SWPA County Political Leaders Voice Support for Petchem, Shale

In a speech delivered October 31 to the P4 Climate Action Summit in downtown Pittsburgh, Mayor Bill Peduto declared his hatred for the petrochemical industry. He doesn’t want any more Shell crackers junking up his regional backyard. The highly negative reaction to Peduto’s idiotic (and pandering) remarks was swift. What petchem company wants to build in a region where the mayor of its largest city is trash talking the industry? In a bid to counter Peduto’s economically damaging remarks, some 20 county officials from Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Lawrence, Mercer, Washington and Westmoreland counties issued a joint statement on Wednesday to show their support for the petrochemical and shale industries in the region.
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Exxon Widens Search to Build SWPA Cracker Plant to Other Counties

Pittsburgh Business Times ace reporter Paul Gough has done it again–breaking big news related to ExxonMobil and their very active search to locate a site in the Pittsburgh region to build a gigantic ethane cracker plant. This time Paul’s sources are telling him Exxon has widened their search. A few weeks ago we told you Exxon was looking for potential locations in Beaver County, PA, near where Shell is building their $8 billion cracker plant (see Exxon Mobil Sniffing Around SWPA to Build Second Cracker Plant). Paul learned the search has widened to at least two other southwest PA counties.
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PA DEP Fines Equitrans $650K for SWPA Gas Storage Field Violation

Equitrans (nee EQT Midstream) owns a natural gas storage field in Greene County, PA, in the southwest corner of the state, called Swarts Field. Natural gas storage fields are an important, but often overlooked, part of the natgas ecosystem. Last December the state Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) threatened to shut down Swarts Field because of coal mining in the area, saying Equitrans had not properly mapped old/abandonded conventional gas wells in the area (see PA DEP Threatens to Close Equitrans Gas Storage Field in SWPA). The good news is the DEP threat is now over. The bad news is that Equitrans has to pay a $650,000 fine.
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PA DCNR Leases SWPA Creek for $4K/Acre, 20% Royalties

It’s not often (these days) we come across a new instance of publicly-known leasing terms in the Marcellus/Utica. We like to highlight such cases when we see them. In Saturday’s Pennsylvania Bulletin, the state Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), the agency in charge of state-owned land, published details of a newly signed lease for 40.6 acres of creekbed in Greene County, PA. The DCNR got its standard $4,000 per acre signing bonus plus will get a 20% royalty from any gas produced. Who did they lease to? And why do we object to this practice so strenuously? To learn those details, you need an MDN subscription
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Green County, PA Embraces Shale Energy in Rebranding Effort

Greene County, PA, located in the far southwestern corner of the state, last night unveiled a new marketing/rebranding initiative called “Greene County, a Powerful Place.” Greene is making a play to attract investment from the natural gas industry’s downstream (manufacturing) sector. It is a full-throated endorsement of the Marcellus/Utica shale industry and the petrochemical industry that goes hand-in-hand with shale.
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EQT CEO Toby Rice Hits a Home Run with Landowner Meetings

Yesterday MDN told you that new EQT CEO Toby Rice is in the midst of conducting four “town hall” style meetings with landowners–two this week and two next week (see Road Trip! EQT CEO Toby Rice Talks to Landowners in Town Hall Mtgs). By all accounts, the first meeting (Wednesday night in Waynesburg, PA) was a huge success. We’d say he hit the ball out of PNC Park.
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CNX Drills Longest Marcellus Well EVER – Big Budget Cuts in 2020

CNX Resources, formerly the CNX Gas division of CONSOL Energy, released its second quarter update yesterday. The big news is that during 2Q CNX drilled the longest new Marcellus well ever…at 19,609 feet! The company reports production jumped 10%, from 123 Bcfe last year to 135 Bcfe in 2Q19, and net income jumped 216% from $61 million last year to $193 million in 2Q19.
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PA Landowners Seek Class Action Against EQT re Gas Storage

Last July a group of 100+ southwestern Pennsylvania landowners sued EQT for failure to pay them rental fees for storing natural gas under their properties (see 100+ PA Landowners Sue EQT re Gas Storage Field Payments). That same group has just filed a request in U.S. District Court to upgrade the lawsuit to class action status, potentially including thousands of affected landowners.
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SWPA Gas-fired Electric Plant Project Gets French Investment

A project we’ve been tracking since 2017, a 620 megawatt Marcellus-fired electric plant in Greene County called Hill Top Energy Center (see our stories here), has just gotten a new investor–from France. Investment firm Ardian, based in Paris, announced it has purchased a 41.9% stake in the project. The price of the deal was not disclosed, although it’s easy to guess the number is in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
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CNX Operates SWPA’s Sole 100% All-Electric Fracking Unit

A little over a year ago CNX Resources announced that the company had signed a long-term contract with Evolution Well Services to use Evolution’s 100% natural gas-fueled electric pressure pumping equipment (see CNX Signs Deal with Evolution to Use 100% Electric Fracking Fleet). That is, CNX will use electric fracking equipment, with the electricity generated by burning natural gas, instead of diesel.
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LOLA Energy is Back! Scoops Up Rice Acreage EQT Let Expire

LOLA Energy was birthed near the end of 2015, by former EQT executives using private equity money from Denham Capital (see New Marcellus/Utica Drilling Company is Born – LOLA Energy). In July 2017, Rice Energy (later sold to EQT) bought the assets of LOLA Energy for $180 million, over the objections of LOLA CEO Jim Crockard (see Rice Energy Paid $180M for LOLA Energy; CEO Didn’t Want to Sell). Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, LOLA Energy and Jim Crockard are back. The company has scooped up leases that EQT inadvertently let expire, potentially blocking EQT from drilling some already-planned-and-in-the-works wells–until EQT pays LOLA.
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Another Post-Gazette Smear Job: Drill Cuttings Pollute Rivers

Yet another attack on the shale industry by two Pittsburgh Post-Gazette “reporters” (propagandists) who have made a career of unfairly attacking shale–Don Hopey and David Templeton. This latest smear job makes the claim that leachate coming from a landfill piped to a municipal wastewater treatment facility is “contaminated” with all sorts of nasty chemicals (what the heck do you think is in leachate, anyway?!). The claim is the chemicals in the leachate are present because of drillers dumping leftover rock and dirt that comes out of the ground when drilling new holes for shale wells into the landfill.
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Pittsburgh Media Attempts to Link Shale Drilling to Childhood Cancer

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette seems to be doing its best to tie what it calls a “cancer cluster” to local shale drilling in the region. We first noticed a developing story about a potential cluster of rare Ewing sarcoma cancer cases among children in the Pittsburgh region a few months ago, when Pittsburgh media first began to report on it.
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SWPA Gas-fired Elec Plant Next to Pot Farm Gets Ready to Build

In October 2017, MDN told you a second Marcellus gas-fired electric generating plant is planned for Greene County, PA (see 2nd Marcellus-Fired Electric Plant Proposed for Greene County, PA). Hill Top Energy Center, based in Huntington Bay, N.Y., is planning to build a 620 megawatt plant on 41 acres of land off Thomas Road in Cumberland Township. We have indications that the project is finally getting ready to begin construction.
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CNX 1Q19 & Beyond: Go Big (in the Utica) AND Go Home

CNX Resources released its first quarter 2019 update yesterday, which shows the company lost $87 million, as opposed to making $527 million in profit in 1Q18. Even so, CEO Nicholas DeIuliis announced the company is upping its drilling budget from the previously announced $700 million to instead spend $885 million, largely to drill more “deep dry” Utica wells. Go big or go home!
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PA DEP Clips Rice Midstream $1.5M for Pipe Problems in SWPA

Even though Rice Midstream doesn’t exist anymore, it can still be fined. Rice Midstream became part of EQT when EQT bought out and merged in Rice Energy in 2017. Last year EQT, under pressure from investors, split itself in two–into EQT (the driller) and Equitrans (nee EQT Midstream, the pipeline company). What was Rice Midstream is now part of Equitrans. Yesterday the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) levied a $1.5 million fine on Rice for work done in late 2017/early-to-mid 2018.
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