DEP Continues to Block Use of Shale Brine on PA Dirt Roads

Correction: PIOGA contacted MDN to let us know it is only brine from conventional (non-shale) wells that has been allowed to be spread on PA roadways–NOT brine from shale wells. Thanks to PIOGA for letting us know! We have tweaked the story below to reflect the change.

One more way the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) is hassling both the PA conventional industry and local towns is via an ongoing embargo against the use of brine–water from the depths that comes out of drilled wells for months and years as the well is producing natural gas. Drillers need to dispose of the brine–it’s an expense. Brine is nothing more than very minerally water. It’s called brine because it’s “salty.” An ongoing beneficial deal was struck by drillers and local towns in years gone by. Towns need a source of water to spread on dirt roads during summer. Drillers have an overabundance of brine. So drillers have been giving their brine to towns, for free. The towns don’t have to pay to buy water, and drillers don’t have to pay to dispose of it. A real win/win. Except a rabid anti from Warren County (no doubt prompted and sponsored by Big Green groups) challenged the arrangement last summer. The challenge was against a DEP policy that allows shale brine to be used by towns. The matter went to the Environmental Hearing Board (EHB), a special court set up to hear appeals of DEP decisions. Out of the blue, the DEP slammed the door on allowing towns to use brine, supposedly waiting to see what the EHB decides. The EHB just decided–that the DEP was well within its rights to allow towns to use brine for road spreading. However, the DEP still refuses to lift the ban, using the excuse they’re reviewing the policy even though the EHB says it’s OK. Towns did not budget money to buy water for dirt roads, which they will now have to do. Thanks DEP! You’ve just hosed (pun intended) a number of towns in rural locations with your bureaucratic, rear-end covering excuses…
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NJ & PA Could Have Saved $1.3 Billion if PennEast Were Live

Click image for larger version

Too bad it takes so long to approve a new natural gas pipeline like PennEast–a $1 billion, 120-mile, 36-inch pipeline from Dallas (Luzerne County), PA to Pennington (Mercer County), NJ. Why does it take so long–years, in fact? Well there’s the federal regulatory process. But then there are the multiple, ongoing challenges from Big Green groups, people who irrationally hate all fossil fuels. Big Green launches lawsuit after lawsuit in an attempt to bury projects like PennEast in legal horse manure. One of the chief purveyors of said horse manure is THE Delaware Riverkeeper (Maya van Rossum). What if PennEast had been built two years ago, right after filing their well-laid-out, safe plan? If it had been built, consumers in PA and NJ over the past two winters would have saved $1.3 billion, according to a new study by Concentric (full copy below). Can you imagine the good things that could be done with an extra $1.3 billion in the hands of private citizens? All of the economic benefits that would ripple through the economies of PA and NJ? Instead, all of that benefit is being blocked by a few radical greens…
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Anatomy of an M-U Shale Startup: Tier 1 Rental and Distribution

One of the bits of news we love to cover is when a new business starts up for the express purpose of servicing the Marcellus/Utica industry. Having started our own company–Marcellus Drilling News–we know a little bit about the challenges one faces in launching a new business. But nothing on the scale of launching a business that ends up employing dozens, even hundreds, of people. When we see that happening, we have deep respect and admiration. In 2014, Frank Catroppa, a serial entrepreneur, rolled the dice and launched Tier 1 Rental and Distribution LLC, based in Robinson (Allegheny County), PA. Tier 1 provides trucking and related gas drilling services to the shale industry. Not long after the business began, the shale recession hit with many drillers pulling back from new activity. How did Mr. Catroppa weather the downturn, having just started a new company? And how is the company doing now? The story (below) certainly doesn’t chronicle everything that goes into starting and maintaining a company aimed at selling goods and services to the Marcellus/Utica industry, but it does provide some great insights into timing, confidence, and the sheer guts it takes to believe in your ideas. Tier 1 is an inspiration for others considering whether or not to launch a product/service aimed at our industry…
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Upstream PA Conference: Marcellus Shale Changed the Game

Dr. Terry Engelder – closing presenter

Last week MDN editor Jim Willis had the pleasure of presenting at Shale DirectoriesPA Upstream 2018 event with the theme: “The New Upstream: 10 Years Later.” There were a number of great presentations–from people like David Spigelmyer, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, Jude Clemente, analyst and author who frequently writes for the Forbes magazine website, and Pennsylvania House Speaker Mike Turzai. One quick story and some shameless name-dropping. Jim is always jazzed to meet people who read his stuff. Writing is a lonely affair, so getting to industry events every now and again is a great chance to connect with readers. In the hallway ahead of Speaker Turzai taking the stage, Jim was introduced to him (for the first time). When Speaker Turzai heard what Jim does–writing Marcellus Drilling News–he said: “Oh yeah, I read your stuff all the time!” Which put a big smile on Jim’s face. Jim also connected with long-time friend George Stark from Cabot Oil & Gas; another long-time friend, Rick Stouffer, from the always excellent Kallanish Energy, and with Dr. Terry Engelder, the “father of the Marcellus.” Dr. Engelder is now retired from PennState and keeps himself busy writing and speaking. What a treat to meet Dr. Engelder for the first time, after hearing of and writing about him for years! At any rate, as you can imagine, when you give a presentation, your mind is not totally engaged with the presentations you’re hearing. You’re thinking about the presentation you’re about to give! Fortunately, another MDN friend, Nicole Jacobs (from Energy in Depth), was at the event and recorded the highlights…
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More MarkWest Construction Under Way in Doddridge County, WV

MarkWest Energy – Sherwood Complex

MarkWest Energy’s Sherwood Complex in Doddridge County, WV has been in operation since 2012. Since that time, MarkWest has built and currently operates nine processing plants at the complex, capable of separating methane from NGLs. The plant continues to grow. MarkWest is currently building another two processing plants at the Sherwood Complex, to be done and in operation this year. And if that isn’t enough, MarkWest says there is potential to build another six (!) processing plants at Sherwood. As we previously noted, Sherwood is right now the fourth largest gas processing plant in the U.S., and by the end of this year, it will be number one (see MarkWest Building 6 New Processing Plants, 3 Fractionators in 2018). One of the primary reasons for the rapid expansion at Sherwood is Antero Resources, which uses the Sherwood operation to service its vast WV drilling program. Needless to say, the ever-expanding Sherwood facility is a huge blessing, economically, to Doddridge County. Here’s a deep dive into future plans for Sherwood, and how the plant benefits the local community…
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Philly Lefties Hold Partisan Anti-Pipe “Prayer Walk” in Media, PA

Is a march considered “peaceful” if it includes using a bullhorn to disturb the neighbors as you march? We don’t know the answer–just asking. “About 40” (meaning 20-30) protesters “peacefully marched” down State Street in Media, PA (Delaware County, near Philadelphia) last Saturday. The protest was billed as an “Interfaith Prayer Walk for Pipeline Safety,” organized by the so-called Faith Alliance for Public Safety. Of course the protesters weren’t walking to encourage pipeline safety at all. They were walking to block or shut down pipelines. They probably crossed a hundred or more buried pipelines on their way to the protest–but that little fact doesn’t appear to bother them. The protesters claim there are “moral issues” at stake with pipelines like Mariner East 2–which was the particular ire of the protesters. We wonder, are there “moral issues” with other inanimate objects–like sticks and stones? Just asking. The so-called prayers that were offered weren’t offered to God the Father, but to Mother Earth: “Love the Mother Earth. Put fire into the prayer.” Whatever that nonsense means. Supposed Christians, Jews and Muslims were among the protesters. A real ecumenical gathering. Although they all worship different gods, they were all united in one respect: An irrational hatred of fossil fuels and the companies that extract and transport them…
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Canadian Civil War Previews What’s Coming in NY re Pipelines

Two Canadian provinces that share a border, Alberta and British Columbia (BC), are in the midst of a heated argument/conflict/civil war(?)–over a pipeline. We’ve not covered the conflict, until now. The short version is this: Alberta has a rich deposit of oil in what are called oil sands. In order to get more of the bountiful supply of oil to new markets, in Asia, Alberta needs a new pipeline. Kinder Morgan operates the Trans Mountain Pipeline system and previously proposed expanding Trans Mountain–from Alberta through British Columbia to the shore where the oil can be loaded on tankers and sailed to other continents. BC has blocked the new pipeline, and so now Alberta has passed a law that allows them to stop existing oil and gas flows into BC. If that happens, it will bring BC to its metaphorical knees from lack of energy sources. Yes, it’s getting nasty. The Canadian federal government is also involved, attempting to pressure BC to allow the pipeline. What does that have to do with the Marcellus/Utica? If we were to say “Constitution” or “Northern Access”–perhaps the light bulb will go off. You see, we have a parallel situation here in the states. New York State is blocking gas pipelines critical to PA (as supplier) and to the New England states (as demand centers). At some point, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that PA will begin to turn off existing natgas flows into NY–and then what will we do? We New Yorkers would be royally screwed. Gov. Cuomo pay attention to our neighbors to the north. What’s happening up there is coming in your direction, if you don’t change course…
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Other Energy Stories of Interest: Tue, May 22, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: Can solar power the future of the Marcellus?; drilling new injection well in Brookfield, OH begins this week; “huge influx” of workers coming to Upshur, WV to work on Atlantic Coast Pipe; Lewis County, WV sees increase in biz thx to shale; NYC Housing Authority pleads for new natgas pipelines; U.S. still #1 producer of petroleum & natgas; oil price hits new modern high; solar advocates openly cheer crony capitalism; Cuadrilla files injuction against trespassing gits at UK shale site; and more!
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