Shale Gas News – July 6, 2019

Bill desRosiers
External Affairs Coordinator, Cabot Oil & Gas

The Shale Gas News, heard every Saturday at 10 AM on 94.3 FM, 1510 AM and Sundays on YesFM, talked about the PA Budget, LNG exports, impact fee distribution and much more last week.

The Shale Gas News has grown again; welcome Gem 104 as our FOURTH station! Gem 104 helps to solidify the Shale Gas News coverage in an important Marcellus region, PA’s northern tier. The Shale Gas News is now broadcasting in Bradford, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Luzerne, Lycoming, Pike, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga and Wayne Counties, as well as in greater central PA. The Shale Gas News is aired on Saturday or Sunday depending on the station.

Every Saturday Rusty Fender and I host a morning radio show to discuss all things natural gas. This week, as a guest, we had James May, Regional Press Director at Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

Shale Gas News

The Shale Gas News, typically, is broadcast live. On the July 6th show (click above), we covered the following new territory (see news excerpts below):

  • Report: The United States Will Be The World’s Top Lng Exporter In The Next Five Years. The United States – currently the third largest exporter of liquefied natural gas  – will surpass Australia and Qatar to become the world’s largest exporter of LNG within five years, according to a recent International Energy Agency report. The United States Will Continue to Rapidly Grow Its LNG Exports. The United States exported nearly 1.6 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas in 2013. By 2018, that number had more than doubled to 3.6 tcf, with LNG representing nearly one-third of total U.S. natural gas exports, thanks to record-breaking U.S. shale production.
  • 2019-20 State Budget Finalized, Signed by Governor Tom Wolf. Last week  Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law a nearly  $34 billion budget bill for the 2019-20 Fiscal Year; along with a bevy of other bills related to the spending plan. This year’s budget spends $33.9 billion, a 1.8 percent increase in spending from the 2018-19 Fiscal Year.  Notably, it does not include new taxes or fees on business and individual taxpayers and does not include an increase in the state’s minimum wage, which the governor proposed in his February budget but has been consistently opposed by the PA Chamber and other coalition members.  The final budget agreement also does not include another punitive tax on the state’s natural gas industry, which had been proposed this year to help pay for the Wolf Administration’s “Restore PA” plan, to which the PA Chamber is also opposed.  This latest iteration of a natural gas severance tax was packaged with $4.5 billion in borrowing to pay for a multitude of projects that are already being funded in large part by the existing impact fee paid by the natural gas industry.
  • PUC Details Nearly $252 Million Distribution of Gas Drilling Impact Fees; Largest Distribution to Date. HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today posted detailed information about this year’s distribution of impact fees on natural gas producers – totaling $242,964,000 – on the PUC’s Act 13 website. Additionally, another $8,866,900 is being distributed to municipalities and counties where producer payments had been withheld during a long-running court case concerning the definition of a “stripper well.”  Because of the unique circumstances surrounding this issue, and the potential financial impact on municipalities where the disputed wells were located, the Commission felt it was important to thoroughly calculate the stripper well collections and allocate the corrected well distributions to the municipalities that did not receive those impact fees during the years the well status had been disputed.
  • Progress on $5M Office in NEPA for Marcellus Co. from Thailand. We received some pictures from a loyal MDN subscriber (S.B.) showing progress on clearing a site where a new $5 million office and warehouse facility in Tunkhannock Township (Wyoming County), PA. Ever hear of BKV Operating? No? How about Kalnin Ventures? Or if not Kalnin, how about Banpu, the largest coal producer in Thailand? Like a Russian matryoshka (nesting) doll, BKV Operating is a subsidiary of Kalnin Ventures, and Kalnin is the American agent/partner representing Banpu here in the U.S. Ultimately it is Banpu money that is building this new facility, and major Banpu money being invested in PA Marcellus drilling in northeastern PA.
  • EQT Claims Toby Rice Mismanaged Rice Energy, Not Fit to be CEO. The nasty proxy war between EQT CEO Rob McNally and Toby Rice over who will control the company following a July 10 annual meeting just got a whole lot nastier. Last Friday, McNally revealed that a review of internal documents they received as part of their purchase of Rice Energy in 2017 show that in the span of two weeks in 2015 some 25 complaints by Rice employees were made against Toby with the Rice HR department, although the nature of the charges are not detailed, leaving it open to shareholders to speculate.
  •  Ohio Says PTT Cracker Will Get Built – Bechtel Confirms EPC Contract. Last Thursday and Friday, MDN attended the Northeast Petrochemical Conference & Exhibition in Pittsburgh. There were a number of interesting stories coming from the event that we will chronicle this week. However, there was one bit of breaking news from the event: Bechtel Oil, Gas & Chemicals Senior Project Manager of Pennsylvania Chemicals, Paul Marsden, made official what we previously shared as a rumor–that Bechtel has been selected as the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contractor to build the PTT cracker plant complex, when and if a positive final investment decision is made. According to a number of sources, that decision will get made this year.
  • Former EQT CEO: Shale Revolution a “Disaster” for Investors. One of the highlights for MDN editor Jim Willis in attending last week’s Northeast Petrochemical Conference in Pittsburgh was the opportunity to meet and hear speak Steve Schlotterbeck, former CEO of EQT. Steve is the guy who pulled off the buyout/merger of Rice Energy into EQT, creating the largest natural gas producing company in the United States. He had the guts to walk away from EQT when the board refused to pay him what he was worth. Last Friday morning Steve opened the final day of the conference with more guts and plain talk. He said the shale industry has been “an unmitigated disaster for buy and hold investors.” Whoa! What did he mean?

The Shale Gas News sponsored by Linde Corporation

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