Philadelphia Loses $500M Petchem Plant from Lack of Pipelines

heartbreakerLack of pipelines for natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs) in the Northeast has very real economic and financial consequences. Yesterday the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce held a program titled “Fueling A Downstream Economy” in downtown Philly. One of the speakers was from petrochemical giant Braskem America Inc. If the name looks familiar, it should. Braskem and their Brazilian parent company Odebrecht are still considering building an ethane cracker plant in West Virginia (see A Pulse! WV Ethane Cracker Project Comes Back from the Dead). Another project Braskem wants to build is a $500 million polypropylene (i.e. plastics) plant. The decision on where to build it was between Philadelphia and Texas. Even though their preference was Philly, Braskem, in the end, selected Texas because of lack of pipeline infrastructure in Philly. A real heart-breaker. The brutal fact is that PA is not moving fast enough to approve new pipeline infrastructure. That was the message delivered loud and clear yesterday during the Chamber event…
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PA Gov Wolf Launches (Gasp) Pipeline Investment Program

gasp11/3/16 Update: We should have known. Wolf didn’t even do this one thing right, as we had assumed–although he takes credit for it. Earlier this year the PA legislature directed this shift in funds–a move that Wolf did not support. See the note below for a full explanation.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a complete disaster as a governor, has managed to do one thing right. Yesterday Wolf’s office announced he is shifting $24 million away from a boondoggle program called the PA Alternative Energy Investment Act and into a new program called the Pipeline Investment Program (PIPE). The PIPE program helps fund pipeline construction to manufacturers, hospitals and (double gasp) schools to provide clean-burning, abundant, cheap and home-grown Marcellus Shale gas to those organizations. As far as money goes, it’s a veritable drop in the bucket–but you wouldn’t know that by the reaction from Big Green Nazis. They’re having a cow, and we’re loving it…
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PA Green Radicals Hope They’ve Got a New Way to Stop Pipelines

hopeThe well-funded Big Green radical movement–the movement that wants to end the use of all fossil fuels–thinks it has found a new legal tactic to use in their attempts to stop the Mariner East 2 (and other) pipeline in Pennsylvania. You may recall that in September the Democrat-controlled PA Supreme Court further eviscerated the 2012 Act 13 Marcellus drilling law (see PA Supreme Court Rules Against Act 13 Drilling Law, Yet Again). One of the items the Supremes decided to overturn is the use of eminent domain for gas storage. The judges said using eminent domain for gas storage facilities violates both the federal and PA state constitutions. Gas storage is tied to pipelines, so Big Green zealots believe the decision provides a legal loophole they can leverage in their quest to stop pipelines…
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Constitution Pipeline Case Goes to Court in 2 Weeks, Briefs Filed

see you in courtYou may recall that in April, New York’s anti-drilling governor, Andrew Cuomo, decided he would cave to pressure from radical environmentalists once again and block the building of the federally-approved Constitution Pipeline (see NY Gov. Cuomo Refuses to Grant Permits for Constitution Pipeline). Cuomo’s toadies at the Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) denied the Constitution the permits it needs to cross creeks and swamps. That was finally enough for Williams and the other partners in the project, who promptly sued NY in federal, NOT state, court (see Williams Sues NY Over Constitution Pipe – DEC May Lose Authority). The court venue is important, because in NY our court system at the highest level is corrupt–the governor appoints judges and those judges like their big-salary jobs and want to get reappointed–so they “decide” cases the way Andy wants them decided (see Shale Drilling in NY is Over – High Court Upholds Town Bans). We’ve predicted, repeatedly, that the NY DEC runs the very real risk of being removed from the decision process when it comes to federally-approved pipeline projects. If they lose the Constitution case, they will no longer have a role to play. Even the libs at Bloomberg think the DEC has a weak case (see Bloomberg Predicts Court Will Strip NY’s Right to Stop Constitution). We’re now two weeks away from the court hearing date and Williams has filed a couple of briefs blasting the DEC (copies below), and the DEC has filed a brief responding (copy below). It’s turning into a legal brawl. Warning to Williams: be prepared to fight like a New York street-fighter. Fortunately, the case sits in U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and not the NY Court of Appeals (NY’s highest court)…
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PA Congressman Ask EPA for “Assurances” re Wastewater Rule

EPA-fingers-crossed.png11/3/16 Update: The Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association (PIOGA)–the only PA organization that represents both conventional and unconventional drillers–submitted comments to the EPA on Monday regarding this rule. PIOGA is urging the EPA to extend existing guidelines for an additional three years to allow PA’s conventional drillers an opportunity to work on alternative disposal methods. See a copy of the comments submitted below.

In June MDN reported on yet another new unlegislated law (called a “rule”) issued by the rogue federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that bans the disposal of wastewater from oil and gas drilling via public wastewater/sewage treatment plants (see EPA Bans Disposal of Frack Wastewater at Public Sewer Plants). The rule is meant to ban wastewater coming from unconventional (shale) wells, and not conventionally drilled oil and gas wells, which are shallow wells compared to shale wells. However, conventional drillers in Pennsylvania raised the alarm that the way the rule is written, it will prevent them from disposing their shallow (and much lower volumes of) wastewater by carting it to the local sewage treatment plant–as many of them do now (see EPA Shale Wastewater Rule Will Crush PA’s Conventional Drillers). The upshot is that the EPA needs to revise its rule. But it hasn’t, and that has three PA congressman asking the EPA for “assurances.” We’re not holding our breath on that one…
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CONSOL Energy 3Q16: In the Black, Production Up, Utica Focused

CONSOL EnergyComing on the big news yesterday that CONSOL Energy is calling it splitsville with Noble Energy on their 2/3 of a million acres joint venture in the Marcellus (see Divorce: CONSOL & Noble Dissolve M-U Joint Venture), CONSOL released its third quarter 2016 update. The company reports making $25 million in 3Q16, which is better than many who remain in the red. Production was up 12% for the quarter, year over year. They reactivated two rigs in August, both of which began drilling Utica wells in Monroe County, OH. They ended up drilling two Utica wells during the quarter. In the update, CONSOL crowed about the impressive Gaut 4IH well in Westmoreland County, PA. That well (a Utica well) produced 6.04 billion cubic feet (Bcf) even though it wasn’t brought online until the end of 3Q16…
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Noble Energy 3Q16: Aside from Marcellus JV Divorce, Not Much

Noble Energy logoAs we pointed out yesterday in our story about CONSOL Energy and Noble Energy deciding to end their Marcellus joint venture (see Divorce: CONSOL & Noble Dissolve M-U Joint Venture), Noble Energy has decided to cool it with regard to new Marcellus drilling. Noble is focused on other (oily) shale plays. They issued their third quarter 2016 update yesterday, and the section about the Marcellus was pretty short. Noble completed 6 previously-drilled wells, but isn’t drilling any new Marcellus wells…
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WGL Midstream Buys More of Mountain Valley Pipeline

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Mountain Valley Pipeline revised route – click for larger version

The Mountain Valley Pipeline is a $3.5 billion, 301-mile pipeline that will run from Wetzel County, WV to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsylvania County, VA. The project, which filed an official application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in October 2015, is being built by EQT, NextEra Energy and several other partners (see Mountain Valley Pipeline Files FERC Appl, Now Just Matter of Time). One of those “several other partners” is WGL Midstream–the midstream arm of Washington (DC) Gas. Some of the 2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas that will flow through Mountain Valley Pipeline will head in Washington Gas’ direction–hence their interest. On Monday WGL announced they are increasing their ownership in the Mountain Valley Pipeline project–from 7% to 10%. That 10% interest will cost WGL around $326 million…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Wed, Nov 2, 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: 11 Utica permits, rig count goes down; cracker plants will revitalize Ohio; fracking jobs are safer than most – the numbers prove it; smoking gun – Rockefellers promise access to InsideClimate News editor; was Baker Hughes/GE excitement premature?; coal to gas switching in the U.S. electric power industry; shale v OPEC; and more!
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