Judge OKs Class Action Royalty Lawsuit Against 3 NEPA Drillers

On October 3, 2016, landowner James Slamon filed a lawsuit against Carrizo and Reliance Industries in the Susquehanna County (PA) Court of Common Pleas. Slamon alleged Carrizo and Reliance underpaid royalties on oil and gas leases to him and a class of other landowners “exceeding one hundred members.” The drillers got the case moved to federal court on October 31, 2016. Fast forward to this past Monday and a judge in the federal court case has certified (in part) the class-action request. The lawsuit will now move forward.
Continue reading

Epsilon Energy 1Q: Still Partners with Chesapeake in NEPA

From time to time we check in on Epsilon Energy, which concentrates most of its effort on the Marcellus in Susquehanna County, PA. Does Epsilon actually do any of its own drilling? No. They partner with (give money to) other companies, like Chesapeake Energy, and the other companies do the actual drilling. Epsilon, according to its website, owns ~4,000 net acres in the PA Marcellus. Epsilon issued its first-quarter 2020 update yesterday.
Continue reading

Cabot Ends Lawsuit Settlement Talks, Prefers Trial in Dimock Case

In April 2017 Dimock Township (Susquehanna County, PA) resident Ray Kemble and lawyers from two different law firms filed a new lawsuit against Cabot Oil & Gas over claims of contaminated water from local fracking. Thing is, those claims were settled by Cabot with Kemble years earlier. Cabot said this was a renewed attempt to sully its good name and reputation and countersued Kemble and his lawyers for $5 million (see Cabot O&G Countersues Dimock Anti, Lawyers).
Continue reading

Cabot Update: Upper Marcellus Test Wells are the Bees Knees

Last Friday Cabot Oil & Gas, one of the most prolific Marcellus drillers, released its fourth-quarter and full-year 2019 update, with a look ahead at 2020. During the conference call with analysts, Cabot CEO Dan Dinges began his prepared remarks talking about tests the company has done in the Upper Marcellus. Very exciting results. He also said, near the end of the call, that Cabot has positioned itself to be “the last man standing” in the Marcellus. Hmmm, that’s an intriguing comment! What does he mean?
Continue reading

Study: Landowners Who Claim Frack Pollution, It’s All in Your Head

A fascinating new study has just been published in the peer-reviewed journal Science of The Total Environment. The new study, titled “Characterizing anecdotal claims of groundwater contamination in shale energy basins,” looks at the perception of landowners who say local fracking activities have impacted (polluted) their water wells–versus reality. The study finds that in most cases the so-called pollution problems of these water wells is (using our own words here) “all in the heads” of the landowners. It’s not real. Fracking, in fact, has NOT caused the pollution of their wells. Researchers studied wells in the Texas Barnett and Eagle Ford, the Louisiana Haynesville, and (yep) the Pennsylvania Marcellus–in Dimock.
Continue reading

HUGE NEWS: PA Supreme Court Keeps ‘Rule of Capture’ for Fracking

There is one court case in Pennsylvania that we’ve been concerned about since April 2018. The Briggs v Southwestern Energy case had the power to block most new Marcellus Shale drilling in the state. The case, revolving around the oil and gas “rule of capture” principle, was appealed by Southwestern all the way to the PA Supreme Court. We are elated to report that yesterday the Supremes ruled supreme and found in favor of Southwestern–retaining the rule of capture in the Keystone State. This is seriously good news for both drillers and leased landowners. Below we explain what the rule of capture is, the background of the case, and what the Supremes said in yesterday’s important ruling.
Continue reading

Corning Gas Buys Out JV Partner in PA Leatherstocking Gas & Pipe

Corning Natural Gas (based in Corning, NY) has a 50% joint venture partnership in Leatherstocking Gas Company and Leatherstocking Pipeline Company with another Upstate NY-based company, Mirabito. Leatherstocking runs gas mains to residents and businesses in small, mainly rural communities–like Montrose, PA (see PA Rural Residents Burn Marcellus Gas, Save Big Bucks on Heating). Corning announced yesterday they are buying out Mirabito’s 50% interest on the PA side of the border.
Continue reading

UGI Completes 4th Expansion of NEPA Marcellus Gathering System

UGI Energy Services, the pipeline subsidiary of UGI Corporation (utility company) has just completed the fourth expansion of their northeastern PA pipeline gathering system called the Auburn Gathering System. In May 2018 MDN told you about UGI’s plans to add another two compressor stations and more gathering pipelines to benefit Cabot Oil & Gas (see UGI Expanding NEPA Gathering System to Flow More Cabot Gas).
Continue reading

Cabot O&G Continues to Grow in NEPA, Opens New Facility

Click for larger version

Cabot Oil & Gas, one of our favorite Marcellus Shale drillers, focuses almost exclusively on drilling in Susquehanna County, PA, with a few wells in neighboring Wyoming County. Cabot continues to pour money into northeastern Pennsylvania. On Wednesday Cabot’s wholly-owned subsidiary, GasSearch Drilling Services, officially opened a new 28,000-square foot maintenance facility in Lenox Township (Susquehanna County) with a ceremonial ribbon cutting and open house for energy industry colleagues, neighbors and public officials.
Continue reading

Which Way will PA Supreme Court Rule on ‘Rule of Capture’ Case?

Last week MDN told you that oral arguments would be heard on Thursday at the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in what we believe is one of (perhaps THE) most important shale cases ever in the Keystone State (see Most Important Court Case in PA Shale History Heads to Supremes). The case deals with whether or not the age-old oil and gas principle called “the rule of capture” applies in PA shale drilling.
Continue reading

Most Important Court Case in PA Shale History Heads to Supremes

This Friday Thursday the justices sitting on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will hear what we believe is the most important shale gas court case in the history of the state: Briggs v Southwestern Energy. We consider this case to be an existential threat to the future of shale gas drilling in PA should the decision go the wrong way. And no, we’re not exaggerating.
Continue reading

Cabot: Spending Up (Some) in 2019, Spending Down (Big) in 2020

Cabot Oil & Gas is the only Marcellus/Utica driller that is profitable quarter after quarter and year after year. So the market pays attention to what Cabot does, because they’ve figured out how to make money in a low commodity price environment. Last Friday Cabot released second quarter numbers. CEO Dan Dinges talked about the balance of 2019 and even a bit about what to expect in 2020.
Continue reading

Spreading Marcellus Love Throughout PA with Expanded PIPE Program

PA Rep. Jonathan Fritz (photo by Rick Hiduk)

Two weeks ago today 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. The event was organized by PA Rep. Jonathan Fritz, who opened the presser with details on House Bill (HB) 1103, a bill that will expand the state’s PIPE program to run more “last mile” natural gas pipelines to homes and businesses in rural communities. PA makes the gas, and now they want to benefit from using it.
Continue reading

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.
Continue reading

Epsilon Energy Drilling 4 “Lower Marcellus” Wells in NEPA

From time to time we check in on Epsilon Energy, which concentrates most of its effort on the Marcellus in Susquehanna County, PA. Does Epsilon actually do any of its own drilling? No. They partner with (give money to) other companies and the other companies do the actual drilling. Epsilon, according to their website, owns ~4,000 net acres in the PA Marcellus–down from 5,750 net acres which their website showed in February. Epsilon released their first quarter 2019 update earlier this week.
Continue reading

Capturing the Interest of the Next Generation to Work in PA Shale

The best teachers (people) and the best teacher (method of instruction) have the same thing in common: Hands on. As in tactile, doing stuff, rather than sitting in a chair attempting to learn by information dumping. Particularly with elementary-age kiddies. Cabot Oil & Gas and Southwestern Energy recently sponsored the annual Vehicular Career Day where 400 fifth graders from school districts across Susquehanna County climbed into big rigs, buses, and emergency vehicles. The shale industry was well-represented. Needless to say, the kids loved it.
Continue reading