NatGas Groups Urge Trump to Act Against States Blocking Pipelines

Five natural gas trade associations representing pretty much the entire natgas industry (producers, suppliers, pipelines and local gas utilities) sent a joint letter to President Trump on Tuesday asking the President to clarify the role of states in administering Clean Water Act Section 401. Specifically, the groups want the president to slap around individual states that are abusing Section 401 to block critical pipeline projects–like how the corrupt Andrew Cuomo in New York is blocking the Constitution Pipeline by withholding Section 401 approval for the project. The five groups which collectively call themselves the Natural Gas Council, say in the letter that some states abuse Section 401 “to hijack the permitting process for pipelines that transport natural gas in interstate commerce.” In other words, New York’s action not only hurts the residents of New York, it hurts the residents and producers in Pennsylvania that produce the gas, and potential customers in New England and beyond who would use the gas (i.e. interstate commerce). While Section 401 gives states a say in how federally-approved pipeline projects are managed, it does NOT give states the right to outright reject those projects. The Natural Gas Council is calling attention to this ongoing violation and wants Trump to do something about it…
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Williams Seeks OK to Expand Transco to Move Marcellus Gas South

The hits keep comin’ from Williams. Yesterday Williams announced it has filed a request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to expand capacity along the mighty Transco Pipeline to increase the amount of gas the pipeline can flow to the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern U.S by 296,375 dekatherms (296 million cubic feet) per day. The Southeastern Trail expansion project (SET), as it is called, includes building 7.7 miles of 42-inch pipeline looping (pipeline laid next to existing pipeline) in Virginia, adding extra horsepower at existing compressor stations in Virginia, and making some pipe and valve modifications on other existing facilities in South Carolina, Georgia, and Louisiana to allow for bi-directional flow. The project aims to bring more gas to utilities, including PSNC Energy, South Carolina Electric & Gas, Virginia Natural Gas, the City of Buford, Ga., and the City of LaGrange, Ga. Note that Mountain Valley Pipeline recently announced they want to expand the MVP project an extra 70 miles to serve PSNC Energy (in North Carolina) too. Williams is currently working to finish up the Atlantic Sunrise project, which includes new pipeline to feed Marcellus gas from northeastern PA into the Transco mainline. Bottom line: This new Southeastern Trail expansion project will bring Marcellus gas to more customers in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern U.S. And that’s a good thing!…
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MVP Tree/Pole Sitters Select Wrong Area, Tree Cutting Continues

We’ve been monitoring the developing situation in Virginia where anti-fossil fuelers continue to protest against Mountain Valley Pipeline in the Jefferson National Forest. Some of the protesters are fueled by an irrational hatred of fossil fuels (movement people), while others are locals who believe digging a trench for a pipeline will destroy their scenic vistas. The movement people arrived from out of town and whipped up the locals. A mix of both have taken to sitting in treetops (see WV Judge Refuses to Eject Tree Sitters Blocking Pipeline Work), while one is sitting at the top of a pole illegally planted in the middle of a roadway (see US Forest Service Gets Tough on Illegal MVP Pole Sitting Protester). The tree sitters and pole sitter can’t exist without ground support–people who pass food, water and toilet paper up to the nuts at the top. Police and the Forest Service are beginning to clamp down on the people on the ground. This past week three people were arrested for various crimes–mostly for refusing to move out of the way, although one was arrested for assault and another for reckless driving. The protesters sitting in trees and on the pole thought all tree cutting would stop after March 31, due to federal regulations protecting potential endangered bat habitats. What the sitters apparently didn’t know (or bother to find out) is that tree cutting CAN continue in areas not included in bat habitats. Where the sitters are perched is not included in the cutting prohibition. Whoops! All of that tree and pole sitting has been for nothing (laughing our posteriors off)…
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Rex Energy Stock De-Listed by Nasdaq as of April 12th

Rex Energy stock performance last 3 mos – until it stopped trading on 4-11-18 (click for larger version)

The walls continue to close in on Rex Energy. Yesterday Rex’s stock was officially de-listed from the Nasdaq Stock Exchange. Rex’s stock can now only be bought and sold over-the-counter (OTC), sometimes referred to as the Pink Sheets. MDN told you that Nasdaq warned Rex in November that the stock would be de-listed unless stockholder equity (number of shares of stock times the share price) was boosted (see Rex Energy Once Again Threatened with NASDAQ De-listing). Last November shareholder equity was a paltry $2.5 million. That is, Rex’s “value” on paper was $2.5M. It wasn’t the first time Rex had been warned by Nasdaq. Previously Rex pulled a rabbit out of the hat and met Nasdaq’s criteria for continued listing. This time they could not, and consequently it’s now harder to find/buy/sell shares of Rex stock. As we told you just last week, Rex is heading full steam ahead toward bankruptcy. They missed an important interest payment on outstanding debt (see Rex Energy Defaults on IOUs, Can’t File Annual Report on Time). Rex has not yet filed for bankruptcy, but it appears there are very few options left…
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Big Green Opposes Bill to Relax Regs for PA Conventional Drillers

Big Green groups are objecting to a plan to exempt Pennsylvania’s mom and pop conventional oil and gas drillers from regulations meant to apply to unconventional (shale) oil and gas drillers. The anti-drilling Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) along with the anti-drilling Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) co-authored a letter to PA Senators encouraging them to vote against a bill now working its way through the Senate (and House). In March, two identical bills were introduced, one in the Senate, the other in the House, that would “roll back” (more like “lock in”) regulations that govern conventional PA drilling to the Oil and Gas Act of 1984 (see 2 PA Bills Would Roll Back Conventional Drilling Regs to 1984). The bills are in response to coming changes proposed by leftist Gov. Tom Wolf to over-regulate conventional drillers. Apparently the bills are getting traction, otherwise Big Green wouldn’t bother wasting time on opposing them. Interestingly, Big Green did not send their letter to members of the PA House. It’s well known that while the Senate is Republican in majority, many of its so-called Republican members are RINOs–Republicans in Name Only. Senators without backbone or conviction. People susceptible to bullying by groups like EDF and PEC. Big Green is targeting those most likely to cave–easy marks. Whereas the Republicans in the House are more conservative and not as susceptible to Big Green bullying…
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5 Bills to Fix PA DEP to Get Full House Debate (Vote?) Next Week

In March the Pennsylvania House State Government Committee debated and voted to approve a slate of five bills aimed at fixing not only the slowmo way the state Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) approves shale permits, but also roll back some of the egregious regulatory overreach that exists in PA (see PA House Committee Approves 5 “Fix DEP” Bills – What’s Next?). The vote to approve the bills was along party lines, with zero liberal Democrats voting in favor of fixing the DEP. In a move that has alarmed Big Green and its supporters, all five bills will now come to the full floor of the House, next week, for discussion and possibly for a vote. What happens if the full House votes to approve these bills?…
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Cabot Completes $2.5M Endowment for Lackawanna College 1 Yr Early

Cabot O&G regional HQ in Dimock, PA

Cabot Oil & Gas is such an impressive company. They are, without a doubt, one of our favorite Marcellus/Utica drillers. We know! You’re not supposed to have favorites among your “children.” We can’t help it. Cabot is a favorite child for us. The company pumped $4.6 billion into Susquehanna County the first 10 years they were in the county (see Amazing: Cabot O&G Invests $4.6 BILLION in One PA County in 10 Yrs). Some $1.5 billion of that amount was lease bonuses and royalty payments–direct into the pockets of landowners. The other $3.1 billion was money Cabot spent in the county to drill there–money that was spread around to contractors, suppliers and workers. It is an incredible story, and certainly would be “enough” if Cabot left it at that. But Cabot hasn’t settled for just benefiting the community with an enormous amount of investment–an investment that benefits Cabot’s own business. Cabot is also one of the biggest philanthropists in Susquehanna County (perhaps THE biggest). In 2012, Cabot gave $2.2 million, that was matched, helping to raise $4.4 million for a new hospital in the county (see Cabot Effort Raises $4.4 Million for PA Physicians Clinic). Then in April 2014, Cabot announced it would donate $2.5 million to Lackawanna College (Scranton, PA) over a five-year period (Cabot Oil & Gas Does it Again – $2.5 Million Gift to Lackawanna College). The gift funds the School of Petroleum & Natural Gas located in New Milford, PA, and is the largest single private donation in the history of Lackawanna College. Cabot has just completed fully funding the $2.5 million Lackawanna gift–a full year ahead of schedule…
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Other Energy Stories of Interest: Fri, Apr 13, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: PUC awaiting report on Mariner East 1 pipeline; Range Resources’ Ray Walker retires, Dennis Degner moves up; so-called church pushing Range for more disclosure on methane emissions; Atlantic Sunrise restarts work in Luzerne County in May; abundant Marcellus gas leads to rate cut for Peoples Gas; CNG fueling station opens in Allentown; WV board denies request to move Mountaineer Gas pipeline hearing; NJ votes to spend $300M to “save” nuke plants; Texas LNG signs contracts with Chinese, Southeast Asian buyers; Cali’s pathetically weak case against fossil fuel companies; building bigger pipelines over old ones a smart idea; and more!
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