Columbia Asks FERC to Start Up 2/3rds of Mountaineer XPress Pipe

In December 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a final approval for the Mountaineer XPress pipeline project (see Leach XPress Goes Online; FERC Approves Mountaineer & Gulf XPress). The $2 billion project is ~170 miles of new pipeline meant to flow 2.7 billion cubic feet (Bcf) per day of natural gas from existing and future points of receipt along or near the Columbia pipeline system–most of it located in West Virginia (see Details on Columbia Pipeline Mountaineer XPress Pipeline Project). At 2.7 Bcf/d, Mountaineer XPress is the second largest (by volume) new pipeline project for the Marcellus/Utica region–second only to Rover’s 3.25 Bcf/d pipeline. It is a big and important project. Last week Columbia, the builder, asked FERC for permission to start up 119 miles out of the 170-mile project, by Dec. 31.
Continue reading

Shocker: Mountain Valley Pipeline Now 70% Built, Online by 4Q19

There’s nothing like some cold, hard facts to shock the public (in particular anti-fossil fuelers) back into reality. Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) provided just such a bucket of cold, hard facts yesterday by issuing an update on the project. Mainstream media (MSM) would have you believe that MVP, a 300-mile pipeline from Wetzel County, WV to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsylvania County, VA, is on its last legs. About to be canceled for good. No hope of completing it. Yet, the facts say otherwise.
Continue reading

Diversified Deal in WV to Plug 730 Abandoned Wells Over 15 Years

Earlier this week West Virginia regulators signed a deal with Diversified Gas & Oil to plug some 730 abandoned conventional oil and gas wells over the next 15 years. In June, MDN brought you the news that Diversified had purchased EQT’s Huron Shale assets in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia for $575 million (see Diversified Gas & Oil Adds to Conventional Assets in KY, VA, WV). In October Diversified announced a deal to buy out Core Appalachia for $183 million, which includes ~5,000 producing wells (90% of production is natgas) and 1.3 million acres in West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia (see Diversified Gas & Oil Buys Core Appalachia for $183M). Thousands of old conventional wells spread across multiple states. The West Virginia Surface Owners’ Rights Organization (WVSORO) is not happy with the deal cut by WV with Diversified, claiming it doesn’t go nearly far enough.
Continue reading

WV’s Speaker of the House is a Friend to Shale Gas

Roger Hanshaw

The Charleston Gazette-Mail, working with the libs of Propublica, have written a snarky article that implies Roger Hanshaw, the Speaker of West Virginia House of Delegates (a part-time job), is in the hip pocket of the oil and gas industry, someone with major conflicts of interest. Hanshaw is an attorney who works for a law firm with clients from the oil and gas industry. That makes him toxic. Tainted goods. Unworthy. At least in the mind of Dem libs. We take the opposite view. Hanshaw is a smart lawyer who knows the industry well and can help guide public policy to benefit the industry while at the same time protect the residents (landowners, surface owners, taxpayers) of the great state of West Virginia. He’s the PERFECT guy for the job, able to balance industry interests with those of constituents. Only in the liberal mind is it a disqualification that someone who knows and has worked in an industry should actually get a job regulating that industry.
Continue reading

Big Green Nightmare: WV Sen. Joe Manchin Ranking Mbr Energy Ctte

Although the Democrats will seize control of the House of Representatives come January, putting Nancy Pelosi in charge, fortunately the Senate will remain under Republican control. However, as happens each two years, a number of committee assignments and chairmanships and ranking member assignments will change. One of those changes is in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (Democrat) may become the ranking (longest serving) Democrat on the committee, and because of tradition, he would then assume the role of Ranking Member of the committee. That prospect doesn’t sit well with the radical children of the Big Green movement–because Manchin is from WV and he loves and supports the coal industry and he loves and supports natural gas. Worse yet, Manchin sometimes (not often, but sometimes) votes with Donald Trump (gag). The petulant children of Big Green groups like “Friends of the Earth” are stomping their feet, demanding that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer deny Manchin the Ranking Member position.
Continue reading

PA Shale Water Company Hiring 125 New Employees

This is the kind of news we love to share! Keystone Clearwater Solutions, which was once majority owned by Rex Energy until they sold it to American Water Works in 2015 (see Rex Energy Sells Keystone Water Subsidiary to American Water Works), is hiring. And boy are they hiring! Keystone needs to hire 125 people, from truck drivers (most of the positions) to mechanics to technicians to supervisors. Keystone offers “complete water management solutions” to the shale industry, from the development and operation of surface water intakes to the operation and maintenance of water pipeline systems, pipeline construction projects, and water transfer services. Keystone is holding interviews across PA, OH and WV in December to fill the open positions. Christmas came early!
Continue reading

Annual Survey Shows O&G Investors Prefer Places Other than M-U

Each year (for the 12th year running) the Canadian-based Fraser Institute surveys petroleum industry executives and managers (256 of them for 2018) asking them their opinions on the barriers to investing in exploration and production in various geographies across the globe. That is, what makes them more likely or less likely to spend money drilling in a particular location? The Global Petroleum Survey (full copy below), tallies the survey responses and ranks each geography from most desirable place to invest, to least desirable. Last year West Virginia was ranked as the fifth most desirable place to invest (see Survey Indicates O&G Investing in WV More Attractive than PA or OH). This year? WV didn’t even make the survey!
Continue reading

WV O&G Pays $138M in Severance Tax in ’18, Up 4.3% from ’17

The preliminary numbers are in from the West Virginia Department of Tax and Revenue, and the numbers show that severance taxes paid by drillers in Mountain State hit a new high of $138 million, up 4.3% from in 2017. Six Marcellus/Utica shale counties–Doddridge, Wetzel, Ritchie, Tyler, Marshall, and Harrison–received $1 million or more of that back into county coffers. At the county level, the tax revenue goes for vital public services including first responders, community projects and social programs. Here’s a high-level rundown on who got what from this year’s severance tax honeypot.
Continue reading

EQT Avoids Trial, Settles WV Class Action re Royalty Deductions

Two weeks ago MDN told you about a class action lawsuit that’s been brewing in West Virginia since 2013, brought by 10,000 WV landowners and royalty rights owners against EQT over the company’s practice of deducting post-production expenses from royalty payments (see WV Class Action Against EQT re Royalty Deductions Heads to Court). The trial was set to begin this past Tuesday, but we’re just now learning that late last week EQT settled with the plaintiffs out of court. We don’t have many details. What we do have is confirmation that there’s been a settlement and that the trial was canceled. Here’s the details we have so far.
Continue reading

4th Circuit Court Cancels Mountain Valley Pipe Nationwide Permit

In early October MDN reported that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit had “vacated” (canceled, overturned) a permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in West Virginia that would allow Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) to use a more environmentally friendly form of crossing four rivers in the state than is technically allowed under federal Clean Water Act regulations (see Court Overturns MVP WV Permit; FERC Shutdown Coming Again?). The court said the Army Corps essentially allowed a substitution of methods under the law that’s not allowed, and so the entire permit, covering 591 streams, rivers and wetlands, is now vacated. The court issued it’s full decision/opinion on Tuesday. The good news is that the Army Corps and MVP are reworking the permit and hope to get it approved soon, and that completion of the project is still on track for the revised “end of 2019.”
Continue reading

New Director of WVU Energy Institute Lays Out His Vision

James Wood, WVU Energy Institute

Brian Anderson has done important work as director of the West Virginia University (WVU) Energy Institute–working on a number of shale-related research projects. Anderson was recently tapped to become director of U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), where he will do equally important work. James Wood has been named as Anderson’s replacement at the Institute. Wood recently outlined his priorities. While Wood digs “clean energy research,” he remains committed to promoting projects like the NGL storage hub. Here’s Wood’s comments on what to expect from the WVU Energy Institute under his leadership.
Continue reading

Army Corps Temporarily Stops All Stream Crossing Work for ACP

In a pattern that has repeated itself with both the Mountain Valley Pipeline and (now) the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), a key permit that allows ACP to build under and through streams and rivers and wetlands has been, for now, revoked. The permit is called a Nationwide Permit (NWP) 12 and was previously issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to allow ACP to build through streams, etc. in all three states where it runs–West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. Earlier this month the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals put a temporary stop on constructing the pipeline across/under/through streams and rivers in WV (see 4th Circus Court Blocks Some Atlantic Coast Pipe Work in WV). So the Army Corps in all three states has just issued an order suspending NWP 12, for now. But here’s what mainstream media doesn’t tell you: ACP actually asked the Army Corps to do it!
Continue reading

WV Surface Owners Accuse EQT of Selling Wells Should be Plugged

The West Virginia Surface Owners’ Rights Organization (WVSORO) is making some big accusations against EQT (perhaps other drillers too) in saying that EQT, which once owned thousands of conventional oil and gas wells in the state, is selling those wells to companies that may go out of business and therefore will not be able to properly plug those wells as they reach end-of-life and no longer produce. Specifically, WVSORO mentions the recent sale by EQT of its WV conventional assets to Diversified Gas & Oil. In June, MDN brought you the exclusive news that Diversified had purchased EQT’s Huron Shale assets in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia for $575 million (see Diversified Gas & Oil Adds to Conventional Assets in KY, VA, WV). In October they did it again, announcing a deal to buy out Core Appalachia for $183 million, which includes ~5,000 producing wells (90% of production is natgas) and 1.3 million acres in West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia (see Diversified Gas & Oil Buys Core Appalachia for $183M). WVSORO’s charge is that Diversified is buying those wells intending to never plug them when they’re exhausted. WVSORO is asking the state to deny transferring those wells from EQT to Diversified.
Continue reading

FERC Approves Rest of Columbia WB XPress Pipe for Startup

In early October the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted TransCanada permission to begin service on part of its Columbia WB XPress pipeline project, the “Western Build” portion of the project (see FERC Approves Columbia WB XPress Pipe for Partial Startup). The good news is that yesterday FERC granted permission to start up the rest of WB XPress, the “Eastern Build.” The $900 million WB XPress project is located in West Virginia and Virginia and expands capacity along the Columbia Gas Transmission (CGT) pipeline system by 1.3 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), linking Marcellus gas supplies to new markets. The whole WB XPress enchilada is now ready to let it flow.
Continue reading

EQT Tries to Gut WV 1982 Minimum Royalty Law for Flat Rate Leases

EQT certainly isn’t following Dale Carnegie’s advice on How to Win Friends and Influence People. Just the opposite, as the company continues to squeeze every last penny it can out of landowners’ pockets who hold old “flat rate” leases in West Virginia. We’ve reported on EQT’s efforts to overturn WV’s Senate Bill (SB) 360, passed earlier this year and signed into law by Gov. Jim Justice (see EQT Still Fighting WV Minimum Royalty Law for Flat Rate Leases). That law disallows post-production deductions for flat rate leases, ensuring landowners receive a minimum 12.5% royalty. In April, 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.
Continue reading