EIA: Shale NatGas Production Declines First Time in 39 Months

We knew this day would come (although we secretly wished it never would). Our favorite government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, yesterday released our favorite monthly report–the Drilling Productivity Report (DPR). The DPR chronicles how much oil and gas the country’s seven largest shale plays produced last month and their prediction for the coming month. For the first time in 39 months, the combined natural gas output of the seven shale plays will decrease instead of increase. But what a run it’s been! With gas prices in the basement and drillers slashing budgets and people, this was bound to happen. However, shale oil output will hit a new record in March: 9.18 million barrels per day.
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PA DEP Fines Drill Cuttings Landfill for Contaminated Runoff

Last year a sewage treatment facility in Belle Vernon (Fayette County, PA) claimed the effluent (runoff) it was receiving from a nearby landfill in Westmoreland County contained high levels of salt and radioactivity and was causing damage to their treatment system (see Another Post-Gazette Smear Job: Drill Cuttings Pollute Rivers). The landfill accepts drill cuttings–leftover rock and dirt from drilling holes (not wastewater)–yet the sewage treatment plant with help from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette made accusations against the landfill and the shale industry. The state Dept. of Environmental Protection has stepped in and brokered an agreement with the landfill (called a consent order) for the landfill to make certain corrective actions and (of course) pay a $24,000 fine.
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Unions & Businesses Form Coalition to Fight PA Carbon Tax

Big time opposition continues to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan to force the state to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a tax on carbon aimed at coal and natural gas-fired electric power plants, with an eye to driving them out of business. We’ve written plenty about Wolf’s naked power grab, to force the state into RGGI without the legislature’s consent (see our RGGI stories here). In January we told you about a huge number of trade union members lining up to oppose the plan (see 130,000 PA Union Members Join Fight Against Wolf’s Carbon Tax). Those unionists have joined forces with the companies they work for in a coalition called Power PA Jobs Alliance with a mission to defeat RGGI in PA.
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Natural Gas Compressor Station Shut Down by Cyber Attack

A U.S.-based compressor station facility had to shut down operations for two days after sustaining a cyber attack that prevented personnel from receiving crucial real-time operational data from control and communication equipment, according to the Dept. of Homeland Security. We do not know if the compressor was located in the Marcellus/Utica or another shale play. We do know this is a serious–and increasing problem. We consider it cyber terrorism.
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Fed Government Funds Research to Rehab Old NatGas Pipelines

crumbling, old cast iron pipelines

Since gas utilities began operating in the early 1800s, pipelines were originally built with cast iron, and later wrought iron. In the early 1930s, bare steel pipes began to replace outdated cast iron pipelines. Legacy cast iron and bare steel pipes make up 3% of the nearly 2 million miles of utility pipes in use, but account for most of the leaks and failures. As you know, every time a pipeline needs to be replaced, it needs to be dug up. Which is often not convenient for those whose property the pipeline crosses. Trucks, trenches, digging, noise. Not a fun thing. And increasingly every pipeline project, including critical replacements, are opposed by crackpot “environmentalists.” So the U.S. government had a brainstorm (no really, this is not a joke setup). What if someone could figure out a way to “replace” old pipelines in the ground, without digging them up?
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Report: Northeast Petrochemical Industry Market Outlook 2020

MDN is proud to partner with Petrochemical Update, now owned by Reuters Events, to promote the forthcoming Northeast US Petrochemical Conference & Expo 2020, being held June 29-30 in Pittsburgh. As part of that event, Petrochemical Update recently released the Northeast Petrochemical Industry Market Outlook 2020 report. We have details below on how you can get a free copy. Also below are details on how to register for the upcoming June conference–and save $150! Please join MDN at this year’s event. We promise it will be well worth your time.
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Shale Energy Stories of Interest: Wed, Feb 19, 2020

OTHER U.S. REGIONS: Texas regulator calls out state’s worst, best companies for natural gas flaring; NATIONAL: Ted Cruz torches Bernie Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez’s bill to ban fracking; Colder weather outlook lifts nat gas to highest finish in four weeks; The rise of distributed natural gas generation; INTERNATIONAL: These kids need oil and natural gas: 325 million children live on less than $2 a day.
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New Fortress to Build Marcellus-Powered Elec Plant in Nicaragua

click for larger version

New Fortress Energy announced yesterday that it has signed a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement with Distribuidora de Electricidad del Norte, S.A. and Distribuidora de Electricidad del Sur, S.A., Nicaragua’s electricity distribution companies. New Fortress will construct a 300-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant near Puerto Sandino to supply power to Nicaragua’s national electric grid. It is the first natural gas-fired electric plant to get built in the country. New Fortress will provide approximately 700,000 gallons (60,000 MMBtu) per day of LNG to power the plant. Guess where most, if not all, of the LNG will come from?
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FERC Issues Favorable Final EIS for MVP Southgate Pipe to NC

MVP Southgate map (click for larger version)

Although the 303-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project from West Virginia to southern Virginia is facing intense opposition by Big Green in completing the project (currently on hold because of court challenges), the project is now 90% built and in the ground. It should be done later this year. And then what? And then it’s on to building a 75-mile extension from southern Virginia into North Carolina, called MVP Southgate (see Mountain Valley Pipeline Launches Plan to Expand 70 Miles into NC). On Friday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a favorable final environmental impact statement (FEIS) for MVP Southgate. The only step left, which is now a foregone conclusion, is for FERC to issue a certificate allowing MVP Southgate to begin construction.
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Olympus Energy (former H&H) Plans 2 New Wells in Upper Burrell

Upper Burrell Twp

Olympus Energy, the renamed Huntley & Huntley Energy Exploration (HHEX), continues to make Upper Burrell in Westmoreland County, PA a key area of focus. Last April we told you about the company planning its twelfth well pad in Upper Burrell (see Huntley & Huntley Proposes Another Well Pad in Upper Burrell). We’ve since lost track of the number of pads Olympus/HHEX has built in the township, but we have two more to tell you about.

NOTE: Olympus emailed to say they currently have one well pad (not 12), the Zeus pad. That one well pad has three wells in production with three additional wells permitted. However, Olympus did recently apply to build two new pads (each with a single well). We thank Olympus for the correction!
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PA Republicans Outsmart Democrats re Petchem Investment Bill

Pennsylvania Democrats are complaining about State Senate Republicans using a political tactic against the Dems that they themselves use. Which we find hilarious. We’re referring to a recently passed House Bill (HB) 1100, a bill to encourage new petrochemical plant investment in PA (see PA Senate Tweaks, Passes Bill Attracting Cracker-Type Investment). Although the Senate passed the bill, the Senate has not (yet) sent the bill to Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf for his signature. Gov. Wolf has pledged to veto the bill when he gets it (see Gov Wolf to Veto Bill Attracting Cracker-Type Investment to NEPA). So why do Dems care when the bill hits Wolf’s desk if it’s going to get a veto stamp anyway?
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Proposed OH, WV Laws Clamp Down on Illegal Pipeline Protests

Bills aimed at clamping down on illegal pipeline protests (which pretending to be free speech but aren’t) have been introduced in both the Ohio and West Virginia legislatures. In WV, House Bill (HB) 4615 passed the House last week and is now under active consideration in the WV Senate. In Ohio, Senate Bill (SB) 133 was passed last May. The bill was recently reported out of a House committee and likely to see a full House vote soon. It’s obvious that regular folks are tired of radicals and their illegal attempts to block pipeline projects.
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Bottom Drops Out: Feb Natural Gas Price Lowest in 20 Years

More obsessing and hand-wringing over the low price of natural gas (we can’t help it!). Our favorite government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) published a post on Friday that points out the NYMEX price of natural gas has hit its lowest level for a February day in the past 20 years, closing at $1.77/MMBtu on Feb. 10 (up slightly since then). EIA also points out these are the lowest absolute prices (for any day in any month) we’ve seen in the past four years–since the price crash of 2016. Again, the price crash is happening in February! Yuck.
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When (Not ‘If’) NatGas Use in US Will End Debated at NARUC Mtg

In the space of a little over 10 years natural gas has gone from “climate hero” to “climate villain.” In no small part the change has come due to huge amounts of money spent by disgusting Big Green groups like the Sierra Club, Food & Water Watch, NRDC, EDF and others. We’d guess if you were to ask most Americans, they would say fossil fuels (like natural gas) will be replaced “soon” by electricity–not knowing natgas is the single largest source of generating electricity! At the Winter Policy Summit of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) last week, a standing-room-only crowd filled a session moderated by former FERC Commissioner Cherly LaFleur on the topic of how soon the electric sector (along with other sectors) will “wean off gas” here in the United States.
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Shale Energy Stories of Interest: Tue, Feb 18, 2020

MARCELLUS/UTICA REGION: Lamb: Western Pennsylvanians feel ‘betrayed’ by fracking ban legislation; Due process delayed: Tolling orders put pipeline opponents in ‘legal limbo’; Everyone will benefit if Mariner East developers are allowed to make changes to the project; NextEra Energy appoints ex-EQT CEO to board; OTHER U.S. REGIONS: Bernie Sanders comes to Colorado to tell state’s oil and gas workers that he wants to eliminate their jobs; PG&E launching big pipeline project in Napa Valley; NATIONAL: BEBs or bust? Battery electric buses make no sense at all; If they are so alarmed by climate change, why are they so opposed to solving it?; Outgoing INGAA chief urges focus on steps along path to clean energy; States need to answer for stubbornly high electricity bills; INTERNATIONAL: EIA revises global liquid fuels demand growth down because of the coronavirus.
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