CSX Train Hauling Propane Derails in Wetzel County, WV

CSXVery early Christmas Eve morning, at 2:45 am, six CSX rail cars loaded with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG, or propane) ran off the tracks in New Martinsville (Wetzel County), West Virginia. We don’t know if the LPG in those rail cars came from the Marcellus/Utica, but there’s a decent chance it did. Increasingly NGLs like propane are being shipped in the northeast by rail. The good news about the accident: no one was injured and the rail cars didn’t leak. The accident is being investigated by federal authorities for the cause…
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OH Antis Twist Christmas Carols into Anti-Drilling Drivel

Last year it was the radicals at the Philadelphia-based Clean Air Council who tried to screw up Christmas by rewriting beloved Christmas carols as environmental wacko tunes (see Anti-Drilling Christmas Carols: Climate Change is Coming to Town [Video]). Apparently the tactic works to garner attention (from sycophantic media), because this year it was the environmental wackos in Athens, Ohio who rewrote carols into twisted messages of enviro holocaust. Ten fractivists sang anti-drilling “carols” at the Wayne National Forest headquarters near Nelsonville last Monday afternoon. Here’s one such demented song they sang (off key and out of tune): “Fire bells ring, are you listening. In the lane, oil is glistening. A terrible sight, the gas drills at night. Walking in a fracked-up wonderland.” The ones who are truly “fracked-up” were the ones singing…
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Marcellus Christmas Miracle – PA Immigrants Find Jobs, Open Arms

Here’s a story to warm your heart during the Christmas holiday season. It did ours. It is the story of real, live foreigners–from the island nation of Fiji–who came to America to make a better life for themselves. They didn’t arrive looking for welfare handouts. They didn’t arrive by illegally sneaking across our borders. They arrived like so many throughout our history–simply asking for an opportunity to work and create the life of their dreams. Those kinds of folks are Americans–in heart and spirit–in our book. We welcome them with open arms. Some 150 Fijians arrived three years ago in California and decided to seek their dream life in western Pennsylvania, working in the Marcellus industry…
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PA DEP Approves Jessup, PA Marcellus Gas Electric Plant

MDN has written plenty about a Marcellus gas-powered electric generating plant proposed from Jessup (Lackawanna County), PA (see our stories here). The project is owned and operated by Invenergy, a company that owns and operates electric plants across the country. At various times we’ve said the plant would be 1300 megawatts and 1500 megawatts, based on changing news stories and documents. It seems the final output of the plant will be 1480 megawatts. The project also has, for the first time that we’ve noticed, its own name: the Lackawanna Energy Center. Last week the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued a very important approval for the Lackawanna Energy Center’s air quality plan. That is, the DEP has just approved the Jessup plant which can now break ground and begin construction. However, there is still one permit left to issue by the DEP–a permit to discharge treated wastewater from the facility. A DEP-led public hearing will be held on Jan. 4 at the Valley View High School in Archbald about that permit…
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Battle Lines Drawn as WV Forced Pooling Bill Nears Introduction

As MDN told you in mid-November, West Virginia legislators will revisit the topic, and likely vote on the issue of, forced pooling in the 60-day legislative session that will begin in early January (see WV Forced Pooling Bill Coming Around Again in 2016). The battle lines–in the Republican party–are already being drawn in a contentious issue that has been brought before the WV legislature in five of the last six years…
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Why Do Marcellus Drillers Continue Drilling with Prices in the Basement?

If a company that makes a product can no longer make that product at a profit, why would it keep making that product? Put another way, if Marcellus drillers can’t make money by selling natural gas for 75 cents per thousand cubic feet (and they can’t), why would they keep drilling new wells? And why would they keep pumping gas from existing wells? That’s the question asked–and answered–by an excellent Oil & Gas 360 article…
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2016: Fewer Rigs Operating, Less Gas Flowing in Marcellus/Utica

This is the time of year when prognosticators come out of their prognostication holes to prognosticate about the rapidly-approaching New Year. Some of those predictions involve the Marcellus/Utica industry and what we may see coming our way in 2016. And what might we see? Most believe we’ll see cut-backs in drilling–most companies have announced such plans. However, one thing we won’t see is all drilling stop. As we highlight in a companion story today (see Why Do Marcellus Drillers Continue Drilling with Prices in the Basement?), drillers will keep drilling in the Marcellus in 2016. Perhaps not as much as they drilled in 2015–but make no mistake, the industry is not finished. So if they will continue to drill, even though prices are in the basement, where will they get the money to do so? That’s the focus of this particular piece of prognostication…
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Will 2016 be the Year *Somebody* Commits to Building a Cracker?

Will somebody, somewhere PLEASE build the northeast an ethane cracker plant? Pretty please? We noticed a couple of stories that indicate 2016 is THE year that at least one company will likely pull the trigger on an FID–a Final Investment Decision to build an ethane cracker. But which company is likely to do it? Shell? PTT Global? Odebrecht? Leaving Odebrecht’s Parkersburg, WV proposed cracker aside for the moment (a project where we barely detect a pulse), both the Shell plant, planned for Beaver County, PA, and the PTT Global plant, planned for Belmont County, OH, have seen impressive signs of activity in 2015. Which of those two will likely say “yes” in 2016?…
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Enterprise Products First to Export Crude Post-Ban – Implications

The very first shipment of crude oil from America’s shores to another country since the ban on crude exports was lifted two weeks ago in perhaps the worst national budget we’ve ever had (thanks to sell-out Republicans like House Speaker Paul Ryan), will happen the first week of January. Enterprise Products Partners, owner of the ATEX (Appalachia-to-Texas Express) natural gas liquids pipeline, will load 600,000 barrels of U.S. light sweet crude oil at the Enterprise Hydrocarbon Terminal (EHT) on the Houston Ship Channel and the ship will set sail in early January. How will oil exports affect the domestic (and international) oil industry?…
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OPEC’s 2015 World Oil Outlook Paints a Rosy Price Picture

There is nobody on the planet who watches the oil market more closely than OPEC–the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. OPEC is made up largely of tinpot Middle Eastern dictatorships who keep their general populations pacified by sharing some of the riches from oil sales with them via socialist government programs. While the leaders of OPEC countries often lie to each other and lie to the world, one thing they typically don’t lie about is the oil industry, where it’s headed–and their own very vital role in it. Last week OPEC released its annual 2015 World Oil Outlook (WOO, full copy below), which outlines OPEC’s expectations for the global energy sector–in particular oil and gas–from now until 2040. One admission in the 2015 WOO: US oil production from shale plays will be “more robust” than OPEC had predicted as recently as last year. Another prediction in this year’s WOO: oil will hit $70 per barrel by 2020 (four short years from now) and climb to $95 per barrel by 2040 (15 short years from now). There are plenty of other interesting predictions and observations in this year’s WOO…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, Dec 28, 2015

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Attack of the fractivist clones; NY antis just say no to everything; Belmont County, OH the one to watch in 2016; FirstEnergy continues to prep cracker site; first responders often unprepared for derailments; still no budget in PA; ECA asks FERC to approve gas plant pipeline; Resnikoff, again?; oil companies’ strategy – hope; more challenges to Clean Power Plan; and more!
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