PIOGA Consultant Remarks (Mis)Used to Promote 250% Shale Fee Hike

We spotted a rather strange story (for us) on a major energy news service (Platts) that says, in so many words, that “the industry” says hiking the permit fee to drill a new Marcellus well in Pennsylvania by 250%–to $12,500–is no big deal. Which made our eyebrows go up. According to a long-time regulatory consultant for the Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association (PIOGA) quoted by Platts, “I don’t think it’s [the 250% fee hike] going to make or break people’s decisions” as to whether or not to drill. Hmmm. That’s not the feedback we’ve heard others, like the Marcellus Shale Coalition, say on the record. The same article quotes PIOGA President Dan Weaver saying, “We haven’t developed an official statement, but we definitely don’t agree with it [the fee hike]. We feel that we pay enough fees as it is.” So what’s going on here? Does the industry, as represented by PIOGA, think this fee hike is nuts (as we do)? Or does PIOGA think the fee hike is okey dokey? We contacted Dan to ask about the consultant’s comments and got an interesting response…
Continue reading

EV Energy Partners Emerges from Bankruptcy with New Name

EV Energy Partners (EVEP) has just emerged from bankruptcy court a mere two months after entering (see EV Energy Partners Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy). EVEP is joined at the hip with EnerVest, a private equity firm that owns a lot of acreage and wells (most of them conventional) in the Marcellus/Utica region. EVEP is EnerVest’s drilling subsidiary, with operations and assets in OH, PA and WV. According to the forthcoming Marcellus & Utica Shale Upstream Almanac 2018, EnerVest has or actively is drilling in Venango County in PA, and Caroll, Guernsey, Stark, Trumbull, and Tuscarawas counties in OH. EVEP is (or rather was) an MLP–a master limited partnership. On Monday EVEP emerged from bankruptcy with $355 million of debt erased and sporting a new name: Harvest Oil & Gas Corp. Also gone is the MLP organization and in its place, Harvest Oil & Gas is a corporation with shares of stock that will be traded over the counter on the “pink sheets.” Here’s the news about EVEP becoming HVST…
Continue reading

Penn Twp Frack Ban Decision Now in Hands of Local Judge

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. A Westmoreland County judge heard some testimony in the case 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. Although the judge heard testimony in April, more was given this week. All testimony is now done and the case rests with the judge. We expect whoever loses will appeal. Below is a recap of the case and the testimony given this week…
Continue reading

PA House Passes Bill Exempting Conventional Drillers from Shale Regs

In March, two identical bills were introduced, one in the PA Senate, the other in the PA 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. Big Green didn’t waste any time opposing the bills, spinning them as a lessening of environmental protections in a letter to legislators (see Big Green Opposes Bill to Relax Regs for PA Conventional Drillers). The big news is that the House’s version of the bill, HB 2154, passed yesterday by a vote of 111-84. The issue now swings to the Senate (SB 1088), where its future is more uncertain. Let’s assume the Senate passes SB 1088 (a really big assumption). Lefty Gov. Tom Wolf is vehemently against it and will veto the bill when it hits his desk–so says one of his top lieutenants. It’s not clear if there would be enough votes in the Senate (or House) to override a Wolf veto. Hey, we’re still hopeful, but in all honesty, this legislation faces an uphill battle…
Continue reading

PA House Speaker Turzai Nukes Wolf’s Severance Tax Proposal

Speaker of the PA House, Mike Turzai – credit: Wikipedia

A few weeks ago Secretary of the Pennsylvania Dept. of Community and Economic Development (DCED), Dennis Davin, wrote an embarrassing editorial published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (see Once Again Wolf Pushes DCED Sec. to Support Severance Tax). Davin knows that a high severance tax will drive Marcellus drillers out of the state–but (we conclude) he wants to keep his job for another four years, so he goes out as the spear-catcher for his boss, lefty Gov. Tom Wolf. PA House Speaker Mike Turzai is an impressive guy. He’s always stood, steadfast, with the Marcellus industry, against Wolf’s insane plan to tax the industry out of existence. Turzai sent the Post-Gazette a column of his own, to counter the inanities of Davin’s column–and wonder of wonders, they published it! Turzai does a masterful job with his response to Davin. Our favorite part is where Turzai obliterate’s Davin’s claims about the “minimal” revenue raised by PA’s impact fee. In PA, instead of a severance tax, the legislature passed an impact fee (i.e., tax) in 2012, which has raised far more than the severance tax in neighboring states. For example, in 2017, Ohio raised $36.7 million via its severance tax. In 2017, West Virginia raised $69 million from its severance tax. In 2017, PA raised a whopping $173.3 million from its impact fee. Tell us again, Mr. Davin, about the “superiority” of a severance tax!…
Continue reading

3 Mass. Kids Arrested for Blocking MVP Work in W.V.

Click image for larger version

Three radicalized children from Massachusetts–kids who irrationally hate fossil fuels–chained themselves to construction equipment in Monroe County, WV in an attempt to block work on the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). It’s the latest tactic by the left to overthrow our system of laws and justice in a misguided attempt to stop man-made global warming. The three, one boy and two girls (aged 24, 21 and 18) delayed construction for “a few hours” before police “cut them out” and arrested them. All three were charged with misdemeanors: for trespassing, obstructing justice, and resisting arrest. If convicted, they could spend up to two and a half years in jail. Notice the kids are part of an organized Big Green movement. All three are out-of-staters, sent there to make trouble. We wonder if the glamour will wear off after they sit in a cold, mountain jail cell for a few months? Our only conclusion as to why these kids would behave like this is miseducation. They’re ignorant–of history, the U.S. Constitution, and frankly, of the real world. Too much time with their noses stuck in a cell phone or watching cartoons. No training in rational thinking. Notice (below) how Big Green spins the episode, that the police “threatened violence” against the protesters. Which means the police told the spoiled rotten kids, “stop it now or we’ll (gently) cut you out and take you to police HQ.” That’s how radicals define police “violence.” Here’s the news of the latest Big Green offensive against MVP–an offensive that uses ignorant kids…
Continue reading

The Battle for Dawn Hub Begins: M-U vs. Western Canada

Canadian natural gas customers in Ontario and Quebec can expect to begin paying less for their gas, courtesy of their American cousins. Starting last week, Marcellus/Utica gas is now flowing all the way to the Dawn Hub in Ontario, via the Rover Pipeline connected to the Vector Pipeline (see M-U Gas Now Travels to Dawn Hub in Canada via Rover Pipeline). Western Canadian producers beat Rover to the punch last year when TransCanada radically reduced prices to cart gas thousands of miles away to the Dawn Hub (see Canadian Lowball Shipping Works, Grabs Market Share from U.S.). Now that M-U gas is also hitting the Dawn Hub, there’s an abundance (over abundance?), which has driven prices to their lowest in 10 years. The battle for Dawn Hub, between M-U and Canadian gas, has begun, and Canadian gas customers are already winners…
Continue reading

Energy Stories of Interest: Wed, Jun 6, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: Mariner East 2 landowner accused of harassing workers; PA state legislators ask feds to support ethane storage hub; Rick Perry’s Obama imitation; UK renews pledge of support for shale gas; Europe still addicted to Russian gas; Saudi, Russia move to curb oil price surge (for now); and more!
Continue reading