Takeaway capacity continues to be a main concern for the Marcellus and Utica. In the latest construction updates, Williams’ binding open season for the regional energy access expansion of its Transco pipeline ended in April. It’s yet to be approved by regulators, but will bring about 1 bcf/ per day of natural gas from the Marcellus shale to northeastern U.S. delivery points in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. TransCanada recently gained FERC approval to increase gas flow on its Mountaineer Xpress project and begin operating the Gulf Xpress, both linking Appalachian gas with demand markets.

The West Virginia Supreme Court has been busy lately, deciding cases pertaining to surface rights. Earlier this month, the court upheld a lower court ruling in a case against Antero Resources that threw out a collection of lawsuits arguing Antero’s operation in the Cherry Camp area had created a nuisance. The case was brought by residents in Harrison County who did not have wells located on their property but attempted to argue the horizontal drilling underneath their property violated their surface rights. The ruling follows the unanimous decision by the West Virginia Supreme Court in a case involving EQT Corp. stating that gas companies no longer may drill on one person’s property to reach gas reserves underneath adjacent tracts without permission of the surface owner.

In other EQT news, the ongoing battle with Rice brothers Toby and Derek escalated again with EQT issuing a letter to shareholders addressing what it says are false and misleading statements about the company’s financial performance by rice. In a recent interview with Reuters, Toby Rice accused EQT’s current management of ignoring Rice Energy’s best practices for drilling wells and utilizing technology in the production process, as well as discarding most of Rice Energy's senior management in the wake of the merger.

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