PA DEP Issues Permits for Japanese Gas-Fired Elec Plant in SEPA

Birdsboro Power concept

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced last Friday it has issued all of the necessary state permits to the Birdsboro Power Marcellus gas-fired electric plant project (in Berks County, PA) for the project to begin construction. Last October the DEP held a hearing on the proposed 488-megawatt natgas-fired electric plant slated for Birdsboro, near Philadelphia (see PA DEP Public Hearing on Japanese Gas-Fired Elec Plant in SEPA). Even though the project has the state permits it needs, it still lacks final approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before they can begin construction of the new plant…
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Southwestern 2017: $3.5B Turnaround, Shopping Fayetteville Assets

Late last week Southwestern Energy, one of the biggest drillers in the Marcellus (4th largest natgas producer in the country), issued its fourth quarter and full year 2017 update. Southwestern drills in two plays: The Marcellus (i.e. Appalachia), and the Fayetteville (in Arkansas). The big news coming from last week’s update is that Southwestern signaled it wants to sell some–or all–of its “underperforming” Fayetteville assets, and use the money to pay down debt and drill more in the northeast. Largely on the back of prolific production in the Marcellus, Southwestern had a dramatic financial turnaround last year. In 2016, Southwestern lost $2.75 billion. In 2017, the company made $815 million in profit. That’s a swing of $3.5 billion in a single year!…
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WV Co-Tenancy Bill Passes in Senate – Now Waits for Gov to Sign

On Saturday, the full West Virginia Senate voted on House Bill (HB) 4268–the “co-tenancy” bill–passing the measure by a vote of 23-11. This is tremendously good news–for both landowners and drillers. Although WV Gov. Jim Justice had previously threatened to veto the bill because he wanted it tied (like a millstone) to the neck of another bill (joint development), Justice backed off that position after getting a lot of blowback, from virtually everyone (see WV Gov. Justice Gets His Head Straight, Stops Targeting Co-Tenancy). The bill now awaits his signature. Let’s hope Justice keeps his head clear enough to sign it…
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3rd Sinkhole Appears Near ME2 Construction in Chester County, PA

In February, Sunoco Logistics Partners agreed to pay a massive (historically high) $12.6 million fine to the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) for “permit violations related to the construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline project” (see Sunoco LP Pays PA DEP $12.6M to Resume ME2 Pipeline Construction). The fine, along with a “stringent compliance review” going forward, gave the DEP enough confidence to allow Sunoco to resume construction on the ME2 project, which had been halted since January 3rd. One of the ongoing problems with the project is underground horizontal directional drilling (HDD). In one area near Philadelphia, a couple of sinkholes developed in close proximity to Sunoco’s HDD work. Not a good thing. Unfortunately for Sunoco, a third “swimming-pool-sized” sinkhole has just opened up in the same general area as two others, in West Whiteland (Chester County, PA)…
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Japan Wants a Piece of WV Petchem Industry – Just Like China?

The Japanese recently found out more about the Marcellus/Utica and the region in the Mid-Ohio Valley called the “Shale Crescent.” In June 2016, MDN told you about an economic development group of business and government leaders from Ohio and West Virginia (the Mid-Ohio Valley) called Shale Crescent (see Group Promotes Mid-Ohio Valley for Petrochem: Shale Crescent USA). The group was two years in the making and officially launched in June at a public event in Washington County, OH. The aim of the group is to attract manufacturers–petrochemical manufacturers–to set up shop in the region. Now, nearly two years later, the Japanese are interested–particularly in West Virginia. Why?…
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Nor’easter Blows Train with NatGas Pipelines Off Track in SEPA

Click for larger version

A mighty nor’easter storm blew up from the south and hit the Mid-Atlantic and northeast states late last week. The storm prevented your faithful MDN editor from flying home for 36 hours, due to some 20 inches of snow in the Greater Binghamton area. In other states, the storm didn’t manifest as snow but instead as torrential rain and high winds. In fact, a story we spotted related to the storm was so unusual (and connected to our industry), we thought we would highlight it. We’re suckers for a good train story. The East Penn Railroad, a “shortline” train operating 109 miles of track in southeastern Pennsylvania and Delaware, had two of their freight cars blown off the tracks by the high winds from the nor’easter. There were reported wind gusts reaching 60-70 miles per hour. The cars blown off the tracks carried materials being used for natural gas pipeline construction…
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2 Important Pipeline Cases Go Our Way – Thank God

We recently dodged a couple of legal bullets with respect to building pipeline projects. A recent Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals case brought by anti-fossil fuelers against the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) would have gutted the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) ability to grant eminent domain powers to pipeline companies. Whew, dodged that bullet. In Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court, THE Delaware Riverkeeper and other antis tried to upend the centuries-old principle that federal law trumps state law, and state law trumps local law. Riverkeeper argued local laws should stop the Mariner East 2 project. Whew, dodged that bullet too…
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List of Winners for 2018 Northeast Oil & Gas Awards

Last week MDN editor Jim Willis had the pleasure of moderating two panels at the 2018 Northeast Oil & Gas Awards’ Northeast Industry Summit. As in the past, we enjoyed the opportunity to meeting the pros in our industry, to say hello so a number of MDN subscribers, and in general soak up knowledge about this great industry. The evening was a gala ceremony to recognize and announce this year’s winners of the 2018 O&G Awards. A hearty congratulations to all of the winners. We have the full list of who won…
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Other Energy Stories of Interest: Mon, Mar 5, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: PA DEP wants comments on Risberg Pipeline project in Erie County; Maryland governor’s “support” for natgas sparks new battle; two national labs work together to boost natgas production; Mass. Senators have chutzpah to blame Trump for Russian LNG coming to their state!; dump fossil fuel investment movement comes to Illinois to “help”; EPA begins to dismantle horrible Obama methane rules re fracking wells; and more!
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