The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has reversed its approval of an underground injection well in Indiana County. The agency approved Pennsylvania General Energy's (PGE) permit to operate the well late last year after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed off on its plan to convert an old natural gas well to accept waste generated during the hydraulic fracturing (fracking) process. The EPA has primacy over Class II injection wells in the state, but DEP was also required to approve the conversion plan. Residents in Grant Township, where a ban on injection wells passed last year, filed an appeal. DEP said the well violated regulations in the state's Clean Streams Law and added that it had not taken those into consideration when it approved the permit. PGE has filed a federal lawsuit against the town's ban, which is expected to be heard next month.
Williams' Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Corp. (Transco) received FERC authorization, with conditions, to build and operate its Rock Springs Expansion Project, which would carry fuel to a new gas-fired power plant in Cecil County, MD [CP14-504]. Rock Springs would involve construction of an 11.17-mile, 20-inch diameter pipeline lateral connecting Transco to Old Dominion Electric Cooperative's proposed Wildcat Point Generation Facility (see Daily GPI, June 23, 2014; May 13, 2013). The lateral would have capacity of about 192,000 Dth/d. The power plant would have capacity of about 1,000 MW, enough to power 390,000 homes in the region. The project also would include a 4,000 hp electric compressor and metering facility at the end of the lateral in Cecil County, as well as other piping, valve equipment and modifications to existing facilities.
WGL Holdings Inc.'s WGL Midstream has acquired a 7% stake in Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC, a joint venture of units of EQT Corp. and NextEra Energy Inc. (see Shale Daily, Oct. 29, 2014). A unit of Vega Energy Partners Ltd., Vega Midstream MVP LLC, has acquired a 3% interest in Mountain Valley. NextEra Energy will hold a 35% interest; and as previously announced, EQT Midstream Partners LP is expected to assume EQT's 55% majority interest and operate the proposed pipeline if it is constructed. WGL Midstream is to be a shipper on Mountain Valley and has also committed to buying a "significant amount of natural gas" atTranscontinental Gas Pipeline Co.'s (Transco) Zone 5 compressor station 165 in Pittsylvania County, VA. "WGL has a major presence in this market and currently moves significant volume on Transco's mainline; therefore, securing them as a joint venture partner validates the market's need for additional energy supply sources at Station 165..." said EQT Midstream COO Randy Crawford.
Magnum Hunter Resources Corp. midstream subsidiary Eureka Hunter Pipeline LLC reported record throughput of 623,713 MMBtu/d. That's up from the 406,000 MMBtu the company reported at the end of last year and the 171,634 MMBtu it reported at the beginning of 2014 (see Shale Daily, Jan. 8). Based on anticipated producer volumes in the system's service area, Eureka believes throughput will reach 1 Bcf/d by year's end. Eureka provides gathering services for Magnum and third-party Marcellus and Utica shale wells in Ohio and West Virginia. Depending on market conditions, Magnum has announced its intent to take Eureka public with a master limited partnership sometime this year (see Shale Daily, Nov. 7, 2014).
The Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) has completed the design and development of the online filing application for exceptions to 16 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §3.13 (Statewide Rule 13), regarding casing, cementing, drilling, well control, and completion requirements the RRC said in a notice (see Shale Daily, May 28, 2013). The filing application has now been implemented and is available for use. This system will enable operators to more quickly submit exception requests to the RRC and will enable RRC staff to review requests faster. The system will also audit each submission to minimize errors and provide for fee payments through the official website for the state of Texas at www.texas.gov.
The severance tax proposal by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf would include a minimum floor at which the state Department of Revenue would calculate the average natural gas market price every three months at no less than $2.97/Mcf. The provision was added to the proposal as an additional hedge against regional price volatility, according to the administration, even though Appalachian gas has recently been trading at far less than the proposed floor. Wolf's plan calls for a 5% flat rate multiplied by the market value of gas in addition to a 4.7 cent/Mcf volumetric fee (see Shale Daily, Feb. 11). He has said the state would realize $1 billion in revenue from the tax beginning in fiscal year 2017, which starts July 1, 2016. The bulk of any revenue generated from the tax would go toward public education.
Pittsburgh-based Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD) has issued its second full certification to Royal Dutch Shell plc affiliate SWEPI LP because the Appalachian operations comply with its 15 performance standards. Established in 2013, CSSD brought together energy companies, including Shell, and environmental groups to ensure that shale gas resources are safely developed in Appalachia (see Shale Daily, March 25, 2013). CSSD issued its first certification toChevron Appalachia LLC (see Shale Daily, Sept. 18, 2014). An independent auditor visited 17 SWEPI sites in Pennsylvania, conducted in-depth interviews and reviewed company documents before issuing certifications in air and climate, and water and waste. The certification is valid for two years, after which the company may apply for renewal.
Sabine Oil & Gas Corp. said it will not file its annual Form 10-K on time, but it expects to file it by March 31. The Houston-based company said it also does not plan to host a conference call to discuss 4Q2014 and full-year 2014 earnings. Sabine also said it has retained financial advisors Lazard and legal advisors Kirkland & Ellis LLP to advise management and the board of directors on strategic alternatives related to its capital structure.
The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board has approved construction of Bear Head LNG Corp.'s proposed 8 million tonne per annum liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project (see Daily GPI, March 2). Bear Head has obtained nine of the 10 initial Canadian federal, provincial, and local regulatory approvals needed to construct a the LNG terminal on the Strait of Canso in Nova Scotia. The final approval needed for the project, from the Nova Scotia Environmental Board, is expected during the second quarter, according to Bear Head, which is a unit of Perth, Australia-based Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd. The facility could be online during 2019, according to the company.
The Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will hold its annual Cook Inlet and Alaska Peninsula oil and gas lease sales on Wednesday, May 6, at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage. Bid opening will begin at 9 a.m. local time. Bidders must be qualified by 4 p.m. on Friday, May 1, and bids must be received no later than 4 p.m. on Monday, May 4. Bidder instructions, lease terms, maps and other information are available on the DNR Division of Oil and Gas website.