New Marc/Utica Driller Salt Fork Resources Gets Upsized Investment

It’s not often MDN gets to write about a brand new driller (i.e. exploration & production company) arriving on the scene in the Marcellus/Utica region. This is one of those happy days! Salt Fork Resources, started in March 2017 and headquartered in Canonsburg, PA, was started by three men with extensive experience in the Appalachian region. The company was/is backed by Riverstone Holdings, an investment firm focused on power and energy. The reason that Salt Fork appeared on our radar screen is because of a press release from Riverstone announcing they have “upsized” their backing of Salt Fork–that is, they are giving Salt Fork more money to lease more acreage and drill. How much money? The release does not say. We do know that Salt Fork has, so far, amassed a very respectable 20,000 acres “in the core of the dry gas window of the Utica Shale.” We also know, from their website, that Salt Fork is targeting the Utica in both Ohio and West Virginia. Salt Fork is a portfolio company of Riverstone (i.e. Riverstone owns it). The money Riverstone is giving to Salt Fork is equity, not debt–meaning Salt Fork hasn’t had to borrow a dime, a minor miracle for any oil and gas company. Does Riverstone sound familiar? It should. We’ve previously written about their other Marcellus/Utica region investments a number of times (see our Riverstone stories here). Let’s roll out the red carpet for Riverstone’s Salt Fork Resources and welcome this new company to the club!…
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Mountaineer Xpress Pipe Breaks Ground in WV on $100M Compressor

Earlier this week TransCanada (i.e. Columbia Pipeline) broke ground for a new $100 million compressor station that will flow gas through the Mountaineer XPress Pipeline. MDN previously told you that at the end of December the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a final approval for Mountaineer (see Leach XPress Goes Online; FERC Approves Mountaineer & Gulf XPress). The $2 billion Mountaineer XPress will build ~170 miles of new pipeline to flow 2.7 billion cubic feet (Bcf) per day of natural gas from existing and future points of receipt along or near the Columbia pipeline system–most of it located in West Virginia (see Details on Columbia Pipeline Mountaineer XPress Pipeline Project). At 2.7 Bcf/d, Mountaineer XPress is the second largest (by volume) new pipeline project for the Marcellus/Utica region–second only to Rover’s 3.25 Bcf/d pipeline. It is a big and important project. On Tuesday, even though the temps were frigid and the snow was flying, Calhoun County commissioners along with reps from TransCanada broke ground on an important new compressor station being built to flow gas through Mountaineer XPress. Calhoun has not seen any shale drilling, although neighboring Ritchie County (to the north) and Gilmer County (to the east) have. Mountaineer XPress and this compressor station are helping Calhoun participate economically in the shale miracle, which Calhoun’s commissioners expressed thanks for…
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Mercer County, PA Gears Up to Benefit from Shell Cracker

“One word: Plastics” (The Graduate) – Mercer County, which is two counties and 50 miles north of Beaver County (located along the border with Ohio) is making plans now for how their county to grab some of the “low hanging fruit” that will appear when the Shell ethane cracker in Beaver County goes online in the early 2020s. You read that right. NOW is the time for counties in the region to make plans and set those plans in motion to attract some of the numerous businesses that will set up shop to be close to the cracker plant. Mercer County officials recently attended a forum where the topic was ancillary development that will happen because of the cracker plant. What is the low hanging fruit that will magically appear with the cracker? Manufacturing–and the jobs that go with it. In particular, manufacturing and jobs in the plastics industry. A regional trade organization–Penn-Northwest Development Corp.–is planning to hit the plastics industry trade shows this year. Penn-Northwest is working with counties like Mercer to help them market themselves to plastics manufacturers…
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American Energy Partners – Lots of Smoke, Any Fire?

MDN previously highlighted news from a relatively new company called American Energy Partners, Inc., based in Allentown, PA, and their subsidiary company Gilbert Oil & Gas (see our AEP stories here). The name is always jarring when we see it, because Aubrey McClendon’s second act after getting ejected from Chesapeake Energy was to found and run a company called American Energy Partners. However, Aubrey’s company was an LLC, and this one is an Inc.–same name but different forms of business entity. Still, we wonder how AEP Inc. has been able to avoid getting sued by the McClendon estate over their use of the name. But we digress. Thus far we’ve seen a lot of press releases (i.e. “smoke”) from AEP. Who are these guys and are they a serious company? Has there been any “fire” to accompany the smoke? We have to say yes, they are serious and yes, there has been at least some red embers burning. In October we reported that AEP’s drilling subsidiary Gilbert Oil & Gas had closed on a deal giving them 12 wells and 1,100 Marcellus acres in Washington County, PA (see American Energy Closes on “Tier I” Assets – Exclusive Details). Hey, it’s a beginning! The company is small and young, but with a determined team. Recently AEP added a new member to the team (a graduate of West Point AND the U.S. Army War College, as well as being a former PA State Senator) as Chief Strategy Officer. Here’s more information about AEP, a company to keep an eye on in 2018…
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NC Continues to Delay Atlantic Coast Pipe, Rejects Part of Erosion Plan

North Carolina has a Democrat governor. The state Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is an executive branch agency. So it’s no surprise to learn that the DEQ is antagonistic toward Dominion Energy’s $5 billion, 594-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP)–a natural gas pipeline that will stretch from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina. In October the DEQ rejected a plan submitted by Dominion for the pipeline project, claiming the erosion and sediment control part of the plan is not up to snuff (see NC DEQ Rejects Plan for Atlantic Coast Pipeline – What’s Next?). What’s happened since that time? Dominion resubmitted the plan, and in early January DEQ approved part of the erosion/sediment control plan (for the southern part of the project) but rejected the other part (for the northern part of the project). As we previously pointed out, DEQ is currently playing death by 1,000 questions with Dominion, trying to tie the project up in knots (see NC Plays “Death by a Thousand Questions” with Atlantic Coast Pipe). DEQ’s poor behavior continues. Here’s an update on where things stand, and what Dominion will need to do to get ACP approved in the Tar Heel State…
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Cabot O&G Continues Tradition of Philanthropy in NEPA Communities

The following guest post was written by Rick Hiduk:

Cabot Warming Hearts at Coldest Time of Year

It has been a particularly cold couple of months, and those most effected by winter’s bite tend to be the less fortunate families in our region and their children. Since Thanksgiving, Cabot Oil & Gas has been reaching out to the community in a variety of ways and brightening the lives of hundreds of area residents. While Cabot has become known for its ongoing philanthropy, the initiatives covering the holiday season were especially well received, helping more than 800 families in northeast Pennsylvania…
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Lancaster Against Pipelines to be Featured in Propaganda Movie

A leftist filmmaker is attempting to get enough money via a Kickstarter campaign to fund a new propaganda film called “The Power of Protest,” which looks at five radical/left “protest” movements, one of which is Lancaster Against Pipelines (LAP). LAP is an anti-fossil fuel group founded to try to stop Williams’ $3 billion Atlantic Sunrise project, a 198-mile natural gas pipeline running through 10 Pennsylvania counties to connect Marcellus Shale natural gas from northeastern PA with the Williams’ Transco pipeline in southern Lancaster County. The married couple who started LAP, Mark and Malinda Clatterbuck, are far-left radicals who pretend to be mom and pop, salt-of-the-earth, neighbor-next-door, aw-shucks common folks who would never engage in “violent” protests. Mark Clatterbuck admits to traveling to North Dakota to participate in the mass action against the Dakota Access Pipeline–a “protest” that turned quite violent and destroyed millions of dollars of property. No, we’re not saying nor implying that Clatterbuck himself engaged in illegal actions while there. We are saying the Clatterbucks’ sympathies lie with protest movements that sometimes result in such actions. There is a very fine line for leftists between violent and non-violent protests–and all too often they tip over into the latter. They simply can’t accept the fact other people disagree with their extreme, outside-the-mainstream positions. In advertising the Kickstarter campaign to try and gin up money to fund the movie, the Clatterbucks and LAP are pushed front and center as examples of “mass protests” and their supposed effectiveness. We recall that Malinda Clatterbuck once claimed LAP has “over 1,000 people” willing to show up and engage in “nonviolent” protests against Atlantic Sunrise. So far, a grand total of 45 of their “committed” 1,000+ members have shown up and gotten themselves arrested (see 5 More Protesters Arrested in Lancaster Co. Blocking Pipeline Work). So much for shutting down work on Atlantic Sunrise. Here’s the pitch that attempts to turn two lefties into mom and pop in an attempt to raise money for yet another faux “documentary”…
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Renewables a “Roadmap to Nowhere” – Sued for Telling the Truth

We spotted an article a month ago that is shocking and disturbing. This is the first time we’ve had a chance in our daily article roundup to bring it to you. A Stanford University professor pedals a “religion” that claims the world can be fueled by 100% renewable energy. That is, renewables can provide everything we need: electricity, heating, transportation, industry, shipping, the works. And renewables can do it so well that we won’t need power plants that run on actual fuel. It’s a bizarre viewpoint, but there you go. Some people believe in Santa Claus too. The Stanford prof published a paper espousing this theory. There were a lot of factual flaws in the paper, so another scientist (actually 22 prominent scientists) published a paper pointing out the problems with the Stanford prof’s paper. That’s how it’s done in academe. You put your research out there, and others can (often do) come along and question it with their own research and rebuttal. That’s how science gets better. So what did the Stanford prof do? He sued one of the 22 authors of the dissenting paper, along with the academic journal that published it! Sued them for libel. The person he chose to sue isn’t affiliated with an institution with a legal team to defend him–so this is selective persecution. An attempt at legal bullying. No longer is science something we debate with published findings. Now it’s a matter of faith–and God help you if you believe on the wrong side of an issue like global warming, or renewables. If you dare to believe the “wrong way”–or worse yet poke holes in a true believer’s theories–you may get hauled into court. An ebook titled “ROADMAP TO NOWHERE: The Myth of Powering the Nation With Renewable Energy” (full copy below) covers this controversy and shines a light on what you thought you knew about so-called renewables. The ebook compares renewables with nuclear energy (we wish it were natgas, but perhaps using nuclear is the better comparison in this case). Take a blood pressure pill before you read the following…
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Recent (Important) Upgrades to the MDN Website

MDN is please to announce the completion of improvements to our website. We began a journey last fall when Google (the 800-pound Internet gorilla) informed us that we needed to begin serving all of our webpages at an https (i.e. secure) address. That’s not to say there was anything inherently unsecure or bad about the way we were serving our webpages, but Google wanted it done. And what Google wants, Google gets. So we embarked on a path to both update the look and feel of the website and make our pages 100% secured. We launched our updated look and feel in early October, the first such update since the site began in 2009 (see MDN Launches Redesigned Web Site – We’d Like Your Feedback). The secure pages part took a bit longer that we expected. We finally got that part operating in early December (see Important Information About MDN Login). Since then we’ve been working (with a programmer) to iron out some of the issues that cropped up in switching to a new look and feel. It is those new elements that are now done, including (very importantly) a new mobile version of the site–making it easier to use on your smartphone, full excerpts on the home page, a return of the oil and gas price widgets, and the return of our Pinterest widget. We explain below…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Jan 19, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye over the break that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: 6 permits issued in Utica Shale; fossil fuel divestment is a costly, empty gesture for NY; a tale of two river basins; Jessup Borough hires radical lawyer to review power plant project; New England electric generators burned 2M brels of oil in 15 days; Scott Pruitt aims to accelerate efforts to remake EPA; new strategy for pipeline cos – bigger pipes; OPEC frets about new flood of U.S. oil; EIA says U.S. fossil fuel production to hit new records in 2018 & 2019; and more!
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