PA Issues Final Permit for Atlantic Sunrise, Construction Sept 20

Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline is primed and ready to begin construction after receiving its very last required permit from Pennsylvania–an Air Quality Plan Approval for air emissions related to construction activities in Lancaster County. The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued the Air Quality permit last Friday. You may recall Atlantic Sunrise, 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, received water crossing permits from the DEP and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers a few weeks ago (see Atlantic Sunrise Pipe Gets Water Permits from Army Corps, PA DEP). In August the DEP held a public hearing in Lancaster to accept public comment on the air permit. A small group of anti-pipeline protesters acted like petulant 5-year olds and walked out of the hearing (see Big Green Groups Stage Walkout at PA DEP Atlantic Sunrise Hearing). No matter. Their antics didn’t affect the DEP. According to Williams, the builder of the pipeline, they now await an order from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to begin construction. They expect to receive that order any day now. They hope (and expect) to begin construction next Wednesday, Sept. 20th…
Continue reading

DRBC Votes Tomorrow on Permanent Frack Ban Resolution

Turns out the rumors were true. The Delaware River Basin Commission has now been totally corrupted by Big Green groups and plans to vote tomorrow, Sept. 13, on a resolution that begins the process of implementing a permanent ban on fracking in the Delaware River Basin. This is not the end, but the beginning of the end, of any hope for landowners in Wayne and Pike counties in PA. Their property rights will (like those of us who live in New York) be stripped away. Except in Wayne and Pike, it will be a permanent stripping away. At least in NY we have the hope of one day ejecting Lord Cuomo from office and reversing the ongoing moratorium. However, even though this should be a total win for radicals like THE Delaware Riverkeeper (aka Maya van Rossum), the radicals are STILL not happy! Can you believe it?! Part of the proposed resolution and rulemaking to follow will consider allowing frack wastewater disposal within the DRBC’s fiefdom. That just can’t stand according to Maya and her rad pals. Here’s the DRBC announcement, news coverage of it (with quotes from radical groups), along with a copy of the proposed resolution that will be voted on tomorrow…
Continue reading

Chesapeake Energy to Test Utica Shale in NE PA’s Bradford County

Chesapeake Energy CEO Doug Lawler says the company plans to drill a test Utica Shale well in its core Marcellus acreage in Bradford County, PA sometime early next year. Which is really big news. Bradford is in the northeastern corner of the state, next door to Susquehanna County (east of Bradford). Susquehanna and Bradford have been heavily drilled by Chesapeake–at least in the Marcellus. Both counties sit in the “dry gas” (methane only) zone of the play, with no NGL or oil production, according to MDN’s forthcoming Marcellus and Utica Shale Almanac (stay tuned for more details about the Almanac). There have been very few, if any, shale wells drilled into the Utica in either Bradford or Susquehanna. However, there have been a few Utica wells drilled in Tioga County, which shares a border with and sits west of Bradford. And beyond Tioga (in the northerntier) sits Potter County, where there are more Utica wells. So Chessy wants to see if the Utica in Bradford may be productive. Lord knows the company has enough locations. According to the forthcoming Almanac, Chesapeake had 473 actively producing shale wells in Bradford in 2016. Now if we could only get Chesapeake to stop screwing landowners out of royalties…
Continue reading

XNG Virtual Pipe Delivering 50 MMcf/d of PA NatGas to NY Pipeline

Iroquois Gas Transmission is not waiting for the Constitution Pipeline to get built–they’ve found a way around it. At least for some of the supply they hopped to get from the Constitution. Iroquois is a 416-mile interstate natural gas pipeline extending from the U.S.-Canadian border at Waddington, NY, through New York State and western Connecticut to a terminus in Commack, NY (Long Island), and from Huntington (on Long Island) to the Bronx, NY. It is an important pipeline in the Empire State. Iroquois was in line to receive some of the 650 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of natural gas the Constitution would flow from northeast PA to Schoharie County, NY, where the Constitution would connect to both the Iroquois and Tennessee Gas Pipeline. We’re not sure how much of the 650 MMcf/d Iroquois was supposed to get, but right now and for the foreseeable future, they’re getting nothing, thanks to a corrupt governor who has corrupted New York’s environmental agency which has denied the Constitution a necessary permit to build. Iroquois has found a way to replace at least some of that volume–by trucking it in. That is, a “virtual pipeline” which is now feeding the Iroquois, and in-the-ground pipeline. Usually it’s the other way around! Iroquois is getting up to 50 MMcf/d from Xpress Natural Gas (XNG), which is trucking the gas from a facility in northeastern PA (Susquehanna County). Here’s a story you’ll read first (perhaps only) on MDN–of how a virtual pipeline is now feeding an interstate pipeline in New York State with fracked gas from Pennsylvania…
Continue reading

Penn Hills, PA Grudgingly Votes 5-0 to Allow H&H Seismic Testing

What a difference two months–and the very real threat of a lawsuit–can make. At the end of July Penn Hills (in Allegheny County, near Pittsburgh) voted to ban seismic testing in their community as a symbolic action “meant to send a message to companies that the municipality is against oil and gas activities on Penn Hills property.” Driller Huntley & Huntley has hired Texas-based Geokinetics to conduct seismic testing in the region and had wanted to conduct testing on 37 municipal-owned properties in Penn Hills, about 390 acres total. But Penn Hills resisted. So H&H’s attorneys at Steptoe & Johnson sent a “we’ll sue your rear-ends” letter and that got the attention of the symbolizers. Last night another vote was taken. This time it was 5 to 0 in favor of allowing seismic testing after all. The mayor (grumbling) said the municipality did it’s best to resist…
Continue reading

PA House Ctte Votes to Rename “Impact Fee” to “Severance Tax”

The Pennsylvania House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee amended a bill yesterday that will rename PA’s impact fee to a “severance tax,” a move which really ticked off the high taxers in the legislature, and anti-drillers (most of them one and the same). The PA House came back into session yesterday and 25 House members (most of them Democrats) made a move to get a vote on a bill with a 3.5% severance tax. The Republican majority on the committee flipped things around and replaced that measure with a vote to rename the impact fee–as a way of illustrating that the industry IS ALREADY TAXED, JUST LIKE A SEVERANCE TAX, even if you don’t call it one. So, let’s just call it one! Brilliant! Of course there are differences between a severance tax and an impact fee–actually the fee is a better revenue generator than a severance tax. However, the point remains: the industry is already paying a high tax, and to slap another on top of it is suicide. Republicans on the committee got their point across…
Continue reading

Compression Training Schools in the Marcellus/Utica Region

Looking for a good job in the Marcellus/Utica industry? You may want to consider a job working at a compressor station. You know, those big facilities that sit every 30-40 miles along pipelines to keep the gas flowing through them? According to an article in COMPRESSORtech2 magazine (yes, there’s a magazine devoted to it!), “Indications are that the gas industry is recovering from the latest slump and can expect slow, steady growth in the next 10 years.” There are several college-level programs in the Marcellus/Utica region that train workers for compressor stations. We have the list below, just in case you’re looking for a rewarding career, or career change…
Continue reading

Jefferson County, WV Hopes Hinge on Gas Pipe Under Potomac River

Jefferson County, WV has been working for the last 30 years to get natural gas piped into the community. Jefferson is on the cusp of seeing that long-time dream turn into reality–if anti fossil-fuelers in Maryland don’t screw it all up. In April, MDN brought you the news that Columbia Pipeline (now owned by TransCanada) has filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to build a 3.5 mile, 8-inch pipeline that will carry natural gas from Pennsylvania to connect the Mountaineer Gas system in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia with the Columbia Gas Pipeline in Pennsylvania (see New 3.5 Mile Pipeline Project to Drill Under the Potomac River). The purpose of the Eastern Panhandle Expansion project is to deliver natural gas via local distribution channels (local utility Mountaineer Gas) to a new industrial facility in Berkeley County, WV, scheduled to open this fall, and to provide gas to other local businesses and residents in the Tri-State area. Most of the proposed pipeline crosses through a tiny sliver of Washington County, Maryland. The main “issue” with the project is that the pipeline will be drilled underneath the Potomac River, which serves as the border between WV and MD. That has radical anti-fossil fuelers in an uproar (see Mountaineer Pipeline Under Potomac Latest Focus of Anti Movement). Here’s a look at the faces of those whose lives will be changed for the good by a short, 3.5 mile pipeline under the Potomac, IF…
Continue reading

Manhattan Institute Report: Why America Needs More Pipelines

The New York-based Manhattan Institute, a non-profit think tank with a mission “to develop and disseminate new ideas that foster greater economic choice and individual responsibility” recently released a new report titled, “The Energy Bottleneck: Why America Needs More Pipelines” (full copy embedded below). The 16-page report says that while America is enjoying an energy renaissance thanks to fracking, there is a growing energy bottleneck that is forcing oil and gas companies to turn increasingly to more “accident-prone and more expensive shipping alternatives, such as trucks, railroads, and tankers.” The report says to maximize the benefits of America’s energy renaissance, the Trump administration, Congress, and federal and state regulators should “prioritize expanding and upgrading the country’s inadequate pipeline infrastructure.” We agree! Here’s the latest from the MI calling for more pipelines…
Continue reading

Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Tue, Sep 12, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: WVU president says WV should be proud of Marcellus/Utica; “massive” OH anti-fracking rallies draw 47 people; WV Sen. Manchin sings the praises of PA cracker plant; if going 100% renewable is so great, why is California doing it via backroom deals; US gas rig count rises as drillers return to shale; Harvey & Irma’s impact on energy operations; Cheniere floats $1B in notes; and more!
Continue reading