Mariner East 1 Sprang a Small NGL Leak Near Philly, on Apr 1

Mariner East Pipeline Project map – click for larger version

The Mariner East 1 pipeline sprung a small leak and spilled 20 barrels (~840 gallons) of ethane and propane in Berks County, near Philadelphia, on April 1. Sunoco Logistics Partners, builder and maintainer of the pipeline, shut it down and fixed it over the next several days. The entire episode, which happened 20 days ago, is only now coming to light. Sunoco is being criticized by antis for not taking out a major advertising campaign to announce the leak. Sunoco says they alerted the National Response Center (NRC), the proper federal authority (a program of the U.S. Coast Guard). Apparently it is the job of the NRC to alert the public. Although this was a small leak which was quickly contained and with no long-term effects, Sunoco seems to have missed an important life lesson: He who gets there with the bad news first, wins. Sunoco LP should have (in our opinion) been more proactive in publicly announcing the leak and the steps taken to contain and fix it–and to reassure folks that measures will be taken to prevent any such leaks in the future. There would have been a day or two of hit pieces by “mainstream” media, and then the story would have disappeared. Now, the story will linger and be used against the company should any more minor spills happen…
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Rover Update: Half of 15K Workers Now Hired, 2% Pipeline Laid

Two weeks MDN brought you the news that Energy Transfer’s $3.7 billion, 711-mile Rover Pipeline needs up to 15,000 workers to build it. At the time, it was reported they currently have ~4,500 workers. And they want to complete the first stage of the pipeline by July (see Help Wanted: 15,000 Workers Needed for Rover Pipeline, STAT!). MDN’s story went viral. It has, so far, been read over 18,000 times on the MDN website–a new record for an MDN story just two weeks old. The headline and blurb we posted on Facebook has been seen by over 75,000 people! The result was that we were flooded with this simple question: Where do I sign up to work on the pipeline? The answer, unfortunately, is not straightforward. We reached out to Energy Transfer multiple times and got less-than-satisfactory answers. Energy Transfer’s answer to the question is this: If you are a contractor or want to try your hand at becoming a contractor, you can try applying via Rover’s contractor online application process. However, most people are not interested in that route. They just want to sign up and begin working. For those folks, Rover responded, “Rover is committed to utilizing Union labor 100% for this project. Laborers looking for work, can contact their local union halls.” No help with identifying those local union halls. So MDN provided a list (see How to Apply for one of the 15K Jobs Building the Rover Pipeline). Perhaps MDN had a hand in a flood of new recruits, because as of a construction report filed by Rover with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission earlier this week, they now have 7,570 people working on the pipeline. It’s an interesting update (full copy below). Rover includes a table for how much of each phase the pipeline is complete. Tree felling? 100% done. Tree clearing? For the mainline, 51% done. How much of the main pipeline is now laid and ready for welding? Just 2%. Also interesting is a brief note that back on April 7, there was a small spill of bentonite drilling mud into a swap…
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Penn Twp Reverses Course, Leases Town Land for Marcellus Drilling

In May 2016, MDN told you that the Penn Township (in Westmoreland County, PA) zoning board voted to refuse to grant a permit to Apex Energy to build a DEP-permitted well pad in the town (see Penn Twp Commissioners Block Apex Shale Well Request in 3-2 Vote). In June 2016, Penn began considering a far more restrictive ordinance than it currently has–to limit drilling in the township (see Penn Township Considering More Restrictions on Drilling). That didn’t sit well with Huntley & Huntley, a driller that owns leases for some 23% of the land in the township. In August, the debate continued at a public hearing, with pro- and anti-drillers out in force to discuss the potential Marcellus-killing ordinance that had been drafted (see Penn Twp Hearing Discusses Marcellus-Killing Ordinance). So at last check, things were not looking too favorable in Penn Township. Then yesterday, Penn Township commissioners voted to approve leasing 29 acres of town land to Huntley & Huntley. Somewhere along the way there’s been a 180 degree turnaround by Penn on the issue of drilling. How much is H&H paying the town in bonus and royalties? We have the details…
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PA Bill Would Restore Dormant Mineral Rights to Surface Owners

The issue of returning mineral rights to surface owners has long been an issue we’ve tracked on MDN–for Ohio. In Ohio, the issue revolves around legislation called the Dormant Minerals Act (DMA). In September 2016, the OH Supreme Court ruled in three DMA cases, saying all of the other cases come under those three (see Important: OH Supreme Court Finally Rules on Dormant Mineral Act). The DMA in its various versions provides for mineral rights that had previously been separated from surface rights to transfer back to the surface owner under certain conditions. That same kind of legislation may be coming to Pennsylvania, under a bill about to be introduced by PA Rep. Garth Everett. Does that name sound familiar? It should. Earlier this year Everett introduced “minimum royalty” legislation that would guarantee PA landowners would get minimum royalty payments of 12.5%–regardless of any kind of post-production expenses (see PA Rep. Garth Everett Reintroduces Minimum Royalty Bill, 3rd Time). Everett, a champion for landowners, is now back with a bill that would transfer back mineral rights to the surface owner following 20 years of dormancy…
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Encana Says Montney Gas Can Compete with M-U at Dawn Hub

Click for larger version

Canadian driller Encana issued a press release two days ago with a pretty big boast. The release touts Encana’s leased acreage in the Montney Shale basin. Where’s that? It’s located along the border of Canada’s British Columbia and Alberta provinces–not far from the West Coast in the northern reaches of Canada. Encana is claiming they will use cheap pipeline rates now offered by TransCanada to transport up to 316 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of natural gas to the Dawn Hub in Ontario (our neck of the woods), and do so more cheaply than gas arriving at the Dawn Hub from the Marcellus/Utica. You may recall that TransCanada cooked up a plan to cut the price of transporting gas from Western Canada to Ontario in a bid to compete with cheap Marcellus/Utica gas (see TransCanada Says Plan to Lowball M-U Gas Worked, Shippers Sign Up). Look at the map we’ve provided. TransCanada claims it can make it less expensive to get gas from Western Canada, some 2,400 miles away, than from the Marcellus, just 400 miles away. Encana is the first driller we are aware of it give it a go…
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PA Launch 1st of 29 CNG Stations for Public Transit Buses

Yesterday Pennsylvania officials converged on Cambria County to unveil what is the first of 29 total CNG (compressed natural gas) fueling facilities that are being built in a public/private partnership for PA’s public bus transit fleet. Beginning this year and stretching through 2021, Trillium CNG will build and operate a total of 29 CNG fueling stations around the state. PA is paying Trillium, which is a subsidiary of Loves Travel Stops (see Love’s Travel Stops Buys Trillium CNG, Expands CNG Network), $84.5 million to build the stations. In addition to fueling public vehicles, some of the locations will be open to the public. Once the project is completed in 2021, those 29 CNG fueling stations will provide natgas for more than 1,600 CNG buses at transit agencies across the state–an important new market for homegrown, PA Marcellus Shale gas…
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Patterson-UTI Energy Completes Merger with Seventy Seven Energy

As MDN told you last November, Patterson-UTI Energy, an oilfield services company with major operations in the northeast, is buying out and merging in Seventy Seven Energy (SSE) in an all-stock deal worth $1.76 billion (see Seventy Seven Energy Throws in the Towel, Sells to Paterson-UTI). SSE is the former Chesapeake Oilfield Operating company, the oilfield services subsidiary of Chesapeake Energy that Chessy spun out into its own company in July 2014 after it couldn’t find anyone to buy it (see Long Labor & Delivery: Seventy Seven Energy Born Yesterday). It was an ill-fated venture from the beginning. SSE never turned a profit after becoming its own company. In June 2016, SSE, which has major operations in the Marcellus/Utica, filed for bankruptcy, then emerged from bankruptcy two months later borrowing $100 million (see Seventy Seven Energy Pops Out of Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in 2 Mos.). With Patterson is buying it, they are on the hook for SSE’s debts. So even though the deal to buy SSE is a no-cash stock swap, Patterson still needs a boatload of cash to pay off SSE’s debts. So Patterson floating 15.8 million shares of stock at $26.45 per share to raise $418 million in order to pay off SSE’s debts (see Patterson-UTI Floats $418M of New Stock to Pay Off SSE’s Debts). The day has finally arrived. Yesterday Patterson closed on the deal and now SSE, nee Chesapeake Oilfield Operating, is no more…
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Pilgrim Pipeline Takes Arrows from Radical Antis – Project Dead?

In November 2015, MDN told you about Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings, developing an East Coast pipeline to carry refined petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel, heating oil, and jet and aviation fuel northbound from Linden, New Jersey to Albany, New York (178 miles). In addition, a second Pilgrim pipeline will carry crude oil from Albany south to NJ and other locations. Two pipelines, side by side, different liquids flowing through them in different directions (see Will Pilgrim Pipeline be Allowed to Settle in the NY World?). The oil that would flow south from Albany comes from trains delivering crude from the Bakken Shale play–a double evil in the sight of radical anti-fossil fuelers. Antis from both New York and New Jersey have vigorously opposed the project from the beginning. We told you about a meeting in Bergen County, NJ last year where the antis “got rowdy” (see NJ Residents “Get Rowdy” in Opposition to NY-NJ Pilgrim Pipeline). Pilgrim has been working hard to accommodate concerns about the pipeline. Most recently, Pilgrim adjusted its route in NJ. The radicals at the New Jersey Sierra Club are encouraged by the route change–encouraged that the project is now on life support and the Clubbers are itching to pull the plug…
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Earth Day 2017: Research Shows Fracking is Good for Mother Earth

Earth Day is the day Big Green has a collective orgasm over Mom Earth and their efforts to keep her clean. We have no issue with responsible stewardship of our natural resources and keeping the environment clean. Everyone (with a brain) aspires to that. We do have a problem with worshiping the creation instead of the Creator. Worshiping the earth is what Earth Day is all about. Each year it gets more nutty than the last. It was with some glee we noticed that our friends at Energy in Depth have done their own bit for Earth Day–by compiling a list of scientific studies that prove fracking has been good for cleaning up the environment. It’s true! We’re not joking. Because of fracking, and because of the growing use of natural gas, our air is cleaner. Fracking and horizontal drilling has resulted in fewer drilling locations dotting the landscape–prettier to look at, and healthier for the environment. There’s a fair amount of fake science floating around out there, funded by anti-drilling organizations. EID has compiled a list of real science studies. Have a look…
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Shale Gas Wastewater Tech Inventor Chosen ‘Inventor of the Year’

Dr. Shyam V. Dighe

The Pittsburgh Intellectual Property Law Association (PIPLA), a group of more than 180 intellectual property lawyers in Western PA, bestowed their Inventor of the Year award to Dr. Shyam V. Dighe, founder and president of AquaSource Technologies Corporation, earlier this week. It is the 34th year in a row PIPLA has made such an award. This year’s winner, Dr. Dighe, is notable because the award is for an invention that cleans up fracking wastewater. The patented process, which cleans up 100% of the nastiest wastewater, reduces or eliminates the need for injection wells. Dr. Dighe was honored at a dinner ceremony earlier this week…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Apr 21, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Exxon gets backing of GOP states in fight over climate probe; regulators, enviros clash in court over southeast pipe projects; why Exxon is giving shale a long leash; natgas generators make up biggest share of electric capacity; blue states may be green, but they have really expensive electric rates; 1/3 of natgas burned in Canada used to produce oil; India’s natgas imports rise; fracking sweeps China; and more!
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