Marcellus/Utica Cos. Not Allowed Access to Fed Virus Loan Program

Before the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic hit, causing lockdowns and stay-at-home orders throughout much of the U.S. (and world), natural gas drillers in places like the Marcellus/Utica were hurting (due to low gas prices) but holding their own financially. Maybe not all, but a majority were doing OK. And then the bottom dropped out of everything with the virus causing demand “destruction” because people are not traveling. Right now there’s less of everything–less electricity being used (a major customer for natgas), less natgas used for heating big office buildings and factories, etc. Of course, that means less production, with shale gas drillers choosing to scale back new drilling and even shut-in some wells.
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PA DEP Revising Regs for Recycled Wastewater Use in Fracking

The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) published a notice in Saturday’s Pennsylvania Bulletin that the agency is proposing changes to the Residual Waste General Permit WMGR123, which governs the processing, transfer and beneficial use of oil and gas liquid waste to develop or frack an oil and gas well. Some of the changes include defining certain terms, including “processing,” “transfer,” and “storage”; changing the application from a registration to a determination of applicability; revising sampling and analysis requirements; and revising the frequency of inspections.
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Chesapeake Suspends Dividend Payments; Stock Still Falling

On Friday Chesapeake Energy announced it has suspended payment of dividends on each series of its outstanding convertible preferred stock effective immediately. The company also made the point that suspending this type of dividend does not constitute a default (failure to pay) under any of the company’s debt instruments. The suspension comes just a few days after the company completed a reverse stock split, combining 200 shares of old stock into 1 share of new stock (see Chesapeake Energy Reverse Stock Split 1-for-200). Following the stock split, the adjusted share price for the new stock continued to decline (see Chesapeake’s Reverse Stock Split Bombs, Company “On Life Support”). The downward trend continued on Friday with Chessy’s stock price sliding another 7%.
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Fed Court Strongly Rebukes Riverkeeper for Harassing ME2 Pipe

A federal court in Pennsylvania has just verbally slapped down THE Delaware Riverkeeper–both the umbrella Riverkeeper organization and (by name) the person who claims to be THE riverkeeper of the Delaware, Maya van Rossum, for a transparent and pathetic attempt at blocking the Mariner East 2 pipeline project with yet another frivolous lawsuit. In the decision, the judge says the litigation tactics of the Riverkeeper organization “do nothing to protect the environment.” The judge also said to impose liability against ME2 in this case “would offend basic principles of fairness and effect an absurd result” and “violate due process.” Ouch.
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Blackstone Takes Over Tallgrass Energy, Stock Stops Public Trading

Last December MDN told you that investment firm Blackstone Infrastructure Partners, a major investor in pipeline company Tallgrass Energy, pursued and caught the company, tentatively convincing Tallgrass to sell its public shares of stock to Blackstone, which will take the company “private” –meaning no publicly traded shares of stock (see With Tallgrass Founder/CEO Gone, Blackstone Forces Sale/Merger). We incorrectly implied Blackstone had forced out founder and CEO David Dehaemers. It seems it was Dehaemers’ desire to cash in his chips and retire. The sale of the company was amicable and not forced. At any rate, last Thursday company shareholders voted to approve the deal and as of Friday, Tallgrass stock no longer trades on the New York Stock Exchange.
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Andrew Place, Formerly of EQT, Resigns as PA PUC Commissioner

Andrew Place

Nearly five years ago Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf nominated Andrew Place who worked at EQT at the time to become one of five Commissioners at the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (see PA Gov Wolf Appoints EQT’s Andrew Place to Public Utility Commission). Place announced last week he is resigning. Indeed he is now gone (as of Sunday). Place has accepted a job out-of-state. He did important work at the PUC during his tenure and will, no doubt, be missed.
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Shale Energy Stories of Interest: Mon, Apr 20, 2020

MARCELLUS/UTICA REGION: House Republicans want PA DEP to reasonably pause adopting new regs; DEP invites comments on proposed Water Quality Certification for NFG pipeline project; Upside in a down market: Northeast gas dynamics to advantage regional midstream companies; NATIONAL: Trump administration working to ease drilling industry cash crunch; Do U.S. shale drillers deserve to exist in free markets?; Half of announced North American oil cuts come from just three companies; Lower 48 oil, gas permitting expected to ‘collapse in April’ amid pandemic; Oil, natural gas and NGLs in post-COVID, 2021-25 markets; Oil and gas shut-ins risk royalty litigation; New FERC commissioner hints at market action, announces staff; INTERNATIONAL: Global LNG production shut-ins seen imminent as prices continue falling; USMCA solidifies the best oil and natural gas alliance ever; Fall of natural gas prices speeds energy shift in East Asia; Oil and gas giant Shell targets ‘net zero’ emissions by 2050.
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