Range Gets $300M for 1% Royalty on Washington County Production

Yesterday Range Resources, the very first company to sink a Marcellus Shale well back in 2004, announced it has cut a deal to “sell a proportionately reduced 1% overriding royalty in its Washington County, Pennsylvania leases for gross proceeds of $300 million.” Yeah. What, exactly, does that mean? More high finance stuff. The deal, as we try to understand it, reminds us of “factoring” that we learned about in our college business classes. You know, selling the money you will receive in the future from accounts receivable for a lump sum today? We think of this deal as kind of like that. Not exactly, but kind of.
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Range Resources Sued by PA Landowner re Post-Production Deductions

In the absence of a guaranteed minimum royalty in Pennsylvania–an issue which continues to divide landowners and drillers–individual landowners are left to litigate in order to get what they are fairly due. Such litigation is time consuming and expensive, and without a certain outcome, which is why most landowners don’t do it. In Washington County, PA a couple who signed a lease with Range Resources have just filed a lawsuit against Range in county court alleging Range violated the terms of the lease by deducting post-production expenses.
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PA Natural Gas Production Hits Another All-Time High in 2Q18

Last Thursday the PA Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) released their latest quarterly Natural Gas Production Report for Apr-Jun 2018 (full copy below). It shows natgas production rose 9.9% compared to the same period last year–same as the increase in 1Q18 (see PA Natural Gas Production Hits New All-Time High in 1Q18). The report also shows the number of producing wells is up 10.4% from last year. Total natural gas production volume was 1,455.8 billion cubic feet (Bcf), and the number of producing wells in 2Q18 was 8,672 (of which 8,194 were shale wells). The biggest news is that once again 2Q18 saw the highest quarterly production of natural gas in the state–ever. This is the seventh quarter in a row there has been an increase in production. Two-thirds of the state’s natural gas production consistently comes from four counties: Susquehanna, Washington, Bradford and Greene. The #1 county for natgas production in 2Q18 was, as it was in each quarter of 2017 and in 1Q18, Susquehanna County, in the northeastern corner of the state. The #1 producing driller in Susquehanna County is Cabot Oil & Gas. Here’s the full 2Q18 natural gas production report from the IFO…
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Peters Twp Votes to Allow Fracking Under Town Property, Again

Peters Township, the most populous township in Washington County, PA, is one of the seven selfish towns that sued the state in 2012 over the zoning provisions in the then-new Act 13 law, eventually winning at the PA Supreme Court level (see PA Supreme Court Rules Against State/Drillers in Act 13 Case). The Act 13 victory gave townships like Peters the right to pass local zoning ordinances that restrict, but don’t outright ban, Marcellus/Utica drilling. In September 2016, Peters decided to officially screw Marcellus drillers. Town council passed a drilling ordinance that says drilling is ONLY allowed in areas zoned for industrial uses, which rules out areas zoned for agricultural uses, where most drilling happens (see Peters Twp Gives the Middle Finger to Drillers One Final Time). Even the theoretical drilling that would happen in industrial areas, a grand total of 138 acres in the township, would have to be a “conditional use” with loads of permits and reviews. In other words–don’t bother drilling in Peters. So we found it quite ironic that in May 2017 Peters Township Council threw their lordly “principles” right out the window by signing a five-year lease with EQT allowing drilling under (not on) some of the township’s own land, something they’ve denied every other landowner in the township (see Peters Township Votes to Allow Fracking Under Town Property). They’ve just done it again. Peters Township Council voted Monday to approve a lease with Range Resources for the very same terms as they agreed to with EQT. This time the land is located under Peters Lake Park. That’s right, drilling and fracking under a lake, in Peters Township, where the town can get away with it, but not private citizens. How much will Peters get this time? Keep reading for the answer, available only on MDN…
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FERC Finally Approves 2 Key Rover Pipeline Laterals, Sept 1 Start

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) game of hardball with Energy Transfer over the Rover Pipeline has finally paid off. For months FERC has refused to allow four Rover laterals–feeder pipelines to shuttle gas from where it’s produced into the main Rover pipeline–to start up (see FERC Plays Hardball with Rover – Refuses to Certify 4 Laterals). The reason? ET has not, according to FERC, lived up to its word on restoration work. Things like smoothing over the dirt and replanting grass and other vegetation over top of the buried pipeline. Earlier this month ET assured FERC it would have the majority of restoration work done on two key laterals–the Burgettstown Lateral in southwestern PA, and the Majorsville Lateral in the northern panhandle of WV–by the end of this month (see FERC Continues to Block Rover Laterals Until Restoration Work Done). With recent evidence that ET is indeed living up to its word, last Thursday FERC gave ET permission to start up both the Burgettstown and Majorsville Laterals on Sept. 1. The majority of the restoration work will be done by this Friday, Aug. 31. However, there will still be some odds and ends after that (addressing “ground movement areas) that will go on through December. That leaves two final laterals–the CGT (Columbia Gas Transmission) and Sherwood Laterals, still not online. This is a prime example of FERC playing hardball, contrary to the “rubber stamp” antis claim FERC is for pipeline companies…
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EQT Searches for Indians Before Building Freshwater Pond in SWPA

EQT signed a lease with a landowner in Washington County, PA back in 2007 that allows the company to drill and/or develop surface property–building things like a freshwater (NOT wastewater) pond that can be used for nearby drilling. The landowner’s daughter, who either doesn’t understand drilling (or more likely does understand but doesn’t like it) claims there is an unmarked, single grave somewhere on the property (presumed to be an Indian), using that claim to stop EQT’s work on building the water pond. EQT is patiently playing along, waiting for–even paying for and assisting with–an archaeological dig to see if the grave and other Indian remains can be located. So far, nothing has been unearthed–except for a lot of hot air…
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100+ PA Landowners Sue EQT re Gas Storage Field Payments

According to Washington County, PA landowner Joe Raposky, EQT has been storing natural gas under his property in Finleyville without permission and without compensation since at least 2007. Last year Raposky asked EQT to compensate him and they refused. So Mr. Raposky has organized over 100 of his neighbors along with landowners who sit over top of other similar underground storage fields in the region, and on July 30 they filed a lawsuit against EQT. PA has some 60 gas storage fields spread across 26 counties in the state. The fields are used to temporarily store and then retrieve natural gas. Storage, which is not something we write about very much, is in fact a big deal when it comes to the natural gas market. Not all gas is used as soon as its extracted and sold along a pipeline. There are two main “seasons” in the natural gas industry–injection season, from April 1 through October 31, when a surplus is stored underground, and withdrawal season, from November 1 through March 31, when more gas is used than is produced. Storage fields like the one in Finleyville are an important part of the natgas puzzle. In some cases, landowners are only now becoming aware of the existing fields under their feet and they (rightly) want to be compensated for the use of their property. Is storage the next big bone of contention between landowners and drillers?…
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PA DEP Notifies Shell of “Technical Deficiencies” with Ethane Pipe

Shell delivered some good news at last week’s Northeast U.S. Petrochemical conference in Pittsburgh: The Falcon ethane pipeline will get built next year (see Shell Says Falcon Ethane Pipeline to Get Built in 2019). The pipeline won’t actually flow ethane to the Shell cracker in Monaca until 2020 at the earliest, because the cracker plant itself won’t go online until 2020 at the earliest. The 97-mile consists of “two legs,” with about half of the pipeline located in PA, the other half in OH. The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) conducted three public hearings on the project earlier this year, in preparation for issuing permits. Antis came out in force and behaved badly, as they typically do (see More of the Same at Final DEP Hearing for Shell Ethane Pipeline). No matter. The pipeline will get built. But not without jumping some hurdles first. On June 1, the DEP issued three letters identifying what it calls “serious technical deficiencies” in Shell’s pipeline plan, for townships in three different counties along the pipeline’s PA route. Shell maintains this type of notification is “common” in the permitting process, and is committed to working with the DEP to address any issues of concern…
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EQT Pays PA DCNR $874,200 to Lease Under Ten Mile Creek

This is a story that continues to bug us. The state of Pennsylvania, specifically the Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), is grabbing money that we think belongs to private landowners. The DCNR has been, for years, claimed that under a centuries-old law that the state of PA “owns” the property under “navigable” waterways–including rivers and streams (see PA DCNR Publishes Lease Agreements for Deals Under Rivers/Creeks). We understand the state claiming the Delaware River, and maybe the Susquehanna River, is a “navigable” body of water. The DCNR uses the “navigable waterway” excuse to sign leases with drillers under much smaller waterways than the Delaware and Susquehanna–siphoning money that would have gone to landowners. A landowner might own the land on both sides of, say, Ten Mile Creek, as we’re sure happens. However, the land under Ten Mile Creek does not technically belong to them. In fact, certain long portions of the land under Ten Mile Creek are now leased to EQT, and EQT paid handsomely for it. The company leased 218.55 acres under Ten Mile Creek in Greene and Washington counties (southwestern PA) for $874,200, which works out to be exactly $4,000 per acre! Not to mention a whopping 20% royalty! That’s money that (in our opinion) should go to the landowners who own the land along the creek, not to the state. Until landowners sue or the legislature acts, the state will continue to pick the pockets of landowners who own land along PA’s waterways…
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PA Court Tells SWPA Town Can’t Restrict MarkWest Compressor Stn

Cecil Township

Cecil Township (Washington County, PA) is one of the original seven selfish towns that sued Pennsylvania over the 2012 Act 13 oil and gas law, a law that replaced a mishmash of local zoning ordinances governing oil and gas activity with one uniform, and fair, set of state regulations. Cecil and the other selfish towns won their case on appeal with the PA Supreme Court (see PA Supreme Court Rules Against State/Drillers in Act 13 Case). Although Cecil (and other towns) have been zealous in using their authority to zone out drilling and pipeline activity, sometimes they go too far, as Cecil has done. The PA Commonwealth Court ruled last Friday that Cecil exceeded their authority by “imposing a slew of conditions” (26 conditions!) on a proposed MarkWest Energy compressor station planned for the municipality, a plant first proposed back in 2010…
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W Pike Run Antis Want 1000′ Setback to Zone Out EQT Drilling

A debate is playing out in West Pike Run Township in Washington County, PA (near Pittsburgh) that we find interesting. A quick PA history lesson: Back in 2012 PA passed the Act 13 law to update oil and gas regulations to account for shale drilling. One of the updates was a uniform set of zoning requirements to protect residents and the environment. Unfortunately, seven selfish townships sued and eventually won (at the PA Supreme Court) challenging those regulations. So PA towns won the right to impose restrictions on drilling activities. In West Pike Run, the debate is over “setbacks”–how far does a well have to be from nearby structures, like homes and barns and businesses. State law imposes a minimum of 500 feet from the wellhead to an “occupied” structure–and 300 feet from the well to a body of water. In West Pike Run, antis want to up that number to 1,000 feet, which would effectively prevent any more drilling by EQT, the primary driller in the township. The town recently held a hearing on the proposed 1,000 foot setback, a hearing which has been continued to a future meeting on April 16…
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PA DEP Schedules 3 Hearings for Shell Ethane Pipeline

Click for larger image

In February, MDN told you the Pennsylvania State Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) had caved to pressure from anti-fossil fuelers with regard to Shell’s proposed Falcon Ethane Pipeline project (see PA DEP Caves to Pressure, Extends Comment Period for Shell Pipeline). Shell is working on an ethane “pipeline system” with two “legs” to feed the mighty cracker plant being built in Monaca, Beaver County (see Shell Working on 94-Mile Ethane Pipeline to Feed PA Cracker). The DEP advertised an official comment period for the project on Jan. 20, giving interested parties until Feb. 20 to file their comments–an entire month. However, one month isn’t enough time for anti-drillers to marshal the faithful to try and sink the project. FracTracker Alliance, an anti-fossil fuel organization, colluded with other groups to put the word out to flood the DEP with demands to keep the comment period open. The DEP caved and extended the comment period to April 17th along with three public hearings (circus freak shows), to give the FracTracker faithful time to mount publicity and legal offensives to try and stop the project. The DEP has just announced the dates and locations for the three public hearings…
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Rover Pipeline’s SWPA Burgettstown Lateral Ready for Startup

Click map for larger version

On Tuesday, Rover Pipeline (Energy Transfer Partners) sent an official request to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) asking for permission to begin service on one of the remaining legs of the pipeline not yet up and running as part of Phase 1 development. Rover wants to begin service on the Burgettstown Lateral by Feb. 26. The Burgettstown Lateral (see the map below) extends from Burgettstown (Washington County), PA through Hancock County, WV and into eastern Ohio, connecting to the main Rover Pipeline in Carroll County. The Burgettstown Lateral is 51.3 miles long and includes a compressor station in/near Burgettstown to push the gas along the entire length of the lateral. Rover still maintains they will have the entire Rover Pipeline network up and running by the end of March. There are still some areas in Ohio where they are working (drilling for a second pipeline under the Tuscarawas River), however, most of the work remaining to be done is in Michigan–Phase 2 of the project. When it’s all done, up and running, Rover will flow 3.25 billion cubic feet per day of Marcellus/Utica gas to the Midwest, Gulf Coast and Canada. Below is Rover’s request to “start me up” for the Burgettstown Lateral, along with a map of the lateral…
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Washington PA Prefers Dilapidated Bldg to “Transient” Shale Workers

There’s a real eyesore in downtown Washington, PA–a building that brings down the neighborhood. Even though the building is a blight for the entire area, it remains standing due to prejudice on the part of local residents, including a local Catholic church. There was a plan to renovate a former, run-down convent and turn it into a boarding house for Marcellus Shale workers in Washington, PA. We previously chronicled City Council’s opposition to the project (see Washington, PA Votes to Reject Marcellus Boarding House). We also chronicled the shameful opposition of Rev. William Feeney and the Immaculate Conception church across the street from their denomination’s abandoned convent–opposed to the plan because it might attract “transients” to the neighborhood (see Marcellus Prejudice on Display at Washington, PA Church). We were reminded by a recent letter to the editor in a Washington, PA newspaper that the abandoned convent is still there, still a blight, still an eyesore–bringing down the entire neighborhood. All because of prejudice…
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Paid Agitators Shut Down Traffic at Energy Co Offices Near Pittsburgh

One of the crazies protesting in front of Southpointe

Hey, it’s Thanksgiving break, woo hoo! Time for brainwashed college kids to break the law and claim they’re doing their civic duty by shutting down traffic in front of “evil” companies that are part of the Marcellus industry. A lawless mob of perhaps two dozen maleducated young people along with some old hippies (most of whom were from out-of-state, i.e. paid agitators) set up roadblocks and other elaborate structures in front of the Southpointe business park in Washington County, PA, near Pittsburgh. A variety of Marcellus-related companies have offices in Southpointe, including Range Resources, CONSOL Energy, Halliburton, and Chesapeake Energy. The malcontents’ complaint? They have a psychological disorder in which they irrationally hate fossil fuels, and by extension, those who extract and sell them. Even though the clothes on their bodies and the sneakers on their feet come from fossil fuels. And even though they woke up in homes and apartments heated by fossil fuels. And even though they arrived at the protest in vehicles powered by fossil fuels. And even though the signs they made and carried were made from fossil fuels. Yeah, totally nutso. The lawlessness went on for about four hours before local police finally ejected the last of the nutters. They had a chance to make their statement and disrupt legitimate, salary-paying and valued businesses for a while, all in the name of anarchy and mob rule–driven by abject hatred. We often wonder if this is how it felt during the rise of the Nazi Party in the 1920s…
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