Marathon Begins to Build New 49-Mile Utica Pipeline in Ohio

In December 2013 MDN first reported a new $250 million pipeline on the way in the Utica Shale from Marathon Petroleum Corporation, the largest refiner in the Utica Shale region (see Marathon Petroleum’s Newly Announced “Cornerstone” Utica Pipeline). The Cornerstone pipeline stretches nearly 50 miles from the MarkWest cryogenic processing plant in Cadiz, OH northwest connecting to M3’s fractionator plant in Scio and M3’s cryogenic processing plant in Leesville along the way as it terminates and connects to Marathon’s refinery in Canton, OH. The pipeline will carry, at various times, crude oil, condensate and natural gasoline. It went online in September 2016 (see Utica Condensate Begins Flowing Through Cornerstone Pipeline). What we didn’t know/hadn’t noticed with all the talk and focus on Cornerstone, is that Marathon had also floated another 49-mile condensate pipeline project further west of Cornerstone, called HALI–the Harpster to Lima Pipeline. The purpose of the project is a pipeline “for efficient and safe delivery of condensate from the Utica Shale to refineries where it can be processed into gasoline and diesel in order to meet the needs of producers, mid-streamers, marketers, diluent blenders, and refiners as the Utica Shale continues to develop.” The project is now under construction and expected to go online in July. Although Marathon doesn’t really provide any details for the project on their website, we were able to locate a good bit of information about the project, which we share below…
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York County, PA Electric Plant Begins Using NatGas as Fuel

Brunner Island Power Plant – click for larger image

We first reported in August 2015 on plans for a mammoth coal-fired electric plant in York County, PA (straddling Lancaster County) would invest $100 million to begin using Marcellus Shale gas to help power the plant (see Lancaster Coal Burning Electric Plant Adding Marcellus NatGas). The Brunner Island facility, as it’s called, has been in environmentalists sights for years, with complaints about emissions from the plant. Brunner Island has a relatively new owner–Talen Energy (of Allentown, PA). Beginning to use natgas at the Brunner Island facility is an experiment for Talen–they intend to continue using coal as well (for now). Good news: Brunner Island has begun using natgas, ahead of schedule…
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EQT Catches Big Break in WV Supreme Court re Royalty Deductions

In December MDN reported on the huge West Virginia Supreme Court decision against driller EQT that disallows EQT from deducting post-production expenses from royalty checks, even with signed contracts in place (see WV Supreme Court Rules EQT Can’t Deduct P-P Costs from Royalties). Specifically, the justices in their ruling said that drillers can “not deduct from that (royalty) amount any expenses that have been incurred in gathering, transporting or treating the oil or gas after it has been initially extracted, any sums attributable to a loss or beneficial use of volume beyond that initially measured or any other costs that may be characterized as post-production.” We can’t stress just how big a deal this is. So the following news is equally as big: In a rare and unusual move, the same WV Supreme Court has agreed to rehear the case…
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CONSOL Energy 4Q16 Update – Plans to Shed Rest of Coal in 2017

Yesterday CONSOL Energy released their fourth quarter 2016 results, along with a conference call to discuss those results. A few important items come out of yesterday’s activity. (1) The company lost $321 million in 4Q16. (2) CONSOL, originally a coal-only company, plans to either spin-off or sell the remaining coal assets it owns–this year–completing the process of transforming the company from coal to natural gas extraction. (3) CONSOL produced an average of 101.3 billion cubic feet equivalent of natural gas per day in 4Q16, up 6% from 4Q15. (4) The company shaved a dime off the costs to produce each thousand cubic feet (Mcf) of natgas–from $2.37/Mcf in 2015 to $2.27/Mcf in 2016. (5) Although the company lost money, the shale drilling business saw an increase in revenue in 4Q16 to $280.1 million (a 5.6% increase over 4Q15). (6) Although CONSOL has and continues to drill and complete wells in the Marcellus, their focus for new drilling is the Utica. Here’s the update…
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AEP Completes Sale of 2 OH, 1 IN NatGas-Fired Electric Plants

MDN reported in September that American Electric Power is selling four electric generating plants to a newly formed joint venture of Blackstone and ArcLight Capital Partners (see AEP Sells 2 Ohio NatGas-Fired Electric Plants to Blackstone JV. Three of the plants are natural gas-fired–two of them in Ohio and one in Indiana. One of the plants is coal-fired, located in Ohio. Total sale price for all four: $2.17 billion. As we’ve also reported, the sale of these “unregulated” power generating plants is part of AEP’s strategy to become 100% regulated–and then try to lock out competition from unregulated, shale-fed plants (see OH Power Cos. Try to Stop Gas-Fired Plants with “Re-Regulation”). Sleazy. At any rate, AEP reported on Monday the sale is now completed…
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Trump Takes Aim at EPA – Rumored to Cut Half of 15K Employees

Finally, something is being done about draining the swamp that has been (until now) a rogue, out-of-control federal Environmental Protection Agency. As we previously reported, Trump could not have picked a better person to head the agency than Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt (see Master Stroke: Trump Selects OK AG Pruitt to Lead EPA). We’ve heard Pruitt speak, in person. He’s the right man for the job. The EPA under Barack Obama regularly exceeded its constitutional boundaries and attempted, on multiple occasions, to regulate the oil and gas industry. We can assure you there will be a whole less regulatin’ goin’ on at the EPA from now on. In addition to Pruitt at the helm, Trump is taking aim at “significant” budget and (most importantly) staff cuts at the agency. According to an AP article running in Time magazine, Trump wants to dump half of EPA’s 15,000 employees. Maybe more. To which we say, hooray! Gutting the EPA is making environmental radicals who have had their way with the agency for the last eight years, apoplectic…
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Rewriting StateImpact’s Biased Story on Trump’s First Days

The PBS “reporters” at the taxpayer-funded StateImpact Pennsylvania, like Marie Cusack, are as biased as bias gets. The frustrating thing is that they pretend to be journalists–pretend to be unbiased. They are, instead, radical leftists with an agenda, and it leaks through with every article. Some articles more than others. Take, for example, Cusack’s recent article railing against Donald Trump and his first days in office–and how poor enviro wackos have a fight on their hands. We thought it would be fun to append Cusack’s article with some truth, so you have the full context–to see what she leaves out. Enjoy!…
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PA Senator Makes the Case: PA Air Getting Cleaner Thx to Shale

Recently a biased editorial ran in the biased Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, taking aim at methane. The editorial, penned by Brian O’Neill, misrepresented the facts about methane in PA, in an attempt to garner support for onerous new regulations put forward by Gov. Wolf’s Dept. of Environmental Protection. State Sen. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Jefferson Hills (representing parts of Allegheny County and Washington County), responded with his own editorial. To their credit, the Post-Gazette published it. Reschenthaler said the air is actually getting cleaner in PA, not dirtier, thanks to Marcellus Shale gas. And the new regulations being pedaled by Wolf will not make things better environmentally. The only thing the new regs will do is kill jobs…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Wed, Feb 1, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: 7 permits issued in OH Utica last week; Rhode Island asks Pres. Trump to jumpstart New England natgas pipeline; Eagle LNG files app to build Jacksonville LNG export facility; Senator says US Army Corps will soon approve Dakota Access Pipeline; 2 new natgas power plants coming to Upper Pennisula; advanced drilling rigs “breakout” this year; Chevron’s bombshell; Senate committee advances Zinke & Perry; and more!
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