Range Resources Considers Drilling Under Washington, PA Airport

Washington County, PA Airport (click for larger version)

In 2013 CONSOL Energy (now CNX Resources) signed a deal with the Pittsburgh International Airport and Allegheny County to lease 9,000 acres surrounding the airport for natural gas drilling (see $50M Check in the Mail: Pittsburgh Airport Lease a Done Deal). The program was/is a huge success. Range Resources is now sniffing around, investigating doing something similar at the Washington County, PA airport.
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OH Man Arrested for Making Bomb Threat Against Marcellus Biz in PA

Last week an Ohio man was arrested for allegedly calling in a bomb threat last November against Myers Well Service, located in Eighty Four (Washington County), PA. A cell phone belonging to Ryan Dougherty of Belmont, OH was used to make the threat. Dougherty claims he called the business, but didn’t make any threats. The investigation took three months. Last Tuesday authorities arrested and charged Dougherty.Continue reading

Smith Twp Residents Say They Have Enough Processing Plants

A single township in Washington County, PA, Smith Township, is home to two “sprawling” shale gas complexes that process and separate Marcellus/Utica gas extracted in southwestern Pennsylvania. One is MarkWest Energy’s Harmon Creek complex, and the other Energy Transfer’s Revolution complex. Area residents think they have quite enough infrastructure and are asking town officials to throttle back new development.
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Antis Try to Pick Open Old Scab of Settled (and Sealed) Range Case

Three families who live near a former drill site and frack wastewater impoundment at the Yeager Marcellus Shale site in Washington County, PA sued Range Resources in May 2012 claiming the air they breathe and the water they drink had been contaminated by Range’s operations at the site (see EPA Investigating Range Drill Site in Western PA). The case was eventually settled and sealed in September 2018.
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Range SWPA Production Takes Hit After MarkWest Plant Explosion

Range Resources issued an updated 2018 (not 2019) capital spending and operational update yesterday to say (a) they spent about $20 million less last year than originally forecast and (b) the company took a hit on production because of an outage at the MarkWest Houston/Harmon Creek processing facilities.
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Sad Postscript: Man Dies of Injuries from MarkWest SWPA Explosion

As we previously reported, an explosion and fire last week at the MarkWest Energy natural gas processing plant in Chartiers (Washington County), PA sent four people to the hospital–carried there by helicopter (see MarkWest Plant Explosion in Washington Co. Injures 4; 1 Critical). We are profoundly sad to report that the man who was in critical condition has died. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s office reported that Jeffery Fisher, 61, of Salem, WV died at 3:38 p.m. Tuesday at UPMC Mercy hospital. Below is an update on the situation, with additional new details.
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MarkWest Plant Explosion in Washington Co. Injures 4; 1 Critical

An explosion and fire last night around 6 pm at the MarkWest Energy natural gas processing plant in Chartiers (Washington County), PA sent four people to the hospital–carried there by helicopter. All of them remain hospitalized, and one of them is, sadly, in critical condition. The explosion happened near “two temporary tanks that were onsite for routine maintenance,” according to a MarkWest statement. The tanks hold, “liquid ethylene glycol plus hydrocarbons”–used to clean incoming raw natural gas. The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection is on location today to determine what happened and why–and to ensure there have been no negative impacts to the environment.
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CNX Midstream Sues Contractor for Walking Away from Pipe Project

On Monday, CNX Midstream sued West Virginia contractor Ronald Lane Inc. claiming the contractor “without warning or justification ceased work on the Project and abandoned the Project,” the Project being a package of water and gas pipelines in Greene and Washington counties in PA. And that, “Lane informed [CNX] that Lane intended to redirect all of its forces and efforts to other projects that Lane considered to be more profitable than the Project. Lane made it clear to [CNX] that Lane had no intention to perform any more work on the Project.” Lane was the winning bidder for the Project in late 2017 at a total cost of $7.1 million. According to the lawsuit, CNX claims Lane began construction in March and abandoned the Project in June.
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Range Resources Helps Save Pretty Butterflies in SWPA

Can fracking save butterflies? According to California University of Pennsylvania’s Supervisor of the Fish & Wildlife, you betcha. You heard how important “pollinators” are, right? We immediately think bees when we hear the word pollinator. But monarch butterflies, a species whose population has dropped 90% since 1990, is also a important pollinator. In places across southwestern PA habitats for the monarch have disappeared, long before shale drilling showed up. Range Resources is helping replant vegetation that monarchs love. And it’s having a big impact. Range’s efforts are not just “throw a few seeds here and there” for publicity. Range is working hard and “willing to do it right.”
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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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