2nd LNG Tanker with Russian Gas Coming to Boston?!

Gaseyls tanker (now docked in Boston Harbor)

A shipment of arguably illegal Russian natural gas (LNG) arrived in Boston Harbor on Sunday and will soon be offloaded, according to Russian news service Sputnik International. The U.S. slapped the Russian Yamal LNG plant, located in the Arctic, with sanctions following Russia’s moves against the Ukraine several years ago. Those sanctions make it illegal to receive gas produced from that plant. So shippers “whitewashed” the gas by unloading it in the UK, and a few days later, reloading it on a different ship–the Gaselys. The Gaselys is now docked and undergoing inspection and will then offload the gas for use in New England. It is an outrage that for a couple of reasons: (1) because New England is blocking pipelines from the Marcellus that would carry domestically produced gas that is cheaper, and (2) the Jones Act prevents our ships from the Gulf Coast and other locations from carting our own LNG to Boston. So, using a slight-of-hand to hide the origin of the gas, illegal Russian gas has now arrived and will be used in New England to heat homes–while they watch the Superbowl. Plenty of irony, wouldn’t you say? But the outrage doesn’t end there. A second shipment of Russian gas is rumored to be on its way to Boston. HELLO–IS ANYBODY AWAKE IN D.C.? How can this continue? Here’s an update on the first shipment now arrived, and a second shipment that quite possibly is now on its way…
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NTE Energy Plans to Build 550 MW Gas-Fired Elec Plant in CT

Artist rendering of Killingly Energy Center – click for larger version

In April 2016, MDN told you NTE Energy, headquartered in St. Augustine, Florida, plans to build several new natural gas-fired electric generating plants, one of them in Connecticut (see NTE Energy Developing 3 NatGas-Fired Electric Plants in CT/NC/OH). Since that time NTE has been busy with all of three projects. The Connecticut project is called Killingly Energy Center, a 550-megawatt plant that will be located near Killingly, CT. NTE has secured a site for the plant, filed a request to connect to the power grid, filed for an air permit and filed with the siting council. NTE expects to get all of the various permits they need sometime by the second quarter of this year (May-June time frame). When they do get the necessary permits for Killingly, construction will begin (in 2Q of this year). No doubt Marcellus gas will feed the plant, which will go online in 2021 (it takes a few years to build these things). NTE will spend $500 million on the project and employ 250-350 people to build it. But what about the location? You know how allergic New Englanders are to any new natural gas-related infrastructure! NTE is also building a plant in Ohio. The mayor of the city where the Ohio plant is getting built (Middletown, OH) is giving his “full-throated support” of NTE and is telling Killingly they don’t have anything to worry about. NTE does what they say they’ll do, and they do it right. So far Killingly appears to be playing ball. Killingly Town Council approved agreements with NTE earlier this month. When the plant gets built, Killingly will see $90 million in tax revenue over the next 20 years. Who wouldn’t sign on the dotted line for 90 million bucks?! Below is news about the project along with a recent PowerPoint presentation loaded with information about the Killingly Energy Center…
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WV Co-Tenancy, Royalty Transparency Bills Make Progress

As predicated, a co-tenancy bill has been introduced in this year’s 60-day session of the West Virginia legislature (see Co-Tenancy Front and Center for WV Legislature as Session Nears). What is co-tenancy? It is legislation that will give a majority of rights owners of a property the authority to sign a lease on behalf of all the rights owners. It corrects a situation in which multiple rights owners are listed for a property–sometimes 200 or more rights owners for a single piece of property! It is often difficult, if not impossible, to track them all down and get them to sign on the dotted line. Co-tenancy corrects that situation, opening up more Marcellus and Utica acreage that can be drilled. Last Thursday a co-tenancy bill was introduced in the House Energy Committee–House Bill (HB) 4268–which should see an initial vote this week. Various groups are lobbying for and against the bill. The WV Surface Owners Rights Organization is pushing for two amendments, without which they won’t support the bill. Although co-tenancy is a major emphasis for Marcellus/Utica drillers, a different bill is a major emphasis for landowners–a bill to provide greater transparency of royalty statements (more information provided on statements). House Bill (HB) 4270 already passed in a vote by the House Energy Committee last week. It still has to pass muster with the House Judiciary Committee, but the bill seems to be off to a fast start. Here’s a rundown on these two important bills, with copies of the bills as introduced, with background on the backroom wheeling and dealing over the co-tenancy bill…
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WV Farm Bureau Urges Legislature to Tread Carefully re Co-Tenancy

In another MDN post today, we do a deep dive into West Virginia House Bill (HB) 4268, the “Co-tenancy Modernization and Majority Protection Act” (see WV Co-Tenancy, Royalty Transparency Bills Make Progress). One of the organizations closely watching the progress of that bill is the WV Farm Bureau, which lobbies for the best interests of mineral owners, farmers and rural residents. What does the Farm Bureau think of the bill so far? Last week, on the very day HB 4268 was introduced, Farm Bureau director of Governmental Affairs, Dwayne O’Dell, penned an editorial in which he lends tepid support for the bill, IF there are protections built in for landowners. O’Dell begins his editorial by stating he’s worried that WV legislators are, “allowing oil and gas developers to take private property rights unfettered.” That is, they are literally “giving away the farm.” O’Dell is favor of “providing oil and gas companies with a reasonable platform to succeed.” But not at the expense of his members. Here’s a big, fat caution flag being waved by the WV Farm Bureau with respect to the co-tenancy bill, along with a call for the legislature to revisit the issue of “at the well head” pricing…
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Seneca Indians Fighting Proposed Potter County Wastewater Facility

Earlier this month MDN told you about a new shale wastewater treatment facility planned for Coudersport, in Potter County, PA (see Shale Wastewater Treatment Plant Planned for Potter County, PA). Epiphany Water Solutions, via a subsidiary company called Epiphany Allegheny, filed for a permit with the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) to build a centralized water treatment facility in Coudersport back in July 2017. The DEP held a public hearing in Coudersport two weeks ago to gain local resident’s input on the facility. One of the groups objecting to the plant–a plant which produces water clean enough to drink–is the Seneca Nation (local Indian tribe). The Senecas, which live 65 miles down the Allegheny River from the proposed site, are making all sorts of wild accusations. Things like this plant will “permit poisonous contaminants” to flow down river to where the Senecas live. The Senecas, according to Epiphany, have been given “inaccurate information.” Epiphany vigorously denies the wild claims made by the Indians. What’s really kind of funny (for us) is that Epiphany and the Seneca Nation are really both on the same “green” side. As we explained in our previous article, Epiphany started life as a company with a mission to pioneer the use of solar technology to desalinate water so people in poor countries have safe drinking water. Laudable goal. However, Epiphany found they actually need to turn a profit and pay bills first. They found that their technology works equally well for the oil and gas industry. The very same technology used to desalinate/decontaminate dirty ocean water and make it drinkable can (and does) desalinate/decontaminate brine (salty water coming out of the ground long after drilling is over and done). Same tech! There is no “poisonous contaminates” in the cleaned-up water from Epiphany–but try telling that to the Senecas…
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Landowners Who Negotiate with Shell Ethane Pipeline Get More $

In February 2016, MDN exclusively broke the news that Shell had begun to sign leases with landowners for a 97-mile ethane pipeline (two branches) to feed their mighty cracker plant (see Exclusive: Shell Leasing Land for 2 Pipelines to PA Cracker Plant). Since that time we’ve tracked any news we could find that reveals what Shell is paying landowners in Beaver County (and elsewhere) for the right to run the ethane pipeline (called the Falcon Ethane Pipeline) across their land. So far, we’ve seen rates as high as $75 per foot, and as low as $43 per foot. We just spotted another mention. An extensive (and well written) article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette interviews a number of landowners who have dealt with Shell, signing leases to allow the ethane pipeline across their land. The article opens with the story of a couple and their attempt to negotiate with Shell. If you play too hard to catch, Shell might route the pipeline around your land, onto your neighbor’s land instead. But sign too early, and maybe you’re leaving money on the table. It’s a fine line–causing stress and strain. In reading the article we really perked up when we read about Ed Bilik, founder of Greensburg-based Western Pennsylvania Gas Leasing Consultants. Ed was the first guy to sniff out the eventual path of the pipeline–which he did by knocking on doors to see where Shell landmen had already visited. Bilik eventually got 41 landowners to sign with him, allowing Bilik to help them with negotiations. According to Bilik, “Shell started out offering $40 per foot for the right to lay two pipelines.” Bilik would not say how much his clients eventually got from Shell, but he did say this: “We exceeded that [amount] multiple times,” meaning his clients got a whole lot more than $40/foot when they signed. Here’s a portion of this enlightening article…
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Dominion CEO Says Cove Point LNG Operational in “Early March”

Earlier this month MDN brought you news that Dominion’s Cove Point LNG export facility along the shore of Maryland has delayed its official start-up until perhaps as late as April (see Uh-Oh: Cove Point LNG Exports Possibly Delayed Until April). An expert analyst theorized the reason for the delay is to install two flaring systems at the plant (a safety precaution). We still don’t know the exact reason for the delay, but we now have confirmation direct from the top at Dominion, from CEO Tom Farrell, that Cove Point will become operational and begin to export in “early March.” On an analyst phone call yesterday to discuss Dominion’s fourth quarter and full year 2017 results, Farrell had this to say about Cove Point…
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OH Orphan Well Bill Wins Praise from Both Drillers & Enviros

Pennsylvania state officials estimate there are as many as 200,000 abandoned (i.e. “orphan”) oil and gas wells in the state–the vast majority of them conventional wells drilled over 50 years ago. Most of them are not mapped or known. Some of them are hazards for shale drillers who stumble across them when drilling new wells. If you drill horizontally and clip an old/abandoned well, it becomes like an elevator pumping fluids and gas to the surface. Not good. Everyone is committed to finding and marking and capping these old wells–the question is, how do you pay for it? In PA, it’s an ongoing hot potato of who will pay (see Who Pays for Abandoned O&G Wells in PA?). Ohio has it a whole lot easier. There’s only an estimated 600 orphan wells in the Buckeye State. The issue of who will pay in Ohio is moot–the state itself pays for it (meaning Ohio taxpayers 2/4/18 correction: The funds come from the Oil and Gas Well fund which oil and gas producers pay into from the severance tax. Our thanks to OOGA for sending along that correction!). A new bill in Ohio just passed the legislature, House Bill 225, which triples the amount of money set aside to cap orphan wells. The bill also “creates a more streamlined and efficient process for identifying and plugging” orphan wells. The amazing thing about the bill is this: both Big Green groups and the drilling industry support it! When was the last time you heard of that happening?! Here’s more about HB 225, the bill everybody loves in Ohio. Who wouldn’t love a bill to help the orphans?…
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ISO New England Warns Blackouts Coming If No New Gas Pipelines

How often do we have to repeat the warning that electrical blackouts are coming to New England if the region does not get new sources of natural gas by building more pipelines? This is not some reckless, wild eyed blogger guy saying it–the warning comes from the top, from the people who operate the electric grid! We first raised the warning back in 2014 (see Officials: New England Faces Blackouts Without New Nagas Pipeline). Last May ISO New England–the independent, non-profit Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) that manages the electric grid for Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont–released a study that warned of a coming shortage of natural gas to fire electric power plants in wintertime (see Study: New England Electric Shortage from Lack of NatGas by 2025). ISO New England is back with another reporting warning of “dire scenarios in the future” if New England doesn’t wise up and get more natgas pipelines built. “Without additional natural gas pipeline capacity, rolling blackouts or other emergency actions will likely be needed by the winter of 2024-2025 to keep the power system operating reliably.” It’s sad to see New England’s so-called leaders continue to block new pipelines to the region. One or two well-placed pipelines from the Marcellus could help the region avert the completely predictable disaster that’s on the way…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Tue, Jan 30, 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: Roanoke County officials field questions about Mountain Valley Pipe construction; Carroll County gas-fired plant now up and running; Chambersburg, PA gas-fired power plant gets new owner; natgas market update for end of January; cold snap heats up natgas prices; midstream elephants on parade; open letter to EPA’s retired Gina McCarthy; rig count goes up; UK natgas production goes down; and more!
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