Out-of-State, Paid Protesters Continue to Hassle MVP in WV, VA

What appears to be an organized, ongoing effort to stop legal construction activity for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) continues in both Virginia and West Virginia. Out-of-state (paid) protesters chain themselves to equipment and block roads in a “death by a thousand cuts” approach to prevent the completion of the 85% completed MVP project. Is it time to bring racketeering charges against the groups and people behind these activities? We think it is.
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EQT, Southwestern Top Brass Discuss State of WV O&G, Shale

Toby Rice, CEO and president of EQT, and Clay Carrell, COO and EVP of Southwestern Energy, recently had a sit down discussion about the state of the shale industry in the Marcellus/Utica and its importance to the economy of West Virginia. The discussion happened at the recent West Virginia Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting and Business Summit. One surprising revelation for us: Carrell said Southwestern now spends most of its money on WV drilling.
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EQT Drops WV Lawsuit re Post-Prod. Deductions on Flat Rate Leases

The new leadership at the top of EQT continues to have a major impact on the company and its relationship with landowners and (in this case) entire states. Last year EQT launched an effort to overturn WV’s Senate Bill (SB) 360 (see EQT Still Fighting WV Minimum Royalty Law for Flat Rate Leases). The new SB 360 law disallows post-production deductions for flat rate leases, ensuring landowners receive a minimum 12.5% royalty. In April 2018 EQT sued to overturn the original law (from 1982) on which SB 360 rests–the law that guarantees a 12.5% royalty. Get rid of the original law, and the later law (disallowing deductions) disappears too. Last week EQT filed a motion to withdraw its lawsuit.
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WV Pipeline Snitches Find Minor Problems with MVP Construction

Must be it was “pile on Mountain Valley Pipeline” week last week. In addition to FERC requesting U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to pull a permit for the project (which happened), a small group of leftists fanned out and snapped pictures of supposed “violations” of the MVP project in West Virginia. The “volunteers” are spun by lefty media outlets as concerned, salt of the earth citizens. We call them pipeline snitches.
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WV Gov Justice Creates Downstream Jobs Task Force to Leverage Shale

WV Gov. Jim Justice

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice wants to ensure his state is in the poll position to grab as many new businesses and jobs as possible from the embryonic but rapidly developing petrochemical industry in the Marcellus/Utica region. Justice announced yesterday he has signed an Executive Order to form the Governor’s Downstream Jobs Task Force, a group of WV officials who will work on developing sites for use by petchem manufacturers and work to attract potential investors.
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WV Shale Industry Gets Ready for Next Legislative Session

The Independent Oil & Gas Association of West Virginia (IOGAWV) is already hard at work on legislative priorities for next/upcoming session of the WV legislature–which actually does not begin until Jan. 8, 2020. In WV the full legislature only meets for 60 days each year (other states can learn a lesson). IOGAWV is planning both a defensive (protect what we have) and offensive (new initiatives) strategy for next year. What’s on the list?
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CNX Resources Lays Off 10% of Total Workforce – More Cuts Coming?

CNX Resources has just laid off (i.e. fired) roughly 50 employees company-wide, most of them at company headquarters in Canonsburg. But not all. We heard from an MDN trust source who said at least nine workers got their walking papers in West Virginia. Given the company employs about 500 people, 50 fired represents 10% of the workforce. Question is, will there be more firings?
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EQT CEO Toby Rice Explains Combo Drilling at WV Town Hall Mtg

Last week MDN told you that EQT CEO Toby Rice is conducting a series of four “town hall” style meetings with landowners in regions where the company drills (see EQT CEO Toby Rice Hits a Home Run with Landowner Meetings). The first meeting, held in Green County last Wednesday night, was a huge success. We also reported in a followup story that Toby mentioned EQT’s new drilling strategy to make money in a low gas price environment is called “combo development” (see EQT Plans to Make Money with $2/Mcf NatGas Price).
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WV Gov. Justice Makes Impromptu Speech at IOGAWV Summer Mtg

WV Gov. Jim Justice

The Independent Oil & Gas Association of West Virginia (IOGAWV) held its annual summer meeting earlier this week in beautiful White Sulphur Springs. WV Gov. Jim Justice, who was not on the agenda to speak, stopped by and gave an impromptu speech to delegates. Which surprises us, given his business interests in coal and his previous bashing of the shale industry (see WV Gov. Justice Blames Shale for Bad Roads, Wants Higher Taxes).
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Trump Admin “Full Court Press” re Appalachian NGL Storage Hub

Steven Winberg, the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s assistant secretary for fossil energy, spoke to West Virginia lawmakers on Tuesday. His message? The Trump Administration is prioritizing building out a petrochemical industry in Appalachia. Among Winberg’s comments, on the matter of establishing an NGL storage hub in Appalachia, he said: “At DOE we have a full court press on this.” For those who don’t follow basketball, the term full court press means aggressive pressure against the opponent in the back court. Winberg’s meaning: DOE is doing everything it can to make the NGL storage hub project happen.
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Rig Counts Heading Down in Most Shale Plays – What About M-U?

It’s hard to miss the stories in oil and gas (even national) media: Company after company, in particular oilfield services companies, are predicting a big slowdown in drilling during the second half of 2019. Over the past few days OFS companies including Schlumberger, Halliburton, Patterson-UTI, Superior Energy Services, Helmerich & Payne, and RPC have all predicted a coming decline (crash?) in drilling in the near future. What about the Marcellus/Utica region? Does the coming slowdown affect us too?
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Federal Judge Approves EQT $53.5M WV Class Action Settlement

In February MDN brought you the news that EQT had settled a class action lawsuit in West Virginia with landowners and rights owners ending EQT’s practice of post-production deductions from royalty checks (see EQT Settles WV Class Action Royalty Lawsuit for $53.5M). EQT agreed to pay $53.5 million into a settlement fund that will disburse payments to each individual litigant–unless they elect to opt out of the settlement and continue on with a private lawsuit against EQT. Courts take a looooooooooong time to do anything, including putting a stamp of approval on this settlement.
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Drumbeat Grows Louder for WV to Release Details on China Deal

A week ago MDN told you that Joe Manchin, one of West Virginia’s two U.S. Senators, is not happy that details of the deal signed between WV and China in which China agreed to invest $83.7 billion (with a “b”) in WV’s shale and petrochemcial industries is secret (see U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin Demands Details on China’s WV Deal). Manchin claims the Chinese want to abscond with WV’s natural resources–natural gas, ethane, propane, etc.–and create jobs back in their own country. Otherwise why would the projects China is looking to invest in remain secret?
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WVONGA Hits Back Hard Against Leftist Charleston Gazette-Mail

Anne Blankenship, WVONGA

Last December MDN pointed out the biased “reporting” now coming from the Charleston (WV) Gazette-Mail (see Antis Get a Reporter at the Charleston Gazette-Mail). Reporter Ken Ward, Jr. now has most (all?) of his salary paid by anti-fossil fuel organizations, and his “reporting” on the shale industry reflects the bias of his paymasters. Following a couple of recent grossly biased “articles” penned by Ward and fellow “reporter” Kate Mishkin, the West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association is hitting back–hard.
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