PennFuture Tries to Bully Pittsburgh Airport re Gas Royalties

As is so often the case, radical Big Green groups, like PennFuture, attempt to intimidate (i.e. bully) by using threats of legal action, those who dare to use and (gasp) enjoy the monetary benefits of shale drilling. In early 2013 the Pittsburgh International Airport and Allegheny County, PA signed a deal with CONSOL Energy (now CNX Resources) to lease 9,000 acres surrounding the airport for natural gas drilling (see $50M Check in the Mail: Pittsburgh Airport Lease a Done Deal). The airport received a $50 million signing bonus and the promise of 18% royalties on anything produced and sold. The first wells began to flow natural gas for the first time exactly two years ago, in July 2016 (see CONSOL’s First Pittsburgh Airport Wells Begin to Flow NatGas). So far, for 2016 and 2017, the airport has received a grand total of just over $16 million in royalty payments and another $857,000 from other fees. Yikes! The airport uses the revenue “to reduce airline rates and charges and for capital expenditures…at the Airport.” So along comes the Big Green bullies from PennFuture, threatening to sue the airport if it doesn’t use the money for what PennFuture wants it used for. Yeah, the money does not belong to PennFuture, but that doesn’t stop this rogue “nonprofit” from throwing its weight around and making demands. PennFuture is telling the airport the money MUST be used to “further the interests of citizens under the environmental rights amendment.” Whatever that means. PennFuture told the airport, in a nasty letter, that the airport is in violation of Article I, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution. Our advice to the airport: Tell PennFuture to take a hike in the vast PA outdoors…
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Exploded Leach XPress Pipe Won’t be Online Until Mid-July

Leach XPress Pipeline explosion/fire on June 7

TransCanada’s Leach XPress project–some 160 miles of new natural gas pipeline and compression facilities in southeastern Ohio and West Virginia’s northern panhandle which flows 1.5 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of gas all the way to Leach, Kentucky (hence the name)–went online January 1st. A section of the pipeline exploded and burst into flames on June 7 (see Leach Xpress Pipeline Explodes in Marshall County, WV). Still no word on what caused the explosion, although the investigation seems to be centered on a welded seam. TransCanada (and their Columbia Gas Transmission subsidiary) is working hard to get the pipeline back online. The company told shippers in mid-June they expected to have the full 1.5 Bcf/d pipeline back online “early in July” (see TransCanada Says Exploded Leach XPress Pipe Back Online in July). That’s not going to happen since it’s now early July. Last Friday, Columbia pushed back the date to “mid-July,” due to challenges in getting everything remediated and fixed because of heavy rain in the area. Meanwhile, the drillers using Leach continue to find other ways to get their gas to market…
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PA DEP Grants Williams NE Supply Enhancement Pipe Key Permit

NESE map – click for larger version

The Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) is a Williams Transco Pipeline project meant to increase pipeline capacity and flows heading into northeastern markets (see Time to Support Transco’s Northeast Supply Enhancement Project). Transco wants to provide more Marcellus natural gas to utility giant National Grid beginning with the 2019-2020 heating season. National Grid operates in New York City, Long Island, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. There are a number of components to the project, but the key component, the heart of the project, is a new 23-mile pipeline from the shore of New Jersey into (on the bottom of) the Raritan Bay–running parallel to the existing Transco pipeline–before connecting to the Transco offshore. After an initial rejection by the New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Williams refiled an application for the project in May with the DEC (see Williams Refiles Application with NY DEC for Transco NESE Project). Meanwhile, there are portions of the project in Pennsylvania that have already been approved by the PA’s Dept. of Environmental Protection. In a notice published in the June 16 Pennsylvania Bulletin, the DEP issued the project a Section 401 Water Quality Certification for work being done in Lancaster and Chester counties. According to the PA Environment Digest Blog: “The Project facilities consist of approximately 10.17 miles of new 42-inch diameter natural gas pipeline in Drumore, East Drumore, and Eden Townships, Lancaster County and the addition of one 21,902 horsepower motor-driven compressor at the existing Compressor Station 200 in East Whiteland Twp., Chester County.” Too bad the dysfunctional NY DEC couldn’t be more like the mostly-functional PA DEP…
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Boardwalk Pipeline Parent Taking Co. Private, Dissolving MLP

We write about Boardwalk Pipeline Partners every now and again. They don’t have a lot of pipelines in the Marcellus/Utica region–but what they do have is important. One of the pipelines operated by Boardwalk is the huge Texas Gas Transmission (TGT)–originally built from the Louisiana Gulf Coast to the upper Midwest to supply Illinois, Indiana and Ohio with natural gas. But then the Marcellus/Utica Shale happened and TGT needed to change strategies. Through a series of projects, TGT made the pipeline system bidirectional, so it could flow gas from the Marcellus/Utica to points south, going as far as the Gulf Coast. In May 2016 TGT began to flow up to 626 million cubic feet per day of Marcellus/Utica gas as far away as the Gulf Coast (see 626 Mmcf/d of Northeast Shale Gas Begins Flowing to Gulf Today). Little known fact: About half of that gas, some 300 Mmcf/d, goes to Cheniere’s Sabine Pass LNG export plant, where it’s super-cooled into LNG and shipped to other countries. Boardwalk is in a multi-year process of expanding TGT by another 384 MMcf/d of capacity. In April 2017, the company asked FERC for an extension to complete the project, until 2020 (see Texas Gas Asks FERC for Extra 2 Yrs on Northern Supply Access Proj). We bring you all of that information to point out Boardwalk’s importance to our region, and to introduce the news that the parent company that owns most of Boardwalk, Loews Corp., is in the process of “buying out” the MLP (master limited partnership) units it doesn’t already own, and then removing all MLP units (i.e. shares) from public trading. In other words, it’s going private. Why? Due to the Trump tax cut and subsequent FERC ruling that makes MLPs much less attractive as a form of organization than they once were…
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New Kid on the Block Gives THE Dela. Riverkeeper Some Competition

Sandra Meola

Looks like THE Delaware Riverkeeper, Maya van Rossum, now has some competition. We’ve written about the radical Riverkeeper for years–an anti-fossil fuel organization hellbent to stop the use of fossil fuels by opposing fracking and pipelines anywhere and everywhere throughout the Marcellus/Utica region. Fruitcakes. Funded by the William Penn Foundation and Heinz Endowments, among other politically-active-yet-tax-exempt Big Green funders. But what’s this? There’s a relatively new organization (formed in 2012) called the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed (CDRW). Beginning this month, Sandra Meola becomes director of the organization. By all accounts the CDRW is just as far-left as Riverkeeper, although CDRW seems to be more about raising money for particular projects rather than suing fossil fuel companies. According to the CDRW website, “The Coalition is made up of numerous organizations working throughout the four-state Delaware River Watershed to protect and restore one of America’s great river basins. Members range in size and reach from local groups on the front lines of Watershed protection, to organizations that work on regional, state, and national levels.” In looking through the Members page (the list of organizations that belong to the CDRW), we spot the usual suspects. PennFuture, Trout Unlimited, Pennsylvania Environmental Council–radical green groups all, vehemently opposed to shale energy. Noticeably absent from the CDRW Members list is THE Delaware Riverkeeper. We wonder, why is that?…
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Canadian Goldboro LNG Inches Toward Final Investment Decision

The Goldboro LNG export facility in Nova Scotia continues its march (shuffle?) toward construction. As we reported in February, Pieridae Energy (the builder) has enlisted the help of Morgan Stanley and Société Générale to help raise $10 billion to build it (see Pieridae Energy Hires Morgan Stanley, SG to Help Fund Goldboro LNG). Last May, MDN told you that Pieridae Energy had signed a labor agreement to build the Goldboro LNG export facility along the shore of Nova Scotia, Canada (see Update on Goldboro LNG – Labor Agreement Signed to Build). The U.S. Dept. of Energy approved the plant for exporting to non-free trade agreement counties in February 2016, an indication that Marcellus/Utica gas may flow to the plant (see Goldboro LNG Project Gets Final DOE Approval – Good for Marcellus). And in May, we told you the facility is lining up customers for its LNG in Europe (see Goldboro LNG in Nova Scotia Negotiating Deal to Sell LNG to Europe). It’s now time for Pieridae to decide. If they don’t begin construction on the project in the next nine months, they risk losing Nova Scotia environmental approval…
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BP’s 67th Statistical Review – Fossil Fuels Still Going Strong

Oil and gas giant BP recently released its annual Statistical Review of World Energy–the 67th edition! (Full copy below.) A number of big energy companies, like Exxon Mobil, as well as government agencies, publish similar reports that characterize current and future world energy trends. However, one analyst we read says BP’s report is the best: “I have relied upon the BP World Energy report for years. It is not a report to be viewed with a partisan eye, but as merely one of the best, if not the best, energy trend device available anywhere. In comparison to government agencies like the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) the global International Energy Association (IEA) or OPEC’s own World Oil Outlook, the BP report has proven itself to be far more valuable in finding investable trends. I would never recommend any oil sector without having the statistical evidence of the BP World Energy Report behind me.” This year’s report finds that oil and natural gas consumption increased significantly in 2017. It also finds the U.S. best-positioned to meet that increasing demand, thanks to the shale miracle. Below we have some of the key highlights from the report, followed by a full copy…
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Energy Stories of Interest: Tue, Jul 3, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: Cabot pays a visit to Loudonville Council to discuss Ohio drilling; cracker plant takes shape in Beaver, PA; with pressure from corp. raider Carl Ichan, SandRidge looks to sell; Rhode Island stupidly sues major oil companies for global warming; natgas shortages coming this winter?; US Chamber continues drumbeat against Trump tariffs; Canada competes with Gulf Coast for petchems; and more!
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