It’s Official: Belmont County Chosen as POSSIBLE Cracker Plant Site

its officialAs we told you Tuesday, Ohio is now squarely in the ethane cracker race (see Rumor: Ohio Cracker Plant Announcement Coming This Week). As predicted, yesterday Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Belmont County, OH officials announced a pair of companies from Thailand and Japan were partnering with the aim of building an ethane cracker plant in Belmont County (see the announcement below). It is a $5 billion project, according to media reports–larger than the price tag for both the possible Shell ethane cracker in Beaver County, PA and the Odebrect ethane cracker/petrochemical facility in Parkersburg, WV–which is now on pause (see Odebrect Pushes the Pause Button on WV Ethane Cracker). Speaking of which–you may now color us skeptical and jaded that any of these projects, including the one in Ohio, will ever get built…
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PA Gov. Wolf Talks to Shell About Beaver County Cracker Plant

PA Gov. Tom Wolf is bullish on the possibility of an ethane cracker coming to Beaver County, PA. He thinks a cracker is “inevitable.” In what can only be described as a faux pas for Wolf, he spoke about his love of a cracker yesterday, on Earth Day (oops). Earth Day is all about Democrats professing love of Mother Earth and hatred of fossil fuels. Must be Wolf didn’t get the memo. Wolf says he’s spoken to Shell muckety-mucks to let them know PA still wants a cracker. He said the Shell muckety-mucks say the project is “still on track” although there’s no timetable for a decision–which we take to mean no decision will be made for the foreseeable future…
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Trans Energy Clean Water Act “Crime” Results in 2 Yrs Probation

We suppose Trans Energy, a WV-based shale driller, is now considered a hardened, convicted criminal. The company’s crime? Pushing dirt into a few creeks without a permit. It’s a crime for which they are paying dearly. Last October MDN brought you the story of the federal Environmental Protection Agency and WV Dept. of Environmental Protection joint investigation into Trans Energy’s dirt-pushing and the resulting $3.6 million in fines (see Court Adds Another $600K to $3M Fine for Trans Energy in WV Case). Investigators from the EPA’s Criminal Enforcement Program in the Mid-Atlantic States got involved. Bet you didn’t know the EPA has a Criminal Enforcement Program, did you? The kicker: under a plea agreement signed yesterday by Trans Energy’s CEO John Corp, the company (presumably Corp) will need to report to a federal probation office for the next two years. Scene at the probation office waiting room: Corp sitting on a bench in a tailor-made business suit, sitting next to a convicted meth lab operator covered head to toe with tats. “What are you in for?” says the drug peddler. “Violating the Clean Water Act,” says Corp. “Dang, you really are a nasty piece of work,” says the drug peddler…
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Williams Still Can’t Find Leak in 4-inch WV Condensate Pipeline

Ten days ago heavy rains in West Virginia led to two Williams pipelines rupturing within hours of each other–both in Marshall County (see 2 Williams Pipelines Rupture in Marshall County After Heavy Rains). One pipeline was a 12-inch gathering line for natural gas. The other was a 4-inch condensate pipeline that ended up spilling around 132 barrels of condensate that ended up in nearby Little Grave Creek (see WV DEP to Fine Williams for Condensate Pipeline Leak in WV). Although the WV DEP has rushed to assess a fine because of the condensate spill, they may be putting the cart before the horse. Williams hasn’t yet located where the leak occurred in the 4-inch condensate pipeline…
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WV Marcellus-Fired Electric Plant Seeks Approval from PJM

In early March, MDN told you about plans by a father and son team to build not one but four Marcellus gas-powered electric generating plants in West Virginia (see Big News: 3 More Marcellus-Powered Electric Plants Coming to WV). Although they haven’t fully committed yet, Andrew and Matthew Dorn, the father/son behind the projects, are hurrying to file regulatory paperwork for at least one of the new proposed plants (in Brooke County) to beat a deadline…
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Top U.S. Coal Exporter Plans to Export Marcellus Shale Gas

Xcoal Energy & Resources is the largest exporter of coal in the United States. But Xcoal’s CEO, Ernie Thrasher, says coal is in decline and natural gas is ascending. So Thrasher is forming a new company: XLNG Energy & Resources. Thrasher hopes to begin exporting LNG from the Marcellus/Utica no later than 2018. Which is an interesting boast, given the only way to export (so far) would be the as yet uncompleted Cove Point, Maryland plant being built by Dominion. However, 100% of the LNG exporting from that plant is already spoken for. So what is Thrasher thinking?…
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Patterson-UTI 1Q15: Revenue Down a Little, Earnings Down a Lot

Patterson-UTI Energy, one of the companies that owns and operates drilling rigs in the Marcellus/Utica, filed their first quarter 2015 financial results today. Revenue was down just 3% year over year–$678 million for 1Q15 vs $658 million for 1Q14. But earnings–the money you keep after all expenses–took a dive right off a cliff. In 1Q15 Patterson made just $9.1 million, or 6 cents per share. In 1Q14, the company made $34.8 million in earnings, or 24 cents per share. That’s a 74% drop in earnings year over year. Ouch…
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Anti-Drillers Pressure Philly City Council to Dump Energy Hub Plan

A group of 33 anti-progress organizations, headed up by the odious and misnamed Food & Water Watch, have (fantastically) sent a letter to members of the Philadelphia City Council to tell City Council they should forget about making Philly an East Coast “energy hub.” The blithering idiots refuse to acknowledge the reason they’re alive and able to send such a letter is due to the beneficence of fossil fuels. They are only able to organize and protest fossil fuels–because of the existence of fossil fuels. The good news is that City Council is so corrupt they won’t notice or care anyway…
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Center for Sustainable Shale Dev Gets Grant to Keep Going

A spot of good news for the Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD). The CSSD has struggled to obtain funding after Mamma Teresa Heinz Kerry, the William Penn Foundation and the quacks at PennFuture all pulled their funding for the group (see PAI Says 3rd Enviro Group – PennFuture – Abandoned CSSD). The Richard King Mellon Foundation threw the CSSD a lifeline by donating (see CSSD Thrown a Lifeline from Richard King Mellon Foundation). Now comes word that the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation has renewed their support with another one-year grant…
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Lackawanna College Gets New Virtual Well Control Training System

The Lackawanna College School of Petroleum & Natural Gas is one of the country’s premier petroleum technology programs. It’s located not far from the border of New York State–in New Milford (Susquehanna County), PA. Lackawanna’s program is one of perhaps half a dozen such programs in the entire country. It fills a need to train oilfield and midstream workers for highly technical, skilled positions. Like running compressor stations, or running drill rigs. The Lackawanna program is a two-year program which sits nicely between a four-year year petroleum engineering degree on one side, and the trades, like welding or being a roustabout on the other side. Last year Cabot Oil & Gas made an eye-popping $2.5 million grant to the college (see Cabot Oil & Gas Does it Again – $2.5 Million Gift to Lackawanna College). A new $150,000 grant from the State of Pennsylvania has just been announced that will bring a state-of-the-art virtual training system for well control to Lackawanna…
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Happy Day After Earth Day – A Day to Celebrate Fossil Fuels

earth dayEarth Day was celebrated in 192 countries around the world yesterday, including the U.S. We celebrate old Mother Earth here at MDN HQ each and every day. We love this dirt ball on which we live. An MDN reader and friend sent us a link to a Youtube video that properly celebrates and provides context for Earth Day (watch it below). To properly celebrate Earth Day, you need to include a celebration of fossil fuels–which have done more to clean up the earth than any other factor. Yes, you read that right. Fossil fuels are the reason we have cleaner air, cleaner water and live longer than ever. So today, one day late, we celebrate “setting fire to corpses of animals and plants unearthed from 400 million-year-old cemeteries”–which is how anti-driller Sandra Steingraber describes fossil fuels…
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