EQT Avoids Trial, Settles WV Class Action re Royalty Deductions

Two weeks ago MDN told you about a class action lawsuit that’s been brewing in West Virginia since 2013, brought by 10,000 WV landowners and royalty rights owners against EQT over the company’s practice of deducting post-production expenses from royalty payments (see WV Class Action Against EQT re Royalty Deductions Heads to Court). The trial was set to begin this past Tuesday, but we’re just now learning that late last week EQT settled with the plaintiffs out of court. We don’t have many details. What we do have is confirmation that there’s been a settlement and that the trial was canceled. Here’s the details we have so far.
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New NGL Pipeline in Clarion County, PA Ready to Go Online

We pride ourselves on keeping close tabs on the market. Yet somehow the construction of a smallish NGL (natural gas liquids) pipeline gathering system in western PA slipped by us. The pipeline is now built and the builder, Stonehenge Energy Resources, is putting the “finishing touches” on the Stonehenge Laurel – Clarion Pipeline System before it goes live. The pipeline will connect to Laurel Mountain Energy’s wells in Clarion County and collect up the NGLs (things like ethane and propane) from those wells and flow it neighboring Butler County where the NGLs will hitch a ride via Energy Transfer’s Revolution Pipeline system to Washington County, PA where they will get cleaned up and separated.
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4th Circuit Court Cancels Mountain Valley Pipe Nationwide Permit

In early October MDN reported that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit had “vacated” (canceled, overturned) a permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in West Virginia that would allow Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) to use a more environmentally friendly form of crossing four rivers in the state than is technically allowed under federal Clean Water Act regulations (see Court Overturns MVP WV Permit; FERC Shutdown Coming Again?). The court said the Army Corps essentially allowed a substitution of methods under the law that’s not allowed, and so the entire permit, covering 591 streams, rivers and wetlands, is now vacated. The court issued it’s full decision/opinion on Tuesday. The good news is that the Army Corps and MVP are reworking the permit and hope to get it approved soon, and that completion of the project is still on track for the revised “end of 2019.”
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PA Supreme Court Gives Drillers Victory in Chapter 78a Regs Case

In August, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court handed PA drillers a partial victory in their quest to block onerous new drilling regulations, part of something called Chapter 78a (see Partial Victory for PA Drillers re DEP Chapter 78a Drilling Regs). This issue involves an effort by the liberal Gov. Tom Wolf administration to impose onerous new regulations on the Marcellus industry, costing lots of money with virtually no environmental benefits. The Marcellus Shale Coalition, on behalf of the industry, fought back and won in Commonwealth Court. The state Dept. of Environmental Protection appealed the case to the PA Supreme Court, and yesterday the Supremes quashed the appeal–said they refuse to hear it. Meaning the decision by the Commonwealth Court stands. The Marcellus industry won, and the DEP lost.
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Energy Transfer’s Rover, ME2 Pipes Rack Up 800+ Violations

Reuters has published a “hit piece” against Energy Transfer (ET) and two of its recent big pipeline projects–Rover Pipeline (in Ohio & Michigan), and Mariner East 2 Pipeline (in Ohio and Pennsylvania). Reuters is usually more balanced than, say, Bloomberg with these types of articles. Reuters usually doesn’t go out of its way to denigrate the industry. The article evaluates the number of permit violations issued for both projects. Together that number exceeds 800. Is that a lot? Reuters says they’ve analyzed “four comparable pipeline projects” and found an average of 19 violations per project (or 38 for two projects). So yeah, 800 vs. 38 sure sounds like a lot to us.
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National Truck Stop Chain Buys M-U Wastewater Hauler

You know those Pilot Flying J truck stops you sometimes visit to fill up as you’re traveling along our nation’s interstate highways? They’re not just big gas stations with convenience stores. Pilot Flying J has its own fleet of trucks. One of the divisions of Flying J targets the exploration and production (E&P) sector, i.e. drillers. Flying J has just announced it has bought out Equipment Transport, LLC, which hauls shale wastewater in the Marcellus, Utica and Permian Basin. Now your favorite truck stop is also your favorite wastewater hauler!
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PA Says Forget Amazon’s 50K Jobs, We’ve Got Shale & 100K Jobs!

Both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia were in the running to become Headquarters 2 (HQ2) for online shopping behemoth Amazon. But neither got it. They both bent over backward, forward, and sideways, wined and dined Amazon people, and in general did everything they could short of bribery to attract Amazon to their respective cities. In the end, Amazon decided to split HQ2 between New York City and a suburb of Washington, D.C. Now that the distraction of pursuing Amazon is gone, a couple of energy industry players in Pittsburgh say it’s time to focus again on reality. Amazon offered 50,000 jobs to the winner(s) of HQ2. The PA Marcellus industry offers 100,000 jobs that pay way more, IF we hurry to capitalize on it. So says Morgan O’Brien, president and CEO of Peoples Natural Gas, and Stacey Olson, president of Chevron Appalachia.
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Energy Stories of Interest: Thu, Nov 29, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: PARTA celebrates opening of first natural gas station in Portage County; Residents at forum decry Longmeadow Country Club deal with Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co.; Developers push for relief from the natural gas moratorium; Columbia Gas to give another $10M re tragedy; Supreme Court questions ‘habitat’ definition in remanding ESA case; Obama takes credit for U.S. oil-and-gas boom: ‘That was me, people’; Energy Department investing in research to develop natural gas-based hydraulic fracturing fluid; Natural gas jumps as cold air descends on U.S. Midwest; Canada’s oil and natural gas industry and Indigenous peoples work toward shared prosperity.
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