Natural Gas Prices in Texas Permian Drop Below Marcellus/Utica

The biggest oil play in the United States is the Permian, located in West Texas and southeastern New Mexico. Two weeks ago MDN warned readers that natural gas in the Permian, which is a byproduct of the oil wells drilled there, is increasingly competing with Marcellus/Utica gas (see “Free” NatGas in Texas Permian Changes Shale Gas Economics in M-U). The coming clash continues to grow. In a Bloomberg article published yesterday, we learn that the price of natgas in the Permian at major trading hubs is now lower than the price for hubs around the Marcellus/Utica, which is truly a first! We also get an ominous prediction from an analyst who watches these things, who said in the next three to four weeks, “natural gas prices in the Permian can go to zero because it’s literally a byproduct.” Free gas! As we pointed out in our previous post on Permian and gas prices, oil drillers can actually pay up to $2.36 per thousand cubic feet to dispose of the natgas coming out of Permian oil wells. That is, they can pay people to take the gas–as a cost of extracting the oil. Roughly one-third of the hydrocarbons coming from Permian wells is natgas. The biggest problem in the Permian for natgas is also the biggest problem in the M-U: lack of pipelines…
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Antero Resources Spent $1B in WV Last Year, Another $1B This Year

Antero Resources is seriously in love with West Virginia. Antero is headquartered in Denver, CO but is totally focused on drilling for natural gas, NGLs and oil in the Marcellus/Utica. Antero owns over 484,000 net acres in the southwestern portion of the Marcellus Shale, and over 137,000 net acres in the core of the Utica Shale. Most of their acreage is in WV. Of the $1.3 billion the company spent last year, and plans to spend again this year, around $1 billion (per year) is spent on drilling in WV–close to 80%. Over the next five years, Antero says it will invest $6 billion in the Mountain State. That’s some serious love! As the technology gets better, it takes less time to drill. Antero said it used to take 30 days to drill an 8,000-foot well. Today? They can do it in one day. One of the secrets to Antero’s success in WV is their new Clearwater facility that recycles 98% of the frack wastewater (flowback and produced water) coming from Antero’s wells. Below is an article in which Antero gushes about their love (and future plans) for WV…
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Opponents Slandering Potter Co. Wastewater Facility Legally Warned

Is it free speech to make “false, destructive and defamatory statements” about a company and the project it proposes to build? Is it OK to pretend to be a news organization when you’re really just a shill for Big Green groups, and is your “speech” protected–when it’s false? Members of the Seneca Indian tribe and faux news outlet Public Herald have been put on notice, legally, by lawyers representing the proposed Epiphany shale wastewater recycling facility in Coudersport (Potter County, PA) and driller JKLM to “cease and desist” from their slandering, smearing false statements about the Epiphany project–statements that are misleading the public. Those served the legal notice say it’s an attempt to silence their free speech rights. What do you think?…
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Lansing, MI Approves Borrowing $500M for Gas-Fired Electric Plant

In December MDN brought you the news that the Lansing, Michigan Board of Water & Light (BWL) wants to build a brand new $500 million natural gas-fired power plant (see Lansing, MI to Build New 250 MW Gas-Fired Electric Plant). The new plant will generate 250 megawatts of electricity, create 1,200 construction jobs, and go online in 2021. It will replacing (and retire) a BWL coal-fired plant at. Out with old, in with the new. We’re interested in the project because it is a potential new demand source for Marcellus/Utica Shale gas. On Tuesday, BWL voted, unanimously, to approve borrowing up to $500 million to construct the project. They did so over the objections of a group of fossil fuel haters who apparently would rather sit in the dark rather than build a plant that uses a dreaded fossil fuel. BWL board members had to put up with the usual fossil fuel speechifying, and then proceeded to move forward like the adults they are, over the objections of the petulant children present…
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Free Pipeline Training Course in April in SWPA & Eastern OH

The Gas Technology Institute (GTI) has previously offered a 100% free training program for those interested in a career building pipelines in the Marcellus/Utica region (see 4-Wk FREE Training Program Helps Unemployed Get M-U Pipeline Jobs and Still a Few Openings for Free Training for M-U Pipeline Jobs in SWPA). GTI is offering the same training program once again in April, at two locations: Armstrong County Industrial Development Council in Freeport, PA, and Belmont College in St. Clairsville, OH. Each location is limited to 20 students. If you are interested and live somewhere within driving distance of either location, what are you waiting for? Sign up before all slots are taken! Starting salaries for graduates “often exceed $50,000” and can lead to careers with salaries in the six-figure range (hey, where do we sign up?!). We have the details of how to enroll for FREE in this valuable training course–a course worth $3,500…
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Riverkeeper, Big Green Groups Want FERC to Bend Rules for Them

We are a country governed by the rule of law. Part of our system of laws (for better or worse) invests government bureaucracies with delegated power to make rules and regulations–which carry the weight of law. Children who are not disciplined (at home and at school) grow up to be adults who think silly things like rules don’t apply to them–because they don’t want them to. THE Delaware Riverkeeper falls into that camp. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has rules and regulations in place to keep the agency from descending into chaos in reviewing and approving pipeline projects. One of FERC’s rules, which has been on the books for years, is that if a person or group wants to “intervene” (become an intervenor) in a project, they must file with FERC “in a timely manner.” FERC sets the amount of time, which varies with each project. It’s been our observation FERC gives at least 30 days, sometimes more, for folks to file to intervene. One of the sleazy strategies used by Riverkeeper is to get thousands of individuals (including children) to sign up as intervenors for a project in a quest to flood and overload the FERC system, slowing or stopping progress on a given project (see FERC Confirms “Intervenors” Slowing Down Pipeline Approvals). FERC has had enough. FERC commissioners have voted to tighten up the loosey-goosey way FERC has treated people and groups who file late to intervene. No more bending of the rules. In the past, Riverkeeper and others have filed to intervene weeks after the deadline for such action, and FERC has just added them as intervenors anyway. No more. Either Riverkeeper and their ilk file on time from now on, or they won’t be considered intervenors, which has them hopping mad…
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Tallgrass Energy Eliminating MLP – First “Casualty” of Tax Cut?

Last week MDN brought you the news that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) had taken “significant action” to address the Trump tax cut legislation enacted last December (see FERC Takes Aim at Adjusting Pipe Rates in Light of Trump Tax Cut). FERC wants to be sure the tax cuts coming to electric companies and pipeline companies are passed on to consumers and pipeline shippers. The agency proposed new solutions to eliminate “tax loopholes” for natural gas pipelines. Closing these so-called loopholes will eliminate certain tax benefits for MLPs–master limited partnerships. Many pipeline companies (most) are organized as MLPs, which allows tax advantages to flow to investors. With certain tax benefits for MLP unitholders on the chopping block, all of a sudden some MLPs don’t look like such a hot investment anymore, at least on paper. Some analysts have speculated this may be the beginning of the end for MLPs. A few years ago Kinder Morgan got rid of all it’s MLP subsidiaries, combining them all into a single “C” corporation. Now, Tallgrass Energy, builder/operator of the mighty Rockies Express (REX) pipeline which flows Marcellus/Utica gas, is doing the same as Kinder did. Which causes us to ask the question, is Tallgrass’ MLP the first “casualty” of the Trump tax cut among pipeline companies?…
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Other Energy Stories of Interest: Thu, Mar 29, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: Hilcorp files for new drilling permits in Columbiana County, OH; FirstEnergy files to close 3 nuke plants in OH, PA; FERC scolds Rover over missed deadlines; bogus petition with 70K signature filed protesting pipelines in Virginia; LNG supplier helps fund Greensburg, PA shelter; Texas sinkholes from o&g drilling; why $3 natgas continues to elude the market; Chesapeake Energy is not “desperate” to sell assets; media ignores real Russian meddling–in U.S. energy markets; Saudis & Russians tag-team to fend off American shale; and more!
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