NG Advantage Virtual Pipeline May be Coming to MDN’s Backyard

For the past few years MDN has had an eye on a trend we find exciting–“virtual pipelines”–by which we mean facilities that are located along a pipeline that compress natural gas (CNG), load it onto tanker trucks, and then distribute that gas to businesses that are not fortunate enough to be located near a natgas pipeline. With irrational opposition to pipelines rampant, virtual pipelines are a good alternative. We were first alerted to this trend when International Paper’s Ticonderoga mill in northern New York, near the Vermont border, opted for a virtual pipeline from NG Advantage, back in 2015 (see NY Paper Plant Opts for “Virtual” NatGas Pipeline Over Real One). NG Advantage has established a presence throughout New England, most recently adding Maine to their delivery options (see NG Advantage’s “Virtual” NatGas Pipeline to Maine Begins Flowing). In January, a competitor of NG Advantage–Xpress Natural Gas (XNG) set up a virtual pipeline in Susquehanna County, PA–not far from MDN HQ (see Major CNG Virtual Pipeline Coming to Susquehanna County, PA). Imagine our surprise–and delight–to find out that NG Advantage wants to build a virtual pipeline about 9 miles from MDN HQ–along the edge of Binghamton in an adjacent suburb called Port Dickinson! This one flew mostly under the radar. NG Advantage has proposed a new compressor station and tap into the Millennium Pipeline where it crosses the Chenango River. They already have three businesses lined up to buy CNG from the project. Port Dickinson approved the project last night, but it’s still not a done deal yet…
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Fake Harvard Study Generates Fake News re NatGas Storage in M-U

Here we go again. A new “study” published today by Harvard University researchers supposedly indicates that Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia are loaded with underground natural gas storage sites that may leak like the Aliso Canyon debacle in California. The new study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, titled “A national assessment of underground natural gas storage: identifying wells with designs likely vulnerable to a single-point-of-failure” (full copy below), says there are 14,138 active underground storage (UGS) wells in 317 locations/facilities in the U.S. The study identifies 2,715 active UGS wells across 160 facilities that, like the failed well at Aliso Canyon, were not originally designed for gas storage. (Gasp) Even worse: The majority (88%) of these repurposed wells are located in OH, MI, PA, NY, and WV. (Double gasp) Here’s the thing: Aliso Canyon was one facility that had a catastrophic failure (a failure which, by the way, hurt no one–it just released some extra methane into the air). While it may be interesting and useful to know (for accident prevention) that there are other facilities constructed years ago, like Aliso Canyon, that were later repurposed to be used for underground storage–each and every location is different, with unique characteristics. No two storage sites are the same geologically. It does not follow, as implied in the report, that because Aliso Canyon leaked, that these other “similar” facilities will eventually fail and leak. However, our main objection to this research–and why we call it fake research–is that the researchers never bothered to go into the field and take air samples to see if there is any ACTUAL leaking going on at any of these thousands of other sites! Fake mainstream news sources are just now picking up on the story and running it. Nothing sells newspapers (or grabs online eyeballs) like fear. And hey, it serves the mainstream narrative that fossil fuels are the ultimate evil. Here’s the kicker: This latest “research” was funded, in large part, by the virulent anti-fossil fuel Heinz Foundation and The Nature Conservancy. That tells you all you need to know about this latest bought-and-paid-for “research” study with a Harvard label slapped on it…
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NY Gov Cuomo Building New Fracked Gas Elec Plant to Power Albany!

On Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans to construct a new “state-of-the-art, locally-sourced mini-power grid” that will connect to the statewide electric grid but will also be able to operate independently, to power the Empire State Plaza in Albany–a complex of buildings in downtown Albany housing much of New York State government. The energy-efficient microgrid will supply 90% of the power for the 98-acre downtown Albany complex, and is expected to save the Plaza more than $2.7 million in annual energy costs. The project will also remove more than 25,600 tons of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere each year – the equivalent of taking more than 4,900 cars off the road – supporting New York’s goal to reduce emissions by 40 percent by 2030 from 1990 levels. In an emergency, it can power a shelter for Albany residents. So what will power the magical microgrid and deliver this nirvana of cheaper electricity AND reduce so-called greenhouse gas emissions at the same time? Is it a huge solar array errected in Albany or in the nearby countryside? Nope–the sun doesn’t always shine. Must be a wind farm, maybe off the coast of Long Island? Nope. The wind doesn’t always blow. The magic fuel for the magic microgrid is, you guessed it–fracked shale gas from the Marcellus. Yes, Andrew Cuomo is the same governor who has banned fracking in New York State and is blocking construction of pipelines to bring “fracked gas” from Pennsylvania into New York State. And some people think Donald Trump is crazy?!!!…
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Marcellus DUCs Lay Golden Eggs for Northeast Drillers

We’ve written a number of times about DUCs–otherwise known as drilled-but-uncompleted wells. When a shale driller drills a new well, it doesn’t always happen all in one go. You first drill the hole down, and then curve the drillbit and drill the horizontal portion–called the lateral. Then you pull the drill bit out of the ground and (at some point) the fracking process begins. Fracking doesn’t always happen right away. Sometimes wells are initially drilled but not fracked–essentially putting them in inventory to be fracked later. Those wells are DUCs. Since a lot of the cost to develop the well has already been spent in preparing the site and drilling the hole, to come along at a later time and frack is much “cheaper” if you (as a driller) want to bump up your production. Price of gas low right now? Drill the initial hole, mothball the project, and come back later when the price of gas goes up and finish it off and hook it up to production. The DUC inventory is a closely watched number. Analysts at Platts have been watching and have noticed something interesting. In most shale plays–particularly oil plays like the Permian in Texas–drillers are sinking initial holes as fast as they can and the DUC inventory numbers are going up up up. The Permian has seen 476 new DUCs added since January! But in the Marcellus, only 3 new DUCs have been added since last December. Which is “puzzling.” What does it mean?…
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No More “Acting” for Pat McDonnell – Confirmed PA DEP Secretary

No more “acting” for Pennsylvania’s Secretary of the Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP). In May 2016, DEP Secretary John Quigley was fired for using a PRIVATE email account to collude with his Big Green friends to try and bully PA’s legislators into supporting his onerous proposed regulations (see Smoking Gun: Copy of the Email that Got John Quigley Fired). Richly deserved. The man who took his place as Acting Secretary is Patrick McDonnell, a 19-year veteran of the DEP. Pat made it clear from the beginning he’d like to move from “acting” to full Secretary. It took Wolf long enough, but finally last September he put Pat’s name forward as permanent DEP Secretary (see Gov. Wolf Nominates Pat McDonnell to Head PA DEP, Finally). We’re not sure what the holdup was, but the PA Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee finally held a hearing and grilled McDonnell a few weeks ago, after which the panel voted to recommend he be confirmed (see PA DEP Acting Secretary McDonnell Will Soon Drop “Acting” from Title). We’re happy (we think) to announce that Pat McDonnell was confirmed by a full vote by the PA Senate. The vote was unanimous…
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Helmerich & Payne Buys MOTIVE Drilling Technologies for $100M

Helmerich & Payne is the largest drilling rig contractor in the U.S. Their rigs can be found all over the world. In the U.S., H&P may H&P rigs are located in Texas, in the Permian basin, drilling for oil. Although a fair number are also in North Dakota and Colorado. If you look at H&P’s rig locations from last July (the most recent stats they publish, on their website), you’ll find 13 active H&P rigs in the Pennsylvania–in the Marcellus Shale. A year later, we are assuming (based on recent data) that those numbers have gone up everywhere, including the Marcellus. Even if H&P’s rig count is still just 13 in the PA Marcellus, that represents 38% of the active rigs in the Marcellus as of April (see Baker Hughes April Rig Count – M-U Highest in 12 Months). In other words, what happens with H&P in a larger sense, matters to us here in the Marcellus. Which is why it caught our attention that H&P has just announced an agreement to buy MOTIVE Drilling Technologies for $100 million. MOTIVE provides technologies that help drillers drill better. H&P specifically bought MOTIVE to make their directional drilling better–using MOTIVE’s software, i.e. algorithm-driven “cognitive computing” platform. H&P says MOTIVE’s technology will mean smoother wellbores, more accurate well placement, lower costs and higher production…Continue reading

Trump Budget Axes 31% of EPA Budget, Rightsizes Climate Spending

Yesterday the Trump White House released a proposed 2018 federal budget. The Trump budget is titled, “A New Foundation For American Greatness.” Trump inherited a $20 trillion deficit and, frankly, a huge, steaming pile of a mess from his predecessor, His Eminence, BH Obama. (The deficit doubled under Obama.) The Trump budget calls for spending $4.1 trillion next year–which is still (disappointingly) higher than this year’s $4 trillion and last year’s $3.8 trillion budgets. As in all budgets, some items are getting the ax, and some are getting more love. On the ax side, Trump plans to trim 31.4% of the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget next year (from this year). The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), on the other hand would get a 15.2% increase in its budget. But don’t be deceived. FERC’s increase amounts to $48.4 million–a rounding error in the budget. EPA’s budget next year will be $5.7 billion (down from $8.2 billion this year). In talking about the budget, the main architect, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, said that much of the EPA’s “crazy” spending on climate change will be scaled back. However, what is missing from most media accounts about Mulvaney’s comments, is that not all spending on so-called climate change is gone. Mulvaney said they are rightsizing the budget–spending money on real research, not on lunatic things like the National Science Foundation spending money to fund a climate change musical. That kind of crap is out in Trump’s no-nonsense budget. Finally, an adult in The White House!…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Wed, May 24, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Eclipse thrives despite industry downturn; NJ State employee retirement fund invests $409K in Southwestern Energy; data doesn’t support anti claims of asthma issues in PA Marcellus; frack ban debated in frackless Massachusetts; tiny county in Texas richest in America–thx to fracking; US/OPEC oil war takes another turn; Cheniere’s place in the global LNG market; drillers return to profitability; industry works on automated drilling; and more!Continue reading