Japanese Now Own 2/3 of Marcellus-Powered Electric Plant in SEPA

Two weeks ago MDN brought you the news that Japanese company Sojitz Corporation had purchased a one-third (1/3) interest in the 488-megawatt Marcellus gas-fired electric plant being built in Birdsboro, near Philadelphia (see Japanese Co Buys 1/3 of Marcellus-Powered Electric Plant in SEPA). EmberClear plans to begin construction on the Birdsboro Power project in 2018, with an in-service date of June 2019. Word has just come that a second Japanese company, Tokyo Gas (a regional utility company in Japan) has purchased a one-third (1/3) interest in the Birdsboro project–meaning the Japanese will own 2/3 of the plant. However, investment firm Ares EIF will retain the final one-third ownership and provide “day-to-day management” of the facility. While the exact amount of the transaction was not disclosed, it’s said to be “tens of millions of dollars.” What’s up with Japan buying into our powergen projects? In the case of Tokyo Gas it’s crystal clear–they will participate in every aspect of building this project, so they can take their newfound knowledge back home and apply it there. Or depending on your point of view, you might say they want to steal our technology and trade secrets…
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Thoroughbred Cabot O&G Ready to Bolt When Pipeline Gate Opens

Cabot Oil & Gas had the highest production in the county with the highest amount of production (Susquehanna County) in 2016 in Pennsylvania. Cabot had the second highest amount of production (coming from that single county) in PA for all of 2016, not far behind Chesapeake Energy. Last year using their “Gen 4” completions in the Marcellus, Cabot increased estimated ultimate recovery (EUR) rates from 3.8 billion cubic feet (Bcf) per 1,000 feet of lateral well to 4.4 Bcf (see Cabot O&G 2016 – Production Grows from 3.8 to 4.4 Bcf per 1K Feet). Cabot gets double the gas per lateral foot of well than some of its competitors. By all accounts, Cabot is the equivalent of a thoroughbred horse. But the Cabot horse is still penned up at the starting gate, waiting for the gate to open. The gate, in this metaphor, is pipeline projects that will carry some of Cabot’s prolific northeastern PA production to other regions where it can fetch a higher price. According to research analyst Michael Fitzsimmons, writing on the Seeking Alpha investor website, Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline “will unlock the cage that has kept Cabot Oil & Gas’ reserves bottled up” by flowing an eye-popping 1 Bcf per day of Cabot natgas south…
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Marcellus/Utica Gas Soon Heading to Florida Penninsula via Sabal Trail

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Spectra Energy (and partners NextEra Energy and Duke Energy) are building a $3.2 billion, 515-mile interstate natural gas pipeline in Florida, Georgia and Alabama to deliver Marcellus gas to the southeast. The project, called Sabal Trail Transmission, has been underway for the past three+ years and is due to be completed and online in June–two months from now. Sabal Trail will connect to Williams’ Hillabee Expansion Project, which is a new pipeline spur built off the huge Transco pipeline system (see Williams Building Alabama Pipeline with Marcellus Connection). Williams is reversing a portion of the Transco to bring Marcellus gas south. RBN Energy provides a comprehensive update Sabal Trail and Florida’s “gas thirsty peninsula” that it will serve. RBN says one of the main users of Marcellus gas in Florida will be (yep) electric power generating plants…
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4 Marcellus Wells Approved in S Buffalo Twp – Concerns Discussed

In 2012 Pennsylvania under then Gov. Tom Corbett passed the Act 13 law, a major revision to PA’s oil and gas laws. Part of Act 13 would have established a uniform set of zoning ordinances, replacing and superseding any such local ordinances. But then seven selfish towns got together and sued to the state to retain the right of imposing their own zoning ordinances for some oil and gas development. The lawsuit was a years-long process with the case ending up at the PA Supreme Court–where the seven selfish towns won the right to impose their own ordinances on o&g development–up to a point (see PA Supreme Court Rules Against State/Drillers in Act 13 Case). Nowadays, PA towns have their own ordinances to deal with issues like truck traffic, noise, lights, setbacks and more. Fine. It is what it is and instead of a consistent set of rules, drillers are faced with a crazy quilt of differing rules across different townships. Snyder Brothers, which has already drilled several Marcellus Shale wells in South Buffalo Township (Armstrong County), wants to drill four more Marcellus wells in the town–next door to their previously drilled wells. So they applied for “conditional use” permits from the town to drill them. Town supervisors granted the permits, but not before conducting a public hearing where residents sounded off about the project. What is interesting about the hearing is that none of the residents opposed the new wells–but they did have some tough questions for Snyder Bros. about lights and noise and water wells. Good questions. Honest questions. Tough questions. And Snyder Bros. answered those questions and made promises/assurances to local residents. This is how a free, open and democratic society works. This is how adults behave. Give and take, back and forth, in a spirit of “let’s do it right the first time so we don’t have problems.” Hats off to the residents and supervisors of South Buffalo Twp, and to Snyder Brothers, for showing the rest of PA (looking at you Peters Twp) how it’s done…
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The Key to Unlocking PA’s NatGas Reserves: Pipelines

Once the slew of approved and under-construction pipeline projects in the Marcellus/Utica region are done, the M-U region will likely go from providing 20-25% of the nation’s total natural gas production to providing one-third of the country’s total natgas production. This astonishing story of production and pipelines in the northeast is really, at its core, a story about Pennsylvania. According to a recent Reuters article, at least five pipelines capable of transporting a combined 7 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natgas from the PA Marcellus/Utica are scheduled to open in 2017, with five more transporting another 5 Bcf/d due for completion in 2018. Pipelines are the key to unlocking Pennsylvania’s vast natgas reserves…
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PA Teen Sues Trump Over Mythical Man-Made Global Warming

Eighteen-year-old Sophie Kivlehan has been brainwashed by her parents and grandparents, big believers in the myth of man-made global warming, since she was a tot. Her grandpa, Jim Hansen (astro-physicist at Columbia University) is a smart guy–“perhaps one of the worlds’ most well-known climate scientists.” Grandpa Jim did a good job of making sure young Sophie learned her lessons well–about the evilness of fossil fuels and how Mom Earth is ready to toast–any minute now, thanks to burning fossil fuels. Of course such beliefs must, of necessity, disregard hard scientific facts/data that show temps around Mom Earth aren’t going up and haven’t been for the past 20 years. It’s all about what “might” happen and what’s coming “just around the corner.” All based on cockamamie computer models. The same models can’t predict temperatures and the weather accurately for next week–but boy can they predict that the earth is about to fry. Any year now. But back to you Sophie. She’s decided four months in office for President Trump is long enough. He’s not doing his job to combat mythical global warming, so she’s suing him–hoping the courts will make him do it. Ah, Sophie darlin’, when was the last time anyone made Donald Trump do anything? Of course, Sophie’s lawsuit (really backed by Big Green) is nothing more than a sick publicity stunt…
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Former MarkWest Chief John Mollenkopf Joins Board of Antero Midstream

John Mollenkopf

In December of 2015, one of the biggest and brightest stars in the midstream firmament for the Marcellus/Utica, MarkWest Energy, sold itself to Marathon Petroleum (see MarkWest Energy Investors/Unitholders Approve Merger with Marathon). As we pointed out at the time, the sale lined the pockets of investors and MarkWest’s top management (see Golden Parachutes Pop Open for MarkWest Top Management/Board). Two of the people in top management who benefited were John Mollenkopf, who was named executive vice president and chief operating officer for the new MarkWest unit (essentially taking over running MarkWest) and Gregory Floerke, who was named executive vice president and chief commercial officer of the new MarkWest unit. In August 2016, Marathon announced that Mollenkopf would ride off into the sunset as a very rich man (i.e. retiring), and that Floerke would take the reigns (see Senior Management Change at Marathon’s MarkWest Subsidiary). Apparently Mollenkopf is tired of twiddling his thumbs and wants back in the game–at least part-time. He’s just ridden back from the sunset to join the board of Antero Midstream…
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NARUC Creates Group to Spread NatGas Use Far and Wide

The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners has just established a new Presidential Natural Gas Access and Expansion Task Force. Its purpose? To figure out how to get cheap, abundant, clean-burning natural gas to people that don’t have it now–those in poor and rural communities. According to NARUC, many rural communities (which comprise residential, industrial and commercial customers) lack access to low-cost natural gas because of infrastructure issues. They don’t have local distribution pipelines. Those communities rely on bottled propane, heating oil and other more expensive fuels. Why not give them cheap natural gas? That’s the aim–figure out how to get it done. The cool thing is that NARUC is headed up by Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission member Rob Powelson–the same guy under consideration to become a new FERC Commissioner. Go Rob! Figure out how to spread cheap Marcellus/Utica natgas to as many people as possible…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Wed, Apr 19, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Lordstown OH project sparks nearly $1B investment in Mahoning Valley; putting Shell cracker project in perspective; EIA says natgas #1 source of electricity this summer; big oil embraces Silicon Valley; 60% of US LNG supplies will go to Europe; climate alarmists use faulty science and bald assertions, demand end of fossil fuels; India wants a gas-based economy; and more!
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