Lucid Energy Group LLChas finalized a $200 million revolving credit facility that will support growth in the Permian Basin. Together with private equity commitments from EnCap Flatrock Midstream and management, the credit facility provides Lucid with $425 million in available financing. Lucid increased its capital sources to support expansion of its pipeline gathering system and natural gas processing facilities in West Texas, which serve production from the Midland Basin's Wolfcamp and Cline shales. Lucid's system includes more than 300 miles of high- and low-pressure pipeline delivering liquids-rich natural gas to two separate cryogenic processing complexes in Sterling and Irion counties. The company has commissioned a third cryogenic processing plant and a nitrogen rejection plant in Sterling County. The new plant will bring Lucid's processing capacity to 120 MMcf/d. Acreage dedications to Lucid exceed 800,000 acres across an eight-county area of the Midland Basin and include Wolfcamp Shale production centered in Irion, Reagan and Crockett counties and Cline Shale production centered in Sterling County.
Equitrans LP is seeking Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval to abandon in place some of its natural gas gathering facilities in West Virginia. The Pittsburgh-based company is proposing to abandon 4.5 miles of its certificated M-90 gathering line and appurtenant facilities, including one receipt point interconnect with a gas producer and no direct interconnects with end users, in Tyler and Doddridge counties, according to an application filed at FERC. When Equitrans acquired the facilities through a 2003 merger with affiliate Carnegie Interstate Pipeline Co., it converted them from transmission to gathering, according to the application. Since then, a valve at the interconnection between the low pressure M-90 pipeline and the M-35 pipeline has remained closed; Equitrans proposes capping the facilities west of the 1997 Hardman Meter and the closed valve "in an effort to reduce lost and unaccounted for gas." Equitrans asked FERC to issue an order authorizing the abandonment by May 15.
Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) staff plans to hold a public roundtable on April 3 to discuss issues concerning end-users and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. CFTC said it has received a number of comments and requests for clarification from commercial end-users that have been impacted by Dodd-Frank. The roundtable would consist of three panels, discussing the obligations of end-users concerning recordkeeping for commodity interest and related cash or forward transactions; the appropriate regulatory treatment of forward contracts with embedded volumetric optionality; and the appropriate regulatory treatment for purposes of the $25 million (special entity) de minimis threshold for swap dealing to government-owned electric utilities. The roundtable would be held at CFTC's headquarters in Washington, DC, and available for participation by telephone. The time of the meeting, call-in numbers and agenda have yet to be announced.
Alpha Natural Resources Inc., one of the nation's largest coal companies, agreed with the federal government to pay the largest civil penalty ever recorded under the Clean Water Act for more than 6,000 violations committed between 2006 and 2013. Under a consent decree reached with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), Alpha and 66 of its subsidiaries agreed to pay $27.5 million in penalties for repeatedly discharging pollutants into hundreds of rivers in five states and routinely violating state-issued permits. The agreement also will find the company and its subsidiaries paying $200 million to install and operate wastewater treatment systems to mitigate the discharge of pollutants that included aluminum, manganese, selenium and suspended solids, among others. The settlement covers 79 active coal mines and 25 processing plants in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.
Powhatan Energy Fund LLC, a private hedge fund based in Virginia, has launched a website defending itself against allegations leveled by Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that it manipulated energy markets through a contract trader in 2010. On its website, Powhatan officials said they take the allegations by FERC "very seriously. However, we are rule followers who take compliance even more seriously. We have spent much time, energy, and resources preparing our recent legal arguments. We believe in them. Powhatan launched this site because we didn't want to wait two to three years to tell our side of the story -- we want the public to know the full story now. Without it, it is impossible to fairly evaluate FERC's allegations." In preliminary findings issued last August [No. IN10-5-000], FERC's Office of Enforcement (OE) concluded that Houlian Chen manipulated the PJM Interconnection LLC electric power market -- through certain up to congestion (UTC) transactions -- on behalf of his own funds, HEEP Fund Inc. and CU Fund, as well as for Huntrise Energy Fund LLC and Powhatan. The transactions were made from February through August 2010.