Repsol Adds New PA Rig, Will Increase Marcellus Prod. 50% by 2020

Yesterday MDN editor Jim Willis attended the 12th Annual Platts Global Energy Outlook Forum in New York City. Christmastime is a great time to visit NYC. The conference opened with a talk given by Paul Ferneyhough, Repsol’s executive director for North America. The big news from Ferneyhough’s talk and subsequent remarks later in the day is that Repsol plans to ramp up production on their Marcellus acreage located in northeastern Pennsylvania by another 50% by 2020. Ferneyhough said the company, just last week, added a second drilling rig in the Marcellus. That one extra rig will allow them to quickly ramp up production. Several other news outlets, including Reuters, published news of the 50% increase. What they don’t tell you is how Repsol will manage to get that increased production to market, and what they can’t tell you is the added information Ferneyhough told Jim in a private conversation following his presentation.
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New Fortress Energy Building Second PA LNG Export Facility

Earlier this month MDN brought you the exciting news that New Fortress Energy (NFE) is planning to build an LNG (liquefied natural gas) liquefaction plant in Wyalusing (Bradford County), PA in order to export Marcellus gas (see Big News! Marcellus LNG Export Plant Coming to Landlocked NEPA). The $800 million plant will supercool and liquefy locally extracted Marcellus Shale gas and ship it first by truck, eventually by rail, to “customers in the U.S. as well as abroad.” NFE recently filed a Securities and Exchange Commission document called an S-1. In that filing, we learn some dynamite news: NFE is working on a *second* Pennsylvania LNG facility! Not only that, but they have plans to build another 5-10 such facilities over the next five years–although we don’t know if all of those will be in the Marcellus/Utica. Something else we learned in the S-1 is how NFE plans to export the LNG they produce in Wyalusing to other countries.
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Marcellus LNG Export Plant in NEPA Will Generate Lots of Traffic

Last week MDN brought you the exciting news that New Fortress Energy is planning to build an LNG (liquefied natural gas) liquefaction plant in Wyalusing (Bradford County), PA (see Big News! Marcellus LNG Export Plant Coming to Landlocked NEPA). The $800 million plant will supercool and liquefy locally extracted Marcellus Shale gas and ship it first by truck, eventually by rail, to “customers in the U.S. as well as abroad.” The plant received initial blessing from the Wyalusing Town Planning Commission last week. But not all is butterflies and unicorns. At a planning commission meeting, a New Fortress Energy official revealed that the plant will generate 10-15 tractor trailer trips per hour–24/7/365. That’s a truck turning in to the facility once every 4-6 minutes–call it an average of one every 5 minutes.
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Big News! Marcellus LNG Export Plant Coming to Landlocked NEPA

We have some exciting news to share. A company called New Fortress Energy is planning to build an LNG (liquefied natural gas) liquefaction plant in Wyalusing (Bradford County), PA. The $800 million (!) plant will supercool and liquefy locally extracted Marcellus Shale gas and ship it first by truck, eventually by rail, to “customers in the U.S. as well as abroad.” Meaning exports. How cool is that? It seems that LNG liquefaction plants no longer have to be located along a shoreline to engage in exports. Which company will provide the gas to liquefy and export? MDN has the exclusive answer, and yes, you need to be an MDN paying subscriber to find out…
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PA PIPE Grant Funds Pipeline Expansion in Bradford County

Pennsylvania Senator Gene Yaw–one of our least favorite Republican Senators in PA due to his status as a card-carrying swamp dweller–yesterday announced that a municipality in his district is the proud recipient of $850,000 of PA taxpayer’s money that will be put to good use. The use is expanding a natural gas delivery pipeline to service 66 new gas customers and 7 commercial properties in Athens Township in Bradford County. This is another of PA’s Pipeline Investment Program (or PIPE) grants. We’ve written about many of the (so far) 12 PIPE grant projects in the past (see our PIPE stories here). Like previous PIPE grants, this one covers only part of the cost of building new natgas pipelines. The total project will cost $1.8 million. Valley Energy, Inc. is the company building the pipeline. In general we’re not in favor of corporate welfare, which is what this is (let’s just be honest). However, these PIPE grants are a pretty mild case. We can think of worse ways to blow taxpayer’s money. Essentially these relatively small investments keep more PA gas in PA by running pipelines to residents and businesses that will use it. Think of the grants as seed money to encourage more PA gas staying in PA, generating jobs at the same time…
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PA Natural Gas Production Hits Another All-Time High in 2Q18

Last Thursday the PA Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) released their latest quarterly Natural Gas Production Report for Apr-Jun 2018 (full copy below). It shows natgas production rose 9.9% compared to the same period last year–same as the increase in 1Q18 (see PA Natural Gas Production Hits New All-Time High in 1Q18). The report also shows the number of producing wells is up 10.4% from last year. Total natural gas production volume was 1,455.8 billion cubic feet (Bcf), and the number of producing wells in 2Q18 was 8,672 (of which 8,194 were shale wells). The biggest news is that once again 2Q18 saw the highest quarterly production of natural gas in the state–ever. This is the seventh quarter in a row there has been an increase in production. Two-thirds of the state’s natural gas production consistently comes from four counties: Susquehanna, Washington, Bradford and Greene. The #1 county for natgas production in 2Q18 was, as it was in each quarter of 2017 and in 1Q18, Susquehanna County, in the northeastern corner of the state. The #1 producing driller in Susquehanna County is Cabot Oil & Gas. Here’s the full 2Q18 natural gas production report from the IFO…
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Chesapeake Settles NEPA Royalty Lawsuit for Pennies on the Dollar

Chesapeake Energy has, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “reached a $7.75 million settlement agreement with about two-thirds of its Pennsylvania natural gas royalty owners.” At the end of last year Chesapeake Energy offered a $30 million deal to Pennsylvania landowners to settle claims the company had screwed them out of royalty money by artificially inflating post-production costs in an elaborate scheme to pocket more money at landowners’ expense (see Chesapeake Agrees to $30M Royalty Settlement for PA Landowners). Chesapeake’s proposed deal last year would have given the average PA leaseholder (some 14,000 of them) a one-time $2,140 payment–adjusted up or down for the size of their acreage. This new deal, for 10,000 of the same leaseholders, offers $7.75 million–an average of $775 per landowner. Which is piddly. It’s nothing. An insult. Last year Chesapeake’s deal with leaseholders required the state Attorney General’s office, which has an ongoing, separate lawsuit filed against Chesapeake over the same issue, to settle as well. The AG’s office refused (see PA AG Not Backing Down re Chesapeake Energy Royalty Lawsuit). In fact, the AG’s office is still refusing to settle, with this new deal. Yet now Chesapeake is willing to move forward without the AG as part of the settlement. Heck yeah! Convince these desperate folks to take, literally, pennies on the dollar. What company wouldn’t go for that deal? Any way you slice this, northeast PA landowners are getting screwed if they agree to Chesapeake’s deal. They get a maximum of 8% back of the inflated “costs” Chesapeake originally deducted from royalty checks. We suppose some will say 8% now is better than maybe nothing or very little years from now. We don’t see it. We see these good landowners getting shafted in this deal…
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Penn State Study: Water Quality IMPROVES in Heavily Drilled Areas

Good news for the Marcellus industry, which is bad news for Big Green (Sierra Club, Earthworks, Food & Water Watch, NRDC, EDF, THE Delaware Riverkeeper, et al): A new independent study by Penn State University has just been published that shows groundwater is getting cleaner (!) in the most heavily drilled areas of the Marcellus. You read that right. “The most interesting thing we discovered was the groundwater chemistry in one of the areas most heavily developed for shale gas – an area with 1400 new gas wells – does not appear to be getting worse with time, and may even be getting better,” said one of the authors of “Big Groundwater Data Sets Reveal Possible Rare Contamination Amid Otherwise Improved Water Quality for Some Analytes in a Region of Marcellus Shale Development,” published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science & Technology. Talk about nuking the lies of Big Green when it comes to “water contamination”–one of the biggest and most-repeated lies they spin. A team of geoscientists and computer scientists used new data-mining techniques to study a huge dataset of 11,000 groundwater samples located near ~1,400 shale wells taken after drilling in Bradford County, PA. You may recall that the University of Cincinnati recently released a similar study focused on the Ohio Utica (see Univ of Cincinnati Utica Groundwater Study Finally Published!). These are real scientific studies, not the fake stuff put out by Big Green groups. Here’s more on the latest evidence that fracking is good for water, and good for the environment…
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Shale Support Exclusive Frac Sand Supplier for NEPA Facility

Last September MDN told you that Shale Support Holdings, “a leading provider of frac sand and logistical solutions to the oil and gas proppant market” (headquartered in Texas, with an operations center in Mississippi), was stepping up its presence in the Marcellus/Utica region with a partnership with Tidewater Logistics (see Shale Support Holdings Expands M-U Frac Sand Business via Partnership). The partnership increases Shale Support’s operations in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Because Shale Support can ship sand direct from Mississippi, which is much closer than most other alternatives, the price for frac sand is cheaper for customers. Shale Support has just announced another important deal, to become the exclusive supplier for a major regional frac sand facility in Wysox (Bradford County), PA…
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Did StateImpact Forum on PA Gas Royalty Issue Resolve Anything?

Perhaps our headline for this article is a tad misleading. Maybe the better question is, Was a meeting held yesterday in Towanda, PA on the topic of gas royalties *meant* to resolve anything? The answer of which is, “Probably not.” PBS StateImpact Pennsylvania organized and hosted a forum yesterday on the topic of PA landowners getting screwed over by energy companies with respect to royalty payments. Both sides were well represented at the forum. We think it’s a cool concept, to get both sides talking about a very important issue. However, StateImpact, funded and controlled by Big Green backers including the William Penn Foundation and Heinz Endowments, is not an impartial, unbiased news organization that wants to honestly explore this important issue. StateImpact is NOT an impartial broker. Their purpose is to play both sides against each other and enjoy the chaos that ensues. Whip up more animosity between both sides. Make no mistake: StateImpact abhors shale drilling and prefers it not happen at all in PA. With that as the proper context to understand the event, some good points did emerge from the discussion, despite StateImpact’s bad intentions…
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Bradford County, PA Judge Keeps Chesapeake Royalty Lawsuit Alive

A Bradford County, PA judge has turned down Chesapeake Energy’s attempt to wiggle out of a royalty lawsuit on a technicality. However, the judge also punted the case to a higher court to settle what he calls “novel questions of law”–rather than spending more time and money on such issues at the county court level. This is good news for landowners in Bradford County who have been shafted by Chesapeake’s royalty scheme to shift the cost of piping and processing to landowners by using inflated values for those services. In December 2015, Pennsylvania’s felony-indicted Attorney General, Kathleen Kane (now gone), brought a lawsuit against Chesapeake Energy, Anadarko and Williams accusing them of, among other things, royalty fraud (see PA Atty General Sues Chesapeake Energy, Williams for Royalty Fraud). In May 2016, Chesapeake and Anadarko filed to dismiss Kane’s complaints against them, accusing Kane of attempting to litigate federal antitrust claims in state court (see Chesapeake, Anadarko Try to Wiggle Out of PA Royalty Lawsuit). In June 2016 Kane’s office fired back by filing a motion to keep the case in state, not federal, court. In August, U.S. Middle District Judge Christopher C. Conner granted Kane’s motion–the case stays in the state court system (see Lawsuit Against Chesapeake, Anadarko Heads Back to PA Court). With a new AG now in place, Chesapeake and Anadarko tried to get the lawsuit tossed yet again–this time by saying the law that the AG’s office claims was violated has to do with consumer protection, for people who buy things. Chessy & Anadarko argue landowners aren’t buying anything, they’re selling (minerals), so the law doesn’t protect them from predatory leasing practices (see Chesapeake Tries to Wiggle Out of PA Royalty Lawsuit on Technicality). The Bradford County judge didn’t buy Chesapeake’s argument…
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UGI Buys NatGas Pipeline Gathering System in NE PA

UGI is a major utility company in Pennsylvania, providing natural gas and electric service to 700,000 Pennsylvania residents across the state. UGI, via its Energy Services subsidiary, operates natural gas storage facilities, compressor stations, LNG plants and local pipeline gathering systems. UGI operates several gathering systems in northeastern PA. Yesterday the company announced is has purchased an existing gathering system from Rockdale Marcellus for an undisclosed sum. The Rockdale gathering system consists of 60 miles of gathering lines–along with dehydration and compression facilities–located in Tioga, Lycoming and Bradford counties in northeast PA. The system was purchased, on paper, by UGI subsidiary Texas Creek, so the gathering system has been rebranded UGI Texas Creek. MDN has a map of the new system below…
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Chesapeake Energy to Test Utica Shale in NE PA’s Bradford County

Chesapeake Energy CEO Doug Lawler says the company plans to drill a test Utica Shale well in its core Marcellus acreage in Bradford County, PA sometime early next year. Which is really big news. Bradford is in the northeastern corner of the state, next door to Susquehanna County (east of Bradford). Susquehanna and Bradford have been heavily drilled by Chesapeake–at least in the Marcellus. Both counties sit in the “dry gas” (methane only) zone of the play, with no NGL or oil production, according to MDN’s forthcoming Marcellus and Utica Shale Almanac (stay tuned for more details about the Almanac). There have been very few, if any, shale wells drilled into the Utica in either Bradford or Susquehanna. However, there have been a few Utica wells drilled in Tioga County, which shares a border with and sits west of Bradford. And beyond Tioga (in the northerntier) sits Potter County, where there are more Utica wells. So Chessy wants to see if the Utica in Bradford may be productive. Lord knows the company has enough locations. According to the forthcoming Almanac, Chesapeake had 473 actively producing shale wells in Bradford in 2016. Now if we could only get Chesapeake to stop screwing landowners out of royalties…
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TGP’s Susquehanna West Project Gets Green Light to Begin Service

In April 2015 Kinder Morgan’s Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP) subsidiary filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to build 8.2 miles of new looping pipeline in Tioga County, PA and beef up two compressor stations in Bradford County, PA. The $142 million project is called the Susquehanna West Project. It will increase capacity along the 300 Line section of TGP, bumping it up by 145 million cubic feet per day (Mmcf/d). All of the extra capacity is spoken for by Statoil and the wells they’ve drilled in NEPA. Last September, FERC approved the project (see FERC Approves Another KM Pipeline Project in the PA Marcellus). The project was forecast to be done and dusted, going online, by Nov. 1. Usually we bring you news about such projects being delayed. In a happy reversal of that trend, last week FERC granted Kinder Morgan permission to bring the project online, NOW, a full two months ahead of schedule. Christmas came early this year…
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Chesapeake Tries to Wiggle Out of PA Royalty Lawsuit on Technicality

In December 2015, Pennsylvania’s felony-indicted Attorney General, Kathleen Kane (now gone), brought a lawsuit against Chesapeake Energy, Anadarko and Williams accusing them of, among other things, royalty fraud (see PA Atty General Sues Chesapeake Energy, Williams for Royalty Fraud). In May 2016, MDN reported that Chesapeake and Anadarko had filed to dismiss Kane’s complaints against them, accusing Kane of attempting to litigate federal antitrust claims in state court (see Chesapeake, Anadarko Try to Wiggle Out of PA Royalty Lawsuit). In June 2016 Kane’s office fired back by filing a motion to keep the case in state, not federal, court. In August, U.S. Middle District Judge Christopher C. Conner granted Kane’s motion–the case stays in the state court system (see Lawsuit Against Chesapeake, Anadarko Heads Back to PA Court). We now have a new AG (thank God), but it’s the same case and once again Chesapeake and Anadarko are trying to get the lawsuit tossed–this time by saying the law that the AG claims was violated has to do with consumer protection–for people who buy things. Chessy & Anadarko argue landowners aren’t buying anything, they’re selling (minerals), so the law doesn’t protect them from predatory leasing practices. The Bradford County judge in charge of the case is considering their latest argument to wiggle out of the lawsuit, based on a technicality…
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