PA House Advances Bill Against DRBC Frack Ban – 1st Vote Next Week

In February Pennsylvania State Sen. Lisa Baker introduced Senate Bill (SB) 305, which would make a proposed Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) frack ban officially a government “taking” under eminent domain (see PA Bill Requires Landowner Compensation if DRBC Bans Fracking). A similar bill has been introduced in the PA House. Yesterday the House held a committee hearing on House Bill (HB) 827, and our buddy Tom Shepstone was one of the star experts who testified.
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Shameful PA Lawmakers Rally to Shut Down Safely Operating ME Pipes

China’s Chairman Mao – patron saint of antis

Yesterday was a sad day in Harrisburg, PA. A group of virulent anti-fossil fuelers (maybe 200 or so) attended a staged rally where several shameful members of the state legislature, including Andy “Tony Soprano” Dinniman, and Tom “token RINO” Killion advocated shutting down the legal, legitimate, fully functioning and safely operating set of pipelines known as Mariner East 1 & 2–just to pander to their kook voting base. A counter-rally was held by Republican legislators (i.e. adults) who support the Mariner East pipelines.
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New Study: 45% of U.S. Natural Gas Will Come from M-U by 2040

Yesterday IHS Markit released a study commissioned by Shale Crescent USA and JobsOhio that finds natural gas produced in the tri-state region of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia will be 45% of the nation’s production by 2040, up from 31% this year. This is truly big news with lots of ramifications.
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Revisiting PA Bill to Allow Shale Drilling Across Multiple Units

Two days ago MDN brought you news about a new bill in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, HB 247, which would allow fully leased parcels that are part of one drilling “unit” to be combined with parcels in a different unit (see PA Floats Bill to Allow Shale Drilling to Span Multiple Units). “Cross-unit drilling,” if you will. We connected a few dots and made some observations that maybe were not quite on the mark. This post presents “the other side” of the HB 247 issue.
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PA Commonwealth Court Keeps Chesapeake Royalty Lawsuit Alive

In December 2017, a Bradford County, PA judge turned down Chesapeake Energy’s attempt to wiggle out of a royalty lawsuit on a technicality (see Bradford County, PA Judge Keeps Chesapeake Royalty Lawsuit Alive). However, the judge punted the case to a higher court, Commonwealth Court, to settle what he calls “novel questions of law”–rather than spending more time and money on such issues at the county court level. On Friday Commonwealth Court ruled…
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PA Floats Bill to Allow Shale Drilling to Span Multiple Units

Some Pennsylvania landowners have recently been approached by the companies they’re leased with, asking landowners to sign amended leases to allow cross-unit drilling. We personally know of one case in which a driller requested such an amendment in northeast PA. So it is with great interest we notice a new bill has been introduced in the PA House, specifically to allow cross-unit shale drilling.
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PA DEP to Push Onerous New Air Regs at Upcoming Meeting

In December, the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) released a draft of onerous new regulations that focus on reducing volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions and so-called fugitive methane (see Pa. DEP Jumps the Gun with Proposed New Emissions Regs). The new regs will force drillers and pipeline companies to spend big bucks to produce a teeny tiny improvement in emissions. The DEP is back, once again pushing its bad plan.
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DEP and Diversified Gas & Oil Compromise on Plugging Old PA Wells

Diversified Gas & Oil has been on a mission to buy as many non-shale (conventional) oil and gas wells as it can in the Appalachian Basin. It owns over millions of acres and tens of thousands of wells–many of them located in Pennsylvania. Last fall the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) told Diversified it wants 1,000 of its nonproducing wells plugged in the next five years. Diversified countered it would like to plug 2,000 wells, but over the next 20 years. They ended up compromising.
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PA AG Shapiro Colludes w/Delaware County DA to Investigate ME Pipe

Ever notice how predators like to hunt in packs? First the Chester County, PA District Attorney launched an ethically questionable “investigation” into “crimes” that may have been committed by building the Mariner East pipelines through his county (see Chester County DA Goes Rogue, Targets ME2 Pipe w/Criminal Probe). The Chester DA recently impaneled a grand jury to hear fake allegations against Energy Transfer and Sunoco Logistics Partners (see Politically Motivated Investigation of ME Pipe Convenes Grand Jury).
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Williams Announces Transco Competitor to PennEast Pipe in NEPA

Did Williams just float an alternative/competitive pipeline to PennEast? Sure looks that way to us. On Friday Williams announced a binding open season to add 34 miles of looping pipeline next to existing Transco pipeline along with beefing up some of it’s compressor stations, in a bid to increase flows along the Transco from Luzerne County, PA (where PennEast would originate) to Mercer County, NJ (where PennEast would terminate).
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PA Supreme Court Tires of Strippers – Turns Down PIOGA Request

In late December, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that so-called “stripper wells” can be taxed under the 2012 Act 13 law, slapped with an impact fee assessment if those wells produce more than 90 thousand cubic feet per day (Mcf/d) of gas in a single month, any month (see PA Supreme Court Rules Strippers Not Exempt from Impact Fee)?
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List of 16 Marcellus/Utica Gas Processing Plants

Our favorite government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, published a post yesterday on the topic of “U.S. natural gas processing plant capacity and throughput have increased in recent years.” In that post EIA links to a handy dandy online tool that lists all of the active natural gas processing plants operating in the U.S. We used the tool to download all of the plants in PA, OH and WV, and further trimmed out the low volume (conventional only) processing plants, leaving a list of sweet 16 Marcellus/Utica processing plants–where they are located and how much they process.
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IFO: PA Natural Gas Production Hits New All-Time High in 4Q18

Yesterday the PA Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) released their latest quarterly Natural Gas Production Report for Oct-Dec 2018 (full copy below). It shows natgas production rose an amazing 17.7% compared to the same period last year–to a new all-time high. For the calendar year, total production was up 14.2% from the prior year, the largest year-over-year increase in production since 2014.
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Chesapeake’s Marcellus Production Dips in 2018, Gas Price Soars

Chesapeake Energy, started by Aubrey McClendon as a gas-focused drilling company that went on to become the country’s largest natgas producer, is doing its darnedest to get rid of its natgas assets and turn itself into an oil driller. Yet it was the company’s natural gas assets that boosted the company’s financial performance in 4Q18, helping them turn in a better financial performance than analysts expected. Ironic, no?
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