Altoona’s Marcellus Gas-to-Liquids Plant Gets Canceled, For Now

cancelledWhile most Pennsylvania supply chain businesses are hanging tough during the current down cycle in drilling–the downturn has claimed at least one potential project in the Keystone State. It was with much fanfare and great hope in March 2013 that Marcellus GTL of Gilberton, Schuylkill County, announced it would build its first Clean Energy Center in Blair County, PA. The “gas to liquids” (GTL) project would cost $200 million to build and would convert PA Marcellus Shale gas into 84,000 gallons per day of regular gasoline and propane to be marketed locally as transportation fuel and for heating uses (see Altoona Area Getting $200M Marcellus Gas-to-Liquids Plant). The project was even promised a 7-year tax break (see Altoona Gas to Liquids Plant Will Qualify for 7-Year Tax Break). But sadly, Marcellus GTL recently told the Altoona-Blair County Development Corp the project has been “tabled” due to the low price of oil and the volatility of the market right now…
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PA Supply Chain Firms Hang Tough in Drilling Downturn

Businesses that part of the Marcellus Shale supply chain–providing goods and services to the drilling industry–have been impacted by the drop-off in drilling activity. However, the supply chain businesses located in the Altoona area of Pennsylvania have proved pretty resilient. Some are willing to “ride the wave” until the cyclical oil and gas industry picks up again, laying off very few if any workers. Some are branching out into other markets. And some provide goods and services that are still very much in demand, even in a “down” cycle for drilling. Some are even adding workers! Here’s a few examples of resilient south central PA businesses hanging tough in the current downturn, and how they do it…
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WVONGA Says Rogersville Shale Drilling in WV is “When” not “If”

To date, the shale revolution in West Virginia has been largely confined to the northern panhandle and north/central parts of the state, where first the Marcellus and increasingly the Utica Shale layers are targeted. Left out of the shale revolution has been southern WV. But that will one day change, according to Corky DeMarco, executive director of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association. No, the Marcellus/Utica are not the focus in the southern part of the state. In the south it will be the Rogersville Shale, and according to DeMarco, it’s more of a “when” rather than an “if” drilling will happen in the Rogersville Shale in WV. When will it happen? The southern part of the state will experience the economic bonanza being experienced in the northern part of the state. What will it take for Rogersville drilling to begin? Higher natgas prices…
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DUG East Panelists Discuss the Critical Role of Sand in Drilling

Some interesting tidbits from a roundtable discussion at last week’s Hart Energy DUG East conference. The panelists included reps from Chesapeake Energy, Range Resources, Halliburton and Schlumberger. Really, the biggest of the bigs when it comes to producers and oilfield services companies in the Marcellus Shale. A lot of the discussion seemed to revolve around the lowly grain of sand. It may surprise you (as it did us) to learn just how much sand is now being used per well in the Marcellus/Utica…
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Drilling for WVU/OSU’s $11M Study Gets Underway in Morgantown

In November 2014 MDN told you that West Virginia University and Ohio State University received an $11 million grant from the U.S. Dept. of Energy for a joint five-year study of Marcellus/Utica fracking and shale drilling (see WVU/OSU Get $11M Grant to Study Shale Energy Best Practices). The research project promptly got under way with baseline measurements and monitoring at the Morgantown (WV) Industrial Park where a new first-of-its-kind Marcellus Shale Energy and Environment Laboratory will be located. With baseline measurements for air, noise, light and water at the site complete, it’s now time for the drill bit to start chewing away at rock and dirt…
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Sabine Pass LNG Export Expansion Approved, Utica Gas Heading There?

Good news for Marcellus/Utica drillers–especially those in the Ohio Utica. Last Friday the U.S. Dept. of Energy issued a final authorization for an expansion to Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass Liquefaction LNG export facility in Cameron Parish, Louisiana. The approval means Sabine Pass can now export domestically produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) to countries that do not have a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States. The approval expands export capacity at the facility by an extra 1.38 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day (Bcf/d), to a new total of 3.58 Bcf/d. Why is it good for Utica drillers? Because at least one pipeline project will connect from Ohio all the way to the Sabine Pass facility (see Texas Gas Seeks to Reverse Flow of Pipeline from OH to LA), meaning some Utica and Marcellus Shale gas will get exported from the Gulf Coast…
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The Facts on Pipelines and Their Impacts on PA Landowners

Pipelines, and opposition to them from shrill anti-fossil fuel kooks, seems to be the primary battlefield in the ongoing war against fossil energy. If we had a nickle for every time we’ve heard antis talk about pipelines exploding and other scare tactics, we’d be shaleionaires. When it comes to pipelines in Pennsylvania, where a number of projects are on the books, it helps to have the facts. Dave Messersmith, an educator and member of Penn State’s Marcellus Shale Education team, is a man with the facts when it comes to drilling and pipelines. Messersmith recently did a Q&A with the Allentown Morning Call newspaper and he shares important, impartial facts about pipelines and how they impact landowners…
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PA Gas Outlook Report 2015 – Electric Plants Changing to Natgas

Last week the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) released its annual Pennsylvania Gas Outlook Report, which provides insight into trends in the natural gas market, both nationwide and within Pennsylvania (full copy below). The report summarizes the financial and supply data for PA’s natural gas distribution companies (NGDCs) and looks at changes and trends in the natural gas market, including usage, financial status of utilities, and market pricing. The report is prepared to provide data about the regulated gas industry in Pennsylvania and the broader natural gas markets in the region and nationally. There’s lots of good information in the report. In particular we like the EIA list of pipelines due to be “in service” sometime in 2015 in the Marcellus/Utica region, included on page 6 of the report. The big news in the report is the dramatic increase in the change from coal to natgas for electric power generation–a trend that will continue to expand into the foreseeable future…
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Binghamton Newspaper Runs Anti-LPG Propaganda as “News”

A well-known activist and anti-driller flying under the label of “reporter”–Tom Wilber–was actually paid to write six, possibly seven articles for the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin appearing in the print edition on Sunday. The so-called “Watchdog Report” in the P&SB takes aim at an underground liquefied propane storage facility proposed by Crestwood Midstream along the shore of Seneca Lake (in a depleted salt cavern) and is what laughably passes as “news” these days in the People’s Republic of New York–where the only “news” allowed in Democrat rags like the P&SN is bad news when it comes to the shale industry. In most newspapers the entire section appearing in the P&SB, which amounts to free advertising for the virulent anti-drilling group Gas Free Seneca, would properly be labeled as an “Advertisement” or “Advertising Supplement.” But not in the P&SB. Unsuspecting readers of the P&SB are treated to a couple of front page stories about “environmental concerns” about the very safe underground storage facility planned near Seneca Lake. When you look further in, the entire first section of the newspaper is jammed with more stories–six in all–plus a seventh that was almost certainly written by Wilber labeled as an “editorial” from the newspaper itself. Example of the extreme bias: one of the stories is about railroads, tossed in to create FUD–fear, uncertainty and doubt–about the LPG facility by stating that LPG from the Crestwood facility will be hauled by railroad over a creaky old railroad bridge through historic Watkins Glen State Park with its beautiful gorges and waterfalls. The image is what would happen if there was an accident and the train fell into the gorge. Of course Wilber doesn’t bother to report that carloads of really nasty, toxic chemicals traverse that same railroad bridge each week–it’s only LPG (simple propane that would evaporate) that has him concerned. Wilber calls it a potentially “epic hazard.” What a joke…
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