Ohio EPA Takes One More Swipe at Rover Pipe with FERC Notice

Craig Butler (aka Captain Ahab) has risen up with the Ohio EPA (aka harpoon) one last time to see if he can skewer his great white whale, the Rover Pipeline (aka Moby Dick). According to Energy Transfer Partners, builder of Rover, the Ohio EPA, which Butler heads, has filed a Notice of Violation with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as a backdoor attempt to prevent the final segments of the pipeline from going online. ET says the NOV is baseless. An ongoing delay in blocking several Rover lateral segments from going into service is causing economic harm to ET’s customers (and to ET). This isn’t the first, nor even second time Butler and OEPA have gone after Rover. It’s the upteenth time (see our Butler/Rover stories here). What’s the baseless charge this time? OEPA says Rover disposed of “spent” drilling mud containing low levels of the chemical solvent tetrachloroethene (PCE) without approval. Rover has fired back at OEPA in a letter to FERC, accusing OPEA of recycling the PCE issue after it had already been investigated and addressed…
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FERC Approves Pipeline Under the Potomac River from Md. to WV

Anti-fossil fuel nutters are on a holy mission to stop a 3.5-mile, 8-inch pipeline from being built under the Potomac River by Columbia Gas, from Maryland to West Virginia (see Maryland Antis Oppose 13th Pipeline Under Potomac as “Dangerous”). The pipeline will be built to feed a larger pipeline project from Mountaineer Gas called the Eastern Panhandle Expansion–a pipeline to deliver Marcellus/Utica natural gas via local distribution channels to a new industrial facility in Berkeley County, WV, and to provide gas to other local businesses and residents in the Tri-State area. Mountaineer began building their project in March (see Mountaineer Gas Begins Work on Morgan County, WV Pipeline). We also reported that in March the Maryland Dept. of the Environment had approved the “Potomac pipeline” project, as it’s called by antis. Here’s the inconvenient truth that mainstream news organizations fail to report: This tiny 3.5-mile pipeline will be Columbia’s 13th pipeline under the Potomac! Yet antis insist THIS is the one pipeline that will explode and contaminate the Potomac and make the water flowing down the muddy Potomac undrinkable for millions. Total BS. Here’s the new (and good) news about the Potomac pipeline: Last week the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved it, so it’s now a done deal and will definitely get built. But FERC was split in its approval, with the Democrats (predictably) citing mythical man-made global warming as a reason to deny it…
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Do Property Values Along Pipeline Routes Go Down? Not in WV

One of the oft-repeated canards by antis is that having a drill pad near you, or a pipeline crossing your property, will devalue (lower the value) of your property’s assessment and worth. If you want to sell the property you won’t get as much for it–if you can sell it at all. Who wants to live near a big, ugly drill site, or have an “explosive” pipeline running near the house? Except you can’t even see a drill pad from more than a few hundred feet away after the wells are drilled, and when the pipeline is in the ground and replanted over the top of it–you don’t see or even think about it. Let’s take the later case, of pipelines. Is there evidence that when a pipeline passes through your property, the value goes down? According to property assessors in West Virginia, the answer is “no.” At least not in the short term. Longer term, they say, will have to be watched. IF there are more incidents like the landslide that caused the Leach XPress pipeline to explode, maybe there will be an impact on assessments. But then, if you live in an area where there are frequent landslides, you have bigger valuation problems than a pipeline running through it…
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Marcellus-Fired Panda Hummel PA Power Plant Now “Complete”

It takes a long time to build a natural gas-fired electric power plant–especially a big one. We began writing about one of the largest coal-to-gas conversion projects in the country, happening in the heart of PA Marcellus country, back in February 2014 (see Panda Power Building 3rd Marcellus-Fired Electric Plant in PA). Panda Power Funds, a private equity firm located in Dallas, TX announced a partnership with Sunbury Generation to build a whopping 1,124-megawatt Marcellus gas-fired electric plant on the site of a retired coal-fired plant near Shamokin Dam in Snyder County, PA. In early April final testing was underway at the facility, and it was supposed to go online in May (see Marcellus-Fired Panda Hummel Electric Plant Roars to Life in PA). Did it actually go online in May? We don’t know and we don’t spot any stories announcing it as online. However, the main contractor building the project, Bechtel, issued a press release last week to announced that the Hummel Station Power Plant is now “completed.” Done. Finished. We suspect that also means it’s now online. The newly minted plant will provide enough electricity to power more than 1 million homes, using Marcellus gas…
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Lordstown 2nd Gas-Fired Plant in Jeopardy from Trump Policy

The outspoken Bill Siderewicz, builder of a string of gas-fired electric generating plants in Ohio and elsewhere, is (surprise!) speaking out. Siderewicz, president of Boston-based Clean Energy Future, is the builder of the Lordstown Energy Center in Trumbull County, a project begun in 2016 and now nearing completion (see Lordstown Energy Center Breaks Ground on $890M Electric Plant). The plant will generate 940 megawatts of electricity when it goes online. In addition to the Lordstown plant, Siderewicz has plans to build a second plant right next to the first. Except maybe now it won’t get built. President Trump’s Dept. of Energy, under Secretary Rick Perry, is hellbent on devising a scheme to “protect” coal-fired and nuclear electric generating plants–in the name of grid resiliency and national security. It’s bogus. We’ve previously written that we do not support it. Neither does Siderewicz. He calls Trump’s energy policy “un-American,” and said, “Everyone [who] has an IQ of more than 25 is upset about this.” Ouch. Tell us what you really think, Bill! The reason he’s upset: If you make the electricity market noncompetitive by favoring certain types of energy sources, there are consequences. Plants like the second Lordstown Energy Center, and the close-to-one billion dollars it takes to build it (and the tax revenues that flow from it) won’t materialize. If you favor coal and nukes, making their more expensive form of electricity artificially cheaper (by using government subsidies), then those who compete freely, like Siderewicz, can no longer compete. The markets are not truly free. And people like Siderewicz decide to not build these important projects…
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WV Driller Northeast Natural Energy Grows – Fracking Petri Dish

Northeast Natural Energy (NNE) is a small-to-midsized driller headquartered in Morgantown, WV. It’s a young company, drilling its first shale well in 2013. In April 2017 MDN reported that NNE had obtained $300 million of investment from two investment firms (see WV Driller Northeast Natural Energy Gets $300M Investment). They’ve put the money to good use. NNE owns 56,000 acres of leases “in the heart of the Marcellus Fairway,” with 44,000 acres in WV and 12,000 acres in southwestern PA. The company has drilled and brought online 57 shale wells. By this time next year the company expects that number to be nearly 100. One of the most interesting things about NNE is its involvement with government and university researchers. NNE drilled several test shale wells near Morgantown. The wells are part of an ongoing laboratory experiment that measures and pokes and prods everything, in an effort to learn more about shale drilling and its impacts. NNE’s test wells are a sort of living fracking petri dish. Reams of data pour in and get analyzed. Our friends at Kallanish Energy have done a deep dive into NNE. Here is a portion of their insightful report on this young and growing driller…
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Penn Virginia Puts Itself Up for Sale – Again

Although headquartered in Radnor, Pennsylvania (near Philadelphia), Penn Virginia Corporation is an oil and gas driller with (at last check) only a small presence in the Marcellus Shale: 21,700 net acres with no drilled wells. They concentrate on oil drilling the Texas Eagle Ford Shale play. Penn Virginia is one of the Philly area’s oldest companies, started in 1882 by Philadelphia coal barons. It later transitioned into an oil company. MDN told you in March 2015 that Penn Virginia’s top stockholder, the vile corporate raider George Soros, forced the company to put itself up for sale so George can line his pockets with more cash (see George Soros Finally Bullies Penn Virginia into Selling Itself). That didn’t work out so well for old George. Penn Virginia filed for bankruptcy in May 2016 (see George Soros’ Penn Virginia Corp. Files for Bankruptcy). Penn Virginia exited bankruptcy in September 2016. In June 2017, the rumor mill turned white hot with word that the company had put itself up for sale (see “Sources” Say Penn Virginia Putting Itself Up for Sale). Nothing ever came of it. Until now. In a press release issued yesterday by Penn Virginia, the company said the board is evaluating “strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value.” What do those alternatives include? “…a corporate sale, merger or other business combination, one or more strategic acquisitions, or other transactions.” In other words, the company is officially listing itself for sale…
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Energy Stories of Interest: Tue, Jul 24, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: Baltimore files doomed climate lawsuit day after NYC’s lawsuit is tossed; Columbia Gas spending $29M on gas line replacements in central OH; CNX donates property for bats; federal court rules in favor of WV refinery against EPA; California tells residents to turn the AC off and the lights out; EPA under Scott Pruitt cut $350M in regulations; Halliburton sees slowdown coming in second half of 2018; NYC teen protesters learned about climate change from cartoons; enviro do-goodism the new religious cult of Millennials; how fracking revolution broke OPEC’s hold on oil prices; and more!
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