Monday, April 30, 2012

Energy Transfer, Sunoco Announce Merger

Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. (NYSE: ETP - News) and Sunoco, Inc. (NYSE: SUN - News) today announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement whereby ETP will acquire Sunoco for approximately $5.3 billion. "This combination will create one of the largest and most diversified energy partnerships in the country by expanding ETP’s geographic footprint and strengthening its presence in the transportation, terminalling and logistics of crude oil, NGLs and refined products," according to a press release from the company. The acquisition "expands ETP’s geographic footprint and markedly strengthens its presence in crude oil, NGLs and refined products transportation, terminalling, and logistics." According to an article by the Associated, Press, the deal will give Energy Transfer the capability to transport crude and other liquid hydrocarbons that are being produced in greater quantities thanks to the boom in shale drilling. Sunoco’s pipelines crisscross the country, connecting the Great Lakes and Northeast to America’s refining center along the Gulf Coast. Click to read the press release.

West Virginia DEP Preparing For New Federal Air Regulations On Natural Gas Activities

West Virginia's Department of Environmental Protection is preparing to assume state regulatory responsibility for new federal air emissions requirements on oil and natural gas activities, which are expected to start taking effect in July 2012. The new requirements are due to a rule published April 17, 2012 by the U.S. EPA. Those rules aim to reduce toxic emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particularly during the flowback period of hydraulically fractured or refractured wells, along with defined control measures at compressors, processing plants, storage vessels and other industry facilities. The most onerous provisions won't take full effect until July 2015. According to an article in The State Journal, once the rule is in effect "operators will have to notify the W.Va. Division of Air Quality and the regional EPA office by e-mail at least two days before a well completion — that's the process, including fracturing and flowback, that prepares a drilled well for production." The article also states that operators will also have "to file annual reports detailing every well completion and specifying the compliance actions taken at all other sites during the year." The articles also notes that the rules will apply to every affected facility type that was constructed, modified or reconstructed since Aug. 23, 2011. Click to read the entire article. Click to read an EPA fact sheet on the new proposed rule.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

West Virginia Unveils Energy Blueprint

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has released the state's new Energy Blueprint. The energy blueprint calls for the environmentally responsible development of all forms of feasible energy technologies, from clean coal to coal liquefaction, natural gas, biomass, hydrogen, hydro, wind and solar power. The blueprint has a section on Appalachian Shale Gas Development. Click to read the Energy Blueprint.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Ohio's Forced Pooling Law Receives Media Scrutiny

Ohio’s “forced pooling” law is the subject of an article by the Associated Press. West Virginia and Pennsylvania do not have a similar law, which puts those states at a competitive disadvantage in the current low-price environment. Producers in West Virginia are interested in having some form of pooling legislation enacted in West Virginia in order to help aggregate the larger tracts needed for cost-effective and more efficient horizontal drilling and production. Click to read the article:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

U.S. Senate Commerce Committee To Host Hearing On Shale Gas Transportation, Pipeline Needs

U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller has announced that the United States Senate Commerce Committee will conduct a field hearing April 11 in Fairmont, W.Va. The hearing will be on “Shale Gas Development: Meeting the Transportation, Pipeline, and Rail Needs to Renew American Manufacturing." The hearing will begin at 1:00 p.m. and be held in the Robert H. Mollohan Research Center in Fairmont (1000 Galliher Drive) in Exhibition Hall.

"At the hearing, Senator Rockefeller will focus – with a panel of experts – on the infrastructure needs that must be met to spur new growth in West Virginia manufacturing as a result of the shale gas boom," according to an email invite from the Senator's office.

Click to see link to committee hearing notice.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

State Journal Article Highlights Gottlieb's Comments On Forced Pooling, Coal-Gas Disputes

The State Journal has published an article about Richard Gottlieb's presentation, which was given today at the Marcellus/Utica Shale Conference and Expo 2012 at The Greenbrier. Gottlieb manages the natural gas practice at Lewis Glasser Casey & Rollins PLLC.

The article focuses on Gottlieb's comments about the benefits of forced pooling laws and the legal issues involving coal-natural gas disputes. Click to read the article:

Industry lawyer: work remains for natural gas law -

Billions Invested By West Virginia's Natural Gas Industry; More To Come

West Virginia's natural gas industry has seen a period of significant investment over the past several years, and billions more in capital investments are expected to expand drilling, production and midstream activities. That was the message delivered yesterday at a Marcellus/Utica Shale conference at The Greenbrier. Here are other facts that were provided:

- More than 1,200 horizontal well permits have been issued, but only a little more than 200 have been completed thus far.

- The W.Va. DEP anticipates receiving an additional 500 horizontal well permits on an annual basis.

Click to read more.