Dominion Expands Marcellus Shale Gas Processing Capacity, Plans to Convert & Expand Ohio-WV Pipeline

Not to be outdone by MarkWest’s recent announcement about expanding their processing and fractionation facilities in the Marcellus Shale, Dominion has announced they too have big plans for expansion in the Marcellus Shale, including converting transmission pipeline TL-404—running through Ohio and West Virginia—into a “wet gas service” line. Dominion’s plans also include building new processing facilities in West Virginia.
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Bad News for NY Landowners: DEC Says Drilling Won’t Begin Until Mid-2011

NY DEC Comm. Pete Grannis MDN does not want to depress and demoralize the good citizen landowners (and drillers) of New York State, but we must share some disheartening news. It seems comments made today by New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis, the man who heads the very agency working on new rules for drilling in New York, indicate drilling in New York State will not begin until spring or summer 2011.

As part of an Earth Day speech at Onondaga Lake near Syracuse, Grannis made some revealing comments:

Grannis predicted the DEC will finish drafting regulations that companies will have to follow to receive drilling permits by fall. He said he expects drilling to begin by spring or summer 2011.*

Why is it bad for landowners and drillers? The longer we go without drilling, the more likely it simply won’t happen at all—ever. In addition, every month that passes with no drilling in New York means thousands of more jobs permanently relocated to other states in the Marcellus Shale, including Pennsylvania and West Virginia, where drilling is already happening. Once drilling companies decide on where to locate their headquarters and branch offices, and once other businesses like wastewater treatment plants and trucking firms get established, they almost never relocate. If those jobs and capital investments go to PA and WV, New York will never see them. A real shame.

Finally, waiting until 2011 is bad because it means the next governor of New York, likely Andrew Cuomo, will have to sign off before drilling can begin. If Cuomo is elected, it’s not at all clear whether he would be favorable to drilling. In fact, it is likely he will be opposed.

There’s still time. Landowners and concerned citizens who recognize just how important this is to New York’s future need to make their voices heard loud and clear to their elected representatives—and people like Cuomo need to understand elections may very well hinge on how they come down on the drilling debate.

It’s time to turn up the heat on the DEC—they’ve had long enough. They are intentionally delaying and stalling for political reasons—not safety reasons.

*Syracuse Post-Standard (Apr 20) – Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis says hydrofracking likely to begin in New York in spring or summer 2011

PA DEP Secretary John Hanger Summons Marcellus Shale Drilling Companies to a May Meeting

PA DEP Sec. John Hanger The PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is summoning all Marcellus gas drillers operating in Pennsylvania to meeting. MDN wouldn’t exactly use the term “mandatory attendance required” to describe the meeting, but reading between the lines it certainly seems that way.

MDN welcomes the DEP keeping a close eye on drillers, especially in the aftermath of Dimock. However, the tone of the press release is confrontational and bullyish, rather than collaborative and respectful.

From the official DEP summons press release:

HARRISBURG—Department of Environmental [Protection] Secretary John Hanger announced today that he has called a meeting of oil and gas companies with permits to drill in the Marcellus Shale to discuss what steps the industry must take to prevent gas migrating from wells and polluting Pennsylvania’s natural resources, which can create a public safety risk.

The meeting will be held on May 13 in Harrisburg.

“The Department of Environmental Protection has a constitutional and statutory obligation to protect Pennsylvania’s environment. That right is not for sale and is not subject to compromise,” said Hanger.

“Drilling for natural gas beneath our soil can be done responsibly without putting the citizens of Pennsylvania, their property or livelihoods at risk,” added Hanger. “I am urging the industry to come and discuss how to effectively and safely prevent gas migration, protect our natural resources, and ensure that what happened to the residents of Dimock Township, Susquehanna County, does not happen elsewhere.”

Last week, DEP took further action against Cabot Oil & Gas Inc. after it failed to address migrating gas discovered in 2009 from drilling operations that contaminated groundwater and the drinking water supplies of 14 homes in the region.

“Gas migration is unacceptable and the department is taking every precaution necessary to address this issue to protect our citizens and their communities,”   Hanger added. “In addition to increased oversight, the department has proposed tougher regulations to meet the growing demand and new drilling technologies including improving well construction standards to protect from gas migration.”

PA DEP Press Release (Apr 20) – DEP to Meet With Drilling Companies to Discuss Ways to Prevent Dangerous Gas Migration Situations, Safeguard Homes, Water Supplies