Analyst: “Nearly Impossible” for Rover to Get Done on Schedule

Rover Pipeline, Energy Transfer’s $3.7 billion, 711-mile Marcellus/Utica natural gas pipeline that will run from PA, WV and eastern OH through OH into Michigan and eventually into Canada, will almost certainly not go online in July as originally planned–at least according to an article on The Street evaluating the project and its builder, Energy Transfer. At the heart of the delay is a series of spills that have occurred while drilling underground, horizontally, under rivers and creeks (and other structures) in which drilling mud has spilled. The largest such spill, to date, happened on April 13 when around 2 million gallons of drilling mud spilled close to the Tuscarawas River (see Rover Pipeline Accident Spills ~2M Gal. Drilling Mud in OH Swamp). That spill, plus the others, set off a chain reaction and ongoing fight with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA), who lobbied the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to investigate. Which is now happening (see OH EPA Says Diesel Fuel Found in Rover 2M Gal Drilling Mud Spill). The FERC investigation has stalled forward progress in some (not all) areas. According to an analyst from Genscape quoted in the article, Energy Transfer “seems to have an approach where they stick to the minimum requirements instead of exceeding them” when it comes to drilling and laying pipelines. Energy Transfer strongly disagrees that statement. Regardless, the company’s stock has taken a hit and the article (below) raises concerns about the future of the company’s stock for shareholders…
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Sunoco Seeks Injunction Against Radicalized ME2 Pipe Protesters

You may recall our story about the daughter of a Huntingdon County, PA landowner, radicalized by Big Green groups (as evidenced by her association with well known protesters previously arrested), who took to a tree on her mom’s property in order to illegally stop crews working on tree clearing for the Mariner East 2 pipeline (see PA Anti Literally Goes Up a Tree to Stop Mariner East 2 Pipeline). It ultimately didn’t matter, because Sunoco came back and cut down the few trees they need to cut anyway (see Sunoco Tricks Radicalized Protester – Returns and Cuts More Trees). In December, the up-a-tree girl and her mom (Elise and Ellen Gerhart), with lawyers and backing by Big Green money, launched a final “hail Mary” pass by appealing a case to the PA Commonwealth Court, asking the court to stop the ME2 project by claiming it doesn’t have the right to use eminent domain (see Desperate Antis Try One Last Legal Maneuver to Stop Mariner East 2). Like so many other “hail Mary” desperation passes, this one never found the arms of a receiver. In May, the court turned down the appeal (see Huntingdon Family Lawsuit Against ME2 Pipeline Fails, Game Over). With nothing left to do but break the law in an attempt to block the pipeline from their property, that’s just what the Gerharts have pledged to do. That is, invite in outside help (i.e. paid protesters) to block the path, so Sunoco Logistics Partners can’t build the pipeline across their property. Sunoco has asked a Huntingdon County judge to order the family and the outsiders to step aside, or be thrown in jail…
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US Methanol Figures Out How to “Ride the Marcellus Wave”

Earlier this week the Appalachian Storage Hub Conference was held in Canonsburg, PA, near Pittsburgh, to discuss a joint effort in building a massive new ethane storage hub somewhere in our region, likely in West Virginia (see M-U’s Next Mega Project: $10B Appalachian Storage Hub). Such an effort will take the combined effort of West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio, with a price tag of $10 billion. However, it’s a crucial part of the puzzle if Appalachia wants to be the next Gulf Coast for the petrochemical industry. Interestingly, one of the speakers was Richard Wofli, CEO of US Methanol. Last August MDN was the first to share the news that US Methanol is building at least two, rumored up to five, methanol plants in the Mountain State (see Rumor: US Methanol Building 5 Methanol Plants in WV). MDN shared a rumor (based on a source) that until we disclosed it, was not public knowledge: The first methanol plant they will build will be in Institute, WV, and the second in Belle, WV–both in the Charleston region. We later confirmed the rumor via several news accounts (see US Methanol Confirms MDN Rumor – 2 (or More) Plants Coming to WV). Kallanish ace reporter Rick Stouffer spoke to Wofli at the conference and got some new (to us) background on how and why Wofli and his business partner decided to buy mothballed methanol plants in other countries and move them to WV. The reason? It was the best way they could figure to ride the Marcellus wave…
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NJ Dem Gov Candidate Wants Permanent Frack Ban in Dela. Basin

“Lefty” Phil Murphy, candidate for gov in NJ

Democrats in New Jersey would have you believe whoever wins the upcoming Democrat gubernatorial primary will be the next governor of the state. Republicans don’t stand a prayer of a chance, according to the establishment’s received wisdom. Perhaps. One never knows. Chris Christy won–two terms. But he’s not running again. So there’s a whole field of candidates on the Democrat side. However, the one who appears to be the favorite, at least among mainstream media, is Phil Murphy–an anti-pipeline, anti-drilling troll (see Dem Candidate for NJ Gov Opposes PennEast, After He $upported It). Murphy invested in stocks in the companies that are building the PennEast Pipeline, but when it was discovered and he was ratted out by other Democrats, Murphy disavowed those investments. Typical politician/hypocrite. Now Murphy is stepping up his anti-fossil fuel game, in a bid to appeal to the unhinged, radical environmental movement in the state. Murphy wants the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), of which NJ is a member, to permanently ban drilling in the Delaware River Basin. This is not some empty threat. If he wins, he has the power to heavily influence such a decision. There are five members of the DRBC board–the governors of the four basin states (PA, NY, DE, NJ) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Andrew Cuomo (NY) would certainly vote for a permanent ban. Gov. John Carney (DE) is another radical leftist Democrat who would likely vote for a permanent ban. Gov. Tom Wolf (PA) has said he supports a ban in the Delaware River Basin. And now, if NJ elects a radical like Phil Murphy, it would be a fait accompli. Which is why elections are so important. Here’s the latest by lefty Phil, the “ban all fossil fuels” candidate in NJ…
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Important New Report on Pipelines & Powergen in Marcellus/Utica

Here’s a quote that nearly made our eyeballs drop out: “In the PJM queue, there’s roughly 130 planned gas-fired power plants scheduled to enter service through 2021 totaling 76 GW under various stages of development across a large part of the market that includes Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and New Jersey.” Did you catch that? Some 130 natural gas-fired electric generating plants–most (if not all) of them fed by Marcellus/Utica gas, will go online in the next four years, generating 76 gigawatts of electricity. It is an enormous opportunity for our industry. Where did we read that stat? In a new report published by our friends at Natural Gas Intelligence (NGI). The report is called “Pipelines & Power: How New Infrastructure Could Uncork the Marcellus-Utica Natgas Bottleneck.” The opening article in the report contains the quote above (on page 2). This 20-page report is jam-packed with great information, like that quote. Actionable, useful, important information. Let us tell you a little more about NGI, about the report, and how you can get a copy…
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Siemens to Build “First of Its Kind” Natgas Turbine for Duke NC Plant

Siemens, the largest industrial manufacturing company in Europe with its headquarters in Germany, sought out and has cut a deal with Duke Energy to build a brand new, “first of its kind” advanced natural gas-combustion turbine for Duke Energy’s proposed 400-megawatt expansion at its Lincoln County Combustion Turbine Station near Charlotte. Siemens will build a single turbine able to generate 400 megawatts essentially on demand, as needed, for those times when extra electricity is needed (called “peaking” for peak demand). The project will be built in three phases beginning in 2018, with lots of testing, and won’t be ready until 2024. In return for allowing Siemens to build this new tech and test it out, Duke is getting a sweetheart deal on the price, although the price has not been publicly disclosed. So what does this have to do with the Marcellus/Utica? Long before 2024 there will be, at a minimum, Marcellus/Utica gas flowing to that region via the forthcoming Atlantic Coast Pipeline project. And by that time, seven long years from now, who knows? We expect there may be more pipelines built and in place not even conceived or announced–yet. This will be one more (added to the already 130 announced) power generation projects coming in the PJM region (see today’s companion story, Important New Report on Pipelines & Powergen in Marcellus/Utica). Here’s the exciting news about a brand new technology coming along to leverage abundant, clean-burning natural gas in the Marcellus/Utica and beyond…
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Coming GE-Baker Hughes Merger – World’s First “Full-Stream” Co.

You’ve heard of upstream, which that portion of the industry that finds and drills for natural gas and oil. You’ve heard of midstream, the pipelines and processing plants portion of the industry. And you’ve heard of downstream, which includes petrochemical plants, industrial users, and homeowners who use the stuff found and transported. But have you ever heard of “full-stream?” That would be a company that is involved, in a major way, in all three major areas of the energy business. Companies like Exxon Mobil and Shell come close, but they don’t really fit that description. They drill for oil and gas (upstream), and they have some pipelines (minimal). They do have a big presence in the downstream, with cracker plants and other petrochemical facilities. However, the first truly full-stream company is about to be born, from the merger between GE Oil & Gas and Baker Hughes. It will be a “molecule to megawatt” company. MDN friend Steven Heins, an energy and regulatory consultant and former vice president of communication for Orion Energy Systems, shares his observations about the impending merger and what it means…
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Showdown: Comparing PA Impact Fee to WV Severance Tax

Yesterday 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), released the final numbers for impact fee revenues and disbursements in 2016 (see PA PUC Impact Fee Report: Revenue Down Again in 2016). Revenues were from the impact fee were down for the third straight year. And since politicians in Harrisburg are in the midst of budget negotiations and attempting to close a perennial gap in the budget, we have no doubt the hew and cry will go out, yet again, to enact a severance tax on shale gas and oil–either in addition to or on top of the impact fee. We’ve written about PA Gov. Wolf’s (and his fellow Democrats’) manifestly dumb idea of implementing a severance tax (see our numerous stories on the topic here). The new argument that will be used in Harrisburg is this: If we only had a severance tax, we wouldn’t experience as much of a decrease in revenue as we have with an impact fee. This post aims to debunk that claim. In fact, an impact is far superior to a severance tax (the tax “everyone has but us here in PA”). Why so? Because, as the numbers below show, PA’s decrease in revenue from an impact fee has been far less than the drop in severance taxes in other states, like West Virginia…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Jun 16, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Antis strike out again in Ohio, “big” rally and march turn out to be a bust in Columbus; OH laborers report 4+ million hours of work last 16 months, thx to shale; some big investors pull back from Permian, fears of oversupply; US boosting LNG exports to Europe, new sanctions on Russia; how the nuclear meltdown is helping natgas producers; OPEC took aim at US producers, but shot itself instead; and more!
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