Odebrecht Moves Forward with WV Cracker Plant Plans

It's a done dealThe previously announced ethane cracker plant that is slated to be built near Parkersburg, WV is coming along very nicely, according to Odebrecht spokesman David Peebles. A talk at the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting and Business Summit at The Greenbrier last week, along with conversations with the Parkersburg News and Sentinel, provided some key details about just where the project sits. Once again MDN notices how quickly (and convincingly) the Odebrecht cracker project is progressing after being announced just last fall, as opposed to the ponderous path being taken by Shell with their planned cracker plant, announced 2 1/2 years ago. Neither plant is a done deal, yet. But in light of Odebrecht’s full-speed-ahead attitude and news from last week, it sure seems like the WV cracker is a lot closer to being a done deal than the Shell cracker…
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Antero Waits for NE Cracker Plants, Pipeline to Sell Ethane

Antero Resources is a big and getting bigger driller focused on the Marcellus and Utica Shale region. The company now has 493,000 acres leased and projects they could potentially drill wells on up to 5,000 locations across that acreage (see Antero Boasts 5K Potential Drilling Locations in Marcellus/Utica). From the wells already drilled, Antero is now pumping (or close to pumping) 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day (see MDN Welcomes Antero Resources to the 1 Bcf/d Club). Since a lot of Antero’s operations are in the “wet gas” area, they also produce a lot of ethane. Right now that ethane is largely considered a “waste product” because they can’t readily sell it. However, that change. The question is, when?…
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SWPA Drillers Seriously Underreport Drill Cuttings at Landfills

We’re not quite sure what to make of this story. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which has trended anti-drilling in recent months, has an article that claims both EQT and Range Resources, among the largest of Marcellus drillers, are underreporting the volume of drill cuttings they send to area landfills in southwest Pennsylvania. EQT is by far the biggest “offender” in the PPG article. According to documents filed with the state Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP), EQT estimates it sent 21 tons of drill cuttings to landfills in 2013. According to hard copy records from six landfills in SWPA, EQT actually sent 95,000 tons of drill cuttings! Yikes, that’s quite a discrepancy…
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MD Report on ‘Potential’ Health Impacts from Marcellus Drilling

Back in April MDN told you that Maryland anti-drillers were lobbing an opening preventative strike against a forthcoming study on potential health impacts from Marcellus drilling, should it ever happen in Maryland (see Maryland Anti-Drillers Say Fracking Health Report Will Fall Short). Anti-drillers pre-judged the study even before it was released. The study, titled “Potential Public Health Impacts of Natural Gas Development and Production in the Marcellus Shale in Western Maryland,” was released on August 18, all 203 pages of it (full copy embedded below). We predict anti-drillers may find a lot to like in this study and perhaps were a tad hasty in their knee-jerk reaction. What was the study supposed to cover, and what did it find?…
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Law Firm Uses Maryland Health Study to Drum up Business

Below is a classic public relations effort called “newsjacking” in the marketing business. Newsjacking is the use of a story currently in the news–with which your company has zero connection–in an attempt to associate your story and your company name with that other event. Because people will be searching for that other news, your story/name will pop up in search results. A form of spam. Below is an example of what we consider to be the lowest of low lifes–personal injury attorneys playing on people’s fears of the shale drilling industry in order to drum up business. We find it disgusting and loathsome. Since the release below has a tie-in with another MDN story today–the recently released potential health impact study in Maryland–we include the press release below to illustrate how anti-drillers and low lifes operate (hard to tell the difference between the two)…
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DRBC’s New Director is Listening & Learning

In March MDN brought you the good news that the replacement for the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) director Carol Collier–a strident anti-driller–would be (thank God) someone from the private sector who has a fresh perspective on balancing good environmental stewardship with a healthy dose of real-world practicality (see DRBC Selects Steve Tambini as New Leader, Enviro Groups Unsure). Mr. Tambini was previously vice president of operations at Pennsylvania American Water. He’s now been on the job for a month “listening and learning.” Of course the nutters at Dasmascus Citizens for Sustainability (DCS) are very concerned that their “special relationship” with previous director Collier will not survive with Tambini. They’re afraid they won’t have unfettered access to try and bamboozle Tambini the way they did Collier–so DCS wrote a letter to Tambini to express their concerns…
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Drilling Under the Ohio River in WV – Smart or Dumb?

As MDN reported last week, West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin wants to lease the area under the Ohio River that runs through WV for Marcellus and Utica Shale drilling (see State of WV Looks to Lease Area Under Ohio River for Drilling). Tomblin wants a 20% royalty and no deductions (!) from the royalty check for expenses. Other than that, the lease will go to the driller who pays the largest per-acre signing bonus. Will any drillers bother to file a bid if they can’t deduct expenses from royalties? Is Tomblin crazy like a fox with his proposed lease for drilling under the Ohio River? Or is he just crazy? While a former WV Dept. of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) inspector doesn’t call Tomblin crazy, he does think drilling under the Ohio tends to the nutty side…
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Cooperstown Refuses $20K Grant from Williams for Fire Equipment

Back in March, MDN wrote an article highlighting the practice by Williams and their Constitution Pipeline of handing out grants to worthy causes and organizations, like fire departments, the Boy Scouts and local Chambers of Commerce. Anti-drillers typically call it payola, or greasing the skids to make those communities more accepting of the pipeline when it comes time to build it (see Constitution Pipeline Payments to Groups – Donations or Payola?). To be honest, we struggle with the issue ourselves. We think it’s great to make those payments–but we think it’s probably better to make the payments after the pipeline is fully approved and ready to be built (or already built). For us the issue is one of timing, not about the payments themselves. However, for the dunderheads in the Village of Cooperstown, NY (yes, where the Baseball Hall of Fame is located), officials there refuse to allow the local fire department to apply for a $20,000 matching grant with Williams to purchase new equipment–simply because they’re so opposed to anything to do with natural gas and fossil fuels…
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