Atlantic Sunrise Pipe Rally: ‘Time to Kick Politicians in the Ass’

Last Thursday some 450-500 supporters, oil and gas industry workers and politicians gathered at the Shadowbrook Golf Course in Wyoming County, PA to express support for Williams’ $3 billion, 198-mile Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project, most of which will get built in northeast Pennsylvania. The event was organized and sponsored by Cabot Oil & Gas, one of the major beneficiaries of the pipeline, and Williams, which will build and operate the pipeline. The overall purpose of the event was to give a metaphorical kick in the rear-end of Gov. Tom Wolf and his Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP), which appears to be intentionally dragging its feet with granting stream crossing permits–about the only thing left before the backhoes fire up and start digging. The event, held from noon to 2pm, began with lunch–barbecue pulled pork and chicken–followed by a series of short speeches by political leaders from the region. With people gathered at tables, and some standing, a half dozen speakers stood on a giant flatbed trailer underneath what has to be the biggest American flag MDN editor Jim Willis has ever seen, hoisted and held between two large cranes (see the pic). The upshot of the speeches can best be summarized in a single statement delivered by Alan Hall, Chairman of the neighboring Susquehanna County Board of Commissioners, when he said: “It’s time to kick the politicians in the ass and get this [pipeline] done.” There were some other great one-liners too…
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Atlantic Coast Pipeline Gets Favorable Final EIS from FERC

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Last Friday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a favorable final environmental impact statement (EIS) for Dominion’s $5 billion, 594-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP)–a natural gas pipeline that will stretch from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina. The final EIS found that although some of the proposed pipeline will create adverse environmental conditions, those things can be minimized or avoided. According to Dominion, the favorable EIS clears the path for a final approval–once FERC has a quorum available to vote. The EIS also covers a second-but-related project to ACP, the Supply Header Project (SHP). SHP is a $500 million project of approximately 38 miles of natural gas pipeline and modified existing compression facilities in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The project will provide natural gas supplies to various customers, including the ACP, allowing the transport of natural gas from supply areas in OH, PA and WV to underserved market areas in Virginia and North Carolina. Below is a copy of the EIS, along with descriptions of what will get built for both ACP and SHP…
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PA DEP Fines ME2 Pipe $87,600 for Single Violation, More Coming?

Apparently under pressure from environmentalist wackos, last Friday the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued a statement that says, in essence, we’re on the back of Sunoco Logistics over problems with construction the Mariner East 2 Pipeline. Gov. Wolf and DEP Secretary McDonnell both felt it necessary to voice their “concerns” over some of the episodes that have happened with construction the twin Mariner East 2 NGL pipelines that will stretch from eastern OH to the Philadelphia area. According to the announcement, the DEP has so far issued 4 “Notices of Violation” and 1 “Consent Order and Agreement” with a fine of $87,600 for “inadvertent returns” (what we call leaks) of drilling mud and water at an underground horizontal directional drilling (HDD) location in Cumberland County, PA. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first we’ve heard of that spill. It was actually a series of spills (or leaks) over a number of different days. All told, some 160,000 gallons of drilling fluids came out of the ground at that location. In addition, the DEP released a table outlining 49 incidents–some just a few gallons, others several hundred (or several thousand) gallons of drilling fluid leaks. We have the list of 49 problem areas below, the details on the Cumberland County leaks, and the DEP announcement…
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Rover, OH Landowners Head to Court re Pumping Water from Trenches

In May MDN brought you the news that the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) was going after Rover Pipeline for failing to properly plan storm water management which resulted in heavy storm water runoff into farmers’ fields where Rover is digging trenches (see OEPA & Rover at Odds Over Storm Water Runoff, “Fine” Now $714K). OEPA was already sore with Rover over drilling mud spills, and this just added to the strained relationship. OEPA assessed a fine of $283,000. Some 246 landowners, many of them farmers, want compensation for Rover causing “long-term” damage to their fields when the company pumped out the trenches, onto their fields. So the landowners banded together and sued Rover in U.S. District Court. Everyone was in court last week…
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Utica Production in Washington County, OH Tumbles, PDC Pulls Out

Washington County, OH, along the southeastern tip of active Utica drilling, has never been known as a hotbed of Utica drilling. However, there is at least some drilling in the county. In 2016 and the first quarter of 2017 there were eight (8) active Utica wells producing hydrocarbons–gas and oil and NGLs. Those eight wells are owned by three companies: Edgemarc Energy, Protege Energy and PDC Energy. PDC, you may recall, announced in May that it has put all of its remaining Utica assets up for sale, including wells/land in Washington County, so it can use the proceeds to drill for oil in Texas and Colorado (see PDC Energy Pulling Out of the Utica – Selling Acreage & Wells). What does that mean for Washington County? Because no new drilling has taken place, production is, understandably, falling. In 1Q17 oil production fell 39% and natural gas production fell 20% from the the previous quarter. That trend will continue unless/until new drilling happens. Here’s an update on Washington County, OH and on PDC Energy pulling out…
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CORNballs Accuse FERC of Illegally Approving NEXUS Pipeline in OH

The CORNballs of Ohio continue to try and shut down the $2 billion, 255-mile NEXUS interstate natural gas pipeline that will run from Ohio through Michigan and eventually to the Dawn Hub in Ontario, Canada. CORN stands for Coalition to Reroute NEXUS. CORNballs is what we affectionately call the group–as a way of pointing out their nutty true purpose–to try and shut the NEXUS project down. Period. Their aim has nothing to do with “rerouting” and everything to do with shutting it down. In May 2017, the CORNballs revealed their true colors when they filed a lawsuit in federal court in Akron, OH (see CORNballs Strike Again, File Lawsuit to Stop NEXUS Pipeline). Last week, lawyers for the CORNballs were back in court with a filing that claims the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) acted illegally during the approval process. Good luck with proving that in court. NEXUS filed a motion to dismiss this frivolous case, based on the fact the federal court in Akron doesn’t have jurisdiction. The Natural Gas Act of 1938 gives “exclusive review” of FERC-related cases to the federal court of appeals in Washington, D.C. There goes another CORNball…
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Clean Air Council’s Strange War Against Mariner East Pipeline

The “most serious remaining legal challenge” to Sunoco Logistics’ Mariner East 2 Pipeline project is a challenge by the odious Big Green group, the Clean Air Council, based in Philadelphia. CAC claims in a court case in Common Pleas Court in Philly that ME2 violates the federal and state constitutions. The case takes up constitutional claims that have “not yet been addressed in other litigation.” It dawned on us when reading an account of the case and who says what about whether or not Sunoco has the right to use eminent domain and whether or not ME2 is a public utility, is why does the CAC even care? Why are they the ones bringing the lawsuit? After all, pipelines don’t pollute the air! Well, technically that’s not 100% true–pipeline compressor stations do emit some air pollution, depending on how they are powered (diesel engines). But at the end of the day, pipelines pollute the air far less than other forms of transportation, like trucks and trains. How does CAC even have “standing” to bring such a lawsuit? Of course the fact that CAC is litigating is a tip-off that there is Big Green money behind the effort–and CAC is just a tool being used in a wider collusion (conspiracy?) to stop the pipeline…
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Monroe County, OH Leads the Way Out of Industry Downturn

Last week the Monroe County, OH Chamber of Commerce and other organizations held an information forum to highlight what’s coming down the pike in the way of drilling and pipeline work for the county. Monroe is one of the leading Utica Shale counties in Ohio. According to Mike Chadsey, director of public relations for the Ohio Oil and Gas Association (OOGA), “Monroe County has been at the heart of the industry coming out of the downturn.” He also had an interesting perspective on the issue of “boom and bust” in the oil and gas business. We’ve written a number of times about the cycles experienced in the o&g industry. Drillers expand like crazing, creating a “boom,” and when too much of oil or gas floods the market and prices crash, a “bust” follows. Chadsey has different terminology. He thinks it is more accurate to call those cycles “ebb and flow” rather than “boom and bust.” We like it! A number of people addressed the forum, including drillers Rice Energy and EdgeMarc. Here’s how Monroe is leading the way out of the downturn…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, Jul 24, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Northeast gas output pressures prices; update of southeast power market pipeline projects; American-made pipeline plan heads to Trump’s desk; natgas vs nuclear subsidies; Boone Pickens in poor health; jobs coming back in the oilfield after years of decline; taking politics out of pipeline decisions; US and Russia battling to dominate European gas market; will US LNG find a market in Asia?; and more!
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