Shell Cracker Advertises First 40 Permanent Production Jobs

Although Shell has hired a few permanent workers for its mighty $6 billion ethane cracker complex currently under construction in Monaca (Beaver County), PA, the company has just (for the first time) posted a job notification for bulk hiring of permanent positions. The job notice, posted on the BrassRing HR website, provides a detailed job description for “Shell Production Operators” in Monaca–40 of them. The job includes, “monitoring, controlling, starting and stopping equipment (such as furnaces, pumps, compressors, etc.), conducting activities that pertain to unit operation, and taking corrective action when necessary to ensure that all unit conditions and operations are in compliance with safety, environmental, and operating policies and procedures.” In order to qualify, prospects must jump through a several hoops (mechanical aptitude tests). If selected, candidates will go through extensive training from now until the plant opens some 2-3 years from now. Here’s the deets, including the full job description…
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PA Senate Passes Bill Making Pipeline Trespass a Felony

It’s about time! One of the favorite tactics of antis to fall back on when they don’t win in court is to simply take the law into their own hands (i.e. anarchy). If the courts or a regulatory body (like FERC, or the PA DEP) refuse to stop a critical energy infrastructure project, like a pipeline, antis take it upon themselves to trespass, illegally, in an attempt to block work on the project. They call it “free speech.” It’s nothing of the sort. To trespass is, by definition, breaking the law. Antis know this. However, such a violation of the law is currently only a misdemeanor–a lessor penalty. The PA Senate has just approved a bill that would make infrastructure trespass for pipelines and other key energy infrastructure a felony, giving antis more incentive to behave themselves. Most Republican Senators (except a few Philly RINOs) voted for the bill. Most Democrat Senators (who prefer to be lawless), voted against it. We can only hope the bill gets adopted–it now goes to the House–although with Wolf as governor, we’re not confident it will get signed into law…
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Big Data Comes to EQT – Drilling Now Done Remotely from Pittsburgh

Noble Energy drilling simulator

Back in 2015 MDN editor Jim Willis had an experience he won’t forget. Cabot Oil & Gas chief geologist Buddy Wylie gave Jim and landowner Chris Acker a personal tour of two wells being drilled on Chris’ property. Wyle is THE guy most responsible for Cabot’s enormously successful drilling program in Susquehanna County. As a reminder, Cabot (a single company) currently produces 2.2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas out of Susquehanna County (a single county), representing 2.6% of ALL natural production in the U.S.! Jim won’t forget Buddy regaling us with the wonders of mud logging. 🙂 Part of the tour included a visit to “the dog house”–the control center that sits atop the drilling rig. The dog house/control center is packed with computers and monitors–akin to something you might see in a jet cockpit. Just like the military now flies airplanes unmanned (drones) with people sitting in a control room thousands of miles away, drilling rigs are now being steered and controlled by a remote cockpit (dog house) hundreds of miles away. Big Data has come to the oil patch–at least it has for the country’s largest natural gas-producing company, EQT. What started as an experiment a year ago has blossomed into a control center operating all 10 of EQT’s active drilling rigs. All directional drilling, geosteering and drilling engineering, happens from a control center in EQT’s Pittsburgh headquarters. It’s really cool stuff. Beyond being cool, it saves money and time, making the company more efficient. Up next? Remote control of fracking operations…
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NH Supreme Court Decision Puts New England Pipe Back in Play

A recent New Hampshire Supreme Court decision may breathe new life into a natural gas pipeline project believed to be dead–or at least on life support. Spectra Energy (now owned by Enbridge) first announced an unnamed pipeline project to shuttle gas from the Marcellus/Utica to New England in July 2014 (see Spectra Energy to the Rescue! New England Pipeline Expansion). In September 2014 Spectra announced they had named the project Access Northeast and added Northeast Utilities–now called Eversource Energy–as a partner (see Spectra Energy New England Pipeline Gets a Name & a Partner). In December 2014, Spectra formed an alliance with a competitor, the Iroquois Gas Transmission pipeline, to further extend the reach of the project (see Spectra Energy Alliance with Iroquois to Sell Marcellus Gas to NE). The project is pegged to cost around $3 billion and would connect four different pipeline systems: Texas Eastern, Algonquin Gas Transmission, Iroquois and Maritimes & Northeast. But then Spectra/Eversource was dealt a body blow by Massachusetts in 2016 (see MA Supreme Court Ruling Endangers New England Gas Pipelines). The project was dealt a second body blow in 2016 by New Hampshire when regulators said Eversource could not pass along some of the costs of the pipeline to electric rate payers (see NH Regulators Veto Access Northeast Pipeline Contract). The NH Supreme Court has just overturned the ruling by NH regulators and has said yes, Eversource CAN pass along some of the costs, because electric customers will directly benefit from the pipeline project…
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Radical Groups Band Together to Pressure Gov Wolf to Ban Fracking

A mishmash of national Big Green and local Little Green (funded by Big Green) groups from Pennsylvania have banded together in order to apply pressure on (i.e. bully) a weak-willed governor, PA Gov. Tom Wolf. A coalition of anti-fossil fuel groups, calling themselves Pennsylvania Fracking Health Impacts, has begun protesting Wolf outside of fundraisers and other venues. Their demand? That Wolf enact an immediate moratorium (i.e. ban) on all fracking in the state. One of the useful idiots providing support to the new coalition is actor and fractivist Mark Ruffalo (who plays The Incredible Hulk in Marvel’s Avengers movies). Ruffalo trash-talked Wolf and said that Wolf, “has done nothing to help the many families who have been harmed by fracking. Now I am joining with the Pennsylvanians who are launching this public health impacts campaign to help shine a light on this unjust tragedy and ask when will Governor Wolf act?” Just because Ruffalo is a good actor doesn’t mean he’s smart. Far from it! He’s about as stupid as they come. Talented actor–you can’t take that away from him. But when it comes to actually having a brain? Sadly, he was passed over. The aim of the new group in PA is to see if they might be able to shame and pressure Wolf into shutting down the Marcellus industry. We seriously doubt that will happen, but hey, one never knows when it comes to Lib Dems…
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Only 10 Miles of Atlantic Coast Pipeline Affected by Court Ruling

Last week MDN told you that the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals had invalidated (vacated) a permit issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that allows Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) to accidentally kill a few bats and bumble bees (classified as endangered) as it builds the massive $6.5 billion, 600-mile project from West Virginia to North Carolina (see U.S. Fourth Circuit Court Vacates Key Permit for Atlantic Coast Pipe). The Sierra Club and several other radical, far-left groups were behind the court case that led to the decision. However, as it turns out, the decision doesn’t really hurt the project all that much. The vacated permit isn’t so “key” after all. Of the 600 or so miles of pipeline getting built, the vacated permit from Fish and Wildlife only affects about 10 miles of pipeline. A nothingburger. Dominion continues to build ACP and the 10 miles of affected construction will get done after Fish and Wildlife redoes the paperwork to the court’s liking. Antis are furious (as they always are), claiming the court ruling shuts down all construction. Not so. Construction continues, despite antis’ moaning and groaning…
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New Yorkers Pay 44% More for Electric than Neighboring States

On average, New York residents pay 44% more for electricity than neighboring states, like Pennsylvania. In January of this year, New Yorkers (and NY utility companies) were briefly forced to pay a record high of $140.25 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) for natural gas, as opposed to what everyone else was paying (an average of $3.08/Mcf)–which is 46 times as much! Both stats are rooted in the same issue: NY pays WAY MORE for energy than it has to, because Andrew Cuomo is blocking natural gas pipelines into the state from PA. So says a new report titled “Pipelines and their Benefits to New York” (full copy below). The report, published by the Consumer Energy Alliance, examines the benefits of pipelines to New York, highlighting the need for affordable energy supplies to keep the daily lives of families and businesses across New York moving. Without those pipelines, we’re toast. You can’t build windmills and solar farms fast enough to meet the growing demand for electricity–and natgas. Cuomo’s dysfunctional energy policies are blocking all New Yorkers, upstate and downstate, from living even moderately prosperous lives…
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Other Energy Stories of Interest: Thu, May 24, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: ODNR issued single OH Utica permit last week; NJ gov OKs $300M annual ratepayer bailout for nuke plants; WV legislature votes to join energy consortium; OH EPA seeks feedback on Shell ethane pipeline; Harold Hamm says oil heading for $80/barrel; gas market is in “serious” but “stable” condition; US battles Canada for gas market share; states & Trump admin ask court to dismiss climate change lawsuits; and more!
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