Sierra Club Pipeline Lawsuit Throws 2,500 in PA Out of Work

Just before the holidays, thousands of workers who were working on the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project have been escorted to the unemployment office–courtesy the odious Sierra Club. Yesterday we brought you the sad news that the Sierra Club’s lawsuit has stopped work on the $3 billion pipeline project (see DC Court Forces “Emergency Stop” of Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Work). Companies building closely-vetted and highly regulated projects like Atlantic Sunrise project are jobs creators. The Sierra Club is a jobs destroyer. We asked Williams how many workers have been idled because of the work stoppage from the “temporary” order from the court. Williams spokesman Chris Stockton replied: “The exact number is 2,500.” He also said this: “It is costing about $8 million per day in idle construction costs.” The Clubbers’ frivolous lawsuit is causing real pain and real suffering for thousands of workers…and their families…and their children. Williams issued a press release yesterday to say they have filed a “Motion for Clarification” to determine what the emergency stop work order affects–just construction work in PA? Or the work they’ve already done (and are doing) outside of PA, which would stop new quantities of Marcellus gas already flowing south? Williams says they expect the court will conduct their review “expeditiously” and end this charade (our word) very soon. Antis rejoiced in the news of the stop work order, including one of the “leaders” of the airheaded opposition, who sounded like an 80s Valley Girl when she said: “I can’t believe it, like, does this mean they can’t continue with construction? Like, seriously?” Meanwhile, like some 2,500 people are like tragically out of work–including like 370 in Schuylkill County alone. Merry Christmas from the Sierra Club and from a small group of radicals called Lancaster Against Pipelines…
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DRBC Attorney Faints in Federal Court During Questioning

Some true courtroom drama from yesterday to report regarding a lawsuit brought by Wayne Land and Mineral Group against the Delaware River Basin Commission’s (DRBC) arbitrary and illegal frack ban. Yesterday we told you Wayne landowners would finally get their day in federal court (see Landowner Fight to Overturn DRBC Frack Ban Goes to Fed Court Today). And so they did. Or at least, began to. The attorney for the Wayne landowner (plaintiff) was questioned by the 3rd Circuit judges about their case. However, when the lead attorney for the DRBC (defendant) took his turn at the podium to be questioned, at one point during what was intense question, the attorney, Kenneth Warren, fainted! In the only account reporting on the incident we could find, Warren was attended to by medics and quickly revived–however both sides agreed to postpone the rest of the session in light of the episode. There was no word on why Warren fainted–his office did not respond to requests from a reporter for an explanation. Perhaps he’s been ill? Perhaps the pressure was too much? We simply don’t know. So here we are again in limbo–with PA landowners having been shafted by the DRBC for 10+ years, now shafted again until the lawyers and the judges can agree on a new date for the rest of oral arguments…
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Yet Another Update on Stalled Mountaineer NGL Storage Proj in OH

Over the past six months we’ve run a steady string of stories about Mountaineer NGL Storage and its proposed underground NGL (mostly ethane) storage facility in Monroe County, Ohio, near Clarington, along the Ohio River (see our Mountaineer NGL Storage stories here). We’ve learned that the Colorado company behind the project plans to spend up to $500 million to build it, that 20 drillers have expressed interest in contracting with the facility to store ethane, and that both the nearby potential PTT Global cracker plant and the under-construction Shell cracker plant are both interested in connections to the facility. We’ve also learned there is a holdup with some of the necessary permits for the project before construction can begin–a situation that has delayed construction until mid-next year. This morning we ran across yet another update. This one goes into more detail about the permit situation, explaining where the holdup is happening (with the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources’ chief Rick Simmers). The update also introduces us to a new spokesman for the project, a local who will be the project’s feet on the street, meaning we’ll likely hear a lot more about the project in the coming weeks and months…
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Plum, PA Officials Hold Hearing on New Restrictions for Fracking

Nearly a month ago, local officials in Plum, PA (Allegheny County) approved a plan by Huntley & Huntley (H&H) to drill a series of Marcellus wells in their municipality (see Plum, PA Gives Huntley & Huntley Green Light for Shale Drilling). At that time, we told you about H&H plans to begin constructing a well pad in Plum in November (see Huntley & Huntley Starts Shale Drilling in Plum, PA Next Month). Plum’s leaders faced stiff opposition from some residents over their decision to conditionally approve H&H’s request. In Plum, fracking is allowed in any zone if a conditional use is granted. That’s what happened last month–the Plum Council issued a conditional use exception for H&H to drill on 92 acres near Coxcomb Hill Road in Plum. Fearing more requests will come from H&H, Plum officials have floated a proposed change to zoning ordinances (ordinances which haven’t been updated since 1993). The new change would only allow fracking in rural residential and industrial zones. H&H says the change is too restrictive. Some antis think it doesn’t go far enough. Last night Plum held a hearing about the proposed changes, with some 100 people showing up. According to press accounts, the crowd was about evenly split, for and against the proposed zoning changes. Here’s how it went down…
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Baker Hughes Oct Rig Count – US Slides by 18, PA Drops 1 Rig

The International (non-U.S.) Baker Hughes rig count for October 2017 was 951, up 20 from the 931 counted in September 2017, and up 31 from the 920 counted in October 2016. The U.S. rig count for October 2017 was 922, down 18 from the 940 counted in September 2017, but up 378 from the 544 counted in October 2016. Notice that we have almost as many rigs operating in the U.S. as the entire rest of the world (minus Canada). Canada’s rig count has improved a lot since earlier this year. However, Canada’s October rig count drooped a bit–204 in October (down 4 from September) but up 48 from October 2016. What about rig counts in the Marcellus/Utica? Pennsylvania lost one rig and ran an average of 32 rigs during October, versus Ohio running 29 rigs and West Virginia running 15 rigs, the same as September…
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Shell Taps Brit to Run the $6B Ethane Cracker Project in Monaca

Shell’s $6 billion ethane cracker plant facility in Monaca (Beaver County), PA is about to ramp up construction of the numerous buildings that will house the equipment. Since 2014, Ate Visser, vice president of Appalachia petrochemicals at Shell Chemical, has been the guy in charge of the project (see Shell Exec Shares Inside Story of Why They Chose PA for Cracker). However, beginning now, Hilary Mercer, a native of Manchester, England (has worked at Shell for the past 30 years) is now the woman in charge of the project. Mercer is the new vice president of the cracker plant project. She has an interesting, globe-trotting history. Mercer says she likes to build “big projects.” Prior to landing in her role in PA, Mercer was in South Korea overseeing construction of the largest floating structure ever built. But building the huge cracker facility isn’t the only thing that jazzes Mercer about the project. She’s pumped at the prospect of building the commercial side–building a business from the ground up. Finding customers, branding, everything that comes with creating demand for the output from the mighty cracker facility. Here’s a look at the new leader of the Shell cracker plant project…
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Siemens Providing Turbines, $$ for 1 GW Hickory Run Power Plant

The picture shows the assembly of the SGT5-8000H at the gas turbine plant in Berlin.

In February 2013 MDN first told you about a plan to build the Hickory Run Energy Center–a $750 million electric generating plant at a former manufacturing site along the Mahoning River in Lawrence County, PA (see NW PA Town Approves Site for Marcellus-powered Electric Plant). The initial design called for a 900 megawatt facility, powered by Marcellus gas. More recent plans indicate the facility will be 1,000 megawatts (or 1 gigawatt)–enough electricity to power 1 million homes! In August we shared the exciting news that one publication was reporting ground has been broken for the facility (see Ground Broken for Lawrence County, PA NatGas-Fired Electric Plant?). Whether bulldozers are pushing dirt or not, activity around the project continues at a brisk pace. German engineering giant Siemens announced on Monday that they have been awarded a contract to provide the guts for the plant–two H-class gas turbines, one steam turbine and three generators–along with a long-term service contract. Siemens also revealed they’ve made an unspecified (large) investment in the project and will own 20% of it. Here’s the good news that the Hickory Run Energy Center will get some Siemens love…
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Tiny Houses: Answer to Affordable Housing in Active M-U Area?

We have to confess this story is purely for amusement purposes–ours and yours. In our daily trawl of the news related to “Marcellus Shale” we spotted this headline: “Group hopes to add tiny houses to Wheeling Island.” We thought, What in the world do tiny houses on Wheeling Island (Wheeling, WV) have to do with the Marcellus? So we read the article to find out. Anyone watching HGTV has, at one point or another, watched a program about “tiny houses.” There’s even an HGTV show called Tiny House Hunters. “Tiny houses” are actual stick-built homes that are under 500 square feet of living space. Think really-small efficiency apartment. Except it’s a real house–sort of. The average American home is 1,780 square feet of living space. (If you’re not familiar with the tiny house movement, read this Wikipedia entry.) So what do tiny houses in Wheeling, WV have to do with the Marcellus? A group in Wheeling believes tiny houses on Wheeling Island is a viable solution for affordable housing. You see, the Marcellus/Utica has successfully employed a lot of people in the region–and a lot of new people have moved in, sopping up available apartments, homes, and trailers. There’s a bit of a housing shortage due to an abundance of Marcellus workers. The group in Wheeling thinks they have the solution: sell a bunch of tiny houses on Wheeling Island…
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OPEC Report: US Shale Dominates Until 2025, then OPEC Rises Again

Even OPEC–the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries–now admits that U.S. shale energy is here to stay. At least for the foreseeable future. For OPEC, the foreseeable future is until 2025. Yesterday OPEC released its annual “World Oil Outlook 2040” (copy below). The massive 364-page report predicts that U.S. shale oil will continue to grow, and dominate the oil markets–until 2025 (eight years from now). At that point OPEC says shale oil will peak and following that, OPEC will once again be in the driver’s seat–ready, willing and able to screw Americans and everyone else who buys their oil. We think OPEC is smoking some good stuff…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Wed, Nov 8, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Chesapeake gets 3 permits in Carroll County, OH; WV tax receipts up 5.3% thx to shale; top exec leaving CONSOL Energy; NY virtual pipeline would power local economy; Carrizo’s final divestiture of Marcellus/Utica assets complete later this month; recap of NARO Appalachia conf; CNG buses come to Portage County, OH; EIA cuts Henry Hub price estimates; US LNG companies join Trump on China trade mission; unrest in Saudi Arabia; and more!
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