Court Backs WVDEP Move to Cancel Permits for Mountain Valley Pipe

In March, the West Virginia Dept. of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) issued a federal water crossing permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP)–a $3.5 billion, 301-mile pipeline that will run from Wetzel County, WV to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsylvania County, VA (see WV DEP Grants Mountain Valley Pipeline Water Crossing Permit). In June, a group of profoundly radical “environmental” organizations (Sierra Club, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, Indian Creek Watershed Association, Appalachian Voices and Chesapeake Climate Action Network) filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit against the WVDEP for doing their job issuing the permit (see Radicals File Lawsuit Against WV DEP for Approving MV Pipeline). Because of the pressure of that lawsuit, the WVDEP caved and reversed their decision in September, rescinding (called “vacating”) the permit for MVP (see Trouble for Mountain Valley Pipe: WV DEP Withdraws Water Permit). The WVDEP said they will “re-evaluate the complete application to determine whether the state’s certification is in compliance with Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act.” On Tuesday, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld WVDEP’s decision and granted the agency’s motion to invalidate the previous certificate they granted the project. Which means the process begins all over again–a temporary victory for antis. It’s temporary because while all of this nonsense was going on, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the project–so it will get built…
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Court Considers if PA Towns Can Regulate ME2 Pipeline Location

In May six anti-pipeline residents living near where the Mariner East 2 pipeline will pass asked the Middletown (Delaware County, PA) town council to reject the path of the pipeline near their property because it would, supposedly, pass closer than town code allows. The town council told the residents they’re out of luck–the town will not pursue any action to block Mariner East 2. Period. The residents, amped-up, agitated and funded by Big Green groups filed a lawsuit against the pipeline, to force it to conform with Middletown’s ordinance (see 6 Middletown Antis Sue Sunoco LP to Stop Mariner East 2 Pipe). The lawsuit was filed in the the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas. The judge dismissed the case in June, so the antis, again funded by Big Green groups, appealed the case to the next higher court, Commonwealth Court. On Wednesday, an “en banc” panel of Commonwealth Court heard arguments in the case (“en banc” meaning all of the judges heard the case, indicating its high importance). One report of the session indicates the judges expressed skepticism that Sunoco Logstics Partners, the builder, does not have to follow local town ordinances because the pipeline is overseen by the the state and state regulations preempt local ordinances. Needless to say if the case goes against ME2/Sunoco, it will make it harder (but not impossible) to finish work on time…
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Clean Energy Breaks Ground on CNG Fueling Station in the Bronx

Andrew J. Littlefair, president and CEO of Clean Energy Fuels; Mark Riley, vice president, Clean Energy; Spiro Kattan, DSNY; and Steve Tufo, Baldor Food Transportation Manager, participate in the groundbreaking of Clean Energy’s Bronx, NY. CNG station.

Yesterday Clean Energy Fuels, the City of New York and various community leaders (i.e. politicians) held a ground-breaking ceremony to launch work on what will be the very first compressed natural gas (CNG) station in the Bronx. According to the Clean Energy press release: “The use of natural gas fuel, produced domestically in North America, reduces greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by up to 21 percent versus diesel and gasoline. Using natural gas is one of the ways New York City can meet its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent the next few decades.” The New York City Department of Transportation said it is “proud to be part of this unique groundbreaking, which will benefit the Hunts Point community and all of New York City.” So why does New York’s corrupt governor, Andrew Cuomo, continue to block pipelines that will bring greenhouse gas-reducing natural gas that benefits all communities to MDN’s beloved home state? Yesterday we told you about an upcoming hearing to discuss two natural gas-fired electric microgrids coming to Albany (see Public Hearing Next Wk on Albany, NY Fracked Gas-Fired Electric Plant). Now we read of this CNG fueling station coming in the Bronx. Where will all of the gas come from to feed these projects without new pipelines? Here’s the good news from Clean Energy about the Bronx CNG station…
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PA’s Deep Well Services Helped Drill World’s Longest Shale Well

In June MDN brought you the news that Eclipse Resources had drilled yet another world record-breaking shale well in the Ohio Utica (see Eclipse Breaks Record Again – New Longest Shale Well in World!). Eclipse drilled the Outlaw C 11H in Guernsey County, a Utica well that is an incredible 19,588 feet long horizontally (total measured depth of 27,739 feet). That’s 3.7 miles long–all nearly two miles deep underground. It is an engineering marvel. And it’s not the first record-breaking well they’ve drilled. Eclipse holds the previous two records for world’s longest horizontal wells, drilling the Purple Hayes, 18,500 feet long (see Eclipse Res. 1Q16: Drills Longest Shale Well Ever! “Purple Hayes”), and then the Great Scott 3H well, 19,300 feet long (see Great Scott! Eclipse Drills New Longest Lateral in World – in Utica). All three of Eclipse’s “longest ever” shale wells are located in Guernsey County. Eclipse didn’t drill those wells all by itself. The company had help. One of the key partners assisting in all three world record-breaking projects is Deep Well Services, a Pennsylvania-based “snubbing” company. We’ve written about DWS before (see our stories here). DWS has just issued a press release to talk about their “significant role” in Eclipse’s record-breaking Outlaw well…
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Locals Pumped About OH Cracker; WV Cracker Still Not Dead

Belmont County Port Authority Director Larry Merry says he “can’t think of a single reason” why PTT Global Chemical won’t build a promised $6 billion ethane cracker facility in Dilles Bottom. Mike Jacoby, VP of business development for the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth concurs, saying he is “optimistic” and sees “no problems” ahead for the PTT cracker. In addition to locals in Ohio pumped about the PTT cracker and the promised final investment decision by the end of this year, there is still hope for a cracker plant in West Virginia too. WV officials say Braskem is still expressing interest in a cracker project in the Parkersburg area. Here’s some of the chitter-chatter among pumped-up officials attending a forum last month in Wheeling, WV…
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Will New Pipes Coming Online Lift Marc/Utica Prices This Year?

With new pipelines coming online in the Marcellus/Utica, will the price of natural gas bought and sold at regional trading points, like Dominion South and TGP (Tennessee Gas Pipeline) Zone 4 go higher? It certainly makes sense that with more of our gas flowing out of the area, there will be less gas left in the area and therefore will fetch a higher price. In fact, just after Energy Transfer’s Rover Pipeline, now in partial service, began to flow, the price of gas at the Dominion South hub jumped 31% (see Rover Pipeline Triples Volume of Gas Flowing, Prices Go Up). However, the analysts at BTU Analytics are not convinced. BTU is running a complimentary webinar on Nov. 2 titled, “Northeast Pipes Have Arrived. Now What?” Ahead of that webinar they’ve posted a blog teasing some of their thinking. The bottom line from that post: “Will Rover or this year’s takeaway projects help uplift weak prices in the Northeast? We don’t think so.” Hmmmm. Looks like we’ll have to attend the webinar to find out all the reasons why they that so. In the meantime, BTU provides some helpful background in their blog…
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Alogonquin Defends AIM Pipe Project Against Radicals in DC Court

Last year a group of radical environmental groups including Riverkeeper Inc., Sierra Club and Food & Water Watch (Big Green groups) joined a federal appeal (i.e. sued) to stop Spectra Energy from building their Alogonquin Incremental Market (AIM) Project, a project to expand the capacity of the Algonquin Gas Transmission system to flow more Marcellus/Utica gas to markets in the northeast, including New England (see Radical Enviro Groups File Appeal to Stop AIM Pipeline in NY/CT). Most of the project is 20 miles of new pipeline in the Hudson Valley area of New York. In March 2016, New York’s spineless Gov. Andrew Cuomo asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to stop work on AIM near a nuclear power plant (see Gov. Cuomo Asks FERC to Halt Algonquin Pipeline Near Nuke Plant). Within a few days FERC said NO (see FERC Denies NY Request to Stop Work on Pipeline Near Nuke Plant). That didn’t make the anti-fossil fuel nutters happy at all. They thought they had a real winner by painting nightmare scenarios of the AIM pipeline blowing up and taking a nuclear plant with it. Their scare tactics didn’t work–so they fell back to the tried and true: gang up and ask a liberal judge to stop it. This week briefs were filed with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Algonquin argued yesterday in court that parties to the lawsuit, including the Mayor of Boston, don’t have standing to bring a challenge to FERC’s approval of the project…
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US DOJ Demands Payments from GE re Unsold Water Biz

In July, GE Oil & Gas completed its merger/buyout of oilfield services giant Baker Hughes (see Baker Hughes and GE Complete Merger, World’s 1st Fullstream Co.). As is typical in these kinds of megamergers, governmental agencies that review the deal make the deal contingent on certain requirements. In the case of GE/Baker Hughes, the U.S. Dept. of Justice demanded GE sell its Water & Process Technologies business. GE agreed, and lined up a buyer (Suez, a French waste and water group). However, the deal has not happened (yet), and because there is a delay in making it happen due to “various administrative challenges,” the DOJ is demanding GE make DAILY payments–to the DOJ–as an “incentive” to get the deal done. The amount of the payments is unspecified. Where will all that money go? We don’t know, but we can certainly imagine. What do swamp-dwellers do with free money?…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Oct 20, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Tractor-trailer carrying Atlantic Sunrise pipe equipment collides with minivan in Lancaster County; Dominion close to starting up Cove Point LNG plant; Ohio River communities unite to leverage shale; the U.S. shale play to watch in 2018 (not the M-U); why we want fracking in Illinois; natgas market set to boom; EPA chief Pruitt directive sends “sue and settle” racket into death rattle; and more!
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