Dominion Cove Point LNG Export – Dress Rehearsal Begins

Dominion announced yesterday it has introduced “feed gas” into it’s new $4 billion LNG export plant in Cove Point, Maryland. Feed gas is used for testing purposes and is the final step before the plant goes online into full production later this month. Dominion said the feed gas will come from Shell, and Shell will take delivery of the LNG that results. Following the test, Marcellus/Utica gas will begin flowing to the plant and the LNG produced will begin shipping to Japan and India. We are on the cusp of something we’ve waited for, cheered for, and agonized over for more than three years. Think of the Shell’s feed gas as the dress rehearsal the night before a play opens…
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Thailand’s Banpu Looking to Invest More Money in NEPA Marcellus

Over the past year and a half Banpu Pcl, Thailand’s largest coal producer, in cooperation with American-based partner Kalnin Ventures, has snapped up some 55,000 acres and 355 shale wells–in the northeast Pennsylvania Marcellus (see our Banpu stories here). At first we thought Kalnin was simply the “front man” for Banpu. It’s Banpu’s money buying the leases and the wells, so we figured Kalnin was just an American subsidiary on paper for Banpu. But it turns out the truth is more nuanced (see A Closer Look at Kalnin Ventures and Their Marcellus Investments). Kalnin is its own company. Yes, Banpu is the funder, but Kalnin is in the driver’s seat with these Marcellus deals. Regardless of who’s on top, the Banpu/Kalnin team have become important players in the Pennsylvania Marcellus–in the northeast part of the play. Banpu originally promised to invest up to $500 million in Marcellus assets and has spent $417 million on Marcellus assets thus far. Apparently they like those investments. Yesterday Banpu CEO Somruedee Chaimongkol said the company is considering “putting more money on top of the $500 million” in shale gas. Specifically, she said the company will invest in the northeast PA Marcellus because, “It is the sweetest spot for shale gas.” She also said she likes President Trump’s energy policies that are “favourable to coal and natural gas”…
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Transco Pipeline Update: 5th Expansion Done, More Coming 2018

Transco System Map – click for larger version

Williams issued a press release yesterday to (deservedly) crow about completing it’s fifth (of five) expansion projects for the mighty Transco Pipeline–a pipeline that stretches from the Gulf Coast to New York. Transo just completed a pipeline segment in Virginia that will feed Virginia’s largest natural gas-fired electric plant, currently under construction by Dominion Energy (see Dominion Begins Building Virginia’s Biggest NatGas Power Station). Williams will provide the gas required by the plant via its Virginia Southside II project, which started service on Dec. 1. But wait–the Dominion plant isn’t done yet, so where will the extra gas go? We expect either (a) even though the pipeline segment/expansion is done, they won’t begin flowing extra gas through it just yet, or (b) extra gas will flow through the expansion, but someone else will buy it, for now. Regardless, the important news is that this is the fifth of five major expansion projects for Transco completed by Williams this year, joining the Gulf Trace, Hillabee Phase 1, Dalton, and New York Bay projects. As part of Williams’ update, they also project Atlantic Sunrise, another major expansion of the Transco system, will be done in “mid-2018.” Good news indeed! Here’s the full update from Williams, with lots of exciting news…
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Eagle’s Nest Latest Wrinkle in Building 7.8 Mile Pipe to NY Power Plant

A bald eagle’s nest built in a pine tree near where a tiny 7.8 mile pipeline is supposed to pass in Orange County, NY is the latest wrinkle that threatens to stop the pipeline in the ongoing soap opera that is corrupt New York State. The pipeline is a short spur, an offshoot, from the nearby Millennium Pipeline. It will feed the Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) gas-fired electric generation plant currently under construction in Wawayanda. The CPV plant is due to be completed early next year. According to Millennium, if they don’t start construction (tree clearing) TODAY, Dec. 6, there is no way to get the pipeline done in time to feed the plant–and that may well drive CPV’s project into bankruptcy. The eagle’s nest is being used as an excuse by New York (and rabid antis) to try and block the pipeline from getting built. Here’s the latest episode in this ongoing soap opera…
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Frenemies: Millennium & NY DEC Fight Riverkeeper on Pipeline Upgrade

THE Delaware Riverkeeper herself is back with more of her overlord’s money to file yet another frivolous lawsuit against a pipeline project in New York State. In August 2016, Millennium filed an application for what it calls its Eastern System Upgrade (see Millennium Pipe Asks FERC to Approve Eastern System Upgrade in NY). The ESU would add 7.8 miles of extra looped pipeline in Orange County, upgrade a compressor station in Delaware County, build a new compressor in Sullivan County and make some minor tweaks to metering stations in Rockland County. DON’T confuse this with another story appearing today on MDN–Millennium building a NEW 7.8 mile pipeline to a power plant in Orange County. That’s a completely separate/different project from this one. Although the NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) refused to grant a water crossing permit for the 7.8 mile pipeline to connect a power plant, in September the DEC granted the same type of permit for the 7.8 mile looping project, the ESU (see NY DEC Grants Permit for Millennium Pipe Eastern System Upgrade). Here’s the new news: Last week the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted a final OK for the ESU. The even newer new news: Immediately following FERC’s approval, THE Delaware Riverkeeper filed a request for rehearing with FERC and at the same time filed a lawsuit against the DEC’s September water permit approval for the ESU project. Which puts Millennium and the DEC on the same team opposing Riverkeeper. In one case (the power plant pipeline project) Millennium and the DEC are bitter enemies, suing and countersuing. In this case, they’re frenemies–forced to work together to oppose the nutjobs from Riverkeeper…
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UGI Pipeline to Feed Scranton NatGas-Fired Power Plant “On Track”

Invenergy is currently building a state-of-the-art, combined cycle 1,480 megawatt Marcellus-fired electric generating plant in Jessup, PA, just outside Scranton. Construction on the plant–called the Lackawanna Energy Center–has been under way for well over a year now. Some 1,200 people are currently working at the site. MDN previously reported that Cabot Oil & Gas with their prolific Susquehanna County production will feed the plant (see Cabot Cuts Deal to Supply PA’s Largest NatGas-Fired Electric Plant). We also reported that two different companies are building pipelines to supply Cabot’s gas to the plant–UGI and Kinder Morgan’s Tennessee Gas Pipeline (see UGI to Feed Jessup, PA Electric Plant with Marcellus Shale Gas and NEPA Pipeline for Power Plant Gets Positive FERC Assessment). We have a pipeline update. Work on UGI’s pipeline began in May and is close to being done…
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OH Landowner Loses Lawsuit to Stop Eclipse Drilling New Wells

A Harrison County, OH landowner signed a lease back in 2006 granting a driller “broad rights” to extract oil and gas on and beyond his property. The lease was signed for $1 plus royalty payments. Obviously the landowner (frankly, nobody) at the time had any idea the Utica Shale miracle would happen just a few years later. The lease signed by the landowner was, in retrospect, a bad one. But that doesn’t excuse the landowner from living up to the obligations under that lease, which the landowner has learned the hard way. The lease was sold to Eclipse Resources and Eclipse wanted to, under the terms of the lease, drill new wells which would not only drain that landowner’s property (136 acres), but also drill under neighboring properties where Eclipse also owned the lease rights. That is, the well would be located on the landowner’s property but access gas under other properties–yielding royalties to others but not the landowner. The landowner objected to new wells on his property without a new lease (can’t blame him). However, first a district court and now the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decided for Eclipse against the landowner. Below is a summary of Eclipse Res. Ohio, LLC v. Madzia, followed by a copy of the full decision from the Sixth Circuit…
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PA Radicals Sue to Stop $1.1B in DCNR Funding from Gas Leases

In June, radical anti-drillers from the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation won a case at the PA Supreme Court by the skin of their teeth (PA Supreme Court Hands Antis Partial Victory re State Land Drilling). The case dealt with the narrow issue of how PA can spend revenue raised by leasing and allowing drilling for oil and gas under state-owned land. A divided court ruled that money from royalties must be used only for Big Green causes, and cannot be used even to fund operations at the Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). The decision was based, in part, on PA’s so-called Environmental Rights Amendment, “guaranteeing” the “right” to “clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment”–without defining how those “rights” are to be administered. The radical lawyer who won the case then attempted to use that narrow decision–in a case about funding the DCNR–to make the preposterous claim that PA’s state budget, as drafted, is “unconstitutional” (see Lawyer Says PA Budget Unconstitutional Based on Enviro Rights Law). The same radicals are back making the same wild claims–putting $1.1 billion in DCNR funding at risk…
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NatGas, Oil Industry Partnership to Accelerate Methane Reductions

Yesterday America’s natural gas and oil industry announced “a landmark partnership”–called the Environmental Partnership–to “accelerate improvements to environmental performance in operations across the country.” How will they do that? The first area of focus will be to reduce methane and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. The Environmental Partnership includes 26 natural gas and oil producers, including several major Marcellus/Utica drillers (Chesapeake Energy, Cabot Oil & Gas, Chevron and Southwestern Energy). The list of 26 produce a “significant portion” of American energy resources–we’d peg it at around 80% of all production. The participating companies (full list below) will begin implementing the voluntary program starting January 1, 2018. Did you get that? It’s VOLUNTARY. Yet they will do it and they will voluntarily hold themselves and each other accountable–because they are good corporate citizens and (gasp) actually care about the environment. They don’t need the jackboot of government to force them to do it. Here’s how profoundly biased mainstream media reports it: Oil Firms Pledge to Plug Methane Leaks in Bid to Burnish Image (Bloomberg News). Yep, according to the anti-everything people, these companies are only doing it to “burnish” their image. They don’t really care about the environment. They’re evil, nasty fossil fuel companies (icky). MDN readers know differently. These companies are respectable, providing jobs and investment in local communities AND protecting the environment in those same communities–where they live. The other side? Groups like the Sierra Club destroy jobs in the name of “protecting” Mom Earth…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Wed, Dec 6, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: PA DEP throws taxpayer money at coal lawyer to punish natgas; China delegation traveling around WV; 2 killed in Illinois pipeline explosion; natgas power generation in Southern states continues to expand, coal decline; California’s social activism is ruining the retirement income of millions; trends in shale tech: drones, solar and DNA sequencing; the coming surge in condensate production; time for round 2 of LNG export projects; China’s big demand for natgas creates price dilemma; and more!
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