FREE Audio: MDN Top 5 Stories for Week of August 6, 2018

Below is an audio recording (“podcast”) featuring the Top 5 stories most read over the past week on MDN. Just click on the green button to listen. Below the recording is a list of the Top 5 with links to click to read the full stories (available only for subscribers). This list is meant as a way for folks to quickly catch up on the most essential news of the week–“essential” as determined by MDN’s audience of readers. Enjoy!


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Robert McNally New EQT CEO; Thomas Karam New EQT Midstream CEO

Robert McNally – EQT’s former CFO and new CEO

EQT finally has a new CEO. And we’re here to pat ourselves on the back as the first media outlet to name him–two weeks ago! MDN previously noted that for both EQT’s annual meeting in June, and then again for EQT’s quarterly update with analysts, “acting” CEO David Porges wasn’t anywhere to be found (see Strange: EQT Interim CEO Porges Skips Quarterly Conference Call). Here were our exact words, two weeks ago today: “Porges also skipped yesterday’s quarterly analyst phone call to update big investors on the company’s performance (equally unheard of). Once again the heavy lifting fell to Robert McNally, EQT CFO, to be “the guy” sent out front and center to talk about the company….EQT is currently conducting a search to find a new CEO. In the meantime, board chairman and former CEO David Porges stepped back into the role of CEO. But judging from his absence at critical events where the CEO always shows up, it’s pretty obvious he isn’t actually running the company. Looks to us like McNally is the guy running the company.” MDN was the *only* media outlet to say what nobody else would say–that McNally is the guy running the show. And my oh my, how right we were! Yesterday EQT issued a statement to say that McNally has been named as the permanent/new CEO. In addition, the company named Thomas Karam to head up (become CEO of) the midstream division that’s about to be spun off into its own standalone company. Karam replaces Jeremiah Ashcroft who was “relieved of all duties with EQT and its subsidiaries, effective August 8, 2018” (i.e. fired)…
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Anti Fossil Fuel Zealots in Oneonta, NY Oppose CNG Terminal

A boatload of anti fossil fuel zealots from Cooperstown put down their wine glasses long enough to pack an auditorium in nearby Oneonta to bloviate against a sensible plan to build a CNG “decompressor” facility to accept trucks loaded with CNG during wintertime and summertime when area supplies of natgas get dangerously low. We wrote about the proposed facility, described as “a decompression station for compressed natural gas deliveries by truck to supplement resources” two weeks ago (see Oneonta, NY Wants to Build NatGas Decompressor for Short Supplies). In brief, here’s the issue: On really cold and really hot days there’s not enough natural gas in the region, and some large users of gas, like the local hospital and state university, actually have to stop using gas and switch to burning oil as a backup. It’s nuts. To overcome lack of clean-burning gas supplies, the local econ development people are trying to chase down grants to build a decompression station which would be used for maybe two weeks out of the entire year. Wednesday night the Oneonta Town Board held a hearing to get more details about the project. The loons from Cooperstown (i.e., Otsego 2000) turned out in force, some 100 of them, to protest the plan. Why? Because it’s a “fossil fuel.” What did the loons offer as an alternative to this sensible plan to truck in CNG only on days when it’s needed? They recommend “retrofitting old buildings to save energy” (i.e. throw on extra sweaters and turn the thermostat down), or switch to renewables. You know, solar and wind nirvana. What about when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow? Just do without. It’d only be for a few days at a time…
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EmberClear to Pay $31M in Lieu of Taxes for Cadiz, OH Power Plant

Ever hear of a PILOT? No, not the airplane kind. A PILOT is a “payment in lieu of taxes”–a common arrangement for electric generating plants. If such plants paid property taxes at full market value, the taxes would be so insanely high the plants would be uneconomical and therefore wouldn’t get built. So PILOTs are used instead. Such an agreement was recently reached between EmberClear and Harrison County, OH. In September 2016, MDN reported that EmberClear planned to fund and build a new $900 million electric generating plant in Harrison County (see $900M Utica Gas-Fired Electric Plant Coming to Harrison County, OH). The Harrison Hills Power Plant will be fed by Utica Shale gas. EmberClear received approval for the project in June from the Ohio Power Siting Board (see Ohio Approves $900M Harrison County Power Plant in Cadiz, OH). Although construction has not yet begun, another piece of the puzzle has fallen into place. EmberClear agreed to pay $31 million in PILOT payments (i.e. taxes) over 15 years, which will help fund the Harrison Hills City School District as well as Harrison County and its municipalities. With a PILOT now in place, the plant will get built, beaucoup payments will get made, and everybody will be happy…
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CPV Floats Plan for New Marcellus-Fired Power Plant in NJ

For some reason, Competitive Power Venture (CPV) picks states that are adamantly opposed to new gas-fired electric plants as the location for new projects. We wrote yesterday about CPV’s project in Orange County, NY. With four days left before CPV was due to throw the switch and start the plant, the very corrupt Gov. Andrew Cuomo pulled the rug out from under them (see 3 Options for Blocked NY Marcellus-Fired Electric Plant). CPV already owns a gas-fired plant in Woodbridge Township (Middlesex County), NJ. CPV has just floated a plan to build a second gas-fired plant next to the existing plant in Woodbridge. Yeah, gluttons for punishment. NY and NJ are two peas in a Big Green pod. Radicalized environmentalists are already sounding the alarm about the new Woodbridge project. Here we go again…
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Franklin County, VA Landowners Lose Round #1 to Stop MV Pipe

A federal judge turned down a request by six Franklin County, VA landowners to shut down construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) in their area. The six claim that work being done by MVP is leading to soil erosion–that storm water runoff has resulted in mountains of mud ending up on their property. The legal argument is “trespass” for failing to do the work correctly, thereby leading to an intrusion on their property. The judge denied the request. However, the judge did not toss out the entire lawsuit–only a request for a preliminary injunction. The lawsuit itself will continue. Not that it makes much of a difference. All work on MVP is currently stopped anyway (see FERC Shuts Down ALL Work on Mountain Valley Pipeline in WV, VA). There’s no need for a preliminary injunction if there’s no work happening. Here’s the story of six ticked-off landowners not happy with how MVP is doing work in their area…
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Other Shoe Drops: PA Methane Emissions Regs for Existing Sources

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s Administration has been fiddling with proposed regulations to cut down on so-called fugitive methane emissions from drilling and pipelines for years. The regulations are known as General Permit 5 (GP-5) and General Permit 5A (GP-5A). GP-5 applies to pipelines and compressor stations, while GP-5A applies to well pads and drilling. In June, the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP), author of the revised regs, published its final final final final version of the regs (see PA DEP Releasing Onerous New GP-5 & 5A Methane Regs June 8). The new regs will go into effect this month. But here’s the thing. These onerous regulations apply only to *new* and not *existing* sources of methane emissions. With the revised regs about to go into effect for new sources, right on cue Big Green groups began pressuring Wolf to apply them to existing sources too (see Big Green Pressures Gov. Wolf to Expand Onerous Methane Regs). That was, of course, the intention all along–to hamstring (and shut down) the Marcellus industry by saddling it with insanely high costs to comply with regulations that won’t do a thing to “save the planet” from methane poisoning (a non-existent threat). Unfortunately the Wolf DEP is signaling it will propose insanely onerous new methane emissions regulations for *existing* sources in early 2019. So this is fair warning to the industry to begin a counter-offensive now. It’s also fair warning to conventional drillers–the DEP is going to float new regs for you in 1Q19 as well…
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Disappointing: Trump to Nominate Nuke/Coal Proponent to FERC

Just yesterday we posted an article observing that today, Friday, is Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) member Rob Powelson’s last day on the job (see FERC Commissioner Rob Powelson Leaving Friday – Deadlock Looms). We won’t lie (when do we ever lie?): We’re pretty sore at Powelson, and grumpy that for the foreseeable future no new pipeline projects will get approved due to the two partisan Democrats on the Commission who now vote against every pipeline project. The rumor mill is in overdrive that Trump has already picked a replacement for Powelson–Bernard McNamee, head of the Department of Energy’s Office of Policy. McNamee helped roll out a plan favored by Trump and DOE Secretary Rick Perry to artificially favor and boost nuclear and coal energy sources, at the expense of other sources like natural gas. Boneheaded plan. This is the guy Trump now wants at FERC. Recall that FERC rejected DOE’s boneheaded “save coal and nuke plants” plan. No doubt Trump is looking to stack the deck in his favor by naming McNamee. On the plus side, we suspect McNamee would be a reliable vote in favor of pipeline projects, so it’s not all bad news. But the issue remains that Senate Democrats can and most certainly will delay any confirmation votes on McNamee–likely until after the November election. This is how dirty politicians play the game. We’re not thrilled with McNamee, but we’d rather have him at FERC than an ongoing 2-2 deadlock…
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Energy Stories of Interest: Fri, Aug 10, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: Local natgas projects need to be stopped–from a loon in Ithaca; drilling for miles in the Marcellus – laterals reach new lengths; non-impact uses of impact fee money in PA; WV House panel vots to impeach entire WV Supreme Court; pipeline getting expanded in Maine; trade war spooks oil and gas exports; natgas storage numbers still down, but prices remain the same; energy conference calls climate change “fake”; EU wants US to cut red tape for LNG exports; Nigeria – the next natgas giant?; and more!
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