FERC Gives Rover OK to Resume All HDD Work, Incl. Tuscarawas River

We have been waiting for this day for a LONG time. Yesterday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order to Rover Pipeline allowing Rover to restart all outstanding underground horizontal directional drilling (HDD) projects, including the location at Tuscarawas River. All Rover HDD projects were stopped back in April following a string of “inadvertent returns” (i.e. leaks) of drilling mud, the most serious being a ~2 million gallon spill at the Tuscarawas River HDD location (see Rover Pipeline Accident Spills ~2M Gal. Drilling Mud in OH Swamp). Several months after stopping Rover HDD work, following investigations and corrective action, FERC slowly began to allow Rover to restart HDD work in some (not all) locations. There have been perhaps 4-5 tranches of “go ahead and restart HDD work at these couple of locations.” But until yesterday, Rover could not restart HDD at the location of the worst spill site, near the Tuscarawas River. With yesterday’s order, all sites are cleared. Craig “Captain Ahab” Butler, director of the Ohio EPA, blew a gasket. He’s still trying to harpoon the Rover “Moby Dick” Pipeline as it travels through Ohio. A few weeks ago Butler asked Rover (and FERC) to STOP all HDD work (see Ohio EPA Continues Vendetta Against Rover Pipe, Demands HDD Stop). A few days later Rover asked FERC for permission to restart the balance of their HDD work (see Rover Ignores Shrill Ohio EPA, Asks FERC to Continue HDD Drilling). On Monday, Rover sent a letter to Butler (and FERC) saying Ohio EPA “grossly mischaracterizes Rover’s activities.” Yesterday FERC very loudly and clearly ignored Butler and sided with Rover…
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CNX to Buy Noble’s 50% Share of CONE Midstream for $305M

On Monday MDN shared news with you that we believe was exclusive news–nobody else picked up on it. The news was that Noble Energy’s original plan to sell its 50% stake in CONE Midstream to Quantum Energy Partners for $765 million, announced back in May, is in trouble (see Noble’s 50% CONE Midstream Sale in Trouble – Shopping Deal to CNX). We told you that according to a recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing Noble had begun negotiations with CNX Resources (formerly CONSOL Energy), which is the other 50% owner of CONE, to sell Noble’s share to them. It seems we were prophetic. This morning CNX issued a press release to announce they have cut a deal to buy Noble’s 50% CONE share–for $305 million. That’s 40% of the deal price Noble previously worked out with Quantum. Must be it’s a buyer’s market for midstream assets…

12/18/17 Update: On Friday, following CNX’s announcement about buying the rest of CONE from Noble Energy, Noble also issued an announcement (below). Noble’s announcement amusingly leaves out the purchase price–less than half of the previously deal they had with Quantum.
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3 More Injection Wells Coming to Trumbull County, OH

Back in June MDN shared some good news for Utica (and Marcellus) drillers: The Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) had approved permits for two new frack wastewater injection wells in Trumbull County, OH (see ODNR Approves Plans for 2 New Trumbull County Injection Wells). The injection wells are located in the town of Brookfield. ODNR attached a myriad of conditions and required all sorts of testing before the wells could go live but go live they did (we do not have confirmation those two wells are finished). Highland Field Services, the company that built (is building) those two wells, now wants to add another three to mix. Highland recently published notices in area newspapers eliciting public comments (required under law). Comments will be accepted until Dec. 25. Area residents are not happy about three more injection wells on top of the existing two…
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BLM Raises $944K from 4th Ohio Wayne Natl Forest Auction

Another 350 acres of mineral rights were just auctioned off yesterday by the Bureau of Land Management in Ohio’s Wayne National Forest (WNF)–for a total of $944,000 raised. What’s that? You haven’t heard or read that news in ANY local or national news outlet? Welcome to the Big Government/Media complex where something isn’t “news” unless Big Lib media says it’s news. And yet, this most recent auction is, for landowners who have mineral rights in WNF and drillers who drill there, really big news. WNF is a “patchwork” of public land scattered among private land. Some 60% of the mineral rights below WNF are privately owned. Those mineral rights owners were denied the use of their property rights for more than a decade–until the BLM finally began auctions of government mineral rights in BLM last year (see BLM Launches Auction to Lease Wayne National Forest for Fracking). The government portions of the patchwork are needed to combine with the private portions in order to form drilling units large enough to drill on/under. All of yesterday’s auctioned rights, similar to previous auctions, is located in Monroe County, OH–one of the sweetest of the sweet spots for drilling in the Utica Shale. Antis continue to oppose these auctions, launching lawsuits, showing up at various public events, etc. Whatever. The good news, news you don’t read in mainstream outlets, is that WNF lease auctions continue…
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PA Dems Turn on One of Their Own for Missing Severance Tax Vote

Yesterday MDN brought you the news that on Tuesday the latest effort to keep debating (and potentially pass) a horrible severance tax bill had failed by a single vote in the PA House (see 1 Vote Saves the Day – PA Severance Tax Vote Delayed to Next Year). Momentum is everything in these kinds of fights, and the severance tax bill has lost its momentum. It now will not be considered until at least Jan. 22 of next year. Democrats are fuming at the loss–a single vote! So they began scouring the list of those who voted for extending debate (and potentially voting to pass the bill), and found one of their own missed the vote. State Rep. Kevin Haggerty, Democrat from Scranton, didn’t show up for the vote–and he’s a reliable Big Left/Democrat voter. He assuredly would have voted to approve continuing the debate. Thing is, Haggerty has now missed 23 straight voting sessions and 300 roll call votes. So the long knives have come out for Haggerty. He blew it. And the Dems are fuming mad. Why has Haggerty missed so many days and so many votes? Because he’s going through a divorce and he needs to stay home with his two young children. If Haggerty were a woman–or a transgender–and made the same excuse for missing votes, Democrats would have been silent. Not a peep. But because Haggerty is a white male (the worst of the worst of the WORST), his fellow lefty Democrats are willing to boil him in political oil…
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DEP Will Use Fed Standards as Back Door to Control Methane Leaks

We’re now learning more about how the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) plans to implement Gov. Tom Wolf’s onerous regulations that supposedly will cut down on fugitive methane from escaping from drill pads and pipelines. In December 2016, the DEP unveiled new methane regulations (see PA DEP Releases New Regs re Methane & Air Pollution at Drill Sites). According to the DEP, the proposed General Permit 5A (GP-5A) and the revised General Permit 5 (GP-5), will “establish updated Best Available Technology (BAT) requirements for the industry regarding air emission limits, source testing, leak detection and repair, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements for the applicable air pollution sources.” After some final tweaks, the DEP released draft versions of the new permits (i.e. regulations) in February (see PA DEP Seeks Public Comment on Regs for Methane, Compressor Stns). The Marcellus Shale Coalition, among others, strongly pushed back on these unnecessary and costly regulations (see MSC Tells PA DEP What it Thinks of Onerous New Methane Regs). Following the pushback, there was a lull in activity. The lull ended two weeks ago when the DEP issued reworked regs, yet again (see PA DEP Signals Onerous New GP-5 & 5A Methane Regs Coming 1Q18). At an advisory meeting yesterday the DEP outlined a subtle change in strategy. They now will adopt and use federal guidelines for cutting smog-causing pollutants (VOCs, or volatile organic compounds) that will, as a side benefit, supposedly reduce fugitive methane from existing well pads and pipelines. That is, the DEP intends to use the back door to try and control methane leaks coming from the shale industry. Here’s the thing: a recent Penn State study found very little methane actually leaks from shale operations–less than one-half of one percent (see Penn State Study Finds Very Little Methane Leaks from Shale Op). In typical government fashion, the DEP is trying to fix a problem that doesn’t exist!…
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LNG Tanker Docks at Cove Point Terminal – To Offload Nigerian LNG?

We have to confess, the LNG (liquefied natural gas) world is sometimes confusing for us. The overall theory is pretty simple. Huge plants super-cool natural gas into a liquid state (called liquefaction) and load it onto tankers. The tankers (typically ships, sometimes rail) convey the LNG to a distant port somewhere and it’s unloaded. At the receiving end, the gas is then reheated back into a gaseous state (called regasification). However, the technology that both cools and reheats the gas is complex. Dominion began working on the Cove Point LNG export plant in October 2014 (see Dominion Breaks Ground on Cove Point, MD LNG Export Facility). Cove Point will liquefy 1.8 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of Marcellus/Utica shale gas and load it onto ships bound for India and Japan. It took something like $4 billion and just over three years, but earlier this month the facility began to accept an initial quantity of gas as part of the “commissioning” process–which we take to mean the shakedown process, make sure everything is working OK (see Dominion Cove Point LNG Export – Dress Rehearsal Begins). Now comes word that a tanker has docked at the Cove Point facility. The tanker is already filled with LNG–from Nigeria. Apparently the Nigerian LNG will get offloaded at Cove Point, which is a bit mysterious for us. Experts say this is a “cool down” cargo, used as part of the commissioning process. We assume, like it’s name, this cargo will “cool down” the equipment that needs to be cooled down in order to begin operations. Like we said, the LNG world is sometimes confusing for us…
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More Junk Science: “Study” on Low PA Birth Weight from Fracking

Another bought-and-paid-for junk science report has been released and is now grabbing headlines from lazy (or biased) mainstream news organizations. A study by researchers from the University of Chicago and Princeton University, funded by the uber-liberal (and anti-drilling) MacArthur Foundation. The MacArthur Foundation funds some of the worst of the worst Big Green groups, including Earthworks, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Sierra Club, among others. The “study” looked at health records from Pennsylvania and purports to find that in those locations with fracked shale wells, babies are born with lower birth weights than in areas without fracking. And there’s the headline everyone is grabbing. Here’s how it works: Big donors like the MacArthur Foundation go shopping for scientists at highly respected, reputable universities they can buy off with a research grant. They then tell the researchers what the outcome of the study will be. The researchers then conduct their research and magically come to the predetermined conclusion and get it published in a “peer reviewed” (and obscure) scientific journal. It has just happened again, with a study titled “Hydraulic fracturing and infant health: New evidence from Pennsylvania” (full copy below). How do we know this is actually junk science? Even the left-leaning Science magazine says this about the study: “…there is no smoking gun that proves how fracking impairs infant health.” When the left says that about a study, it’s junk…
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Gas Exporting Countries Predict Global Gas Demand Up 53% by 2040

The GECF (Gas Exporting Countries Forum) has just released its latest annual report, titled “2017 Global Gas Outlook” (full copy below). The report is remarkable for its prediction that by 2040 demand for natural gas across the globe will increase 53% from what it is today. Staggering! What’s even more remarkable is that the GECF is largely made up of oil producing/exporting countries–including Algeria, Iran, Libya, Nigeria, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. For oil countries to say gas is on fire and going through the roof–now that’s news! Even though these countries secretly hate the U.S. and its abundant shale reserves, they put on a good public face. GECF’s secretary general, Seyed Mohammad Hossein Adeli, said this about American shale gas: “The growth of shale is good because more gas will contribute to the penetration of gas worldwide.” Er, right. Whatever you say, Seyed. Here’s an overview of the report, followed by a copy of the full report…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Dec 15, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Retired PA State Senator joins board of American Energy Partners; PA Rep. Garth Everett will talk about severance tax on phone-in town hall; Shell donates hundreds of toys to Beaver County Salvation Army; Midwest o&g engineering firm opens office near Pittsburgh; US shale far from peaking; evil corporate raider tries to oust Hess CEO for 2nd time; desperate UK turns to Russia for natgas; and more!
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