MarkWest Gets New CEO, New Processing Plants Coming in M-U

Last week Marathon Petroleum, the parent company of MPLX (formerly called MarkWest Energy) announced some big changes during their third quarter update. Namely, they have caved to “activist” investors (we still call them corporate raiders) and their demands to split the company and dump the current CEO (see Partial Activist Victory: Marathon to Sell Speedway, CEO Retiring). The one thing activists didn’t get was a commitment to sell off the MarkWest/MPLX division. What we overlooked at the time (correcting it now) is the fairly big news that the MPLX division got a new CEO, and they continue to build new natural gas and NGL processing plants in the Marcellus/Utica region.
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Ohio Commission Recommends Changes to Law re Fracking Public Land

In 2011 Ohio Gov. John Kasich (RINO) signed into law a provision to create the Ohio Oil and Gas Leasing Commission, a group to oversee drilling and fracking on state-owned land. Then Kasich refused to appoint members to the five-member commission, effectively skirting the law and imposing his own whacked moratorium on drilling on state-owned land. Why? Punishment for the industry refusing to endorse his obscene high severance tax rate. In 2017 under threat by the Republican legislature, Kasich finally relented and appointed the five members (see Ohio Gov Kasich About to Lose Power to Stop Drilling on State Land). The Commission just held its first meeting under new Gov. Mike DeWine (also a RINO). Commission members are proposing changes to the commission structure and to the law governing it.
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With “Backs Against Wall” Rhode Island Approves LNG Facility

Do Rhode Island regulators read MDN? Maybe! On Monday we brought you a post about the coming natural gas outages like that experienced last January in the People’s Republic of Rhode Island, due to eco-socialist pressure to ban new natural gas infrastructure (see Rhode Island Eco-Socialists Threaten State with NatGas Outages). Yesterday the state’s Energy Facility Siting Board waived a licensing requirement for a “temporary” LNG storage facility in Portsmouth to prevent another January episode from happening again. Board members complained they had no choice, that “we have our backs against the wall” and “people’s lives could be in danger” if they don’t approve the LNG facility.
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EQT CEO Toby Rice Says All Aboard the Happiness Campaign

Toby Rice, still relatively new in his role of CEO at EQT, spoke about changing the culture at the nation’s largest natural gas-producing company. At a Southpointe CEO Association event yesterday afternoon in Washington County, Rice said, “These past 100 days, I tell everybody, they’re on the happiness campaign, they just don’t know it.” Our summary of his comments: “All Aboard the Happy Train!”
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Investor Says Chesapeake NOT in Danger of Bankruptcy

Yesterday MDN brought you news about Chesapeake Energy and their third quarter update (see Chesapeake Energy 3Q – Slash Drilling 30%, Bankruptcy Possible). As we pointed out in our summary of the update, many news outlets were focusing on a legalese notification in Chessy’s SEC filing that states IF certain things happen the company MAY HAVE issues continuing as a “going concern.” The chattering class jumped on that to say the company is heading for bankruptcy. We spotted an article that takes a contrarian point of view, calling Chessy’s statement “much ado about nothing.”
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Radical PA Green Group Sues State to Block State Land Drilling

In June 2017, the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation (PEDF) won a case at the PA Supreme Court by the skin of their teeth (see PA Supreme Court Hands Antis Partial Victory re State Land Drilling). The case dealt with the narrow issue of how PA can spend revenue raised from drilling for oil and gas under state-owned land. A divided court ruled that money from royalties (not lease signing bonuses) must be used only for “environmental” purposes. Certain aspects of that case were referred back to the lower Commonwealth Court where it’s still being litigated. Not happy with that victory, the radicals at the PEDF have just filed a new lawsuit that aims to permanently block all drilling on state-owned land by (ab)using the state Environmental Rights Amendment (ERA).
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IHS Markit Says Shale Oil Growth Way Down in ’20, Flat in ’21

The smart folks at IHS Markit, a global analytics company that tracks data in the oil and gas industry, are predicting a major slowdown in shale oil production in 2020, and essentially no growth in production for 2021. Although this prediction, based on evidence and the intuition of people who study this stuff is about shale oil, the prediction *does* relate to the Marcellus/Utica as well.
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Shale Energy Stories of Interest: Thu, Nov 7, 2019

MARCELLUS/UTICA REGION: Natural gas forecast 2020: 6.2 trillion reasons to love Pennsylvania; ODNR issues 6 permits for Utica drilling; OTHER U.S. REGIONS: We Energies, Wisconsin Gas seek to spend $370 million on 2 plants to store natural gas; No natural gas? If that happens, California will dump Democrats; NATIONAL: Potential federal drilling bans ‘fraught with serious economic ramifications,’ says Devon CEO; Exxon slams NY AG’s ‘circular’ analysis in climate trial; Obama’s former EPA chief takes the helm of environmental group that’s sued Trump nearly 100 times; INTERNATIONAL: EIA projects energy consumption in air transportation to increase through 2050; Total-Adani deal signals robust investment appetite in gas ‘sweet spot’ India; OPEC sees flood of U.S. shale barrels hurting demand for its crude oil.
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