Blue Racer Barges NGLs to Gulf Coast on the Ohio River

Blue Racer Midstream logoThis post will not make anti-fossil fuel nutters happy. You know how antis have moaned and groaned at the prospect of allowing barges on the Ohio River to transport produced water–naturally-occurring salty water that comes out of the ground long after fracking operations are over. Antis complained so much that the Obama Administration politically prevented the Coast Guard from moving forward with a barging plan (see Coast Guard Caves to Political Pressure, No Wastewater Barging). The “funny” thing is, there are substances 100 times more toxic than produced water traveling on barges up and down the Ohio every day! But let’s not let facts get in the way of a good [drug-induced hippie] protest, right? In June we brought you the story that Blue Racer Midstream, a joint venture between Caiman Energy II and Dominion that owns several natural gas processing and fractionation plants, 650 miles of natgas gathering pipelines, and 155 miles of NGL and condensate pipelines in OH and WV, is planning to barge NGLs (natural gas liquids) from their facilities in WV down the Ohio River to the Gulf Coast (see Blue Racer Midstream to Begin Barging on Ohio River This Year!). The exciting news is that Blue Racer began their NGL barging program in October…
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Landowner Appeals Range Well Contamination Case to PA Supreme Crt

lawsuitFor some time we’ve followed the story of Range Resources and their (former) wastewater impoundments in Washington County, PA. The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) fined Range a whopping $4.15 million for violations in September 2014 (see PA DEP Fines Range Resources $4.15M for Wastewater Impoundments). Some of the nearby neighbors claimed that Range’s leaky impoundments (a quarter of a mile away) contaminated their water wells. One of those landowners was Loren Kiskadden, who sued Range in civil court. The problem is, the DEP determined that the nearby Yeager impoundment had not contaminated Kiskadden’s well, which led to allegations that the DEP had bungled the investigation (see Did DEP Mishandle Range Wastewater Impoundment Investigation?). Kiskadden had to press on, because if the DEP doesn’t reverse its finding, he has no civil case against Range. Press on he did (see Hearing on Range Yeager Impoundment/Water Contamination Continues). The matter was heard by the DEP’s Environmental Hearing Board (EHB). The EHB found that Kiskadden didn’t have a case–his well was not contaminated by Range’s impoundment. So Kiskadden and his lawyers asked for a re-hearing. The result of that re-hearing came in December 2015 and we thought it finally closed the door, once and for all, on the case (see DEP Final Determination: Range Didn’t Pollute Kiskadden Water Well). But no, that was not the end. Kiskadden appealed again, and in October 2016 a Commonwealth Court appeals panel affirmed the EHB’s 2015 dismissal of Kiskadden’s appeal of the DEP 2011 ruling that Range’s Yeager site operations did not contaminate Kiskadden’s well water. Case closed, right? Nope. Kiskadden has one card left to play, and he’s done it. Kiskadden’s attorneys have appealed the case to the PA Supreme Court…
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Panda’s Marcellus Gas Power Plants Fined for Using Too Much Water

Panda Power FundsOver the past two months Panda Power Funds has brought online the first two built-from-scratch-to-use-Marcellus-gas electric plants, both in northeast Pennsylvania (see First NatGas Power Plant in Marcellus, Panda Liberty, Goes Online and Panda’s 2nd Marcellus-Powered Electric Plant Goes Online in PA). Before Panda owned and built the “Liberty” and “Patriot” power plant projects, they were first owned and begun by Moxie Energy. Moxie secured all of the necessary permits and then sold the two projects to Panda (see Moxie Liberty Sells PA Electric Plant Project to Panda Power and Panda Power Buys Rights for 2nd Marcellus-Fueled Electric Plant). Panda is also building a third power gen project by converting a former coal-fired plant into burning Marcellus gas (see Panda Power Building 3rd Marcellus-Fired Electric Plant in PA). Word has come out that when Panda was building the two Moxie-purchased plants, Liberty and Patriot, they used more water than the original plan called for. Panda says Moxie’s original plan didn’t allow for enough water needed to properly test the plants. The Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) has been in talks with Panda about all three of their projects and the water overages for each. News reports say that Panda has worked out a deal with the SRBC to pay the agency a $97,000 fine for using too much water…
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FERC Delays EIS for Mountaineer XPress & Gulf XPress Pipelines

delayedThe Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has just thrown a little cold water on two important pipeline upgrades to carry more Marcellus/Utica gas to southern markets. A final environmental impact statement (EIS) was due from FERC for both the Mountaineer XPress and Gulf XPress projects no later than April 28, 2017. FERC says that deadline is going to slip by three months due to reroutes and additional environment information requested. MDN has previously reported on Mountaineer XPress, which includes 165 miles of new pipeline with approximately 2.7 billion cubic feet (Bcf) per day of transportation capacity from existing and future points of receipt along or near the Columbia pipeline system–most of it located in West Virginia (see Details on Columbia Pipeline Mountaineer XPress Pipeline Project). We have not, however, reported on Gulf XPress, which seems to be a project different from other Columbia projects we’ve highlighted, including Rayne XPress and Leach XPress. The Gulf XPress project does not appear to be either of those projects renamed (or original thought). Gulf XPress consists of constructing seven new midpoint compressor stations along the existing Columbia pipeline system in Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi, with the aim of moving an additional 875 million cubic feet (MMcf) of Marcellus/Utica gas per day southward, to the Gulf Coast region…
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Fairmount Santrol Buys Back $213M of Debt, Issues $175M in New Stock

Fairmount Santrol logoFairmount Santrol, an Ohio-based sand producer that sells sand as a proppant for use in Utica and Marcellus Shale drilling, raised $161 million from a new stock offering in August (see Fairmount Santrol’s New Stock Offering Exceeds Expectations). Like most companies in the oil and gas industry, Fairmount continues various strategies to strengthen its balance sheet and (frankly) stay afloat. Evidence: On Tuesday of this week the company announced it had repurchased $213 million of outstanding loans to the company. The company has enough credit and/or cash on hand to do so, and by doing so, they will save nearly $10 million a year in interest payments. Good for them! Two days later (yesterday) Fairmount Santrol then announced another new stock offering–floating 20 million shares looking for another $175 million. However, someone else is selling the stock and Fairmount won’t see a dime of the money raised…
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Ceremonial Groundbreaking on US’s Biggest NatGas Electric Plant

dominionIn March 2015, Dominion–a huge natural gas and electric utility as well as a midstream company–announced plans to build the State of Virginia’s (indeed the country’s) largest natural gas powered electric generating plant, in Greensville County, VA (see Virginia’s Largest Electric Plant to be Powered by Marcellus Gas). The $1.3 billion state-of-the-art natural gas-fired electric generating station will generate 1,600 megawatts of electricity. Dominion’s own 550-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline (when built) will provide cheap, abundant, clean-burning Marcellus/Utica Shale gas to power it. In June, Dominion actually broke ground at the construction site (see Dominion Begins Building Virginia’s Biggest NatGas Power Station). However, yesterday there was another groundbreaking for the project–or perhaps it was the ceremonial groundbreaking–or perhaps they actually began to build the structure itself. We’re not sure. What we do know, from reading the article below, is that the local region is pumped about this plant, a plant that will bring $2.5 billion of investment, 1,000 construction jobs to build it, and ongoing tax revenue of more than $8 million a year. No wonder the residents of Greensville County love this project!…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Dec 2, 2016

best of the restThe “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Activists backed with lib $$ protest against Trump & natgas; petition with out-of-state signatures may affect OH Wayne National Forest lease sale; Williams closing OKC office, moving people to Tulsa; OPEC cutback may trigger drilling boom in US shale; North American natgas prices will rise due to LNG, petchem demand; the frac spread; and more!
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FERC Approves NEXUS Pipeline, Project on Track for 2017

approvedAs MDN predicted, yesterday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the NEXUS Pipeline project (see FERC Expected to Approve NEXUS Today; Surveyors have Armed Guards). More precisely, FERC issued a positive Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). These projects are complex and the final Certificate is yet to be granted that allows Spectra Energy to begin digging–but that Certificate is now just a formality. The big nut to crack was the FEIS. With that now granted (executive summary of FEIS below), the final Certificate is on track to be issued in the first quarter of 2017. That is, NEXUS is on track, on time, and WILL get built despite the objections of anti-fossil fuelers. The NEXUS Pipeline is a $2 billion, 255-mile interstate pipeline that will run from Ohio through Michigan and eventually to the Dawn Hub in Ontario, Canada. It is a critically needed pipeline to move Utica and Marcellus Shale gas from an over-saturated market in the northeast to markets in the Midwest and Canada. But FERC’s approval is not only great news for Marcellus and Utica Shale drillers, it’s also great news for Ohioans as there are numerous taps along the proposed route that will deliver plenty of cheap Utica gas to Ohio residents and businesses. And lest you believe the anti lie that FERC is nothing more than a rubber stamp for the pipeline industry, there are some 38 mitigation projects NEXUS will have to make when building the pipeline–projects that will come at great expense. FERC does it job and does it well, balancing the need for more energy with the impacts that infrastructure will have on landowners and the environment. Here’s the great news, along with some of the reaction…
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Rover Pipeline in Hot Water Over Demolishing Historic House in OH

taken to the woodshedFERC (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) is not happy with Energy Transfer and their Rover Pipeline. There are two major pipeline projects planned for Ohio: NEXUS and Rover. NEXUS got some FERC love today (see today’s lead story). Rover, on the other hand, is getting the cold shoulder from FERC, from a self-inflicted wound. Let us explain. As a reminder, Rover (an Energy Transfer project) is a $3.7 billion, 711-mile Marcellus/Utica natural gas pipeline that will run from PA, WV and eastern OH through OH into Michigan and eventually into Canada. The short version of what happened is that in May 2015 Rover purchased a house in Carroll County, OH, located near where the pipeline, and a compressor station for that pipeline, is due to run. Rover bought the house to use for offices for several Rover affiliate companies. After buying it, they determined it was “ill-suited for its intended purpose” and decided to demolish the house. Problem was/is, that house was under consideration to be added to the National Register of Historic Places. The house was not yet on the list of Historic Places, but was on a list of properties under consideration. Rover should have reported their decision to demolish the house to FERC but didn’t, which has Rover in hot water with FERC and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. Will Rover’s action kill the project? No. Will it slow down Rover and end up costing the company boatloads of money? Most likely, although Rover disputes that interpretation of events…
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Statoil’s Tax Overpayment Cases Bounced Back to WV County Courts

StatoilStatoil, based in Norway, is a big player in the West Virginia Marcellus Shale. Statoil paid property taxes to Brooke, Marshall, Ohio and Wetzel counties (all in WV) in 2015 and later found, during an audit/review, that they had overpaid those counties. They overpaid Brooke by $1.8 million, Ohio by $2.9 million, Wetzel by $1.6 million and Marshall by $342,000. The WV Tax Department argues that Statoil “acted negligently” and exercised “poor judgment” in not finding the mistake sooner. All four counties voted to deny Statoil’s request, so Statoil took them to court, asking the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals to hear the case. However, the Appeals court has just ruled that the cases are not “complex” and don’t require “special treatment,” so back to county court the cases will go…
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Anti-Drillers Lose 2-Yr Case Against Muskingum Watershed District

Gavel-falling.jpgFor several years MDN has tracked and reported on a lawsuit brought against the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) by an anti-drilling couple in Guernsey County, OH–Leatra Harper and her husband Steven Janstro (backed by the odious Food & Water Watch). At last check in April 2014, the couple had won the right to continue on with the lawsuit (see Anti-Drillers Win Minor Victory Against Muskingum Watershed Dist). Their aim was to prove the MWCD had violated the original deed to the property by allowing drilling–that by allowing shale drilling on MWCD-owned land, it frustrates the original purpose of the land as stated in the deed, which is to use the land for “recreation, conservation, or reservoir-development purposes.” The case made it all the way to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Last week the Sixth Circuit dismissed the case. The anti-drillers have lost…
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FirstEnergy Flips the Switch on New Marcellus Power Line

FirstEnergyFirstEnergy is one of the nation’s largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. FirstEnergy loves the shale industry. We told you in December 2014 that FirstEnergy was planning to invest $100 million in new electric transmission projects to service the growing Marcellus and Utica Shale industry in WV (see FirstEnergy Investing $100M in Electric Projects for WV Marcellus). FirstEnergy’s construction crews have begun erecting steel poles for a new 18-mile high voltage power line that will run through Harrison and Doddridge counties in WV in April (see FirstEnergy Installs $92M Electric Line in WV for Shale Industry). Great news! FirstEnergy flipped the switch on the new line and the electric is now flowing…
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FERC Denies Anti Request to Stop KM’s Broad Run Expansion Project

request-denied.jpgKinder Morgan’s Broad Run Expansion Project will expand transportation capacity of natural gas on the existing Tennessee Gas Pipeline system. The project includes the construction of two new compressor stations in Kanawha County, WV, one new compressor station in Davidson County, TN, and one new compressor station in Madison County, KY. Tennessee Gas also expects to increase compression capacity by modifying two of its existing compressor stations in Powell and Boyd counties in KY by replacing existing capacity with new, higher-rated horsepower compression units. The project will provide an extra 200,000 dekatherms per day (Dth/d) of transportation capacity along the same capacity path as the Broad Run Flexibility project, which was placed in service on Nov. 1, 2015. All of the additional gas will come from Antero Resources and their Marcellus/Utica program. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Certificate to build the project in September. However, several anti-drillers filed an appeal, asking for a stay claiming a removal of 40 acres of forest for a compressor station would irreparably harm Mom Earth. FERC has just ruled against the stay and told the antis Mom Earth will be just fine. Fire up the backhoes!…
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OSU’s Helpful Tips for Negotiating a Pipeline Contract

helpful-tipsPipelines have been, and continue to be, a big deal throughout the Marcellus and Utica region. Landowners who are approached about placing a pipeline through their property should (1) never sign the standard contract presented, and (2) never sign anything without first running it by a lawyer. Beyond that, what else should landowners think about/do when negotiating a pipeline easement? Clif Little from the Ohio State University Extension gives us some helpful tips…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Thu, Dec 1, 2016

best of the restThe “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Sierra Club lies (again) about PennEast Pipeline; Vermont missing out on low natgas prices; Mass. residents gear up to oppose compressor station; OPEC agrees to cut output & prices jump; valuing our energy infrastructure; Sept natgas output lower despite higher prices; US will be 3rd largest natgas exporter by 2020; and more!
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FERC Expected to Approve NEXUS Today; Surveyors have Armed Guards

NEXUS map

Click for larger version

Word on the street is that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will announce a decision today to approve the NEXUS Pipeline–a $2 billion, 255-mile interstate pipeline that will run from Ohio through Michigan and eventually to the Dawn Hub in Ontario, Canada. It is a critically needed pipeline to move Utica and Marcellus Shale gas from an over-saturated market in the northeast to markets in the Midwest and Canada. If the decision doesn’t come today, it will come very soon. As MDN reported yesterday, the small city of Green, OH (population 26,000) has put NEXUS on notice that if its surveyors show up and landowners refuse access, those surveyors will be arrested if they “trespass” on the landowner’s property (see Green, OH Threatens NEXUS Surveyors with Arrest for Trespassing). Other news agencies are reporting that surveyors are about to show up with armed guards. Into this mess may come an approval for the project. If NEXUS gets approved, it will have the right to use federal eminent domain laws to build the pipeline, regardless of landowner desires. Does eminent domain also include surveying? One would think so since surveying is part of the construction process. Green’s bluster may amount to nothing if the project receives a final approval today. Below are several stories about surveying for NEXUS, as well as a look at the FERC commissioners who will make the final decision on NEXUS…
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