Federal Court in NJ Grants PennEast Pipeline Eminent Domain

Just last week MDN told you the first domino had fallen, when a federal judge in Pennsylvania granted the PennEast Pipeline project the right to survey and construct pipeline on a property in Carbon County, PA, the last landowner holdout in PA (see First Domino Falls: Judge Grants PennEast Pipe Eminent Domain). And now, not even a week later, the second domino has fallen. A federal judge in New Jersey on Friday upheld eminent domain power for PennEast for ALL of NJ, where there are 136 holdout landowners who have refused to allow PennEast surveyors on their property. PennEast still isn’t totally out of the woods. The project goes to court in D.C. on Dec. 21 to try and turn back a challenge by a radical environmental group that says the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission erred when it approved the project. Still, work will now begin, first to complete the surveys, then construction. The pipeline is on track to be built and running in 2019.
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Cabot “Making Offers” to OH Landowners; New Well in Richland Co.

Ohio’s gas counties – click for larger version

We spotted an article about a landowner meeting held last week in Ashland County, Ohio. In the meeting, lawyers advised landowners to hold off on signing a standard lease agreement with Cabot Oil & Gas for $25 per acre with 12.5% royalties. Those offers, from what we are able to determine, were sent a year ago. Since that time Cabot has drilled at least three (possibly four) wells targeting the Knox Formation in Ashland County (see Cabot O&G Fracks Its First OH Knox Well, Drilling 3rd OH Well). A fourth (possibly fifth) well is about to be drilled in neighboring Richland County. Lawyers are telling landowners who haven’t yet signed it’s prudent to hold off and see how these initial test wells perform. We have details about the recent landowner meeting, along with details about a new Cabot well being drilled in Richland County, below.
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OH Supremes “Clarify” Preservation of Royalty Interest Under OMTA

If a deed refers to a previously reserved royalty interest where the reference identifies the type of interest created and the person to whom the interest was granted (with no other details), is that sufficiently specific enough to preserve the royalty interest under the Ohio Marketable Title Act (OMTA)? According to a decision rendered last week by the Supreme Court of Ohio, the answer is, “Yes.” In a case with its roots dating back to 1915, landowners attempted to sever royalty interests under the Ohio Dormant Mineral Act, attempting to cancel the old interest because a 1969 deed that referred back to the original deal (of one-half royalty interest) was not “specific enough.” The 1969 reference didn’t include the volume and page number of the instrument that originally created the royalty interest. In other words, it wasn’t a “Simon Says” kind of thing–it didn’t follow the exact legal standard. The current landowner tried to cancel the original royalty sharing obligation via a legal loophole.
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Sen. Chuck Schumer Promises New NatGas Pipe in Upstate NY

Wait a minute, we’re confused! Chuck Schumer, the titular head of the wild and radical Democrat Party in the United States, a party devoted to combating so-called climate change by ending the use of all fossil fuels, the guy who supports a total ban on fracking in New York State, the guy who got one of his own buddies appointed to FERC (Dick Glick, wind lobbyist and someone who votes against every new pipeline project)–that Chuck Schumer–has just promised the local yokels in an upstate NY town that he will get them a natural gas pipeline to feed the local town (with a new industrial park and a paper plant). In fact, Schumer said, “I will lean on them,” meaning the feds, to get the money to build the natural gas pipeline. Huh.
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PA DEP’s New Air Regs Would Exempt 80% of Conventional Wells

Last week MDN told you about onerous new regulations being proposed by the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) to cut down on supposed methane and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions coming from *existing* oil and gas wells and pipelines (see Pa. DEP Jumps the Gun with Proposed New Emissions Regs). In our initial reporting on the proposed new regulations, one bit of information escaped our attention: Most of PA’s conventional wells (80% or more) will be exempted from these new rules. And PA’s conventional wells reportedly account for more than 50% of supposed methane emissions. There are approximately 80,000 active conventional oil and gas wells in PA, and about 10,600 active shale gas wells in PA.
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Raining on Gov. Wolf’s Parade – No Scientific Basis for Cap & Trade

Last week MDN told you that Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, liberal Democrat, is seriously considering a bizarre cap-and-trade greenhouse gas emission reduction program to eliminate carbon emissions from major sources by 2052 (see PA Gov. Wolf Seriously Considers Marcellus-Killing Cap & Trade). The program is meant to eliminate fossil fuel production and use, including Marcellus Shale production. A couple of authors, one a 35+ year geologist, the other a senior fellow with the Commonwealth Foundation, took note and co-authored a devastating article appearing on The Daily Caller that punctures cap-and-trade in general, and Wolf’s dalliance with it in particular. Wolf invoked the argument that this year has been far rainier than normal in PA, which must, of course, be due to man-made global warming. The co-authors use actual, real data on rain conditions and amounts to completely obliterate Wolf’s arguments–making him look like the fool he is.
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SC PSC Votes to Approve Dominion Buyout of SCANA

In January Dominion Energy announced a deal to buy out and merge in South Carolina-based SCANA Corporation (see Dominion Buys SCANA, Mulls Atlantic Coast Pipe Expansion into SC). SCANA is an energy-based holding company that through its subsidiaries is essentially the local gas and electric company for much of South Carolina. When Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline gets built and expanded into South Carolina, it will flow Marcellus/Utica gas to SCANA customers–an important and huge new market for our molecules. In November North Carolina regulators signed off on the merger (see Dominion One Step Away from Closing on SCANA Merger). Last Friday, the Public Service Commission of South Carolina (SCPSC) voted to approve it as well–the last major regulatory hurdle before the merger can happen.
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Energy Stories of Interest: Mon, Dec 17, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: New York City rated ‘judicial hellhole’ by major legal organization; Dominion Energy completes previously announced asset sales; Gulf petrochemical complex may have rival in Appalachia; Interior Secretary Zinke resigning, cites ‘vicious’ attacks; US shale becomes oil industry’s safe haven; Coming changes in marine fuel sulfur limits will affect global oil markets; Import of U.S. liquefied natural gas to Greece begins.
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