FERC Lifts Mountain Valley Pipe Stop-Work Order, Rehiring

Some good news to lighten your Thursday. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order yesterday allowing Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) to restart work on virtually all of the 303-mile project–everywhere but 28.5 miles in and around the pipeline’s path through Jefferson National Forest (about 9% of the total). On August 3, FERC told MVP to stop all construction, prompted by an order from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit vacating permits issued for the project as it crosses 3.5 miles of Jefferson National Forest in West Virginia and Virginia (see FERC Shuts Down ALL Work on Mountain Valley Pipeline in WV, VA). Two weeks later FERC partially lifted the stop-work order, allowing MVP to work on 77 of its 303 miles–about 25% (see FERC Lets MVP Restart Work on 25% of Pipe; MVP Lays off ‘Thousands’). Because of the stop-work order, MVP had to lay off nearly half of the 6,000 workers actively working on the project. A serious blow. With this restart, MVP says they will bring back “a significant amount of workers” who had been laid off. In typical, predictable fashion, both of the Democrat FERC commissioners, Cheryl LaFleur and Dick Glick, said they don’t want construction to resume on the project…
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PA Supreme Court Victory for ME2 Pipeline re Two Zoning Cases

Two different townships in the Philadelphia area, amped-up by and using money from Big Green groups like THE Delaware Riverkeeper (aka Maya van Rossum), tried to stop Sunoco Logistics Partners’ Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipeline project by claiming it violated local zoning ordinances. The construction of ME2 is governed by the PA state Public Utility Commission and the state Dept. of Environmental Protection. It is not a federal (i.e. FERC) project. Because it is a state-oversight project, the issue of primacy (whose rules and regulations govern) resides at the state level and not at the local level. Two local townships–one in Chester County the other in Delware County–argued in separate cases before PA Commonwealth Court that local zoning regulations for siting the pipeline should still apply. Commonwealth Court, in a pair of decisions earlier this year, ruled against that view (see PA Town Loses Appeal to Block ME2 Pipe with Local Zoning Ordinance and PA Appeals Court Rules ME2 Pipe NOT Under Local Zoning). Using Big Green money, both towns appealed their cases to the PA Supreme Court. On Tuesday, the Supremes declined to hear either case, meaning the Commonwealth Court ruling stands and this issue is now, finally, done. Antis’ attempts to stop the ME2 project by using local zoning ordinances is a closed door…
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List of 16 Major Pipeline Projects Planned for the Northeast

Did you know there are 16 major, announced pipeline projects in the northeast?! We recently happened across a handy list of those projects, a list published by the Northeast Gas Association less than a month ago. The list includes a description of what will get built, who’s doing the building, and the target in-service date. A few of the projects are in limbo (Constitution, Access Northeast), but most are either under construction or soon will be. We dig this kind of list–well laid-out, concise, and useful. And we think you will too. Here’s the name of the pipelines in the list: Access Northeast, Atlantic Bridge, Atlantic Sunrise, Constitution, Eastern System Upgrade, Empire North Expansion, Northeast Gateway, Northeast Supply Enhancement, Northern Access, PennEast, Portland XPress, Rivervale South to Market, Station 261, Wright Interconnect, Valley Lateral Project. Click to view the list, with full details…
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Is the Appalachian NGL Storage Hub Close to Reality?

A pair of recent stories shows that progress is being made with respect to building an ethane (NGL) storage hub somewhere in the Marcellus/Utica region. In fact, progress is being made on two such facilities. Appalachia Development Group is leading an effort to get a $10 billion NGL (primarily ethane) storage hub established in Appalachia–most likely in West Virginia (see WV’s US Senators Lead the Charge to Build $10B NGL Storage Hub). Federal loan guarantees are in the works for that massive project and an engineering firm has been hired. Meanwhile, Mountaineer NGL Storage is planning a smaller facility in Monroe County, OH, located just across the river (and border) from West Virginia (see Final State Permits Expected Soon for OH Mountaineer NGL Storage). The Colorado company behind the Mountaineer NGL project plans to spend up to $500 million to build it. Some 20 drillers have expressed interest in contracting with the facility to store ethane, and the nearby PTT Global cracker plant project (if it gets built) and the under-construction Shell cracker plant are both interested in connections to the facility. But that may not be all! According to Katie Klaber, former president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition and principal of The Klaber Group, “We may not end up seeing just one storage hub, but instead it will be some interconnected groups of pipelines and storage.” In other words, we may see even more such facilities. It certainly appears that major progress is being made on the two named projects…
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Massachusetts Throws Up Roadblocks for Pipeline Expansion

Massachusetts is throwing up more roadblocks and hoops in order to slow down (stop?) a Kinder Morgan project to expand capacity of its Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP) in the Springfield, Ma. area. Columbia Gas of Massachusetts and Holyoke Gas and Electric have both requested more natural gas from TGP. They need it, desperately. Kinder Morgan’s solution is to expand the delivery capability of the pipeline in the region by adding a minuscule 2.1 miles of new looping pipeline (buried next to an existing TGP pipe), upgrading a compressor station, and building a new connection, called a delivery gate. It’s a minimal project, and yet Massachusetts has just ruled Kinder will have to conduct a months (years?) long, full-blown environmental impact statement before they can do the work. Which we find strange. TGP is a federal, not state, regulated pipeline. TGP plans to file an application for the project, known as the “261 Upgrade Project” (named after Compressor Station 261), with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in September. Massachusetts does not have jurisdiction over the building of the project! Yet they are demanding an environmental impact study. If we were TGP, we’d tell Mass. to get lost…
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NJ Rate Counsel Asks Fed Court to Overturn PennEast Pipe Approval

Using taxpayer’s money, the New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel, an “independent” state agency that supposedly represents the interests of consumers of electric, natural gas, water/sewer, telecommunications, cable TV service, and insurance (residential, small business, commercial and industrial customers), has sued the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in federal court asking the court to overturn FERC’s approval of the PennEast Pipeline, a $1 billion, 120-mile natgas pipeline that will stretch from northeast PA to the Trenton, NJ area. Most of PennEast is located in PA, but the pipeline terminates and flows gas into NJ. The Rate Counsel appears to be a rogue agency using taxpayer’s money to try and defeat a project that will benefit those very taxpayers. NJ residents pay some of the highest taxes in the country. Now we know why…
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Nova Scotia Goldboro LNG Buys Driller, Getting Gas from Canada

For years we’ve had a Canadian LNG export project on our radar, bringing you news about the project, hoping that prodigious amounts of Marcellus/Utica gas would be used at the plant. The project is called the Goldboro LNG project, planned by Pieridae Energy for the coast of Nova Scotia. Two weeks ago we told you that $3 billion of German money will be used to propel the $10 billion project to begin (see With $3B from Germany, Canadian Goldboro LNG Looks Like Done Deal). While it looks like the project will happen, alas, it will happen without liquefying Marcellus/Utica molecules. Last Friday Pieridae announced it is purchasing Canadian driller Ikkuma Resources Corp. Ikkuma has major acreage and producing wells (both conventional and shale) in Western Canada, mostly Alberta. With TransCanada Pipeline’s new lowball shipping charges (see TransCanada Pipe Begins Lowball Shipping to Compete with Marc/Utica), Pieridae will be able to ship its own gas to Nova Scotia, liquefy it, and sell it. We’re disappointed, but we certainly understand. You can’t build a multi-billion dollar LNG plant on the *hope* that US politicians in New York and New England will suddenly get their heads right and allow pipelines to flow cheap Marcellus gas north into Nova Scotia. We get it. It’s just a shame–because our gas is more than thousand miles closer to the Goldboro plant, cheaper to ship–IF the pipelines were in place to do so. Because of anti-fossil fuel freaks in New England, that’s not the case. Pieridae wants to get going and can’t wait forever. They’ve purchased their own reliable supplies, and with TransCanada’s low-ball shipping from west-to-east, Pieridae is pulling the trigger. The FID will happen soon, and Pieridae will be totally self-sufficient. Good for them. Bad for us…
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Energy Stories of Interest: Thu, Aug 30, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: FirstEnergy closing last OH/PA coal power plants; Wall St analysts like Eclipse/Blue Ridge merger; CELDF’s OH loss rate now 86%; NEXUS referendum for Green goes to OH Supreme Court; flaring in the Permian; PHMSA taking bigger role in approving LNG export projects; climate alarmists throw temper tantrum, refuse to debate skeptics; and more!
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