Williams Swallows Poison Pill to Prevent Company Takeover

Midstream (pipeline) giant Williams issued a press release last Friday to say they’ve just swallowed a poison pill. They don’t put it in those exact terms, but that’s what it’s called. The company’s board has adopted a “limited duration stockholder rights agreement.” Why? To fend off potential hostile takeover attempts from those who would buy up a significant number of shares of stock while the company’s share price is down due to the worldwide stock market crash over COVID-19 coronavirus concerns. Williams is not for sale and the company is certainly not to be found on the discount rack.
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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.
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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.
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National Grid Report – There IS a Coming Gas Shortage in NYC/LI

National Grid yesterday released a report outlining how the utility is going to run out of natural gas for its customers within the next decade (maybe sooner) if new supplies of natgas are not made available to it. The company has scheduled public town hall meetings in NYC and Long Island to discuss the report and elicit feedback from the public. In the report, National Grid outlines three solutions to the problem. Guess which solution is the cheapest, quickest and best? That’s right–the Williams Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) pipeline.
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Sad Day: Williams Declares Constitution Pipeline Project Dead

Last week we told you the good news that Williams recently re-filed an application with the New Jersey Dept. of Environmental Protection to build one of two critical northeastern pipeline projects–called the Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) project (see Signs of Life! Williams Refiles with NJ to Build NESE Pipe to NY). Today we bring you the sad news that Williams has given up on building a second, long-delayed project to flow natural gas from northeastern Pennsylvania into central New York, called the Constitution Pipeline.
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Signs of Life! Williams Refiles with NJ to Build NESE Pipe to NY

In early December when Williams withdrew their fourth and final permit application to build the Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) pipeline project with the New Jersey Dept. of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), we feared that maybe Williams had given up on the project (see Is NESE Pipeline to NYC Dead? Williams Withdraws Final NJ Permit). But what’s this? Williams recently re-filed an application with NJDEP to build NESE–the fourth time it has done so. Is the fourth time the charm?
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Williams Update: Constitution Pipeline Value Written Down

Williams issued its fourth-quarter and full-year 2019 update yesterday. Among the gems shared, the company reported gathering 13.3 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas and equivalents during 4Q19, up 10% from 4Q18. Just to put that in perspective, there was 85.5 Bcf/d of shale natural gas production in December 2019, according to the EIA. Williams gathered 15% of all the shale gas produced. That is an amazing statistic! Here’s an even more amazing stat: Although Williams gathered 13.3 Bcf/d during 4Q, their pipeline networks moved/flowed gas gathered by other companies too, to the tune of 21.8 Bcf/d (up 8% from 4Q18). That means the Williams pipe network moves fully 25% of all the shale natural gas that moves throughout the country.
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FERC Defends Pipeline Tolling Orders, Pledges to Use Less Often

Big Green continues its fight to strip away the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) right to use tolling orders when considering requests to “rehear” decisions to approve pipelines (see PA Big Green Supports Lawsuit to Gut FERC re Pipe Approvals). In an update on a court case Big Green is using to challenge FERC, a case involving Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline (in the PA Marcellus), FERC has told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that (a) it properly used a tolling order in the case of Atlantic Sunrise, but (b) it promises not to use them so much in the future. Big Green is not, of course, is not happy (they never are).
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Construction to Begin on Southeastern Trail Expansion Pipe in VA

Prince William County

In April 2018 Williams filed a request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to expand capacity along the mighty Transco Pipeline to increase the amount of gas the pipeline can flow to the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern U.S by 296 million cubic feet per day. The Southeastern Trail expansion project (SET), as it’s called, was given final approval by FERC in October 2019 (see FERC Approves Transco Southeastern Trail Expansion Pipe Project). Last Friday Williams asked FERC for permission to begin construction in Prince William and Fauquier counties in Virginia.
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Williams Joins Environmental Partnership to Help Lower CH4 Emissions

America’s natural gas and oil industry announced “a landmark partnership” in late 2017 called the Environmental Partnership, to “accelerate improvements to environmental performance in operations across the country” (see NatGas, Oil Industry Partnership to Accelerate Methane Reductions). The latest O&G company to join up and help reduce methane and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions is…Williams!
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PA AG Josh Shapiro Bashes Marcellus with Anti-Pipe Lawsuit Support

PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is no friend of the Marcellus industry, and frankly, he’s no friend to PA landowners either. At every turn, Shapiro investigates and attempts to block the Marcellus industry in the state. The latest evidence: Shapiro has used the full weight of the entire state in signing on to an amicus (friend of the court) brief in a federal court case that challenges the approval of Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline–a Williams PA pipeline that’s been in the ground and operating since 2018.
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PA Big Green Supports Lawsuit to Gut FERC re Pipe Approvals

The sleaziest of Pennsylvania’s Big Green groups–THE Delaware Riverkeeper and PennFuture–have filed a “friend of the court” (amicus) brief in a federal lawsuit hoping they can help gut the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by denying FERC the only way the agency has of combating these sleazy groups–something called a tolling order.
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Williams WV Compressor Station Explodes, Catches Fire

The Battle Run Compressor Station, owned and operated by Williams and located in Valley Grove (Ohio County), West Virginia, exploded and caught fire Saturday night. Fortunately no one was injured and the fire was extinguished within a half hour. Williams has “isolated” the flow of gas to the facility while the incident is investigated.
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FERC Upholds Decision to Allow NY Constitution Pipe Construction

In August the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ruled that the New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) took too long to deny a federal Clean Water Act “Section 401” water crossing permit for the Williams Constitution Pipeline project (see Victory! FERC Overrules NY DEC to Allow Constitution Pipeline). Which means the project is now back on, approved by FERC itself. The DEC, thoroughly corrupted and politicized by NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo, said it will “fight” FERC’s ruling (see NY DEC Will “Fight” FERC over Constitution Pipeline Decision).
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Ruling Stands: States have 1 Calendar Yr to Review Water Permits

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday refused to hear a case that challenged a ruling in the Hoopa Valley Indian Tribe case–a ruling/case that has HUGE implications for Williams’ Constitution Pipeline running through New York State. The Supreme Court rejection is a crushing defeat for Big Green groups Trout Unlimited and California Trout, and very good news for the Constitution project.
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