New Easement for Shell Ethane Cracker Pipeline Reveals Price Paid

Bit by bit, piece by piece, Shell is getting landowners in Beaver County, PA to sign easements for its 94-mile Falcon Ethane Pipeline–a pipeline with two “legs” that will feed Shell’s mighty ethane cracker plant. MDN exclusively broke the news in February 2016 that Shell had begun to sign leases with landowners for the pipeline (see Exclusive: Shell Leasing Land for 2 Pipelines to PA Cracker Plant). As we later learned, it’s “one” pipeline with “two” legs or branches. There were more easements signed in January (see Shell Leases More PA Properties to Build Ethane Pipeline), and again in May (see Another 7 Easements Signed for Shell’s Falcon Ethane Pipeline). The latest news is that Shell has acquired another 3,183 feet. What’s different this time, however, is that we know how much Shell paid to lease those 3,138 feet. We’ve not seen any mentions of payments in the past (Shell preferring to keep it private). We won’t keep you in suspense, the price paid works out to be $75 per foot…
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PA PUC Impact Fee Report: Revenue Down Again in 2016

Each June, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), the agency charged with keeping tabs on impact fee revenue from shale drillers (PA’s version of a severance tax) releases the final numbers of impact fee revenues and disbursements. Today is the appointed day for 2016 impact fees. The PUC reports impact fees on natural gas producers in 2016 totaled $173,258,900–the lowest annual revenue generated from the fee to date (since the fee began in 2011). However, 2016 was the low point for drillers drilling new wells–the bottom of the valley in the oil and gas industry. Since mid-2016 we’ve been on an upswing in drilling new wells, which will no doubt be reflected in 2017 impact fee revenues. We have the PUC press release below, and screenshots for many of the pretty color pie charts showing topline numbers. What was the #1 county receiving impact fee revenue (meaning the #1 county drilled) in 2016? Washington County. The driller paying the most in impact fees in 2016? Range Resources. The municipality receiving the most revenue from impact fees? Interestingly, that would be Cummings Township–in Lycoming County. Here’s the 411 on impact fees (i.e. taxes) raised and spent in PA for 2016…
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Dominion New Market Project Still on Track in NY, Antis Fume

In June 2014, MDN told you about the Dominion New Market Project–a project that will build two new compressor plants and upgrade one other compressor station in upstate New York–to help flow more abundant, cheap and clean-burning Marcellus Shale gas from Pennsylvania (and beyond) into the northeast (see Dominion Asks FERC for New Compressors in Upstate NY, WV). The project is projected to cost $159 million and provide 112,000 dekatherms per day (Dth/d) of extra natural gas capacity along ~200 miles of existing Dominion pipeline across upstate New York–no new pipeline is being laid. The existing Dominion pipeline runs through the Horseheads, Ithaca, Syracuse and Albany areas. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved Dominion’s New Market Project in October 2015 (see FERC Approves Expansion of Dominion Pipeline in Upstate NY). And then a real miracle happened. The Cuomo-corrupted New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) approved the New Market compressor stations on Dec. 23, 2016 (see Miracle! NY DEC Approves Dominion’s New Compressor Stations). Needless to say, anti-fossil fuel freaks are freaked out that the project is now a reality. The lone compressor station that will get an upgrade (not being built from scratch) is located near Ithaca, NY, home of some of the nuttiest of the nutjobs. The antis who run the Town of Dryden (near Ithaca, where the compressor station is located) passed a “public utility moratorium” last summer (which expires this summer) in an attempt to stop the upgrade at the Dominion compressor station. However, Dominion has outsmarted the antis and continues to work on the upgrade, which is making the antis apoplectic, much to our delight…
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Marcellus Gas Hitches a Ride to Florida Power Plant

In April MDN provided an update on the Sabal Trail Transmission pipeline project (see Marcellus/Utica Gas Soon Heading to Florida Penninsula via Sabal Trail). Spectra Energy (and partners NextEra Energy and Duke Energy) are building Sabal Trail, a $3.2 billion, 515-mile interstate natural gas pipeline in Florida, Georgia and Alabama to deliver Marcellus gas to the southeast. The project has been underway for the past three+ years. 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, much of it to feed natgas-fired electric plants. Last week the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) authorized a partial startup of the Sabal Trail project and the Hillabee Expansion that will feed it (see Sabal Trail Pipeline Begins Service Connecting M-U Gas to Florida). The new news is that it’s now flowing, and the first gas coming from the new pipeline system is now servicing Florida Power & Light Co.’s Riviera Beach power plant, with other plants getting our yummy Marcellus gas in the next few days…
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Marcellus Shale Threatens to Bankrupt European Petchem Industry

In reading a fascinating story about European chemical plant giant Ineos, the article took an unexpected turn when it said Ineos, indeed all of Europe’s petrochemical industry, is “vulnerable as never before because of the shale oil and gas boom in the US, which has made energy costs there just a fraction of those in Europe.” The article specifically names and credits the Marcellus with producing feedstock that is far cheaper than can be found in Europe–and chemical plants are now choosing to relocate and manufacture their products in the U.S. rather than Europe. The inescapable conclusion: if the United Kingdom (and Europe) refuses to frack, they’re hosed. Ineos, which has figured this out, has “quietly” purchased “some interesting onshore fracking licences” in the UK, and they intend to use them…
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Dems Pick Wind Lobbyist for FERC Appointment

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (extreme partisan) has recommended to the White House that Richard Glick, current a Senate staffer and former lobbyist for the wind industry, should succeed Democrat FERC Commissioner Colette Honorable. That’s according to “three industry sources with knowledge of the decision.” So far the White House is mum and refuses to “get ahead of an official announcement.” Our advice to President Trump: Don’t do ANYTHING recommended by Chucky Schumer…
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BP Energy Outlook 2017: Fossil Fuels Still Rule, US to Dominate LNG

UK oil and gas giant BP released the 2017 edition of their BP Energy Outlook on Tuesday. BP, being a European company, pays homage to renewables and pledges its undying love for the crappy Paris climate treaty. Whatever. There are a few facts from the Outlook that stand out: (1) By 2035, across the entire world, 78% of all energy will come from fossil fuels. So much for renewables riding in to the save us all “any day now.” (2) In 2015, natgas produced 24% of the world’s energy. BP says in 2035 that number will go up to 25%–just a single percentage point. We think that’s grossly underestimated, but who are we? (3) The U.S. will achieve overall energy self-sufficiency by 2023 (last year they estimated it would happen in 2021). (4) Carbon emissions were flat for a third year in a row, driven by “weak energy demand and a cleaner energy mix,” which includes the use of more natgas. Tell us again why we need the Paris climate treaty, when carbon output is going down without it? (5) The U.S. will be neck-in-neck with Australia, but we will likely be *the* dominate LNG supplier worldwide by 2035. Read the full BP report below…
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Research Breakthrough: Separating Oil from Produced Water

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin say they’ve found a better/cheaper/faster way to remove oil from water. Which obviously would have a huge impact on the shale industry and the prodigious amounts of produced water (i.e. wastewater) that comes out of wells long after they’re drilled. The UT researchers, in a paper published in the Journal of Nanoparticle Research, reveal how they use nanoparticles and a magnet to separate oil from water. In fact, they filed a short, 10-second video that illustrates the process. In just a few seconds, oil embedded in water collects in one location when a magnet is put next to it. Really cool stuff! Is this the future of shale wastewater treatment?…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Thu, Jun 15, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Activists tell basin commissioners to ban drilling and fracking in the Delaware Watershed; EPA moves to halt Obama methane rule for two years; is shale productivity bumping up against its limits?; oil glut slows demand for shale-oil drilling; North American pipeline capacity crisis looms large; wind and solar in March accounted for 10% of U.S. electricity generation for first time; and more!
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