Latest Amount Shell Paid for Ethane Pipeline Easements Goes Down

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). More easements signed in January, and again in May. However, it was not until last month, June, that we learned what money Shell is paying out for those easements. The numbers for leasing 3,138 feet of space for the pipeline in Greene Township worked out to be roughly $75 per foot (see New Easement for Shell Ethane Cracker Pipeline Reveals Price Paid). Which is far higher than any other rate we’ve seen for pipeline easements–ever. We now have another recorded easement from Shell for the ethane pipeline in Beaver County. This one is a bit more modest: $43 per foot. That’s still a lot more than the typical pipeline easement, but quite a bit less than the previous deal. Bear in mind this is only the second time we’ve spotted actual numbers, so we have no way of knowing what the average price is that Shell has been paying…
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MVP Surveyors Outsmart Va. Landowners, Survey at Crack of Dawn

Just yesterday MDN reported on a small group of gentry landowners living in the lavish Bent Mountain area of Roanoke County, VA who illegally blocked access to surveyors from Mountain Valley Pipeline (see Va. Landowners Illegally Block MVP Survey Crew on Bent Mountain). Even though the surveyors have the right, under Virginia law, to enter their property and conduct survey work, even without landowner permission, the landowners called in the cops and the cops “suggested” to the surveyors that they get a court order first. Even though a court order is not required. It is an abuse of law enforcement and a waste of time and money. So the surveyors left. And then they returned the next morning (yesterday morning) at the crack of dawn, before the gentry landowners had risen to sip their first cup of coffee. The surveyors got their work done–and left. And when the landowners found out, they were outraged–that they had been outsmarted, by lowly, hoi polloi surveyors. People who get their hands dirty on the job…
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EQT Update on Mon Valley Drilling – 7 Utica Wells Coming This Yr

A couple of EQT representatives addressed the Monongahela Area Chamber of Commerce yesterday to update residents on EQT’s drilling plans in the Mon Valley region. The EQT reps said all of the wells drilled locally so far have been Marcellus wells. However, EQT plans to drill 7 Utica wells this year in the Mon Valley area. Here are some of the details on where EQT has been, and plans to, drill in the Mon Valley region during 2017…
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Dela. Riverkeeper Changes Strategy, Targets Small Pipe Project

A change-up in tactics for Maya van Rossum, THE Delaware Riverkeeper. Until now, Riverkeeper has mostly concentrated it’s efforts on big, federally regulated interstate pipeline projects, like the PennEast Pipeline (see THE Delaware Riverkeeper Plans to Pack DRBC Hearing to Oppose PennEast). However, new marching orders have been delivered from Riverkeeper’s overlords at the William Penn Foundation. Time to go after the small potatoes too. So Riverkeeper (which is funded by William Penn) obeys, and has filed a petition against building a small, 14-mile pipeline near Philadelphia that will feed a proposed Birdsboro Power project, slated for construction in 2018. Birdsboro Power is a proposed 488-megawatt natural gas-fired electric plant in Birdsboro (Berks County), to be built by EmberClear with major backing by two Japanese companies (see Japanese Now Own 2/3 of Marcellus-Powered Electric Plant in SEPA). DTE Midstream plans to build a 14-mile pipeline from the nearby Texas Eastern Transmission Company (Tetco) pipeline to feed the plant. Riverkeeper has filed a complaint about the DTE pipeline with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), trying to slow or cancel the pipeline project–which would prevent the Birdsboro plant from getting built. Riverkeeper’s aim is to stop the use of fossil fuels, and do so using the excuse of “pipelines harm the environment.” The change in strategy for Riverkeeper is in moving from big pipeline projects to smaller pipeline projects…
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Frustrated FERC Gives Rover Todo List, HDD Drilling Still Blocked

Yesterday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) sent a letter to Energy Transfer regarding the Rover Pipeline project. You may recall that Rover hit some bumps along the way in its aggressive schedule to get part of the pipeline up and running by the end of this month, and the rest operational by the end of November. In Ohio, Rover experienced a series of mishaps, the most serious of which spilled 2 million gallons of non-toxic drilling mud in a swamp near the Tuscarawas River back in April (see Rover Pipeline Accident Spills ~2M Gal. Drilling Mud in OH Swamp). An investigation by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) found the presence of diesel fuel in the drilling mud, which means the mud wasn’t so non-toxic after all (see OH EPA Says Diesel Fuel Found in Rover 2M Gal Drilling Mud Spill). Since that time, FERC has stopped all new underground horizontal directional drilling (HDD) for the Rover project. Rover has asked FERC, several times, for permission to restart the HDD work–at least in a few select locations. In this latest letter from FERC, the agency slaps Rover around and says, (1) you still can’t start HDD, (2) we (FERC) are still investigating the 2 million gallon spill, and you (Rover) are not helping–because Rover hasn’t provided key personnel for interviews by FERC, and (3) you (Rover) need to dispose of the diesel-tainted drilling mud in an approved landfill before we’ll even consider restarting your HDD activities. The letter closes with a paragraph that says, essentially, “We’re watching you.” We have the FERC letter below, with its 4-point todo list for Rover, along with analysis of the letter and the current status of Rover…
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Mich. DEQ Rejects Stop Rover Request, Senators Appeal to FERC

Isn’t it interesting how a small-but-mouthy group of anti-fossil fuelers can drive a media narrative? Just two days ago MDN told you about a meeting of 100 (likely far less) anti-fossil fuel protesters in Dexter Township, Michigan, who rallied to protest the impending construction of the Rover Pipeline in that area (see Mich. Rover Protesters Illustrate Irrational Anti-Fossil Fuel Psychosis). Our point in that post was to highlight the sad lack of brainpower in the anti movement. One young speaker said they were there to protest “all extraction industries”–including oil and gas. She is woefully ignorant of just how much her life is tied to extraction industries. At any rate, the small group, and the Big Green groups (with deep pockets) using them as puppets, have had an impact. Earlier this week, an attorney supposedly representing residents from the Silver Lake area (Dexter Township) filed an “URGENT Request for Stop Work Order on wetlands trenching, ET Rover Pipeline” with the Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The DEQ politely told him, “No.” And so the small group of antis using Big Green money appealed to their two Democrat U.S. Senators, Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, for help. The two Dem Sens promptly sent a bloviating letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), asking for a temporary stop work order in the Silver Lake area…
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Rockies Express Pipeline Adds Another 180 MMcf/d from Ohio to Ill.

NGI’s Rockies Express Zone 3 Tracker – July 13, 2017 (click for larger version)

The Rockies Express Pipeline (REX) was originally built from Colorado and Wyoming to Monroe County, OH to bring natural gas from west to east. In 2015, REX began the process of reversing the flow for a large and important section of the pipeline–to send gas from the Utica/Marcellus to the Midwest. By January of this year, REX had reversed and was flowing 2.6 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of gas from Clarington, OH to Mexico, MO (see REX Pipe Completes Expansion Today, 2.6 Bcf/d Flowing East-to-West). Except REX wanted more! The demand is there, and REX announced in February they were working on a plan to flow another 150 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of natgas from Ohio to the Midwest (see REX Pulls Rabbit Out of Pipeline – Adding Another 150 MMcf/d). REX ran a new open season and got commitments for 180 MMcf/d, and began flowing it in June, according to an announcement released yesterday. The announcement also shared that REX (independent subsidiary of Tallgrass Energy) has a new CEO: Crystal Heter. Crystal was once an engineering intern at REX and has steadily risen through the ranks to now sit in the big chair. We congratulate her! Here’s the info about REX’s latest coup in adding another 180 MMcf/d of capacity to its Zone 3, reversed pipeline…
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PA PUC Rejects West Goshen Appeal, ME2 Building Valve Station

West Goshen Township, in Philadelphia suburb of Chester County, has failed yet again to stop Sunoco Logistics’ Mariner East 2 NGL pipeline in its community. Last March MDN told you about the desperate last stand taken by liberal anti-pipeliners in West Goshen (see West Goshen’s Last Stand to Stop Mariner East 2 Pipeline). West Goshen signaled it would deny Sunoco a zoning permit for a valve on the pipeline. Sunoco politely, but firmly, told West Goshen the pipeline doesn’t need a permit from the town to install a valve because it’s a state-permitted project. Sunoco said it would move forward at the appropriate time with a valve installation. Last week West Goshen tried again, by filing a 135-page petition with the state Public Utility Commission on Monday, asking the PUC for an emergency order to stop construction of the new valve station that Sunoco is set to begin work on any time (see West Goshen Pulls Legal Stunt in Attempt to Stop ME2 Pipeline). The PUC has now responded to West Goshen: NOPE…
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PA RINOs Pressure House Speaker to Allow Severance Tax Vote

RINOsaur Gene DiGirolamo

A group of 12 Pennsylvania House of Representatives RINOs–Republicans in Name Only–have signed a letter to House Speaker Mike Turzai (full copy below) asking him to allow a vote in the House on a plan to impose a Marcellus-killing severance tax. We’re not really sure why the 12 run as Republicans–when they really aren’t Republicans, at least not in any meaningful way. Most of them come from the Philadelphia area, or other large population centers. The RINO ring leader is Gene DiGirolamo, a RINOsaur (an old RINO, nearly a fossil himself) from the Philly area, someone we covered for years because he keeps wanting to steal money from drillers and landowners to give away to his favorite causes (see our DiGirolamo severance tax stories here). On the other hand, PA Republicans have nobody to blame but themselves for this pressure. Republicans hold majorities in both chambers, and they passed an unbalanced, $32 billion budget–about $2 billion short of projected revenues. They should have had the intestinal fortitude to NOT OVERSPEND in the first place–but they didn’t. So they’ve left themselves open to extreme pressure from Democrats and RINOs. Now they must navigate this mess. An aside: If Republicans cave and implement a severance tax, it will lead to much-reduced drilling in PA. That’s a fact. PA drillers already pay a higher tax rate than other states with a severance tax–via an impact fee coupled with corporate income taxes (that other states don’t have). Just because PA’s taxes on drillers are not officially called a “severance tax” doesn’t mean drillers aren’t taxed. RINOs and Dems continually lie about that fact…
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New Canaan, CT Votes to Install NatGas Service, Pipelines

It’s so darned unusual, we felt we had to share the news that in the heart of liberal New England–about 48 miles from New York City–the town of New Canaan, Connecticut has voted to add natural gas service to a 4.7 mile area around town. That means installing (digging and drilling) pipelines to carry the gas. The gas will first be installed at three (three!) schools (gasp!!), a YMCA (oh no!), an eldercare center (the inhumanity), and even (say it ain’t so) gas for “some residents.” Yes dear reader, common sense has broken out in a small pocket of New England, and their local elected leaders, the Board of Selectmen, voted unanimously to bring low cost, clean-burning natural gas into the heart of their community. What will happen next? Perhaps no increase in local property taxes this year? Well, let’s not get crazy…
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MDN Taking a Day Off on Friday, July 14

It’s time for a quick getaway to the beach for MDN editor Jim Willis and his lovely bride. MDN will not be published on Friday, but will return on Monday, July 17. Jim is heading to the Jersey shore to “beach” himself, like Chris Christie, enjoying the ocean view. However, Jim won’t be privately lounging in a closed state park, like a certain governor recently did (and then lied about).

NJ Gov. Chris Christie sitting on the beach – in a state park he closed

Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Thu, Jul 13, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Appalachia joins race for multi-billion dollar petchem boom; Kingston, NY neighbors of natgas regulation station voice concerns; 2 million gallon LNG tank coming to Bethlehem, PA; WV severance tax revenue continues to climb; is Wall Street setting up shale for a fall?; US natgas consumption will fall in 2017; but gas production will continue to climb; oil price will “plunge” unless production is cut, says Goldman; Venezuela-Russia deal threatens US security; electric vehicle use in Norway goes way, but so too does oil consumption; OPEC scapegoating US shale, needs to look in the mirror; and more!
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