FREE Audio: MDN Top 5 Stories for Week of September 3, 2018

Below is an audio recording (“podcast”) featuring the Top 5 stories most read over the past week on MDN. Just click on the green button to listen. Below the recording is a list of the Top 5 with links to click to read the full stories (available only for subscribers). This list is meant as a way for folks to quickly catch up on the most essential news of the week–“essential” as determined by MDN’s audience of readers. Enjoy!


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3 Counties, 5 Drillers Led OH’s 50% Increase in 2Q Gas Production

The Pareto Principle is alive and well in the Buckeye State. You may know it as the 80/20 rule, or in this case, the 75/25 rule. The rule that states roughly 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort. Last week MDN brought you the latest update from the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources–their second quarter 2018 report showing all production coming from the Ohio Utica Shale (see Top 25 Producing Gas & Oil Wells in Ohio Utica for 2Q18). While MDN provided you with Top 25 lists showing the best-performing wells (both gas and oil) during 2Q, and while we provided you with a better spreadsheet to view the information than that provided by the ODNR itself, our analysis was basic and high level. Utica natgas production was up a big 42% over the same period last year, and Utica oil production was up 11%–a cumulative 50% increase when you convert it all into equivalents. The experts at S&P Global Platts have done a deep dive into the numbers and have found that three counties represent 75% of all production in 2Q18, and five drillers represent 75% of all production in 2Q18. Which counties and which drillers? Read on…
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Weird: NC Republicans Target Dem Gov for Supporting M-U Pipeline

It doesn’t typically happen this way, which makes us feel like we’re Alice that’s just fallen through the looking glass. Normally (not always) Republicans support fracking and pipelines and fossil fuels in general, and Democrats (increasingly) do not. But in North Carolina, the roles are reversed. Republicans in the NC legislature have launched an investigation into Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper over his support of Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline project. The lawmakers claim a $57.8 million discretionary fund set up by Cooper was, in fact, a “pay to play” slush fund, funded by ACP partners (including Dominion) to help them obtain a permit from the NC Department of Environmental Quality. The allegation is that Cooper got the companies to commit to giving the state $57.8 million, and a day later voila, they had their permit. Quid pro quo. Cooper says the money will be used to repair so-called environmental damage from constructing the pipeline. Republicans say it stinks to high heaven and he needs to “let go” of the money. Seems to us like this is just the latest skirmish in a long-running war between the two sides, and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project is collateral damage, caught in the middle…
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CEC Interview: 6-9 Mo Delays for New Drilling Permits in PA

Civil & Environmental Consultants (CEC) is a large engineering firm with offices scattered across the country. We’re not sure which office is “headquarters,” but we know they have a sizable office in Pittsburgh. While CEC provides services to a number of industries, they have been a big part of the Marcellus/Utica since its birth in the 2000s. As the Farmer’s Insurance commercials say, “They know a thing or two because they’ve seen a thing or two.” Which is, of course, an understatement. They know a lot because they’ve seen (and done) a lot–when it comes to the Marcellus. Another large company, law firm Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney (headquartered in Pittsburgh), recently interviewed CEC Founding Principal and Strategic Development Officer Greg Quatchak for their “Energy Insider” series of interviews. Quatchak talks about CEC and it’s important role (as he should), but woven into the responses to BIR’s questions we learn some important information, like this: It still takes 6-9 months on average for Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection to issue Marcellus Shale drilling permits. In Texas it takes their counterpart (the Texas Railroad Commission) about a week to issue the same type of permit. Yes, there are important differences between Texas and PA–geography, wetlands, threatened/endangered species, archaeology. And yes, the time to get a permit in PA has improved over the past year or two. But come on, 6-9 months! Here’s an interesting interview of one of the principals in an employee-owned company…
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6 Charged with Bypassing Emissions Controls on Marcellus Trucks

We may not always agree with certain rules and regulations, but skirting or ignoring them is not an option. Especially not in the Marcellus industry. A small group of men (six so far) in Williamsport (Lycoming County), PA are accused of conspiring to illegally alter emission systems on 30+ trucks with heavy-duty diesel engines. The trucks belong to Rockwater Northeast of Canonsburg, a subsidiary of Rockwater Energy Solutions Inc. of Houston, Texas, used to haul fresh water and wastewater to/from Marcellus Shale wells being drilled. The men “tampered with and removed emission monitoring devices on trucks to reduce repair costs and maintenance down time.” Five of the six have already plead guilty, and a sixth was recently charged in the scheme. They all face jail time and stiff fines. Folks, this is not acceptable behavior for our industry…
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Small Group of Old Hippies Oppose Shell Ethane Pipeline

A small group boasting a big name, The Breathe Project, recently sent a letter to the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection proclaiming their opposition to Shell’s planned Falcon Ethane Pipeline–a 97-mile pipeline system with two “legs” that will feed Shell’s mighty ethane cracker plant now under construction in Monaca, PA. Right. So the DEP and Shell should simply give up on the $6 billion ethane cracker, which can’t operate without ethane to feed it–ethane that will flow through this pipeline. Of course the group’s opposition is for show, maybe for fundraising, and certainly not serious. The funny thing for us was in viewing a picture of some of the members of the group, standing around clutching signs that say SHELL FALCON PIPELINE with a big circle/slash through it. The group, when you look at them, is the geriatric squad. Old folks. In our opinion, they look like old hippies–people who likely protested the Vietnam War in the 60s and have now found their new reason for living–to defeat a small ethane pipeline. On Thursday a tiny protest of the Falcon Pipeline (under two dozen people) caught the interest of the Pittsburgh Business Times on a slow news day…
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PA Consumers Save $30B Over 10 Years Thx to Marcellus Shale

Although the push is on to get Marcellus molecules to new markets where they can fetch higher prices, there is one group who has benefited in a major way from an overabundance of cheap, clean-burning Marcellus Shale gas. That would be the residents and businesses located in the great state of Pennsylvania. Industry group Consumer Energy Alliance has just published a new report that reveals PA residents and businesses have saved a cumulative $30.5 billion from 2006-2016 as a result of the decreasing price of natural gas in the state. Can you imagine the economic impact! What president or governor or state legislator wouldn’t salivate over a cash infusion of $30 billion over ten years! It’s mind-blowing. And it’s all thanks to the Marcellus Shale. And that $30B is just the savings that went into folks’ pockets (and got spent on other things). That number doesn’t even take into consider the billions upon billions of dollars paid out in signing bonuses, royalties, and drilling work done. The Marcellus industry has single-handedly lifted many PA residents out of poverty. Hey, how much revenue and how many jobs and how much energy savings have groups like Delaware Riverkeeper, Sierra Club, Clean Air Council, Food & Water Watch, PennEnvironment, PennFuture and other radical Big Green groups generated for PA? What’s that? They’ve actually COST the state money? Think about that the next time you read about these so-called environmental groups and how much they “care” about the Keystone State…
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Blockchain: Explaining a Complex New Tech + Impact on O&G

We don’t know about you, but hardly a day goes by we don’t notice the word “blockchain” in the headlines. Increasingly that word is used in oil and gas news. We had some vague idea that blockchain has something to do with digital currency–using Bitcoin instead of dollars. Whatever Bitcoin is! So what could blockchain possibly have to do with oil and gas? As it turns out, blockchain the technology is much more than just a technology that makes digital currency possible. We spotted an article on the World Oil website about blockchain and took the opportunity to dig into this new tech sweeping the world by storm. Put simply, blockchain is an ironclad “way of tracking things.” Those things can be money (the earliest adopter of the technology), but also other things, like legal documents. The technology can also be used to guard against hackers breaking into a company’s network. Cybersecurity is often mentioned as a huge benefit of using blockchain in the oil and gas industry. Blockchain tech can protect against hackers breaking into a remotely controlled drilling rig, for example. Or breaking into a computer that controls shipments of goods and materials. Drilling companies have some of the most complex logistics operations in the world. They plan out drilling new shale wells up to a year in advance, coordinating it so that trucks hauling equipment (even the rig itself) arrive on the exact day they need to be there. And they coordinate deliveries of water and sand used in fracking–down to the day those deliveries need to arrive, figuring out how to get them shipped via train and truck. A year in advance! Can you imagine a hacker breaking into a network and screwing with that information? It could be economically catastrophic for the driller. Blockchain guards against it. Here’s more about blockchain and how it’s coming (fast) to the shale industry…
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Energy Stories of Interest: Fri, Sep 7, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: Senate Environmental Committee sets Sept. 25 hearing on foreign influence on natgas dev in PA; With oil and gas on upswing, is Jefferson County on way to economic recovery?; Power to save: compressed natural gas buses in Luzerne County; Injection well protest planned Saturday near turnpike; NY Comptroller Stringer statement opposing the Williams pipeline; What sets these GoRaleigh buses apart is what’s in the tank; Stop nuclear cronyism; Russia’s huge natural gas pipeline to China nearly complete.
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