Marcellus/Utica Region Could Support 4 More Crackers, but Will It?

In March of this year, the Team Pennsylvania Foundation released a report called “Prospects to Enhance Pennsylvania’s Opportunities in Petrochemical Manufacturing” (see PA Study Finds Marcellus/Utica Can Support 4 More Ethane Crackers). The report is derived from a comprehensive study conducted by powerhouse oil & gas consulting firm IHS Markit. According to the report, Pennsylvania can easily handle another two ethane cracker plants (aside from the already under construction Shell cracker), and Ohio and West Virginia can handle another two cracker plants between them, for a total regional capacity of another four ethane cracker plants. But realistically, will another four actually get built in our region? That was the topic addressed during the Northeast U.S. Petrochemical Construction conference held earlier this week in Pittsburgh. PA officials talked openly and honestly about the challenges in attracting more crackers–and about their mission, which is “the development of sites” to attract more crackers. It was an interesting, and candid, discussion with helpful information about what crackers look for in a potential site…
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Shell’s Ethane Pipeline “Right on Track,” Construction Starts 2019

Falcon Ethane Pipeline map – click for larger version

Quite a bit of news came from the recent Northeast U.S. Petrochemical Construction conference held earlier this week in Pittsburgh. One session featured a Shell rep talking about Shell’s Falcon Ethane Pipeline, a pipeline with two “legs” that will feed Shell’s mighty ethane cracker plant in Beaver County, PA (see Shell Working on 94-Mile Ethane Pipeline to Feed PA Cracker). Steady progress is being made in signing up landowners to allow the pipeline across their property. With so many anti groups opposing simple natural gas pipelines, like the CORNballs who oppose NEXUS (see CORNballs Strike Again, File Lawsuit to Stop NEXUS Pipeline), radicals trying to stop active construction on Rover (see Antis Ask Army Corps of Engrs to Yank Rover Pipeline Blanket Approval), and the DOPEs opposing Duke’s tiny pipeline into Cincinnati (see DOPEs Get Ready to Fight 13 Mile Pipeline Near Cincinnati), what Shell is reporting about how they are striking deals with landowners–landowners who actually support Shell and the pipeline–stands out as unique. What’s different about Shell’s ethane pipeline? For one thing, the Shell ethane pipeline is a private project, so it can’t use eminent domain. This is a high stakes gamble for Shell. If one landowner won’t deal and the pipeline doesn’t get built, how will Shell feed the cracker beast? So Shell deals with landowners (i.e. pays them big bucks) in order to get easements signed. Perhaps there’s a lesson here for other pipelines to follow? The Shell rep reported to conference attendees that the Falcon project is “right on track” and construction will begin in 2019, with completion set for 2020. That’s about two years ahead of when the cracker will go online…
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Drilling Costs Rise in Marcellus/Utica; Workforce Becomes Issue

The petrochemical conference in Pittsburgh earlier this week wasn’t the only event in town. The DUG (Developing Unconventional Gas) East conference and exposition took place at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, several blocks from the petchem event. The reporting from one session in particular caught our attention. A panel of drillers and service companies (upstream focus) talked about the prices that service companies (that is, oilfield service companies, like Halliburton and Baker Hughes) charge has gone up 10-15% over rates from last year, when service companies had to slash prices. While that’s good for service companies, but not so good for drillers and may, yet again, lead to a decline in active rig counts. The panel also discussed the increasingly critical shortage of workers in the Marcellus/Utica industry…
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Anti 2fer: Nutters Rally & March at 2 Marcellus Events in Pittsburgh

It’s kind of humorous when a small group of insane anti-fossil fuelers participate in a march that they call “Stop the Madness.” Kind of meta, dontcha think? An anti reporter from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tagged along (who could tell the difference?) to “report” on a group of “about 100 protesters from 11 organizations” who rallied and marched from one Marcellus event to another being held in Pittsburgh on Tuesday. The protesters, dressed in clothes made from petrochemicals, wearing sneakers made from petrochemicals, and holding signs made from petrochemicals (after arriving at the “rally” and “march” in fossil fuel-powered transportation), rallied outside of the Northeast U.S. Petrochemical Construction conference–to protest petrochemicals, and then marched across town to the convention center to protest fracking outside of the DUG (Developing Unconventional Gas) East event. The group was a mish mash of the usual suspects–hard left nutters who pop up again and again to grab a headline bashing fossil fuels, before scarpering home using the fossil fuels they just bashed, going to houses and apartments heated and cooled using fossil fuels. Typical…
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Primoris Lands Another Pipeline Contract for $53M in PA Marcellus

Primoris Services Corporation, a pipeline building company based in Dallas, TX, has built a number of gathering pipelines in the Marcellus region. We’ve been covering some of the projects Primoris has been involved with since 2013 (see our Primoris stories here). Their announcements don’t name the customer. The amounts are typically in $10-$90 million range. Sometimes it’s easy to figure out who they are doing the work for. Sometimes not. This morning Primoris issued a press release to trumpet the fact they’ve just landed another project to build 27 miles of gathering pipelines in the PA Marcellus–for $53 million. This release is pretty thin. We don’t have good speculation on what part of PA (although in the recent past it’s been in the northeastern part of the state). We reached out to Primoris for more details and got this back: “I’m sorry, but we don’t share that information.” Here’s the piddly bit of information they do share, from the press release…
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Fixing the Nearly Unfixable EPA – Abuses, Collusion & Coverups

The federal Environmental Protection Agency has been a rogue agency for years under the previous Obama administration. To be fair, the agency has been a problem long before that–pretty much since its inception. Now that President Trump is attempting to reign in the EPA by trimming its budget and focusing it on its original intent–to clean up America’s air and water–leftists are having a cow. In a devastating column published by Dr. Jack Rafuse, a former White House energy adviser, Rafuse exposes some of the egregious collusion and criminal cover-ups perpetrated by the EPA. Rafuse lays bare the swamp that needs draining at the EPA, providing justification for Trump’s actions in reigning in this rogue agency. This is the real news that fake newsers in mainstream media won’t tell you…
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Anti-Fracker Josh Fox Refuses to Give ISIS a Hug

It’s hard to overestimate the damage to the fossil fuel industry in general, and the natural gas industry in particular, from the propaganda film Gasland, created by Josh Fox. The movie is full of lies and misinformation, but it’s good entertainment and in a culture that disdains the use of logic and reason, someone else’s lies quickly become some unthinking people’s “truth.” Fox has repeatedly proven he’s a charlatan and liar. No one exposes his lies better than Phelim McAleer, a real filmmaker who made the counter-documentary FrackNation to dispel the lies in Gasland. Phelim has been a thorn in the side of Fox and Fox acolytes for years. Recently Fox embarrassed himself by claiming President Trump’s use of the “Mother of All Bombs” (MOAB), dropped on ISIS murderers in Afghanistan, was immoral and that we should instead love on ISIS. Yes, we know, truly insane. So Phelim decided he would raise enough money to send Fox to Afhanistan so Fox can “give ISIS a hug.” Phelim raised more than $3,000 for an all expenses paid round trip. But Fox refused to go. Why is that? Perhaps Fox doesn’t really believe the lies he pedals after all…
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Frack Company Using Rocket Fuel Hires Former NASA CFO

Canadian company RocketFrac Services Ltd. has an interesting twist on waterless fracking technology–they use solid rocket fuel. No danger of leaks. No worries about transporting it. No water involved. The company makes some pretty big boasts: “We are confident that our fracing process will rapidly become a valuable alternative, perhaps even the preferred choice, for oil and gas exploration and development companies around the globe.” We’ve heard those kinds of claims before. Still, the startup company set out to raise $1 million and ended up raising $3.1 million (see New Waterless Frack Company Uses Rocket Fuel! Gets $3M Investment), which is impressive. Something else that’s impressive: RocketFrac, a company that literally uses rocket fuel for fracking, has just hired the former chief financial officer of NASA to be chairman of the board. You can’t make this stuff up!…
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Duke, Piedmont Ask FERC to Extend Atlantic Coast Pipe Contract

It takes a lot longer these days to get a big pipeline approved than it used to. In April 2014, Dominion promoted an open season for what would later become the $5 billion, 594-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline–a natural gas pipeline that will stretch from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina. By September 2014, Dominion said they had enough commitment to move forward with the project (see Dominion Commits to Major New Marcellus/Utica Pipeline Project). Little did Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas (now owned by Duke) know that in signing up for the project, it still wouldn’t be built more than three years later. True fact: It only took 410 days to build the Empire State Building, from the first shovel of dirt moved to opening the doors on the completed building. Some 102 stories high, tallest building in the world for decades. Nowadays it takes half a decade just to get a pipeline approved! This is nuts, folks. At any rate, Duke Energy and Piedmont have just filed a request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to extend the contracts they signed to use Atlantic Coast because as of June 30, 2017, those contracts expire if the pipeline isn’t built. Duke is interested in seeing the pipeline get built, so they can use it…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Thu, Jun 22, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Appalachian NGL storage study nearing completion; Appalachian Basin takes center stage at Pittsburgh conference; Six well permits issued in Ohio’s Utica Shale; Fracking money has repaired bridges and saved farmland in Lancaster County; Sabal Trail adding pipeline capacity but not demand in Florida; Eighth major report finds water contamination from fracking ‘has not been observed’; U.S. pot growers use lots of fossil fuels, creates dilemma for hippie antis; Dems, greens press Trump administration on methane rewrites; Execs sought for federal pipeline advisory committees; and more!
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