Fire at EQT Well Pad in Marshall County, WV

Yesterday, gas processing equipment at a Trans Energy well pad (now owned by EQT) in Marshall County, WV caught fire. The important things to know: (1) The fire was quickly extinguished, (2) nobody was injured, (3) this was not a well fire and was not related to drilling or fracking. There is a single operating Marcellus well at that location–drilled back in 2011. The well has been producing natural gas and other hydrocarbons since that time. As is common, some of the hydrocarbons (like condensate) are separated right at the well location, by equipment located near the pad. The fire began in that processing equipment. No residents were evacuated and the fire was out within a few hours. However, workers at the nearby Williams Fort Beeler natural gas processing plant were evacuated for a brief time, out of “an abundance of caution”…
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CONSOL Energy Split Done – Meet “New” Gas Driller CNX Resources

CONSOL Energy, headquartered in Pittsburgh, began life as a coal company some 150 years ago. For the past half dozen years MDN has reported on CONSOL’s transformation from coal company to natural gas company. That transformation, as of yesterday, is complete. In July CONSOL filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission that laid out a plan to split the company in two, into a coal company and a natural gas exploration and production company (see CONSOL Energy’s Split into 2 Companies Nearly Complete, New Name?). Yesterday was the first day for the separated companies. CONSOL the coal company retains the CONSOL Energy name and get various coal mines and other coal-related assets. The CEO of the coal company is Jimmy Brock. Meanwhile, CONSOL the natural gas driller got a new name–CNX Resources–and retains all of the other assets. Nick DeIuliis, former president and CEO of CONSOL Energy when it was all one company, is the president and CEO of CNX Resources. In speaking about the newly separated gas drilling company, CNX Resources COO Tim Dugan said this: “You’ll see the Utica becoming a larger and larger part of our development.” Here’s the big news that CONSOL is now split into two different companies…
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U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Appeal of WV EQT Royalty Case

The United States Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal of an important West Virginia case, which means the current ruling stands that allows EQT and other drillers to deduct “reasonable” post-production expenses from landowner royalty checks. It is a victory for drillers and a blow to some landowners. How did we get here? A brief history: Last December MDN reported on the huge WV Supreme Court decision against EQT that disallows EQT from deducting post-production expenses from royalty checks, even with signed contracts in place (see WV Supreme Court Rules EQT Can’t Deduct P-P Costs from Royalties). In February this year, with a brand new justice on the bench, the WV Supreme Court agreed to rehear the case after an appeal filed by EQT–a rare and unusual step (see EQT Catches Big Break in WV Supreme Court re Royalty Deductions). In May the WV Supreme Court ruled on the reheard case, overturning its previous decision from last December. The court ruled to allow EQT to deduct “reasonable” post-production expenses (see WV Supreme Court Reverses Itself, Post-Production Deductions OK). Those who won the original case (and lost the reheard case) say newly elected Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Walker had conflicts of interest and should not have been allowed to vote to rehear the case in the first place (which she did). On that basis, they tried to avoid the rehearing altogether, but that failed. Newly elected Justice Walker, with (according to the losing side) conflicts of interest, voted in favor of EQT. On the basis that Walker should not have been part of the process at all, the case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in September (see Lawyers ask US Supreme Court to Hear WV EQT Royalty Case). On Monday, with no explanation, the Supremes denied the request for an appeal…
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Webasto – Saving Marcellus/Utica Trucks Big Money and Time

Winter has arrived here in the Marcellus/Utica. Keeping a truck idled for hours at a time–just to keep it warm or to get it warmed up before driving–is a waste of money. It’s also harmful to the environment (lots of nasty diesel emissions). There is a better way–the Webasto way. Webasto designed and manufactures an ingenious solution, a tiny little device like a motor, that will heat up the fluids in a truck, meaning you don’t have to start it minutes and hours ahead of time just to warm it up. They even have a device that will keep the cabin warm–without running the truck’s engine! How clever is that? MDN is delighted to bring our audience a new sponsor/advertiser: Webasto. Never heard of it? You may actually have one of their systems in your equipment and not even realize it. They’re responsible for the technology behind Engine-Off heating solutions–improving driver comfort and engine performance for all types of vehicles. Webasto was founded in 1901 in Germany and remains headquartered there. However, it is truly an international company, with operations around the world, including here in the U.S. There are a number of subsidiaries and divisions within the company. The part of the company that has become an MDN sponsor manufactures technologies, like heaters, used in big trucks (see it here).

Obviously not all MDN readers are interested in technology that keeps trucks warm in the winter. But there are a number of trucking companies, and fleet managers, who subscribe to and read MDN. Companies that work in the Marcellus/Utica region. We have some information you need–information that will (a) save you BIG money, (b) improve your environmental record, and (c) lower maintenance costs for your trucks…
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Lancaster Hospital Produces Its Own Electricity Using Marcellus Gas

Hey Lancaster Against Pipelines–you might want to rethink your opposition to the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline that flows fracked Marcellus gas from northeast PA to places like Lancaster. Why? Because you’re own hospital is powered by a new electric plant that uses Marcellus gas to generate electricity. Hospitals are known as “critical infrastructure” in PA–facilities that “deliver essential services and functions during natural disasters, emergency events, or grid outages.” Lancaster General Hospital, critical infrastructure in the Lancaster area, now produces almost all of its own electricity from a new 6.6 megawatt power plant it built right on the hospital campus (gasp!). Lancaster General uses a “combined heat and power” (CHP) system. Here’s the cool part: There are a dozen other hospitals across the Keystone State that already use natgas-powered CHP systems to generate their own electricity too. So tell us again, Lancaster Against Pipelines, how filthy fracked gas is destroying Mom Earth and poisoning the air. Quite the contrary: Natgas and the pipelines that deliver it are saving lives in hospitals across the state, including Lancaster County…
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Old Hippie/Actor James Cromwell “Escorted Out” of FERC Meeting

James Cromwell as Zefram Cochrane in Star Trek: First Contact

Wealthy, old, has-been actor and Manhattanite James Cromwell has a summer playground home in Upstate New York–in Orange County. When he bought his Upstate home he certainly didn’t think a natural gas-fired power plant would be built nearby. That’s like a script from a “B” movie! But such a thing happened. Cromwell, in case you don’t know, is famous for starring in movies like “Babe” and “Star Trek: First Contact.” When Cromwell learned that an electric generating plant that burns evil fossil fuels (natural gas) would be built near his summer home, he thought he would do what all Hollywood stars think will work–shut the project down by protesting. It just has to work because, you know, he’s famous. What a dope. After initial court challenges went nowhere, CPV (Competitive Power Ventures) began building the $900 million Valley Energy Center project in Wawayanda, NY (see Orange County, NY Marcellus-Fired Electric Plant OK’d by Judge). In December 2015, Cromwell and a few star-struck sycophants got themselves arrested for illegally blocking the entrance to the construction site (see Actor James Cromwell Arrested Protesting NY Power Plant Site). The wheels of justice grind slowly, but finally, two years later, the “Wawayanda Six,” as they call themselves, were found guilty and ordered to pay a fine. Some of the six did, but Cromwell and a few others refused. So he was given a one week jail sentence. Cromwell ended up serving just a few days. Being white and famous has its privileges (see “Privileged White” Actor Cromwell Serves < Half of Jail Sentence). Since Cromwell and his sycophants couldn’t stop the plant from getting built, they changed tactics. They thought they could stop a pipeline from getting built to feed the plant natural gas. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) saw through that one and moved forward at a recent meeting to allow the Valley Lateral Project (a short 7.8 mile pipeline) to begin construction. Cromwell and a fellow jailbird from Wawayanda (Pramilla Malick) went to to the FERC meeting and disrupted the meeting by standing and chanting “FERC doesn’t work.” Catchy. Security had to escort them out…
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Canadian Antis Threaten to “Defend” Against Quebec Utica Drilling

Advocating for anarchy (a doing away of laws and letting the mob rule) is not unique to radical environmentalists in the United States. Such anarchy is alive and well in the Canadian environmental movement too. The Utica Shale, which underlies much of the Marcellus Shale, also underlies part of Canada’s Quebec province. From time to time we highlight news concerning the Utica in Canada. There hasn’t been much news to highlight over the years since Quebec has had a moratorium on fracking since 2012. But as we reported in December 2016, something of a minor miracle happened–the Quebec National Assembly voted to pass Bill 106, ostensibly to support Quebec’s “clean power plan” (see Fracking in Canadian Utica Shale Takes Big Step Closer to Reality). The bill includes a section that “lays out a framework for oil and gas development” in Quebec. Then in September, Quebec did the unthinkable (for radical environmentalists)–they published draft Utica drilling regulations (see Quebec Government Publishes Draft Utica Fracking Regulations). Canadian driller Questerre believes Utica drilling can begin sometime next year (see Questerre Plans 8 Initial Well Pads in Canadian Utica 2018-2019). That news has antis in Canada going berserk. They’re now threatening that “the public will defend itself” if drilling is allowed. What do they mean by that? Sure sounds like a threat to us…
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Anarchists Block Frac Sand Trains in Washington; Police Chief Complicit

Washington State is a strange place. Yes, the state has given us world-changing companies like Microsoft and Boeing. It’s also changed our coffee drinking habits by giving us Starbucks. But Washington State is also home to some seriously demented and dangerous people. We spotted a story in the Washington (DC) Post that confirms what MDN has been saying for years (not that we need confirming): anarchists are some of the core members of the anti-fossil fuel movement. An anarchist, in case you need a definition, is “a person who rebels against any authority, established order, or ruling power” (Merriam Webster). In other words, lawless. A law unto themselves. Gangs of bullies. Lord of the Flies. You get the picture. The WashPo story, using flowery and laudatory language, reports that a group of anarchists in Washington State have set up a tent village on top of railroad tracks that come out of the Port of Olympia. Ceramic proppants–artificial beads that are used in place of frac sand–are shipped to the Port and from there, loaded onto rail cars and hauled cross country, mostly to the Bakken Shale play in North Dakota, where they are used to frack shale wells. An encampment was set up on Nov. 17 to block those shipments and it’s still there–because local Police Chief Ronnie Roberts (hired to uphold the law), doesn’t like fracking and won’t arrest these whack jobs and eject them. That’s why we say Washington State is a strange place…
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NARUC Report: How to Expand NatGas Service to More People

The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) is an organization you may not have heard much about. NARUC is a non-profit organization representing state public service commissions who regulate the utilities that provide essential services such as energy, telecommunications, power, water, and transportation. NARUC has just done us all a favor. On Monday NARUC released a new report on best practices and recommendations for state regulators to promote and support the expansion of natural gas service in unserved and underserved areas, including rural areas. “Report of the NARUC Task Force on Natural Gas Access and Expansion” (full copy below) is a 57-page report for state public utility/service commissions that includes eight recommended ways states can grow natural gas use to those not currently served by it…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Thu, Nov 30, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: NY Gov. Cuomo’s bizarre reasons for banning fracking; ODNR issues 6 new Utica permits; well completion company rents space in Washington County, PA; EPA greenhouse gas rule hearing in WV draws big crowd; Marcellus industry helps deer hunters; Bakken gas flaring flaring up again; Democrat FERC Commissioner seated, still waiting on final Republican; Big Green groups want lawsuit against them (for racketeering) dismissed; would you bet your paycheck on a weather forecast?; and more!
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