Court Victory for Atlantic Coast Pipe Against Nelson County, VA

The 600-mile Dominion Energy Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) project has completed about 35 miles of the project and that’s it. Why? Lawsuits, brought by Big Green groups. The biggest challenge the project faces is a lawsuit that ruled ACP could not cross under the Appalachian Trail. Dominion appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court where it now sits. By all accounts, the recent oral arguments before the Supremes went well for ACP (see Atlantic Coast Pipeline had Very Good Day in US Supreme Court). Although the Supreme Court case is the biggest obstacle, there are other, smaller cases ACP still must overcome.
Continue reading

Antis Push Back Against PennEast Pipe Plan to Build in 2 Phases

In January PennEast Pipeline, a $1.2 billion new greenfield pipeline project from Luzerne County, PA to Mercer County, NJ, asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for permission to break the project into two phases (see PennEast Asks FERC to Break Pipeline Project into 2 Phases). The pipeline wants to build Phase One in Pennsylvania, and later on (after lawsuits are finished), build Phase Two in New Jersey. Of course, antis are flooding FERC with objections to the plan hoping to keep the project from ever getting built.
Continue reading

Board Members, Management Snap Up Shares in Shale Companies

We always take it as a good sign when board members and upper management decide to buy up shares of the companies they operate. One might colloquially say they “eat their own dog food.” That’s what’s happening with at least some shale oil companies. Board members and upper management are buying shares of company stock because those shares are currently at super low prices, given the Saudi-Russia oil war and COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic scare. These people know that sooner or later the economy will straighten out and their company’s share prices will zoom skyward again–making them wealthy.
Continue reading

5 Yrs Later Williams, ET Still Arguing over Botched Merger

In 2015 Kelsy Warren and his Energy Transfer Equity (now just Energy Transfer) company pursued Williams, wanting to merge Williams into its own operation. Williams initially fought ET tooth and nail, but in the end, cut a deal (see Williams Accepts ETE’s “Indecent Proposal” – Price Went Down $10B). Without recounting all the sordid details, ET got cold feet and left Williams at the alter, and Williams sued (see Merger Turns Sour: Williams Sues ETE/CEO Kelcy Warren). The merger never happened. Believe it or not, lawsuits over that merger continue. ET says Williams CEO Alan Armstrong covertly worked to tank the deal. Williams says it was all ET’s fault and ET still owes it $410 million.
Continue reading

Columbia Selling Mass. Gas Utility Biz to Competitor Eversource

Columbia Gas of Massachusetts (NiSource) never quite recovered (reputationally) from a series of explosions in September 2018 that occurred with its local delivery pipelines north of Boston (see Local NatGas Pipes Explode Near Boston Killing 1, Injuring 25). The explosions and resulting fires tragically killed one teenager and injured 25 others. It left some 8,600 households and businesses without natural gas for months. Several class action lawsuits were filed against the company, which got settled last summer for $143 million (see Columbia Gas Pays $143M to Settle Lawsuit from Mass. Explosions). We have two big pieces of news about Columbia.
Continue reading

Williams CEO Armstrong Explains Why Constitution Pipe was Canceled

Alan Armstrong

Williams CEO Alan Armstrong participated in a panel discussion yesterday in Washington, D.C. at the Bipartisan Policy Center. The event was titled “America’s Energy Infrastructure: Where Do We Go From Here?” Following the panel Armstrong spoke to a reporter from S&P Global Market Intelligence. He had some very interesting things to say. One of the things Armstrong discussed was an explanation for why his company abandoned the Constitution Pipeline project into New York State, just when it seemed they may be winning the legal fight to build it.
Continue reading

DRBC Reopens Public Comment, New Hearing for LNG Export Dock

Last June the DRBC (Delaware River Basin Commission) approved a request by New Fortress Energy to build a $96 million 1,600-foot-long pier/dock on the Delaware River, to be used for docking and loading two ships at a time with LNG (see DRBC Approves New Fortress LNG/NGL Shipping Dock on Dela. River). After being hounded by THE Delaware Riverkeeper and the Sierra Club for months over that approval, DRBC voted in September to “reconsider” its earlier decision (see DRBC Reconsiders New Fortress LNG/NGL Shipping Dock on Dela. River). The DRBC has just announced it will hold a “trial-like” hearing on the project with both sides, New Fortress and Riverkeeper (and no one else) offering testimony.
Continue reading

Summit Midstream 2019 – Flowed Less Gas, Made Less Cash

Summit Midstream Partners, formed in 2009 and headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas, operates natural gas, crude oil and produced water gathering (pipeline) systems in six unconventional resource basins, including the Marcellus and Utica. The company concentrates its time and money on four “core focus areas” including the Utica, the Williston (i.e. Bakken), the DJ Basin and the Permian. The Marcellus is part of the company’s “legacy” systems that don’t get as much love (and money). Last week the company issued its 4Q and full-year 2019 update. We will summarize it this way: Summit flowed less gas and consequently made less cash in 2019 than it did in 2018.
Continue reading

PTT Says Work at Future Cracker Site to Temporarily Slow/Stop

Last week MDN told you that PTT Global Chemical’s CEO signalled that a final investment decision (FID) on whether (or not) to build a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker in Belmont County, OH is coming by “mid-year 2020” (see PTT CEO Sends Loud & Clear Signal of Positive FID on OH Cracker). Here we are a few days later and the company has issued a statement to say activity at the site to push dirt around will soon slow down, perhaps even stop. But don’t worry, that’s NOT a sign (says the company) that they’ve lost interest in the project.
Continue reading

Equitrans Merging in EQM Midstream, Lowers Fees for EQT $535M

Both EQT (the driller) and Equitrans (the midstream company) issued their quarterly/full-year 2019 updates yesterday. Equitrans, formerly EQT Midstream, separated from EQT in November 2018. Equitrans, via its EQM Midstream affiliate, gathers, processes, and flows most of EQT’s natural gas production, getting it to market. Last fall EQT began intense negotiations with Equitrans to lower its midstream costs (see EQT Hammers Equitrans to Lower Gathering Price – Deal Close?). The culmination of that effort was announced yesterday. In a complicated deal, EQT got Equitrans/EQM to lower gathering costs $535 million over three years, and chip in $52 million, in return for EQT giving up half of its ownership of EQM, signing a long-term contract, and signing a new $60 million water pipeline deal.
Continue reading

Judge Rules Against NY DEC to Allow Northern Access Pipe

While the Andrew Cuomo-corrupted New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) can claim a victory in stopping the much-needed Constitution Pipeline (see Sad Day: Williams Declares Constitution Pipeline Project Dead), an equally important pipeline project aimed at flowing PA’s fracked gas into New York State, being built by National Fuel Gas Company (NFG), just won an important court victory over the DEC’s disgusting efforts to block it too. An NY Supreme Court judge has ruled NFG’s Northern Access Pipeline is regulated (given permission to build) by the federal government, NOT by the DEC–and can now go forward.
Continue reading

PA PUC Fines Mariner East 1 $200K, Orders “Remaining Life” Study

In April 2017 (almost three years ago) the Mariner East 1 pipeline sprung a small leak and spilled 20 barrels (~840 gallons) of ethane and propane in Berks County, near Philadelphia. Sunoco Logistics Partners, builder and maintainer of the pipeline, shut it down and fixed it over the next several days. Yesterday the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission announced a “settlement” with Sunoco, to fine the company $200,000. Sunoco, as part of the settlement, must also conduct a “remaining life” study of the pipeline. After all, it is almost 90 years old.
Continue reading

PA, Feds on Witch Hunt to Make Revolution Pipe Accident a Crime

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a leftist Democrat who wants to succeed Tom Wolf as governor, likes to investigate accidents related to the shale industry to see if he can turn them into crimes (see our lengthy list of stories here). Add one more to the list: Since last year Shapiro has been investigating the Revolution Pipeline blast in western PA for potential crimes. He now has company.
Continue reading

PTT CEO Sends Loud & Clear Signal of Positive FID on OH Cracker

It was April 2015 when PTT Global Chemical, a huge petrochemical company based in Thailand, first announced they would consider building an ethane cracker plant in Ohio (see It’s Official: Belmont County Chosen as POSSIBLE Cracker Plant Site). Since that time PTT has purchased land for the plant and has even been seen moving dirt around at the site (see Dirt Being Moved at PTT Ohio Ethane Cracker Site – Still no FID). We’ve been somewhat critical of PTT over the years, chiding them because they’ve teased a “final investment decision” (FID) is just around the corner. The alluded to dates came and went–and still no FID. (Why do you build me up, buttercup, baby just to let me down, and mess me around?) Here we go again. PTT’s CEO has just announced the company is “on track” to make an FID on the Ohio cracker project “by mid-2020.”
Continue reading

Marcellus/Utica Drillers’ Stock Prices Near/At Historic Lows

The value of a company’s stock price is important, for a variety of reasons. The stock price reflects investor confidence in whether the company can earn its keep and grow profits in the future. A higher stock price wards off takeovers. Upper management gets a raise. And the company can borrow money when it needs to at reasonable interest rates. All sorts of reasons why the stock price is important. Unfortunately for top drillers in the Marcellus/Utica, their stock prices have tanked. As a group, and individually, the stock price is either near or even at the lowest it’s *ever been.* Let that sink in.
Continue reading

Atlantic Coast Pipeline had Very Good Day in US Supreme Court

Yesterday the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) had its day in U.S. Supreme Court–and by all appearances, it was a very good day indeed. The right of the pipeline to cross the Appalachian Trail is the issue under consideration. In a case brought by environmentalist wackos, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled a permit granted by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is invalid because the U.S. Park Service manages the trail and according to law, USFS does not have jurisdiction over “lands” owned/managed by the Park Service. In practice such a ruling, if upheld, creates a thousand-mile long barrier across which no pipeline can cross. All of the articles we read about yesterday’s oral arguments before the Supremes indicate a likely decision in favor of the pipeline and against the wackos.
Continue reading