rockies Express (REX) pipeline, Rover Pipeline, and when it gets built, the NEXUS Pipeline. While a single shale well in Illinois is no competitive threat to our region, if the well proves a commercial success and more wells follow, we may get some competition. Hence our interest in this story. However, it looks like there’s no reason to be worried. When IDNR issued their permit for the well, they larded it up with so many regulations and conditions, Woolsey has said (our words), “No thanks, you can keep it.” Last week Woolsey sent a letter to IDNR asking to be “immediately released” and for the permit to be withdrawn…
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Enervest Pushes for Co-Tenancy in West Virginia

In August MDN told you the West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association (WVONGA) plans to push, once again, for what MDN calls forced pooling lite in the next session of the legislature scheduled for early 2018 (see WVONGA Makes Plans to Push Forced Pooling Lite in 2018). Forced pooling legislation in West Virginia has been put forward five times in the past seven years–and each time it has failed to win enough votes in the WV legislature. This year, WVONGA changed tactics and renamed forced pooling as co-tenancy and joint development (see WV Won’t Push Forced Pooling, Will Push Joint Dev. & Co-Tenancy). The West Virginia Surface Owners Rights Organization refers to co-tenancy as “majority rules” and joint development as “invisible ink” (see Another Look at WV’s Co-tenancy & Joint Development Proposals). EnerVest, a shale (and conventional) driller with considerable acreage in West Virginia recently contributed a editorial to the Charleston Gazette-Mail which unsurprisingly supports WVONGA’s push–at least for co-tenancy. The article doesn’t mention joint development, but since the two are tied together in a single bill, we assume they also want to see joint development. Below is (once again) a brief explanation of the two concepts, along with EnerVest’s editorial/reasons for why the Mountain State needs them…
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Williams 3Q17: Atlantic Sunrise Shines, “Stay Tuned” on Constitution

Last week midstream powerhouse Williams issued their third quarter 2017 update. CEO Alan Armstrong said this about the Transco Pipeline–a key pipeline in the Marcellus/Utica region: “So far in 2017, we’ve placed four of our ‘Big 5’ Transco expansion projects into service including Gulf Trace, Hillabee Phase 1, Dalton Expansion and New York Bay Expansion with the fifth of the ‘Big 5’ expansions – the Virginia Southside II project – expected to be placed in service during fourth-quarter 2017. The incremental capacity from the fully-contracted Transco expansion projects going in service so far this year reflects a 25 percent increase in Transco’s design capacity.” All five of those projects to one degree or another flow Marcellus/Utica Shale gas. Williams is in a multi-year program to reverse the flow of the Transco. Traditionally it has flowed gas from the Gulf to the northeast. The pipeline is in the process of getting turned around, to flow our gas southward, some of it all the way to the Gulf Coast. With respect to the Atlantic Sunrise project–a part of the Transco system–Armstrong reminded listeners on the analyst phone call that some of that project is already up and running: “And on Atlantic Sunrise, we started construction and have already placed a portion of Atlantic Sunrise into early service on September 1 of this year, providing about 400,000 dekatherms a day of firm transportation service on Transco’s existing mainline facilities, and of course that serve delivery points as far south as Choctaw County, Alabama. So we’re really excited to be starting to see the Transco system turn around and be able to deliver volumes to the south. And I can tell you, that’s very much needed as we’re seeing a lot of demand growth occur in the southeast on our system.” As for the stalled Constitution Pipeline in New York State, Armstrong said to “stay tuned” and that there is “plenty of fight left in this dog.” Armstrong sounded encouraged about the prospects of the Constitution. Below is the full 3Q17 update complete with financials, excerpts from the analyst phone call of interest for MDN readers, and the newest slide deck…
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Patterson-UTI Rig Count Slips Another 3 in October to 158

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 September Patterson’s rig count slipped by 1–the first loss since June 2016 (see Patterson-UTI Rig Count Count Slips by 1 Rig to 161 in Sept). The latest numbers are out for October, and the count retreated another three, to 158…
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PA’s Inept Government is Holding Back the Marcellus Shale

MDN is pleased to bring you another guest post from our very good friend Chris Acker. Chris is MDN editor Jim Willis’ right arm when it comes to scanning for stories, something Jim is profoundly grateful for. Chris is a geological engineer with an MBA. He grew up in the oil fields of Venezuela where his father, a petroleum engineer, was a drilling contractor for all the major players, onshore and off. Chris’ interest in energy economics and policy found him working for Exxon, Petroleum Industry Research Associates and Petroleos de Venezuela. He bought a parcel of land in the PA countryside twenty-five years ago and later semi-retired to work on antique pianos (see www.PianoGrands.com). A few years ago, it was found that Chris’ property in Susquehanna County sits atop one of the Marcellus shale’s most prolific areas. He leased with Cabot Oil & Gas and has a well sitting off his front porch not more than 200 yards away. Chris is now happily engaged once again in energy economics, with an emphasis, naturally, on gas. He splits his time between Montrose, PA and Savannah, GA. Chris’ two “home states” of Pennsylvania and Georgia recently got him thinking–comparing and contrasting what he sees in both locations–which led him to pen the following guest post that takes aim at PA’s inept (Chris’ word) state government and how it is mismanaging the biggest gift it has received in generations: the Marcellus Shale…
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CEA Launches Non-partisan “Campaign for America’s Energy” in PA

Today is election day across the U.S. It is an “off-year” election, meaning no national elections on the ticket–only state and local elections. Last week, in advance of today, the Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) launched a non-partisan “Campaign for America’s Energy” across 12 key states, including Pennsylvania. The campaign aims to educate families, businesses, and state and local lawmakers about the benefits of energy production and delivery, without getting bogged down in contentious politics–IF that’s even possible! CEA is making a good-faith effort at it. MDN editor Jim Willis interviewed CEA’s president, David Holt, back in 2014. You can listen to that interview here. As part of the the CEA campaign, the organization reached out to every single PA state legislator, sending them a letter (below). CEA is an “all of the above” energy organization–interested in fossil fuels AND renewables. We find their approach refreshing, and their willingness to reach across the isle and at least attempt to have a dialog with antis, admirable…
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Prominent Enviro Proposes “Climate Dictatorship” based on China

You often read on MDN of our disdain for “radical” environmentalists and the “Big Green” organizations that do so much harm to our economy, our liberties and our way of life. Occasionally we’ll get an email asking, “What do you mean by radicals?” or “Who is Big Green?” On a regional scale we’re talking about THE Delaware Riverkeeper, various Mountain Keeper organizations, [fill in the blank] organizations against pipelines. On a national scale it’s the odious and evil Sierra Club, Food & Water Watch, National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and a variety of others. Behind the curtain, pulling strings by donating large sums of money, are people like Mamma Teresa Heinz Kerry (Heinz Endowment), billionaire leftie Tom Styer, the Rockefellers, etc. What interests us is most is that at their core–whether local flakes or California billionaires–is an irrational hatred of fossil fuels. The mythology that mankind is catastrophically causing the earth to warm is their rallying cry–and their “righteous” cause is to stop it, by any means necessary. Since their pathetic ideology cannot and will not gain traction with enough people in a free society to enforce the changes they want on the entire population, these people often tip over into fascism and/or Communism. In their heart of hearts they seek to overthrow free democracies. How do we know? One of them, a European, has just admitted it–for all the world to see. Jørgen Randers, professor of “climate strategy” at BI Norwegian Business School–a mainstream climate guy–is calling for a “climate dictatorship,” along the lines of the Chinese government. You know, do it right–like the people responsible for the Tiananmen Square massacre. That’s how professor Randers wants to handle those of us who are “climate deniers”…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Tue, Nov 7, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Appalachia pipeline expansions impact muted; API-PA hires Janathan Lutz as assoc. director; associated gas from oil plays growing again; green group, kids sue Trump over climate change policies; two years after #ExxonKnew began–still no charges filed; Trinidad LNG production rising again, after years of decline; and more!
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