Oil + Gas Update - Back-to-School Edition.
The dog days of summer ended with natural gas production on the rise even though prices and rig counts hit low points over the past few weeks. In pipeline news, the major projects experienced some ups and downs from regulatory and litigation perspectives. On the federal regulatory front, the EPA proposed limitations on pipeline reviews, endangered species regulations, and methane emission regulations targeting the O+G industry. In court news in Appalachia and other plays, cases ranged from lease expiration to royalties to zoning and other regulatory squabbles over O+G projects.
Here's a roundup of the last few weeks...
Rig Counts, Spot Prices + Oil Prices
Rigs: National (-904); Marcellus (-52); Utica/Point Pleasant (-13)
Brent Crude: -$57.97/bbl
West Texas Intermediate: -$54.24/bbl
NYMEX: The September 2019 contract expired @ -$2.251/MMBtu. The October 2019 contract opened @ -$2.222/MMBtu.
Spot Prices: Henry Hub (-$2.24/MMBtu); Dominion South (-$1.74/MMBtu); Tenn. Zone 4 (-$1.66/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): Environmental groups filed a petition with the state Department of Environmental Quality to revoke the permit the agency issued last year under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act. Environmental groups responded to ACP and the government’s cert petition challenging the part of the appellate court’s ruling that found the FWS lacked authority under the Mineral Leasing Act to grant the right of way to cross the trail because the land is under exclusive authority of the National Park Service.
Atlantic Sunrise (Northeastern PA to SE Pennsylvania): The Third Circuit dismissed another challenge to the pipeline's environmental permit (see below for more details).
Constitution (Northeastern PA to NY): FERC authorized the Constitution Pipeline project to move forward after concluding that New York took too long to deny a permit that had been blocking construction of the proposed natural-gas line.
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): Earlier this month, residents near Mariner East pipeline sites reported hearing a boom and felt shaking. Agencies investigated. Elected state constables providing security near sinkholes along the Mariner East pipelines were charged with ethics and other violations for using public office for private gain. Chester County Commissioners instructed the county’s Department of Emergency Services to oversee a comprehensive independent evaluation that identifies safety risks and response procedures associated with Mariner East pipelines. Several Cambria Township residents asked Sunoco to reduce noise from a nearby pump station. Gov. Tom Wolf told anti-pipeline activists that he is not going to stop construction or operation of Sunoco’s Mariner East pipelines. DEP issued two penalties to Sunoco totaling $319,461 for violations resulting from construction activities on the Mariner East 2 pipeline project.
Mountaineer XPress (WV): Nothing new to report.
Mountain Valley Pipeline (Northern WV to Southern Va. and NC): MVP opponents sued over the pipeline’s impact on endangered species such as the Roanoke logperch. MVP voluntarily suspended work on parts of the project three days after the new lawsuit raised questions about its impact on endangered species. EPA supported an MVP permit and concluded that changes backed by West Virginia were consistent with the Clean Water Act. FERC approved MVP's request to change crossing methods for nine waterbodies over a conservation group's objections alleging the project is seeking to change conditions of its certificate while circumventing standard review processes.
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 resubmitted its application for a wetlands permit from the New Jersey DEP after the agency rejected its original filing as incomplete in February 2018. PennEast also announced plans to minimize the impact of construction through three areas along the route in Pennsylvania that contain Native American artifacts.
Regional Energy Access (NE PA to PA/NJ): Nothing new to report.
Revolution Pipeline (PA): Nothing new to report.