A (not so funny) thing happened on the way to the
forum, er PA Energy Rally yesterday. MDN editor Jim Willis showed up at the appointed bus stop at 6:45 am with 15 minutes to spare–and as he pulled in, the bus was pulling out onto Interstate 81. Jim missed the bus! The Marcellus Shale Coalition has been very apologetic (and very upset with the bus company–the contract clearly states don’t leave until 7 am). So after inviting you to the rally, and with intentions of having a first-hand account report, Jim missed it. He was equal parts sad and angry–but that’s life.
But don’t despair. By all accounts it was a great day with anywhere from 2,500-3,000 people marching to the Capitol steps in Harrisburg. By the way, when was the last time you heard about 3,000 anti-drillers marching in Harrisburg? Yeah, us neither. There were, however, anti-drillers who tried to rain on the parade–something like 6 to 8 anti-drillers. You read that right–single digits for the loonies who turned out to hold up a sign against shale drilling in their big, huge “counter protest.” The only people who even noticed them were reporters sticking cameras in their faces. At one point a single anti-driller tried to shout something. A few pro-drillers noticed–and laughed. Silly fools.
Below we have a couple of media accounts of the rally. Strangely, the AP article is about the most fair and balanced we found. The reliably anti-drilling StateImpact Pennsylvania covered it too, with their reliably anti-drilling slant. We also have a funny sour grapes comment from the anti-drilling Jan Jarrett, former president/CEO of the anti-drilling environmentalist group PennFuture…
Every now and again (not often!) MDN makes a mistake–and when we do, we always attempt to fix it. Two days ago MDN highlighted an article out of New Jersey about a NJ engineering company, Sadat Associates, Inc., about to open an office in Montrose, PA (see NJ Engineering Firm Coming to Montrose to Clean Up Fracking Mess). Our snarky remark was that the firm may want to keep focusing on polluters in NJ rather than arrive on the scene to “fix” the problems fracking creates in northeastern PA. Our comment was in reaction to a quote from Sadat’s president Lahbib Chibani, who said: “I think they are going to have serious environmental issues if they are not addressed correctly.”
The CEO of Sadat Associates, Marwan Sadat, wrote a gracious email to MDN to set the record straight. He said he believes MDN misunderstood Dr. Chibani’s comment and that Sadat is a supporter of fracking and impressed by what they have observed so far. Here’s is Dr. Sadat’s letter to us…
Yesterday MarkWest Energy, arguably the biggest midstream company in the Marcellus and Utica Shale, announced it will expand two of its existing natural gas processing plants, both plants in West Virginia. At the request of Antero Resources, MarkWest will expand the Sherwood plant in Doddridge County by an extra 200 million cubic feet per day (Mmcf/d) of processing capacity. At the request of EQT, MarkWest will expand the processing capacity at the Mobley plant in Wetzel County by an additional 200 Mmcf/d. It means that Marcellus drillers are confident enough to bet big money on long-term contracts with MarkWest that the amount of gas they’re producing is going up–for years to come.
In yesterday’s announcement MarkWest noted that they currently have 17 major projects under way in the Marcellus/Utica, and that 11 of those projects will be completed this year. Here’s the details on the Sherwood and Mobley expansions…
UGI Energy Services, a subsidiary of UGI (a utility company in northeast PA) announced yesterday they are building two new pipelines in northeast PA for $80 million that will allow them to transport an additional 300 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. The new capacity is 100% spoken for by the prolific producer Cabot Oil & Gas–the first and so far still the largest producer of dry gas in the Marcellus Shale–pumping more than a billion cubic feet per day from Susquehanna County, PA (see The Cabot O&G Marcellus Rocketship – To the Moon!).
One stretch of pipeline will expand UGI’s Auburn Gathering System. The other will expand pipeline from Clifford Township to Union Dale Borough. Here’s the particulars of two new pipes that will bring much-needed extra capacity to Cabot…
In February Williams announced a $2.1 billion expansion to their Transco natural gas pipeline (see Williams Plans $2.1B Transco Pipeline Expansion, 100% Sold Already). The name of the expansion project is Atlantic Sunrise and if it stays on schedule it will be built starting 2016 and go live in 2017. It aims to, for the first time ever (for the Transco), flow gas from north to south–delivering Marcellus Shale gas to southern markets. The project will expand the Transco pipeline’s capacity by some 20%–the “largest expansion that we’ve done in the Transco system’s history” according to Williams.
Which is all good news–except right on cue NIMBYs (not in my back yard) have already cropped up to oppose it–at least in Lebanon County, PA (see Lebanon Opposition to Williams Transco Pipeline Sunrise Expansion). Williams briefed a a Luzerne County, PA Council committee meeting last night. Seems the folks in Luzerne are a bit more open-minded about the possibilities. Here’s some great insight into the Atlantic Sunrise project and how it will affect Luzerne along its path to making history…
A new 742 megawatt natural gas fired combined cycle electrical generating plant for Carroll County, OH has just been given the green light by the Ohio Power Siting Board. The new plant will cost $800 million to build, with 500 construction-related jobs during the building phase. Once complete, the plant will employ 25-30 full-time workers and provide enough electricity to power 700,000 homes.
The green light announcement, which is the final hurdle before construction can begin:
Something has some of the folks in the suburbs of Pittsburgh spooked (likely reckless anti-drilling lies). Yes, the number of rail cars hauling liquefied petroleum gas (i.e., propane) has increased in recent years. But such tanker trains have been around for decades. And yet, the mayor of Carnegie is now calling the tanker trains that pass through town “bombs on wheels.” Pretty strong language. A resident of nearby Green Tree is quoted as saying “someday” there will be an accident and “boom” his house might be gone.
How is that related to Marcellus and Utica Shale drilling? Certainly shale drilling in southwestern PA, northern WV and eastern OH produces plenty of natural gas liquids, one of which is propane. So yes, some of the increase in rail traffic hauling propane through Carnegie comes from northeast shale drilling. But honestly, such tanker cars have been around for years. When was the last time you heard of a propane tanker car exploding? Us either…
West Virginia Wesleyan College, a private college in Buckhannon (Upshur County), WV, sits in the midst of Marcellus drilling country. So it only makes sense for the school to want to tap into the industry and offer a degree related to the booming shale industry. But instead of offering a “me too” degree in petroleum engineering, Wesleyan has decided to focus its degree on the fascinating area of geophysics–or more properly seismic readings and determining “what’s down there” by bouncing sound waves through the rock. All of the new degree programs being offered by schools in the northeast are needed–along with good jobs training programs offered by community colleges (in areas like welding). However, we applaud Wesleyan, a smaller school of some 1,400 students, for staking out a different path to assist the industry. Kids, “listen” up! Geophysics is a great field.
Here’s the Wesleyan announcement about their new program, set to begin this August…
Russia is once again threatening the Ukraine with shutting off natural gas supplies to and through the country. The Ukraine supplies much of Europe with natural gas from Russia. It’s creating a near-crisis in Europe–and yet the Europeans are being European and still slow to move on shale drilling in the abundant supplies beneath their feet. Good for the U.S. and good for Canada, who (if we can get exporting) stand to supply them with cheap natgas and start to reverse our trade imbalance.
Nova Scotia, Canada really really wants to be one of the sources of LNG for Europe. They’re ready to ramp up LNG shipments–now all they need is the natural gas! Canada is more like Europe than the U.S. Quebec has an enormous supply of Utica Shale gas beneath them–but they have an ongoing shale drilling moratorium like New York State. Nova Scotia wants to tap into the Marcellus and Utica in the U.S., but pipelines north (or rather lack of them) are a problem. And then there’s the politics of getting gas from the U.S. What to do?…
On Monday we reported about the first Massachusetts community to pass a resolution against Kinder Morgan’s plan to–at the request of six New England state governors–build a new leg to the Tennessee Gas Pipeline across the state to transport abundant, cheap Marcellus Shale gas to New England where it’s desperately needed (see NIMBYism Becomes NOMEism in MA Over Kinder Gas Pipeline). Next week, a second Massachusetts community may vote to ban the pipeline through their area: Northampton City.
To which we say again, “Now that’s the far-left Massachusetts we know.” Finally, a little “normalcy”! Here’s what’s brewing in wacky liberal-land…
Three weeks ago MDN told you that the Connecticut legislature was considering a permanent ban on frack wastewater being disposed anywhere in the state, to which we said maybe Pennsylvania should consider a ban on selling natural gas to the state (see CT May Pass Frack Wastewater Ban; Should PA Pass CT NatGas Ban?). Hey, it works great for Vlad Putin. Shut off the spigot for a week and listen to them squeal.
The CT Senate has reached a “compromise” on the proposed legislation. Instead of a permanent ban, they’ve vote instead on a “temporary” ban–until the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) can craft regulations to deal with fracking wastewater. Of course, DEEP is not very inclined to deal with it any time soon (see CT DEEP Wants Frack Waste Reclassified Hazardous to Keep It Away). So in the end, this is hocus pocus chicanery. The vote will happen, and frack waste will effectively be banned long-term from entering CT…
The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: