FERC Approves Transco Pipeline Expansion in New Jersey

Click for larger version

Last Friday, before Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Commissioner Rob Powelson left the building for the last time, FERC approved a small but important expansion of the Williams Transco Pipeline in New Jersey, called the Rivervale to South Market project. We first told you about the Rivervale project last year when Williams filed an application for it with FERC (see New Project Seeks to “Uprate” Transco Pipeline in Northern NJ). The Rivervale project will expand the mighty Transco pipeline in northern New Jersey to deliver an extra 190 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of low-carbon, clean-burning Marcellus Shale gas to markets in northern NJ and New York City. The project calls for “uprating” a little over 10 miles of pipeline (same pipeline with more pressure and more gas), and adding a half mile of new looping pipeline–which is more than enough to set off the whackadoodles at the NJ Sierra Club. One of two Democrat FERC commissioners, Richard “Dick” Glick, voted in part against approving the project because he says it will lead to more global warming. Typical lib Dem. Here’s Williams’ good news announcement, and a copy of FERC’s 46-page approval…
Continue reading

FERC Rejects PennEast Pipe Rehearing Request – Antis Sue

Elvis – song & dance

Last Friday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied a rehearing request by radical enviro groups with respect to the PennEast Pipeline project. That is, FERC said “we’re sticking with our original decision to approve the project.” In January, FERC voted 4-1 to approve the $1 billion, 120-mile natgas pipeline that will stretch from northeast PA to the Trenton area of New Jersey (see FERC Grants Final Approval for PennEast Pipe – Real Battle Begins). FERC Commissioner Richard “Dick” Glick voted against the project claiming it will lead to more man-made global warming. But the other Dem FERC Commissioner, Cheyl LaFleur, voted to approve it–at least in January. In Friday’s “order on rehearing” LaFleur flipped and said she’s had second thoughts about the project. She voted “in part” to rehear the original decision. Glick voted to rehear. Bottom line: both LaFleur and Glick want to kill the PennEast project. That’s the upshot of Friday’s FERC communication. Unfortunately FERC Commissioner Rob Powelson has abandoned us and we will now face a 2-2 deadlock on key decisions like this one for the foreseeable future–because Senate Democrats will block a vote on a new, third, Republican member of the Commission until after the November election. Thanks Rob. The radical anti groups that filed the rehearing request–THE Delaware Riverkeeper (aka Maya van Rossum) and the NJ Sierra Club (aka Jeff Tittel)–immediately filed lawsuits with the Washington, D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The antis could only take their case to court once FERC had denied a rehearing request. That’s the song and dance routine we must go through on the way to fighting to build every square inch of any new pipeline project in the northeast. Pipeline company files application, FERC approves, radical groups request a rehearing, rehearing denied, lawsuit filed. That’s the formula that plays out over and over again. Below is a copy of FERC’s approval along with details about antis filing their lawsuits…
Continue reading

Is MVP Still Under Construction Following FERC Stop-Work Order?

We spotted something that seemed a bit odd to us. In a story about pipelines in WV and the challenges they face, EQT said they continue to engage in some construction activities for Mountain Valley Pipeline, even though the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently ordered them to stop all construction on the project until further notice (see FERC Shuts Down ALL Work on Mountain Valley Pipeline in WV, VA). At least, that’s what EQT appears to be saying. Background: The radical Sierra Club convinced the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to overturn permits issued by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that allows EQT Midstream’s 303-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline to cross 3.5 miles of Jefferson National Forest in West Virginia and Virginia (see Court Cancels Permits for Mountain Valley Pipe on Fed Land). Even though 3.5 miles is like 1% of the entire MVP project, FERC told MVP to “cease immediately” *all* construction activities along the *entire length* of the pipeline, until the permit issue for Jefferson National Forest is resolved. And yet, an EQT spokesperson told a WV reporter, “Various construction activities have been happening along the route, include construction of compression facilities, tree felling, trenching, welding, stringing of pipe.” Did she mean those things happened *until* FERC told them to stop? Or they’ve continued to happen *after* FERC told them to stop? We report, you decide…
Continue reading

100+ PA Landowners Sue EQT re Gas Storage Field Payments

According to Washington County, PA landowner Joe Raposky, EQT has been storing natural gas under his property in Finleyville without permission and without compensation since at least 2007. Last year Raposky asked EQT to compensate him and they refused. So Mr. Raposky has organized over 100 of his neighbors along with landowners who sit over top of other similar underground storage fields in the region, and on July 30 they filed a lawsuit against EQT. PA has some 60 gas storage fields spread across 26 counties in the state. The fields are used to temporarily store and then retrieve natural gas. Storage, which is not something we write about very much, is in fact a big deal when it comes to the natural gas market. Not all gas is used as soon as its extracted and sold along a pipeline. There are two main “seasons” in the natural gas industry–injection season, from April 1 through October 31, when a surplus is stored underground, and withdrawal season, from November 1 through March 31, when more gas is used than is produced. Storage fields like the one in Finleyville are an important part of the natgas puzzle. In some cases, landowners are only now becoming aware of the existing fields under their feet and they (rightly) want to be compensated for the use of their property. Is storage the next big bone of contention between landowners and drillers?…
Continue reading

PA PUC Wants to Expand 811 to Include Stripper Wells

In just about every state in the country, before you start digging a hole in the ground for some reason (water well, septic system, laying an underground electric line, etc.)–the first thing you do is call 811 or some similar phone number. The “one call” or “first call” reaches a state-authorized (not necessarily state-run) office where they have, on file, maps detailing any kind of underground cables, pipelines and other infrastructure. If such underground structures exist, a representative of the owner for the underground line will, if necessary, stop by and mark the areas so when you do begin digging, you don’t hit it. Makes sense. A bill introduced in 2016 in the Pennsylvania legislature “enhances” the existing 811 law in PA. One of the “enhancements” is that it removes an exclusion for low-pressure natural gas gathering pipelines from being required to be part of the 811 system, mainly lines run to conventional gas wells. The bill was opposed by the Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association (see PIOGA Opposes Bill to Regulate Unregulated PA Gathering Pipelines). The bill was reintroduced in March 2017 (see PA State Senator Introduces Bill to Regulate Gathering Pipelines). Once again PIOGA pushed back. In June 2017, a compromise was reached to exclude pipelines running to “stripper wells”–i.e. low-producing conventional wells. With that compromise in place, both the PA Senate and House voted to adopt the plan and it was signed into law (see Shale + Large Conventional Gathering Pipes Added to PA One Call). The PA Public Utility Commission (PUC) is the state agency charged with oversight of the enhanced 811 system. They have been staffing up and rolling out the changes. We spotted a story that talks about the PUC’s efforts. It mentions (bemoans) the fact that stripper wells are still exempt, and seeks to apply pressure to the owners of those wells to “voluntarily” join the 811 system. We all know what comes next after “voluntarily” joining any government-run program…
Continue reading

Support Builds for Congress to Reign in States Blocking Pipes

The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing this Thursday to consider the Water Quality Certification Improvement Act of 2018 (S. 3303). Two weeks ago we told you about S. 3303, a bill that will “fix” the issue of states like New York using Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, which allows states to have a say in where interstate pipeline routes can pass through a state, from abusing their authority by blocking pipeline projects (see US Senate Bill Fixes States Blocking Pipelines via Water Permits). New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo (tinhorn dictator) has weaponized Section 401 and now routinely uses it to block any and all new natural gas pipelines in the state. That was not the intent of the Clean Water Act when delegating some (small, minor) authority to the individual states. Section 401 is meant to allow states to steer the pipeline in a new direction to avoid sensitive environmental areas–not block it completely. S. 3303 will fix the issue of state abuse. In advance of Thursday’s session, a coalition of twenty-four national organizations representing workers and businesses in the energy supply chain wrote a letter (copy below) urging the Senate committee to approve the legislation. The letter is evidence that there’s a building head of steam, a consensus, of support on this issue. Finally, someone is addressing the out-of-control abuses of power Cuomo and others are engaged in…
Continue reading

Which Skills do M-U Employers Most Need in New Employees?

The answer to the question posed in our headline for which skills are most valued (and missing) in new employees looking to work at companies involved in the Marcellus/Utica industry may surprise you. Would the answer be, detailed industry knowledge, like knowing what mud logging, wire lines and Christmas tree (wellheads) are? Nope. Employers can teach those things on the job. How about subject-specific skills, like knowing how to weld (if you work in the field), or the difference between debits and credits (if you work in the accounting department)? Obviously if you apply for a welding job, or an accounting job, you’ll need to know something about those specific areas. But no, we’re talking about what kinds of skills ALL new employees should have, regardless of which area they work (in the field or in the office)–skills that so often are missing in new hires. Would you believe those skills are: writing, speaking and time management? Yep, according to a study done by RAND Corporation looking at how employers and colleges in the Marcellus/Utica region are preparing workers for the shale workforce, they found a skills gap in workers who don’t know how to properly write, speak and manage their time effectively…
Continue reading

Energy Stories of Interest: Tue, Aug 14, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: Time to contain the sand blowing around Stowe; what DRBC should be doing instead of playing fracking games; bust doesn’t always follow oil and gas boom; US refineries running at near-record levels; new video – Putin’s useful American eco-idiots; top 5 industry shifts fueling the future of drilling; frackers burn cash to keep the oil boom going; China cuts off nose to spite its won face re LNG tariffs; and more!
Continue reading