Financial Checkup for Marcellus/Utica Drillers

RBN Energy, headed by founder Rusty Braziel (co-founder of Bentek Energy), is, in our opinion, the premier oil and gas analytics firm out there. Smart people working at RBN. And they offer up some amazing content on their blog site–for free! At least it’s free for a while, then it goes behind a paywall. A few days ago RBN published a blog post on the financial health for the 44 major publicly-traded U.S. exploration and production companies (drillers). RBN groups them into three categories: Oil-Weighted, Diversified, and Gas-Weighted. We found the Gas-Weighted list of 10 companies and the information revealed about them to be fascinating and worth studying. Each of the companies has major operations in the Marcellus/Utica–some of them totally focused on our region. Among the data points shared: revenue, production costs, lifting costs and more. We think of the following as a handy financial health scorecard/checkup for 10 of the biggest drillers in the M-U, including Antero Resources, Cabot Oil & Gas, Chesapeake Energy, CNX Resources, EQT, Gulfport Energy, National Fuel Gas (Seneca Resources), Range Resources, Southwestern Energy, and Ultra Petroleum…
Continue reading

PA DEP Hellbent to Ram Through 250% Hike in Shale Permit Fee

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP), the agency charged with overseeing oil and gas drilling in the state, “blindsided” the shale industry in February with a proposal to hike the fee required when submitting an application to drill a new shale well (see PA DEP Plans to Raise Marcellus Well Permit Fee by 250%). The current fee is $5,000. The proposed new fee is $12,500–or 2.5 times (250%) higher. We understand…the DEP has fewer people working there than it once did and needs to hire more help. However, the DEP wants to slap this insanely high fee on shale drillers to (in part) cover the expenses associated with non-shale activities! According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the shale permit fees will, “fund the broad scope of the [DEP] office’s operations, including its oversight of traditional [i.e. conventional] oil and gas wells, gas storage wells, abandoned wells and earthmoving activities.” How is it, in any sense, fair to hike the fees of shale drillers so DEP agents can better keep an eye on non-shale wells? The DEP plans to steamroller this increase through. Last week the DEP’s own Environmental Quality Board approved the increase. The next step is to publish a notice about the increase in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. That will trigger a 30-day public comment period. However, don’t look for the fee increase to happen right away. It appears DEP thinks they’ll have a royal fight on their hands (which they will), because they said the fee increase won’t happen until 2019 or maybe even 2020…
Continue reading

Franklin County, VA Turns Down $200K to Store MV Pipe Equipment

Talk about cutting off a $200,000 nose to spite your face! One of the counties through which the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) will travel is Franklin County, VA. MVP is a $3.5 billion, 301-mile pipeline that will run from Wetzel County, WV to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsylvania County, VA. For more than a year residents in Franklin County have opposed and hassled the MVP project (see Franklin County, VA Landowners Use Sheriff to Eject MVP Surveyors). Over the weekend the last tree-sitting protester, engaging in an illegal attempt to stop the pipeline from coming through Franklin, came down out of the trees (see Last MVP Tree Sitter in Franklin Co. Comes Down, Trees Cut). MVP was and is getting built through the county, but in a childish act of rebellion, three members of the Franklin Board of Supervisors voted to deny MVP the use of 10 acres of county land to temporarily store construction equipment. MVP was willing to pay the county a staggering $200,000–money the county desperately needs. Instead, to make a “statement” by thumbing its nose at MVP, the three supervisors turned down the MVP money and will now soak taxpayers for that revenue instead. We hope the voters of Franklin remember that at the ballot box in November…
Continue reading

Two More $1M NatGas Pipeline Grants Coming Courtesy PA Taxpayers

PA Gov. Tom Wolf

It’s Christmas in Pennsylvania. Last week PA Gov. Tom Wolf and his Dept. of Community and Economic Development (DCED) announced the award of nine grants “to promote energy efficiency and spur economic development.” Among those nine grants are two grants for new natural gas pipelines. Two $1 million grants were awarded from the PA Pipeline Investment Program (PIPE), one to flow gas to a wax manufacturer in McKean County that wants to switch from using coal to natgas, and the other to serve over 500 new residential and business gas customers in Wayne County. Other grants in the list of nine include $965,000 for a 2000 kW CHP (combined heat and power) system for the Villanova University campus, and $1.2 million for a 2,000 kW CHP system for the Bayer Healthcare facility in Myerstown. In general we’re not in favor of corporate welfare, which is what this is (let’s just be honest). However, this is a pretty mild case of it. We can think of worse ways to blow taxpayer’s money. Essentially these relatively small investments keep more PA gas in PA by running pipelines to residents and businesses that will use it, and by helping fund power plants that will use it. Think of the grants as seed money to encourage more PA gas staying in PA, generating jobs at the same time…
Continue reading

FERC Defends Atlantic Bridge Pipe Approval in DC Circuit Court

In January 2017 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted final approval for the Atlantic Bridge expansion project (see FERC Approves Atlantic Bridge Project for New England/Canada). The Spectra Energy/Enbridge project beefs up capacity along the Algonquin Pipeline, along with more capacity for Spectra Energy’s Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline, to carry more Marcellus/Utica gas into New England and (eventually) all the way to Nova Scotia, Canada. Much of the project is now done–except in Massachusetts where a critical compressor station planned for Weymouth is stalled (see Massachusetts Blocking Atlantic Bridge Pipeline from Completion). Weymouth itself along with a smattering of radical environmentalist groups filed a lawsuit against FERC, claiming FERC did a “shoddy environmental review” before approving the project, arguing FERC’s approval should be overturned by the court. On Tuesday FERC fired back asking the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to toss the frivolous lawsuit and let them get on with finishing this critical project…
Continue reading

Lib Group Didn’t Force Range to Consider Global Warming After All

Sometimes there are happy endings! Two weeks ago MDN reported that a so-called church, the Unitarian Universalist Association (people who believe in everything, consequently they believe in nothing) had purchased $2,000 worth of Range Resources stock in order to propose a resolution to all shareholders at the annual meeting that forces Range to publish a report on how evil the company is for causing global warming (i.e. force the company to produce a report on their efforts to scale back methane emissions). We told you, based on reports, that the idiotic measure passed by 50.25% (see Liberal Groups Force Range, Anadarko to Consider Global Warming). Except it didn’t pass. The original count did not include “abstention” votes. An abstention is when someone intentionally or unintentionally does not vote. By law, abstentions are considered a “no” vote on shareholder resolutions. When the abstentions were added to the count, it tipped the scale in the other direction, meaning Range dodged a bullet–this year…
Continue reading

When Neighbors Go Bad: NY Forcing New England into Blackouts

Last winter, from Dec. 26 to Jan. 9, the northeast and New England experienced an extreme cold snap. New England essentially ran out of natural gas needed to feed electric generating plants. The entire region came razor close to succumbing to rolling blackouts. The only thing that prevented the blackouts was the restart of 1960s oil-burning electric plants. During that two week period, New England burned through 2 million barrels of oil to keep the lights on. Scary. Although a number of circumstances conspired to produce this “perfect storm” that almost tripped over into blackouts, there is one main, towering, primary reason why it happened: lack of natural gas pipelines. And there is one main, towering, primary reason why there aren’t more pipelines to flow more natgas into New England: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Andy has admitted, on camera, that his policy is to block any/every/all new natural gas pipelines (see NY Gov. Cuomo Says He’ll Block All New Gas-Fired Elec Plants). It is breathtaking hubris and arrogance. As we’ve pointed out, keep an eye on what’s happening in Canada with the Trans Mountain Pipeline project–where one province (British Columbia) refuses to allow a pipeline from a neighboring oil-producing province (Alberta) to cross through. It’s turned into a nasty civil war, complete with everything but bullets flying. The whole mess is enough to make Kinder Morgan, owner of the Trans Mountain system, sell it to the Canadian government (see Kinder Morgan Says No Thx to Canadian Civil War, Selling Pipeline). Sooner or later Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont (on the demand side) and Pennsylvania (on the supply side) are going to take aim at New York for blocking important interstate pipeline projects like the Constitution and Northern Access. Retribution is coming, you can bank on it…
Continue reading

Energy Stories of Interest: Thu, May 31, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: Politicians still fretting over how/if to save PA nuke plants; Cuomo pipeline policies have devastated upstate NY; Alaska wants to build new 800-mile natgas pipeline; SandRidge fighting Carl Icahn takeover of board; can trucking and rail fix pipeline issues in the Permian?; can LNG cure the U.S. trade deficit?; reducing global energy turmoil with fracking; why American oil companies keep booming despite crazy swings in price; PTT shifts LNG focus to China; and more!
Continue reading