Explosion at Columbia Pipeline Meter Station in NE OH Kills Worker

Stark County, OH

In a tragic accident, one worker was killed and another injured while working at a Columbia Gas Transmission pipeline metering station in Stark County, OH on Monday. Media reports say Wesley J. Johnson, 60, of Wooster, OH was standing near the pipe when the end cap came off the pipe and the pressure of the gas in the line exploded outward (not igniting), throwing Johnson backward into a fence. He died instantly from massive trauma to his chest. The pipe valve has been sent to a crime lab to determine what happened. Residents living in the area around the metering station were evacuated for 45 minutes, until the all-clear was given for them to return. Nearby residents reported hearing an explosion and said the sound of the gas coming out of the pipeline was loud–like a jet engine. It’s always a sad day when we have to report of a fatality in the industry…
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Range Resources VP Says M-U Heading for “Sweet Spot Exhaustion”

Platts held their Appalachian Oil and Gas Conference in Pittsburgh earlier this week. One of the more interesting comments at the event came from Alan Farquharson, senior vice president of Range Resources. Farquharson gave an interview to a Platts reporter and said natural gas production in the Marcellus/Utica can’t continue its rapid increase indefinitely. Farquharson said drillers are going to hit “sweet spot exhaustion,” by which he means they will soon run out of Tier 1 locations to drill, requiring they branch into Tier 2 and Tier 3. As they drill in those other locations, well production will decrease, and along with it regional output will decrease. Range was the very first driller to sink a Marcellus well, back in 2004, so they know a thing or two about the play. When Range talks, everyone listens. Here’s more of Farquharson’s provocative comments from earlier this week…
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Some Rover Gas Flows All the Way to Gulf Coast LNG Export Plant

Two weeks ago MDN brought you analysis from RBN Energy that hints at least some Marcellus/Utica gas molecules are flowing all the way to Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass LNG export facility (see Is Marcellus/Utica Gas Getting Exported from Cheniere’s Sabine Pass?). In part 2 of the series, the expert analysts at RBN make a compelling case that an increasing amount of Marcellus/Utica gas is going to the Sabine Pass facility via the newly-minted Rover Pipeline and the connection it has with TransCanada’s ANR pipeline. RBN connects the dots…
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PA House Passes Fiscal Code Bill with Bad Riders, but No Sev Tax

Yesterday MDN told you about two different environmental “riders” snuck into the Pennsylvania Fiscal Code bill that is part of the annual state budget (now four months late). The riders have nothing to do with the budget or raising revenue. It’s a sleazy political ploy to pass unpopular measures that wouldn’t get passed on a standalone vote. One of the riders changes the terms of existing leases by allowing drillers to reactivate old/expired leases, either by restarting production or by drilling a new well if the landowner doesn’t object within 90 days of notification (see PA Republican Senate Changes Lease Terms for Landowners). The other rider more or less enacts a permanent ban on drilling in southeast PA, in the South Newark Basin (see PA Republican Senate Extends SE PA Drilling Ban in Newark Basin). The bad news is that the House passed the Fiscal Code bill (109-75). The bill has now gone to PA Gov. Wolf for his signature. No word yet on whether the flaky Wolf will actually sign it. The good news is that a severance tax bill which recently had gained steam when it was reported out of committee (RINO Gene DiGirolamo’s House Bill (HB) 1401) did not make the cut. So far DiGirolamo’s bill has been loaded down with 350 amendments and there’s no end in sight for when it will receive voting attention, meaning (for now) it’s dead…
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Monroeville Seismic Testing Ordinance Challenged in Court

Monroeville, PA (Allegheny County, suburb of Pittsburgh) is hostile toward the shale industry. In September, Monroeville Council voted to enact a super-restrictive seismic testing ordinance (see Monroeville, PA Passes Restrictive Seismic Testing Ordinance). The ordinance was meant to hassle Huntley & Huntley (H&H), which had wanted to conduct seismic testing in two rural areas of the municipality. As an aside, H&H’s headquarters is in Monroeville. Maybe they should move it, taking their jobs and tax contributions with them? At any rate, the contractor doing the seismic work for H&H, Geokinetics, has taken Monroeville Council to court over their punitive seismic ordinance. In the complaint, Geokinetics says, “Monroeville’s intransigence is not motivated by any legitimate concerns for the health and safety of its citizens, but rather by its council’s concerns about November elections.” One of the Democrat councilors up for reelection, Linda Gaydos, replied, “It had nothing to do with my election and it certainly wasn’t for political gain.” However, Gaydos’ actions speak louder than her words. Gaydos and other anti-drilling Council members voted earlier this month to ban shale drilling in most places within the municipality (see Monroeville, PA Hostile to Shale, Bans Drilling in Most Places). We hope the residents of Monroeville enjoy paying more in taxes to fund lawsuits brought against the municipality because of the actions of “leaders” like Gaydos…
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PA Big Green Groups Attack DEP (Again) re Mariner East 2 Pipeline

In August Energy Transfer’s Sunoco Logisitics unit struck a deal with the devil–the devil being the Philadelphia-based Clean Air Council, THE Delaware Riverkeeper and Mountain Watershed Association–in a move to lift a ban on underground horizontal directional drilling (HDD) for the Mariner East 2 NGL pipeline project (see Sunoco Strikes Deal with Devil, “Settles” with Anti Groups re ME2). The three Big Green groups, which are well funded by colluding leftist organizations, filed an appeal with the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board to block all ME2 HDD work following several drilling mud leaks, one of them fouling a water aquifer in Chester County (see Sunoco LP’s Generous Deal to Chester Co. Residents with Water Issues). The Hearing Board judge agreed and stopped all HDD work, temporarily (see PA Enviro Judge Puts 2-Week Pause on ME2 Pipeline Drilling). Following the devil deal, HDD work resumed on ME2. But since that time a few more minor leaks have happened, including a 50-gallon spill the Big Green groups used as a publicity stunt, pressuring the Dept. of Environmental Protection to take action (see PA DEP Says 3 ME2 Spills Violate Agreement with Big Green). These nefarious groups are at it again. This week they went back to the PA Environmental Hearing Board (a special court set up to hear appeals of DEP decisions) asking the Hearing Board to “make” the DEP rough up Sunoco for supposedly violating the terms of the devil agreement. It’s nothing more than ongoing agitation and bullying by Big Green…
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Study: Coal-Generated Electricity 10-100x More Toxic than NatGas

Click for larger version

From time to time so-called experts will come out of the woodwork to proclaim that burning coal to produce electricity is better for the environment than burning natural gas. Cornell professors Robert Howarth and Anthony Ingraffea (now retired) attempted to make that case back in 2011 (see New Cornell University Study Says Shale Gas Extraction Worse for Global Warming Than Coal). Their research was roundly refuted (laughed at) by the U.S. Dept. of Energy, Carnegie Mellon University, and a study by a different group of Cornell professors (see New Cornell Study Says Coal is Not Cleaner than Natural Gas). A new study just published by researchers at the University of Michigan finds when you consider the lifetime “toxic emissions” from both coal and natural gas, there is no contest. Coal’s toxic emissions are 10 to 100 times greater (i.e. more harmful) to the environment than emissions coming from the use of natural gas to produce electricity…
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Weatherford CEO Warns Intensive US Fracking Drains Wells Too Fast

The former CEO of the fourth largest oilfield services company in the world, Weatherford International, says “intensive fracking” being used in U.S. shale plays is becoming so effective that its draining wells faster, earlier, and that means decline rates will soon begin to skyrocket. At the Oil & Money Conference in London on Monday, Bernand Duroc-Danner said this: “If you’re going to be fracking closer zones like crazy, lots of sand, lots of water, lots of pressure, you drain the hell out of those zones which is why production goes up…But then those zones don’t get replenished…after two years, there’ll be a build up in decline rates…I am not so sure if the battle won’t be, in two years, to sustain the base as opposed to keep on growing.” What does he mean?…
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84 Members of Congress ask DOJ to Pursue Domestic Eco-Terrorists

On Monday, a bi-partisan group of 84 Members of Congress signed a letter addressed to Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the Department of Justice. The letter asks whether existing federal laws allow prosecution for criminal activity that threatens energy infrastructure and additionally, if attacks on energy infrastructure that threaten human life fall within the DOJ’s classification of domestic terrorism. The Congressfolks are tired of radicalized environmentalists who tip over into acts of vandalism, like burning holes through pipelines and destroying construction equipment–actions that happened in North Dakota last year, part of the “peaceful” Dakota Access Pipeline protests. The not-so-subtle message for the DOJ is that such acts should be considered domestic terrorism. Let’s call it what it is. The people who perpetrate these acts are not to be dismissed as overly enthusiastic but well-meaning, perhaps going an inch or two over the line. NO. They endanger the lives of innocent adults and children with their violent actions. They are to be considered terrorists and treated as such under the laws of the United States…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Wed, Oct 25, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: OH Utica rig count holds at 23; Atlantic seaboard gas power burn goes higher; natgas power plants bring investment, jobs to PA; Univ of North Dakota dedicates training, drilling labs; Tellurian offers equity stake in Driftwood LNG; Florida Power & Light wants another gas-fired plant; U.S. leads the world in reducing carbon emissions; tight oil’s impact on gas production; gas shortage in China; and more!
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