In a surprise move, two West Virginians have announced their intention to build an ethane cracker plant in the state. Former state Supreme Court Justice Richard Neely and Ryan Cunningham, owner of Charleston-based Cunningham Energy have formed a partnership with a few others and will try to get the necessary permits and financing to build an ethane cracker plant on a 1,500-acre plot near Montgomery, WV.
Two large energy companies, Shell and an unidentified company, have said they will make announcements in January of 2012 on where they will build ethane cracker plants. West Virginia was hopeful that Shell or the other company would select their state. But Neely and Cunningham don’t want to leave it to chance—so they plan to move forward.
The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS) originally opposed PA House Bill 1950 and Senate Bill 1100, the two primary bills before the General Assembly that deal with the issue of natural gas development that are now very close to reconciliation and a signature from Gov. Tom Corbett. PSATS’ primary objection is that the bills would strip away most, if not all, municipal authority to regulate gas drilling in their own communities. Recent amendments to the bills have made them “more reasonable” and more palatable to PSATS, but they are still not good enough to garner an endorsement.
Norse Energy Corp, the U.S. subsidiary of the Norwegian energy company, owns leases for 180,000 net acres in New York State, 130,000 of those acres being in the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays. Norse bet the farm on New York allowing shale gas drilling long before now, and they lost (NY is still months, if not years away from allowing shale gas drilling). Norse has put their New York acreage on the auction block, looking for another company to buy it.
In the meantime, one of Norse’s drilling partners is suing them for lack of drilling according to their agreement. That agreement had nothing to do with shale gas, but instead was drilling in the Herkimer formation, a limestone-type layer in central New York. Norse seems to indicate they may restart Herkimer drilling at some point. From the Norse press release: