EQT Drills Longest Marcellus Well Ever, Reveals 2018 Plans

EQT, the country’s largest natural gas producer after buying out Rice Energy, announced yesterday their plans for 2018. The company will spend a massive $2.4 billion on exploration & production (drilling)–all of it in the Marcellus/Utica region. EQT is spending 60% more money spent on drilling in 2018 than they did in 2017. What will $2.4 billion buy you? In the Marcellus, EQT will drill 139 wells (111 in PA and 28 in WV). In the OH Utica, EQT will drill 38 wells. And in the Upper Devonian (in PA), EQT will drill 19 wells. EQT plans to bring online 160-170 wells in the Marcellus, 40-50 wells in the Utica, and 20-25 in the Upper Devonian. However, all of the reporting we’ve seen on yesterday’s announcement from EQT fails to highlight what we consider to be some of the biggest news of the day: EQT has become the reigning champ for drilling the longest Marcellus Shale well. The previous reigning champ was Range Resources, drilling a Marcellus well 15,000 feet long (see Range Resources Drills Longest Marcellus Well Ever – in Washington Co.). EQT has sailed far beyond the Range well by drilling a well 17,400 feet long in Washington County, PA (as was Range’s monster Marcellus well.) The EQT well, called Haywood H18, was brought online earlier this week. And that’s not all. EQT plans to drill 27 more monster Marcellus wells with laterals longer than 17,000 feet in 2018! Congrats to the biggest producer in the U.S., who now has the biggest Marcellus well ever drilled!…
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1 Vote Saves the Day – PA Severance Tax Vote Delayed to Next Year

A single vote saved the day on Tuesday, preventing the horrible Pennsylvania House Bill (HB) 1401 from potentially coming up for a full vote. We’ve covered this insane bill repeatedly because it is an existential threat to the Marcellus Shale industry in the Keystone State (see our stories here). State Rep. (and RINO) Todd Stephens, from Montgomery County, made a motion on the floor Tuesday evening to keep debating HB 1401 as a “Special Order of Business” after all the business was done for the day. Tuesday was the last day of the current session until late January next year. Stephens’ motion received 100 votes. It needed 101 to pass. What does it mean? At the earliest the bill won’t be considered again until Jan. 22. Practically speaking, since the bill has not been able to muster enough support to get a vote by the full House, it means the bill is now on life support–near death. Which is a VERY good thing for PA…
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FERC Rejects Antis’ Request to “Rehear” Atlantic Sunrise Decision

In March of this year, a variety of anti-fossil fuel Big Green groups filed a rehearing request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), asking the agency to reconsider its decision to approve the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project (see Antis Attempt to Stop Atlantic Sunrise Pipe by Attacking FERC Order). Atlantic Sunrise is a $3 billion, 198-mile natural gas pipeline project running through 10 Pennsylvania counties to connect Marcellus Shale natural gas from northeastern PA with the Williams’ Transco pipeline in southern Lancaster County. Before Big Green groups can sue FERC in federal court to try and stop a project, they must first file a request for rehearing. If the antis can get FERC to agree to a re-hearing, it effectively slows, even stops, an active pipeline project. So in an effort to prevent important projects from being slowed or stopped, FERC developed something called a “tolling order” which grants FERC more time to consider whether or not a full rehearing is justified. During the time of the tolling order, work on a pipeline continues. Sometimes the work even gets completed! Which of course drives antis bonkers. By using a tolling order, FERC can drag out the process of deciding to deny a rehearing, avoiding the inevitable frivolous lawsuit that follows. That is, work on important projects actually gets done. Even though a tolling order was in place for the Atlantic Sunrise decision, antis still sued in federal court (several times, for a myriad of reasons), in an attempt to stop Atlantic Sunrise. It hasn’t worked. Construction is going strong. Last week FERC finally responded to the original request for a rehearing lodged back in March. FERC denied the request. When you read through FERC’s response, you’ll find many of the people and groups who requested a rehearing didn’t follow the rules and were simply dismissed as not having standing in the case. For those who do/did have standing, FERC methodically, meticulously, patiently explained why they are full of it…
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PA Landowners: Don’t Cash that Surprise Royalty Check Just Yet

Pennsylvania landowners may think Christmas came early this year. Perhaps you’re a landowner and just received a surprise royalty check in the mail for a long-dormant well on your property. That well hasn’t produced in what seems like forever. Last time you got a royalty check was what…maybe 10 years ago? And look at this! Santa just visited! After all that time the driller decided to pump some more from that old well. But before you run to the bank and cash the check, thinking you can pay for more Christmas presents, better think twice. Or three times. You may about to be taken for ride. In July the Pennsylvania Senate passed an awful budget bill that includes a variety of new taxes, including a new severance tax on the Marcellus industry. The Senate also slipped in Section 1610 into the budget bill, which changes established lease law with respect to oil and gas wells that no longer produce anything (see PA Senate Slips Anti-Landowner Measure into State Budget Bill). Under then-existing law, when an oil or gas well stops producing–and the landowner quits getting royalty checks–the lease is considered terminated. Done. Finished. Under new Section 1610, drillers can resurrect those dead leases under a couple of conditions. If the landowner doesn’t officially declare “your lease is now dead since you’re not producing anything” a driller can quick-like-a-bunny restart production at the well and send the landowner a piddly royalty check, re-starting (or continuing) the existing lease with its existing terms. Or if the driller sends a notice to the landowner stating its intention to drill a new well on the property, and if the landowner doesn’t object within a 3-month time limit, the driller is free to begin drilling a NEW well, under the OLD lease terms. Section 1610 really stinks. Landowners are shafted out the opportunity to sign new leases with new bonuses and better royalty rates. Fortunately the severance tax didn’t make the final cut in the budget bill. Unfortunately Section 1610 did make it–and is now PA law. If you get a royalty check “out of the blue” for a long-dormant well, head for a lawyer, quick, BEFORE you cash that check…
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EQT Begins Process of Separating Midstream…into New Company?

Yesterday EQT released details about their plans for 2018 (see our lead story today, EQT Drills Longest Marcellus Well Ever, Reveals 2018 Plans). Plenty of news sources covered that news. However, EQT Midstream, the pipeline subsidiary of EQT, also released an announcement, which received almost no media coverage. And yet there is, for us, some big news in the EQT Midstream announcement. As you know by now, EQT recently bought and merged in Rice Energy, creating the largest onshore natural gas producing company in the United States (see EQT Buys Rice Energy in $8.2B Deal, Becomes #1 Gas Producer in US). EQT bought not only Rice the driller, but Rice the midstream company too. EQT has it’s own EQT Midstream subsidiary. And yet, EQT (the driller) still owns a number of midstream/pipeline assets, on paper, separate from EQT Midstream. Same with Rice Energy–they had Rice Midstream Partners as a subsidiary. It’s all kind of a mish mash–with pipeline assets spread around four (or more) different entities on paper. Yesterday’s announcement by EQT Midstream said (a) the EQT parent company is considering “dropping down” (shifting ownership on paper) for all remaining midstream assets to EQT Midstream, and (b) EQT is also considering combining EQT Midstream and Rice Midstream Partners into one single entity–one division for all midstream assets. Which certainly makes sense. Why not tidy up the operations and get everything under one umbrella? Except we think there may be another reason for combining all of the midstream assets into one, neat, lovable bundle: spinning off the midstream division into its own standalone company, completely separate from the EQT parent…
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NYU Buying Frivolous Enviro Lawsuits by Hiring Lawyers for State AGs

Somebody needs to sue the New York University (NYU) School of Law and 10 state Attorneys General to stop a grievous practice–a bastardization of our justice system. We are floored to learn that NYU is paying to hire attorneys to work inside the offices of the Attorneys General in 10 different states–Pennsylvania being the latest. The aim of hiring these new assistants to work alongside AGs is to launch lawsuits to “protect” the environment–i.e. sue fossil fuel companies. It is a gross perversion of our legal system meant to challenge policies the very liberal NYU doesn’t like. Our legal system is now, apparently, for sale–at least it is in PA and nine other blue Democrat-controlled states. THIS MUST STOP. NOW. Since when does private money get to buy state workers? Since when does private money with VERY long strings attached get to determine how and what state workers will work on? This is wrong in so many ways. And probably illegal, which the NYU School of Law should know. If it’s not illegal (big if), at a minimum it’s grossly unethical. Paging U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions: You need to stop this–now!…
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E Goshen Twp Asks PA to Step in and Authorize Anarchy re Pipelines

A township supervisor in East Goshen (Chester County), PA doesn’t like a pipeline coming through a portion of his township. So he’s asking PA Gov. Tom Wolf and state legislators to overturn 200+ years of law in the United States to empower him to either prohibit the pipeline from coming through his town, or drastically alter its course (making it unfeasible). Apparently Supervisor Marty Shane missed an important civics lesson in his elementary school social studies class. (Maybe he was taught in a Philadelphia school–that would explain it.) Mr. Shane wants municipal ordinances to supersede state and national regulations when it comes to pipelines. That is, he wants to reverse the way the law has worked for over 200 years–which is federal on top, then state, then local. Apparently Mr. Shane wants to grant his local fiefdom the same powers as (in this case) the state government. What Shane advocates, perhaps without realizing it, is a path to anarchy–where mobs of people determine what happens. The ultimate end of that is Lord of the Flies (read it sometime). Our founders, who (ironically) met in Philadelphia, crafted a system that created the single greatest country on earth. We the people elect representatives to represent us (called a republic, NOT a straight up democracy). Mobs do not make good decisions and our founders knew it. Under the U.S. Constitution, the federal government reigns over all. Then the state. And finally, local governments. The federal government reserves the right, under laws and statutes, to regulate interstate pipelines–precisely to prevent small-minded people from blocking them. After the feds come the states, who regulate oil and gas activity, and any pipelines not regulated by the feds (which covers the pipeline going through East Goshen). Local governments can and do pass ordinances on land use–but not ordinances that supersede the power of the state or the feds to site and regulate pipelines. Shane wants to reverse the order…
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Enviros Tell DRBC Not Enough Freak Shows Scheduled on Frack Ban

In September, MDN told you that the obsequious members of the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) had slavishly obeyed their radical environmental masters by voting to move forward with a permanent ban on fracking in the Delaware River Basin (see DRBC Votes Tomorrow on Permanent Frack Ban Resolution). The final ban language/regulation was dropped like a bomb by DRBC staff on Nov. 30 (see DRBC Drops Permanent Frack Ban Bomb – Public Hearings in January). In dropping their bomb, the DRBC said (with no proof) that fracking “poses significant, immediate and long-term risks” to the waters in the basin. Then they declared, by fiat, that “High volume hydraulic fracturing in hydrocarbon bearing rock formations is prohibited within the Delaware River Basin.” However, they also said (in the fine print) that water from the Delaware River Basin can be used by frackers in other locations–which sent antis like THE Delaware Riverkeeper into apoplectic shock. The DRBC is allowing public comment, via written communication, through Feb. 28. They will also hold four public hearings (i.e. freak shows) to allow antis to parade before the microphones and make jerks of themselves. We know what we’re speaking about–we’ve been to a number of similar hearings and can attest, first-hand, to how they behave during these hearings. Even though the public has a full 90 days to provide written comment, and four hearings in which to sound off–that’s still not enough for the nutters. They want the deadline for public comment extended and more freak shows to be added to the lineup…
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Antis Take Over Westmoreland County, VA, Aim to Ban Fracking

Invasion of the body snatchers has become reality in Westmoreland County, Virginia. The Westmoreland Board of Supervisors passed amendments Monday night “to strictly limit gas and oil drilling.” However, that’s just a stopgap measure. The real aim is a full-out, flat-out ban on any kind of oil and gas drilling. Right after taking the vote, the illustrious body-snatched supervisors asked the county attorney to begin researching a moratorium they can enact without landing them in jail. Good luck with that. Virginia doesn’t have the Marcellus/Utica under it–at least not very much. But Virginia does have another shale layer–the Taylorsville. We commented back in 2014 that the state is inching closer to allowing fracking in the Taylorsville and other potential basins (see Virginia Inches Closer to Shale Drilling in Taylorsville Basin). They’re still inching–and it’s not going very fast. Anti-drilling radicals have risen up to oppose anything to do with shale in the state. Westmoreland isn’t the first location to be snatched. The first county in Virginia to become lawless in this regard was King George County, last summer (see King George County, VA Commits Fracking Suicide with Vote to Ban). In the spring, Augusta County followed suit (see Augusta County, VA Votes to Illegally Ban Fracking). And now the body snatchers are invading Westmoreland County. It’s always breathtaking, and disturbing, when a small group of individuals decide to take away the Constitutional property rights of their fellow citizens…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Thu, Dec 14, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Utica Shale 2017 year in review; Westmoreland Transit natgas station opens today; Shale Energy Alliance touts ways to build o&g industry in Ohio Valley; investors pour cash into shale; shale’s roller coaster ride will continue; ‘unknown unknowns’ threaten shale; natgas price balance depends on cold winter; China’s coal ban backfires, natgas shortages abound; OPEC wakes up to threat of shale 2.0; and more!
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