Sunoco Makes Marcellus Ethane-by-Truck Available at Marcus Hook, PA

The first truck enters the loading pad for the new ethane distribution rack at Sunoco Partners Marketing and Terminals’ Marcus Hook Industrial Complex in Marcus Hook, Pa., on Sept. 21. The facility’s 300,000 barrel chilled ethane tank is in the background. (Photo Credit: Energy Transfer Partners, L.P.)

In March 2016 an Ineos tanker ship carrying 173,000 barrels of Marcellus ethane set sail from the Marcus Hook terminal near Philadelphia, bound for Norway (see Bon Voyage! First Ethane Export Ship Leaves Marcus Hook in Philly). Since that time, regular shipments of Marcellus ethane have traveled from Marcus Hook to various European destinations. Yesterday Sunoco Partners, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners and the operator of the Marcus Hook refinery, announced they have opened a new ethane distribution facility inside the Marcus Hook refinery complex. It is a truck loading facility–the first such facility in the U.S. to load liquid ethane onto tanker trucks for local delivery. Wait, what? You thought ethane was only used in gigantic cracker plants, used as the raw material to make ethylene (i.e. plastics)? That is the primary use of ethane–but not the only use. Ethane can also be used as a refrigerant in cryogenic refrigeration systems. And there are other uses for small quantities of ethane, including the manufacturing of electronics. Sunoco says local trucked ethane deliveries will be used for “various ethane uses, from energy research and development to cooling and other industrial applications.” Sunoco already has its first customer–Gas Innovations–a reseller that trucks NGLs like ethane and propane throughout the U.S. (and ships it around the world). Gas Innovations is excited that their “cryogenic ethane business” is now supplied domestically via Marcus Hook. Previously, Gas Innovations had to import liquefied ethane. Marcus Hook’s truck facility opens up a whole new market for smaller users of Marcellus/Utica ethane throughout the U.S….
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Transco’s New York Bay Expansion Goes Live, Flows More Gas to NYC

Williams announced yesterday that its New York Bay Expansion pipeline project to flow an extra 115 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of natural gas to New York City is now online and working. In July 2015, Williams filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the $130 million project, which will flow Marcellus gas to 500,000 additional New York City residents by the 2017/2018 heating season (see Williams Announces New Upgrades to Transco Pipeline into NYC). In July 2016, FERC approved the project and construction began (see FERC Approves Transco Expansion Projects in NYC & Virginia). The project expanded capacity on the Transco pipeline by installing new compressor station equipment, replacing a quarter mile of pipeline (in New Jersey), and upgrading meter and regulator stations at several locations in NJ, PA and NY. All the work was done in existing rights-of-way and at existing facilities, with no new building or greenfield construction necessary. That didn’t stop the crazies from protesting, which they did. The good news is that the project is now completed and more yummy, fracked Marcellus gas is now flowing to customers in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island…
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NC DEQ Rejects Plan for Atlantic Coast Pipeline – What’s Next?

North Carolina has become the first state to complete an environmental evaluation for Dominion’s proposed $5 billion, 594-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP)–a natural gas pipeline that will stretch from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina. ACP is slated to run through eight NC counties. After completing it’s evaluation, the NC Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued a rejection letter (copy below) for the project. The reason? The DEQ says the erosion and sediment control plan for the project is not up to scratch. Dominion can now do two things: Revise the erosion and sediment control plan and resubmit it, or contest the DEQ’s rejection of the existing plan. Although antis are rejoicing at the news, there really isn’t much here in the way of news. This is not uncommon in pipeline reviews. A government agency (federal or state) will push back on some aspect of the plan, the project builder will modify the plan, and the modified plan will pass muster and life goes on. That’s the way it works. The DEQ is (presumably) doing it’s job and not simply looking for an excuse to reject the project. We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt–this time. Although we’ve not read that Dominion has responded to the rejection, another partner in the project, Duke Energy, has responded–saying they will provide the necessary information the DEQ says is missing in the original plan…
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Small Group of Radicals Blocks Atlantic Sunrise Site in Lancaster County

Environmental radicals from a group called Lancaster Against Pipelines made good on their promise to disrupt work on Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project–a $3 billion, 198-mile natural gas 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. Lancaster Against Pipelines is headed up by Mark Clatterbuck (who participated in the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline) and his wife Malinda. The clattering Clatterbucks got 20-35 wackos from Lancaster County to load themselves into 16-18 vehicles (numbers change depending on the news source), which they then drove onto an access road used by Williams, where workers are beginning to clear land. The wackos parked themselves right in the middle of the road and stood in front of machinery, preventing Williams personnel from accessing the site. The only problem, for the wackos, is that it was raining so hard (leftovers from Hurricane Nate moving through), that Williams personnel weren’t working at the site anyway! However, it’s the principle of the thing. So the police were called. The so-called protesters were asked to move (or be arrested)–so they moved. End of story. Nobody hauled away in handcuffs, no striking images of people laying down refusing to move (too wet for that). Just a bunch of wackos with nothing better to do for a few hours, along with a few reporters…
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American Energy Partners Invests in “Tier I” Marcellus Assets

This story is a tangled web we’re having trouble unraveling. We’re hoping some astute MDN readers can shed some light for us. A few days ago we noticed a press release from American Energy Partners, Inc., with a subsidiary company called Gilbert Oil & Gas, claiming to have invested in some “Tier I” Marcellus and Utica Shale gas and oil wells, as well as undeveloped acreage in the region. Wait right there. Isn’t American Energy Partners (AEP) the company founded by Aubrey McClendon after he was tossed out of Chesapeake Energy? AEP announced last year, following the death of McClendon, they were closing the doors (see McClendon’s American Energy Partners Shutting Down This Summer). Did someone buy the name or the remains of the company and reopen it? We started teasing on those threads and here’s what we’ve been able to find…
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OH Supreme Court Blocks Youngstown Frack Ban Ballot Measure

In July MDN told you that puppets of the PA-based Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) have once again gotten enough signatures to put a so-called Community Bill of Rights (i.e. frack ban) ballot measure on the ballot this November in Youngstown, Ohio for a 7th time (see Youngstown Frack Ban Vote on November Ballot – for 7th Time). The same people have tried six times before–and the ballot measure failed every single time. However, as we pointed out, this time is different. In addition to the usual no fracking, no pipelines pablum, this 7th petition has language that makes it legal to break the law. If the ballot measure were to pass, and if an anti got it into her head to sit in front of a bulldozer that was about to clear ground for a wellpad, or dig a trench for a pipeline, the police would not be able to arrest and remove the anti. It would be within her rights to sit there and block legal, legitimate activity–all in the name of saving the planet. It would, in essence, legalize mob rule. In September the Mahoning County Board of Elections voted to NOT allow measure on the ballot in November (see Mahoning County Bans Frack Ban Measure from Nov Ballot in Youngstown). Using the deep pockets of the CELDF, antis appealed the rejection to the Ohio Supreme Court. It didn’t take the Supremes long. They ruled last Friday to uphold the Mahoning County Board of Elections decision to not allow the measure on the November ballot. However, it was a close vote, 4-3, and likely means more litigation will follow in the future…
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Another Look at WV’s Co-tenancy & Joint Development Proposals

When MDN editor Jim Willis attended the Shale Insight conference in Pittsburgh two weeks ago, one of the recurring themes he heard from West Virginia officials is that the state urgently needs to pass “mineral efficiency” laws. What they meant by mineral efficiency is another name for co-tenancy and joint development. We’ve written a fair bit about the topic–what we call “forced pooling lite.” In August the West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association (WVONGA) announced its intention to push, once again, for co-tenancy and joint development (see WVONGA Makes Plans to Push Forced Pooling Lite in 2018). We spotted an editorial from the co-founder of the West Virginia Surface Owners Rights Organization on the topic co-tenancy and joint development. He has a unique perspective. He calls co-tenancy “majority rules” and joint development “invisible ink.” What does he mean? And what would these two measures do if adopted? And is there really an urgent need for them? Let’s tackle this issue once again…
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Is Marcellus/Utica Gas Getting Exported from Cheniere’s Sabine Pass?

One of the reasons we periodically report, and keep a close eye on, Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass LNG export facility in southern Louisiana is our suspicion that at least some Marcellus/Utica gas makes its way to that facility and gets exported to other countries. We’ve never been able to prove our suspicion, but we got a lot closer to proving last February when Williams confirmed that the mighty Transco Pipeline now has a direct connection to Sabine Pass (see Williams Confirms Transco Now Ships Gas Directly to Cheniere LNG). Our friends at RBN Energy have done a deep dive into this topic. Using flow data and their own knowledge of pipelines and reports about new projects coming online, RBN has determined that “there are early indications that recent pipeline takeaway and reversal projects from the producing region and the resulting connectivity are indirectly bridging the divide.” Meaning that by using indirect routes (gas passed from one pipeline to another to another), indeed some of our gas is making its way to the Sabine Pass export facility…
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Important Marcellus/Utica Primer Available to Download – for FREE

MDN editor Jim Willis has once again partnered with NGI (Natural Gas Intelligence) to bring you a great (and FREE) opportunity to learn more about everyone’s favorite twin shale plays: The Marcellus and Utica Shales. NGI produces a mountain of data and information as part of their research and development efforts, publishing it in a Shale Plays Factbook, which costs $179. However, because of MDN’s special partnership with NGI, they have agreed to combine the Marcellus/Utica sections from the Factbook into a special primer, available free for MDN readers only. Here’s what’s in the Marcellus/Utica Shale Primer, a few sample pages, and how you can get a copy instantly
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Tue, Oct 10, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Pipeline hit in Pike County, PA, forces evacuation; US shale casts a long shadow over petchem; energy markets face basis volatility; 6 weeks left until winter natgas season kicks in; the innovation that will drive the next oil supercycle; why energy-rich Australia pays out the nose for power; onshore fracking begins in UK “within weeks”; and more!
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