Delaware Riverkeeper Seeks to Intervene in DRBC Fracking Lawsuit

THE Delaware Riverkeeper, a radical anti-fossil fuel organization headed by Maya van Rossum who presumes she is the only voice that speaks for the Delaware River, has filed a motion to intervene (i.e. join) a lawsuit filed against the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) by a group of Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers. Riverkeeper accuses PA lawmakers of violating their oath of office with this lawsuit. It’s the opposite. The lawmakers are standing up for the rights of their constituents–land rights stripped away by the DRBC.
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PA DEP Shakes Down Range $294K for Unplugged Conventional Wells

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) is once again spinning an error by a major Marcellus driller, Range Resources, as some sort of evil plot to avoid and defraud the DEP. Due to a mistake by a former employee, Range misclassified 42 old conventional wells on acreage it owns and did not plug the wells in a timely (for DEP) fashion. The DEP has just clipped the company $294,000 for the mistake.
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PA Antis Try to Block Permit Renewals for Shale Wastewater Recycling

A new attack against the Marcellus Shale industry in Pennsylvania comes from fossil fuel haters attempting to dispute permits reissued for existing (NOT new) shale wastewater storage and recycling facilities scattered across the state. Antis seek to shut down pipelines, rail shipments, recycling facilities, injection wells–anything they can to stop to prevent drillers from extracting natural gas from shale in the Keystone State. Sick people.
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McCandless Twp, PA Blocks Shale Drilling with New Zoning Law

Last June MDN told you about a plan by McCandless, a township in Allegheny County, PA (near Pittsburgh), to block any and all shale drilling within its borders by getting creative (see McCandless Twp Tries to Block Shale Drilling with New Zoning Law). McCandless cooked up changes to its zoning laws that make it illegal to drill a well in land zoned for commercial development. Since towns have to allow drilling in at least one zone, McCandless will allow it only in “institutional districts”–meaning schools, hospitals, universities, and parks. Meaning zero drilling will ever happen.
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PA Republicans AND Democrats Oppose Gov. Wolf Severance Tax

As we reported two weeks ago, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (Democrat) has, for the seventh year in a row, introduced a Marcellus-killing severance tax proposal as part of his annual budget proposal (see PA Gov. Wolf Floats Budget with Severance Tax for 7th Year in Row). Just like the six previous years, not only do Republicans think Wolf’s severance tax is a poor idea, so too do some in his own party.
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Weekly Shale Drilling Permits for PA, OH, WV: Feb 1-5

Two of three M-U states received permits to drill new shale wells last week. Pennsylvania received 22 new permits (second week in a row with 22 new permits). Ohio received zero new permits. And West Virginia received 6 new permits (down from 8 new permits the previous week).
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Cabot O&G 2021 Sneak Preview: Spend & Drill Less, Flat Production

Cabot Oil & Gas, the powerhouse dry gas producer operating in one northeastern Pennsylvania county (and producing roughly 2.5% of the natgas for the entire nation from that one county) is not due to release full 4Q and full-year 2020 numbers until Feb. 19. However, the company did provide some high-level numbers for last year and a preview of what it plans to do in 2021.
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Seneca Adding Another Rig in Tioga County, PA Thx to Pipe Expansion

Last Friday National Fuel Gas Company (NFG), the parent company for Seneca Resources and Empire Pipeline, issued its latest quarterly update for the quarter ending Dec. 31 (NFG’s first quarter 2021, everyone else’s fourth quarter 2020). Among the pearls of good news for NFG is that the company is adding a rig back in Tioga County, PA to drill on acreage NFG purchased from Shell.
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DRBC Frack Ban Heading for Defeat in October Trial

In January MDN told you that after five loooong years, a federal judge in Scranton, PA had finally ruled the Wayne Land and Mineral Group (WLMG) v. Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) lawsuit will go to trial this year (see Judge Rules Wayne Landowner Lawsuit re DRBC Frack Ban Continues). We’ve since learned the trial is set to begin in October. Andrew Makuth, ace reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, chronicles the journey of this lawsuit and what it means for landowners and environmentalists.
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Alta Resources Shopping 547K Marcellus Acres, Asking $3B

We don’t write much about Alta Resources, a shale drilling company co-founded by the inventor of shale fracking, George Mitchell. But that doesn’t mean Alta doesn’t drill in the Marcellus. The company owns some 547,000 gross (239,000 net) acres producing natural gas from approximately 900 wells in the Marcellus Shale across Bradford, Wyoming, Sullivan, Lycoming, Clinton, and Centre counties in northeast Pennsylvania. Alta is shopping all of their considerable Marcellus assets, looking for a buyer.
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How Biden’s Drilling Ban on Federal Lands Affects the M-U

On Joe Biden’s first day in occupying the White House, he signed an Executive Order (EO) suspending new oil and gas leasing while the Interior Department reviews existing leases and permitting practices for 60 days. The aim is to make the federal lease ban permanent. However, some permits on existing leases will continue to be issued during the 60-day review period. You may think Biden’s federal lease ban does not affect the Marcellus/Utica region. You would be wrong.
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Northern O&G Buys 64K Acres of RIL’s Non-Op M-U Assets for $250M

Northern Oil and Gas, Inc., a company that invests in non-operated oil and gas assets (they let others do the drilling), announced yesterday it has purchased 64,000 net acres producing ~120 MMcfe/d (million cubic feet equivalent per day) in the Marcellus/Utica from Reliance Industries Limited (RIL). The cash purchase price is $250 million.
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Gov. Wolf Admits Carbon Tax Will Close Coal, Gas-Fired Plants

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is openly admitting that his cockamamie plan to force PA to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)–a carbon tax scheme that will cost PA residents $2.36 billion over ten years–will in fact cause the closure of coal and gas-fired power plants throughout his state. Wolf’s brilliant plan to overcome the big negatives of power plant closings? A new government program, funded by taxpayers.
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Chesapeake Refocuses on NatGas, Offers $1B in Post-Bankruptcy IOUs

Chesapeake Energy will emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy next week having dumped $7 billion of old debt (out of $8.9 billion) and taking on $2.5 billion in new debt financing (see Court Approves Chesapeake Bankruptcy Plan to Dump $7B of Debt). Yesterday the company issued an announcement to say it is raising $1 billion of new debt by floating two new rounds of notes (which we call IOUs). The company will also refocus away from oil drilling and back on its original mission of natural gas drilling.
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Zenith Energy Buys Guttman Energy Terminals in PA, OH, WV

Zenith Energy, based in Houston, TX and Metuchen, NJ, announced yesterday it has purchased the bulk terminal storage operations of Guttman Energy in three locations: Aurora, Ohio, Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania, and Star City, West Virginia. Zenith says the reason for buying the terminals is to support customers in the Marcellus/Utica. What, exactly, is Zenith selling to M-U customers?
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Weekly Shale Drilling Permits for PA, OH, WV: Jan 25-29

All three M-U states received permits to drill new shale wells last week. Pennsylvania received 22 new permits. Ohio received 2 new permits. And West Virginia received 8 new permits.
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