List of 10 Utica-Powered Electric Plant Projects Coming to Ohio

Note: Thanks to our trusty fact-checker, Jim has fixed a few numbers below. Had a wrong decimal!

Here’s an interesting number: 9,805. That’s how many megawatts of electricity will be produced each and every hour by Utica Shale-powered electric plants if 10 announced projects get built in Ohio. To put it in perspective, 9,805 megawatts is enough to power 9.8 million homes, if the power runs continuously. Ohio’s population is 11.5 million people living in 4.4 million households. Obviously the plants don’t run at full tilt 24/7/365. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported in 2015 that combined-cycle natgas electric plants ran at an average of 56.3% of the time. Where are we going with this? Those 10 plants, if they all get built, have the potential to use a maximum (24/7/365) of 98 million cubic feet (MMcf) of Utica Shale gas each and every hour. That’s about 0.1 billion cubic feet (Bcf) per hour. But let’s assume the plants all average running times of 56.3%. That’s still 55 MMcf/hour, 0.05 Bcf/hour. There are, last time we checked, 24 hours in a day, which means over the next several years, as these plants go online, these 10 electric plants alone will sop up a huge 1.2 Bcf of Utica gas per day. The Utica, right now, is producing something like 4.2 Bcf/d. Our point: electric generation is a very important new market for both Utica and Marcellus gas. Below is the list of the 10 natgas electric generation projects announced for Ohio, complete with name, location, megawatts produced and status of the project…
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Gas Leases Expiring “Daily” in Columbiana County, OH

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An attorney who actively represents leaseholders in Columbiana County, OH says “lease expirations are happening daily” in the county. Leases that were signed five years ago (or longer) are coming due in Columbiana, one of the first counties to be targeted in the Utica Shale. Some of those leases are getting renewed–typically leases with Chesapeake Energy. Others, especially in the northern part of the county, are not getting renewed. Here is a rundown on what is happening with lease renewals in Columbiana…
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PA Gov Wolf Asks for Severance Tax 3rd Year in a Row

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is…what adjective can we use? Recalcitrant. Stubborn. Pigheaded. Stupid. Perhaps all of the above. Wolf is clearly in over his head and the most ineffective PA governor in more than a generation. When he assumed office in 2015, he floated a budget calling for a new 5% severance tax on the Marcellus industry–a tax which even his supporters admitted would be closer to 17% (see PA Official Admits Wolf Severance Tax Highest in Nation @ 17.3%). Such a tax would literally kill the entire industry. That budget deal was a disaster. Wolf held up the budget for nine months into the new budget year, and finally caved (see Hubris: PA Gov. Wolf Caves on Budget, then Claims He Won). Beaten but unrelenting, Wolf came back last year with yet another severance tax proposal–this time an astonishing 6.5% tax (see More on Wolf’s New 6.5% Severance Tax – What Could of Been). What a putz. Yes, he lost again. Republicans held firm and he dropped his demand. As we’ve chronicled repeatedly, Wolf insists on such a tax because of his quid pro quo payoff to teachers unions for their support in getting him elected. Sleazy. PA already has a higher tax rate on natural gas than other oil and gas producing states. PA has an impact fee plus a corporate income tax. The two together are, on average, higher than the severance tax rates in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Colorado and other o&g states. We’ve already seen big Marcellus drillers leave and go to other states. A severance tax will greatly reduce the amount of drilling in PA. So, it’s now Wolf’s third year and he is about to release another budget. And you will not believe it. This dolt is calling for a severance tax again! Third year in a row! But he won’t say how high of a tax, at least not yet…
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New Law Blocks Anti-Drilling Ballot Measures in Ohio

Enough is enough. As MDN reported last June, anti-drilling zealots in Youngstown, OH filed a petition to place a frack ban resolution on the November ballot–for the 6th time (see Brain Dead: Youngstown Antis File Petition for 6th Frack Ban Vote). The petition held up, there were just enough signatures. And once again in November, as the five times that preceded it, Youngstown voters rejected the misnamed, so-called Community Bill of Rights ballot measure–yet another humiliating defeat for the PA-based Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) which is behind the measure (see Youngstown, OH Frack Ban Ballot Measure Defeated for 6th Time). The measure was voted down by an 11-point margin (i.e. landslide against it). The radicals of the CELDF are behind most, if not all, such measures throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania (see our CELDF stories here). Like the six times before, recalcitrant antis say they will try yet again, and keep trying. Except in Ohio they now won’t get that chance. Ohio legislators are heard the pleas of local municipalities that are spending big money (in legal fees) dealing with these patently illegal ballot measures. So the legislature passed House Bill (HB) 463 in December (full copy below)–a measure that says you can’t add a ballot measure (like home rule for oil and gas regulation) that expressly contradicts state law. Gov. John Kasich signed the bill on Jan. 4–meaning no more Youngstown ballot “Community Bill of Rights” measures on the ballot…
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Look Ma, No Pipeline! Lycoming County Co. Begins CNG Shipments

In June 2015 MDN told you about a really cool plan by a Pennsylvania company to establish a CNG (compressed natural gas) terminal in Lycoming County, PA as a way to get natural gas to manufacturers, fleets and businesses where no pipeline infrastructure now exists (see Getting Marcellus NatGas to Customers without Pipelines). Compass Natural Gas Partners, based in Camp Hill, PA, said they would build a first-of-its-kind CNG terminal in Lycoming County that will accept Marcellus Shale gas in, clean it up (get rid of the water in it), compress it to 3600 psi, and load it into specially designed trailers that haul it to customers. And then the project went quiet for the next year and a half. Except it wasn’t really quiet. Compass, with a tag line on their website that says “All We Need is Road,” built the terminal and it went fully operational in December. Trucks are now servicing customers in Cambria and Mifflin counties…
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EQT Closes on Trans Energy Deal; Investment Bank Makes Big Boasts

In October EQT announced a deal to buy Trans Energy, Inc., a public pure-play driller in the Marcellus in West Virginia, which will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of EQT (see EQT Buys Trans Energy + 60K Marc/Utica Acres in 2 Deals for $683M). EQT is also buying Trans Energy joint venture partner Republic Energy’s share in their Marcellus jv. The land is located in Marion, Wetzel and Marshall counties (in WV). The deal has now closed and investment bank Gordian Group is strutting around making some big boasts about their role in the deal. Gordian, via a press release issued yesterday, takes credit for keeping Trans Energy out of bankruptcy court and for soaking EQT on the purchase price. Here’s Gordian’s expert piece of self puffery….
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Williams Simplifies Corp Structure, Floats New Stock for $1.8B

Williams issued three press release on Monday that we’re still trying to figure out. Williams, like many other midstream (pipeline) companies has maintained a weird corporate structure whereby Williams the mother ship is a different corporate entity from Williams Partners, the main operating company. Once upon a time Williams had plans to merge the two together–but that all got mothballed when they ended up first fighting against, then trying to merge with Energy Transfer Equity (see Energy Transfer Makes “Indecent Proposal” to Buy Williams for $48B and Williams Accepts ETE’s “Indecent Proposal” – Price Went Down $10B). The deal eventually fell apart. Then Williams was briefly pursued by Enterprise Products Partners, interest which didn’t last long (see Drama: Enterprise Bails on Williams Merger, No Longer Interested). It seems that Williams has once again returned to the idea of tying the two corporate entities together more tightly. At least, that’s what we think is happening. The announcements begin by saying Williams is launching a plan to “simplify the structure” of the organization and remove the need for Williams Partners (stock ticker of WPZ) to “access public equity markets”–which means no further need to float new stock offerings. At the same time Williams the mother ship is floating 65 million shares of new stock at $29/share, hoping to raise a staggering $1.8 billion. Part of the “restructuring” means Williams Partners shareholders are about to get whacked with a much lower dividend payment. There’s a lot of moving parts here, so buckle up…
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NY Nuke Power Plant Closing, Blames Fracked Marcellus Gas

Indian Point Energy Center

The Indian Point Energy Center nuclear power plant near New York City will close down by 2021–after safely powering New York City and Westchester County for more than 40 years. Our man-child governor, Andy Cuomo, has made it one of his missions in life to screw the Indian facility (does he have something against Indians?), because, he says, it’s too close to NYC and too decrepit and dangerous. Our out-of-control Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, has been hassling the facility with legal actions. And our friends at Riverkeeper have been suing the pants off the facility for years. New York State is so “business friendly” as the advertisements say, dontcha think? Anyway, Entergy, the owner of the facility, says all of those reasons are not why the facility is closing. Instead, it was cheap fracked Marcellus gas, says Entergy, that is closing the facility. The nuke plant just can’t produce electricity as cheaply as Marcellus-powered electric plants can…
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Law Prof Writes About Challenges of Surface v Mineral Rights in WV

A West Virginia law professor and one of his students (who went on to become a trial attorney with the U.S. Dept. of Justice), have just published a research paper on the topic of surface and mineral rights in the Mountain State. The paper, titled “Horizontal Drilling Vertical Problems: Property Law Challenges from the Marcellus Shale Boom” (full copy below) discusses property law challenges that can impede business development and negatively impact landowners and mineral owners in shale regions, with a focus on the West Virginia Marcellus. The paper explains the horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing process. A widespread problem in WV is that (because of coal) in many cases the owners of the mineral rights under the ground are not the same people who own the property on the surface. The paper makes the point that while courts can handle one-off cases, the WV legislature should develop better “large-scale policies” to deal with an ongoing, contentious situation…
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MDN Reader Discount to Attend Pittsburgh Pipeline Meeting Jan 17

A special offer to MDN readers from the Appalachian Pipeliners Association (APA). MDN readers are invited to the January 2017 APA Dinner Meeting and Presentation: Oil & Gas Journal’s Forecast and Review–2017. Presented by Oil & Gas Journal Editor, Bob Tippee, the presentation (on Jan. 17) is sure to benefit industry operators and suppliers interested in learning more about what’s in store for the year ahead. MDN readers get a special discount to attend…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Wed, Jan 11, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Why Marcellus stocks cooled off in Dec.; new pipelines tee up to bring Marcellus/Utica gas to Gulf Coast LNG; radical protesters in North Dakota bankrupting the state; permits for shale way up; EIA revises estimate of Henry Hub natgas price for 2017–up; what to expect in 2017 with energy; House working on ways to block Obama methane rules; and more!
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