Groundbreaking for Tenaska Marcellus-Fired Electric Plant in SWPA

Tenaska Westmoreland Generating Station
Tenaska Westmoreland Generating Station (concept)

It’s been eight long years since energy giant Tenaska (headquartered in Omaha, NE) first proposed building a natural gas-fueled power plant in South Huntingdon (Westmoreland County), PA. In April MDN reported Tenaska announced that the Tenaska Westmoreland Generating Station, a 925-megawatt (MW) natural gas-fueled power plant project near Pittsburgh, had secured $780 million in funding (see Construction Begins on $780M SWPA NatGas-Fired Power Plant). Our headline at the time of “Construction Begins…” was a bit premature as the first shovelful of dirt didn’t happen until earlier this week. On Wednesday, Tenaska held a groundbreaking ceremony at the site. Jerry Crouse, CEO of Tenaska, was on hand for the shindig. The good news is that this large electric generating plant will be powered by Marcellus Shale gas, another important new market for PA’s homegrown natural gas…
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Kent State Study: UTOPIA Pipeline to Yield $237M for Ohio Economy

Utopia Project
Click for larger version

As MDN reported yesterday, Kent State University researchers have just issued a report evaluating the economic impact of the proposed Kinder Morgan UTOPIA (Utica To Ontario Pipeline Access) project on the State of Ohio. UTOPIA is a 12-inch ethane pipeline that will run 240 miles across Ohio, connecting with another pipeline that will shuttle Utica/Marcellus ethane all the way to a cracker plant in Sarnia, Ontario. The Kent State study estimates this tiny pipeline project will contribute a whopping $237.3 million to Ohio’s economy, creating 2,132 direct and indirect jobs in Ohio and generating $4.9 million in yearly tax revenues. Below is a press announcement from Kent State with a good overview of the study, followed by a full copy of the study, which is titled: “Economic Impact of Kinder Morgan Utopia Pipeline Project”…
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Federal Court Denies CELDF’s Re-Hearing Request in Grant Twp Case

exclusiveWe believe this bit of news is exclusive to MDN–we’ve not seen it anywhere else, yet. In early August MDN reported that the novel legal argument offered by the radical leftist PA-based group Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) in Grant Township (Indiana County), PA claiming to represent a local ecosystem had failed (see CELDF Loses Case to Represent Ecosystem – Turtles Disappointed). The CELDF tried to claim the Little Mahoning Watershed, an ecosystem, is a “person” under the law–an asinine notion. The CELDF had hoodwinked local anti-drillers in Grant who are opposed to a legally-permitted injection well, attempting to block the well from getting built and operated by Pennsylvania General Energy (PGE). Claiming they speak for the ecosystem was the legal shenanigan the CELDF tried to pull–and it didn’t work. The federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals rejected their arguments, clearing the way for PGE to build the injection well and continue with a $1 million lawsuit against Grant for causing economic harm to the company. Here is the new and exclusive news: The CELDF, masquerading as the Little Mahoning Watershed (the “ecosystem”), along with CELDF’s sibling organization called East Run Hellbenders Society, immediately petitioned the full Third Circuit (all of the justices) asking for a rehearing–something called a Sur Petition for Rehearing. The CELDF wanted another bite at the apple–a chance to prove to other justices that the Little Mahoning Watershed is a “person” under the law and should be represented by the crazies at the CELDF. The justices of the Third Circuit unanimously and swiftly rejected the petition for rehearing. It’s the end of the road for the CELDF and Grant Township in this case, which means the PGE injection well will now get built, and Grant Township taxpayers will have to pony up $1 million (if PGE wins their lawsuit, as we expect they will)…
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Corvex Raider Launches Hostile Takeover Attempt of Williams

Mini-MeCorporate raider and Carl Icahn protege Keith “Mini-Me” Meister, Managing Partner of Corvex Management, has launched a full-out assault and takeover attempt of midstream company Williams. Yesterday MDN reported that Meister has floated a slate of 10 of his own people–including himself–as candidates for the board of directors for a scheduled vote during the annual meeting later this year (see Corp Raider Who Quit Williams Board Wants Now Wants Back On). Mini-Me tried this before and it failed (see Half of Williams Board, Including 2 Corporate Raiders, Quit). This time Mini-Me is trying to fight his proxy war via the court of public opinion. Writing on the Seeking Alpha investors website, Mini-Me Meister offers lame excuses for why he “must” attempt a takeover of Williams…
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Transco’s Northeast Expansion Project Advances, FERC Hearings in Sept

Transco Northeast Supply Enhanacement Project map
Transco Northeast Supply Enhanacement Project map – click for larger version

In May Williams’ Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company (Transco) pre-filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a project called the Northeast Supply Enhancement project (see Williams Pre-Files with FERC to Expand Transco Pipeline in PA, NY). The new project is meant to increase pipeline capacity and flows heading into northeastern markets. In particular, Transco wants to provide more natural gas to utility giant National Grid beginning with the 2019-2020 heating season. National Grid operates in New York City, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Also in May, Williams ran an open season to lock up commitments for the Northeast Supply Enhancement project (see Williams Announces Open Season for Northeast Supply Enhancement). The open season worked. National Grid committed to all 400,000 dekatherms of extra gas the project will provide. Currently FERC has its ears on–accepting comments about the project, both in writing and (in September) via four public hearings…
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Washington County, PA Panel Talks Marcellus, Cracker & the Future

walks into a barA banker, a real estate developer and a natural gas drilling company rep walk into a bar… No wait! This isn’t a joke! A banker, a real estate developer and a natgas drilling rep were panelists at seminar held yesterday, organized by the Pittsburgh Business Times. Even though there has been a major slowdown in Marcellus/Utica drilling, all three panelists were upbeat and optimistic–in no small part because of the coming Shell ethane cracker in nearby Beaver County. One comment made about the Shell cracker: “We’re not just building a facility; we’re building an industry.” That’s just how major the Shell project will be in the greater Pittsburgh area. Another comment: “The Marcellus Shale is not in the tank…It has slowed down, which is typical of industries that are sensitive to price cycles, [but] it’s consistent, affordable and is stable.” More interesting tidbits from the PBT soiree…
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Platts: Marcellus/Utica Production Nears All-Time High in August

all time highPlatts Analytics is estimating that natural gas output in the combined Marcellus/Utica will average 22.63 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) during August. If that bears out, it will an increase of 2% from July and the second highest monthly output EVER for the Marcellus/Utica, second only to February’s all-time high of 22.78 Bcf/d. That is astonishing! The numbers are catching analysts by surprise, who did not expect an increase in northeast gas volumes, but instead a decrease. Even the venerable U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicted August numbers for the Marcellus would go down by 26 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d), but Utica would increase by 5 MMcf/d, for a total net decrease of 21 MMcf/d (see EIA July DPR: Utica Only Play with Increased NatGas Production). Not so according to Platts Analytics. Why the increase in August, of all times?…
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Johns Hopkins Junk Science: Fracking Gives You Headaches

junk-science.jpgIn April 2015 a “study” from Johns Hopkins University claimed fracking has led to high levels of radon in nearby homes in PA (see Johns Hopkins Says PA Fracking Causing High Radon in Nearby Homes). That study was a sham and was debunked. In October 2015 a “study” from Johns Hopkins University claimed fracking leads to premature births in PA (see New Junk Science Claims PA Fracking Leads to Premature Births). Again, it was debunked as a sham. In July of this year the same Johns Hopkins group released a “study” claiming fracking makes asthma worse (see Sham “Study” from Johns Hopkins Says Fracking Makes Athsma Worse). Also shown to be a fraud. See a pattern? When we saw yet another junk science “study” coming from the same group of virulent anti-drillers, using the once-great name of Johns Hopkins to cover for anti-drilling shillery, our first thought was to ignore it since this new “study” is more of the same agenda-driven, false “science” B.S. (Barbara Streisand). But report on it we must. The latest anti-fracking “study” coming from Johns Hopkins claims that fracking leads to headaches, fatigue and sinus problems. The one, big, glaring problem with this study is that almost all of the subjects whose doctor records were used live OUTSIDE of drilling areas! That’s what passes for science and academic rigor at Johns Hopkins. It’s all political science, absent any real science…
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Siluria Appoints Former Shell Exec Robert Trout as CEO

Robert Trout
Robert Trout

A new company we first reported on in May is Siluria Technologies (see New Tech Converts NatGas into Ethylene, Bypassing Cracker Plants). We’re excited about Siluria because of their intriguing technology that converts natural gas directly into useful petrochemicals, bypassing in-between steps like using ethane crackers. Very cool stuff. In early May Siluria picked up an Italian partner (see Siluria Gets Partner to Convert Methane Directly into Petrochems). In June the company picked up a French partner (see Siluria’s Disruptive Technology Gets French Partner – Air Liquide). The company has momentum. Now comes word that Siluria has a new CEO, a high-ranking Shell executive who spent his entire career at Shell. This is very good news indeed…
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