2nd LNG Export Terminal for Marcellus Gas Advances – in Maine!

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You may have heard about the Cove Point, Maryland LNG (liquefied natural gas) export facility along the shoreline of Maryland that Dominion is beginning to build. Although Dominion received both FERC and Dept. of Energy (DOE) approval and has begun construction, they are still waiting on a final final final final approval from the DOE (see Cove Point LNG Plant STILL Waiting for Final DOE Approval?!). Cove Point was, as far as we knew, the only LNG export project on the East Coast of the U.S. that would be fed by Marcellus Shale gas. That is, until we spotted a second LNG export project that’s making serious headway–in Maine. The Downeast LNG project began life in 2005 as an LNG import project, but last year, after getting preliminary approval for the import project from FERC, Downeast amended its application to become both an import AND export LNG terminal. And yes, the gas they plan to export is Marcellus Shale gas…
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USGS: WV Shale Drilling has No Effect on Mon River Basin Water

Hey Delaware River Basin Commission–listen up. There’s another river basin not far from you–the Monongahela River Basin in Pennsylvania and West Virginia–that has seen a LOT of Marcellus Shale fracking over the past eight years. Researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) did some water testing, both before fracking began and recently. They compared the results. What do the results show? “No significant difference from historical water samples” between then and now. What about methane in the water. EVERYBODY knows those frackers can’t help themselves and that methane travels like an STD once you start sinking holes all over the place. Methane will spot a surface water source a mile away and make a beeline for it, right? So what about methane levels then and now? “Although methane was detected in samples, the concentrations were similar to those in samples collected prior to intensive shale gas development.” Huh. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine that it’s actually SAFE to drill in a watershed like the Monongahela–or the Delaware? The science says it is, but of course that won’t convince anti-drilling nutters…
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LNG Insider Shares His List of Which Export Projects Will Get Built

Yesterday MDN told you about one of the five potential LNG (liquefied natural gas) projects in Canada that would use Marcellus Shale gas, *if* it gets built (see Canadian LNG Project Woes Europeans with Promise of Marcellus Gas). Today we published a companion story about a proposed LNG export facility planned for Maine–the Downeast LNG facility (see 2nd LNG Export Terminal for Marcellus Gas Advances – in Maine!). However, there is talk in certain quarters about the unlikelihood that many (most?) of the 30 proposed projects will actually get built, including both the Canadian and the Maine projects (see Moody’s: “Vast Majority” of LNG Export Projects Will be Canceled). We have another such story–this time from an LNG insider. Freeport LNG Development CEO Michael Smith says in addition to the four import projects currently being reworked to export, there are another four facilities that might “move forward” and see the light of day. As for the rest of the 30 proposed projects–Smith says the future for the others is “cloudy.” So which four are getting built now, and which four are on Smith’s short list of the best prospects to get built?…
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Fossil Fuel Hatred Run Amok: Sierra Club Against Clean Air in PA

Converting from burning coal to burning natural gas to produce electricity is, according to the vast majority of Americans, a good thing to do. Coal burns much dirtier than natgas–it’s a plain and simple fact. We’re not slamming coal or saying we should stop burning coal–we’re just keepin’ it real. When Invenergy announced they planned to build Pennsylvania’s largest gas-fired electric plant near Scranton, in Jessup Borough (Lackawanna County), PA, and fire it with cheap, abundant and clean-burning Marcellus Shale gas, most folks welcomed it (see Marcellus Gas to Power Combined-Cycle Electricity Plant in NE PA). Oh, there’s always a small minority who oppose such plans (see Gas-Powered Electric Plant to be Built “on Thousands of People”). You would think so-called environmentalists would be the first in line to support such a project because it makes the air cleaner. But then, you would be wrong. A classic case in point is the Sierra Club–an organization that exists to fundraise. The Sierra Club is against the Jessup electric plant project. Why? Because it will “encourage further natural gas hydraulic fracturing in Northeast Pennsylvania”…
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EQT Call: Fracking 1st Utica Well in June; Changing Proppant

Last week MDN brought you EQT’s report on their first quarter earnings and performance (see EQT 1Q15: Production Volume Up 37%, but Price Received Down 33%). As is often the case with publicly traded companies, EQT’s top management hopped on an analyst phone call to discuss the results. And as sometimes happens, extra details came out on the call. During last Friday’s call, EQT management revealed in prepared comments and in a series of questions and answers that: (1) the company will begin fracking its first Utica well (in Greene County, PA) in early June; (2) the second Utica well EQT plans to drill will be in Wetzel County, WV; and (3) the company is considering a change to ceramic proppant instead of using sand–a move that will cost them an average of $2.5 million more per well than what they pay now using sand…
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Syracuse Prof Targeted in Effort to Discredit Drilling Research

How’s this for the pot calling the kettle black: A Syracuse anti-drilling attorney says a Syracuse University professor who co-authored a research report published in the peer reviewed journal Environmental Science & Technology is ethically challenged because the prof didn’t declare a “financial interest” with Chesapeake Energy. Chesapeake is the company providing years and years of data used as the basis for the study (the only available data of its kind). With advance apologies to our many lawyer subscribers…An attorney accusing a professor of being ethically challenged? If that doesn’t beat all! We highlighted the important Syracuse research study in March (see Syracuse U Study: Fracking Doesn’t Cause Methane in PA Water Wells). The lead author is Syracuse University professor Donald Siegel. Dr. Siegel’s good work comes to the “wrong” conclusion (for anti-drillers), so he instantly became a target. Apparently Siegel “has a contract” with Chesapeake and he makes a little extra coin on the side doing work for private companies like Chesapeake (a common practice among professors). Because Siegel didn’t declare the small fees paid to him by Chesapeake as a conflict of interest when filing his research report, he’s now being targeted for reputation assassination by an anti-drilling squad…
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PA Congressmen Send Letter to Army Corps Over Pipeline Delays

A majority of the Republican Congressman representing the great state of Pennsylvania sent a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers earlier this month encouraging the Corps to get off it’s collective rear-end and begin authorizing midstream/pipeline projects in the Keystone State. Nine of the 13 Republican Congressman from PA, and one of its senators (Republican Pat Toomey) sent a letter on April 8 to Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works), Jo-Ellen Darcy, to complain that the Baltimore District of the Army Corps is dragging its feet (our words) and their actions are putting PA at a competitive disadvantage compared with other states. One of the problems seems to be overreach by the Corps–in redefining projects and project scope. Here’s the letter that no PA partisan Democrat would sign (shame on them)…
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IHS CERAWeek Prediction: Marcellus will Produce 30 Bcf/d by 2035

A useful update and prediction on how much natural gas will be produced in the Marcellus by the early 2020s and eventually, by 2035 at the IHS CERAWeek conference in Houston last week. In addition, another analyst outlined the pipeline/midstream situation in the northeast. You’ll want to read what they had to say about how much gas will be produced in the Marcellus, and where it will get used/sold…
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Navigant: US Natgas Output Will Rise to 110 Bcf/d by 2035

The energy practice for global consulting firm Navigant recently published a new report titled “North American Natural Gas Market Outlook, Year-End 2014” that examines the state of the natural gas industry and provides forecasts for supply and demand through 2035. Among the highlights: Navigant says U.S. natural gas supply will increase from 72 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2015 to nearly 110 Bcf/d by 2035. Navigant says the big users of all that extra production will be LNG export facilities and electric generating plants that will be built new or converted from burning coal…
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One Dominion Subsidiary Buys Another Subsidiary for $495M

We always find these deals somewhat strange and kind of funny. One subsidiary of midstream and utility giant Dominion (Dominion Midstream Partners) has struck a deal to buy a sibling subsidiary (Dominion Carolina Gas Transmission) from the company mother ship, Dominion Resources. The purchase price of $495 million will go from one pocket to another pocket on the same pair of pants. Here’s the details…
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Cornell Prof Admits He’s Anti-Drilling Advocate, Not Impartial

Tony Ingraffea

When someone says “a professor of hydraulic fracturing from Cornell University” is bad mouthing shale drilling, it certainly grabs your attention. Cornell is a storied institution and professors at Cornell face tough competition to teach there. We’ve written plenty about Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, the Cornell prof with a bachelors degree in aerospace engineering from Notre Dame and a Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder–and an “expert” in hydraulic fracturing. Ingraffea has a nice sideline business of bashing fracking whenever and wherever he can–and when he does so, it is with the full reputation and backing of Cornell University behind him. We still remember the first time we heard Ingraffea in person (see Cornell Hydraulic Fracturing Expert Headlines First Meeting of New York Residents Against Drilling (NYRAD) in Vestal, NY). Ingraffea spoke about everything at that meeting–except the science of fracking. And therein is the bait and switch that Ingraffea engages in. He trades on his reputation as a geologist and scientist, and on the reputation of Cornell–yet he never attacks the actual science of fracking. To do so would be intellectual and professional suicide. It is the other, tertiary issues Ingraffea attacks–like “boom and bust” cycles, and truck traffic, and theoretical damage to water aquifers. Recently Tony finally admitted, on the record, that he’s not an impartial scientist at all when it comes to fracking. Tony himself said he’s an advocate and that he engages in advocacy–not science…
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