PA Marcellus Gas Production Up 2%, Wells Drilled Down 18% in 3Q

Yesterday Pennsylvania’s Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) released its latest quarterly Natural Gas Production Report–for July through September 2020 (full copy below). The report shows natgas production in PA rose 2.0% compared to the same period last year, which is the lowest increase on record since the shale revolution began. The number of new wells spud (drilled) in 3Q20 was 111, down 18% over 3Q19.
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Shale Drilling on PA State Land Slows Down; Only 1/3rd Built Out

Last Wednesday Shawn Lehman, from the Pennsylvania Dept. of Conservation & Natural Resources’ (DCNR) Resource Inventory and Monitoring Section, gave an update on DCNR’s ongoing efforts to monitor environmental and natural resource impacts of shale gas drilling on state forest land. We learned some interesting facts about shale drilling on PA state land as part of the presentation.
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Sierra Club Hosts 90-Min Online Mariner East Pipeline Kvetch

Monday night the radical Sierra Club hosted a virtual town hall in which people could complain about the Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipeline project. And complain they did. The aim of the virtual complaint session is to try and close down the already up-and-running ME pipelines (plural), and most particularly prevent the final bit of ME2X from getting completed. By airing sob stories, the Clubbers are hoping to bully the state Dept. of Environmental Protection and/or the Governor into blocking further work on the project–a project just a few months from being done.
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PA Lawmakers Send Bill Splitting Conventional & Shale Regs to Gov

The Pennsylvania Senate previously passed and yesterday “concurred” (signed-off on) Senate Bill 790, sending it to Gov. Tom Wolf for his signature. SB 790 restores sanity to regulations for conventional oil and gas drillers in the Keystone State. Unfortunately, Gov. Wolf has stubbornly said he will veto this common sense bill. Why are we not surprised?
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DOE Marcellus Research Finds High Frack Pressure Keeps Gas Trapped

Here’s a little known fact: Fracking for natural gas in shale only extracts about 20% of the methane gas that’s trapped in shale rock, meaning (of course) that 80% of the gas gets left behind. Researchers with the Dept. of Energy’s (DOE) Los Alamos National Laboratory have made what we consider an astonishing breakthrough discovery: Too much pressure used during fracking actually locks some of the methane away tighter in the shale, instead of loosening it. In a published paper revealing their results (full copy below), researchers recommend a range of pressures to use to optimize (increase) recovery rates for methane in the Marcellus.
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PA DEP Blocks Revolution Pipe Restart Even Though Repair is Done

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) continues to block Energy Transfer’s Revolution Pipeline gathering system in western PA from restarting. In September the DEP finally, after two years, gave ET permission to fix problems that caused the pipeline to explode. Even though ET has fixed the original site of the explosion, the DEP says there are other areas of concern and forbids certain sections of the pipeline from restarting, until…
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Eureka Can Supply 25% of US Lithium Demand from Marc. Wastewater

Eureka Resources, which operates three frack wastewater treatment facilities in the Marcellus Shale, is doing really cool stuff. In October 2019 the company began extracting lithium from Marcellus wastewater at one of its plants in Bradford County, PA (see Marcellus Wastewater Plant in PA Extracts 1st Batch of Lithium). On Tuesday the company announced it has received its fourth patent for its lithium extraction process. The company also said its plants can theoretically supply up to 25% of the country’s annual lithium demand–solely with lithium recovered from Marcellus wastewater!
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Anti Groups Ask PA to Reject Shell Cracker Air Permit Modification

Radical anti-fossil fuel groups have not given up hope they can somehow, at the last minute, block the $10 billion Shell ethane cracker plant (about a year from being completed) from ever starting up. Perhaps Biden’s “victory” has given them a little boost of irrational exuberance? In 2015 the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued an air permit for the cracker plant. Shell needs to tweak the permit with new information. Antis are asking PA to deny the new tweaks, claiming Shell wants to pollute the region even more. Shell says the tweaks reflect new realities, including LOWER emissions.
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PA DEP Continues to Push Carbon Tax via Public Hearings

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and his Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) continue to push a plan that will raise Pennsylvania residents’ electric rates by 50% or more, a carbon tax plan called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The DEP will conduct 10 three-hour virtual public hearings between Dec. 8 and 14. There will be no in-person hearings due to concerns over COVID-19.
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PEDF Continues Effort to End Marc. Production on PA State Land

The radicalized Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation (PEDF) never gives up. In June 2017, the PEDF won a case at the PA Supreme Court by the skin of their teeth (see PA Supreme Court Hands Antis Partial Victory re State Land Drilling). The case dealt with the narrow issue of how PA can spend revenue raised from drilling for oil and gas under state-owned land. A divided court ruled that money from royalties (not lease signing bonuses) must be used only for “environmental” purposes.
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Repubs Keep Control of PA Legislature, Block Wolf’s Energy Plan

Although the national election is still undecided (looking like Biden, a complete disaster), in almost every other respect Republicans (i.e. pro-shale candidates) won, big-time. Republicans gained seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, look to be keeping a majority in the U.S. Senate, and picked up seats in many state legislatures. Leftist Democrats poured BIG money into Pennsylvania in an attempt to flip both the PA House and Senate from red to blue. They failed. And that’s very good for shale energy in the state.
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Williams Record M-U Volumes, Early Startup for SET, Leidy South

During the Williams third-quarter 2020 update yesterday, CEO Alan Armstrong shared some very interesting, and relevant (to the Marcellus/Utica) comments. Armstrong said that two important pipeline projects to carry M-U gas to other markets, the Southeastern Trail expansion project and the Leidy South project, are both in the midst of coming online–ahead of schedule.
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PA DEP Massive Shale Permit Fee Affects Drilling, PA Economy

In August Pennsylvania hiked its permit fee to drill a new shale well to be the most expensive of any state in the country, from $5,000 to $12,500 (see Permit Fee to Drill PA Shale Well Officially Went Up 250% on Aug 1). New analysis by the non-partisan think tank Allegheny Institute for Public Policy says the new fee is deterring new drilling and will likely be a drag on PA’s economy.
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M-U Fracker Explains How Biden Presidency Will End U.S. Oil Boom

Dan Doyle, Reliance Well Services

If you want to know what a Biden/Harris administration will look like, how it will treat the fossil fuel industry (specifically oil and gas), you can wind the clock back and look at the Obama/Biden administration and get a pretty good idea. Dan Doyle, president of Reliance Well Services, a fracking company based in Pennsylvania, lived through the hell of the Obama years. The Obama administration targeted Dan’s company and Dan personally (IRS, Dept. of Labor, Attorney General). Doyle says Obama “weaponized” the federal government against the shale industry and his company, and Biden will do the same. He reveals just how they operate.
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The 2020 Election All Comes Down to Fracking in Pennsylvania

There is a reason why President Trump and sleepy/creepy Uncle Joe Biden are visiting Pennsylvania so much. It is one of the “battleground” states, likely THE state, that will determine who wins the presidential race next week. The key issue both candidates talk about is fracking. Joe Biden (says Donald Trump) will take away the right to frack in PA, and along with it thousands of jobs. Biden insists he won’t ban fracking, but in the next breath says he will “transition” the country away from using oil (and gas, all fossil fuels) over the next 15 years. Which is, in essence, a ban on fracking.
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SWPA Unions Join Shale Cos. to Back House ‘COVID Comeback’ Bills

Back in March, just as the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning to enter the public consciousness, some 500 people from labor unions and industry met in Pittsburgh to launch an organization called Pittsburgh Works Together (PWT), dedicated to fighting back against those who want to end southwest PA industries including steel, natural gas, and petrochemicals (see CNX CEO Backs New SWPA Group to Counter “Elites and Extremists”). The alliance is going strong. Last week MDN editor Jim Willis had the pleasure of interviewing (via phone) Jeff Nobers, Executive Director for both the Builders Guild of Western Pennsylvania and PWT.
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