Antis Nervous that DRBC is Making Moves to Lift PA Drilling Ban

We now have a bit more of the back story and reason why anti-frackers turned out in large numbers to attend last Thursday’s meeting of the Delaware Basin River Commission (see Anti-Fracking Protesters Turn Out in Force at DRBC Meeting). As we noted, antis carpooled protesters in from New York City and other locations. On the agenda were two items that had them irked: (1) a short, 8-mile pipeline that will cross through a small sliver of DRBC-controlled territory, and (2) adoption of a two-year water resource plan “that instructs staff to carry out the commission’s natural gas regulations.” The antis are concerned the water plan will restart the discussion on regulations to allow fracking. Overactive imaginations? Maybe not. An AP story brings new details to light we had not previously read. THE Delaware Riverkeeper and others have “learned” that “recently” the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection held a meeting with DRBC staffers to discuss “draft regulations for drilling in the Delaware watershed.” THAT’S what had the antis all hot-and-bothered and showing up in large numbers. We’re now going on six years that the DRBC has blocked drilling by shelving regulations they had drafted to allow drilling in the Delaware River Basin–at least in PA. Last year a landowner from Wayne County, PA sued the DRBC, asking the courts to rule the DRBC has no right to block drilling (see Wayne County, PA Landowner Sues DRBC Over Fracking Ban). Here’s the article that sheds new light on the nervous Nellies of the Delaware…
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Mariner East 2 Pipeline Constructions Begins Across PA

Pop the cork on the champagne bottle! Sunoco Logistics Partners has begun construction of the Mariner East 2–a $2.5 billion, 306-mile natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline that will run from eastern Ohio through the state of Pennsylvania to the Marcus Hook refinery near Philadelphia. Last week the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) gave its final approval for the project (see Finally! PA DEP Issues Final Permits for Mariner East 2 Pipeline). It didn’t take long for a coordinated attack from the the enviro left–THE Delaware Riverkeeper, the Philadelphia-based Clean Air Council and the Mountain Watershed Association (see Maya & Friends Sue (Once Again) to Stop Mariner East 2 Pipe). However, their efforts have (so far) failed, as we observed yesterday (see Last Minute Attacks Fail to Stop Mariner East 2 Pipeline Progress). Although you can’t discount a liberal judge throwing up roadblocks, the very good news is that construction has begun across PA–in Delaware County in the east, Huntingdon County in central PA, and Washington County in the west…
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Frackenstein Returns – Insights on Microbes in Fracked M-U Wells

For the first time, scientists reconstructed the genetic material from microbes in shale formations (represented here) being drilled for natural gas – click for larger version

Last year MDN shared with you the news that researchers from Ohio State University analyzed the genomes of microorganisms (i.e. bacteria) that live in Utica Shale wells and found little communities of microscopic critters that live in those shale wells, including a brand new critter that lives only in fracked Utica Shale wells (see Frackenstein! Researchers Find New Life Form in Fracked Utica Wells). The hypothesis is that fracking itself created this new mutated life form. The researchers call this new microorganism “Frackibacter” (pronounced frack-uh-back-tor). We call it Frackenstein! Who knew fracking didn’t destroy life, but actually creates it?! Not long after the original announcement, those same researchers, in poring over their data, discovered those tiny critters may actually INCREASE natural gas output from the well (see Frackenstein 2: Gassy Utica Critters May Increase Well Output!). Since that time the same researchers have continued to review their data and now have important insights to add: microbes from the surface get injected deep in the earth during the fracking process. And those microbes do a good job of adapting and surviving, even in an environment with a lot of chemicals and minerals. That adaptation means more methane is produced, but it also means more corrosion of pipes and equipment. The researchers hope scientists will use this information to produce better fracking fluids and equipment used to extract natural gas…
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OH Fight to Re-Regulate Electric Industry – Impacts on Shale

In January we brought to your attention a developing situation–a fight, really–by a few large regulated electric utilities that seek to have Ohio re-regulate the electric industry (see OH Power Cos. Try to Stop Gas-Fired Plants with “Re-Regulation”). We make no bones about the fact we think that’s a very poor idea. It will have the effect of raising electric rates for consumers, and eliminate unregulated shale gas power plants. It is a move by big corporations to eliminate competition–using Ohio’s laws do it. Three of the state’s biggest electric utilities trying to do this: FirstEnergy, American Electric Power, and Dayton Power and Light. Shame on them. One of the most vocal critics of re-regulation is Bill Siderewicz, the owner of Clean Energy Future (based in Boston). Clean Energy is in the process of building two Utica gas-powered electric plants in Lordstown, spending more than a billion dollars to do it. If re-regulation happens, those plants won’t open. Is there a case to be made for re-regulation? Is Siderewicz correct in his assessment that re-regulation is simply re-monopolization under a new name? A recent article in the Youngstown Vindicator does a good job of presenting both sides of this very important issue…
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OH Company Joins Team to Develop Low-Pressure CNG Tank for Cars

A. Schulman, Inc., headquartered in Fairlawn, OH, supplies plastic compounds and resins which are used as raw materials in a variety of markets. Yesterday the company announced that they will join several other companies in a joint effort to develop and produce the world’s first commercially viable low pressure natural gas storage tank for motor vehicles. A year ago MDN brought you news about a breakthrough in CNG (compressed natural gas) tanks for passenger vehicles (see New CNG Tanks on the Way for Passenger Vehicles – Game Changer?). The typical CNG fuel tank is big and bulky and holds compressed gas at a pressure of 3,600 pounds per square inch (psi). United Technologies Corp. innovated a new tank that is much smaller, using “activated carbon adsorbents” technology that will allow CNG to be stored at 1,000 psi. United Technologies licensed their technology to Adsorbed Natural Gas Products, Inc. (ANGP) which will manufacture the new fuel tanks. A. Schulman announced yesterday they are partnering with ANGP to make manufacturing those tanks possible…
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Scott Pruitt Confirmed to Lead EPA – Swamp Draining Begins

New EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt

Last Friday Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to become the next Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. This is seriously great news. In 2014 MDN editor Jim Willis moderated a panel discussion at an industry summit held in Oklahoma City and heard Mr. Pruitt in person. Here’s what Jim said at that time: “Be sure to watch the very first video on the Midcontinent page. It is the keynote delivered by Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. Jim just about stood up to cheer when he talked. Wow! We later joked (in the third session) that we’d be happy to trade our AG in NY for Pruitt any day of the week. Pruitt’s talk was outstanding.” (See Oil & Gas Awards Summits, Looking Back & Looking Forward [Video]). Ever since he was nominated we’ve been jazzed. The EPA under Obama has been a rogue, out-of-control agency. A labor union representing more than 9,000 EPA employees actively opposed Pruitt’s confirmation. We personally think those 9,000 employees should be fired. Reagan did it with recalcitrant air traffic controllers when their union went on strike–and air traffic control is a whole lot more important when it comes to the daily safety of Americans than the EPA. If the employees try to block Pruitt from doing his job–out they go. At any rate, when the final Senate vote was tallied, RINO Susan Collins of Maine once again showed she’d rather be a Democrat than a Republican, voting against Pruitt. On the other side, two scared-to-death-they-won’t-win-reelection-next-year Democrats, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, voted for Pruitt. Mysteriously, the EPA website now welcomes their new Administrator with open arms (funny how that works). Today will be his first day on the job since yesterday was a holiday. Pruitt has already said that Obama’s Clean Power Plan and horrible Waters of the United States regulations are toast. Let the swamp draining begin!…
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Shell Launches LNG Outlook 2017 – Rapid Growth Ahead

Click for larger version

On Monday, Shell launched its first-ever “LNG Outlook,” an assessment of the global liquefied natural gas (LNG) market. Shell, you may recall, purchased BG in 2016 (announced in 2015), the largest such deal (at $69.7 billion) since Exxon bought Mobil and merged it in. The reason for the purchase? LNG (see LNG Love Story: Shell Makes Play to Buy BG in $69.7B Megamerger). According to the outlook released by Shell yesterday, global demand for unliquefied natural gas is expected to increase by 2% a year between 2015 and 2030, while LNG demand will rise at twice that rate–4 to 5% per year. The outlook says that while many expected a big increase in new LNG supplies that would outpace demand in 2016, something unexpected happened. Demand for LNG kept pace with supply due to a spike in demand coming from Asia and the Middle East. Two of the fastest growing buyers are China and India, growing their imports at a steep clip. Add to that, six new countries began importing LNG last year: Colombia, Egypt, Jamaica, Jordan, Pakistan and Poland. What it all spells is that even with more LNG supplies coming online in the U.S. (and other countries, like Australia), the demand is there to sop up the supply. Here’s the Shell LNG Outlook, first edition…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Tue, Feb 21, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Northeast natgas pipelines – more capacity needed?; PennEast makes more grants; real estate agency doing well in the Utica Shale; Williamsport newspaper editors disagree with PA Gov Wolf severance tax; pipelines coming to Indiana County; raining on the gas market’s parade; will natgas prices avoid a collapse this year?; here comes the next wave of the oil boom; and more!
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