Shale Gas News – February 16, 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 oil and gas employment, offshore lease sale, Mariner East 2 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 Stephanie Catarino Wissman, executive director of the Associated Petroleum Industries (API) of Pennsylvania.

Shale Gas News

The Shale Gas News, typically, is broadcast live. On the February 16th show (click above), we covered the following new territory (see news excerpts below):

  • US Oil and Gas Employment Up 5.4% in 2018. The U.S. oil and gas industry employed 880,681 professionals in 2018, up 5.4 percent from the previous year, according to a report issued Monday by the Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association (TIPRO). In 2018, the U.S. oil and gas industry paid a national annual wage averaging $112,712 – more than double average private-sector wages, TIPRO also concluded in the fourth edition of its “State of Energy Report.” Moreover, TIPRO stated that the U.S. oil and gas industry’s $99 billion payroll for 2018 was 6 percent higher than the previous year’s figure.
  • January Starts Strong for U.S. Onshore Oil, Gas Permitting. U.S. producers may be looking to exploit more oil and natural gas targets in Wyoming’s Williston Basin, California and in Texas, according to a tally of January permitting activity by Evercore ISI.  All major states and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) require drilling permits to be filed and approved before operators may drill new wells or bypass/sidetrack existing wells.
  • U.S. Interior has announced region-wide oil and gas lease sale Gulf of Mexico. In support of President Donald J. Trump’s America-First Offshore Energy Strategy, Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Joe Balash and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Acting Director Walter Cruickshank have announced that BOEM will offer 78 million acres for a region-wide lease sale scheduled for March 2019. The sale would include all available unleased areas in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Antero to Pay $11M in Fines/Restoration for Clean Water Violations. This has to be a record-high amount for a fine plus remediation work, at least in the Marcellus/Utica. Antero Resources has cut a deal with three government entities–the U.S. Dept. of Justice, federal Environmental Protection Agency, and West Virginia Dept. of Environmental Protection–to pay a $3.15 million fine and spend another $8 million to mitigate and restore 32 sites in West Virginia.
  • EQT Settles WV Class Action Royalty Lawsuit for $53.5M. In 2013 some 10,000 West Virginia landowners/rights owners filed a class action lawsuit against EQT over their practice of post-production deductions from royalty checks. The lawsuit was scheduled to go to trial last November, but at the last minute, it didn’t. Word leaked that EQT had settled out of court. Since that time we haven’t heard a peep–until this morning when EQT announced the terms of a “tentative” settlement.
  • Rice Boys Secret Sauce for Reviving EQT: Digital & Data. EQT CEO Rob McNally and board chairman Jim Rohr are in a pitched battle to maintain their control of the company. They dismiss a plan by Toby and Derek Rice to enhance EQT’s production at a lower cost as something that worked for small potatoes Rice Energy, but couldn’t work for a big, important company like EQT. The Rice boys shoot back that EQT is bloated and lumbering and needs a good house-cleaning. So what is the essence of the Rice plan to get EQT back on track? What’s the Rice boys’ secret sauce?
  • PA Gov Wolf Declares War on ET/Sunoco – No New Pipeline Permits. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has just declared full-on war with Energy Transfer and its Sunoco Logistics subsidiary by directing the Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) to suspend all reviews of clean water permit applications and other pending approvals for all of ET/Sunoco’s pipeline projects in the state, including Mariner East 2 (ME2) and the Revolution pipeline project.

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