Trump “America First” Energy Plan Posted on WH Website Day 1

Well that didn’t take long. Immediately, as soon as Donald J. Trump was sworn into office on Friday at noon, key changes were made to the official White House website. Among them: the page touting man-made global warming nonsense (i.e. “climate change”) came down, and up went Trump’s “America First Energy Plan” instead. Trump’s plan? Support shale, dump Obama’s so-called climate plan, and refocus the EPA. Slap me! Am I dreaming? Will I wake up and find Lord Obama is still in charge? Or worse yet, that Hillary is President? No! Trump won, and the best possible outcome is now happening for American energy (including shale energy) and the American people. A true “all of the above” strategy from Team Trump. Below is a copy of Trump’s energy plan and some of the hysterical reaction by radical environmentalists…
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US Steel Plant in PA Re-Opening – Manufacture Atlantic Coast Pipe?

A former U.S. Steel pipe manufacturing plant near Pittsburgh (in McKeesport) has been leased to Dura-Bond Industries and will re-open in the next 6-9 months, according to the president of Dura-Bond. The plant will hire around 100 people (fantastic news for Pittsburgh). According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, Dominion’s $5 billion, 594-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline–a natural gas pipeline that will stretch from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina–will use Dura-Bond pipe. Our conclusion: One of the reasons (perhaps THE reason) for the McKeesport facility re-opening is to produce Atlantic Coast Pipeline pipes…
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Millennium Pipeline Sues Cuomo’s Corrupt DEC Over Expansion Delay

MDN has previously reported on a $900 million natural gas-fired electric generating plant coming to Orange County, NY (see Orange County, NY Marcellus-Fired Electric Plant OK’d by Judge). The CPV (Competitive Power Ventures) Valley Energy Center project is being opposed by local anti-drilling ninny nannies, including Hollywood star James Cromwell. No matter. It’s already under construction. Unfortunately the very worthy project is marred by corruption inside the Cuomo Administration (see NY NatGas-Fired Electric Plant an Inside Job for Corrupt Cuomo Aide). However, construction continues and the plant will get built. The problem now is getting a 7.8 mile pipeline, an off-shoot pipeline from the mighty Millennium Pipeline, built to the plant to supply the natural gas it will need to run. In November the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the short pipeline (see FERC Approves Pipeline to Orange County, NY NatGas Power Plant). However, as with the Constitution Pipeline, the Cuomo Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is intentionally blocking this pipeline using delays–no doubt at Cuomo’s direction. Millennium is not, like Williams did with the Constitution, sitting on its hands waiting for the DEC. The Millennium is aggressively pushing the DEC to grant the necessary water crossing permits and has just sued the DEC to make it happen…
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Meeting Today re NJ Pipeline Slated to Run Through Scrub Pines

In January 2014, MDN brought you the story that due to incessant nagging from the NJ Sierra Club and the NJ League of [Liberal Democrat] Women Voters the Pinelands Commission, which oversees a stand of scrub pines in South Jersey, nixed a plan for a new natural gas pipeline to bring cheap, clean, abundant Marcellus Shale natural gas to South Jersey for use by residents and to feed an electric plant a local utility wants to convert from burning coal to natgas (see Sierra Club, LWV Chooses Coal over NatGas in South Jersey). In May 2014, NJ Gov. Chris Christie replaced two of the “no” voters on the Pinelands Commission, much to the consternation of the antis (see Marcellus Pipeline May Come to South Jersey After All). In August 2015, the staffers who actually do the work of the Commission decided to act, saying that they had the authority to approve the pipeline without a full Commission vote to do so. A panel of three New Jersey Appellate Division judges in November 2016 rejected that claim and said if you want to build a pipeline through the scrub pines, the full Commission must vote to do so (see Court Setback for NJ Pipeline Slated to Run Through Scrub Pines). The full Commission is now ready to act. Today the Commission is holding a hearing on the project and perhaps as soon as today the Commission will vote–in all likelihood to officially approve it…
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Debate & Misinformation re Frack Chemical Disclosure Rages in VA

Two weeks ago MDN told you about an effort in Virginia to ensure new changes in Virginia’s environmental regulations that require “mandatory disclosure of fracking chemicals, baseline water testing and monitoring, and spill prevention and response planning” would still protect trade secrets–the exact combinations of chemicals used by drillers when fracking (see Proposed VA Law Would Protect Frack Chemical Trade Secrets). As we said at the time, Big Green groups are demagoging the issue, claiming drillers want to keep fracking chemicals secret from first responders and doctors. Not true. But that doesn’t stop the headlines from continuing, like “Citizens have a right to know about fracking chemicals” and “King George supervisors lobby for disclosure of fracking chemicals.” Ah, sorry to burst the anti bubble, but fracking chemicals ARE required to be disclosed. The proposed law that modifies the regulations doesn’t change that. The new law only shields the exact combinations of chemicals from being disclosed–and even the exact combination can/will still be exposed for doctors and first responders…
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Handful of Butler Co. Residents Still Suing Rex Energy 5 Years Later

For years MDN has reported on a lingering/ongoing story of a community in western Pennyslvania (in Butler County) who say that nearby drilling by Rex Energy led to contamination of their well water supplies (see PA Residents Weary of Fight with Rex over Water Contamination and Rex Energy Water Contamination Case Shifts Focus to Water Pipeline). Several of the families sued Rex. The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection, after an extensive investigation, said that Rex’s drilling is not at fault in the situation. However, for most of the families, the issue progressed beyond blame–apparently water quality in the area was never the greatest to begin with. Rex had built a water line in the area to supply water for fracking and had expected to turn over control/ownership of that line in 2013. That water line can potentially be used to supply fresh water to the affected homes. The debate has been: Who will pay to hook up the homes and to maintain the pipes and infrastructure required? Since Rex, according to the DEP, is not to blame for the poor water quality in the area, the company understandably doesn’t want to pay big bucks to connect and maintain the line to residences in the area. As far as we can tell, the line is not hooked up. The families with bad water still have bad water and depend on donated water to this day for drinking and cooking…
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Schlumberger 4Q16 & Full Year 2016 Results – Swings to Net Loss

The largest oilfield services (OFS) company in the world, Schlumberger, issued their fourth quarter and full year 2016 report on Friday. Schlumberger has major operations in the Marcellus/Utica. They drill and frack for many companies in our neck of the woods. (Other large OFS companies active in the M/U include Halliburton and Baker Hughes.) Schlumberger CEO Paal Kibsgaard said since the price of oil and gas is moving higher, his company will also increase the prices they charge E&Ps (exploration and production companies) in 2017. OFS companies have been hammered over the past couple of years to lower their prices. Such “price concessions” are now coming to an end. We can understand why. Revenue for Schlumberger in 2016 fell by 22% over 2015, and the company swung from making $2 billion in profit in 2015 to losing $1.7 billion in 2016. Ouch. Here’s the update…
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Integrated LNG-to-Power – Applications for Marcellus/Utica?

Below is an article not directly mentioning or tied to the Marcellus/Utica, but we can’t help but wonder if there are not applications for our region. The article focuses on the marketing and “packaging” of LNG (liquefied natural gas) as the new and “hottest” thing to hit the power generation world. If an electric power generating plant (that uses natgas) doesn’t sit along the route of a natgas pipeline, it needs to get that natgas via other means. Many countries around the world–not just the U.S.–are making a change from burning coal to burning natural gas. So getting the gas to the plant is an issue. There is a long chain of vendors between where gas is produced and where it gets used at a powergen plant. The gas is extracted and then hits a pipeline. That pipeline must, at some point, flow to an LNG liquefaction plant that cools and condenses the gas. The LNG is then loaded on a ship (typically) and sailed to another country. At the other country the LNG is offloaded, delivered to the end user, and before it gets used, it must go through a regasification process. There’s a lot of moving parts and logistics involved in moving LNG from point A to point B. So what if a company, or coalition of companies, were to form an alliance and market a ‘one stop shopping’ solution for power plants and the governments in other countries that want to use LNG? That’s the premise, and that’s the promise of what is beginning to be offered. No new technology–just a new way to market it. Which has applications for our own region…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, Jan 23, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Utica rig count goes up; Range Resources volunteers help clean up watershed; Murrysville changing gas ordinance; WVU studying emissions from NG trucks; GE & Baker Hughes merger slated for mid-year completion; power sector CO2 falls below transportation CO2 emissions; peak oil demand, deja vu; China’s LNG imports rocket up 33%; and more!
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FERC Approves $1.8B Leach & Rayne XPress Pipeline Projects

Yesterday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) voted to approve and issue a certificate to Columbia Pipeine’s Leach XPress and Rayne XPress pipeline projects. This is fantastic news for the Marcellus/Utica region. MDN has covered these projects from their beginning. In August 2014 Columbia, then a subsidiary of Nisource, committed to building the two projects that will flow Marcellus/Utica gas to the Gulf Coast (see Columbia Gas: $1.75B for 2 Projects to Send Marcellus Gas to Gulf). The Leach XPress project involves construction of approximately 160 miles of natural gas pipeline and compression facilities in southeastern Ohio and West Virginia’s northern panhandle, flowing 1.5 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of gas all the way to Leach, Kentucky (hence the name). Rayne XPress works hand in glove with Leach. There is an existing natgas pipeline from Leach, KY all the way to the Louisiana Gulf Coast. That pipeline is called the Rayne, for Rayne, LA. The Rayne Xpress project will beef up the Rayne pipeline with new compressor stations to add an additional 1 Bcf per day of capacity–Marcellus and Utica Shale gas capacity that will flow to the Gulf Coast. It wouldn’t make sense to approve one without the other, and yesterday FERC approved both…
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Northeastern PA Counties Explore Alliance to Pass Royalty Reform

One of the issues that isn’t going away is the demand by landowners in some Pennsylvania counties, like Bradford, for lawmakers in the state to pass a bill that guarantees them what they believe they are already guaranteed–a 12.5% minimum royalty, based on a 1979 law that states they should get such a royalty. We’ve extensively covered what we call a civil war between two parties who are otherwise friendly toward each other–landowners and shale drillers. Last year the issue came to a head with House Bill (HB) 1391 (see our list of stories here). In a nutshell, landowners say Chesapeake Energy and some other drillers are taking post-production deductions out of landowners’ royalty checks, resulting in royalty payments far below 12.5%. In some cases landowners are receiving bills for money owed to the driller–after the driller pulled the gas out of the ground! Who in their right minds leases land for drilling so they can PAY the driller! It is an outrage and landowners want it stopped. Drillers, on the other hand, say you can’t just change contracts after they’ve been signed, punishing the entire industry for the bad actions of a few. Drillers say the proper response is for landowners to sue the bad apples. Frankly, it’s all a mess. The new news is that landowners from Bradford and several other northeastern PA counties, tired of being outmaneuvered by drillers, are actively talking about forming an alliance to try and garner enough support in Harrisburg to get a bill like HB 1391 passed this year…
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Major CNG Virtual Pipeline Coming to Susquehanna County, PA

MDN has had an eye on a trend we find exciting–“virtual pipelines”–by which we mean facilities that are located along a pipeline that compress the gas (CNG, or compressed natural gas), load it onto tanker trucks, and then distribute that gas to businesses that are not fortunate enough to be located near a natgas pipeline. With irrational opposition to pipelines seemingly rampant, virtual pipelines are a good alternative. We were first alerted to this trend when International Paper’s Ticonderoga mill in northern New York, near the Vermont border, opted for a virtual pipeline from NG Advantage, back in 2015 (see NY Paper Plant Opts for “Virtual” NatGas Pipeline Over Real One). NG Advantage has established a presence throughout New England, most recently adding Maine to their delivery options (see NG Advantage’s “Virtual” NatGas Pipeline to Maine Begins Flowing). A Camp Hill, PA-based company, Compass Natural Gas Partners, recently got into the virtual pipeline business in Lycoming County, PA (see Look Ma, No Pipeline! Lycoming County Co. Begins CNG Shipments). Yesterday PA Gov. Wolf issued a press release to say another company is starting up a virtual pipeline–this time in Susquehanna County, PA (MDN’s backyard). Xpress Natural Gas (XNG) will spend $18.6 million to build a facility that will employ nearly 90 people and load up to 100 tanker trucks a day for deliveries to customers across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states…
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Antis Worried Trump Will Stop Delaware River Basin Conservation Act

The (for now) taxpayer funded PBS StateImpact Pennsylvania is so “in the tank” and biased for radical environmentalism, they are a reliable mouthpiece for Big Green. Want to know what Big Green thinks? Just read StateImpact. Which is how we know Big Green is now very worried that the incoming Trump Administration will stop implementation of the ill-conceived Delaware River Basin Conservation Act. We wrote about the Act when it was still just a bill (see New Bill Aims to Keep Drilling/Pipelines Out of Dela. River Basin). The Act, which was passed by a spineless Republican Congress in December, vests the already out-of-control U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) with power and money to “identify and implement conservation activities” in the Delaware River Basin. The tip-off that it’s anti-drilling is that it was pushed and promoted by the odious William Penn Foundation as well as the Delaware River Basin Commission. USFWS is an Executive Branch (i.e. now Trump Administration) agency, so Trump can decide to drag his heels on implementing this disastrous legislation. Hey libs, how does it feel to be out of power? The thought that Trump will deny them their precious money to make mischief has them worried, as evidenced by the propagandists at StateImpact
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Heinz Endowments Gives Prof $48K to Find Frack Water Contamination

Make no mistake. When the Heinz Endowments, a left-leaning, big-moneyed nonprofit invests its money via grants into programs that have anything to do with shale drilling, it is for one purpose and one purpose only: to smear the reputation of fracking and to make oil and gas look bad. They fund all sorts of “research” efforts that mysteriously always come to the same conclusion: fracking is bad. Funny how that works. So it was with interest we noted they’ve purchased for themselves another academic researcher rather cheaply–just $48,000–with a mission to test water wells near fracking sites. The aim? To prove that fracking contaminates water wells. Which is the claim made by groups like Heinz for years–and has never been proven. Millions of wells fracked, with a small number where methane has migrated into those wells (a fixable condition). NEVER has there been chemical transmission from fracking into groundwater wells. But that doesn’t stop Heinz from trying to manufacture evidence. Here’s their latest effort…
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More on PA DEP’s Onerous New Methane Capture Regs

In December, the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) unveiled new regulations to clamp down on methane emissions and other other air pollution that allegedly comes from shale drilling sites (see PA DEP Releases New Regs re Methane & Air Pollution at Drill Sites). The onerous new regulations, not in effect yet, are prompted by bullying from the federal Environmental Protection Agency, an agency which is about to get gutted (see Master Stroke: Trump Selects OK AG Pruitt to Lead EPA). That hasn’t stopped Gov. Wolf’s DEP from plowing forward with new rules (copies here). We spotted an Associated Press article that highlights some of the aspects of the proposed new methane capture rules…
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PA DEP Rejects Revisions to Regs re Drilling Near Coal Mines

Here’s a story we admittedly don’t know much about, a story that kind of came out of left field. It may affect some shale drillers in southwest PA. Sometimes drillers want to lease and drill under coal mines. Since coal mines sink large holes in the ground, there are existing guidelines in place for how closely an oil/gas well can be drilled on or under a coal mine–guidelines put in place in 1957. As a result of legislation passed in 2011 called Act 2, a review was conducted to see if the standards for oil/gas drilling near coal mines might be modified–we’re assuming “relaxed,” allowing such drilling to happen in conditions not currently allowed. A column of rock called a pillar needs to be of a certain size/width in order for drilling to take place. An independent study to review the size of pillars, called “Gas Well Pillar Study Update, PO 4300311202 and 4300400813,” was completed in March 2016. The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently completed its own review of that study (copy of the DEP review below) and has rejected changing existing 1957 standards for pillar dimensions. Yeah, kind of technical. Short version: DEP is keeping super-strict standards in place claiming it’s safer for coal miners, limiting options for shale drilling under some coal mines…
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