“Rule of Capture” Briefs Filed w/PA Supreme Court in Briggs Case

In November the Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed to hear a case, Briggs v. Southwestern Energy, that is hands-down the most important court case to ever happen regarding the Marcellus Shale in PA. And no, we’re not exaggerating. A blizzard of briefs by Southwestern and those supporting Southwestern were filed earlier this week.
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PA Drillers/Pipelines Must Now Deal with 3 Protected Bat Species

Little brown bat

Bats are a big deal in the Pennsylvania Marcellus. Why? Drillers and midstreamers can’t cut down trees from April 1st through October 31st of each year for fear of killing a northern long-eared bat that may be roosting in one of those trees. The PA Board of Game Commissioners have just added two more bat species to the list, further complicating the issue.
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PA AG Investigates Shale Drillers for “Enviro Crimes”

PA AG Josh Shapiro – searching for enviro crimes

It turns out Pennsylvania’s current Attorney General, Josh Shapiro, is not much different than his predecessor, Kathleen Kane (who is sitting in jail for committing perjury). Kane, and now Shapiro, have targeted the Marcellus Shale industry, accusing drillers of committing crimes against the environment. It’s cheap and it’s sleazy and a total abuse of the office, all for political grandstanding.
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Banpu Opens Field Office in NEPA, Looks to Invest $300M in 2019

(From Left to Right) Mr. Chanin Vongkusolkit, Chairman, Banpu; Ms. Somruedee Chaimongkol, CEO, Banpu; and Mr. Christopher Kalnin, CEO, Kalnin Ventures (click for larger version)

Banpu Pcl, Thailand’s largest coal producer, invested over $500 million in 2016-2017 to buy existing Marcellus wells and acreage in northeast Pennsylvania (see our Banpu stories here). The last such purchase was in December 2017 (see Banpu/Kalnin Buys 5,289 Ac & 35 Wells in NEPA Marcellus for $105M). Banpu is back–in a big way.
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PA PUC Begins Geologic Testing Near ME1 Sinkhole

A couple of developments to share with you about the Mariner East 1 NGL pipeline which has been completely shut down since Jan. 21 when a new sinkhole appeared in Chester County exposing a few feet of the bare pipe (see New Mariner East 1 Sinkhole Appears, PA PUC Shuts Down Pipeline).
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All of Mariner East 1 NGL Pipe Shut Down Indefinitely by PA PUC

MDN previously reported that last Sunday a new sinkhole appeared exposing a tiny section of the Mariner East 1 (ME1) NGL pipeline in Chester County, PA, prompting Sunoco Logistics Partners to close down ME1 in the Greater Philadelphia area (see New Mariner East 1 Sinkhole Appears, PA PUC Shuts Down Pipeline).
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PA AG Will Continue Chesapeake Royalty Lawsuit in Bradford Co.

PA AG Josh Shapiro

Pennsylvania’s Democrat Attorney General, Josh Shapiro, held a public meeting last night in Towanda (Bradford County), PA to talk about the state’s now three-year-old lawsuit against Chesapeake Energy, a lawsuit alleging the company has shafted landowners out of gas royalty money.
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Fed Court Allows PA Royalty Lawsuit Against Chesapeake to Proceed

Coincidentally on the topic of royalty lawsuits (see today’s companion story, PA AG Will Continue Chesapeake Royalty Lawsuit in Bradford Co.), MDN came across a story (and a lawsuit) we previously had not heard about. An important case brought by landowners in Wyoming County, PA.
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PA IFO Report Says Record High Impact Tax for 2018 – $247M

Since 2012, Pennsylvania has collected the equivalent of a severance tax from Marcellus Shale drillers via something called an impact fee. Same concept as a severance tax. You drill a well, gas comes out, you pay a tax. Except with an impact fee you pay whether or not anything comes out of the ground–a more reliable source of tax revenue than a severance tax!
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Chester County DA: Using Off-Duty Police as ME2 Security a Crime

Chester County DA Tom Hogan

Here’s how the District Attorney in Chester County, Pennsylvania–Tom Hogan–spends his days: Attempting to turn off-duty policeman working as security guards for the Mariner East pipeline projects into criminals. Is this guy sick or what?
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New Mariner East 1 Sinkhole Appears, PA PUC Shuts Down Pipeline

New ME1 sinkhole in Chester County (credit: WPVI-TV Channel 6)

On Sunday a new sinkhole appeared in the backyard of a home in West Whiteland Township (Chester County), PA exposing a small portion of Energy Transfer’s Mariner East 1 (ME1) NGL pipeline.
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