PA DEP Fines Regency/PVR $306K for Sloppy Pipeline Work in 2012/13

pay fines here signIt’s old news, but is just now hitting the public domain. PVR Midstream, which is now part of Regency Energy Partners (see Marcellus/Utica Midstreamer PVR Bought by Regency Energy for $5.6B), did some sloppy installation work with pipelines in Lycoming and Tioga counties in Pennsylvania in 2012 & 2013. So says the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP). According to the DEP, PVR had multiple violations of the Clean Streams Law, Dam Safety and Encroachment Act and state regulations while building two pipelines. PVR, at the time of the citations, quickly corrected everything wrong. Regency, the new owner of PVR, had to pay the fine. Oh, the fine (paid in August by Regency) was $306,570. Ouch…
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EPA Draft Frack Study Coming March 2015, Peer Reviewed Papers Soon

So what’s happening with federal Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) long awaited report on fracking? Back in 2010 an activist Congress “ordered” the EPA (funny, the legislative branch ordering the executive branch) to study fracking and its affects (or lack thereof) on water supplies. Congress wanted to give EPA a big, fat open door to control and regulate fracking at the federal level–something that’s supposed to be done by Congress itself. Of course such laws, if passed by Congress, might fail since they contravene the U.S. Constitution–you never know with our Supreme Court. Easier to get the executive branch to create new laws via “regulations.” The study was originally due by the end of this year. But in June of 2013, EPA said they would need an extra two years (see Big News: EPA Fracking Study Delayed 2 Years – Now Due 2016). However, some great investigative reporting by NGI’s Shale Daily has discovered the EPA will release a draft report in March 2015…
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PA Republican Senator Hands Out $2M+ in Impact Fee Money

Being President Pro Tempore of the Pennsylvania State Senate has its privileges–like handing out $2,086,132 in grants for six energy, trail and water and sewer projects in your district–just two weeks before the election. Senator Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) announced awards yesterday to fund projects including $150K for a recreation trail in Elk County, nearly half a mil for a flood mitigation project in Senator’s home county of Jefferson, and $546K to buy some sort of biogas contraption for a pig farm in Tioga County (something that turns pig crap into electricity). All of these projects are funded by PA shale drillers through the Act 13 law and the impact fee collected…
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Smaller Dominion Pipeline Coming in WV – Part of Atlantic Coast?

Dominion plans to build a 550-mile, $5 BILLION pipeline that will carry Marcellus and Utica Shale gas from West Virginia into Virginia and eventually to North Carolina (see Dominion Commits to Major New Marcellus/Utica Pipeline Project). As part of that project, or perhaps in addition to it, they plan to build a smaller diameter 34-mile pipeline, called the Supply Header project, from Wetzel County through Doddridge County and into Harrison County, where it will connect to the new Atlantic Coast pipeline…
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WV Legislature Closes Loophole for Drill Cuttings in Landfills

Earlier this year, the West Virginia legislature passed a bill allowing the state’s landfills to create a special cell with special monitoring to accept shale cuttings–leftover rock and dirt–as much as they want and can handle (see WV Drill Cuttings in Landfill Bill Passes in Record Time). That is, with one important exception: The new law disallows a special cell for drill cuttings to be built in landfills that sit over top a “karst” topography (where there are a lot of underground caves, sinkholes, cracks and fast-moving underground streams). However, there was a loophole, an oversight, in the new law: If landfills above a karst topography area are happy with maintaining their current lower cap of 9,999 tons per day of solid waste, they can accept shale drill cuttings in the regular part of the landfill (see Loophole in WV Landfill Law for Drill Cuttings Raises Concern). Oops. The loophole has now been closed…
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NEPA Town Residents Resist Frack Sand Transfer Station

Hi-Crush Partners, one of three major frack sand companies in the U.S., purchased PA-based D&I Silica for $125 in May 2013. D&I is planning to build a frack sand transfer station in Tunkhannock (Wyoming County), PA. Except some (many?) residents who live in the area, along with the Wyoming County Planning Commission, don’t want it. All permits are in hand except one–from the Planning Commission. Hi-Crush has sued and the matter sits in court. However, there was a colorful appearance by one local anti-driller who dressed up in a canary outfit to attend the Wyoming County Commissioners meeting last night discussing the proposed transfer station…
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UC Hints Air Problems Near Drill Sites in Carroll County Research

In December MDN told you about a new air quality study in Carroll County, OH, being researched by the University of Cincinnati and Oregon State University. The study will measure air quality for pollution potentially caused by local Utica Shale drilling. A good concept and worthy of everyone’s support. The only problem we had/have is that some of the volunteers helping with the project are from a local anti-drilling group (see Carroll County Anti-Drillers Eager to Help with Air Quality Study). The full results are not yet in, but preliminary results (UC won’t release any specifics), according to the AP, say that air pollution near some well sites is “higher than those in downtown Chicago”…
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Small Texas Driller Opens Branch Office in Midtown NYC

Texas Coastal Energy Company (TCEC) is a small but growing exploration and production company. TCEC was founded in 2011 by Jeff Gordon, an experienced (and third generation) Texas oil man. The company has drilled perhaps a dozen wells so far (maybe more, it’s hard to tell from their website). Why are they on our radar? TCEC is opening a new office in Manhattan, New York City. And why would they do that? Primarily because that’s where the big money is and they want to get some of that big money–but also because they’re considering drilling in the Marcellus Shale…
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Chevron Launches Appalachia Partnership Initiative with $20M

Kudos to Chevron. Yesterday the company announced $20 million in grants for education and workforce development in 27 counties across Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. Called the Appalachia Partnership Initiative, Chevron aims to fund education (for students) and training (for workers) in STEM–Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. A variety of programs and organizations will be the recipients of Chevron’s largess…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Wed, Oct 22, 2014

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading:
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2 Bills on PA Gov’s Desk: Monthly Production #s, Lease Termination

happy - sadA pair of bills recently passed both the Pennsylvania House and Senate now sit on Gov. Tom Corbett’s desk that are sure to delight landowners and (likely) frustrate drillers. The prime sponsor and author of both bills is PA Rep. Tina Pickett (Republican, Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna). House Bill (HB) 2278 will require drillers to file monthly production numbers with the Dept. of Environmental Protection. They currently file every six months. The second bill, HB 402, requires a driller to present a “recordable surrender document” to a landowner within 30 days of a lease cancellation/termination. With such a document, landowners know for sure, they have proof, that they can re-lease with someone else if they so choose…
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NSF/Park Found. Research Claims Frack Fluid Tracking with Tracers

Last year MDN endorsed a proposal put forth largely by anti-drillers–a proposal that tracers be used in fracking fluids to put to rest, once and for all, the silly notion that frack fluids are rising from the depths to “contaminate” water aquifers (see Using Tracers in Fracking Fluid – Ready for Prime Time?). Using tracers, or unique “fingerprints” that positively identify fluid as coming from shale drilling, can be used to check nearby streams and rivers to ensure such fluids have not somehow been released into the environment after they’ve come back to the surface for disposal by recycling or injection well. Our only concern was/is that the science is solid. Yesterday, the National Science Foundation announced researchers (using NSF and Park Foundation grant money) have field tested and pronounced they now have a solid solution…
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Dela. Riverkeeper, Sierra Club Hold Stop PennEast Pipeline Mtg

THE Delaware Riverkeeper herself, Maya van Rossum, has apparently been called back from outside the orbit of the Delaware River Basin (see Martian Chronicles: Delaware River Basin Shifts to Western PA?). What urgent matters would draw Ms. van Rossum from trying to stop evil shale well drilling in western PA all the way back to the Delaware River Basin in eastern PA? Why, a pipeline, of course. She, along with a contingent of Sierra Clubbers, held a “stop the PennEast Pipeline Project” meeting at Northampton Community College last night. There were lots of words like “dangerous” and “devastation” bandied about, in an attempt to fire up ~125 of the faithful who attended…
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Crestwood Announces Successful Open Season for MARC II PA Pipeline

Speaking of the PennEast Pipeline, yesterday Crestwood Midstream announced a successful non-binding open season (a yeah, we’ll use your pipeline when you build it) for their MARC II Pipeline in the Marcellus Shale. The MARC II is a new 30-mile pipeline extending the Central New York Oil & Gas Company (owned by Crestwood) to connect with the proposed new PennEast Pipeline along with a connection to the Transco Pipeline and the proposed new Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline–all three connections happening in Luzerne County, PA…
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Done Deal: S Koreans Buy 34% of Cardinal Gas Services for $612M

As MDN told you a month ago, South Korea wants in on the Marcellus/Utica action and two South Korean companies had committed to buying up to a 34% stake in Cardinal Gas Services (see Total, EVEP Sell Interest in Cardinal Midstream to S Koreans for $612M). The deal is now done. Yesterday Samchully, the lead South Korean company, announced they have completed the purchase of the full 34% stake in Cardinal for $612 million…
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Water Pipelines for Drillers Great Idea, But Few & Far Between

An excellent article appears in today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, written by one of the few (perhaps only) reporters they have who is objective when it comes to writing about the natural gas industry: Anya Litvak. Anya used to write for the Pittsburgh Business Times before the Post-Gazette poached her. Anya’s article addresses the issue of using water pipelines to feed the growing demand for water used by shale drillers. It’s a win/win because it tends to be cheaper and it reduces truck traffic. However, the up-front cost to build a pipeline (on the part of a water company) is not cheap and many drillers aren’t willing to commit to the 3-15 year term that water utilities want to have before they are willing to build such a pipeline. As part of the article we get this interesting update on PA water company Aqua America…
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