WV Files Motion to Dismiss EQT Lawsuit Targeting Royalty Law

Earlier this year the West Virginia legislature passed Senate Bill (SB) 360, which Gov. Jim Justice subsequently signed into law (see WV Gov Justice Signs Bill to Guarantee 12.5% Minimum Royalty). The new law overturns a ruling by the WV Supreme Court in Leggett v. EQT Production, a case in which the Supremes (in a very unusual move) reversed their own previous decision and allowed EQT to deduct post-production expenses in old flat rate leases. In essence, SB 360 guarantees rights owners/landowners a 12.5% minimum royalty, regardless of post-production deductions–but only in flat rate leases. A flat rate lease is a lease in which a company pays a regular (in EQT’s case, annual) payment, regardless of how much oil/gas is produced. Traditionally drillers don’t deduct post-production expenses because the payments landowners get are piddly anyway. But then EQT began to claim deductions, prompting a lawsuit that went all the way to the Supreme Court. The legislature aimed to “fix” what they considered an error in the court’s ruling. EQT claims the new law is unconstitutional and in April filed a lawsuit asking a judge to stop the law from taking effect (see EQT Sues WV for Passing Minimum Royalty Law re Flat Rate Leases). WV has just responded, in a big way, by asking the judge to dismiss EQT’s lawsuit…
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Rice Energy Ramps Up Leasing Activity in Greene County, PA

greene-county-paEarlier this week MDN brought you the dynamite news that Rice Energy is buying out Vantage Energy for $2.7 billion (see Rice Energy Buys Vantage Energy for $2.7B, 85K Marcellus Acres). The next day we answered they “why” question (see Why Did Rice Energy Pay $2.7B for Vantage Energy? It’s Simple…). The reason Rice bought Vantage was largely because of 85,000 acres of Marcellus leases in Greene County, PA. What we had overlooked was the fact that 27,000 of the 85,000 acres in Vantage’s Greene County portfolio was acreage they just bought from bankrupt Alpha Natural Resources (see Vantage Outbids Rice For Bankrupt Alpha Natural’s 27K Marcellus Acres). Rice had bid $200 million for that acreage, but Vantage came along and got it for $339.5 million. Now that Rice has locked up the Vantage acreage in addition to its own considerable holdings in Greene County, what’s left to do? Lease more unleased acreage in Greene. Rice says there is between 20,000-40,000 unleased acres in Greene and the company is full speed ahead trying to get that acreage signed up for themselves. Note to Greene landowners: expect a landman on your doorstep soon…
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Report Documents Pipeline Safety: 99.999% Liquids Delivered Safely

AOPLTwo week ago the Association of Oil Pipe Lines (AOPL) released a new report documenting liquids pipeline safety performance and outlining industry-wide efforts to improve pipeline safety in 2016 and beyond. “2016 API-AOPL Annual Liquids Pipeline Safety Excellence Performance Report & Strategic Plan” (full copy below) was developed jointly by AOPL and the American Petroleum Institute (API), and it highlights pipeline safety trends over the last five years. In short, pipelines are THE safest form of transportation period. The report finds that 99.999% of crude oil and petroleum products (like gasoline) that are piped reach their final destination safely. Essentially everything makes it to where it’s going safely, contrary to the wild claims by anti-fossil fuel nutters. The Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) quotes from the report in a recent press release to support a number of proposed pipeline projects in the Marcellus/Utica…
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Johns Hopkins Junk Science: Fracking Gives You Headaches

junk-science.jpgIn April 2015 a “study” from Johns Hopkins University claimed fracking has led to high levels of radon in nearby homes in PA (see Johns Hopkins Says PA Fracking Causing High Radon in Nearby Homes). That study was a sham and was debunked. In October 2015 a “study” from Johns Hopkins University claimed fracking leads to premature births in PA (see New Junk Science Claims PA Fracking Leads to Premature Births). Again, it was debunked as a sham. In July of this year the same Johns Hopkins group released a “study” claiming fracking makes asthma worse (see Sham “Study” from Johns Hopkins Says Fracking Makes Athsma Worse). Also shown to be a fraud. See a pattern? When we saw yet another junk science “study” coming from the same group of virulent anti-drillers, using the once-great name of Johns Hopkins to cover for anti-drilling shillery, our first thought was to ignore it since this new “study” is more of the same agenda-driven, false “science” B.S. (Barbara Streisand). But report on it we must. The latest anti-fracking “study” coming from Johns Hopkins claims that fracking leads to headaches, fatigue and sinus problems. The one, big, glaring problem with this study is that almost all of the subjects whose doctor records were used live OUTSIDE of drilling areas! That’s what passes for science and academic rigor at Johns Hopkins. It’s all political science, absent any real science…
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Siluria Appoints Former Shell Exec Robert Trout as CEO

Robert Trout
Robert Trout

A new company we first reported on in May is Siluria Technologies (see New Tech Converts NatGas into Ethylene, Bypassing Cracker Plants). We’re excited about Siluria because of their intriguing technology that converts natural gas directly into useful petrochemicals, bypassing in-between steps like using ethane crackers. Very cool stuff. In early May Siluria picked up an Italian partner (see Siluria Gets Partner to Convert Methane Directly into Petrochems). In June the company picked up a French partner (see Siluria’s Disruptive Technology Gets French Partner – Air Liquide). The company has momentum. Now comes word that Siluria has a new CEO, a high-ranking Shell executive who spent his entire career at Shell. This is very good news indeed…
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Susquehanna Cnty Uses NatGas to Attract New Business, May 19 Expo

open for businessCabot Oil & Gas is a great company that focuses most of its shale efforts in the Marcellus. And every single Marcellus well they drill is located in a single northeastern Pennsylvania county–Susquehanna County. Susquehanna County has been good for Cabot, and conversely, Cabot has been good for Susquehanna County–providing jobs and pumping millions into the local economy. So it was no surprise to learn that Cabot is the main sponsor of a county event being held tomorrow: the Susquehanna County Business Expo. The purpose of the expo? To lure companies to locate or relocate in a relatively rural but rapidly growing county–where the air is good, the people are nice, the taxes are LOW and the gas is plentiful. The not-so-subtle message to businesses located nearby in Broome County, NY (where MDN is written) is that they ought to consider relocating over the border. Specifically in their sights are manufacturers who can leverage the cheapest natural gas in the world! The sad truth is that businesses have been, and continue to, leave the Empire State in droves. Cuomo is driving them out with his obtuse policies. The Expo will be held tomorrow in Montrose, PA. MDN encourages Broome businesses (and business from other areas) to consider attending. Here’s the details…
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Winners’ Yearbooks for Oil & Gas Awards Spring Events

MDN editor Jim Willis was privileged to participate as a moderator for two panel sessions at the 2013 Northeast Oil & Gas Awards event, held in March 2014 in Pittsburgh (see Oil & Gas Awards – List of Winners, Bang-up Time!). In May we brought you full recordings for each session at the conference (see Oil & Gas Awards “Northeast Conference for Excellence” Now on MDN). Jim liked it so much, he’ll fly to Dallas in October to moderate a few more panel sessions at the Southwest version of the Oil and Gas Awards (sign up to attend here). But let’s take another look back at the spring. Our friends at the O&G Awards held three events this past spring to recognize the best of the best, and they’ve just released Winner’s Yearbooks for each event: Gulf Coast, Northeast & Rocky Mountain regions. Have a look (below) to see if you spot a picture of yourself or a friend/colleague!…
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Solyndra 2: DOE Pushes $8B in Loans for New Fracking Technology

The U.S. Dept. of Energy just launched a new program to encourage research into “advanced resource development” in fossil fuels to reduce carbon emissions (what utter folly). Regardless, the feds have $8 billion of taxpayer money they want to give out in loan guarantees for companies willing to come up with new and improved ways of drilling and fracking…
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So-Called "List of the Harmed" Exposed

The List This is the glorious day and age of the Internet when you can start a group and call it something like, oh, The Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air (PACWA), and claim it’s a large group when in fact it’s one person (or a few people), launch a website with a catchy slogan, and pretend to be a grassroots “movement.” Such is the case with PACWA and their so-called “The List of the Harmed”—those who claim to have been harmed by hydraulic fracturing, supposedly in Pennsylvania (although many anti-drilling New Yorkers, where there is no fracking, also appear on the list).

Intrepid MDN reader and occasional contributor Victor Furman called up Jenny Lissac, the keeper of The List, back when it was under 200 people, and gave her an outrageous song and dance about how he had been harmed (here in NY). She bought it hook, line and sinker and was about to publish it on her list when he fessed up that none of what he had told her was true—attempting to illustrate for her that anyone can lie about how they’ve been harmed. Apparently Vic’s lesson was lost on Ms. Lissac as she continues to compile and promote a list that, while it may have a few legitimate cases of negative impacts from fracking, is mostly full of false information.

Vic recently put The List under the microscope for an analysis. This is what he found…

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Once Again Boys & Girls, Fracking Does Not Cause Earthquakes

In cycles of about every six months, we get a new round of stories along the lines that "fracking causes earthquakes too!" Which is not true. Or mostly not true. As with all things shale-related, anti-drillers take a kernel of truth and blow it out of proportion, making it untrue. That’s the case with fracking and earthquakes.

A British scientist leading a research team at Durham University has just published new research analyzing "hundreds of thousands" of cases of fracking to see whether or not they produced earthquakes. What did the researchers find? In hundreds of thousands of cases of fracking, there have been three cases where earthquakes were caused by the fracking that could be felt–and they were extremely mild, on the low end of the Richter scale. Three. Let’s run the numbers. If we assume the sample size was 300,000, 3 divided by 300,000 is 0.00001. Your odds of getting struck by lightening standing on one foot in the middle of a snow storm in Bali are greater. Yeah, fracking does not cause earthquakes–ever. So what about the earthquakes in Youngstown last year?…

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NY Assemblyman Try to Stop the Clock on Fracking Comment Period

Three anti-fracking New York Assembly Democrats—all three chairmen of important Assembly committees—sent a letter on Monday (full copy embedded below) to Gov. Andrew Cuomo asking, or rather demanding, that the state Dept. of Environmental Conservation stop the clock on the current 30-day public comment period. Their rationale? An old internal DEC report produced and never released to the public says fracking won’t harm public health. “Wrong answer” is their response—and they intend to make noise about it until they get the “right answer”—which of course (for them) is that fracking does harm public health.

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Youngstown Plant Produces Special Steel Pipe for Drilling

More than two and half years ago V&M said they would build a new $650 million steel pipe plant in Youngstown, Ohio and create 350 new jobs (see this MDN story). The new plant would manufacture steel pipes used in Marcellus and Utica Shale drilling. Last week the first pipe to be produced at the promised plant rolled (pun intended) off the production line.

But just what kind of pipe is V&M making for the shale drilling industry? A special kind of pipe called OCTG…

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