PA’s Largest Gas-Fired Electric Plant near Scranton Partially Online

Lackawanna Energy Center – click for larger version

It’s been some time since we’ve checked in on Invenergy’s massive Lackawanna Energy Center, a 1,480 megawatt plant under construction in Jessup, PA (near Scranton). The project will cost “well over $1 billion” according to an exclusive MDN source working on the project. When the plant is done it will be Pennsylvania’s largest natural gas-fired electric generating plant. The plant is being built in three trains or units. The good news is that the first train/unit is done and has been online producing electricity since June–despite the efforts of a local group of antis who seized power of the local town board last November (see Jessup Town Board Continues Effort to Stop Gas-Fired Elec Plant). Cabot Oil & Gas is supplying all of the gas for the plant from neighboring Susquehanna County. The second unit is in the process of going online now, and the third will be online in September. According to Invenergy, the plant is on time and under budget. Here’s more on this exciting new customer for a huge quantity of northeastern PA Marcellus gas…
Continue reading

PA DEP Quietly Releases Air Quality Study, No Impacts from Fracking

In July 2012, the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced a one-year study that will look at impacts on air quality from Marcellus drilling and the infrastructure (pipelines and compressor plants) that comes with shale gas drilling (see PA DEP Announces 1 Year Study on Air Quality in Marcellus). The study focued on Washington County in western PA, primarily in and around Chartiers Township, home of a gas processing plant. Exactly six years later the results of that “one-year” study were released by the DEP–with no comment or fanfare. With no nothing. A reporter with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noticed the unannounced release on the DEP website. We have a copy of the study/results below. What did it find? In a word–nothing. According to the Post-Gazette, the study found “limited impacts to the air quality around the sites it examined and little risk of healthy residents getting sick from breathing the air nearby.” Which explains why there’s been no fanfare, no calling attention to it. You would think the DEP would want to blow the trumpet about the results of an activity that thousands of state residents are located near. But it’s an election year, and Tom Wolf doesn’t want to rile up his fruitcake environmental base. Here’s more on the report nobody is talking about…
Continue reading

PA DEP Seeks Comments on Pipe Project to Flow Marc Gas to Ohio

You don’t often read about pipeline projects that seek to flow more Pennsylvania Marcellus gas into the Ohio Utica region. In January, Dominion Energy filed a request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to expand capacity along the existing Dominion Energy Transmission Inc. (DETI) pipeline from Pennsylvania to Ohio (see Dominion Files FERC Request to Expand Pipeline from PA to OH). Why? To flow more gas that will be used to generate electricity for the Midwest market. The project, called the Sweden Valley Project, is projected to cost $48 million and add another 120 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of PA Marcellus Shale gas to the existing flow along DETI. Dominion says all 120 MMcf/d is already contracted and spoken for–by an unnamed customer. The project expands existing capacity by building a tiny three miles of new pipeline, with the new pipeline lying next to existing pipeline (in Greene County, PA). The only greenfield/brand new construction is a 1.75-mile pipeline to connect with the Tennessee Gas Pipeline in Tuscarawas County, OH. The other main part of the project is updating three units a compressor station in Licking County, OH. In the constellation of pipeline projects that disturb earth and disrupt landowners, this one is pretty minor–yet it will deliver big results by flowing an extra 120 MMcf/d of gas west to a new market. The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection published a notice in the July 21 PA Bulletin asking for comments on the project in PA–in Greene and Armstrong counties…
Continue reading

FERC Rejects Riverkeeper re Millennium Eastern System Upgrade

In August 2016, Millennium Pipeline, which stretches from Corning, NY to just outside New York City, filed an application for what it calls its Eastern System Upgrade (see Millennium Pipe Asks FERC to Approve Eastern System Upgrade in NY). The ESU would add 7.8 miles of extra looped pipeline in Orange County, upgrade a compressor station in Delaware County, build a new compressor in Sullivan County and make some minor tweaks to metering stations in Rockland County. In something of a miracle, the NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation granted permits for the project (see NY DEC Grants Permit for Millennium Pipe Eastern System Upgrade). Predictably, THE Delaware Riverkeeper, hater of all things fossil fuel, moved for a “stay” to block construction and filed a request for rehearing with FERC, and at the same time filed a lawsuit against the DEC’s water permit approval. In March FERC rejected Riverkeeper’s request for a stay, but not the rehearing (see FERC Rejects Riverkeeper Request to Stop Millennium Eastern Upgrade). The other shoe dropped last week when FERC rejected the request by Riverkeeper (and an anti from Orange County) for a rehearing. But not without some drama. In what has become a repeating pattern, the two Democrat members of FERC wanted a rehearing to consider mythical man-made global warming impacts from the project. It’s total horse manure, but there you go. This is how it’s going to be from here on out. The Democrats have politicized everything, even non-controversial pipeline projects like this one…
Continue reading

Can the Marcellus/Utica Build Too Many Cracker Plants?

The Marcellus/Utica region produces a prodigious volume of ethane, a “natural gas liquid” (NGL) that comes out of the ground along with methane. That’s a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good because that ethane can be cracked (chemically) to produce ethylene–or raw plastics. It’s bad because we don’t have any crackers, currently, in our region–and just a small volume of our ethane travels via pipeline to the Gulf Coast or Canada for cracking. So right now ethane is a waste produce for most Marcellus/Utica drillers–something that costs money to dispose of. Shell is currently building a $6+ billion cracker in Monaca (Beaver County), PA, which will go online sometime after 2020. PTT Global Chemical is seriously considering, some say will finally commit, to building our region’s second cracker project in Belmont County, OH. At the Appalachian Storage Hub Conference held in Southpointe in June, an expert said we will see three more cracker plant projects announced within the next 12 months (see Industry Expert Says 3 More Crackers Coming to M-U). Exciting stuff! But, can there be too many crackers in the northeast? That’s the question asked in a recent E&E News report. Experts quoted in the article say that the Gulf Coast has too much of a head start on the northeast. Yet, a big part of the plastics market (the East Coast) is on our doorstep. States in our region take a heavier hand in regulating these plants than states along the Gulf Coast. Given these projects cost $5-$10 billion each to build, and the possibility that building one that doesn’t pan out would sink a company, it’s no wonder these decisions take years to make, and then more years to actually build the plant. Just how many crackers are too many? How much is too much of a good thing?…
Continue reading

Williams to Appeal FERC’s Constitution Pipe Decision to Fed Court

Last Friday MDN brought you the sad news that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rejected Williams’ request to rehear an earlier decision to not overrule the New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) decision to block the Constitution Pipeline (see FERC Declines to Overrule NY DEC re Constitution Pipe 2nd Time). We personally don’t see many (really any) pathways where the Constitution now gets built. But to their credit, Williams is not giving up. After FERC’s decision last week, the company announced it will appeal that decision to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, asking the judges to overrule the DEC (bypassing FERC). Williams has filed in various courts, including the Supreme Court, to hear the Constitution case. Why not try the D.C. Circuit Court? There’s really nothing to lose. The project is currently as dead as a doornail anyway. So, hats off to Williams for giving it one last try…
Continue reading

Energy Stories of Interest: Mon, Jul 23, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: Naive, miseducated students rally in Pittsburgh re “climate change”; as pipelines come online, more efficient movement of our gas boosts industry; Appalachian storage hub, prosperity’s next step; Molinaro’s call for fracking is hopeful for Upstate NY; a recycled story about Utica fracking causing STDs; Cabot’s Q2 is going to “knock your socks off”; NY ratepayers to fund offshore wind farm, not get access to the electricity; Rice Midstream OKs merger with EQT Midstream; FERC policy throws a lifeline to MLPs; what is digitization and why is it good for o&g; and more!
Continue reading