Dominion Gets Final Fed Approval to Build Cove Point LNG Plant

happy dance - SnoopyBlow the horns…cheer and clap and celebrate. Let’s all do a happy dance! Yesterday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a final approval to Dominion for their liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility in Cove Point, Maryland. And that’s following anti-drillers behaving badly at a recent FERC meeting (see 20 People Crash FERC Meeting, Complain about Cove Point LNG). Looks like the antics of people taking over a FERC meeting didn’t impress the commissioners. Following the FERC announcement Dominion issued their own announcement (both announcements are below) to say as soon as they review FERC’s final “order” on the plant they will seek a “Notice to Proceed” from FERC and then (very soon) construction will begin…
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Spectra Energy Asks Maine PUC to Support Its Pipeline Project

Two weeks ago MDN told you about Kinder Morgan’s “historic” proposal filed with the Maine Public Utilities Commission offering the State of Maine a long-term contract for natural gas pipeline capacity with the goal of lowering overall energy costs for Maine consumers (see Kinder Morgan Sweet Talks Maine to Support Mass. Pipeline). The catch is that Maine will assess a fee on all of their electric customers to raise the money they would pay to Kinder for Kinder to help build their proposed extension of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline across Massachusetts to deliver cheap, abundant Marcellus Shale gas to New England. Not to be outdone, Spectra Energy yesterday sent their proposal to Maine, to try and get Maine to support their project instead of Kinder’s…
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High Level Defection from Chesapeake Energy to McClendon’s AEP

Somehow John Reinhart, lately Senior Vice President for Operations and Technical Services at Chesapeake Energy in charge of 1,400 people, survived the mass firings by corporate raider Carl Icahn and his toady Doug Lawler, the nominal CEO of Chesapeake (see Chesapeake’s CEO Celebrates Axing 1,200 People Making Carl More $). So it must have really hurt when Reinhart defected, as was announced yesterday, to go to work as Chief Operating Officer of Utica/Marcellus for his old boss Aubrey McClendon over at Chesapeake II–known as American Energy Partners (AEP). Like a phoenix rising rising from the ashes…
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Canadian NOVA Chemicals to Ship Utica Ethane via UTOPIA

In December, midstream company Kinder Morgan announced they would build a 210-mile, 10-inch natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline that will carry Utica ethane and propane from Harrison County, OH, to Riga, MI. From Riga, the NGLs will hitch a ride via the KM Cochin Pipeline east to Windsor, Ontario, Canada (see UTOPIA is Coming! The UTOPIA Pipeline, that is…). Earlier this month MDN told you that UTOPIA launched an open season to sign up customers for the pipeline (see UTOPIA Open Season Begins Today – OH to MI NGL Pipeline). Not surprisingly, Kinder has just announced that NOVA Chemicals, owner of the Corunna ethane cracker plant in Ontario, has signed up as one of Kinder’s main customers for UTOPIA. We did, however, notice a few interesting things about this latest announcement…
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PA Snubbing Company Helped Drill Utica’s #1 Well

Last week MDN told you about the new reigning champion for most-productive Utica well ever, a well drilled in West Virginia by Magnum Hunter Resources (see Magnum Hunter Takes the Prize: Top Producing Utica Well). Two and a half weeks ago MDN told you about Deep Well Services (DWS), a “snubbing” company based in Pennsylvania (see PA “Snubbing” Company DWS Experiences Rapid Expansion). It seems there’s a connection between the two stories. DWS issued a press release yesterday to point out they were involved with working on the Magnum Hunter champion Utica well…
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NY Anti-Drillers Offer Cuomo a Tour of PA Fracking

This one is really funny. The bizarre people who run New Yorkers Against Fracking, namely Sandra Steingraber, who gets paid by Ithaca College to travel around trash talking fracking, and a few others from virulent anti-fossil fuel groups, have dogged New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo everywhere he goes for the past two years. They pester him so much that when one of their nutty number isn’t at one of his public events, Cuomo’s daughter wonders if the stars are out of alignment (see NY Gov Cuomo Comments on Fracking, Hounding by Protesters). Those same ever-present protesters recently sent a letter to Cuomo offering to take him on a tour of Pennsylvania’s gas drilling areas. Are they just temporarily nuts? Or permanently insane? Do they really think he would ever, in this life, accept such an offer?…
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MWCD Cuts Watershed Fee 50% Thanks to Utica Shale Revenue

Here’s a good news story for millions of Ohio residents who are fortunate enough to live in the Muskingum Watershed. After some initial timidity, the board members of the Mukingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD), charged with managing 8,000 square miles of rivers, reservoirs and creeks that drain into the Muskingum River (covering 20% of the state), decided in 2012 to lease MWCD-owned land for Utica Shale drilling. Since that time they’ve received more than $175 million in signing bonuses. With royalties that eventually will come in, it’s not inconceivable that the MWCD will rake in over $1 billion in revenue from Utica lease activity. They’ve already committed to reinvesting $300 million over the next 10 years (see MWCD Reinvesting $300M of Utica Shale Revenue over Next 10 Yrs). The further good news for residents in the Watershed is that the fees they pay to the MWCD will go down–by 50%–starting next year. Thanks to the Utica Shale…
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GAO Issues Report on Class II Injection Well Fluid Info Collection

Several anti-drilling U.S. senators and congressman requested that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) conduct research and issue a report to describe what information the federal EPA and the individual states collect from class II injection well operators on the characteristics of injected fluids. That is, the Dems wanted the GAO to write a book report on just how nasty and vile the chemicals are from oil and gas drilling that get injected deep into the earth, never to return, and how those nasty chemicals may one day pollute all of our drinking water supplies. The Democrat staffers at the GAO were only too happy to comply. Both Pennsylvania and Ohio’s programs are part of the “study”…
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Natgas Used for Heating Homes Up in Northeast, Down Elsewhere

An article published last week by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) in their always-excellent Today in Energy online publication compares how different parts of the U.S. heat their homes. Three of the four regions in the U.S., including the northeast, primarily use natural gas as their primary heating fuel. However, only the northeast is seeing an increase in natgas use for home heating. All of the other areas of the country are seeing a decline in natgas use. Instead, they’re using more electricity. And how, you may ask, is electricity being produced? Yep–natgas and coal, primarily…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Tue, Sep 30, 2014

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading:
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NiSource Splits in Two: Columbia Pipeline Will be Separate Company

Breaking Up is Not So Hard to DoNiSource is a very big public utility company (electric & gas) serving 3.8 million customers from the Gulf Coast through the Midwest to New England. Headquartered in Indiana, NiSource is also the parent of Columbia Gas, which owns extensive pipelines and recently announced they would build another two new pipelines in the Marcellus region (see Columbia Gas: $1.75B for 2 Projects to Send Marcellus Gas to Gulf). NiSource has decided and in an unusual move announced yesterday (Sunday) that they are splitting the company in two. NiSource the utility will remain focused on being a utility, and Columbia Gas will be spun off into it’s own company called Columbia Pipeline Group (CPG) under a master limited partnership (MLP) structure. MLPs issue “units” instead of shares of stock–although functionally they are about the same thing. Here’s the details from NiSource…
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Thailand & Japan Partner to Build 3rd Big Marcellus Ethane Cracker

Word has leaked out that Thailand’s largest chemical company–Bangkok-based PTT Global Chemical–and Japan’s fifth largest general trading company/conglomerates–Tokyo-based Marubeni Corp.–have formed an alliance and are actively looking to build an ethane cracker plant in the Marcellus/Utica region. The first such ethane cracker was announced by Shell in 2012, to be located in Beaver County, PA. The second was announced last year by Odebrecht, targeted to be built in Parkersburg, WV. We also recently told you about a “baby cracker”–a much smaller version of an ethane cracker coming to Monroe County, OH (see Ohio to Get “Baby” Ethane Cracker Originally Slated for WV). The PTT/Marubeni cracker will be the third big/major cracker plant for the northeast–with the caveat “if built” (which applies to all of these projects). The word on the street is that PTT/Marubeni have been looking for nearly a year…
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OH Utica Shale’s Most Productive Wells in 2Q14

Recently released production numbers from the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) show a bit of a surprise. The single most productive Utica Shale well during second quarter 2014 (April – June) was from one of the smallest drillers. A well drilled by Hall Drilling (headquartered in West Virginia) in Monroe County, OH produced 1.43 billion cubic feet of natural gas during 2Q14. Other top-producing wells were drilled by Gulfport Energy, Antero Resources and Hess. Here’s some numbers…
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WV Receives 4 Bids to Drill Under the Ohio River

West Virginia doesn’t let any grass grow under their feet when it comes to the drilling industry. They are pro-drilling, by and large, and when they get an idea, they run with it. Latest example: Barely a month ago WV officials announced they will lease the land under portions of the Ohio River, to allow Marcellus/Utica drilling (see State of WV Looks to Lease Area Under Ohio River for Drilling). Last Friday they opened bids from four different drillers. Here’s what they found…
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Did DEP Mishandle Range Wastewater Impoundment Investigation?

Range Resources has had a long-running dispute with some of the neighbors near some of it’s wastewater impoundments in Washington, PA. Without recounting the details (see MDN’s previous stories here), the entire thing came to a head recently when the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) completed their investigation and fined Range the highest amount any driller has paid so far in the modern shale drilling era (see PA DEP Fines Range Resources $4.15M for Wastewater Impoundments). Part of the deal is that Range is closing those impoundments. There are, of course, legal actions involved, as you might expect. One of the neighbors near the Yeager impoundment sued Range with claims of well water contamination from chemicals leaking from the impoundment. The DEP determined the landowner’s well was not contaminated by the Range impoundment and the landowner challenged that finding in DEP’s version of court, the Environmental Hearing Board. Testimony at the hearing last week from a DEP official about the investigation indicates the DEP “might have used incomplete and inaccurate test information to decide whether chemicals leaking…contaminated a water well and springs”…
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Stone Energy: 1st Utica Well Drilled, 5 Extra Marcellus Wells

Stone Energy, an independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company headquartered in Lafayette, Louisiana with operations both on- and off-shore (and with an active drilling program in the Marcellus and Utica region) released an update today. Stone says they’ve drilled their first Utica well and will test it later this year. They also say they will drill 35 Marcellus wells total this year–up from the originally forecast 30 Marcellus wells…
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