FERC Invokes Emergency Power to Force Propane Shipments on TEPPCO

first time everLast Friday, for the first time ever, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the agency charged with approving transmission pipelines for oil and gas across the country, invoked its its emergency authority under the Interstate Commerce Act and directed Enterprise Products Partners to prioritize propane shipments on one of its pipelines that runs from the Gulf Coast to the northeast and Midwest (see map below). The Enterprise TEPPCO (TE Products Pipelines Company) pipeline handles various refined products, including gasoline and natural gas liquids like propane. The order directs Enterprise to prioritize propane shipments beginning yesterday or today and continuing for a week. Last Friday Enterprise told shippers it would inject 150,000 barrels of propane into its pipeline on yesterday (Monday) and 350,000 barrels on Thursday. Enterprise later said they are willing to continue prioritized propane shipments until Feb. 21.

All of this is in response to a developing crisis. More than 20 states have declared a state of emergency due to propane shortages. In some Midwestern states, residents and farms are in danger of running out of propane. Does that justify the federal government stepping in? Did FERC also direct Enterprise to reverse the flow of the newly minted ATEX ethane pipeline that runs from the northeast to the Gulf Coast so it too can carry propane?…
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New SRBC Research Finds Marcellus Drilling Safe for Water

This is fascinating–at least for those of us with an interest in the Marcellus and Utica Shale. The Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) which monitors and controls water withdrawals from creeks and rivers that empty into the mighty Susquehanna River (which eventually empties into the Chesapeake Bay), has long been a model of how to properly manage the areas under their control when it comes to shale drilling. The SRBC stands in stark contrast to the dysfunctional Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) which is hamstrung by New York City influence–apparently beholden to self righteous and self important liberal fat cats like Gov. Can’t-Make-a-Decision Cuomo and Mayor Ban-All-Fracking Bill de Blasio.

While the DRBC dithers, along with Cuomo, on whether or not to allow drilling, the SRBC forges ahead and does real science–out in the field–to ensure the water resources under their management are not being adversely impacted by Marcellus drilling. The SRBC launched a state-of-the-art Remote Water Quality Monitoring Network in 2010 to track water quality throughout the SRBC region. They’ve just issued a second, comprehensive report on their findings thus far (embedded below). And what are those findings? Marcellus Shale drilling is not/has not adversely affected water quality anywhere in the SRBC region. Huh. Who would of imagined that? Science yet again proves that shale drilling is safe for water supplies…
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Loyalsock Drilling Gets an Anti-Drilling Spin Job by PennFuture

spinWe normally skip pronouncements from extremist anti-drilling groups like PennFuture. They, along with other PA groups like PennEnvironment, the League of [Liberal Democrat] Women Voters, Sierra Club, Shale Justice…you get the idea–hold unreasonable views on shale drilling and development. They simply want it all stopped–which ain’t gonna happen. There is no reasoning with them–no middle ground or acceptable way to drill for shale for such groups. So they become ever-more shrill in their false accusations and allegations about what may/maybe/might/could/possibly/theoretically happen if a particular area were to see shale drilling. Say, oh, like the Loyalsock State Forest in PA.

We include a press release by PennFuture below, spinkled with lots of unspoiled this’ and pristine thats, pushing the panic button that (gasp) Anadarko Petroleum might actually be allowed to drill on land they legally hold the rights to drill on (see Manufactured Controversy over Drilling in Loyalsock State Forest). Why, that forest actually contains a “critical bird nursery”–can you imagine the malevolent intent of disturbing little birdies? What a wicked company Anadarko must be. Below is the PennFuture press release that we think has more to do with fundraising than any real or imagined harm that may come to Loyalsock. We bring it to you as an example of a masterful spin job…
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Rig Fire – in Frackless New York!

This story is full of irony. Due to flooding a few years ago, the Owego Central School District (Tioga County, NY) lost some of their school buildings. The school district is in the process of building a new elementary school just outside of town. In preparation, a drilling rig was brought in to drill wells for a geothermal heating and cooling system for the soon-to-be-built school. Around 100 feet down the rig hit a pocket of methane gas and it ignited, burning the rig.

Now, what was about there not being enough recoverable gas in NY so we should just go ahead and ban fracking statewide (see Latest Laughable NY Anti Tactic – Not Enough Gas, Just Move Along)? You can’t tell us that if fracking were allowed in NY there wouldn’t be at least a few drillers willing to take the gamble on drilling some wells given the bumper crop of gas found a few miles across the border in PA. There’s gas everywhere along the Southern Tier border area–some of it (gasp) “contaminates” water supplies! And nary a fracked well around. Here’s the not-so-funny/funny story of the burning drill rig in frackless NY…
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RUMA – Columbiana County, OH Enjoys Improved Roadways

Let’s RUMA! No, it’s not the latest dance craze. RUMA stands for Road-Use Maintenance Agreement which are contracts used by counties in Ohio to ensure roads damaged or potentially damaged by heavy equipment being moved for shale drilling and pipeline work is either prevented or repaired.

Thanks to 84 different RUMAs in Columbiana County, OH put in place since 2011, county residents are enjoying miles and miles of revamped roads–all paid for by the drilling industry and not taxpayers. Thank you Utica Shale!…
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PA Rural Residents Burn Marcellus Gas, Save Big Bucks on Heating

One of the conundrums of shale gas drilling in the Marcellus and Utica Shale is that the places where the gas is drilled and extracted are largely rural–places like Susquehanna County, PA, in the northeastern part of the state. The entire county has 43,000 residents (11,700 families). The largest “city” in Susquehanna County is the county seat of Montrose, population 1,600 (750 households). It’s just not all that economical to run natural gas pipelines to homes around the county–even though residents live atop an embarrassing riches of natural gas. One company, Leatherstocking Natural Gas, changed all that last year when they started to run pipelines to residences and businesses around Montrose.

This winter, one local business owner (an auto mechanic’s shop) now heating with natural gas, responded to his new fuel source this way: “Before when you were here, you asked if I was going to save money [by heating with natural gas]. I said ‘I sure as hell hope so.’ Well, I sure as hell am, let me tell you.” That about sums up the change from heating with oil to heating with home-grown, cheap and abundant Marcellus shale gas…
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Important Conference on Clean Fracking…in Houston

MDN does not usually promote events outside of the northeast because our focus is on the Marcellus and Utica Shale. But sometimes an event comes along outside of the Marcellus/Utica orbit that’s worth promoting and calling attention to. The Clean Frac’ing Conference 2 being held in Houston, TX next week (Feb. 17-18) is one of those events. MDN is happy to partner with the organizers of Clean Frac’ing 2 to put the word out. We have many faithful readers in the Houston area–so we want to make them aware of this top notch event which addresses the timely topic of making fracking cleaner and greener. Yes, there is room for improvement with fracking technology, and yes, it’s rapidly becoming even better than it was yesteryear. We applaud conferences like this one for tackling a tough issue head-on.

Incidentally, one of MDN’s favorite industry friends–George Stark from Cabot Oil & Gas (a big Marcellus driller in northeast PA)–will be presenting at Clean Frac’ing 2. Tell George MDN says hello if you spot him. Below is a press release from the conference organizer which gives you a good overview of the event…
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Ben Franklin Shale Gas Center Wins a Prize Itself – $750K

For the third year running, the Ben Franklin Technology Partners Shale Gas Innovation & Commercialization Center (SGICC) holds a contest for newly-launched small businesses with innovative products or services for the Marcellus Shale drilling industry (see 2014 Ben Franklin Shale Gas Contest – $100K in Cash Prizes!). The deadline to apply for this year was Feb. 1, and after an extensive review process, four winners of $25,000 prizes will be announced on May 15 in Pittsburgh. You might say four awards totaling $100K isn’t much, but thanks to a grant from the State of Pennsylvania, the SGICC is about to help far more than four companies at a time.

Yesterday the Secretary of the PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) visited State College, PA to confer a $750,000 grant on the SGICC. There are many worthy upstart companies each year that can use a small economic boost to bring their new idea/technology to market. The SGICC will use the new grant money to do just that by in turn making small grants themselves–with an important string attached. The recipient company must match the grant with their own 1-to-1 matching investment. If the SGICC awards a grant of $20,000, the company receiving it must match it with their own $20,000. SGICC has already made their first grant, in Punxsutawney…
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