Rover Pipeline Accident Spills ~2M Gal. Drilling Mud in OH Swamp

We suppose it was bound to happen, but fervently wish it hadn’t. In the process of drilling underneath the Tuscarawas River (in Stark County) one week ago, on April 13, Rover workers experienced an “inadvertent return” of “horizontal directional drilling fluid.” That is, they sprung a leak and spilled nearly 2 million gallons of drilling fluid. Not, thank God, into the Tuscarawas River, but into a swamp (i.e. “wetland”) next to the river. Fortunately the primary component of said drilling fluid is nontoxic bentonite–the same ingredient used to make shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and kitty litter. We’ve covered other such nontoxic spills in the past (see our bentonite stories here). The biggest threat to aquatic life in the river is if large quantities of bentonite get into the river and smother the little fishies and salamanders–from lack of oxygen. A second spill happened while drilling horizontally under another swamp the very next day–in Richland County. Rover workers spilled 50,000 gallons of drilling fluid there. Both spills were immediately reported to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, which is on the job, monitoring cleanup efforts. A whopping fine is sure to follow…
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PA Lib Dem Introducing Bill to “Fix” Strippers Once and for All

Pam Snyder

The kerfuffle over strippers in PA continues–stripper wells, that is. In brief, in 2012 Pennsylvania passed the Act 13 law that includes a fee on wells targeting shale layers, including the Marcellus. Snyder Brothers, headquartered in Kittanning, PA, drills mostly conventional (vertical only) wells in southwestern PA. In 2011-2012 they drilled 45 vertical-only wells, but targeting the Marcellus, all of the wells fracked. Initially those wells produced more than 90 Mcf/day, but by December of the year they were drilled, they produced less than 90 Mcf/day. The way the 2012 Act 13 law is written, if a well produces less than 90 Mcf/day during “any” month it is considered a stripper well and exempt from paying the impact fee. The state’s Public Utility Commission (PUC) assessed the fee anyway because for 11 months the wells produced more than 90 Mcf/day. Snyder Bros. sued and after an appeal of the case, Snyder Bros. won their case in March, exempting those wells from paying impact fees (see PA Court Says Snyder Bros Wells are Strippers, No Impact Fees Due). That sent the state Public Utility Commission (PUC) into a tizzy. The PUC, under liberal Democrat chairwoman Gladys Brown, is painting nightmare scenarios where impact fee revenue will be in jeopardy (see PA PUC Wants Act 13 Language Changed to Avoid Stripper Abuse). Brown wants the PA legislature to pass a new law amending the Act 13 law to “clear up” the language to say if a well produces more than 90 Mcf/day in ANY month, it qualifies to pay the impact fee. Brown has found a willing accomplice in PA State Rep. Pam Snyder, liberal Democrat representing Greene, Fayette, and Washington Counties. Snyder issued a press release to say she’s about to introduce a bill that Brown wants…
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India Complete’s World’s Biggest Cracker; M-U Gas to Feed It

Dahej petrochemical complex in Gujarat

India’s largest private sector company, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), said yesterday the company has just commissioned the world’s largest and most complex ethane cracker plant, in India. And they did built it in record time–less than three years. MDN has covered RIL in the past–the company invests in Marcellus drilling (see our RIL stories here). The reason that RIL’s brand new cracker in India is news here in the Marcellus/Utica is because it will import ethane from the U.S. Gulf Coast. At least some of the ethane getting liquefied and loaded onto ships in the Houston Ship Channel comes from the Marcellus/Utica via the ATEX (Appalachia to Texas) ethane pipeline (see Marcellus/Utica Ethane Heads to India via Texas on Samsung Ships). While we have not read that any of the ethane exported from the Marcus Hook facility near Philadelphia has gone to India, we think it’s a pretty safe bet that at some point, it will…
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Gulfport Energy 1Q17 – Production Up 23%, Gas Sold Avg $3.98/Mcf

Sheesh, it seems like we just got done yesterday with reporting quarterly earnings/operations updates. And here we are again. Like the old Dunkin Donuts commercial where the guy who makes the donuts runs into himself coming and going making the donuts. First out of the gate in the Marcellus/Utica is Gulfport Energy, reporting their first quarter 2017 numbers. And the numbers for Gulfport look pretty darned good–at least operationally. Gulfport didn’t report their financials yesterday. On the operations front, production zoomed up 23% to 849.6 million cubic feet equivalent (MMcfe) per day in 1Q17 vs 1Q16–the vast majority of which came from the Utica Shale. The other interesting news is that Gulfport realized an average sale price of $3.98 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) for the gas they sold. Below is the update along with a recent PowerPoint slide deck with some great slides…
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Elizabeth Twp Hearing re Alternate Location for Gas Power Plant

In January 2016, Invenergy announced their intention to build a natgas-powered electric plant in Elizabeth Township, in Allegheny County (see Invenergy Eyes SWPA for Second Marcellus-Powered Electric Plant). The proposed Elizabeth plant, modestly sized at 550 megawatts, would be built on a brownfield site near Pittsburgh. Even though the site is a former landfill where fly ash was dumped, making it unusable for just about any other purpose, a group of local residents would prefer to keep the site a contaminated dump rather than convert it to a beneficial use like generating electricity (see Invenergy Gets Pushback on Proposed Natgas Power Plant in SWPA). The local antis enlisted the support of Elizabeth Township’s zoning board, which rejected the plan in June 2016 (see Elizabeth Twp Rejects Clean Invenergy Power Plant at Dump Site). So Invenergy sued the town in October (see Invenergy Sues Elizabeth Twp to Allow NatGas-Fired Electric Plant). Rather than drag out the lawsuit, causing Elizabeth taxpayers big money to defend a defenseless decision, Invenergy offered an olive branch–locating the plant at a new, more rural location about 10 miles away (see Invenergy Proposes Deal to Elizabeth Twp to Move Gas Power Plant). Last night the Elizabeth Planning Commission held a 2-hour hearing to take comments from supporters, and the ninny nannies who still oppose it because it burns an evil, nasty, vile fossil fuel…
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Penn State Researchers Claim Too Many Pipelines Threaten Forests

Researchers from the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management at Penn State have just published a new study/paper in the Journal of Environmental Management titled, “Linear infrastructure drives habitat conversion and forest fragmentation associated with Marcellus shale gas development in a forested landscape” (abstract below). Their thesis: “Fragmentation of ecologically important core forests within the northern Appalachians — driven by pipeline and access road construction — is the major threat posed by shale-gas development, according to researchers, who recommend a change in infrastructure-siting policies to head off loss of this critical habitat.” This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about the hazards of so-called forest fragmentation. Back in 2013 the U.S. Geological Survey published a meme on it too (see USGS Study: Marcellus Drilling Fragmenting Forests in PA). The Penn State researchers maintain clearing pathways for pipelines, and keeping them cleared of trees, is damaging the habitat of some species. The study mentions a lot of other studies, but nowhere (that we could find) does it identify a single, specific species that has supposedly been harmed by such “fragmentation” in forests. The aim, the upshot of this research, seems to be an appeal to regulators to clamp down on the siting of pipelines on PRIVATE (not public) land. It aims to be something the DEP can clutch in its hand and say, “Sorry, we can’t authorize that pipeline ’cause it will cause a break in the forest canopy and certain canopy-dwelling species will be affected.” Right. Excuse us Ms. & Mr. researchers: What about the species that BENEFIT from fragmentation? We didn’t read anything about that in the study. The telltale sign that this is bought-and-paid for propaganda and not real research comes at the end, when you find out it was funded, in part, by the virulently anti-drilling Heinz Foundation…
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PennFuture Radicals Want to Deny Rural Folks Access to NatGas

Yesterday MDN reported that NARUC (National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners), under the watch care of Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) member Rob Powelson, currently the president of NARUC, has launched an effort that tries to help rural (and poor) folks without access to cheap, clean-burning natural gas, get access (see NARUC Creates Group to Spread NatGas Use Far and Wide). This is an honest effort to help an overlooked portion of our population enjoy benefits enjoyed by those who live in urban areas. But the radicals at PennFuture want to block such access–because natural gas is a filthy, vile fossil fuel. Better to keep those idiot hicks in the sticks poor and paying high prices for fuel oil and propane, rather than let them get access to cheap natural gas. That’s the conceited attitude displayed by PennFuture…
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EQT Annual Shareholder Meeting – Timing Investments “Fool’s Game”

Yeterday EQT Corp., one of the biggest drillers in the Marcellus/Utica, held its annual shareholder meeting in Pittsburgh. The crowd that turned up for the meeting wasn’t much of a crowd. There were more security guards on hand than non-board members in the audience. There were no shareholder resolutions on the table, and therefore no apparent interest. Unlike previous years when (at one meeting) security had to clear the room when it got rowdy. EQT Chairman David Porges took about 10 minutes to address those assembled, followed by newly elevated CEO Steve Schlotterbeck. Perhaps the biggest insight we gained in reading about the meeting is learning about EQT’s philosophy when it comes to investing in new drilling. According to Schlotterbeck, “trying to time the market [with capex spending] is a fool’s game.” And so the company is committed to making a “steady” investment in new drilling. They’ll spend $1.5 billion this year to drill 207 new wells…
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Homeland Security Report Warns of Eco-Terrorism Against Pipeline

A report compiled and written by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security (unclassified) has turned up in the public. The report, titled “Potential Domestic Terrorist Threats to Multi-State Diamond Pipeline Construction Project” (full copy below), warns about eco-terrorism and the potential for “mass casualties” from radicalized environmentalists who are now targeting the Diamond Pipeline Construction Project, due to run from Cushing, OK to a refinery in Memphis, TN–most of it located in the state of Arkansas. “Law enforcement are assessing what environmental extremists did to disrupt Dakota Access Pipeline – Molotov cocktails, rocks, arson, roadblocks, chaining themselves to equipment, improvised explosive devices, etc – and seeing many of the same activities potentially happening around Diamond pipeline,” according to a police representative. The report sees potential danger on two fronts: radical environmentalists, and anti-government militias that don’t like eminent domain being used to force landowners to accept the pipeline across their land. We’ve previously reported on numerous instances of vandalism against drilling and pipeline operations. It’s good to see the government taking such acts of crime seriously–to the point of labeling it domestic terrorism. Why mention a report about a pipeline nowhere near the Marcellus/Utica? Because bombs, equipment vandalism, shootings and all of the things mentioned in this report have happened here before. And because the nutjobs who were active in engaging in such acts against the Dakota Access Pipeline (now built and flowing oil), have promised to bring their lawlessness to our area (see Dakota Access Pipeline Protesters Turn Violent; Coming Here Next?). In fact, some antis are trying to import the Dakota troublemakers into Lancaster County, PA (see PA Anti Hopes to Bring Standing Rock Disaster to Lancaster County). Here’s the lowdown on what may be coming to other states, and eventually, to ours…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Thu, Apr 20, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Fracking generates $200 million for Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District; 8 more permits for OH Utica wells issued last week; Three Mile Island on the brink; most locals support compressor upgrades in Lycoming County; $36M natgas pipeline coming to Escambia County, FL; Exxon commits to building multi-billion dollar ethane cracker on Gulf Coast; Citi analyst says oil $65 by Christmas; methanol plants coming back, but slowly; and more!
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