Cuomo PERMANENTLY Bans NY Fracking in Now-Adopted Budget

While no one was paying attention, distracted with literal life and death issues due to the coronavirus pandemic, the uber-corrupt and sleazy Andrew Cuomo (worst governor EVER) slipped in a permanent ban on fracking into the annual state budget bill which is now the law of our fallen (and sick) land. This is truly a sad day for those of us who live in New York State. We seriously doubt there will ever be a Republican legislature and governor in NY to reverse the horrific damage now done to our civil liberties. Freedom died yesterday in New York State. We now live behind enemy lines.
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Earthworks Accuses PA DEP of Ignoring Complaints Due to COVID-19

The radical organization Earthworks has been exposed for making a false accusation against the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP), claiming the DEP ignored complaints of potential environmental violations in the shale patch due to distractions over the coronavirus pandemic. Earthworks claimed a frack wastewater treatment plant in Potter County is leaking onto the ground. DEP said it did investigate and no, there is no leak.
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Enbridge Plan to Import M-U Gas to Ontario, Export to New England

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A proposed new pipeline project from Canadian midstream giant Enbridge has caught our attention. It’s called by a couple of different names: the “Dawn Parkway Expansion Project” and the “Kirkwall-Hamilton Project.” The project involves constructing 10.2 kilometers (6.3 miles) of 48-inch pipeline from the Kirkwall Valve Site to the Hamilton Valve Site in Ontario, Canada. According to Enbridge, some 90% of the gas flowing through the pipeline will be used in Ontario. We’re interested in this project for two reasons. (1) The source for some of the gas that will flow through it will come from the Marcellus/Utica, according to media reports. (2) Some of the gas this pipe flows will scoot across the rest of the Enbridge pipe system and some of it will be exported into New England.
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FERC OKs Phase 2 of NGPL Pipe that Flows M-U Gas to Gulf Coast

One year ago MDN told about a Kinder Morgan’s Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America LLC (NGPL) project that carries Marcellus/Utica gas from the Midwest all the way to the Gulf Coast to feed just about any of the existing or under construction LNG export plants in the region (see NGPL Pipe Will Flow M-U Gas to Gulf Coast for LNG Export). Phase 1 of NGPL’s Southbound Expansion project was placed in service in October 2018, providing an extra 460,000 Dth/d (460 MMcf/d) of gas from NGPL’s interstate pipeline interconnects in Illinois, Arkansas and Texas to markets in NGPL’s South Texas zone. Phase 2 of the project just got Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) permission to begin construction.
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National Rig Count Falls Another 45, M-U Rig Count Holds Steady

Last week we told you about the biggest rig count drop in four years with a loss of 47 rigs in a single week (see Biggest Rig Count Drop in 4 Years – Who’s Still Drilling?). What has to be the second biggest rig count drop in the past four years happened over this past week, with the U.S. seeing another 45 rigs idled in the last seven days. The good news, if there is such a thing, is that the rig counts in both the Marcellus and Utica remained the same–although one rig changed locations from the “dry” Marcellus to the “wet” Marcellus.
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Trump Says Saudis, Russians Agree to Major Oil Production Cut

It’s pretty amazing what a single tweet can do. It can move the price of oil up by $5/barrel! Yesterday President Trump tweeted: “Just spoke to my friend MBS (Crown Prince) of Saudi Arabia, who spoke with President Putin of Russia, & I expect & hope that they will be cutting back approximately 10 Million Barrels, and maybe substantially more which, if it happens, will be GREAT for the oil & gas industry!” The markets reacted quickly bidding up the price of oil to $25.32/barrel for WTI. Let’s hope it continues.
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WV Outlaws Anti Protesters Who Try to Block Pipeline Construction

Last week MDN told you about a flurry of oil and gas bills passed by the West Virginia legislature signed into law by Gov. Jim Justice (see Flurry of WV O&G Bills Signed into Law Incl. Petchem Tax Credits). At the time we focused on a couple of petrochemical tax credit bills, but there’s another important bill in the batch we’d like to call your attention to today: House Bill (HB) 4615, a bill (now law) that clamps down on anti-fossil fuel protesters who like to take the law into their own hands.
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COVID Loan/Grant Money for Small & Medium-Size Biz, Including M-U

Attention all small- and medium-sized businesses (those with fewer than 500 employees): Beginning tomorrow (Friday) you can sign up for the Small Business Paycheck Protection Program, part of the COVID-19 relief package recently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump. This is important! The program, administered by local banks (won’t charge you any fees) will allow you to borrow money to cover payroll (and benefits), mortgage interest, rent and utilities for up to 8 weeks. Here’s the kicker: Those loans, provided they meet certain guidelines, will be FULLY FORGIVEN. In other words, this is a grant to help you get through the COVID crisis. And it applies to Marcellus/Utica companies and those who service them (as well as other kinds of businesses).
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Analysts Predict Natural Gas Prices to Rebound in 2021

Is relief on the horizon for Marcellus/Utica drillers in the form of higher prices for natural gas? According to several analysts, due to several factors coming later this year and next year (a rebound in the economy, lower natgas production), we will see “significantly higher prices next year” for natgas. How much higher? “We expect an average Henry Hub price of $3.50[/MMBtu] for next year and anticipate gas reaching the $4 threshold in [the fourth quarter of 2021].” Between now and then it’s a game of Survivor…until higher prices get here.
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U.S. Natural Gas Exports Hit Highest Weekly Average EVER

During the week of March 24 (Tuesday) to March 30 (Monday) exports of natural gas from the Lower 48 States to other countries averaged more than 15 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d)–the highest weekly average for natgas exports EVER. Most of that amazing number comes from exports via LNG facilities–some 9.5 Bcf/d. The rest are exports via pipeline into Mexico–averaging 5.5 Bcf/d.
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Big Oil Capitulates to Big Green Scaremongers re Climate Change

Although we have a deep respect for the work done by the American Petroleum Institute (API) in self-governance and raising standards for the entire industry, today we write to disagree with one of API’s initiatives. API along with two other big oil and gas associations–the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA) and the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP)–collaborate to produce a document called the “Sustainability Reporting Guidance for the Oil and Gas Industry.” It’s a tool to help companies shape the structure and content of their so-called sustainability reporting. In our opinion, it’s a capitulation to the notion that we must transition to an all-renewable energy future. We categorically reject that losing premise.
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Fossil Fuels Save Millions of Lives During Coronavirus Outbreak

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MDN previously made comments scattered over several posts pointing out that without plastics, which come from oil and gas, the world (in particular the U.S.) would have already experienced mass deaths from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic far worse than what we have. In other words, the world can thank frackers and the petrochemical industry for saving lives. We spotted a column by Dan Markind, a Philadelphia attorney who publishes columns about the Marcellus/Utica on the Forbes magazine website, noting that the world has “turned to fossil fuels” in order to fight the coronavirus. Dan does a great job of pulling all the threads together to make the case that oil and gas and the plastics created by them have helped save the world from an even worse fate.
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DRBC Oversteps Authority, Says It Must Approve PennEast

The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) has been co-opted by Big Green groups to do their bidding. The latest example is a letter sent by DRBC to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), arrogantly telling FERC that the DRBC has the power to review the PennEast Pipeline project–to pass judgment on whether or not (and how) it gets built. That authority lies SOLELY with FERC.
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Fed Biological Review for Mountain Valley Pipe Delayed…Again

Last December the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) filed a request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) asking for an extra 60 days to revise an Endangered Species Act (ESA) review of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project. In February they asked for another 45-day extension (see MVP Update: USFWS Needs More Time; Antis Pester DEQ). The new deadline is here and once again FWS is back, asking FERC for more time. This time they want another 32 days–until April 27.
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Analysts Say NatGas, LNG Demand for 2020 “Unpredictable”

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Commenting on their latest short-term gas and LNG outlook report, energy consulting firm Wood Mackenzie says worldwide gas supplies have been impacted by the triple whammy of coronavirus, oil price crash and LNG oversupply. While WoodMac expects LNG demand to grow by a modest 6% this year, “the numbers will need constant revision as economies around the world feel the force of the growing pandemic.” WoodMac also says, “the narrative for the rest of 2020 could not be more unpredictable.” Meanwhile, according to NGI, global natgas prices are currently in a “freefall” hitting new lows in Asia and Europe.
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Contrarian Goldman Sachs: Shale a Winner in Oil Price War

Is this an April Fool’s joke? Bloomberg is reporting comments from Damien Courvalin, Head of Energy Research & Senior Commodity Strategist at Goldman Sachs, saying U.S. shale oil drillers will emerge from the current oil price crash as “a winner.” This is the opposite of every other analyst we’ve read. What does Courvalin see that’s different from everyone else?
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