Rover Pipeline Triples Volume of Gas Flowing, Prices Go Up

Phase 1A of the Rover Pipeline has been online for less than a week (see Big Portion of Rover Pipeline Now Up & Running – Thru Most of Ohio). As we reported on Sept. 1st, Energy Transfer planned to initially flow around 211 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of Utica/Marcellus natural gas. However, according to flow data from Genscape (as reported by Natural Gas Intelligence), within a few days the pipeline ramped up and began flowing over 600 MMcf/d–triple the initial volume. The result? The commodity price at the Dominion South trading point popped. Last Friday natural gas at Dominion South was selling for an average of $1.05 per million BTUs (MMBtu). On Tuesday, the price averaged $1.38/MMBtu–a 31% increase. Behold the power of a single, partially completed pipeline!…
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US Methanol Breaks Ground on First Plant in West Virginia

US Methanol broke ground yesterday in Institute (Kanawha County), WV for its very first methanol production plant. In August 2016 MDN was the first to share the news that US Methanol is building at least two, rumored up to five, methanol plants in the Mountain State (see Rumor: US Methanol Building 5 Methanol Plants in WV). MDN shared a rumor (based on a reliable source) that until we disclosed it, was not public knowledge: The first methanol plant US Methanol plans to build will be in Institute, WV, and the second in Belle, WV–both in the Charleston region. Methanol plants convert natural gas into methanol, used as a chemical feedstock (or raw material) to create other things, like gasoline, antifreeze, plastic bottles–even LED and LCD screens. A number of dignitaries attended the groundbreaking in Institute, including colorful WV Governor Jim Justice. A really cool factoid: the plant will be constructed from a deconstructed methanol plant from Brazil. Usually it’s the other way around, plants get shipped from the U.S. to other countries. This time a plant is coming “home” to the U.S. The new plant, called Liberty One, will open in mid-2018–supplied with plenty of cheap and abundant Marcellus/Utica shale gas…
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Antero Looks to Expand Midstream Biz with $315M Unit Sale

Antero Resources is back in the market looking to raise more money for their Antero Midstream subsidiary. It was only April that Antero floated an initial public offering (IPO) for Antero Midstream with hopes of raising $930 million (see Antero Midstream Launches IPO – Hopes to Raise $930M). In early May, when the IPO was complete, the company said it had only raised $875 million–falling $55 million short of the mark (see the Reuters story: Antero Midstream GP raises $875 million in U.S. IPO). A little more than three months later and the company is back, floating 10 million units (think shares of stock) at a price of $31.45, hoping to raise $315 million. The announcement does not say what Antero plans to use for money for–but they do have a number of irons in the midstream fire. Lots of projects underway and planned. Our guess is that the money will be used to fund some of those initiatives…
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PA DEP Says 3 ME2 Spills Violate Agreement with Big Green

It looks like Big Green has succeeded in conflating a mole hill into a mountain in Pennsylvania. In early August, Sunoco Logistics struck a deal with with several Big Green groups to provide stricter regulation for Mariner East 2 Pipeline’s underground drilling (see Sunoco Strikes Deal with Devil, “Settles” with Anti Groups re ME2). Part of the deal says if Sunoco experiences two leaks of drilling mud at the same location, they must shut down drilling in that location and wait for the state Dept. of Environmental Protection to further review drilling plans before they can restart. On August 24th there was a 50-gallon drilling mud spill into the Susquehanna River in Dauphin County related to ME2. A quick reminder: drilling mud, or “bentonite,” is non-toxic–the same stuff found in toothpaste and kitty litter. The 50-gallon spill would be like spilling 50 one-gallon jugs (maybe 10 bags) of kitty litter into the enormous Susquehanna River–a non-event. However, the Philadelphia-based Clean Air Council cried foul over the spill (see Big Green Group Makes Big Deal Out of Tiny ME2 Mud Spill). And now the state Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) has agreed, saying that spill plus spills in two other locations violate Sunoco’s agreement with Big Green…
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Philly Antis Step Over the Line (Literally) at ME2 Pipeline Site

Acting like 5-year olds who have been told not to do something, but defiantly do it anyway, several homeowners in a housing development in Delaware County who were specifically instructed not to interfere with clearing work for the Mariner East 2 Pipeline in a Philadelphia suburb. The homeowners intentionally crossed a clearly-marked line into the construction zone, putting themselves at risk. The homeowners, who object to the pipeline, wanted to “push the buttons” of the workers at the construction site. The workers promptly called the cops and of course, work could not commence while the police interviewed everyone to see what’s what. In the end, no arrests were made. The homeowners were on jointly-owned housing development property. Their lawyer told them they could enter the work area as long as they didn’t stop the work being done. One of the babies homeowners admitted she wanted to chain herself to a tree, but she restrained herself. So big of her…
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Locals and Pipeline Workers Break Bread in Hocking County, OH

Here’s a story you won’t read in mainstream news outlets–because it doesn’t fit the media’s anti-fossil fuel narrative that all pipelines are evil, and the people installing them are either misguided, or perhaps evil too. TransCanada’s Leach XPress pipeline project involves construction of approximately 160 miles of new “greenfield” natural gas pipeline and compression facilities in southeastern Ohio and West Virginia’s northern panhandle, flowing 1.5 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of gas all the way to Leach, Kentucky (hence the name). The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved Leach XPress and a companion project, Rayne XPress, in January of this year (see FERC Approves $1.8B Leach & Rayne XPress Pipeline Projects). Construction began in March. One of the locations where the pipeline is actively under construction is Hocking County, in southeast Ohio. A local resident reached out to the pipeline crew working in the area, inviting them to church. Two of the crew members took him up on his offer. After that, the crew foreman invited the entire church to a pizza party with the workers–and they came. Some of the church members brought along homemade soup to share with the workers–and new friendships were forged as they got to know each other over a share meal. Hispanic, African Americans, Caucasians–all together, all having a great time. No talk about the evils of pipelines. Adults behaving like adults. What a breath of fresh air! It all started by inviting the local crew to church…
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2nd Approval for Virtual Pipeline in Broome County Not Assured

As we reported last week, a Broome County, NY judge ruled yesterday that the Town of Fenton (Binghamton area) Planning Board did not take a hard enough look at environmental and traffic issues related to their approval of NG Advantage’s plan to construct a facility in the town to compress and load natural gas onto tractor trailers for delivery to regional customers who desperately need the gas–what is called a “virtual pipeline” (see Judge Rules Against Broome Virtual Pipe, NG Advantage to Try Again). The judge’s ruling delays the project for months at least. NG must now resubmit the project for approval by the Fenton Planning Board. Before doing that, NG must first conduct a full environmental impact study and an aquifer study. Even with environmental studies, don’t expect the locals, who appear to have very closed minds, to accept the outcome. That much was clear at a Fenton Planning Board meeting last night. Residents packed the small meeting room to voice their displeasure with the project. Until now the project has enjoyed overwhelming support by the Planning Board and Town of Fenton officials. However, that may be changing. Town of Fenton Supervisor Dave Hamlin said there is “no certainty” that NG’s new, second application will get approved by the Fenton Planning Board…
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FirstEnergy Knocks $100M Off Sale Price of 4 PA Gas Power Plants

FirstEnergy, based in Akron, OH, is one of the nation’s largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. FirstEnergy owns a variety of regulated and non-regulated power generation plants. Last November the company announced it wants to sell five power generating plants, four of them natural gas-fired plants in Pennsylvania, plus a hydroelectric plant in Virginia (see FirstEnergy Selling 4 NatGas-Fired Electric Plants in PA). The plants being sold are non-regulated–part of FirstEnergy’s strategy to become a 100% “regulated” utility in the next 12 months. Last December FirstEnergy announced they had found a buyer, LS Power Equity Partners, willing to pay $885 million (later revised to $925 million) for the whole package (see FirstEnergy Finds Buyer for 4 PA NatGas-Fired Power Plants). However, negotiating the finer points of the deal has been “a challenge” and now FirstEnergy says in order to complete the deal, they’re willing to lower the price to $825 million…
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DOE Electric Grid Report: Shale Killed Coal, Go Easy on Renewables

Two weeks ago the U.S. Dept. of Energy released a 187-page study called “Electricity Markets and Reliability” (full copy below). Often referred to as “the grid study,” it is the result of a directive in April by the then-new Secretary of DOE, Rick Perry, to develop a report including an assessment of the reliability and resilience of the electric grid and an overview of the evolution of electricity markets. Perry called it “long overdue.” Radical environmentalists predicted the study would take aim at so-called renewable sources of energy and promote more coal use. What did the study actually find? (1) The shale gas revolution had a bigger impact on the decline of coal than did the federal government propping up renewables. (2) The electric grid is in pretty good shape, even though it flows a lot more electricity than it did eight years ago. (3) Lawmakers should not be too eager to force the use of more solar and wind as sources of electricity–not if you want a reliable grid that doesn’t crash when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. Natural gas plays a big part in the report…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Thu, Sep 7, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Is William Penn Foundation planning a DRBC frack ban?; former White House press sec. Sean Spicer to speak at Shale Insight; WV economic growth happening thx to oil and gas; Tellurian buys Haynesville shale assets; how the US took a surgical knife to OPEC; 3-dimensional array fracking; state of global shale; and more!
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