Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Tue, Jul 14, 2015

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading:
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Pipeline Ruptures & Burns at Jay-Bee Well Pad in Tyler County, WV

Tyler County, WVThere was a rupture of a gas pipeline at a Jay-Bee Oil and Gas drill pad in the Big Run area of Tyler County, WV early Friday morning. There was no explosion, and no one was injured–but there was a fire and the fire could be seen for miles in the dark early morning. The fire from the ruptured pipe (cause still being investigated) burned for an hour before it was extinguished. The wells on the pad are currently shut-in while the WV Dept. of Environmental Protection investigates. This is not the first Jay-Bee accident in the Big Run area…
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Update on LPG Fracking in New York – What Comes Next?

It's Your MoveAs MDN noted last Thursday, taking a break from being on break in breathtakingly beautiful Ogunquit, Maine, a group of Tioga County, NY landowners have painted Andrew Cuomo and his Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in a corner with respect to fracking in the Empire State (see NY Landowners File to Frack Horizontal Well w/Waterless Tech). Much of the case against fracking for the DEC is that it uses large amounts of water. The Tioga landowners aim to test LPG, or liquefied petroleum gas, fracking–which uses no water. According to the recently adopted Final Supplemental Environmental Generic Impact Statement (FSGEIS) in New York, “Well applications that specify and propose the use of LPG as the primary carrier fluid will be reviewed and permitted pursuant to the 1992 GEIS and Findings Statement”(FSGEIS 2015, pages 9-10). The Tioga landowners mean to use that exception to drill a small well–covering just 53 acres–to prove that fracking is safe. It’s a brilliant move…
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ACLU Bullies Threaten Butler County Landowners over Martian Lawsuit

The most anti-American group on the planet that we know of, aside from ISIS/ISIL/Al-Qaeda, is the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). So we find it truly rich that the ACLU–always on the lookout to squash anything to do with the American way and freedom and apple pie–has now involved itself in what we loving call “the Martian controversy.” A small group of rabidly anti-drilling (and liberal) parents in the Mars School District in Middlesex Township (Butler County), PA want to prevent the legal, legitimate, and now fully permitted right of Rex Energy to drill a few Marcellus Shale wells three-fourths of a mile away from the Mars School. We’ve long chronicled this battle (see MDN’s list of Mars School stories). Four local residents used two non-profits backed by Big Green money and from the opposite side of Pennsylvania–THE Delaware Riverkeeper and the Philadelphia-based Clean Air Council–to file a lawsuit against the little town of Middlesex to stop any kind of drilling, a move that has so far cost local taxpayers over $35,000 in legal defense fees (see Dela. RiverKeeper, Clean Air Council Cost Middlesex Residents $35K+). So a group of 12 Middlesex landowners and a business launched their own lawsuit against the two Big Green groups and the four local residents claiming (rightly) that they are being economically harmed (see Shoe Now on Other Foot: Landowners Sue Martian Anti-Drillers). What do the anti-drilling, liberal, wacko parents and Big Green groups do? They go crying like little girls to the ACLU and now the Big Bully ACLU has ridden into town to tell the 12 landowners and local business they have no right to file a lawsuit! In America!!!…
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Rex Energy Drilling 1st Utica Shale Well in Lawrence County, PA

Exciting news from “the little drilling company that could…and does,” as MDN likes to call Rex Energy. Last week Rex released an operational update with the big news that they will drill their very first dry gas Utica Shale well in Lawrence County, PA (near the Ohio border) in the third quarter of 2015. Rex also brought online another two Marcellus Shale wells in Butler County, PA…
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Halliburton & Baker Hughes Announce a December Wedding Date

shotgun weddingWhatever happened to the shotgun wedding between Halliburton and Baker Hughes–two of the largest oilfield services companies in the United States? After all, the boards for both companies approved the “blissful union” back in March (see Halliburton & Baker Hughes Vote to Approve Shotgun Wedding). What happened is, it’s complicated. Such large buyouts between competitors–when it removes competition from the marketplace–involve approvals from the federal government as well as from governments in other countries where the two companies operate. In the U.S. it is the Dept. of Justice that must approve the merger and the DOJ is a) taking it’s sweet time, and b) forcing Halliburton to sell off some of its assets before they will approve the merger (see Halliburton Shotgun Divorce – Forced to Sell Certain Divisions). In a brief update last week, Halliburton and Baker Hughes announced they’re still mired in getting approvals but hope to officially tie the knot on December 1st…
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Magnum Hunter Dodges Another Bullet, Banks Relax Cash Requirement

In June MDN told you that Magnum Hunter Resources (MHR) was being told by its big bank creditors to get $65 million cash in hand by July 10th, or else (see Magnum Hunter’s Bankers Say Get $65M in Cash by July 10, Or Else). Or else what? Guess we’ll never know. Last week MHR announced they had gotten $55.6 million in hand and the bankers said aaaah, good ‘nuf. Whew. MHR dodged another bullet and can keep the doors open for a while longer…
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Williams Announces New Upgrades to Transco Pipeline into NYC

More yummy Marcellus Shale gas will be flowing to 500,000 additional New York City residents by the 2017/2018 heating season if an application just filed by Williams with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gets approved. Last week Williams filed an application with FERC for the New York Bay Expansion Project. The $130 million project will expand capacity on the mighty Transco pipeline by installing new compressor station equipment, replacing a quarter mile of pipeline (in New Jersey), and upgrading meter and regulator stations at several locations in NJ, PA and NY. All work will be done in existing rights-of-way and at existing facilities–no new building or greenfield construction necessary. But that won’t stop the crazies from opposing it…
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NEXUS Pipeline Sues 4 Medina County Landowners for Survey Access

A small group of Ohio landowners in Medina County are resisting requests by NEXUS Pipeline to allow surveyors on their property. We told you about one such old geezer who threatens to shoot surveyors coming on to his property (see Medina, OH Landowner Says He’ll Meet NEXUS Surveyors Packing Heat). Old Walt Giebeler, the geezer in question, can put his 12 gage shotgun away. NEXUS isn’t interested in his property. But they are interested in four other properties where landowners have refused to let them in to simply survey–so NEXUS has filed a lawsuit against them, asking a judge to allow them access. Without a survey, NEXUS can’t finish their application for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which is, of course, the entire point of denying surveyors access…
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Columbia Pipeline Signs $180M Deal with IBM for IT Infrastructure

Now that Columbia Pipeline Group (CPG) is standing on its own two feet (see NiSource/Columbia Pipeline Divorce is Final), it’s time to find new vendors and suppliers. CPG hasn’t wasted any time. A little more than a week after separating from NiSource, CPG signed a major $180 million contract with IBM to supply the now independent CPG with information technology infrastructure and services. Think of it as new plumbing to help information flow faster through the organization. As the old saying goes, nobody ever got fired for buying IBM stock (or the corollary–from using IBM’s services)…
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WV Establishes New Commission to Study Drilling/Pipeline Safety

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has, as he promised in his 2015 State of the State address, formed a new commission on oil and natural gas safety to study and make recommendations on how the industry in the Mountain State can get better at safety. Translation: What new laws and regulations can the state adopt to make things safer without destroying the industry in the process? Tomblin announced the members of this new West Virginia Commission on Oil and Natural Gas Industry Safety. Five of the 14 members are from the oil and gas industry. The group is charged with making a final proposal to Gov. Tomblin by Nov. 16…
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PA Gov Wolf Packs Pipeline Task Force with His Own Minions

minionIn May Pennsylvania “in over his head” Gov. Tom Wolf announced the formation of the Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force (PITF)–an effort to “promote unprecedented collaboration of stakeholders to facilitate the development of a world-class pipeline infrastructure system” (see Disaster on the Horizon: PA Gov Wolf Creates Pipeline Task Force). Translation: We need to slow down the rapid construction of all of these gathering pipelines and since there’s no regulations in PA state law to do it, we’ll create a “task force” to slow it down for us. Last week Wolf announced the 42 people who belong to his hand-picked task force. Not surprisingly, 14 of the 42 members (a full one-third) work for Wolf–in state government, drawing their paychecks from the state and working at the pleasure of Wolf who will fire them if they don’t do what he wants. Another nine work for either county, state or federal governments. That’s 23 of 42 (over half) who work for the government. How many are from the oil and gas industry? Only 12 representatives from the O&G industry–and of that, only 6 of them are from pipeline companies, the very entities that will get regulated by this unofficial regulating body…
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NY Landowners File to Frack Horizontal Well w/Waterless Tech

Stop Press!Wouldn’t you know? The very day that MDN goes on vacation, a HUGE story–at least for New York State–happens. So we’re back with a single posting today. Yesterday a press conference was held in the Town of Barton (Tioga County), NY to announce that a group of landowners flying under the name of The Snyder Farm Group (five families make up the group) have contracted with Tioga Energy Partners to drill a fracked Utica Shale well, and follow it up with drilling a fracked Marcellus Shale well, using liquefied petroleum gas (LPG or propane) and sand. The wells will not use water for fracking–and therefore, according to the landowners, avoid the ban on high volume fracking recently imposed by Andrew Cuomo and his underling Joe Martens at the state Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC). There is no doubt this is huge news throughout the state–and is giving heartburn to Cuomo and Martens. What cockamamie grounds can the DEC possibly use to refuse it? It’s a brilliant move by the landowners in Tioga County…
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MDN on Vacation July 8-10

summer vacationDear MDN Subscribers (and site visitors):

MDN will take a short break for summer vacation Wednesday, July 8 through Friday, July 10. We will be back at full strength, rested and recharged, on Monday, July 13. If anything of major consequence happens over the next three days, we will post. Otherwise, see you next Monday!

Jim Willis
Editor

Velocys GTL Company Suspends CEO for Possible Serious Misconduct

Roy Lipski

Roy Lipski

In September 2013 MDN told you about an innovative new $300 million gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant being built in Ashtabula, OH that will convert Marcellus and Utica Shale gas into chemicals and diesel fuel (see Utica Shale Gas-to-Liquids Plant Planned for Ashtabula, OH and More Details on Ashtabula, OH Gas-to-Liquids Plant). The plant was going to be built by a Houston-based company called Pinto Energy using technology created by UK-based Velocys. But last June Velocys announced they were buying out Pinto Energy lock, stock and barrel–including (and primarily for) the Ashtabula GTL plant (see UK-based Velocys Buys Ashtabula, OH GTL Plant). The last we heard about the Ashtabula GTL plant was that the Ohio EPA issued a draft Lake Erie discharge permit in March 2015 and scheduled hearings about the plant (see OH EPA Issues Draft Lake Erie Discharge Permit for Ashtabula GTL Plant). Here’s the bombshell: Velocys has just suspended its Chief Executive Officer, Roy Lipski, pending an investigation into “allegations of serious misconduct”…
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DEP Approves MarkWest Plan to Expand Bluestone Gas Processing Plant

We wouldn’t classify it as one of the major miracles, but perhaps as a minor miracle. Something comparable to a picture of the Madonna weeping real tears. The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP), under the leadership of DEP’s PennFuture Secretary John Quigley, has signed off on a MarkWest Energy request to double the size of the Bluestone natural gas processing facility in Butler County. MarkWest plans to build two new units at the facility (200 million cubic feet per day of capacity for each, or 400 Mmcf/d total). The first of the two will, if all goes as planned, come online by the end of this year…
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