Chesapeake Energy Corp. surpassed its quarterly profit estimates but still plans on cutting its rig count and bringing fewer wells into production this year, according to Reuters.

Operating in the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas, the Utica Shale in Ohio and the Anadarko Basin in northwestern Oklahoma, the company said it would decrease its rig count from 18 rigs to 14 y the end of 2017.

The move is part of Chesapeake’s plan to deploy less capital to rigs next year, so it can spend more on other assets.

A United States federal court recently reaffirmed an order issued in early July, directing the Environmental Protection Agency to implement Obama Administration regulations for new oil and natural gas drilling and production operations, according to Chemical and Engineering News.

The regulations were put in place to limit methane emissions from new or modified oil and gas operations. It doesn’t affect currently operating oil and gas production operations.

Although the rules were finalized last year, the Trump Administration attempted to delay them. EPA head Scott Pruitt made a June announcement to say the rules would be put on hold for two years while the EPA developed a new regulatory approach.

However, the court has ordered the EPA to make revisions while following the Obama regulations.

Consol Energy Inc. plans to add another rig sometime next year, which will boost its 2018 projections for natural gas production by 30 billion cubic feet, according to the Pittsburgh Business Times.

The company has been running two natural gas rigs — one in western Pennsylvania and one in the Utica shale in Monroe County, Ohio, about 60 miles southwest of Pittsburgh. At its lowest point in 2015, it suspended drilling. It began drilling again at the well in Monroe County a year ago.

Consol executives weren’t specific about whether the new rig would be in the Marcellus or Utica shale.

Energy Transfer Partners plans on selling a 32.44 percent stake in a firm associated with the Rover pipeline to Blackstone funds for about $1.57 billion, according to Reuters.

According to the agreement, Blackstone Energy Partners and Blackstone Capital Partners will purchase a 49.9. percent interest in ET Rover Pipeline LLC, or HoldCo. HoldCo owns a 65 percent interest in Rover Pipeline LLC. The two companies building the pipeline will operate it once it’s in service.

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

Columbia Gas Transmission’s Mountaineer XPress pipeline project reached a key milestone at the end of July as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released a final environmental impact statement that favored it, according to Platts.

The FERC staff decided that although the project would have some adverse and significant impacts in West Virginia, those impacts could be reduced to acceptable levels with various environmental plans, mitigation measures and further staff recommendations. Around 490 acres of core forest areas would be affected by the project.

Other significant impacts cited in the FERC’s EIS include permanent conversion of upland interior forest habitat and effects on large core forest areas, mitigated by the collocation of about 22 percent of the route and additional measures in Columbia’s environmental construction standards. The FERC asked the pipeline company to work with West Virginia regulators to find further ways to reduce forest impacts.

EQT suspended its drilling in the Utica Shale in Wetzel County, Pennsylvania, and turned from losing to reporting a profit in the second quarter, according to The State Journal.

Last week, EQT reported a second-quarter profit of $41.1 million, which is an increase from a year ago. In the second quarter of 2016, the company reported a net loss of $258.6 million. Additionally, production sales volume was seven percent higher, and the average realized price was 36 percent higher.

Over the same period of time, EQT drilled 66 wells in the second quarter, with 43 of those in the Marcellus Shale and 43 in the Upper Devonian Shale.

An administrative judge temporarily stopped work on Energy Transfer Partners LP’s Sunoco Mariner East 2 pipeline in eastern Pennsylvania, according to The Associated Press.

The judge asked that the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission hear and rule on whether Sunoco violated a 2015 settlement agreement with West Goshen Township. The Chester County township claims Sunoco jumped the gun on construction earlier this month and also disputes Sunoco’s decision to move a valve-control station.

The Mariner East 2 pipeline has been protested by Pennsylvania residents who blame it for contaminating their well water or spilling a clay lubricant at various sites.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has ordered the immediate halt of Rover Pipeline construction in Doddridge and Tyler counties due to lack of compliance in regards to sediment control measures, according to The State Journal.

The DEP issued the order on July 17 and it was posted with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Monday, July 24. It was prompted by inspections in April and July that discovered a number of problems with sediment control on the pipeline route in Doddridge and Tyler counties and at a compressor station construction site in Doddridge County.

The pipeline was ordered to halt all construction activity and must submit a plan for complying with all permit requirements and laws pertaining to construction within 20 days of the notice.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. asked a Bradford County judge to alter or throw out the Pennsylvania attorney general’s lawsuit against them, which accuses the companies of misleading landowners about lease terms and cheating them out of royalties.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the companies are arguing the state’s case is fundamentally flawed because it misapplies Pennsylvania’s consumer protection law to a situation where the apparently harmed party — the landowners — were not consumers, but sellers, of mineral rights.

Originally filed in 2015, the attorney general’s case alleges that Chesapeake and three of its subsidiaries violated the state’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law by inflating gas shipping prices, engaging in deceptive leasing practices and participating in a price-fixing scheme with Anadarko.

The Woodlands-based NextDecade is aiming to ship liquefied natural gas from Texas to Ireland.
NextDecade said it signed an agreement with the Port of Cork in Ireland to develop an LNG import terminal there using dockside regasification technology from Norway-based provider Flex LNG.
NextDecade is planning to build a major LNG export terminal near Brownsville called the Rio Grande LNG project. The goal is to ship LNG sourced from Texas shale gas to Ireland. However, the Rio Grande project has faced community opposition and some tax breaks have been rejected. That hasn't stopped NextDecade from trying to move forward.
As such, NextDecade and the Port of Cork are planning a public event on Aug. 2 in Ireland to highlight the potential benefits of the project.
NextDecade also is developing an LNG export terminal closer to Houston by Texas City, but those plans aren't as far along as the Brownsville project near the Mexican border.

At the same time, NextDecade is on the verge of going public on the Nasdaq stock exchange through a merger with a publicly traded blank check company.
NextDecade is merging with the Harmony Merger Corp. that was taken public two years ago as a so-called blank check firm. The goal of such special purpose acquisition companies is merging with private businesses that want easier access to public markets and financing.
The all-stock deal that they're calling a $1 billion transaction will leave Delaware-based Harmony investors with a 13.4 percent stake in the combined company, while NextDecade's shareholders will control the rest. Private equity firms York Capital Management, Valinor Management and Halcyon Capital Management currently control a majority of NextDecade.

Jordon Blum- Houston Chronicle