Dela. Riverkeeper Suffers Major Defeat in Martian Well Case

Nearly a year ago MDN reported that Big Green group THE Delaware Riverkeeper (aka Maya van Rossum) and the odious Philadelphia-based Clean Air Council (CAC) had suffered a crushing legal defeat in their attempt to interfere with shale drilling on the opposite side of the state from where the Delaware River and Philly is located (see Dela. Riverkeeper Loses Martian Case to Stop Rex Energy Drilling). A small group of anti-drilling parents from the Mars School District (whom we affectionately call “Martians”) in Butler County, PA, backed by money and legal help from Riverkeeper and CAC, filed frivolous lawsuit after frivolous lawsuit aimed at denying landowners in Middlesex Township revenue from legally permitted drilling. Even amid the back and forth lawsuits, at least two of the wells were permitted and drilled by Rex Energy, despite the bleatings of the Martians (see Martian Victory! 2 Wells Near Mars School Nearly Done Drilling). Following last year’s final word by PA Commonwealth Court, we thought that was the end of it. However, Riverkeeper and CAC tried one last, desperate attempt–by filing an appeal with the Environmental Hearing Board. The EHB is a special court set up to hear appeals of decisions made by the Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP). Riverkeeper and CAC argued that the DEP abrogated their responsibilities under the PA Environmental Rights Amendment (ERA) to protect PA’s environment by issuing permits for Rex’s Martian wells. Last Friday the EHB ruled that DEP was well within its rights and did not, in fact, violate the ERA by allowing the Rex wells…
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EIA May ’18 Drilling Report: M-U Gas & Permian Oil on Fire

Perhaps our headline uses a poor choice of words, but that’s what immediately comes to mind in describing the enormous amount of gas (and oil) production coming from America’s shale plays–in particular the Marcellus/Utica (for gas) and the Permian (for oil). Yesterday our favorite government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), issued our favorite monthly report, the Drilling Productivity Report (DPR). The DPR is the EIA’s best guess, based on expert data crunchers, as to how much each of the U.S.’s seven major shale plays will produce for both oil and natural gas in the coming month. We sound like a broken record, but the numbers continue to be mind-blowing–hitting new all-time, breath-taking highs each month. This month is no exception. Last month the EIA predicated natural gas output from the seven major shale plays would go up another 1+ billion cubic feet per day (see EIA Apr ’18 Drilling Report: M-U Production Through the Roof). Once again this month EIA says collective gas production in the seven plays will go another 1 Bcf/d! A full one-third of that increase–373 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d)–will come from the Marcellus/Utica region. The second highest jump will come from the Texas Permian oil play with 225 MMcf/d of gas production, because gas comes out along with oil and drillers are sinking holes like crazy in the Permian. Here’s the latest mind-blowing news about American oil and gas shale production…
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WV Coal Industry Continues to Fight NatGas Electric Plants

West Virginia has a long, proud history as a coal producer. And according to West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney, some 95% of the electricity produced and used in the Mountain State comes from coal-fired plants. However, natural gas burns cleaner than coal, and frankly, natgas is now cheaper than coal. Yet WV still has not permitted or allowed a single new gas-fired plant to be constructed. Why not? The obvious answer is because Big Coal is pushing back and pushing back hard. Last September WV’s Secretary of Commerce, Woody Thrasher, admitted publicly that his beloved state is unfriendly to new natgas-fired electric plant projects (see WV Sec Commerce Says State Unfriendly to Gas-Fired Power Plants). In a speech before state legislators, Thrasher said while Ohio has built 19 new gas-fired power plants, and Pennsylvania has built 22 new gas-fired power plants, WV has built NONE. Zero. Nada. Even though perhaps a dozen such projects have now been proposed. When will the situation change? If Big Coal has its way, it won’t…
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Penn Twp About to Adopt Meaningless (?) Injection Well Ban

Last November we updated you on a lawsuit filed by a group of anti-fossil fuelers in Penn Township (Westmoreland County), PA (see Penn Twp Ninny Nannies File Lawsuit to Block Apex, H&H Wells). A group calling themselves Protect PT, backed with money and legal help from Big Green group PennFuture, filed a lawsuit to try and stop Apex Energy and Huntley & Huntley (H&H) from drilling wells in the township. The lawsuit finally made it to a county judge who heard testimony in April (see Penn Twp Antis Try to Use PA ERA to Block Shale Drilling). The peril with Protect PT’s lawsuit is that it uses Pennsylvania’s so-called Environmental Rights Amendment (ERA), which liberal PA judges have, in recent years, breathed new life into. The argument is that fracking denies those who live near this temporary activity their “right” to enjoy Mom Nature, therefore it should be banished forever. Protect PT is attempting to pull off a total frack ban in the Penn Township. Meanwhile, Protect PT is working on a parallel effort. They’ve convinced (pressured, bullied) the town board to adopt an injection well ordinance that essentially bans injection wells in the town. Here’s the thing: Nobody has even whispered the hint of wanting to locate a wastewater injection well in Penn Township–ever. It is a meaningless gesture–unless you consider that Protect PT calls the injection well ordinance a “victory” and (our inference) if they can get this injection well ordinance passed, then maybe they can get a more restrictive drilling ordinance passed too. That is, the injection well ordinance is the back door to getting a wider frack ban enacted by a now-susceptible and weakened town board…
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Short Pipeline from NW Pa. to NE Ohio May Not Get Done This Year

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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. In early May, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) said it will issue an environmental assessment (EA) for the project on or by June 29th (see FERC Review of Risberg Pipeline in NE OH/NW PA Coming June 29). Both the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the PA 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. The original timeline for the project, from the beginning, has been to have it all built and operating by the end of this year. The builder, RH energytrans, is now cautioning that may not happen. Why? Because one never knows with regulatory agencies like FERC and the Army Corps and the Boat Commission. Deadlines come and go and get extended. FERC says the dates they given are targets and not carved in stone. If everything happened as FERC laid out, RH says it would be a challenge, but they can probably get the job done this year. But if the deadline slips, all bets are off…
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Appalachian NGL Storage Hub Conference June 6-7 in Pittsburgh

MDN has previously written about the Appalachian NGL (natural gas liquids) Storage Hub, a $10+ billion infrastructure project with no specific location identified as yet, but West Virginia often named (see M-U’s Next Mega Project: $10B Appalachian Storage Hub). An upcoming conference dedicated solely to the the Storage Hub is coming to the Pittsburgh area June 6-7. The Appalachian Storage Hub Conference is sponsored by our friends at Shale Directories (Joe Barone), along with TopLine Analytics (Tom Gellrich), in Canonsburg at the Hilton Garden at Southpointe. June 6th will see a cocktail reception in the evening and June 7th is the full conference. The conference will answer questions like, What in the world is a storage hub and why does the Marcellus/Utica need one? What are state governments doing to attract this project, and what remains to be done? What kinds of investment opportunities exist? And, How does our region compare with the Gulf Coast? If you have an interest in petrochemicals and NGLs like ethane, you need to attend this event. Oh! And did we say, seating is very limited? It is, so now is the time to act if you want to attend. There’s a few remaining slots…
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Peak Oil Theorist Art Berman Predicts Doom & Gloom for Shale

Hee Haw – “Gloom, despair and agony on me”

Month after month and year after year America’s shale plays produce ever more oil and gas (see today’s story about the latest EIA Drilling Productivity Report). But don’t tell that to Art Berman. Why anyone continues to listen to Berman, the world’s preeminent “peak oil” theorist, is beyond us. For nearly 20 years Berman has predicted that the world is running out of oil and natural gas. And yet the opposite is true. But that doesn’t stop Art from pedaling his particular brand of insanity. Last Thursday at the Texas Energy Council’s annual gathering in Dallas, Berman told attendees that the Permian Basin has another seven years, at most, and then it’s done–out of oil. Oh, and the Eagle Ford, about 350 miles from the Permian–that’s toast too. Why the Texas Energy Council would invite Art to pedal his nonsense is beyond us, except maybe they enjoy a circus side show. In contrast to Berman’s wild fantasies of Permian oil drying up, we have analysis (below) from Richard Zeits, founder of Zeits Oil Analytics, who says the Permian is only just getting started…
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Other Energy Stories of Interest: Tue, May 15, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: Pigs to rigs lawyer caught up in “stupid is as stupid does” stunt by fractivist client; gas flows shifting across Texas as new supply outpaces new demand; Pentagon warns against offshore drilling in eastern Gulf of Mexico; shale drillers look beyond Texas as prices rise; most U.S. propane exports heading to Asia; Exxon loses a foe, gains an ally; four big factors influencing U.S. oil markets; U.S. LNG exports just quadrupled; and more!
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