At the Well Weekly (v.4.5.2019)



Oil + Gas Update - Royalty and Bonus Disputes in PA, Trump's Bid to Undo Ban on Arctic Drilling, and O+G Regulatory Changes in Colorado.



The national rig count spiked alongside climbing oil and natural gas spot prices while the NYMEX remained relatively flat. In pipeline news, the FERC, federal courts, and even President Trump seem ready to limit state water quality certifications that have held up FERC-approved pipeline projects. In Appalachia court news, a federal judge decertified a class action dispute over bonus payments, a dispute over post-production-cost sharing survived summary judgment, and a local government got hit with an order to pay attorneys' fees after a company successfully challenged an ill-fated local ordinance regulating oil + gas activities. In other regions, Colorado revamped its oil + gas regulatory regime despite strong industry opposition, Trump can't undo Obama's ban on Arctic and Atlantic drilling, and ONRR gets another chance after botching royalty payment calculations for federal leases.


Here's your week in review...


Rig Counts, Spot Prices + Oil Prices


  • Rigs: National (+1021); Marcellus (+68); Utica/Point Pleasant (15)


  • Brent Crude: +$70.34 /bbl


  • West Texas Intermediate: +$63.08 /bbl


  • NYMEX: May 2019 Contract @ -$2.677/MMBtu.


  • Spot Prices: Henry Hub (+$2.67/MMBtu); Dominion South (+$2.46/MMBtu); Tenn. Zone 4 (-$2.45/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): Atlantic Coast Pipeline received approval to conduct slip remediation along portions of the pipeline route.


  • Atlantic Sunrise (Northeastern PA to SE Pennsylvania): The D.C. Circuit held that New York and North Carolina regulators lacked standing to challenge FERC approvals for three Transco gas pipeline projects, including Atlantic Sunrise.


  • Constitution (Northeastern PA to NY): Trump plans to issue an executive order curtailing state review of state water quality certifications for interstate pipeline projects.


  • 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): Three Chester County residents who sued Sunoco over its construction of the Mariner East pipelines have agreed to settle on undisclosed terms. In a separate regulatory matter, Sunoco will pay a $200,000 fine and conduct more frequent and rigorous safety inspections of the Mariner East 1 pipeline as part of a settlement with the PUC’s pipeline safety division.


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


  • Mountain Valley Pipeline (Northern WV to Southern Va. and NC): Mountain Valley Pipeline representatives will have access to two properties with the owners’ consent, settling a dispute over access, while a hearing to get onto a third property has been postponed. Meanwhile, a 69-year-old man joined another protester who has been living in a tree along the MVP pipeline route since October.


  • NEXUS (Ohio to Michigan): Nothing new to report.


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


  • Northern Access (NW PA to Western NY): FERC upheld its conclusion that New York state environmental regulators waived their authority to deny a Clean Water Act permit for Northern Access after blowing a one-year deadline.


  • PennEast (PA to Central Jersey): PennEast lawyers urged the DC Circuit to reject the Delaware Riverkeeper's previously rejected arguments challenging FERC approvals for the project.


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


  • Rover (OH, WV, PA to Michigan): Nothing new to report.