Corrupt NY DEC Denies Water Permit for 7.8 Mile Power Plant Pipeline

Environmental radicalism has now fully metastasized at the New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The organization is nothing more than a political tool of the environmental far-left (and corrupt Gov. Cuomo), as evidenced in the DEC’s latest outrageous decision to deny federal water crossing permits to a 7.8 mile pipeline to feed an electric power generating plant in Orange County, NY–a plant currently under construction. The reason for the rejection? NOT because of any so-called harms to the environment due to crossing streams–the reason for the permits. No. But because, says the DEC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which evaluated the power plant project, didn’t take into consideration the plant’s potential contribution to mythical man-made global warming. In other words, the DEC just admitted they have denied a WATER permit based on other (political) criteria–not the criteria on which they were legally bound to decide. We predict the DEC will get crushed when this is all over and done. But the problem is, it will take years to litigate. Meanwhile, the Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) Valley Energy Center will complete its construction and go online in early 2018–powered by much-dirtier fuel oil instead of clean-burning natural gas. Congratulations to all of the antis, and the DEC, who oppose the power plant project. You’ll now have even MORE so-called global warming (and air pollution in the region) because of your lunacy…
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Atlantic Sunrise Pipe Gets Water Permits from Army Corps, PA DEP

The red lines show the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline expansion. The light blue lines are the existing Transco system.

Great news to report! Both the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) and the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) have now issued federal Clean Water Act stream crossing permits for the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline–a $3 billion, 198-mile pipeline project running through 10 Pennsylvania counties to connect Marcellus Shale natural gas from northeastern PA with the Williams’ Transco pipeline in southern Lancaster County. In addition, portions of the project that don’t include laying new pipeline (the “brownfield” part of the project) running from Lancaster County, PA all the way to Choctaw County, Alabama go online today–reversing the mighty Transco and increasing its flow rate by 400 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d). One permit remains to be issued–an air permit–by the PA DEP. Williams expects to begin construction on the new pipeline (“greenfield” part) later this month…
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Big Portion of Rover Pipeline Now Up & Running – Thru Most of Ohio

Click for larger version of map

On August 18th, Energy Transfer sent a request to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to begin flowing gas through a large portion of the Rover Pipeline project–called Phase 1A of the project–by August 31st (see Rover Pipe Ready to Flow! Seeks FERC Permission for Aug 31 Start). We’re happy to report the gas is now flowing through the mighty Rover, from Cadiz, OH, to Defiance, OH, which is across most of the state. This is a major milestone and victory. According to Natural Gas Intelligence (see this story), analysts estimate Phase 1A will flow up to 211 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of natural gas. That’s 211 MMcf/d of Utica/Marcellus gas finding its way to new markets, which will no doubt have an impact on the price drillers get for their gas. When Phase 1B comes online later this year, that number zooms up to 1.35 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d). Eventually, when the full 713-mile project is online in 2018, some 3.25 Bcf/d will flow through it. Here’s the great news announcement that the first leg of this vital project is now flowing our gas through it…
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M-U’s Biggest Drillers Increase NGL Production for Extra Money

When a driller sinks a hole in the ground looking for one hydrocarbon–like natural gas–other hydrocarbons also come out of the ground. Sometimes its oil. Sometimes condensate. Sometimes natural gas liquids (NGLs), including ethane, propane, butane, pentane, etc. In northeast and central Pennsylvania where the Marcellus Shale is prolific, most of what comes out of the ground is just methane–or natural gas. However, in the southwestern portion of PA, and in the northern panhandle of WV and on into eastern OH, it’s a different story. They are considered “wet gas” areas because (depending on the county) the wells are prolific NGL producers. Most NGLs, like propane, fetch much higher prices than plain old methane. Typically ethane is the NGL that mostly comes out of the ground, but for many drillers ethane can’t (yet) be sold, so it’s considered a “waste” product, mixed into the methane stream to get rid of it. But that’s changing. There are now pipelines to carry ethane to facilities in both Philadelphia and to a cracker plant in Canada. There’s even a pipeline for ethane (and other NGLs) that goes all the way to the Gulf Coast (ATEX, Appalachia to Texas). Some of the largest Marcellus/Utica drillers now have markets for their NGLs, so they are ramping up production and selling more NGLs. In fact, six of the eight largest M-U drillers increased their NGL production in the second quarter of 2017 compared to 2Q16. Which six increased, and which two decreased NGL production last quarter?…
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Ohio Congressman “Extremely Optimistic” PTT Will Build Cracker

We’re always on the lookout for news about a final investment decision by PTT Global Chemical to build a $5 billion ethane cracker in Belmont County, OH. Recently PTT spent $13.8 million to buy 168 acres at the proposed cracker plant site (see PTT Global Buys Land for Belmont, OH Ethane Cracker Plant). The company then optioned more land surrounding the site they just purchased (see PTT Global Buying Land Next to Proposed Ohio Cracker Site). Those are VERY positive signs in our book. Here’s another positive sign. OH Congressman Bill Johnson, whose district includes the location for the proposed PTT cracker plant, recently told members of the Ohio Valley Oil and Gas Association that he is “extremely optimistic” that the project will get built. On what does Congressman Johnson base his optimism?…
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Crestwood’s Orange County, NY Rail NGL Terminal Opens Sept 6

Crestwood concept drawing for rail terminal in Orange County, NY – click for larger version

In February MDN told you we had made a discovery in reading through Crestwood Equity Partners (formerly known as Crestwood Midstream) quarterly update: the company is “developing a greenfield rail-to-truck NGL terminal in Montgomery, NY that will increase propane supply reliability across the Northeast markets” (see Crestwood Building Rail-to-Truck NGL Terminal in Orange County, NY). The terminal will come from “multiple producers in the Marcellus and Utica regions.” At that time, Crestwood was in the process of building the terminal, which will handle propane, in Orange County, NY–not far from New York City. Given NY’s allergy to any project related to fossil fuels, we found the news quite incredible. Something even more incredible: the terminal is done and the grand opening will happen next Wednesday, Sept. 6th…
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PA DEP Reports: Air Emissions from Shale Industry Improved in 2015

The Pennsylvania State Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) keeps track of emissions from various sources–including the shale industry. When drillers drill and pipeline companies pipe, the equipment used leaks some nasty stuff into the air. Frankly it’s no different for any industrial activity or business. Even homes. We all emit stuff into the air. The question is, how much do we emit and does it rise to the level of being harmful? Yesterday the DEP released air emissions numbers for the shale industry for 2015–the most recent year in which they have completed data. What does it show? According to DEP Secretary Pat McDonnell, it presents a “mixed picture.” Some of the nastiest pollutants, like nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SOx) and particulate matter (PM2.5), decreased from 2014 levels. Some things like methane (natural gas, considered a “pollutant” if it escapes into the atmosphere where it’s said to contribute to mythical global warming) are increasing. Because methane is increasing, McDonnell says more needs to be done to stem the leaking. On balance, this report looks pretty good to us–pollution from the gas industry (the things that really matter like NOx, SOx and PM2.5, are decreasing. A reason to celebrate the good work being done by the industry…
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PA DEP Plans Redo of Chapter 78 Conventional Well Regs in 2018

It looks like Pennsylvania’s conventional (non-shale) oil and gas drillers will get a reprieve from onerous new drilling rules–at least until next year. PA Gov. Tom Wolf has been obstinate in demanding onerous new drilling rules for the conventional, as well as unconventional (shale) drilling industry since he took office. Reworked drilling rules for both conventional and shale drillers were done and ready to go under previous Gov. Tom Corbett. Then Corbett lost to Wolf, and Wolf demanded changes to the common sense rules everyone had already agreed to (see New Draft Drilling Regulations in PA: Wastewater Impoundments Out). Wolf’s changes for conventional drillers threatened to run PA’s traditional, small conventional drillers out of business by applying the same regulations to them that will apply to shale drillers. The Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association (PIOGA) represents many of those small conventional drillers and vigorously fought back (see PIOGA Turns Up the Heat on Wolf/Quigley Over TAB/Chapter 78 and PA Board Adopts New Drilling Regs, PIOGA Blasts DEP “Deceptive”). In the end, Wolf’s own Democrat Party legislators in the House and Senate abandoned him and the writing was on the wall: The entire package of drilling rules, for both conventional (Chapter 78) and shale (Chapter 78a) was headed for defeat. The legislature was about to repeal both sets of newly-minted DEP rules–so in 2016 Wolf pivoted and decided to accept half a loaf–passage of the shale rules, Chapter 78a (see Wolf Really Didn’t Wise Up, He Just Took Half a Loaf re Drilling Regs). Since that time, we’ve not heard much about Chapter 78, which applies to conventional drillers. In the August 19 Pennsylvania Bulletin, the DEP published a short notice to say the agency will now wait until late 2018 before attempting changes to Chapter 78 for conventional drillers…
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Did Shell Pull a Fast One on Big Green Groups re Air Permit?

Earlier this week MDN reported that Shell had settled an action brought by Big Green groups against an air permit issued for their now under construction ethane cracker plant in Beaver County, PA (see Shell Cuts Deal with Big Green Groups re Cracker Plant Air Permit). In 2015, two Big Green groups–the Philadelphia-based Clean Air Council and the Washington, DC-based Environmental Integrity Project (both disgusting litigation factories) filed a complaint against Shell to block the air quality permit needed to build the $6 billion ethane cracker in Monaca (see Big Green Groups File to Block Shell Cracker Air Quality Permit). The filing came after the state Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) approved the air permit for the facility. The two Big Green groups filed an appeal with the state Environmental Hearing Board, a special court set up to hear appeals of DEP decisions. The groups believe the DEP “should have required more stringent monitoring requirements for fugitive air emissions from Shell.” Specifically the groups wanted fence line monitoring. So Shell “caved” and agreed. But in reading an account of the agreement, it dawned on us, reading between the lines, that perhaps this is what Shell planned all along! That is, Shell already planned to do fence line monitoring. The settlement Shell signed earlier this week ensures the Big Green groups can’t bring any further actions with regard to the air permit. We don’t know for sure, but it seems to us like maybe Shell was playing a long game of chess, and knew this kind of action would come, and held back the fenceline monitoring piece until the right time to play it–trading the fence line monitoring pawn for inoculation against future Big Green litigation. Smart…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Sep 1, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: 12 permits issued in OH Utica; OH pipelines pump up Wooster Airgas; landowners advised to document (with pics) pipeline impacts; natgas plant vital for Rhode Island; o&g industry fuels…Florida?!…with jobs and revenue; after Harvey, attention turns to Houston petchem infrastructure; oil demand is growing nearly everywhere worldwide; and more!
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