Chesapeake Energy 1Q18: M-U Dominates with 45% of Production

Yesterday Chesapeake Energy, now the #2 natural gas producer in the U.S. (after EQT), released its first quarter 2018 financial and operational update. The company reported 1Q18 profits of $268 million, up 257% from the $75 million in profits during 1Q17. The key for increased profits was an increase in production while lowering costs. As we scanned over the numbers, one thing stood out for us: 26% of Chesapeake’s production comes from the Marcellus Shale, and 19% comes from the Utica. Add them together (45%) and no other region comes close. M-U success is Chesapeake’s success. It shows just how key the M-U region is for the mighty Chesapeake. During 1Q18 the company drilled and placed into production 10 wells in the Ohio Utica and 6 wells in the PA Marcellus. 2Q18 plans are to drill and bring online 7 Utica wells and 17 Marcellus wells. However, Chesapeake’s head has been turned. Their primary 2018 focus appears to be the Texas Eagle Ford Shale–an oil play. The company is currently running 5 drilling rigs in the Eagle Ford. They drilled and brought online 23 Eagle Ford wells in 1Q18, with plans to drill and bring online another 50 wells in 2Q18. Chessy has fallen and fallen hard for the siren song of oil. Here’s the latest from the #2 natural-gas producing company in the U.S. that now loves oil…
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PTT Buys Another 300+ Acres for Belmont County, OH Cracker

In yet another very good sign that the proposed PTT Global Chemical ethane cracker plant in Belmont County, OH is headed for a positive final investment decision (FID), PTT has just purchased another 300+ acres to go along with the previous acreage they purchased as the site for the future cracker/petrochemical project. Last July MDN reported PTT had spent $13.8 million to buy 168 acres at the proposed site for a second Appalachia ethane cracker, in Belmont County, OH (see PTT Global Buys Land for Belmont, OH Ethane Cracker Plant). That site, the former R.E. Burger power plant property (owned by FirstEnergy Corp.), is the primary location for the proposed cracker. However, more land is needed. A deed filed earlier this week shows that PTT has purchased another 300+ acres for $17.5 million from the Ohio-West Virginia Excavating company. Together, both parcels are roughly 500 acres, which is more than enough land for the facility. Until now numbers like $6.5 billion have been thrown around as the total project cost. The number has now gone up–to as much as $10 billion! Here’s the latest good news that it’s looking better and better for a second ethane cracker in Appalachia…
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FERC Review of Risberg Pipeline in NE OH/NW PA Coming June 29

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Last October MDN brought you details about the proposed $86 million Risberg Line pipeline project (see New 60-Mile Pipeline Proposed from NW Pa. to NE Ohio). The project will use approximately 32 miles of existing pipeline in an established Right of Way originating in the Meadville, PA area. Approximately 16 miles of new pipeline will be installed in Pennsylvania and approximately 12 miles of new pipeline will be installed in Ohio–meaning 28 miles of brand new “greenfield” pipeline needs to get built. Two school districts in Ohio where the pipeline will traverse agreed to reduce the amount of property tax the pipeline would need to pay by 75% over a 15-year period, a huge vote of confidence (see Update on Proposed 60-Mile Pipeline from NW Pa. to NE Ohio). We have an update on the project. On Tuesday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) said it will issue an environmental assessment (EA) for the project on or by June 29th. Both the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission are “cooperating agencies” and part of the EA review process. Following the EA, the clock will begin ticking and FERC will have until Sept. 27th to make a final decision about the project…
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New Bills Limit PA DEP Permit Appeals, Reduce Enviro Judge Terms

As we reported yesterday, Big Green radicals in Pennsylvania are grumpy that the PA House passed five bills meant to fix the dysfunctional PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (see PA House Passes 5 Bills to Fix Broken DEP, Environuts React). Conservative Republicans in the House continue to play offense (which we love). On Monday of this week, PA Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-Washington) sent around a memo to fellow House members asking them to co-sponsor two new bills she plans introduce. The first bill will narrow the grounds on which a DEP-issued permit may be appealed. Antis love to file endless appeals of permits for drilling and pipelines, dragging out the process in hopes of eventually defeating a given project. The first bill will fix that. The second bill reduces the terms of sitting Environmental Hearing Board judges. If a judge has been on the bench for 10 or more years, their term will expire and they will not get a chance to continue. The second bill is aimed at draining the EHB swamp (pun intended). Both bills are common sense measures, and of course, Big Green radicals are already howling at the moon because of them…
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Antis Weaponize PA Enviro Rights Amendment in Effort to Kill Shale

AR-15 rifle

The Pennsylvania Environmental Rights Amendment (ERA), passed by the good citizens of PA in 1971, is a poorly worded piece of legislation with good intentions, adopted in a hurry in response to a disaster. Like all legislation that’s hurried and adopted in response to disasters (natural or man-made), the ERA is deeply flawed. Antis are now using the ERA as a bludgeon–perhaps a better analogy is more like an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle–in their attempt to assassinate the Marcellus Shale industry. Unfortunately, they are having some success in the PA court system. The ERA laid dormant after its adoption until an awful PA Supreme Court decision in 2013 breathed new life into it for antis (see Ongoing Fallout from PA Supreme Court’s Wrong Act 13 Decision). Since that time, antis have sued drillers and pipeline companies a number of times, citing the ERA, and in some cases winning (see PA Anti Strategy: Weaponize Recent Court Ruling Against Shale Dev). Emboldened by these wins, “Article 1, Section 27” as the ERA is known, is being employed in more places, even (especially) outside the court room…
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Home Rule Chaos Reigns in NY – Towns Vote to Block Wind, Solar

In June 2014, New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, reaffirmed two lower court rulings that empowers townships and municipalities across the state to strip away property owners’ rights to allow drilling and other energy projects (see Shale Drilling in NY is Over – High Court Upholds Town Bans). NY’s high court ruled in the “Middlefield” and “Dryden” cases that local municipalities have the right to regulate energy development within their jurisdictions–where it can and cannot happen. The seeds planted with the “Dryden” and “Middlefield” cases has sprouted and is now in full bloom–like spring daffodils. So-called “renewable” energy projects are now being blocked using the very same decisions meant to block natural gas drilling–delicious irony that puts a big, fat smile on our face. On the other hand, it points out the truly horrific consequences by NY’s highest court in allowing each community to, in effect, regulate energy production. It is utter folly and lunacy. Welcome to New York…
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Study: The Closer People Live to Fracking, the More They Like It!

You might think people who are not leased and live close to shale drilling activity, that is, those with the most “impacts” from that activity, would be the ones most opposed to it. However, you would be wrong. That’s according to a new study just published by the ultra liberal Oregon State University. A study appearing in monthly peer reviewed academic journal Risk Analysis titled, “The Effect of Geographic Proximity to Unconventional Oil and Gas Development on Public Support for Hydraulic Fracturing,” finds that the closer you live to shale drilling, even those who are not leased, the more supportive of it they are. Why is that? Because they understand it–they’re more familiar with it. MDN has spoken to residents in Susquehanna County, PA who live close to drilling yet are not, themselves, drilled on/under. Their opinion? Sure they’d like it if they got money. After all, they incur the impacts (trucks, noise, lights, dust), but don’t directly benefit with money in their pockets. Yet, when asked if they had a choice and could wave a magic wand so there never would have been drilling, the answer is swift and universal: NO! They still prefer nearby drilling, because it benefits their neighbors and, to some degree, the community at large via tax revenue and charitable contributions. Here’s news of a study that proves the closer you are to drilling, the more you like it…
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Other Energy Stories of Interest: Thu, May 3, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: PA PUC inspectors recommend restarting ME1 NGL pipeline; Cabot ramps up shale production in Susquehanna County; PA EQB hearing on May 16 to consider boosting shale permits 250%; PA House Republicans unexpectedly delay final vote to roll back conventional regs; symbolic frack ban coming in Greenwich, CT; Houston vs. Houston (offshore vs. shale); don’t let NY control energy policy for OK, LA and AR; natgas storage surge coming; U.S. importing Canadian crude by rail; and more!
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