Fracking Acid Leaks from Truck in Ohio, Forces Brief Evacuation

A spill of hydrochloric acid on Monday in Weathersfield (Trumbull County), Ohio caused a brief evacuation of three hours for 23 homes and several businesses in the area. Nobody was hurt. The acid was stored in a tanker truck. The trucking company, Predator Trucking, is headquartered in Texas but maintains a regional operation in Weathersfield. Predator is a shale subcontractor hauling various liquids, including hydrochloric acid, used in fracking. The truck in question has two chambers that hold 2,500 gallons each. A valve became corroded on one of the chambers and while the truck was parked at the company’s facility, all 2,500 gallons leaked out. It created a vapor cloud and the concern was that it may shift, hence the evacuations, out of “an abundance of caution.” This accident points out one of the negatives of fracking. Oil and gas extraction is an industrial process that uses industrial chemicals hauled by trucks to drill sites. If a truck gets in an accident, or there is equipment failure, bad things can happen. But we hasten to add, in having observed and written about the Marcellus/Utica for nearly 10 years now, this is the first such incident we can recall of hydrochloric acid leaking. In other words, this type of accident is extremely rare. And thanks to the fast action of local first responders, there were no injuries. The acid was contained inside temporary dams, and soaked up with sand. The dirt the acid leaked into has been dug up and removed. Predator is now on the hook to pick up the cost–which no doubt will be considerable…
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Leach XPress Pipe 100% Back Online Following June Explosion

TransCanada’s Leach XPress is a 160-mile natural gas pipeline (and compression facilities) located in southeastern Ohio and West Virginia’s northern panhandle. Leach XPress flows 1.5 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of gas all the way to Leach, Kentucky–hence the name. The pipeline went online January 1st, and a section of it exploded and burst into flames on June 7 (see Leach Xpress Pipeline Explodes in Marshall County, WV). What caused the explosion? TransCanada (aka Columbia Pipeline) said it was a “slip”–what we call a landslide (see Columbia Says Landslide Caused Leach XPress Explosion/Fire in WV). The good news is that the 1.5 Bcf/d pipeline is now fully fixed and back online, as of Sunday, although it’s not yet flowing at full capacity. According to Genscape, pipeline “nominations” (reservations to move gas) were at 1.15 Bcf yesterday. That will likely increase in the coming days, back to full capacity. One comment about this story caught our eye–something we’d not seen or heard before: Columbia told the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) there are six other spots along the pipeline that are “areas of concern” based on soil conditions, steep slopes or indications of slips (i.e. landslides)…
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WV Gov. Justice Perpetrating an Injustice on NatGas Developer

Steven B. Hedrick

In June MDN told you about a 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 (see Manufactured Controversy re $10B NGL Storage Hub Proponent). Hedrick, in his role as CEO of Appalachia Development Group, has led an effort to get a $10 billion NGL 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 and have had words of high praise for Hedrick and his efforts. And then, “out of the blue” last month comes an attack on Hedrick from the Charleston Gazette-Mail. We now know why–the attacks were instigated by WV Gov. Jim Justice. Which makes us scratch our head. What in the world is Justice thinking? Why would he attack the one person who is key to the state attracting a project (and investment) equivalent to two cracker plants? What is Justice smoking?…
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EIA July ’18 Drilling Report: Gas Prod. Jumps Another 1 Bcf/d

Yesterday our favorite government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), issued our favorite monthly report, the Drilling Productivity Report (DPR). The DPR is the EIA’s best guess, based on expert data crunchers, as to how much each of the U.S.’s seven major shale plays will produce for both oil and natural gas in the coming month. The Marcellus/Utica region (called Appalachia in the report) continues to see production go through the roof. As has been happening for the past 6 months or so, production in the Marcellus/Utica region will grow another 1/3 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in the coming month. It’s simply amazing! Our region adds another 1 Bcf/d every three months now. With no end in sight. If you add up new gas production for all seven major plays, the U.S. will produce an additional 1 Bcf/d in August. That’s 1 Bcf more in August than it produced in July. Mind blowing. No less impressive is U.S. oil production from shale. In last month’s report, EIA said oil production would grow 141,000 barrels. This month? Oil production will grow ANOTHER 143,000 barrels per day! Once again, new records for gas (and oil) will be shattered in August…
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Former Ormet Site in OH Handles 3 Frac Sand Unit Trains at a Time

Long Ridge Energy Terminal

Back in 2014 MDN told you that the former Ormet aluminum plant in Hannibal (Monroe County), OH had been purchased out of bankruptcy by Niagara Worldwide and turned into the Center Port Transload Facility, with an emphasis on providing services for the Marcellus/Utica industry (see Center Port Transload Facility Already Up & Running in OH). In April 2017, we brought you news about plans to build a 485-megawatt Utica gas-fired electric plant at the Center Port location (see More on Gas-Fired Elec Plant Coming to Center Port Terminal). And in January we told you that most of the facility (not all) had changed hands again, selling to Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure for $30 million, changing the name to Long Ridge Energy Terminal (see Former Ormet Site in SE OH Changes Hands, Gas-Fired Plant Coming). We spotted a new announcement from Long Ridge (née Center Port) that says the facility has just completed a rail construction project that allows the terminal to accept and load/unload three different “unit trains” of frac sand–at the same time. A unit train is a train hauling all the same commodity, in this case frac sand. Typical unit trains are 70-100 cars long. With new loop tracks now in place, Long Ridge can handle way more frac sand than it previously could. And it’s a good thing, because demand for frac sand in the Utica/Marcellus is through the roof. Long Ridge is also a barge terminal, sitting on the Ohio River. In fact, Long Ridge is the only terminal in the M-U region with both unit train and barge transloading capabilities…
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THE Delaware Riverkeeper Loses FERC Bias Court Case

Maya van Rossum

Maya van Rossum, THE Delaware Riverkeeper (as she calls herself) has struck out once again in federal court. THE van Rossum, with backing by Big Green lawyer Jordan Yeager, asked a federal court to rule that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is biased in favor of approving pipeline projects (specifically the PennEast Pipeline) because part of the agency’s funding, via permit fees, comes from the companies it regulates. It’s Miss Maya’s attempt at shutting down all approvals for any pipeline anywhere in the United States–including PennEast. Why use a fly swatter when you can use a hammer, right? Fortunately, the judges on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals didn’t fall for the ruse. The judges ruled last week that FERC’s decisions about authorizing projects are not tied to, nor influenced by, how the agency is funded. Period. In typical fashion, Riverkeeper complained that the decision didn’t go their way, lying about FERC’s “nearly 100% approval rate.” We’ve explained that approval rate before. FERC project approvals are multi-staged. Pipeline projects either fix issues FERC finds in an initial review, or the sponsors pull the projects from active consideration. The end result is that pipeline projects either meet FERC’s high standards, or they don’t get built…
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PA Seeks Comments on Boosting Shale Permit Fees 250%

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP), the agency charged with overseeing oil and gas drilling in the state, “blindsided” the shale industry in February with a proposal to hike the fee required when submitting an application to drill a new shale well (see PA DEP Plans to Raise Marcellus Well Permit Fee by 250%). The current fee is $5,000. The proposed new fee is $12,500–or 2.5 times (250%) higher. We get it…the DEP has fewer people working there than it once did and needs to hire more help. However, the DEP wants to slap this insanely high fee on shale drillers to (in part) cover the expenses associated with non-shale activities! The shale permit fees will, “fund the broad scope of the [DEP] office’s operations, including its oversight of traditional [i.e. conventional] oil and gas wells, gas storage wells, abandoned wells and earthmoving activities.” How is it, in any sense, fair to hike the fees of shale drillers so DEP agents can better keep an eye on non-shale wells? The DEP plans to steamroller this increase through (see PA DEP Hellbent to Ram Through 250% Hike in Shale Permit Fee). The DEP’s own Environmental Quality Board has already approved the increase. The next step is to publish a notice about the increase in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, which happened on Saturday. Publication triggered a 30-day public comment period. It’s now time for you to make your voice heard…
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Energy Stories of Interest: Tue, Jul 17, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: NY farmers think about what might have been; Cynthia Nixon (with with no brain) says “we must shut down the pipeline”; hydrocarbon hypocrisy in NY; PA, OH, WV rig count stays the same; Bakken boom time again; DiFi sells out to radicals in her own party, now supports frack ban; Cuadrilla completes second shale well, waiting to frack; why Big Oil can’t prevent a supply crunch; and more!
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