MVP 2nd Big Win This Wk – 4th Circuit Lifts Stay of Water Permit

As we reported yesterday, EQT Midstream’s Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) got some excellent news–that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission had lifted a stop-work order on the project (see FERC Lifts Mountain Valley Pipe Stop-Work Order, Rehiring). However, two clouds remain over the project, both created by the Fourth District U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in response to lawsuits from the Sierra Club. One of those clouds is from the Fourth Circuit overturning permits issued by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management that allows MVP 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). EQT is working on resolving the issue so that USFS and BLM can reissue permits that will pass muster with the court. The other cloud appeared when the Sierra Club convinced the Fourth Circuit to suspend a permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that allows MVP to construct the pipeline across streams and rivers in the West Virginia. The Clubbers got the court to suspend stream and river crossings based on a technicality–that MVP could not, in the case of four river crossings, get the work done within the 72 hour period stipulated by the permit. Therefore the court suspended work at all 591 stream/river crossings the pipeline traverses in WV (see Sierra Club Succeeds in Delaying MVP Project in WV via Court Order). In early July, the Army Corps reworked and reinstated the permit as it applies to the four river crossings in question (see Army Corps Engrs Reinstates MVP Permits for 4 WV River Crossings). The good news is that the Fourth Circuit has granted a motion by the Army Corps to reinstate its permits for all stream/river crossings for MVP. Sunlight is breaking through!…
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Fayette County, WV Loses Court Case to Block MVP Compressor Stn

Sometimes counties (and local towns) try to seize power that’s not theirs constitutionally. Particularly when they’re led by liberal Democrats who like to arbitrarily make up their own oil and gas regulations. Such is the case in Fayette County, WV. Most oil and gas regulation is done at the state level–it is a state function. Unless it’s a pipeline that crosses several states. Those projects are regulated at the federal level, to protect citizens in neighboring states from arbitrary and capricious actions (like those New York is engaged in). Counties don’t get to decide whether or not to allow an injection well, or a pipeline. Yet the lib Dems in Fayette believe they can make those decisions. And now, for the second time in two years, a federal court has slapped them down. Two time losers. In August 2017, Fayette County lost a federal court case to block injection wells in the county (see Fayette County, WV Loses Appeal to Block Injection Well). On Wednesday, the three lib Dem commissioners of Fayette lost a second court case–this one an attempt to block a Mountain Valley Pipeline compressor station. Both lawsuits, last year and this year, were aimed at stopping EQT projects…
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Shale Support Gets Loan to Buy 2 Frac Sand Mines to Service M-U

Earlier this week CrowdOut Capital announced they have arranged a private, non-bank loan for frack sand company Shale Support to fund “the acquisition of two sand mines, spanning over 1,000 acres that contain more than 100 million tons of recoverable high-grade frac sand, which are located near the prolific shale plays in the southeastern U.S.” No details on the amount of the loan nor the names/location of the sand mines were released. However, as we reported in early July, Shale Support announced a deal to buy two sand mines in Louisiana (see Shale Support Buys 2 Frac Sand Mines in La. to Help Service M-U). Last September MDN told you that Shale Support, headquartered in Texas with an operations center in Mississippi, was stepping up its presence in the Marcellus/Utica region with a partnership with Tidewater Logistics (see Shale Support Holdings Expands M-U Frac Sand Business via Partnership). The partnership increases Shale Support’s operations in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Because Shale Support can ship sand direct from Mississippi, which is much closer than most other alternatives, the price for frac sand is cheaper for customers. Shale Support announced another important deal in May of this year, to become the exclusive supplier for a major regional frac sand facility in Bradford County, PA (see Shale Support Exclusive Frac Sand Supplier for NEPA Facility). While the CrowdOut announcement doesn’t say it, we believe the this loan will fund the two new Louisiana sand mines previously announced. Yes, some (most?) of the sand will go for drilling in the Haynesville and other plays in the region. But some of that sand will no doubt find its way to the Marcellus/Utica, hence our interest in Shale Support and how they finance their operations…
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Michigan Town Signs with BP to Supply Natgas to Power Plant

Any time a new natural gas-fired power plant is announced in the northeast, southeast, or Midwest, we’re interested. Why? Because they are gas-hungry beasts, using huge quantities of natural gas. And chances are plants in those regions could (likely do) use Marcellus/Utica Shale gas to power them–at least in part. They are an important new source of demand for our gas. Often overlooked are existing gas-fired power plants, especially those that don’t run 24/7/365. They’re an important market for our gas too. We spotted a story about one such plant, in Marquette County, Michigan. Tuesday afternoon the Marquette Board of Light and Power board approved a new natural gas wholesale price agreement for the Marquette Energy Center–a small 54 megawatt generator that runs from 7am to 10pm each day. Plants typically don’t cut deals with drillers directly. Instead, they buy gas on contract from a broker, a “gas marketer” that buys and sells natural gas. Three of the four companies bidding on the Marquette Energy Center contract are on a list of the Top 25 North American Gas Marketers, a list tabulated and published quarterly by our friends at NGI (Natural Gas Intelligence). In fact, the top gas marketer in the country (has been for years) is the company that won the Marquette contract–BP…
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Free Pipeline Worker Training Program Begins Sept. 24 in OH

The Gas Technology Institute (GTI) continues to offer its popular 100% free training program (worth $3,500) for those interested in a career building pipelines in the Marcellus/Utica region. Starting salaries often exceed $40,000 per year, and a six-figure income is attainable for employees with time and experience. Companies supporting the GTI program have told GTI they anticipate hiring 1,100+ workers over the next two years. There’s no excuse! If you want a high-paying job, get the 4-week training and get yourself to work. Because of ongoing construction programs within the utility and pipeline industry, and because of aging workforce retirements, the M-U pipeline industry has an acute need for reliable gas pipeline workers. The next round of free training, limited to 20 students per section, begins on Sept. 24 at Belmont College in St. Clairsville, OH…
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NY Antis Gear Up to Oppose Zero-Emission Compressor Stn

As we reported in March, Empire Pipeline, the midstream (pipeline) subsidiary of National Fuel Gas Company, filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to build two new compressor stations along the Empire Pipeline–one in Tioga County, PA, the other in Ontario County, NY (see Empire Pipe Plans 2 Compressors in PA & NY to Move Marcellus Gas). Without building any new pipeline, the addition of these two compressor stations will allow an extra 205,000 dekatherms per day (205 million cubic feet/day) of PA Marcellus gas to flow through the Empire Pipeline system. The project, called Empire North Project, will provide much-needed natural gas for Upstate NY and Canada. It will also connect to the Tennessee Gas Pipeline, so who knows? Maybe some Marcellus molecules will find their way into New England too. Anti-fossil fuelers in NY are ramping up to oppose the project. Nothing new about that, unfortunately. The thing is, the proposed compressor station in Ontario County will have zero (yes, zero) emissions. It will use electricity instead of diesel or natural gas or other fuels–so there’s no smoke stack and absolutely nothing going into the atmosphere. Completely benign. And yet, because the compressor station will flow more “fracked gas” from PA flow through the pipeline, irrational nutjobs are opposing it. Talk about stupid. These people will protest and oppose an emissions-less compressor station that helps flow more natural gas, but they won’t actually give up their own natural gas! They won’t stop grilling with natural gas. They won’t stop heating and cooking with natural gas. They won’t stop cooling with natural gas. They won’t stop buying clothes and shoes made, in part, from natural gas (plastics). No. Everyone else has to do those things–not these ignorant, wine-tasting snobs from the Finger Lakes who want to block this emissions-less compressor station…
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Diversified Zags, Finds Profit in Appalachian Conventional Wells

We’ve shared the following story a few times over the years: In 2012 MDN editor Jim Willis took a tour of several Cabot Oil & Gas well sites in Susquehanna County, PA. One of the sites was a completed well pad with four producing wells, located not far from Carter Road in Dimock (the infamous Carter Road memorialized in Gasland). As we stood on the pad, Jim’s tour guide, Bill desRosiers, made this statement: “Cabot has over 4,000 vertical gas wells in West Virginia. You see these four horizontal wells? These four wells produce more natural gas in one day than all 4,000 of those vertical wells in West Virginia.” Behold the power of Marcellus Shale! On June 19, MDN brought you the exclusive news that Diversified Gas & Oil had purchased EQT’s Huron Shale assets in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia for $575 million (see Diversified Gas & Oil Adds to Conventional Assets in KY, VA, WV). The sale included nearly 12,000 conventional wells with 200 million cubic feet per day of natural gas production, with 2.5 million acres of leases and some 6,400 miles of gathering pipelines. Why would anyone want 12,000 conventional wells when 12 shale wells can produce the same amount of gas? According to Diversified’s founder and CEO Rusty Hutson, those old conventional wells have steady, predictable returns that generate income with next-to-nothing in the way of capital investment. Diversified is zagging while everyone else is zigging…
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Energy Stories of Interest: Fri, Aug 31, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: Cabot O&G gets a new director; Dominion Energy Ohio gets top safety award; midstream conference coming to Pittsburgh; WV’s new interim House Speaker is shale-friendly; judge rules Dakota Access can’t sue Earth First radicals; US must grow oil & gas exports; Exxon tells NY AG to “put up or shut up” re climate lawsuit; Iran’s oil exports plummet 600K barrels/day as US sanctions loom; why oil & natgas prices are diverging; and more!
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