Dominion Breaks Ground on Cove Point, MD LNG Export Facility

celebrateIt was only Wednesday night of this week (Oct. 29) at the Oil & Gas Awards dinner in Oklahoma City, OK that a fellow attendee (from Eagle Rock) asked me at dinner when Dominion would break ground on the Cove Point LNG plant. I told him I had not heard they’ve yet broken ground, but it should be any day now. Little did I know how prophetic those words would be! Yesterday Dominion announced that they have now officially broken ground on the Cove Point LNG export plant, a project that will inject between $3.4 and $3.8 billion in Calvert County, Maryland and pump upward of 1.8 billion cubic feet per day of cheap, abundant Marcellus and Utica Shale gas…
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Radiation Detectors for Drill Cuttings Installed at 6 WV Landfills

Earlier this year the West Virginia legislature, in special session, passed a bill (HB 4411) that Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed into law that establishes certain regulations to allow WV landfills to accept drill cuttings (leftover rock and dirt) from Marcellus and Utica Shale drilling. One of the provisions in the bill is that landfills with special, set-aside “cells” for larger volumes of drill cuttings be equipped with radiation detectors (see WV Drill Cuttings in Landfill Bill Passes in Record Time). Work on installing those detectors at six landfills is almost complete. The detectors are (or will be) installed at two sites in Harrison County, and one site each in Brooke, Ohio, Wetzel and Wood counties. How will it work?…
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Out with Old Ormet Plant, In with New Center Port Transload Facility

MDN previously told you about the closure of the Ormet aluminum smelting plant in Hannibal (Monroe County), OH. The plant closed its doors as an active aluminum plant earlier this year after Ohio regulators and Gov. John Kasich failed to get high electric rates reduced for the plant, and refused to allow Ormet to burn coal to produce their own electricity until they could begin using natural gas to create electricity from recently drilled wells on the property (see Final Chapter of Ormet Plant Closing – Utica Could have Saved It). In all, over 900 are out of a job–thank you Ohio. But out of the ashes of that jobs disaster comes a ray of sunlight, at least for the Utica and Marcellus shale industry. Niagara Worldwide bought the plant out of bankruptcy and they are converting it into a huge transloading facility–where supplies like pipe and frac sand are delivered in bulk by barge and rail, broken down and sent back out by truck to drill sites throughout the region (see New Ormet Aluminum Plant Owner Shops Barge Facility to Shalers). It will be a huge staging site for at least three (so far unnamed) producers in the area. The re-purposed facility now has a name: Center Port Terminal. In order to get the facility ready for the shale industry, Niagara is conducting the auction to end all auctions (massive) to get rid of existing plant equipment. Here’s the details…
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ET Rover Pipeline Fully Subscribed, Project Scope Revised Up

In June MDN told you about yet another new pipeline coming to the northeast to help alleviate infrastructure bottlenecks with getting our plentiful gas to market. Energy Transfer Partners announced the ET Rover pipeline project that will connect Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio to Canada (see Big News: ETP “Rover” Marcellus/Utica Pipeline to Midwest/Canada). Yesterday ETP issued a press release to crow that the pipeline is now “fully subscribed”–that is, all available capacity has been spoken for with 15 to 20 year contracts. Interestingly, MDN noticed two key differences between this announcement and previous announcements…
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Alpha Natural Resources Back in the Marcellus

Last December MDN reported that Alpha Natural Resources, a Virginia-based company and one of the country’s largest coal producers, had sold its Alpha Shale division with active Marcellus drilling in Greene County, PA to Rice Energy for $300 million (see Alpha Natural Resources Sells 50% Marcellus Stake to Rice Energy). We thought that was probably it for Alpha with respect to northeast shale drilling. But hold on, not so fast. What we weren’t aware of is that Alpha has a new joint venture with EDF Trading Resources and Alpha is drilling two wells this year in the Marcellus, with plans to drill another four next year…
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Delaware Riverkeeper Sues to Stop Fracking Under PA State Land

The litigious (and arrogant) Maya van Rossum, aka THE Delaware Riverkeeper, is hoping that lightening, in the form of a lawsuit, will strike twice. The Delaware Riverkeeper was party to the tragedy that overturned a large portion of the 2012 Act 13 drilling law (see PA Supreme Court Rules Against State/Drillers in Act 13 Case). The decision made by the PA Supreme Court was a bad one, based on brand new so-called environmental rights that didn’t previously exist. It was also based on the false premise that oil and shale drilling are inherently harmful to the environment (see Industry Vet Points Out Error in PA Supreme Court Act 13 Ruling). We have more than 60 years of active drilling/evidence that says the practice is safe. But we digress. PA Gov. Tom Corbett plans to expand a program already underway in the state to allow a teeny tiny bit more drilling under PA’s state forests. Ms. Rossum is determined to stop it…
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New Faux “Research” on Air Emissions Near Frack Sites

We think there needs to be more scientific/objective studies done on air quality and emissions near drilling sites and compressor stations–you get no argument from us on that score. We suspect there are some problems and issues with air emissions from shale drilling and compressor stations–but we’d like some hard evidence to prove or disprove that suspicion. Yesterday a new study was published in the online journal Environmental Health. The new study, titled “Air concentrations of volatile compounds near oil and gas production: a community-based exploratory study” (full copy embedded below) concludes: “Air concentrations of potentially dangerous compounds and chemical mixtures are frequently present near oil and gas production sites.” The big red flag is that the study is based on “data” collected by anti-drilling “volunteers” who have skin in the game. The data was not collected by impartial, objective scientists. The authors of the “study” are themselves rabid anti-drillers. This is the latest in a long line of “research studies” that is scientific GIGO: garbage in, garbage out…
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Mayor Nutter, State PUC Attempt CPR on Dead PGW Deal

The corrupt Philadelphia City Council killed the sale of the municipally-owned Philadelphia Gas Works earlier this week (see Philly City Council Kills the Phila. Gas Works $1.86B Deal). PGW is bleeding money and rates for residents are sky high, in no small part because they still buy their gas from the Gulf Coast instead of getting it from the nearby (and super cheap) Marcellus region in their own state! What’s next in the process? Philly’s Democrat Mayor, Michael Nutter, along with the state Public Utility Commission (PUC), haven’t quite given up on the deal–not yet. They’re bringing enormous pressure on council members to at least take a vote, something Council President Darrell Clarke has been unwilling to do. The PUC had been waiting to conduct hearings on PGW because of the impending sale. With the sale off, the PUC is turning up the heat and will hold hearings in the next two weeks to demand answers from PGW (and Council) on how they’ll fix the mess they’ve created…
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NiSource 3Q14: A Lot of Irons in the Fire, Spending Billions

NiSource, owner of the Columbia Pipeline Group (with lots of projects cooking in the northeast) issued its third quarter 2014 update yesterday. We have a fair bit of news in the release about their midstream activities in the Marcellus and Utica Shale region. They also update progress on their massive modernization project in replacing a lot of existing pipeline in the northeast–to the tune of $12-$15 billion over the next 10 years. The update highlights progress for the recently announced Leach and Rayne XPress projects, the WB XPress, Mountaineer XPress and the Washington County Gathering project. There’s a lot in there!…
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Invenergy Buys Land in NEPA for Natgas Electric Generating Plant

More than a year ago MDN told you about a new natural gas-powered electric generating plant being planned for Jessup (Lackawanna County, PA (see Marcellus Gas to Power Combined-Cycle Electricity Plant in NE PA). Invenergy, the company that will build the plant (and North America’s largest wind power generator), says the Jessup plant is still “years down the road.” But they’ve just taken the first step on that road by purchasing 80 acres of old coal property…
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First Energy Completes New Power Line for Pennant Midstream in OH

FirstEnergy, an electric utility company operating in the northeast, announced yesterday they have completed the installation of 3.5 mile, 138 kilovolt (kV) transmission line in Mahoning County, OH that runs to the Pennant Midstream natural gas processing facility in Springfield Township. The new line cost $3 million and replaces “temporary equipment” (i.e., jury-rigged) installed previously so the Pennant plant could begin operations. The new line allows for future expansion at the facility. This is not the first shale-related project for FirstEnergy. Earlier this year FirstEnergy announced a $36 million electric substation for a MarkWest processing plant in WV (see FirstEnergy Builds Electric Substation for MarkWest WV Plant). Here’s the details for their latest project…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Oct 31, 2014

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading:
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AEP Well “Malfunction” Leads to Evacuation of ~400 Homes in SE OH

evacuationA mechanical malfunction at a producing American Energy Partners Utica Shale well in Jefferson County, OH caused the evacuation of about 400 area homes from Tuesday night into early Wednesday morning, according to the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR). The well, near the Mingo Sportsmen’s Club, was successfully shut down by Boots & Coots International Well Control Inc. Although area residents interviewed said they didn’t feel in danger, it’s still disconcerting (and a hardship) when something like this happens. Here’s an ear-witness account…
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Blue Racer Condensate Pipeline Ruptures/Burns in Monroe County, OH

A Blue Racer Midstream condensate pipeline caught fire early Tuesday morning near Cameron (eastern part of Monroe County, OH). Condensate is lighter than crude oil but heavier than natural gas liquids. Think of it as really light oil. Blue Racer’s condensate pipeline runs from Utica wells in eastern Ohio to Blue Racer’s processing plant in Natrium, WV. According to officials, the rupture in the 8-inch pipeline burned for several hours and burned several acres of surrounding woods before burning itself out. Fortunately it was a remote area where the accident occurred and no one was injured…
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Mariner East NGL Pipeline Begins Tests in Lebanon, PA

It’s funny how reading anti-drilling media reports you get the impression that projects like Sunoco Logistics’ Mariner East Pipeline may be in jeopardy. The pipeline runs 300 miles from the western edge of Pennsylvania (and beyond) to southeastern PA in the Philadelphia area–to the Marcus Hook refinery. The pipeline, which will flow ethane and propane (natural gas liquids) is already in the ground except for a few miles in western PA. The only thing needed is approval to build 18 pump stations and 17 valve control stations in 31 municipalities along the route. Some of the municipalities are resisting by throwing up legal roadblocks (see West Goshen’s Legal Shenanigans Try to Block Mariner East Pipeline). Meanwhile, Sunoco plows ahead and has started testing the pipeline, to get it ready to go. In other words, this is not a question of if, it’s a question of when
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Cuomo Staff Explains “End of Year” Deadline for Frack Report

In the recent (and only) gubernatorial debate held in New York State, the man-child Andrew Cuomo, someone who can’t make a decision, when questioned/pressured about the issue of the now six-year moratorium on fracking, gave (yet another) new deadline for when he’ll make a decision. Cuomo said that the report due from the state Dept. of Health, originally due in February of 2013, but delayed from unknown reasons, will be ready by “the end of this year.” If we had a nickel for every time Cuomo has lied about the DOH report and about when a decision on fracking would be made, we’d be millionaires. A few days after the debate Cuomo’s staff had to clean up Andy’s poopy mess and say that the end of the year isn’t the man-child’s deadline–oh no–that deadline is what the DOH itself has privately told the man-child. In other words, more political CYA just in case the report doesn’t materialize by “end of year”…
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