At the Well Weekly (v.3.6.2020)

Oil + Gas Update - Pipeline Disputes in SCOTUS, Latest ERA Decisions from Commonwealth Court, Venue Battles in Climate Change Cases.

Oil prices plummeted by more than 20% since our last report alongside declining natural gas prices due in large measure to a Coronavirus that has wreaked havoc on the U.S. and global economies. In pipeline news, the Supreme Court heard from Atlantic Coast Pipeline in the ongoing battle over rights of way under a portion of the Appalachian Trail while PennEast lodged its cert petition challenging the Third Circuit's ruling that pipeline companies certificated by FERC under the Natural Gas Act can't condemn properties in which New Jersey has interests. In Appalachia, the Commonwealth Court issued two more decisions involving the so-called Environmental Rights Amendment while the Fourth Circuit sent Baltimore's climate-change case against the majors back to state court. In other regions, North Dakota said "no" to strict liability for injuries sustained during oilfield activities, the Texas high court weighed in on email-exchanges and contract formation, and the Montana Supreme Court rejected a criminal defendant's argument that tampering with a pipeline and shutting off its flow qualified as a constitutionally protected way to raise awareness about climate change.

Here's the latest...

Rig Counts, Spot Prices + Oil Prices

  • Rigs: National (-790); Marcellus (-37); Utica/Point Pleasant (11)

  • Brent Crude: ­-$36.53/bbl

  • West Texas Intermediate: ­-$32.83/bbl

  • NYMEX: April 2020 @ -$1.634/MMBtu

  • Spot Prices: Henry Hub (­-$1.60/MMBtu); Dominion South (­-$1.65/MMBtu); Tenn. Zone 4 (-$1.60/MMBtu)

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

WOPL - Appalachia

In our new section, WOPL ("waiting on pipelines"), we provide the latest news on the status of various pipeline projects in Appalachia:

  • Adelphia Project (Greater Philadelphia Region): Nothing new to report.

  • Atlantic Coast (W. Va. to Va. and NC): The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument from Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the United States, and environmental groups challenging ACP’s permit to cross beneath the Appalachian Trail.

  • Atlantic Sunrise (Northeastern PA to SE Pennsylvania): Nothing new to report.

  • Constitution (Northeastern PA to NY): On the heels of Williams' decision to shelve the Constitution Pipeline project, President Trump said New York’s efforts to block new natural-gas pipelines are “unfair to the rest of the country” and vowed to fight back to promote energy development.

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

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

  • Mariner East (Western PA to Eastern PA): The Public Utility Commission announced that it is directing an independent “remaining life study” of the Mariner East 1 (ME1) pipeline crossing Pennsylvania, along with enhanced public reporting of pipeline integrity activities, in the wake of a pipeline leak near Morgantown, Berks County. The Commission also requires Sunoco to pay a $200,000 penalty in connection with an April 2017 leak involving approximately 840 gallons of ethane and propane

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

  • Mountain Valley Pipeline (Northern WV to Southern Va. and NC): Nothing new to report.

  • NEXUS (Ohio to Michigan): 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.

  • PennEast (PA to Central Jersey): PennEast filed a petition for a writ of certiorari in the Supreme Court challenging a Third Circuit decision that said the pipeline company could not condemn property owned by New Jersey under the Natural Gas Act and FERC-issued certificate of public convenience because the state did not waive sovereign immunity from those suites in federal court.

  • Regional Energy Access (NE PA to PA/NJ): Nothing new to report.