Range Resources Sells 2% Royalty Interest + 20K Acres for $634M

On Friday Range Resources, the very first company to sink a Marcellus well back in 2004, announced two deals that will net the company $634 million total. In the first deal, Range sold a 2% overriding royalty interest on 350,000 acres “in southwest Appalachia” for $600 million. In the second deal, Range sold ~20,000 non-producing acres in Armstrong County for $34 million ($1,700/acre).
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3 PA Senators Still Trying to Join Lawsuit Against DRBC Frack Ban

In May 2016, a landowner in Wayne County, PA filed a lawsuit against the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) asking a judge to declare that the DRBC does not have jurisdiction to prevent construction of a natural gas well (see Wayne County, PA Landowner Sues DRBC Over Fracking Ban). Last fall three PA State Senators asked the court to allow them to join the lawsuit on the side of the landowner (see 3 PA Senators Seek to Join Lawsuit Against DRBC Frack Ban). In May the judge turned them down. The three brave Senators have filed an appeal of that denial.
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EPA’s “No Wastewater @ Sewage Plant” Rule Snags PA Conv. Drillers

A federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation meant to ban wastewater coming from unconventional (shale) wells from being disposed via municipal sewage treatment plants is about to go into effect in August. The new reg, which was first issued by the Obama EPA in 2016 (see EPA Bans Disposal of Frack Wastewater at Public Sewer Plants), will also apply to (snag) a number of Pennsylvania’s conventional oil and gas drillers. Further collateral damage from the new regulation will be local municipalities, some of which will lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue–an economic catastrophe for those communities.
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Newspaper Editors Say Impact Fee Superior to Severance Tax in PA

It’s not every day you read an editorial in a prominent Pennsylvania newspaper lending a full-throated endorsement for PA’s impact fee over a so-called severance tax, but it just happened in Williamsport. The Sun-Gazette editorial board published a column pointing out the superiority of an impact fee (actually an impact tax) over a severance tax. They make some great points, pointing out the numbers speak for themselves…
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New Law Signed Expanding PA’s PIPE Program – More Rural NatGas

PA Rep. Jonathon Fritz

In mid-June, MDN editor Jim Willis experienced the rare treat of venturing out from behind the keyboard to a press conference held in the great outdoors in nearby Susquehanna County, PA. The topic? Energize PA, a series of bills being promoted by Republicans in both the PA Senate and House (see Spreading Marcellus Love Throughout PA with Expanded PIPE Program). The event was organized by PA Rep. Jonathan Fritz, who opened the presser with details on House Bill (HB) 1103, a bill he sponsored that would expand the state’s PIPE program to run more “last mile” natural gas pipelines to homes and businesses in rural communities.
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FERC Delay re Adelphia Pipe Causing Financial Strain for Talen

Two weeks ago MDN provided a list of Marcellus/Utica pipeline projects for which the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is withholding approvals, unnecessarily, due to Democrat commissioners gumming up the works over mythical global warming concerns (see List of M-U Pipeline Projects Waiting for FERC Approval). One of those delayed projects, as we report today, is now a casualty (see Dominion Cancels Sweden Valley Marcellus Proj – Blames FERC Delay). A second pipeline on that delayed list is also in trouble if FERC doesn’t take action asap: Adelphia Gateway.
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PA PUC Distributes $252M from Impact Tax – Highest Ever!

click for larger version

Each June the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), the agency charged with keeping tabs on impact fee revenue from shale drillers (PA’s version of a severance tax) releases the final numbers of impact fee revenues and disbursements for the prior calendar year. Yesterday was the appointed day for 2018 fee revenue generated. The PUC reports impact fees on natural gas producers in 2018 totaled $242,964,000–the highest-ever yearly amount of revenue generated since the fee/tax was implemented in 2011. If you add in another $8,866,900 disbursed after a court case was settled about “stripper wells,” the total that was disbursed this year amounts to a whopping $251,830,900–a quarter of a billion dollars!
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NEPA Pipeline Builder Rockford/Primoris Clipped $355K for Back Pay

Rockford Corporation, a subsidiary of Primoris Services Corporation, entered into a consent judgment with the U.S. Dept. of Labor to pay $354,933 in back wages and “damages” to employees over the practice of failing to pay overtime. Those affected include equipment operators, welders, and helpers. Rockford is one of the pipeline construction companies Williams uses to build gathering pipes in Susquehanna County, PA. Rockford works in other geographies too, not just the Marcellus. The investigation into Rockford began with their Marcellus pipeline activities in northeastern PA, then spread nationwide.
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PA Cross Unit Drilling Advances After Senate Ctte Approves

Nobody seems to have noticed, or if they did notice they’re not reporting, what we consider big news: Yesterday the Pennsylvania State Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee “reported out” (i.e. approved) Senate Bill (SB) 694, the Senate version of House Bill (HB) 247, a bill which allows fully leased parcels that are part of one drilling “unit” to be combined with parcels in a different unit–“cross unit drilling.”
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Antis Continue Attempt to Tie Childhood Cancer to SWPA Fracking

A group of enviro-Nazis has sunk to a new low in their holy mission to block Marcellus Shale drilling. A group of colluding Big Green groups along with sympathetic (and sycophantic) “reporters” (i.e propagandists) from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette are exploiting the pain and suffering of southwestern PA families of children who have cancer in their attempt to stop shale drilling. It’s disgusting and sick.
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Stranded PA Marcellus Gas Converted to LNG, Trucked to New England

EDGE well pad LNG unit (click or larger version)

Got a well drilled and ready to produce with no prospects of connecting it to a pipeline system any time soon? No problem! We have exciting, breaking news to share. Edge Gathering Virtual Pipelines 2 LLC (EDGE) earlier today announced in May they deployed a special LNG unit to a remote Marcellus well in PA, converting gas from the well into LNG. The LNG was then loaded into a special unit and trucked to a gas utility some 300 miles away in New England. A new “virtual pipeline” is born!
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ET Appeals PA DEP Order on Revolution Pipeline to Enviro Court

Energy Transfer continues to squabble with the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) over the fate of the still-closed Revolution Pipeline in western PA. In May the DEP issued an order to Energy Transfer, builder of Revolution, to “identify and restore or mitigate all streams and wetlands that it illegally eliminated or altered during the construction” of the pipeline (see PA DEP Claims Energy Transfer Illegally Damaged Streams, Wetlands). DEP claims ET “illegally” eliminated at least 23 streams and changed the length of another 120 streams.
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PA PUC Launches “Safety Review” for Liquids Pipes – Antis Rejoice

Pennsylvania antis from the Philadelphia area who don’t want pipelines running through their neighborhoods (NIMBY types) have beat the drums of war so loud and for so long, they’ve finally begun to intimidate the non-partisan, shouldn’t-be-intimated PA Public Utility Commission (PUC). The PUC last Thursday launched a “major review of its safety regulations for hazardous liquids pipelines” in response to pressure from Mariner East 2 pipeline foes. It’s sad to see a government body cowed by a few loudmouthed troublemakers.
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PA Court Rules “On” Does Not Mean “Under” in Lease Payment Case

A Pennsylvania landowner thought he could finagle extra payments from XTO Energy after his land was drilled under from a neighboring property. The landowner had signed a lease, and the lease contains language that says if XTO were to drill “on” his property (i.e. install a well pad) the landowner would receive an extra payment. The landowner sued saying “on” also means “under” when XTO drilled under his property. The Superior Court of Pennsylvania disagreed, saying “on” means “on the surface” and “under” does not mean “on”.
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Range Resources Lays Off 5% of Employees – PA Affected

Yesterday the Pittsburgh Business Times broke the news that Range Resources, one of the Marcellus/Utica’s biggest drillers (and in fact the very first driller to sink a Marcellus well, back in 2004), has laid off 40 employees–roughly 5% of its workforce. The layoffs are split between the company’s Pennsylvania and Texas operations.
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