Bankrupt Pipeline Contractor Leads to Liens Against PA Landowners

Ambulance-chasing lawyers for a Minnesota-based subcontractor (United Piping Inc.) have filed a lien against some of the landowners where Mariner East 2 (ME2) crosses, claiming the landowners may have to pay them because the contractor, Welded Construction, can’t. The lawyers are using a little-known law in Pennsylvania that dates to 1901 to make their claim. This is seriously screwed up. You may recall we previously told you that Williams, disputing work Welded Construction had done for them in building the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline, refused to pay $23.5 million, causing Welded to declare bankruptcy (see Williams Withholds Payment Forcing Pipeline Builder into Bankruptcy). What we didn’t know, until now, is that Sunoco Logistics Partners, builder of the ME2 pipeline, also withheld payments to Welded. United Pipeline says because of Welded’s bankruptcy and failure to pay them (because Williams and Sunoco withheld payments), they (United) now have the right to go after landowners for that money. This is nuts!Continue reading

Repsol Adds New PA Rig, Will Increase Marcellus Prod. 50% by 2020

Yesterday MDN editor Jim Willis attended the 12th Annual Platts Global Energy Outlook Forum in New York City. Christmastime is a great time to visit NYC. The conference opened with a talk given by Paul Ferneyhough, Repsol’s executive director for North America. The big news from Ferneyhough’s talk and subsequent remarks later in the day is that Repsol plans to ramp up production on their Marcellus acreage located in northeastern Pennsylvania by another 50% by 2020. Ferneyhough said the company, just last week, added a second drilling rig in the Marcellus. That one extra rig will allow them to quickly ramp up production. Several other news outlets, including Reuters, published news of the 50% increase. What they don’t tell you is how Repsol will manage to get that increased production to market, and what they can’t tell you is the added information Ferneyhough told Jim in a private conversation following his presentation.
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Virtual Pipeline Says Goodbye to NY, Sets Up Across Border in PA

New York State is the biggest loser. In every sense. NG Advantage, which once tried to set up a virtual pipeline operation in the Town of Fenton (suburb of Binghamton, NY), has shaken the dust of New York off its shoes and has, instead, decided to build the facility (with millions in tax revenues and over 100 jobs) 25 miles across the border in Springville Township, Susquehanna County, PA–in the heart of Marcellus country. Good for NG! Nice people, and they deserved much better treatment than they got here in NY. We personally hoped and lobbied for NG to locate in the Town of Windsor, NY, where MDN is located. But alas, the experience they had with the Town of Fenton was so nasty, they decided to abandon any plans of locating a business in NY. Can’t say that we blame them. NY is about the most business unfriendly state in the Union.
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Diversified Deal in WV to Plug 730 Abandoned Wells Over 15 Years

Earlier this week West Virginia regulators signed a deal with Diversified Gas & Oil to plug some 730 abandoned conventional oil and gas wells over the next 15 years. In June, MDN brought you the news that Diversified had purchased EQT’s Huron Shale assets in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia for $575 million (see Diversified Gas & Oil Adds to Conventional Assets in KY, VA, WV). In October Diversified announced a deal to buy out Core Appalachia for $183 million, which includes ~5,000 producing wells (90% of production is natgas) and 1.3 million acres in West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia (see Diversified Gas & Oil Buys Core Appalachia for $183M). Thousands of old conventional wells spread across multiple states. The West Virginia Surface Owners’ Rights Organization (WVSORO) is not happy with the deal cut by WV with Diversified, claiming it doesn’t go nearly far enough.
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U.S. Senate Confirms McNamee to FERC with 50-49 Vote

We once again have a majority, three Republicans, as voting members at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Yesterday along a party line vote, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Bernard McNamee as the fifth Commissioner at FERC. McNamee is the former head of the Department of Energy’s Office of Policy–the guy who helped roll out a plan favored by Trump and DOE Secretary Rick Perry to artificially favor and boost nuclear and coal energy sources, at the expense of other sources like natural gas. Stupid idea, but there you go. By all accounts McNamee will be a friend to natural gas, regardless of his recent past in promoting coal and nukes.
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PA Supreme Court Upholds ME2 Right to Use Eminent Domain

One of the ways anti-fossil fuel groups have tried to stop the Mariner East 2 Pipeline project is by tying it up in court. Various lawsuits have been filed going back years. One litigant, a Big Green group headquartered in Philadelphia, the so-called Clean Air Council, has tried repeatedly to get the courts to deny ME2 the right to use eminent domain in cases where landowners refuse to cooperate (see Clean Air Council’s Strange War Against Mariner East Pipeline). CAC argued that ME2 is not a “public utility” and therefore not entitled to the use of eminent domain. That argument flamed out. In May, PA’s Commonwealth Court ruled that yes, ME2 is a public utility entitled to use eminent domain if it needs to (see PA Court Rules ME2 Pipe has Power of Eminent Domain, Period). CAC had one last card to play, taking the case to the PA Supreme Court. They played it, and lost.
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WV’s Speaker of the House is a Friend to Shale Gas

Roger Hanshaw

The Charleston Gazette-Mail, working with the libs of Propublica, have written a snarky article that implies Roger Hanshaw, the Speaker of West Virginia House of Delegates (a part-time job), is in the hip pocket of the oil and gas industry, someone with major conflicts of interest. Hanshaw is an attorney who works for a law firm with clients from the oil and gas industry. That makes him toxic. Tainted goods. Unworthy. At least in the mind of Dem libs. We take the opposite view. Hanshaw is a smart lawyer who knows the industry well and can help guide public policy to benefit the industry while at the same time protect the residents (landowners, surface owners, taxpayers) of the great state of West Virginia. He’s the PERFECT guy for the job, able to balance industry interests with those of constituents. Only in the liberal mind is it a disqualification that someone who knows and has worked in an industry should actually get a job regulating that industry.
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Energy Stories of Interest: Fri, Dec 7, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: Environmental groups rally for NJ moratorium on natural gas pipelines, other infrastructure; Ohio House OKs use of oil and gas brine for road de-icing; Department of Public Service asks state to expand gas pipeline investigation; The US just became a net oil exporter for the first time in 75 years; Activists admit climate litigation is about silencing dissent, not justice; At what point would Higher Henry hub prices really rein in LNG exports?; Fishermen sue big oil for its role in climate change; European consortium to spur uptake of LNG as transport fuel.
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