New FERC Quorum Votes Final Approval for NEXUS Pipeline

Two new members added to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by President Trump (Neil Chatterjee and Rob Powelson), added to the Obama-appointed member (Cheryl LaFleur) have not wasted any time in authorizing their first major pipeline project as a group. Last week the trio voted to approve the first major pipeline project since a quorum has been reestablished–NEXUS, a $2 billion, 255-mile interstate pipeline that will run from Ohio through Michigan and eventually to the Dawn Hub in Ontario, Canada. On August 4th, NEXUS, which is a jointly owned project between DTE Energy and Spectra Energy (now part of Enbridge), sent a letter to the new FERC quorum urging fast action (see NEXUS Pipeline to FERC: Please Approve Project – NOW). Perhaps the letter did the trick. On Friday, August 25th, the three issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity (full copy below) allowing the project to move forward. Because of the delay when FERC was without a quorum, NEXUS says the pipeline will now evaluate and supply a new construction schedule, but they do plan to have the pipeline up and running sometime in 2018…
Continue reading

Tetco Pipe Drilling in Athens, OH Hits Gas Pocket, Catches Fire

Click for larger version of map

As part of drilling underground (directional horizontal drilling, or HDD), Enbridge hit a pocket of natural gas in Athens County, OH about 400 below the surface. The gas leaked out and caught fire last Wednesday, partially burning the drilling rig. Fortunately the rig operators have the presence of mind to evacuate quickly and no one was hurt. The fire closed a section of Route 681 southeast of Albany, OH until Friday afternoon. According to press reports, the work being done is for the Texas Eastern Transmission pipeline (Tetco). This next bit is our own conjecture (we are not 100% sure), but we think we know which Tetco-related project Enbridge was working on. A year ago, in August 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved three Spectra Energy pipeline projects all part of the same package to flow more Marcellus/Utica gas to the South (see FERC Approves 3 Spectra Energy Pipe Projects in Marcellus/Utica). The three projects, which together will add an additional 662 million cubic feet (MMcf/d) of capacity along Tetco, are Access South, Adair Southwest and Lebanon Express. We believe the work being done was for this trio of projects. Given the location of the fire (Athens County), it was likely the Adair Southwest project (see the project map). The Enbridge website lists Range Resources as the shipper that reserved capacity along the Adair Southwest portion of the upgraded Tetco (200 MMcf/d of capacity). Below is the news would could find regarding the fire…
Continue reading

4 Tetco Pipe Projects Ready Soon Will Add Extra 1 Bcf/d Capacity

Four Texas Eastern Transmission (Tetco) pipeline projects are expected to be completed by the end of this year and when they are, they will together flow an extra 1 billion cubic feet per day of Marcellus/Utica gas to more profitable markets in the South, as far away as the Gulf Coast. The four Tetco projects are: Gulf Markets Expansion Phase 2, Access South, Adair Southwest and Lebanon Extension. As fate would have it, Tetco experienced a fire while drilling under a highway for what we believe is the Adair Southwest project (see today’s companion story, Tetco Pipe Drilling in Athens, OH Hits Gas Pocket, Catches Fire). Three of the four projects–Access South, Adair Southwest and Lebanon Extension–are part of the same umbrella filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Those three together will flow an extra 662 million cubic feet (MMcf) per day of gas to Ohio, Kentucky and Mississippi. Some of that gas will then catch a ride on the Gulf Markets Expansion Phase 2, flowing gas to Louisiana and Texas. Here’s the exciting part: Some of that gas will go to LNG export facilities, and some will go by pipeline from Texas to Mexico. Cool! Marcellus/Utica gas finding its way to other countries via the Tetco pipeline. Which means some Marcellus/Utica drillers will get higher prices for their gas. Here’s an update on Tetco’s four pipeline projects combining to boost prices in our region, and carry our gas to other parts of the world, and which drillers will benefit…
Continue reading

Lancaster Sisters of the Corn Lose Bid to Stop Atlantic Coast Pipe

The Sisters of the Corn have lost their battle to prevent the Williams Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline from crossing their cornfield. Last month MDN told you about a group of Catholic nuns who, with the help of radical Big Green groups, cleared a portion of a corn field they own (local farmer uses for planting corn), plopped a couple of wooden park benches and portable flower trestle in the middle of the corn field, and declared the spot a “chapel” (see Catholic Nuns Use Radicals to Build Chapel in Path of PA Pipeline). It’s a joke. But they weren’t laughing. They really thought that (a) if they refused to sign an easement granting a right-of-way to Williams, and (b) if they stuck a couple of park benches in a corn field, a judge would stop the pipeline from passing through–at least on their land. They were wrong. The Sisters of the Corn (as we call them, the actual name is The Adorers of the Blood of Christ) were one of five holdout property owners who would not sign easements. Last week a judge granted the easements anyway. Atlantic Sunrise now has 100% of the land they need to build the pipeline. Oh! The interesting thing about the Sisters of the Corn? The Sisters use natural gas to heat a retirement community they operate on the very same property where they don’t want a natural gas pipeline…
Continue reading

Haynesville Shale Tops Marcellus Rig Count, 1st Time Since 2011

The Haynesville Shale, found in East Texas and Louisiana, last week surpassed the Marcellus for total number of active drilling rigs. That’s the first time the Haynesville has had more active rigs than the Marcellus since 2011–six years. What’s up with the “sleepy” Haynesville? It’s not so sleepy anymore. Last year one of the biggest and best drillers in the Marcellus, Range Resources, paid $4.4 billion to buy out and take over a Louisiana driller (see Range Resources Buys Louisiana Driller in Deal Worth $4.4B). Range drills in the Terryville Field in Louisiana, which sits just over top of the Haynesville. This year Range is spending 34% of their capital expenditure budget on Louisiana drilling–money that could have been spent in the Pennsylvania Marcellus. Why is the Haynesville picking up again? (1) It costs less to drill in Louisiana because taxes and other drilling costs are lower, and (2) pipeline infrastructure is already in place to sell the gas into higher-paying markets. This is a very loud warning to those in PA who say “drillers won’t go anywhere else ’cause the gas is here” as a justification for slapping a severance tax on top of the impact fee on top of a corporate state income tax: THEY’RE ALREADY LEAVING PENNSYLVANIA, going to the Haynesville and other plays. How obtuse can you be? How stupid is it to RAISE taxes when drillers are already shifting away from the state? If PA lawmakers insist on slapping drillers with a severance tax, drillers will be happy to turn the spigots off for a while until prices go up and they can afford to pay the tax. Drillers are equally happy to spend their money drilling new wells in other states, given regulatory problems and high taxes. And then where will your “easy money” come from to balance an overspent state budget?…
Continue reading

Faux “Conservative” Group Runs Attack Ads re Fixing PA DEP

We have more evidence that a so-called “Conservative” environmental group, calling themselves Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship, is anything but conservative. Let’s strip the euphemisms away, shall we? Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship is a group of liberal Democrats pretending to be conservative Republicans. It is a pretense. A lie. How do we know? It all goes back to the budget bill passed by the Pennsylvania Senate. Republicans, which control both the House and Senate in Pennsylvania, passed an unbalanced budget of $32 billion. Problem is, there’s only $30 billion of projected revenue. So after passing the spending part of the budget, the legislature (i.e. Republicans) now have to “come up with” $2 billion to cover the difference. The pressure has been intense to punish the successful Marcellus industry by stealing even more of their money (PA already takes an overly generous portion of their profits). Senate Republicans caved to the pressure and floated a spending plan that includes a severance tax (see Traitorous PA Senate Republicans Pass Severance Tax Bill). The House, so far, has resisted the siren song that wants to lure them onto the rocks of killing the Marcellus industry. The Marcellus industry has, for years, complained about the sloooooooow response times in approving drilling permits by the Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP). As an olive branch to the industry, Senate Republicans also included (in the budget bill) fixes to the slow DEP, to speed things up (see PA Senate’s “Olive Branch” of “Relaxed Regulations” for Drillers). So-called Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship are now spending big money advertising against the Republicans who voted for the budget bill because of the DEP fix included. Thing is, a LOT of PA Senate Democrats (11 of 17) also voted for that budget–but “Conservatives” for Responsible Stewardship isn’t spending a dime to run advertising against the Democrats. What does that tell you?…
Continue reading

Duke Energy’s 13-Mile Cincinnati NatGas Pipeline Put on Hold

Duke Energy needs to replace an aging pipeline, built in the 1950s, near Cincinnati, OH–or some people in Cincy will have to go without natural gas. Duke has proposed a 13-mile, 20-inch pipeline along two potential routes. Both routes are opposed by antis, including a group calling themselves NOPE–Neighbors Opposing Pipeline Extension. We call them DOPEs–Dummies Opposing Pipeline Extensions. Will the DOPEs volunteer to shut off the natural gas to their homes and businesses if the pipeline doesn’t get built? Not on your life! The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) held two public hearings in April, to grant anti-pipeliners the opportunity to vent (see Hearings Scheduled for Proposed Duke Pipeline in Cincinnati). They didn’t disappoint. The DOPEs turned up in force. We are just weeks away from a final approval by the OPSB–but then Duke asked the state to push the pause button. Duke says they have “potential concerns” about building the pipeline on a property close to a Superfund site in Reading. So now the project is on hold, which makes the DOPEs happy…
Continue reading

Chester County, PA Town Floats Illegal Pipeline Ordinance

Uwchlan Township in Chester County (near Philadelphia) has put itself on a path to get sued. The town is in the process of proposing and adopting new zoning ordinances that govern how pipelines can get built within town boundaries. The problem, of course, is that they don’t have that right. Federal pipeline projects are governed by federal law and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. State pipeline projects are governed by the state’s Public Utility Commission. Local yahoos can’t just take it on themselves to overturn federal and state law. Sorry boys and girls, it doesn’t work that way. You’ll need to suppress your inner anarchist. Some of the things the town wants sounds pretty tame: install secure fencing at the site, have an evacuation plan ready. But some things are certain litigation waiting to happen: pipeline operators must compensate the town for “any loss of tax revenue that results from a decline in real estate values” caused by construction the pipeline. And how, prey tell, will the town calculate that? Home values go up and down with the wind–year in and year out. Many factors beyond a pipeline affect property values. This is real hubris on the part of Uwchlan…
Continue reading

Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, Aug 28, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Natgas hits political wall in NY as industry fights losing battle; lying NRDC gang targets natgas plant pipeline in NY; frack this, Andrew Cuomo; MSC calls for FERC to OK PennEast Pipeline; WV newspaper supports local natgas power plant project; Cheniere’s Corpus Christi LNG site damaged (a little) in Hurricane Harvey; Cheniere shuts down Train 3 in Sabine Pass for maintenance; 22% of US Gulf oil output offline due to Harvey; LNG vs Russian gas in Europe; and more!
Continue reading