Explosion, Fire Shut Down PA NatGas Electric Power Plant

talen-energy-fire2There was an explosion, followed by a fire, at a natural gas-fired electric generating plant last night at Talen Energy’s Lower Mount Bethel power plant along Depues Ferry Road in Lower Mount Bethel Township, Northampton County, PA (Lehigh Valley area). Near as anyone can tell, the explosion and fire had nothing to do with natural gas or the plant itself. The explosion and fire were in an electrical transformer on the outside of the building that houses the machinery producing electricity. The entire plant is currently shut down, not producing electricity, to fix the transformer and to understand what happened to prevent it from happening again. Nobody was injured. The entire thing is pretty much a non-event. We mention it because of the breathless way it’s being reported–with headlines trumpeting a fire at a natgas power plant. Every year (month? week?) transformers blow up around the country outside of other types of buildings, including nuclear plants (see this one from Sept. 4 in Florida, and this one from Aug. 30 in Tennessee). Because natural gas is connected to the story in Northampton County, it’s a major headline. Again, natgas had nothing to do with explosion and subsequent fire…Continue reading

New NatGas-Fired Electric Plant Proposed for Chesapeake, VA

macquarieMacquarie Infrastructure has filed an application to build a new natural gas-fired electric generating plant in Chesapeake, Virginia, the state’s third most populous city, located near Norfolk. The facility, called Matex Virginia Power, would produce 1,400 megawatts of electricity by using three gas combustion turbines and one steam turbine. It’s not (yet) known how the new plant will get its gas, although Dominion’s planned $5 billion, 550-mile long Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) project is scheduled to have a branch going to Chesapeake. It’s not much of a stretch to think that ACP will feed this new plant, bringing Marcellus/Utica gas from the north to the plant. Here’s the good news, followed by reaction from environmental Nazis that oppose it…
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NJ Sierra Club Game Plan – Kill Pipelines by Slowing Approvals

PennEast in NJ
PennEast in NJ – click for larger version

An Associated Press article tackles the issue of the dozen plus natural gas pipelines planned to carry new supplies of Marcellus/Utica gas into New Jersey, and how/why those projects are moving along so slowly. Today is the final day for public comment on the much-needed PennEast Pipeline from the Wilkes-Barre, PA region southeast to the Trenton, NJ area. The next step is an environment study, to be done by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). THE Delaware Riverkeeper (aka Maya van Rossum) along with other virulent anti-fossil fuel nutters, like the NJ Sierra Club, are vigorously opposed–throwing as much horse manure and legal roadblocks at the project as they can. In other areas of the country it would take a project like PennEast about seven months to get approved. So far it’s been over two years for PennEast, with an end now in sight IF construction begins next year. The article is an update on the PennEast, with comments mostly against (a few for). The interesting part of the article is, for us, the very last sentence. We’ve told you for years that the game plan from antis is to delay and slow down approvals in hopes of getting projects canceled. We’ve had a front row seat of that (very effective) strategy here in New York State. The interesting final sentence in the AP article is an admission by the NJ Sierra Club that delay of PennEast is indeed their game plan, with the intent to “kill the pipeline”…
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UTOPIA Pipeline Still Battling OH Landowners with Eminent Domain

UTOPIA Pipeline Project map
UTOPIA Pipeline Project map – click for larger version

Kinder Morgan’s UTOPIA (Utica To Ontario Pipeline Access) pipeline is a 12-inch ethane pipeline that will run 240 miles and will only be built in Ohio–therefore the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) won’t be involved in permitting the project. In April we asked the question, Why is UTOPIA Pipeline Less “Controversial” than NEXUS in Ohio?. Perhaps that question was premature, because not long after we ran a story that Kinder Morgan was suing holdout landowners using eminent domain to allow the pipeline (see UTOPIA Pipeline Sues Holdout OH Landowners Using Eminent Domain). The real eye-popper was reading just how much Kinder Morgan was offering for easements to property owners. Of course what a landowner is offered depends on how many feet of land the pipeline will cross. Some landowners were offered up to $63,300 for an easement. In some cases, the offers were “more than 10 times the appraised value of the easement.” It’s certainly in a landowner’s best interest to settle before being forced to settle (for far less) via eminent domain. So how is the process going? The lawyer for one group of landowners says KM’s offers are low, not high. Here’s an update on the legal battles in the Buckeye State over UTOPIA…
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OH EPA Grants Permits for 5 NEXUS Pipeline Compressor Stations

NEXUS Pipeline – click for larger version

An important milestone in advancing the NEXUS Pipeline in Ohio. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week issued air permits to NEXUS to build five compressor stations. NEXUS is a $2 billion, 255-mile interstate pipeline that will run from Ohio through Michigan and eventually to the Dawn Hub in Ontario, Canada (see Spectra Energy Files Formal FERC Application for NEXUS Pipeline). It is a critically needed pipeline to move Utica and Marcellus Shale gas from an over-saturated market in the northeast to markets in the Midwest and Canada. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is charged with evaluating and approving (or not) the project. However, as often happens, various state agencies are also involved in the project. In this case the Ohio EPA can’t approve or disapprove of the pipeline itself, but granting air emissions permits for the compressor stations that will move the gas through the pipeline is important. So we celebrate one more positive sign that NEXUS will get built…
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DCNR Blocks New Marcellus Drilling on PA State Lands

DCNR logoWhat happens when you put a virulent anti-driller in charge of a state’s forestry service, a state that previously had a small, safe, healthy program to allow some shale drilling, giving taxpayers a break with a source of new revenue? Of course the anti-driller immediately tries to quash any more new drilling efforts. And that’s just what has happened with former PennFuture president and current Secretary of the PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), Cindy Dunn. We called for her firing back in June when she was caught using–we’d say misappropriating–taxpayer money to send her staff to Big Green reeducation events (see Time to Fire Cindy Dunn, Last of Wolf Admin’s PennFuture Radicals). But no. She remains at her post, obstructing drilling in any way she can. The latest in her efforts is an updated plan from the DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry, which manages 2.2 million acres of state lands, in which the DCNR pledges to block any new Marcellus drilling on state lands and outlines their plans to begin hassling those who own mineral rights under state lands (and can legally extract shale gas) by requiring “definitive proof” that they own the mineral rights. In other words, they’re going to try and tie rights owners and drillers up in so much red tape, they’ll never even think about drilling a new well on state land…
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Halcon Resources Exits Bankruptcy in Just 1.5 Months

Halcon ResourcesGetting a pre-packaged bankruptcy today is like ordering a McDonalds Happy Meal–just order and drive up to the window and pick it up. Simple. In July Halcon Resources, a Utica Shale driller that “guessed wrong” by leasing 140,000 Utica Shale acres in the northern part of the play (in Ohio) and currently doesn’t drill on any of that acreage, filed for a pre-packaged bankruptcy (see Halcon Resources Files for “Pre-Packaged” Bankruptcy). Less than a month and a half after first filing, Halcon has emerged from bankruptcy court with $1.8 billion worth of debt magically erased. When Halcon filed back in July, they listed $3.12 billion in debt and $2.85 billion in assets. In August the company’s market capitalization, calculated as the number of outstanding shares of stock times the per share price, otherwise know as the company’s “worth” or “value”–was under $50 million (see Halcon’s Market Cap Falls Below $50M, NYSE Threatens to De-List). When debtors have no other choice than to accept a plan turning their debt into equity (shares of stock), it doesn’t take long to file the paperwork and be on your way. Here’s Halcon’s news that they now live again to fight another day–just not in the Utica…
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Moxie Chooses EthosEnergy to Run NEPA NatGas Electric Plant

ethoseenergyIn June 2014 MDN broke the news that Moxie Energy was in the hunt to begin a third new Marcellus gas-powered electric plant project in Pennsylvania, near Wilkes-Barre (see Moxie Energy in Hunt for Third Marcellus-Powered Electric Plant?). Indeed, our suspicions were borne out. In November 2015 Moxie selected Gemma Power to build the plant, and construction began a month later (see Moxie Marcellus-Powered Electric Plant Breaks Ground in NEPA). The 850-megawatt plant will use local Marcellus Shale gas to power it. Last week came the news that Moxie has contracted with EthosEnergy to run and maintain the plant. EthosEnergy announced it will 20 full-time employees from the area to run the plant. This is great news, signaling the project nears completion and start-up…
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Antero Midstream Floats $650M in New IOUs

antero-midstreamLast Thursday Antero Midstream, the wholly-owned midstream subsidiary of powerhouse Marcellus/Utica driller Antero Resources, announced it is floating a round of “senior notes” (otherwise known as IOUs) to help the company pay off older debt. New debt for old debt. Not a game we enjoy playing, but Wall Streeters dig it. Antero Midstream first said they hoped to get $500 million for the notes, but later issued a second announcement “upsizing” the offering (like supersizing your fries at McDonalds) to $650 million. Such upsizing is typical (we’ve seen it dozens of times before). Here’s the announcements from Antero from last week…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, Sep 12, 2016

best of the restThe “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: PA county turns against industry over royalties; driller paying for road repairs in Ritchie County, WV; Halliburton & Baker Hughes say we’re on the road to recovery; how shale crippled offshore drilling; battle brewing in Toronto; and more!
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