NFG’s Northern Access Pipeline Wins Eminent Domain Case…in NY!

Talk about mixed signals. In April, MDN brought you the sad (and angering) news that once again Gov. Andrew Cuomo has caved to political pressure and instructed the Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to deny stream crossing permits for National Fuel Gas Company’s (NFG) Northern Access Pipeline project (see Cuomo’s Corrupt NY DEC Blocks NFG Northern Access Pipeline Permit). Not long after, NFG filed a lawsuit against the DEC for their arbitrary, capricious and politically-motivated denial of the permits (see NFG Sues NY DEC in Fed Court re Northern Access Pipe Rejection). Meanwhile, another series of court cases has been working its way through NY’s court system–eminent domain cases against a few holdout landowners who refuse to allow the Northern Access Pipeline across their properties. Some 97% of all landowners along the proposed route have signed easements with NFG, but there’s always a few holdouts. Last Thursday one of those holdouts lost in New York Supreme Court in Cattaragus County. (Don’t be confused, in NY, “Supreme Court” is just one level up from county court. The state’s highest court is called the Court of Appeals.) Camp Duffield in Cattaraugus County lost its court case against NFG, and consequently is now being forced, by court order, to submit to the pipeline–when and if it gets built. And that’s the conundrum. The courts obviously recognize NFG’s right, under a FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) order to build the pipeline. But the Cuomo-corrupted DEC does not…Continue reading

NFG’s Northern Access Pipe in NY/PA Gets FERC Approval

NFG’s Northern Access 2016 Pipeline map – click for larger version

National Fuel Gas Company (NFG), the Buffalo-based utility giant with both a drilling subsidiary (Seneca Resources) and a midstream/pipeline subsidiary (Empire Pipeline) filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in March 2015 for a pipeline project they call Northern Access 2016 (later renamed to simply Northern Access Project, dropping the “2016” part). The $455 million project includes building 97 miles of new pipeline along a power line corridor from northwestern Pennsylvania up to Erie County, NY. The project also calls for 3 miles of new pipeline further up, in Niagara County, along with a new compressor station in the Town of Pendleton (see NFG’s Marcellus Pipeline from NWPA to NY Hits Resistence). In July 2016, FERC issued a favorable Environmental Assessment, paving the path for full approval (see NFG’s Northern Access Pipeline Gets Favorable FERC Review). NFG had hoped to have the project done and in-service by November of this year. However, due to foot-dragging by FERC, NFG recently announced the project would get delayed (see FERC Delay Pushes Back NFG’s Northern Access Pipeline Project). Perhaps that announcement was premature? On Friday, FERC approved the project and granted NFG their certificate to build it, although NFG is still saying the new/delayed schedule is the schedule they will stick to in building it…
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SWEPI Auctioning 189K PA/NY Conventional Acres, 1,500 Active Wells

SWEPI, formerly known as Shell Western E&P Inc., is the North American land-based drilling arm of giant Royal Dutch Shell. SWEPI has an active drilling program in the Marcellus/Utica region. Some of that active program has traditionally been in shallow, or conventional (not shale) drilling. Using a broker, SWEPI has put up a mammoth 189,000 acres of its conventional/shallow leases and wells for sale by auction. The leases and some 1,500 active oil and gas wells are located in Forest, Elk, McKean, and Warren counties in Pennsylvania, and Cattaraugus County in New York. The sale includes shallow rights (not shale rights) only. SWEPI claims there are another 10,000 potential well locations. Here’s the details…
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NFG Building Compressor Station in NY to Pump More PA Marcellus Gas

In an effort to pump more cheap, abundant, clean-burning Marcellus Shale gas from Pennsylvania into frackless (and feckless) New York State, National Fuel Gas Company has announced they’re building a $42.5 million compressor station in Cattaraugus County, NY in the Town of Hinsdale (western part of the state). Amazingly the county wants it! And the county industrial development agency (IDA) has approved it. While construction is going on, some 100 workers will be employed earning close to $7 million…
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Exclusive: First NY Marcellus Wells to be Drilled are Identified

breaking news

NOTE: Please see the correction to this story on this page:
MDN Editor Jim Willis Corrects “First NY Marcellus Wells” Story.

An astute MDN subscriber sent us a tip that the New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) updated their “Notices of Intent to Issue Well Permits” web page last night at 7:00 pm (Feb 14, 2013). In the list of well permits they “intend” to issue are 43 Marcellus Shale wells and 1 Utica Shale well.

Does this mean DEC Commissioner Joe Martens is getting ready to accept the SGEIS and issue permits? We believe it’s still too early for optimism on that front. However, if New York does decide to move forward and issue drilling permits “within 10 days” after accepting the SGEIS drilling rules, it stands to reason the wells in this list will be the very first wells to receive permission to drill.

We’ve harvested the information for all of the “Intent to Issue” wells, looking up each latitude and longitude and translating it into a street address. We’ve also rearranged the information in an easier to scan and understand format. You won’t find this information anywhere else but on MDN…

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Private Property Rights in Allegany State Park Threatened

Allegany State Park is New York’s largest state park at 67,000 acres. The park is located approximately 60 miles south of Buffalo on the border of New York and Pennsylvania in Cattaraugus County. Before being designated a state park in 1921, more than 200 oil wells were drilled in the area, including the very first oil well completed in New York State in 1864. The state created the park by purchasing surface rights from landowners in the area, but many of the landowners retained the subsurface rights and oil drilling continued in the park for a number of years, until energy companies moved on to more lucrative locations.

Oil drilling has not happened in the park for many years, but now with gas drilling a real possibility, state authorities who want to “protect” the park are making moves to force those who legally own subsurface rights to either register their interest or lose it. That is, the state wants to forcibly take private property rights away from those who legally own it.

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