Shell has Spent “Half a Billion Dollars” on PA Cracker Already!

money-bag.jpgThe Pittsburgh Business Times hosted an event yesterday in Beaver County, PA–the place where Shell is spending money to explore whether or not to build an ethane cracker plant. Seems like we’ve been writing about Shell’s potential ethane cracker forever. We’ve chronicled just about every up and down. We’ve also highlighted various initiatives they’ve undertaken since announcing Monaca, PA as their chosen site–something they did back in March 2012, now four years ago (see Shell Announces Location of Ethane Cracker Plant). Since that time Shell has purchased the property where they want to build the plant; they’re building a bridge and roads to the plant site; they’ve leased office space near the plant site. They’ve done a whole lot more. What we didn’t realize is that when you add it all together, according to Pat Nardelli, a partner at Castlebrook Development and speaker at the PBT event, Shell has spent “half billion to date if not more, and it’s going up every day.” Yikes! In this economy nobody blows a half bil on something they just decide to walk away from…
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Sunoco Tricks Radicalized Protester – Returns and Cuts More Trees

Last week MDN told you about the daughter of a Huntingdon County, PA landowner radicalized by Big Green groups–as evidenced by her association with well known protesters previously arrested–who took to a tree on her mom’s property in order to illegally stop crews working on tree clearing for the Mariner East 2 pipeline (see PA Anti Literally Goes Up a Tree to Stop Mariner East 2 Pipeline). Even though she was breaking the law–and a judge’s order–local law enforcement couldn’t be bothered with climbing the tree to arrest her (see ‘Wackos in the Trees’ Protest Continues in Huntingdon County, PA). Nor, does it seem, did they arrest her after she came down on April 1. She stayed up a tree until April 1 because crews can no longer clear trees for fear of harming the threatened Indiana bat species that sometimes hangs out in those trees. Or at least, that’s what we thought. In a very clever move, tree clearing crews returned to the property this week, after April 1, and cleared more trees previously inhabited by the nutty landowner’s daughter. Don’t worry, they got permission…
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FERC Approves NJ Pipeline – More Marcellus Gas on the Way!

In a positive sign for the now-delayed PennEast Pipeline that is scheduled to run from Wilkes-Barre, PA to Trenton, NJ, yesterday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved Williams’ $116 million Garden State Expansion Project in New Jersey. Why is it a good sign for PennEast? Because the project is being built to help connect gas that will come through the yet-to-be-built PennEast Pipeline to a yet-to-be-built (but approved in January) pipeline in New Jersey–the Southern Reliability Link pipeline (see Southern NJ NatGas Pipeline Approved by State BPU). FERC wouldn’t approve the Garden State Expansion Project unless it believes it will also approve the PennEast, plain and simple. That’s sure to give THE Delaware Riverkeeper a real bad case of heartburn…
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Cabot Files Appeal in Dimock Case – Alleges Judicial Misconduct

Cabot Oil & Gas has appealed the (OJ-like) jury verdict in the “Dimock” case–a case where the jury ignored the evidence and instead found Cabot guilty of methane contamination of two families’ water wells in Dimock, PA–even though the families admit their wells were fouled BEFORE Cabot began to drill (see Dimock Jury Levies $4.25M Judgement Against Cabot in Dimock Case). Not a single news outlet is covering the appeal. Mainstream media’s favorite tactic is to ignore stories in hopes people won’t notice. Fortunately there are now alternative news outlets, like MDN, where you can learn the truth. The only way we knew about the Cabot appeal was through friend Phelim McAleer, the talented director and star of the documentary FrackNation. Phelim is reporting the appeal on his Facebook page. In the appeal, Cabot says the attorney for the plaintiffs engaged in “repeated misconduct” during the trial. She’d lob false innuendos and statements that were immediately retracted–but the jury heard and obviously believed her. You can’t “unhear” a false statement. In other words, she gamed the system–she didn’t play by the rules. Cabot is asking a judge to overturn the verdict…
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Ohio EPA Seeks Comments on New Permits for Compressor Stations

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) has just issued a series of draft general permits for compressor stations in the state and is inviting public comment. Currently each compressor station and the operations surrounding such a station are evaluated on a case-by-case basis in the Buckeye State. The general permits (plural) would create a template–a standard that everyone must meet–to streamline the process. Sounds reasonable. That is, until you dig into the requirements. We haven’t gone through the various draft general permit documents ourselves, but the radicals at the Environmental Defense Fund have–and they like what they see. Which means it’s bad for the oil and gas industry…
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Rig Counts for World, US Continue Steep Slide in March; M-U Down 1

We’ve now gone beyond cutting into the bone and sinew with rig count losses–we’re now severing limbs. February’s Baker Hughes rig counts were awful, with both international and U.S. counts hitting record lows (see Rig Counts for World, US & Marcellus/Utica Crash in February). Somehow, it got worse in March. International rig counts went down 33 from 1,018 counted in February to 985 in March. In the U.S., rig counts went from 532 in February to 478 in March–a loss of 54 (10%). Month after month it just keeps going lower. Will the patient survive the carnage? On a more positive note, the number of rigs in PA, OH and WV cumulatively (the Marcellus-Utica) went down by just 1 rig. PA’s count went up 1 rig, OH’s count went down 2 rigs, and WV’s count stayed the same. Here’s the details…
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Utica Event: OH Landowners Will Lose $6.5B in 5 Yrs, NEXUS May Get Nixed

4/17/16 NOTE: Spectra Energy contacted MDN to express concerns that our headline leaves the wrong impression. A Spectra spokesman commented: “The story, particularly the headline, portrays the NEXUS Gas Transmission project as being canceled.  This is untrue; NEXUS filed a Certificate Application with the FERC in November of 2015 and has consistently met its regulatory milestones since that time. The project is on schedule and we anticipate FERC issuing its approval to proceed in the second-half of 2016, thereby allowing us to achieve our in-service date of late 2017.” MDN does not mean to imply the project won’t happen–the speaker at the conference we reported on is the one saying that. We’re simply reporting what she said, which we found newsworthy. Spectra takes issue with the opinion that the project may get canceled–they are committed to building it. We have modified the shorter headline that did say “NEXUS Nixed” to say “NEXUS May Get Nixed” to be more accurate. We regret any wrong impression it may have left. Make no mistake, MDN hopes NEXUS happens! We’re rooting for it!

On Wednesday, the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce and ShaleDirectories.com co-hosted the Utica Upstream conference at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH. By all accounts we’ve read, it was an excellent event. (Note: ShaleDirectories is partnering with Sourcewater to present UpStream PA 2016 in State College on April 19). We spotted several articles about Utica Upstream, and all of them focused totally, or in part, on the presentation made by Maria Cortez of energy research firm/consultant Wood Mackenzie. Cortez was clearly the bell of the ball. Among her observations on Wednesday: Ohio landowners will lose $6.5 billion in lost income in the next five years thanks to the drilling slowdown; drillers will buy out other drillers at a rapid pace this year and next; the Utica needs at least 11 rigs to keep production at current levels (right now they’re running 11!); some 150-250 drilled but uncompleted wells (DUCs) will be the focus for drillers for the time being; and the NEXUS pipeline likely will NOT get built. But wait, there’s more!…
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NJ Residents “Get Rowdy” in Opposition to NY-NJ Pilgrim Pipeline

Yesterday MDN reported on the antics of anti-fossil fuelers in New York in their quest to stop an oil pipeline from Albany to New Jersey (see NY Antis Attempt to Stop Pilgrim Pipelines with Local Bans). Antis in NY aren’t the only ones up in arms over the Pilgrim Pipeline project. A “rowdy” group of New Jerseyites are also miffed and want their county government to put the kibosh to the pipeline plan…
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OSHA Sued to Prevent New Silica Dust Rule – but Not by O&G

Last week MDN told you that the federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has published new rules for the handling of silica and silica dust (see OSHA Publishes New Silica Dust Rule, O&G Must Comply by 2018). As we pointed out at the time, the “good news” if there is any, is that the new rules don’t take effect for the oil and gas industry for two years. However, more than just the oil and gas industry are affected by the rules. The Louisiana chapter of The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) has filed a petition against OSHA to block the new rules. AGC represents more than 26,000 firms, including over 6,500 general contractors and over 9,000 specialty-contracting firms. AGC was joined by an alphabet soup of other associations in their petition. A second petition was filed by the American Foundry Society (AFS) and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). Both petitions were filed with the U.S. District Court for the 5th Circuit. Notably, associations for the oil and gas industry, while critical of the proposed new rules, have not (yet) joined these other industry groups in filing a petition with the court…
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Oilfield Services Co. Schlumberger Completes Merger with Cameron

Houston-based Schlumberger (pronounced Shlum-Bur-Zhay) is the world’s largest oilfield services company. Halliburton is #2, and not even close in size. As we reported yesterday, the Obama Dept. of Justice is opposing Halliburton’s merger plan to buy out Baker Hughes (see Obama DOJ Sues to Block Halliburton/Baker Hughes Merger). In a similar move, Schlumberger made a bid for Cameron International–a leading provider of flow equipment products, systems and services to worldwide oil and gas companies. While the DOJ is giving Halliburton/BH the stink eye, they approved the Schlumberger/Cameron deal in near record time. Last week Schlumberger completed the merger and the two are now one company…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Apr 8, 2016

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Everyone expects more Marcellus/Utica dry gas this year; Big Green groups try to block northeast pipelines; Rockefeller o&g divestment shown a fraud; rural PA under siege by Gov; should PA DEP Secretary be an elected position?; western PA rentals tank; Philly energy hub a chicken & egg issue; global warming consensus myth; drillers go rigless; and more!
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