Those opposed to Marcellus drilling in New York and Pennsylvania continue to use the court system in an attempt to either delay or outright ban drilling. The latest instance came just yesterday with a lawsuit filed in federal court in New York:
Canadian Stephen Murgatroyd has penned a sterling guest column in the Ponoka News (Alberta, Canada) on the subject of oil, natural gas and renewable energy. The column refutes the notion that fossil fuels, in particular oil, have reached their “peak”—the idea that we have reached a situation where we are using more oil and natural gas in the world than can be found in new reserves—and that we will run low or run out in the not-too-distant future (perhaps a generation or two from now).
Mr. Murgatroyd turns the table and makes the case that renewable sources of energy, like wind, solar, biomass and hydro instead are facing a “peak” in their use as the environmental problems with these technologies become more evident, and as their high costs become unacceptable due to subsidies being phased out by governments that can no longer afford to prop them up as they have done to date.
Dominion, one of the country’s largest producers and transporters of energy, has just announced they will build a large natural gas processing and fractionation plant along the Ohio River in Natrium, W.Va. to process shale gas from the Marcellus and Utica Shale regions. The plant’s first phase of construction will be completed by the end of next year. The new facility will provide construction jobs initially, and when completed, 40-50 permanent jobs. Dominion reports they have already pre-sold 90 percent of the first phase’s processing capacity of 200 Mmcf (million cubic feet) of natural gas per day and fractionation of 36,000 barrels of gas liquids per day. Dominion’s largest customer for the first phase is Chesapeake Energy, reserving 100 Mmcf of processing capacity.
A natural gas processing facility removes all of the various hydrocarbons and fluids from “raw” natural gas (as it comes from the well bore) to produce what is known as ‘pipeline quality’ dry natural gas. Natural gas liquids (NGLs) are valuable by-products of natural gas processing and can include ethane, propane, butane, iso-butane, and gasoline. Dominion will sell natural gas and gas liquids from the facility via truck, railroad, pipeline and barge.
UPDATE (Aug 8): Dominion will invest $500 million to build its new natural gas processing plant in Natrium, WV (see this article).
The kick-off meeting for Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s recently appointed Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission happened yesterday at Rocky Gap State Park in western Maryland. It was the first meeting in what will be a three year process—a final report from the Commission is due in August of 2014. Such a long delay puts Maryland at the back of the pack for Marcellus shale drilling (see MDN’s comments here)—a fact that rankles landowners and energy companies interested in moving forward.
The first meeting saw a few sparks as issues of timing and taxation came to the forefront: