Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Wed, Dec 4, 2013

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading:

New York

Fracking Fighters Are An Admission of Defeat: Who’s Funding Them?
Natural Gas Now
Several friends sent me an appeal recently from for individuals who would volunteer as Fracking Fighters. It’s a fascinating letter from Josh Fox, the phony film maker who has built a career around one $100,000 lie and after making some reckless statements typical of his approach to any topic, he begs for people to step forward and join the brigade against fracking, using a $500 sweetener to attract attention. If there is any clearer indication the fracking opposition is in trouble, I don’t know what it might be. Paying for volunteers is the last resort. They’ve been doing it all along, of course, but this is blatant and a tacit admission their claim about the industry flooding the battleground with money was really just another case of accusing your opponent of doing what you’re doing.

Natural gas site planned for area
Albany Times Union
Two energy companies are planning their first natural gas compression plant in New York somewhere in the Albany area next fall to service commercial and industrial users. Houston-based Direct Energy Business, through affiliate Hess Energy Marketing, and Xpress Natural Gas, of Boston, are eyeing “multiple locations” for the site and have not yet chosen one, said Direct Energy Business spokeswoman Andrea Romo on Wednesday. To be operated by Hess, the plant would compress natural gas and load it onto Xpress trucks for delivery.

Energy boom brings new life to old businesses across U.S.
Dallas-Fort Worth Star-Telegram
This rust-bucket town near Buffalo [Lacawanna, NY] is a perfect example of the transformation that fracking has brought to American business, where new life has been breathed into manufacturing and railroads even as much of the economy lumbers along. On land that three decades ago bustled with thousands of steelworkers, then lay fallow for years when America’s steel industry went bust, a new business now thrives: Welded Tube USA, whose parent company is Canadian. In September, the new Lackawanna plant started making steel pipes for companies that drill for natural gas and crude oil. In its first year, Welded Tube plans to make about 100,000 tons of steel pipe used to push deep below the surface in search of oil and natural gas.


Fracking industry wants to move its waste down Ohio River on barges, but faces opposition
Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Our water comes from the Ohio River.” That’s the voice of Kaleel Skeirik, a music professor at Xavier University. The university is in Cincinnati and Skeirik lives in a suburb. Both places are in southwest Ohio, far from the eastern Ohio hills and fields where the oil industry is extracting oil and gas from shale deep underground. Yet the Ohio River, even at its farthest reaches, represents the latest battleground in the environmental and safety debate over hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. That part of Ohio is not likely to see oil, gas or the fracking byproduct of chemical-and-sand-infused wastewater coming out of the ground. But under a proposal being considered by the U.S. Coast Guard, barges could move the wastewater down the Ohio and other navigable rivers as the industry seeks new places to dump fracking’s waste.

FERC Order Permits Rockies Express Pipeline LLC to Move Forward with East to West Transportation of Shale Gas Production
VanNess Feldman
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or “Commission”) issued an order on November 26, 2013 determining that Most Favored Nations rights of Anchor and Foundation shippers on the Rockies Express Pipeline LLC (“Rockies Express”) system would not be triggered by potential transactions for firm transportation which would have (1) an east to west primary path, (2) a term of one year or longer, and (3) service in only one rate zone. Van Ness Feldman, LLP represented Rockies Express in the proceeding.


Genesee And Wyoming: The Biggest Little Railroad Around
Seeking Alpha
It is a little gem that started as a short line in New York that I’m expecting the biggest bang for my buck, thanks to the coming boom in the Marcellus and Utica shale region. This article will introduce you to Genesee and Wyoming Inc. (GWR) and discuss their positioning in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York and the potential provided by the energy industry to this member of the Russell Small Cap 2000.

RMU professors work to optimize natural gas fueling station locations
Pittsburgh Business Times
Three Robert Morris University professors are using a mathematical model to figure out the best places to build natural gas filling stations — and the answer is more complicated than the rationale for building conventional petroleum gasoline stations. How the model works is kind of technical, using Gaussian distribution and a Monte Carlo Algorithm. It boils down to this: The more vehicle miles in a certain section of the map, the better to put a fueling station. That means urban and suburban areas that get lots of traffic are better choices mathematically than rural areas. But downtown Pittsburgh could be an inviting area in terms of vehicle miles driven, although not really because the land is worth more as something other than a filling station and the fact that people who live in the suburbs are more likely to fill up their gas tanks closer to home and then drive in to work, Buxton said.

Gas line company plans to expand Forks Township facility following customer demand
Lehigh Valley Express-Times
Columbia Gas Transmission plans to expand its Forks Township facility. Columbia spokesman Brendan Neal said the East Side Expansion Project is intended to meet increased demand for natural gas. It includes 19 miles of new pipes in Chester County, Pa., and Gloucester County, N.J., as well as modifications to six Columbia facilities, including the one on Klein Road in Forks. “In response to customer demand, we have greater need for additional pipeline capacity,” Neal said. He said natural gas is popular due to its low prices and availability. Columbia applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the project Nov. 1 and expects approval in spring 2014, Neal said. Columbia plans to start construction later in 2014 and have the new pipelines in service by fall 2015, he said. The project calls for more than quadrupling the horsepower of the Easton Compressor Station in Forks Township, from roughly 5,000 horsepower to 22,000 horsepower.

Who’s Who in Energy 2013: Searchable database
Pittsburgh Business Times
To help readers connect with the movers and shakers in the ever-changing, fast-moving energy industry, the business journals in Austin, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Houston, St. Louis, San Antonio and Pittsburgh came together to highlight each region’s key players. You can search our database for more details of our Who’s Who in Energy 2013 below.

West Virginia

Burdette touts area for cracker plant
Parkersburg News and Sentinel
Wood County is where the people who are proposing to build an ethane cracker facility want to be, officials said Monday night. The Area Roundtable held its annual membership meeting at the Blennerhassett Hotel. West Virginia Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette, the meeting’s keynote speaker, talked about “the project that is on the tip of everyone’s tongue.”


Who’s Really Cashing In On the Fracking Boom
National Journal
Fracking has sent the price of natural gas plummeting, just not for the people who need it most. The straight-out-of-the-ground price of natural gas is way down since the start of the boom in hydraulic fracturing. Back in 2008, users buying gas directly from drillers were paying an average of $7.97 per thousand cubic feet, according to the Energy Information Administration. By 2012, that cost—known as the “wellhead” price—had dropped to $2.66 in nominal dollars (not adjusted for inflation) resulting in a two-thirds discount in just five years. However, those are the prices paid by pipeline operators, utilities, large industrial users, and other entities that can buy gas directly from the companies that drill for it.

Shell to GE Lured by Gas-Fueled Ships on Record Supply
Royal Dutch Shell Plc, General Electric Co. and a company co-founded by T. Boone Pickens are planning investments in natural-gas-powered shipping as record U.S. output spurs the merchant fleet to use a new fuel. Clean Energy Fuels Corp., which Pickens helped start, will begin construction next year on the country’s first fuel station for cargo ships running on liquefied natural gas in Jacksonville, Florida. Shell said in March it’s planning LNG plants for the Great Lakes and Gulf Coast. GE, evaluating five locations, says the U.S. will need 50 to 100 small-scale plants for ships, trains, mining and trucks by 2025, each costing $50 million to $150 million.


USGS: Denmark shale has 6.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas
Akron Beacon Journal
The Alum Shale in Denmark contains an estimated mean of 6.9 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, technically recoverable natural gas, according to a new report by the U.S. Geological Survey. This estimate comes from the first-ever USGS assessment of shale gas resources in Denmark. The geological foundation that underpins the assessment was facilitated by data provided by the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland. USGS released the assessment to the GSDG in a meeting earlier this morning. “This is a potential resource for Denmark, although there is no current production there,” said USGS Acting Director Suzette Kimball. “The complicated geology in Denmark and the difficulty involved in assessing it really demonstrates how important it is to have a robust geologic model underpinning all of our assessments.”