Radical Enviro Groups Ask FERC for Full Investigation of ET Rover

Here is a short list of radical environmental groups that are despicable and loathsome in every sense of the word: Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, Earthworks, Freshwater Accountability Project, Friends for Environmental Justice, Indigenous Environmental Network, Indigenous Iowa, Keep Wayne WILD, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Ohio River Citizens’ Alliance, and Oil Change International. They have dedicated themselves to stopping work on, and ultimately blocking, Energy Transfer’s (ET) $3.7 billion, 711-mile Marcellus/Utica Rover natural gas pipeline that will run from PA, WV and eastern OH through OH into Michigan and eventually into Canada. The problem, however, is that ET has given these groups an open door to pedal their anti-fossil fuel nonsense. Indeed, ET has given them an open door to block further progress on building Rover. How? By rushing construction that has led to a string of accidents and incidents, alienating the thin-skinned Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) and a number of landowners. One of the accidents, perhaps the most prominent accident that’s been the focus for much of the radical’s efforts, was a 2 million gallon spill of drilling mud into a wetland near the Tuscarawas River back in April (see Rover Pipeline Accident Spills ~2M Gal. Drilling Mud in OH Swamp). After receiving a tip, the OEPA tested some of the recovered drilling mud and claim they found diesel fuel mixed in (see OH EPA Says Diesel Fuel Found in Rover 2M Gal Drilling Mud Spill). That finding led the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to launch an investigation. On Wednesday, the radical groups we list above sent a five-page letter to FERC requesting a “formal and full investigation” of the entire Rover project. In other words, shut it all down and give Rover a detailed anal exam. Every day the Rover Pipeline goes over its projected online date, the company loses $10 million. If FERC agrees to the nutters’ request, well, let’s just say it’s not good news for ET…
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Radical Enviros Now the Tail Wagging the PA DCNR Dog re Funding

As they so often do, radical environmentalists are creating chaos and confusion–this time in Pennsylvania. As MDN reported, earlier this week the Pennsylvania Supreme Court of Appeals, in a sharply divided 3-2 decision, sided with a virulent anti-drilling group, the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation, against the state in saying that any revenue generated from leasing and drilling on state-owned land MUST be used solely for conservation and the environment (see PA Supreme Court Hands Antis Partial Victory re State Land Drilling). The aim of the PA EDF is to disrupt Marcellus Shale drilling by any means necessary. This is one of those means. The three liberal justices who rendered the decision say the law is clear on intent–that money raised from leasing state-owned lands for drilling must be used for environmental purposes. Now the PA EDF is arrogantly telling the State of Pennsylvania that the money raised from drilling can’t be used for general operating expenses of the Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR)–the very organization that oversees the state lands and is in charge of said leasing. In the upcoming budget, due to be ratified by June 30th, PA Gov. Tom Wolf and the legislature had planned to use $100 million from the lease and royalty fund to “pay for DCNR’s daily operations or be transferred to another fund for statewide environmental and infrastructure projects.” But in an ominous threat, the EDF lawyer said spending money on DCNR operations “doesn’t comply with the court opinion on how the funds can be used.” Which begs the question: What in the world CAN you spend the $100 million raised from royalties and lease fees on?…
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Braskem Says Future Investment in Marcus Hook Still Possible

Nearly five years ago, in July 2012, then-PA Gov. Tom Corbett announced that some of the Sunoco Marcus Hook Refinery assets had been purchased by Braskem America (see Marcellus to the Rescue: Marcus Hook Refinery to Reopen). Braskem, a division of Brazilian company Odebrecht, uses the Marcus Hook facility to manufacture polypropylene plastics. The facility gets some of (most of?) its raw materials (i.e. ethane) from the Marcellus Shale. Interestingly, Braskem’s US operations are headquartered in Philadelphia. When it came time to invest $675 million to build a new polypropylene plant–Braskem chose Texas as the site, not Marcus Hook in their own back yard. Which is a huge disappointment. Why the Texas Gulf Coast? Because of “a ready supply of raw material from nearby petrochemical operations.” But that may not be the end of the story. Braskem CEO Mark Nikolich said just because they chose Texas for this project, doesn’t mean they still don’t love Marcus Hook just as much–and it doesn’t rule out expanding the Philly plant in the future. Just as soon as there’s more ethane available (hello Mariner East 2!)…
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PennEnergy: Core of Marcellus Extends Under & North of Pittsburgh

Green and Washington counties, south of Pittsburgh (Allegheny County), have long been considered the “core” of Marcellus Shale play in southwestern PA. The wells there get GREAT results–a mix of dry and wet gas (wet gas being natural gas liquids, like ethane, propane and butane). But one company, PennEnergy Resources, says the data shows that the same great Marcellus deposits are located underneath the great City of Pittsburgh itself, and in the towns north of the city (Allegheny County). And PennEnergy can prove it, with their own well results. Does that mean Pittsburgh itself may one day get drilled under?! Don’t hold your breath on drilling under Pittsburgh any time soon. However, according to Greg Muse, chief operating officer for PennEnergy, there’s plenty of gas to be drilled just north of the city–and the deposits are just as good as those south of the city. Muse also said PennEnergy is looking to either take the company public, merge with another company, or sell…
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Mountain Valley Pipeline Final Enviro Impact Statement Due Today

The Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) is a $3.5 billion, 303-mile pipeline that will run from Wetzel County, WV to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsylvania County, VA. The project, which filed an official application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in October 2015, is being built by EQT, NextEra Energy and several other partners. The project has faced stiff opposition from landowners in both West Virginia and Virginia. Although the project is not yet fully approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the project did get a favorable Draft Environmental Impact Statement from FERC last September (see FERC Gives WV to VA Mountain Valley Pipeline Provisional Thumbs Up). MVP had wanted a final Environmental Impact Statement by March 10th, but that didn’t happen. Instead, FERC delayed a final EIS until today, June 23rd. What happens after MVP gets a (presumably) favorable final EIS? Right now FERC doesn’t have a quorum of commissioners who can vote to allow construction to begin. However, the hope around Washington, DC is that the Senate will take a final vote on two new commissioners before the July 4th holiday. If that happens, FERC may well vote to allow MVP to begin at any time following a quorum…
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EXCO Issues 2.7M Shares of New Stock in Lieu of Paying $23M

EXCO Resources was once a sizable player in the Marcellus. They still have 145,000 net acres in the Marcellus, with 124 horizontal Marcellus wells drilled and in production. However, EXCO, as we pointed out a year ago, has abandoned the Marcellus at this point (see EXCO: No Marcellus Drilling in 2015/2016, NYSE Threatens Delisting). The company flirted with bankruptcy for some time. They were able to slow the bleeding in 2Q16 (see EXCO Still Hammering Midstreamers re Contracts, Bleeding Slowed). In 3Q16 EXCO finally turned a profit, going from losing $355 million in 3Q15 to making $51 million in 3Q16 (see EXCO 3Q16: Turns a Profit! Marcellus Production Continues to Fall). However, the turnaround was short-lived. In 4Q16 the company lost $35 million (see EXCO Lost $225M in ’16; Screwing Shareholders to Avoid Bankruptcy). At the same time they released 4Q16 and full year numbers, EXCO also released a game plan to avoid bankruptcy. That plan? Effectively turning over control of the company to its creditors. We spotted another interesting maneuver on the part of the company. Yesterday EXCO filed an update (called a Form 8-K) with the Securities and Exchange Commission that they have issued 2.7 million new shares of common stock in lieu of making a cash interest payment on a loan. They have plans for the cash that would have gone toward the interest payment…
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Trump DOE Investing $18M to Figure Out How to Frack Better

The Trump Dept. of Energy (DOE) wants to make better frackers. What does being a “better” fracker mean, and how is the DOE further that cause? The DOE is doling out $20 million, of which $18 million will be used on research to “address critical gaps in the understanding of reservoir behavior and optimal completion, stimulation, and recovery strategies for unconventional oil and gas.” That is, figure out how to frack cheaper, faster and in a way that impacts the environment less. And the government is willing to spend some coin to help figure it out…
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NOAA, Natl Labs Say 100% Renewables Not Possible by 2050

Anti-frackers like Josh Fox (maker of the propaganda film Gasland) have long relied on a single, flawed research “study” that purported to make the case that the entire country could, if it wanted to, switch over to using 100% renewable energy sources by 2050. The study, titled “100% clean and renewable wind, water, and sunlight (WWS) all-sector energy roadmaps for the 50 United States” (full copy below), presents “roadmaps for each of the 50 United States to convert their all-purpose energy systems (for electricity, transportation, heating/cooling, and industry) to ones powered entirely by wind, water, and sunlight (WWS).” This week a group of 21 independent experts, including the former associate director at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a NOAA researcher who specializes in renewables, issued a devastating rebuttal of the earlier “renewable roadmap” study–saying it has “significant shortcomings,” using “invalid modeling tools” with “modeling errors” and makes “implausible and inadequately supported assumptions.” In the rebuttal study, titled “Evaluation of a proposal for reliable low-cost grid power with 100% wind, water, and solar” (full copy below), the authors rip the earlier “renewable roadmap” study to shreds, exposing the lie that fossil fuels can be phased out within our lifetimes. It’s simply not possible. And it’s time that lie is debunked in the public square. But don’t look for mainstream media to give one drop of ink to this study. It doesn’t fit their renewables-are-nirvana-and-fossil-fuels-are-evil narrative…
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RINOsaurs Enlist Help from Big Oil to Push Insane Carbon Tax

A group of creaking, tottering old RINO (Republican in Name Only) dinosaurs (i.e. RINOsaurs) left the golf course long enough to lobby President Trump on the insane idea of a so-called “carbon tax” back in February (see RINOsaurs Lobby Trump to Enact Socialist “Carbon Tax”). Two of them were from the Ronald Reagan Administration–George Shultz and James Baker III, both former Secretaries of State. A carbon tax is nothing more than a way to slap a regressive tax on every citizen of the country–as if we aren’t already taxed enough. If you live in the great middle class of this country, you already pay close to 50% of your income in various federal, state, local, property, sales and other taxes. Add it up sometime, you’ll see we’re not exaggerating. A group of Republican “elder statesmen” (as fake news source CNN calls them) met with Team Trump at the White House to push this disastrous plan, calling it (be careful not to vomit), “conservative.” There’s nothing conservative about it. We thought perhaps that was the end of it, and the the RINOsaurs lumbered back to the golf course. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Somehow the old farts have now enlisted the help of some Big Oil companies, including Exxon Mobil and BP, to help push a carbon tax in the U.S. We have little doubt Trump will go for it (he’s not stupid, like establishment swamp dwellers around DC). However, we find it troubling that people in our industry are buying into the hype around man-made global warming, and see a tax as the potential fix…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Jun 23, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Ohio anti-fracking ‘digital disruption powerhour’ a huge disappointment; FirstEnergy executive vice president James H. Lash to retire; EQT/Rice merger could make more office space available at Southpointe; Environmentalists bring PA closer to financial ruin; U.S. Secretary of Energy Perry to visit W.Va.; Clean coal power plant ordered to run on natural gas instead; Frackers collide with traditional oil drillers – “frack hits”; USA: new LNG act to remove export restrictions; Cheniere offers better terms to attract LNG customers; and more!
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