Uh-Oh: Cove Point LNG Exports Possibly Delayed Until April

We’ve been waiting, with bated breath, for an announcement from Dominion Energy that their $4 billion LNG export terminal is finally (finally!) up and running and shipping out condensed Marcellus/Utica Shale gas as LNG, heading to Japan and India. In April of last year, Dominion said the plant would be up and running, shipping LNG to India beginning this month (see Dominion Cove Point to Begin LNG Exports to India in Jan 2018). Dominion began priming the pump with an initial load of feed gas in early December (see Dominion Cove Point LNG Export – Dress Rehearsal Begins). But by the end of the month, Dominion signaled a full startup at the facility may be delayed, until an unspecified “early next year” (see Dominion Signals Delay in Cove Point Start-up; Contract Related?). In a blockbuster story, NGI’s Daily Gas Price Index is reporting (based on a super secret source who talked to Bloomberg) that commercial startup of the Cove Point facility will now not happen until (gasp), April of this year. Why the delay? NGI spoke to their own experts who have a plausible theory…
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Utica Gas-Fired Electric Plant in Carroll County, OH Starts Operation

Carroll County Energy plant, artists rendering (click for larger version)

In July 2013 MDN told you about Advanced Power Services’ plan to build an $800 million, 700-megawatt Utica Shale gas-fired electric generating plant in Carroll County, OH–a project called Carroll County Energy (see New NatGas Powered Electric Plant Coming to Carroll County, OH). The plant broke ground two years later, in July 2015 (see $800M Utica Gas-Fired Electric Plant Breaks Ground in Carroll Cnty). Now 4.5 years since the initial announcement, Advanced Power has just announced the plant is up and running and providing electricity for the PJM power grid. Actually, the $899 million plant has been up and running since December, but Advanced didn’t publicize it, for whatever reason, until yesterday. Here’s the big announcement…
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Pittsburgh Presbyterians Call for Stop to Shell Cracker Construction

It’s always a shame–in fact it grieves us–to see once-great Christian denominations succumb to a worldly rather than spiritual purpose and mission. It’s sad to see the modern day version of a golden calf erected in place of God. It’s happened again–this time with the Presbyterian denomination in Pittsburgh. An “umbrella group for 140 Presbyterian churches” in Allegheny County are calling on Shell to stop construction of their $6 billion ethane cracker plant project about 25 miles from Pittsburgh. That’s right–just stop now, throwing thousands of people out of work (not very Christ-like) and throwing away the $1 billion+ Shell has already spent on the fully vetted, fully permitted, fully discussed (for years) project. Why do the Presbyterians want work on the cracker plant stopped? Because the plant will produce “plastic products that have been linked to the death of animals and the diminishment of fragile natural habitats.” Yep. The Presbyterians are now anti-plastic. The very keyboard they typed up their tripe on is, of course, plastic. As was the computer and monitor they used, the chair they sat in, the clothes on their bodies and sneakers on their feet–all come from the plastics the Shell cracker plant will produce. Just for icing on the global warming cake, the Presbyterians are also demanding their denomination divest any of their considerable investments from companies remotely related to the fossil fuel industry. It seems that the golden calf of global warming has now replaced God in the Pittsburgh Presbyterian denomination. And yes, we do grieve over that…
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5 Radical Green Groups Sue to Stop Mountain Valley Pipeline

Here we go again. A group of five, radicalized Big Green groups, led (by the nose) by the odious Sierra Club, filed a motion and a new lawsuit in federal court on Monday attempting to prevent construction of 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. The pipeline is being built by EQT, NextEra Energy and several other partners. The Sierra Club along with Appalachian Voices, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, and Wild Virginia, want a halt to MVP construction work until their lawsuit to reverse the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s decision to approve the project is heard by the same court. We doubt the court will grant their request–but one never knows. The case (and motion) were filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Below is the Sierra Club’s smug, self-serving announcement about the lawsuit and motion, followed by copies of the lawsuit and motion…
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Old Hippies Turn Out at WV DEP Hearing to Oppose Mountaineer Pipe

In April 2017, MDN brought you the news that Columbia Pipeline (now owned by TransCanada) had filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to build a 3.5 mile, 8-inch pipeline that will carry natural gas from Pennsylvania to connect the Mountaineer Gas system in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia with the Columbia Gas Pipeline in Pennsylvania (see New 3.5 Mile Pipeline Project to Drill Under the Potomac River). That small section of pipeline is hotly opposed and part of the larger Eastern Panhandle Expansion project–a project to deliver natural gas via local distribution channels (local utility Mountaineer Gas) to a new industrial facility in Berkeley County, WV, and to provide gas to other local businesses and residents in the Tri-State area. There are three phases to the Eastern Panhandle Expansion project: Phase One runs a 22.5-mile, 10-inch-diameter steel pipeline from Morgan County to Martinsburg; Phase Two includes a loop to Charles Town; and Phase Three will build a four mile segment of pipeline into Martinsburg. The WV Dept. of Environmental Protection held a hearing on Phase One on Tuesday, at the Berkeley Springs High School. All of the people who spoke at the hearing, some 33 of the 80 people present, spoke against the project. If you look at a picture of the crowd, you’d swear you were at a ZZ Top look-alike convention. That is, a bunch of old hippies. Here’s a report on the Tuesday hearing…
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Patterson-UTI Issues Half Billion $ of New Debt to Pay Off Old Debt

Each month MDN tracks how many rigs oilfield services company Patterson-UTI Energy reports operating–as a proxy for rig count health in general and rig count health in the Marcellus/Utica in particular (see our Patterson stories here). Patterson operates many rigs in the Marcellus/Utica region, hence our interest in the company and what it does. Yesterday Patterson announced it wants to get $525 million (over half a billion dollars) for newly floated IOUs, called “notes” in the financial world. This is nothing new–for Patterson or most other publicly-traded companies in the oil and gas industry. We always marvel at how big finance works. The stated reason for floating over a half billion in new notes is…to pay off older notes. That is, they are floating new debt to pay off old debt, plus a little extra change “for general corporate purposes.” The new notes will be “guaranteed on a senior unsecured basis.” How does that work? Doesn’t “unsecured” mean “nothing backing it up”? How do you guarantee something with nothing? We’re not picking on Patterson–well, maybe just a little. We’re pointing out our own lack of understanding in how companies can continuously issue new debt for old debt. Won’t the piper need to be paid some day? Apparently today is not that day! Here’s the latest new-debt-for-old debt announcement…
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EIA Says 2018 Biggest NatGas Production Yr Ever, Thx to M-U Pipes

Our favorite government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, issued its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) on Tuesday (full copy below). Most of the headlines in the media have been about EIA’s prediction that U.S. oil output will hit its highest level EVER in 2018. As in ever, in all of history. The simple reason for the record output is, of course, shale oil output–most of it coming from the once-sleepy Permian Basin in Texas. Something overlooked in yesterday’s report is that 2018 and 2019 will see the most U.S. natural gas output, EVER. EIA says that in 2018 the U.S. will average an additional 6.9 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natgas production. That is “like the U.S. adding the entire output of Turkmenistan — one of the world’s largest gas exporters — in the space of just one year.” Astonishing! There are two reasons why natgas production will see an historic increase this year: (1) associated gas–the more you drill for oil in the Permian and Bakken, the more natgas molecules come out of the ground along with the oil; and (2) the main reason…new pipelines in the Marcellus/Utica. “Pipelines able to carry roughly 7 billion cubic feet of gas a day away from the prolific Appalachian region are due to start up this year, allowing production that’s been bottled up in the East to flood out.” Thank you Marcellus/Utica for lifting the entire country to new heights!…
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Nine Energy Service Launches $160M IPO

Nine Energy Service, an oilfield services company that competes with companies like Halliburton and Baker Hughes, operates in a number of shale basins, including the Marcellus/Utica. Nine was formed in 2014 by the combination of four existing oilfield services companies–Northern States Completions, Tripoint LLC, CDK Perforating and Integrated Production Services Canada. All four were portfolio companies of SCF Partners–a private equity firm investing in the oil and gas industry. The new company was named Nine Energy Service and is headquartered in Houston, TX. Why the unusual name of “Nine”? It’s aspirational. On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being perfect, they aspire to be a 9, which is about as good as you can get. Hence the name, which is kind of cool. Nine announced yesterday it plans to go public with an initial public offering of 7 million shares. The company hopes to raise ~$160 million with the IPO…
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NYC Commits Fossil Fuel Suicide – Sues Big Oil, Ending Investments

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is clinically insane. It’s time to put him in a straitjacket and prevent him from doing any more damage to a once-great city. de Blasio is using city resources to sue five oil companies, blaming them for “climate change”–the hoax that mankind is causing the earth to warm at an apocalyptic rate. The theory behind global warming is that burning fossil fuels (extracted by the five companies) releases carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere where the CO2 then acts like a canopy over the earth, trapping in heat from the sun, causing the earth to warm. And, as the theory goes, Mom Earth is warming up to such a degree that it will “soon” (any year now) kill plants, animals, mankind–all living things. All sorts of ills are laid at the feet of so-called global warming, now called “climate change”, including earthquakes, major storms, hurricanes, pestilence, racism. No, we’re not exaggerating. EVERYTHING is blamed on global warming. Even the record cold temperatures that we’ve experienced in the northeast are blamed on global warming! Wait–how can that be? How can a canopy effect trapping heat cause COLDER temps? Obviously it can’t–but these people will believe anything. Yes, CLINICALLY INSANE. But maybe not totally insane, because at its root, de Blasio’s move is not *really* about global warming and preserving the planet–it’s about an avowed socialist (de Blasio admits his perverse political leanings) attempting to steal money from those who earn it, in order to redistribute it to people who don’t earn it–people who will keep voting de Blasio into office in response to his political bribery. de Blasio has also instructed the city to divest its pension funds from any company that remotely has anything to do with fossil fuels. Now that IS insane!…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Thu, Jan 11, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye over the break that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Gas operation job fair in Zanesville Jan 18; Blair County using $80K of Marcellus money to preserve farmland; Norfolk delays decision (again) on Atlantic Coast Pipe request to run under reservoir; LNG exports expected to increase by 1 Bcf/d in 2018; Baker Hughes had a bad year in 2017; trips of LNG going through Panama Canal spike up; and more!
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