How Local Drilling Regulations May Impede Business Development in WV

Recently, Scott Rotruck and Joseph V. Schaeffer addressed local drilling regulations and the impact on West Virginia business development for West Virginia Executive magazine. 

As governor, Senator Joe Manchin famously declared West Virginia to be “Open for Business.” Whether motivated by environmental or other concerns, however, some groups believe that, when it comes to the natural gas industry, West Virginia should be anything but. Forsaking the traditional avenue to policy change through Charleston, these groups have turned to local government to advocate additional regulation, moratoria, and even bans. Use of this tactic to oppose natural gas development is hardly unique to West Virginia. Numerous local governments throughout Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Ohio have sought to regulate, suspend, or ban natural gas development within their jurisdictions.

Local government regulation of natural gas development raises an important question, though. Is it legal? The answer to this question naturally is of great interest to the natural gas industry. However, the answer also should interest the business community, generally. Businesses considering a capital investment project, such as the development of a Marcellus Shale well, expect (if not demand) stability and predictability. Ambiguous or inconsistent rules and regulations reduce stability and predictability, increase risk, and diminish a project’s attractiveness. Additionally, any rule that permits local government to regulate, suspend, or ban natural gas development would apply equally to almost any other industry.

Click here to read the entire article.


Posted in Economic Development, Energy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sunoco’s Natural Gas Liquids Pipeline Delayed?

Legal challenges could hinder progress on the pipeline moving natural gas liquids from the Marcellus Shale in western Pennsylvania to Marcus Hook.

Read the entire NPR article here.

Posted in Energy, Pipeline | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Observations of the Sixth Annual Developing Unconventional Gas Conference

Article by Scott Rotruck, Director of Energy & Transportation Services

Scott Rotruck

Scott Rotruck

I had the great learning experience of attending The Sixth Annual Developing Unconventional Gas Conference, known as DUG East, last month.

The conference is based around the sharing of ideas, performance updates, and networking across the supply chain of the Marcellus and Utica shales. DUG East brought the best and brightest corporate leadership together to update the 3,200 attendees on the innovation, continuous improvement, and execution of business plans in the 95,000 square mile Marcellus Shale and in its older, deeper and at 170,000 square miles, even geographically larger, Utica Shale.

William Gladstone, four-time Prime Minister of England, once observed all you needed to know about a country was whether people were trying to get into or out of it. Therefore, applying a similar metric to U.S. shale plays provides a powerful affirmation that the best and brightest minds in energy see the long-term opportunities as being very abundant.

The following are several personal takeaways from the conference… the entire article here.

Posted in Energy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gov. Corbett Issues Executive Order Modifying Rules Covering Restricted Drilling in State Parks and Forests

Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Corbett has issued an executive order allowing additional gas leasing in state parks and forests – so long as it does not result in “additional long-term surface disturbance.” The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which controls the property, will determine if the mineral rights are available for exploration.

Related to this announcement, Gov. Corbett’s proposed budget includes $75 million in new revenue from additional leases of state-owned mineral rights.

Click here to read the Governor’s complete announcement.

Posted in Energy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Marcellus Shale Gas and Pa. Steel – A Match Made in Heaven

One of the most important components needed for safe natural gas drilling is high-quality steel pipe.

With the federal government now investigating illegal “dumping” of key manufactured products by foreign companies, there is hope that Pennsylvania steel can profit from this booming industry.

Click here to read Cybex’s article, “Marcellus Can Help Boost Pa. Steel.”

Posted in Energy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

April Sees Record-Setting Gas Production

April was a record-breaking month for natural gas production. The average daily gas production was 63.7 billion cubic feet per day – up a half million cubic feet/per day from the month before.

April had six of the 10 highest days of production nationally.

Click here to read the entire article.

Posted in Energy | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Discussion with Dave Spigelmyer, President, Marcellus Shale Coalition

INTRODUCTION: Recently, Spilman’s Director of Energy & Transportation Services, Scott Rotruck, interviewed David Spigelmyer, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC). Prior to his appointment to the MSC, Spigelmyer has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in the oil & natural gas industry, including tenures with fully integrated utilities, purely exploration and production companies, midstream-focused companies, and has chaired industry trade associations including The West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association (WVONGA). Spigelmyer is a Pennsylvania native, an Eagle Scout, a proud grad of Penn State, an active sportsman and devoted family man.

Rotruck: In October 2013, you were named the president of the MSC. With your extensive and diverse industry background, having seen so many challenges, as well as so many opportunities, what will be your top priorities?

Spigelmyer: The MSC is approximately 300 members strong, including producers, midstream companies and suppliers, who are guided in our work together by two key facts: (1) being the widespread economic and community development benefits of safe shale development across the footprint of shale and beyond and (2) being the historically validated fact that Pennsylvania, as is the case with other jurisdictions vying for investment, must remain attractive to capital long-term, have a skilled and educated workforce, and a strong regulatory regime conferring certainty of the rules of economic engagement.

Click here to read the entire interview.


Posted in Energy | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Climate Action Plan Breathes New Life Into Oil and Natural Gas Air Regulations

On March 28, 2014, the White House released its Climate Action Plan Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions. The oil and natural gas sectors are clearly in the cross-hairs for reductions. The report indicates the oil and natural gas sector was responsible for 28 percent of man-made methane emissions in 2012—second only to the agricultural sector, which accounts for 36 percent of emissions.

According to the report, “[t]here are cost-effective technologies and best management practices to capture methane from venting and leaks across the entire oil and natural gas value chain.” With such a conclusion, federal regulations mandating methane controls for the oil and natural gas industry seem almost inevitable.

The only question remaining is this: how pervasively will the United States Environmental Protection Agency regulate methane emissions from the oil and natural gas sector? The report indicates within this industry sector, 31 percent of the methane emitted comes from production sources, 15 percent from processing, 34 percent from transmission and storage, and 20 percent from distribution.

Read the entire article here.

Posted in Energy, Environmental | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PA DEP Releases 2012 Natural Gas Emissions Data

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has released 2012 natural gas emissions data for 8,800 natural gas wells and 400 compressor stations.

According to the study, cumulative air contaminant emissions have continued to decline since 2008, when unconventional drilling across the Commonwealth rapidly increased.

Read the entire article on here.


Posted in Energy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Major Natural Gas Power Plant Announcement Indicates Different Uses for Marcellus & Utica Shale Gas

Spilman recently provided legal and environmental counsel for a $615 million natural gas combined-cycle power plant to be built in Moundsville, W.Va.

The 37-acre site will be home to Moundsville Power LLC and their 549 megawatt facility.

The plant will utilize $105 million of natural gas annually sourced from W.Va. producers and processors – proving that Marcellus and Utica Shale gas has broadened its reach for economic development.

Read more about the announcement here.

Posted in Energy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment