At the Well Weekly (v.10.23.2020)


Oil + Gas Update | Outline of PA Oil + Gas Litigation in 2020


After some time off we're back at the well. The NYMEX eclipsed $3/MMBtu for the first time in a long time with the Henry Hub just under that benchmark while spot prices in Appalachia tumbled dramatically. The rig count seems to be making a slow comeback although numbers are flat in Appalachia and oil prices have lingered around $40/bbl for a while.


For this week's report, we'll bring you up to speed with summaries of the current status of various pipeline projects along with a link to the annual "Pennsylvania Oil + Gas Litigation Update" presented at PBI's Annual Oil & Gas Law Conference plus summaries of a few recent cases in Appalachia and other regions.


Here's your week in review...


Rig Counts, Spot Prices + Oil Prices


  • Rigs: National (+287); Marcellus (26); Utica/Point Pleasant (6)


  • Brent Crude: -$40.78/bbl


  • West Texas Intermediate: -$38.85/bbl


  • NYMEX: November 2020 @ +$3.023/MMBtu


  • Spot Prices: Henry Hub (+$2.86/MMBtu); Dominion South (-$0.75/MMBtu); Tenn. Zone 4 (-$0.62/MMBtu)


("+" or "-" or blank denotes increase, decrease, or flat. )


WOPL - Appalachia


  • Adelphia Project (Greater Philadelphia Region): Adelphia is in the process of obtaining Section 401 Water Quality Certification and related E&S permits for the Adelphia Gateway Natural Gas Pipeline Project.


  • Atlantic Sunrise (Northeastern PA to SE Pennsylvania): ASR is plugging away with relatively few issues except that, recently, DEP settled civil penalty assessments with ASR $736K for violations of various permits dating back more than three years.


  • Dakota Access (Northwest US): Dakota Access faced a shut down order but the D.C. Circuit intervened with a stay to keep the pipeline operator from draining the line pending additional environmental reviews. Numerous groups, states, and federal public officials support the effort to shut down the pipeline. The CEO of Dakota Access has stepped down.


  • Empire Pipeline (NY to PA): Nothing new to report.


  • Keystone Pipeline (Canada/US): The Army Corps has scheduled hearings on various Keystone Pipeline permits. Meanwhile, the Saskatchewan First Nation will become a part owner of the pipeline project.


  • Leidy South - Benton Loop Expansion (PA): Nothing new to report.


  • Mariner East (Western PA to Eastern PA): Sunoco faces challenges to various aspects of its Mariner East pipelines at the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. Recently, the Pennsylvania DEP and other agencies suspended Sunoco’s HDD indefinitely at a site near Marsh Creek State Park after the company reported a spill of about 8,100 gallons of drilling fluid leaked into wetlands and a tributary of Marsh Creek Lake in the Marsh Creek State Park area. Sunoco recently reported an inadvertent return of about 200 gallons of drilling fluid into Snitz Creek in West Cornwall Township on Oct. 19.


  • Mountaineer XPress (WV): Nothing new to report.


  • Mountain Valley Pipeline (Northern WV to Southern Va. and NC): MVP targets 2021 for completing construction. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service issue a revised report indicating that the pipeline project will not harm certain endangered species. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reissued permits that will allow construction to resume on the pipeline route. Thereafter, MVP asked FERC for an extension to complete the project and to lift a major stop-work order that has delayed construction of the final portions of the pipeline. FERC granted the extension and authorized the company to resume construction efforts. However, the Fourth Circuit stayed the order pending appeal.


  • NEXUS (Ohio to Michigan): FERC issued an order justifying its approval of the company's exports of gas from Ohio to Canada, holding that the company's exports to a free trade partner promotes the “public interest.”

  • NFG (PA): Nothing new to report.


  • NFG FM100 Project (NC PA to Transco): Nothing new to report.


  • Northeast Supply Enhancement Project (NJ/NY): Nothing new to report.


  • Northern Access (NW PA to Western NY): Nothing new to report.


  • Norther Supply Access Project (Appalachia to Gulf Coast): Nothing new to report.