Shell Gets Important Wastewater Permit for Beaver Cracker Plant

It was more than six months in the making, but finally the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection has granted Shell a permit that allows the facility to discharge wastewater and storm water into the Ohio River. Which may sound like Shell just got a permit to pollute the Ohio River–but that’s not what is happening. Shell is building their mighty $6 billion ethane cracker on a site formerly used as a zinc smelter. The old Horsehead Corp. plant held a permit that allowed the plant to discharge wastewater with some total dissolved solids (TDS) into the Ohio. When Shell bought the site, they also inherited the Horsehead permit for wastewater discharge. Shell filed a plan back in December with the PA DEP to modify that permit for the forthcoming cracker plant (see Shell Cracker Wastewater Discharge Becomes an Issue). So-called environmentalists jumped up and down like a rattlesnake had entered the room–but their showboating had no effect. After six months of review, the DEP has determined Shell’s wastewater request is OK by them, and will not unduly harm the environment. So last Friday, the DEP issued a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit amendment for the cracker plant. This is an important step, without which construction on the plant would not begin…
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Son of NED: Tennessee Gas Considers Another New England Pipeline

Is Kinder Morgan’s NED pipeline project getting reincarnated?! You may recall that over a year ago, in April 2016, anti-fossil fuel nuts in Massachusetts and other northeastern states were orgasmic that Kinder Morgan announced the company had suspended (not necessarily canceled) any further spending/time/effort on the Tennessee Gas Pipeline expansion from NY through MA, otherwise known as the Northeast Energy Direct (NED) project (see NED is Dead – Kinder Morgan Suspends $3.3B New England Pipeline). Now antis are nervous again. On May 23, Kinder Morgan launched a new open season (copy below) for increased capacity/delivery along the Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP) in New York, Massachusetts and New England. Kinder says while NED is truly dead, there’s still demand for more gas in New England they want to provide it. The company is (rightly) being cagey about how they will deliver that extra gas–if the market demand is there. Will it be a another pipeline, like NED? Will it be more compressor stations and pipeline “looping” along the existing route? Nobody knows yet. Sounds to us like this is shaping up to be Son of NED…
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Church Asks NY Court to Stop Broome County CNG Virtual Pipeline

NG Advantage is building a new compressor station to tap into the Millennium Pipeline where it crosses the Chenango River near Port Dickinson, a suburb of Binghamton, in Broome County, NY (see NG Advantage Virtual Pipeline May be Coming to MDN’s Backyard). NG already has three businesses lined up to buy CNG (compressed natural gas) from the project. So-called virtual pipelines compress natural gas and load it onto tanker trucks, and then distribute the CNG to businesses that are not fortunate enough to be located near a natgas pipeline. It’s a cool concept that bypasses anti-drilling objections to pipelines. However, virtual pipelines have one negative side-effect for local residents: LOTS of truck traffic. The Town of Fenton Planning Board recently approved the project, and MDN can report (since we swung by the site) that bulldozers and backhoes are hard at work transforming the site, getting it ready to construct the compressor station. However, a local elementary school, more than half a mile away, decided to sue to try and stop the project (see NY School Saddles Taxpayers w/Legal Fees to Oppose Virtual Pipe). Now, a local Catholic church’s parish center, St. Francis of Assisi, has joined several nearby residents to launch their own lawsuit/petition asking a local court to halt construction…
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Lancaster Anti-Pipeliners Reach New Low with Fake Graveyard

Just when you thought you’ve seen how low some anti-pipeline fanatics will go, they surprise you and go even lower. Antis set up a fake graveyard with a half dozen authentic, 19th century tombstones, right next to a pipeline right of way for the Williams Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline in Lancaster County, PA. Williams is hypersensitive to ensure they don’t violate any “Native American” or other kinds of historic sites. So when they came across the fake graveyard, they thought it was real and proceeded as such, spending time and money to plan a route for construction that would protect the fake site. And antis, with full knowledge, lied to Williams’ people (not telling them is the same as lying in our book). And laughed their considerable derrieres off the entire time, wondering when those poor dunderheads at Williams would figure it out. Now Williams may have the last laugh, because what the antis did is fraud and prosecutable. So-called local Native Americans (i.e. Indians) were in on the “joke.” And now those Indian activists have the gall to say if Williams didn’t recognize something as fake, how will they recognize real Indian artifacts that need protecting? We ask a different question: Who will ever believe these so-called Native American activists again–when they are self-professed liars?…
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Indian Tribe Fights FERC Over Tiny Pipeline in Mass.

In March 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved Tennessee Gas Pipeline’s (TGP) Connecticut Expansion project (see FERC Approves TGP Connecticut Expansion Pipeline Project). The project includes building 13.42 miles of new pipeline loops in three states: Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York. When completed, the new looping will serve an additional 72,100 dekatherms of (mostly) Marcellus Shale gas to three utility companies in Connecticut. The $86 million project is in no way connected to TGP’s now-dead Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline project. However, antis continue to pitch a fit and try to block the project. Can you imagine? They don’t want a single new inch of pipeline anywhere, for any reason. They are, in a word, insane. The latest tactic is to invoke the Indian gods to try and stop it. A local Indian tribe in Massachusetts has filed paperwork with FERC accusing the agency of violating the National Historic Preservation Act by not protecting “ceremonial stone landscapes” supposedly found along the path of the pipeline. If FERC refuses to “re-hear” their decision to allow the project, the Indians say they’ll sue in court…
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Will the Merged EQT/Rice Energy be Too Big for Investors?

A week ago yesterday, EQT and Rice Energy announced some of the biggest news we’ve every reported: EQT is buying out and merging in Rice Energy, to create the largest natural gas producing company in the United States (see EQT Buys Rice Energy in $8.2B Deal, Becomes #1 Gas Producer in US). The combined company will not only be the country’s largest shale gas producer, it will also jump to become the Marcellus/Utica region’s #1 producer/driller. Some analysts and investors are concerned about that. Since EQT/Rice is 100% focused on the Marcellus/Utica, does that put the company at risk? The market got a bit jittery following the announcement. Two days after the news EQT’s stock price tanked, down about $8/share. However, the stock price has since rebounded (see the chart below). Zacks Investment Research issued a research note last Friday analyzing the deal and what it may mean for investors…
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PA DCED Sec Davin Visits Shell Cracker Site, Pushes Severance Tax

Dennis Davin

Dennis Davin, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) took a field trip to visit the Shell ethane cracker site in Beaver County, PA last Friday. Davin was there to do some justified bragging about the facility and what it will mean for the Keystone State over the next 10 years. However, Davin was also there to push for a disastrous severance tax plan. Davin is a smart and competent guy. But he’s also a Democrat and his boss, Gov. Tom Wolf, sends Davin out to try and sell what can’t be sold: a severance tax that would literally kill the Marcellus Shale, the very thing making the Shell cracker plant a reality. Talk about conflicted! But Davin was there to do his master’s bidding, and that he did…
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‘Peak Gas’ Theories Now Relegated to Tinfoil Hat Brigade

Once upon a time, so-called smart people thought oil would run out at some point (“peak oil” theorists). Such theories have been around since the 1880s, the begging of oil! In the modern era those theories renewed again in the early 2000s. And since then, some have lumped natural gas in with it as well. As in, any day now the “house of cards” that is shale drilling will collapse and the gas will dry up and prices will go through the roof. None other than top oil and gas analyst Richard Zeits, writing on the Seeking Alpha investor website, calls peak gas theories in the same category as conspiracy theories. In our words, peak gas has moved to the tinfoil hat brigade. Kooks. Wackos. But there’s still plenty of them around. Every time overall production drops a bit, the peakers poke their heads out to claim “this is it!” Zeits offers his insights into why there will be plenty of natural gas, for at least the next 10 years (likely much longer), why production will continue to ebb and flow (market demand), and what it all means for prices in the short and longer term…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Tue, Jun 27, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Rice brothers make a billion; Southwestern Energy debt trap; Youngstown jobs come back; PA rig count rear record ytd; Shell CEO shows up in Beaver County; EPA punishes PDC Energy; BP doubles down on offshore; new dawn for shale E&Ps; fallacy of peak oil; clogged oil arteries slow shale rush; wind power loses its wind; weaponizing the Endangered Species Act; Panama Canal shale gas; and more!
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DC Court Tells Millennium FERC Can Override NY DEC Pipeline Delay

An Appeals Court decision issued Friday has (in our opinion) HUGE ramifications for New York State and the Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) that has been corrupted by political influence from Gov. Andrew Cuomo. It also has ramifications in other states with overactive environmental agencies too. It is hard for us to overstate how important we think this decision is. The NY DEC has been corrupted and politicized by one of the most corrupt governors New York has ever had: Andrew Cuomo. The Cuomo DEC has unilaterally decided not to issue 401 water crossing permits for several federally-authorized pipeline projects, including Williams’ Constitution Pipeline, NFG’s Northern Access Pipeline, and a teeny tiny 9-mile pipeline Millennium wants to build from their main pipeline to an under-construction natgas-fired electric plant in Orange County, NY, called the Valley Lateral Project. Millennium took the bull by the horns early on, when it was apparent the DEC was following the same pattern of delay and then deny, suing the DEC (see Millennium Pipeline Sues Cuomo’s Corrupt DEC Over Expansion Delay). On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit dismissed the lawsuit by Millennium, which at first blush may seem like a blow. But it was the reasoning and opinion of the judges in dismissing the case that may change everything in New York. The judges said there is no case because if, as Millennium says, the DEC is denying the water permits, FERC itself has the power to jump back in and simply override NY DEC and issue the permits. This is a BOMBSHELL decision. That is, it’s a bombshell if FERC (with a soon-to-be-in-place quorum) exercises its constitutional authority…
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FERC Issues Positive Final EIS for Mountain Valley Pipeline

As predicted, on Friday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a favorable final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) is a $3.5 billion, 303-mile pipeline that will run from Wetzel County, WV to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsylvania County, VA. In the EIS (full copy below), FERC says: “We determined that construction and operation of the projects would result in limited adverse environmental impacts, with the exception of impacts on forest….We conclude that approval of the projects would result in some adverse environmental impacts, but the majority of these impacts would be reduced to less-than-significant levels.” While a favorable EIS all but assures the project will get approved, it is not a final approval. A final approval will come after a full quorum of voting commissioners is in place–currently there are only two of five members sitting who can vote. Anti groups did their best to spin and smear the MVP project–all to no avail. All of their machinations, even with help from local anti reporters, amounts to nothing. This project is happening…
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Status Report for 9 Key Northeast Gas Pipeline Projects

Important, large users of natural gas to produce electricity are states that hypocritically either ban or try to greatly limit fracking. For example, 55% of electric power comes from natural gas in the six New England states. California gets 60% of its powergen from natgas. New York? We get 57% of our powergen from natgas. Florida gets a whopping 67% of its powergen from natgas. There’s only one way states along the Eastern Seaboard (New England, New York, Florida) will continue to get the gas they need to create electricity: pipelines. A recent article in Forbes highlights the critical and urgent need for pipelines in the Marcellus/Utica region. A handy chart of 9 key projects is included (see it below, great chart), outlining when each project is likely to go online. Hint: all but one of the nine will be online by the end of 2018–with several online by the end of this year! The northeast natural gas great pipeline buildout is on the way, and states like New York, Florida and the New England states should bow down and kiss the ground that pipelines are getting built…
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VA Sec Natural Resources Tells Dominion to Back Off re AC Pipeline

A lot of communication (letters, phone calls, meetings) fly back and forth between a midstream (pipeline) company and regulatory agencies when an application is filed for a project. Particularly a project like the Dominion’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline, $5 billion, 594-mile natural gas pipeline that will stretch from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina. Companies like Dominion send letters, make phone calls and meet with federal and state regulators, attempting to anticipate and answer questions and concerns. It’s a natural part of the process. So we found it interesting, indeed strange, that the Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources, Molly Ward, sent a letter to Dominion back in April (just now coming to light) in which she tells Dominion to back off and that people in the agencies that work for her “will not base their decisions on requests or suggestions from an applicant.” The Roanoke Times, “reporting” on the letter, opens their article with this sentence: “Attempts by Dominion Energy to sway regulators in the Atlantic Coast Pipeline permitting process prompted a top official under Gov. Terry McAuliffe to notify the utility that state agencies would not heed those efforts.” So now, when a company attempts to provide information, perhaps anticipating issues and concerns for regulators, and reaches out to contact them proactively, that’s called an attempt at “swaying” and is somehow nefarious and underhanded. Should Dominion contact regulators to ask them to NOT approve the project? Ridiculous! Of course Dominion is going to try and convince regulators that the project is worthy/sound/needed/safe/etc. That’s their job! Why would Ward not want her people to hear directly from Dominion? Her people hear plenty from the other side, anti-fossil fuel nutters opposed to the project…
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True Colors of Politicized NY DEC Evident on Agency Website

The Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York (IOGANY), sent an email last Friday to members alerting them to the profound bias evident for all to see on the state Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) website with respect to renewable vs. fossil fuel energy. It seems the DEC has been politicized by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and now reflects his energy bias in promoting so-called renewable energy sources over fossil fuel energy sources. As IOGANY points out in their email (and as we’ve stated many times), nobody is against renewable sources of energy. They (and we) are, however, against the state choosing sides and promoting some sources over others, when it doesn’t make sense environmentally nor economically. IOGANY’s observations are compelling–showing just how biased agencies like the DEC have become…
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Canadian Regulators Line Up to Support TransCanada Lowball Plan

TransCanada, one of Canada’s leading midstream/pipeline companies, cooked up a deal last year to pipe natural gas from Canada’s West Coast to the East Coast in order to fend off cheap supplies of Marcellus/Utica gas that will flow into Canada when/if the NEXUS and Rover pipelines get built (see TransCanada Pipe Drops Price 42% to Compete with Marcellus/Utica). TransCanada dropped their pipeline price to lure drillers by (theoretically) making it less expensive to get gas from Western Canada, some 2,400 miles away, than from the Marcellus, just 400 miles away. In October, TransCanada launched an open season to lock up customers for the new, lower-priced option. The open season was a bust because TransCanada insists on a 10-year commitment (see TransCanada Plan to Lowball M-U Gas Using Canada Pipeline a Bust). TransCanada revived their plan in February. The original deal required a 10-year term with a long-term tolling rate between C$0.75/GJ to C$0.82/GJ. In February, the advertised deal was for a 10-year term and a simplified single rate of C$0.77/GJ (see TransCanada Revives Plan to Lowball M-U Gas Using Canada Pipeline). Although it looked almost like the same deal all over again with the same 10-year term and about the same price, TransCanada dropped a minimum amount to be shipped and is letting shippers opt out after five years under certain conditions. The changes worked (see TransCanada Says Plan to Lowball M-U Gas Worked, Shippers Sign Up). The plan needs a bevy of regulatory approvals, not only from the National Energy Board but also provincial agencies as well. Those agencies are now falling into line and giving their blessing, which has to happen by November 1st…
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Calendar of Marcellus/Utica Events for Jun 26 – Sep 25

Events related (or of interest) to the Marcellus and Utica Shale, primarily pro-drilling events.

To have your event included (or if you are aware of a worthy event you believe should be on this page), please send the details and/or a link to have it [email protected] email address. Thank you!
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