Cabot O&G to Begin Drilling in Ashland County, OH This Week

Location of Cabot’s 2 initial test wells (in green), tan regions show gas storage fields – click for larger version

As we have reported since late last year, Cabot Oil & Gas, long-known for the incredible amount of Marcellus natural gas they produce out of a single northeastern Pennsylvania county (Susquehanna), is eyeing north central Ohio as a potential spot for “what’s next” after the Marcellus (see Cabot O&G Considers Drilling in Ashland County, OH). Cabot locked up leases and is planning to drill a number of test wells in not only Ashland, but also Holmes, Knox, Richland and Wayne counties in the Buckeye State (see New Details Emerge on Cabot’s Shale Plans in Central Ohio). The company doesn’t know exactly what it will find–gas, NGLs or perhaps even oil–but they’re about to find out. In April Cabot began pushing dirt around to construct its first wellpad in Ashland (see New Cabot Drilling Program Kicks Off This Week in Ashland, OH). Sometime this week, the company will spud (drill) its first hole in the ground. Buckle up! This is an exciting time for landowners in Ashland County. Here’s more on Cabot’s new program in Ohio…
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WV Ethane Cracker Plant Rumored to be Back On Again

It increasingly looks like LyondellBasell Industries, one of the largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies in the world, will buy out/take over Braskem, the largest petrochemical company in Latin America (headquartered in Brazil). Braskem and its parent company Odebrecht, as you may recall, was hot-to-trot to build a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker near Parkersburg, WV–four years ago. Odebrecht got mired in scandal in Brazil and that put things on hold in 2015 (see Odebrecht Pushes the Pause Button on WV Ethane Cracker). But in 2016 it appeared the project may rekindle (see A Pulse! WV Ethane Cracker Project Comes Back from the Dead). Since that time, we’ve not heard much. A rumbling here and there, but not much. Now that LyondellBassell is actively pursuing Braskem, there is once again excitement about the cracker project in WV. MDN has heard from an industry source that if Braskem sells to LyondellBassell, the Parkersburg cracker plant will be a high priority. In fact, an expert speaking at the recent NGL storage hub event in Southpointe mentioned the WV cracker by name as one of three projects that he thinks will get final approval in the next 12 months (see Industry Expert Says 3 More Crackers Coming to M-U). Here’s news about how M&A deals happening on other continents directly affect our region–how a LyondellBassell purchase of Braskem may indeed reignite the Parkersburg ethane cracker project…
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Manufactured Controversy re $10B NGL Storage Hub Proponent

Steven B. Hedrick

There’s a new (manufactured) controversy swirling around Steven B. Hedrick, CEO of Appalachia Development Group and also CEO of the non-profit Mid-Atlantic Technology, Research and Innovation Center, or MATRIC. What’s that? You’re not familiar with that name? Hedrick, in his role as CEO of Appalachia Development Group, has led an effort to get a $10 billion NGL (primarily ethane) storage hub established in Appalachia–most likely in West Virginia. It’s a huge amount of money, will take cooperation from multiple states and will require multiple sources of funding to make it all happen. Hedrick has led the effort. Both of WV’s U.S. Senators, Shelley Moore Capito (Republican) and Joe Manchin (Democrat) have worked on behalf of this project (one could argue they’ve worked on behalf of Hedrick) and have had words of high praise for Hedrick and his efforts. But the Charleston Gazette-Mail, working in tandum with the left-leaning ProPublica, has decided Hedrick needs to be taken down a notch or two. In a recent article, the Gazette-Mail tries to paint Hedrick as having a big conflict of interest and bilking taxpayers for a trip. Hedrich was a member of the delegation that visited China last year when then-Commerce Secretary Woody Thrasher got China to sign a mammoth $83.7 billion deal to invest in shale and petrochemicals in WV (see China Agrees to Invest Amazing $83.7 BILLION in WV Shale, Petchem). The Gazette-Mail article says Hedrick went on the taxpayer-funded trade mission not to represent WV, but on his own behalf, attempting to get Chinese investment that would somehow benefit him (Hedrick) personally. No doubt he was trying to get the Chinese interested in investing in the $10 billion storage hub. We would expect nothing less! But that attempt has now been twisted into a narrative that Hedrick was trying to benefit himself rather than WV…
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Another New Gas-Fired Elec Plant Being Planned in New Jersey

Click for larger version

Details so far are sketchy, but it appears that plans are taking shape to build a 660-megawatt gas-fired electric plant in Holland Township (Hunterdon County), NJ. Phoenix Energy Center wants to build the plant along the shore of the Musconetcong River, classified as a Category One (C1) trout stream. Sierra Club nutters are in full panic mode, attempting to prevent such a horrible injustice from happening. God forbid more New Jerseyites get cheaper electricity from a cleaner source! The Holland plant, if it were to get built, would likely get its natural gas from Elizabethtown Gas, which in turn is due to get additional gas supplies from the still-unbuilt PennEast Pipeline. Holland Township officials stress talks are preliminary, and nobody has signed nor agreed to anything. Phoenix isn’t saying anything–and no wonder, because anytime Big Green (the Sierra Club) catches wind of a project like this one, they rush in to try and abort the baby before it’s even born. Here’s the few, scant details known about the Phoenix Energy Center project in Holland Township…
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Part of Leach XPress Pipe Up and Running Following Explosion

Leach XPress explosion location – click for larger version

Last Thursday MDN reported that TransCanada was working to restore partial service to the Leach XPress Pipeline (see TransCanada Working to Restore Partial Service on Leach XPress Pipe). Leach XPress only came online in January. The pipeline experienced an explosion and fire on June 7 (see Leach XPress Pipeline Explodes in Marshall County, WV). Most of the 1.5 billion cubic feet per day of Marcellus/Utica gas flowing through the pipeline was stopped. As of Friday, the Stagecoach-LXP meter, which ties into the Strike Force South gathering system station, was once again flowing, up to 190 million cubic feet per day. Which means Monroe and Belmont counties (OH) are now reconnected and flowing. As for the rest of the pipeline and its various metering stations, it’s all still shut down with no word on when it will be repaired and back online. There’s still no word on what caused the explosion in the first place…
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FERC Denies Rehearing Request for Mountain Valley Pipe 3-2

In May MDN told you that Big Green groups were successful in getting the U.S. District Court of Appeals for D.C. to force the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to either move forward with, or reject a rehearing request on their decision to approve the Mountain Valley Pipeline (see Fed Court Forces FERC to Decide on MVP Rehearing, No More Delays). MVP a $3.5 billion, 301-mile pipeline that will run from Wetzel County, WV to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsylvania County, VA–to move Marcellus/Utica gas south. Last Friday FERC obeyed the court and voted 3-2 against rehearing their previous decision to approve the project. Yes, the two Democrat Commissioners voted to rehear the decision–meaning they want to stop MVP. The two Dems have been co-opted by Big Green and Big Democrats and now apparently don’t/won’t think for themselves. It’s a scary proposition for “someday” when Dems regain the White House and can once again pack FERC with a majority–which will stop any new pipeline projects cold. Scary thought. At any rate, FERC’s Republicans made powerful and persuasive arguments for why the original decision to approve MVP was/is correct and doesn’t need to be revisited. Bottom line: Big Green is no doubt at the courthouse even as you read this filing a lawsuit against FERC and their decision. They could not file the lawsuit prior to a rehearing denial by FERC. Now that FERC has told Big Green to buzz off, a lawsuit to try and stop MVP is 100% certain to follow…
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Energy Stories of Interest: Mon, Jun 18, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: Analyst says Ohio in for chemical & plastics boom; Southern Star natgas pipeline catches fire in Kansas; US LNG exports drop last week, no cargoes from Cove Point; EIA expects Brent crude prices to average $71/barrel this year, $68/barrel next year; all eyes are on OPEC & Russia to see if they boost production; what if India & China used natgas and oil like the U.S.?; green future stars with natgas, world energy chiefs say; and more!
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