Hurricane Florence May Drench M-U, Affect Production & Pipelines

Hurricane Florence, current location

Hurricane Florence is on everyone’s lips–as well it should be. We have close friends who live near Florence, SC–about 70 miles inland from Myrtle Beach. We toured the devastation of Hurricane Hugo on Myrtle back in 1989. It was massively destructive. Hurricane Florence is also a Category 4, as was Hugo, and may even turn into a Cat 5. It looks like Florence will come ashore much closer to Myrtle Beach than Hugo did, which came ashore around Charleston. MDN friend and contributor Chris Acker owns a place in Savannah, GA–also within the danger zone. Say a prayer for the folks along the coast of NC, SC, GA and VA. While we’re deeply concerned with the devastation that’s sure to come along the coast (and our friends in SC and GA), our minds go to the question, “Where does this storm go next, after it makes landfall?” The folks at Platts Analytics say the path may take it into the Marcellus/Utica region. Comparing this storm and its track to Hurricane Matthew (from 2016), Matthew caused a 1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) decrease in production from the Marcellus region for three weeks while the industry recovered from the effects of that storm. And Matthew was only a Cat 1! If the leftovers of Florence visit our region, production and pipeline construction will likely take a hit. Energy Transfer’s repair of the Revolution Pipeline that exploded on Monday due to a landslide caused by heavy rains may take longer than expected. And who knows about Williams’ forthcoming startup of Atlantic Sunrise, due to go online Sept. 17. This hurricane is dicey folks. Buckle up for a bumpy ride, and pray that the remnants of Florence leave us alone…
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Construction to Begin “Immediately” on Columbiana Utica-Fired Plant

In October 2015, Advanced Power Services announced it would build an 1,100 megawatt Utica-fired electric plant in Columbiana County, OH (see New $1.1B Utica-Powered Electric Plant Coming to Columbiana County). The plant, big enough to power 1 million homes (!), was approved by the Ohio Power Siting Board in September 2016 (see $1.1B Utica-Powered Electric Plant in Columbiana Gets State Approval). At the time of the approval, construction was supposed to begin in January 2017 and take some 550 workers about three years to build. Construction never began. A few things have changed along the way. The plant will now cost $1.3 billion to build and will take 1,000 people to build it. How do we know? Because global engineering firm Bechtel has just announced it has been selected to build the plant–and to start building it NOW, as in “immediately.” Yes, it will still take three years to build. The new target in-service date is second quarter 2021. In addition to the plant itself, a new 20-inch pipeline will be built to feed the plant, connecting to the nearby Dominion Transmission pipeline. Here’s the great news that Ohio’s latest Utica-fired electric plant is now under construction…
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Williams Donates $100,000 to Cuomo/Democrats? Say It Ain’t So!

It’s just coming to light (for us anyway) that earlier this year Williams donated $100,000 to the Democratic Governors Association–a group that is devoted to electing more Democrats as governors, and a group that heavily supports Andrew Cuomo in his reelection bid here in the Empire State. Shame on Williams. Are they insane? Cuomo, who is CORRUPT, has blocked Williams project after Williams project in New York. But apparently he has not blocked all Williams projects. Less than three months after the Williams “donation,” the New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC), which ONLY does the bidding of Cuomo, denied “without prejudice” a water quality permit for the Northeast Supply Enhancement Project, allowing Williams to submit a new application (i.e. keeping it alive). Oh, and Cuomo hired the lobbyist who was working on that same pipeline project…to run his reelection campaign. Sniff sniff. Do you smell something? We’re not accusing anybody of anything–least of all Williams, which has to do what they have to do in a state that’s run like a third world dictatorship. However, you have to admit the situation raises questions. And we still can’t get over the fact that Williams donated a hundred grand to the other side. That boggles the mind…
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FERC Delays Enviro Review of Northeast Supply Enhancement Project

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has just slowed the Williams Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) project. In March 2017, Williams filed a full, official application for NESE (see Williams Files with FERC to Expand Transco Pipeline to NYC, NE). The project will increase pipeline capacity and flows heading into northeastern markets. In particular, Transco wants to provide more Marcellus natural gas to utility giant National Grid beginning with the 2019-2020 heating season. National Grid operates in New York City, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. There are a number of components to the project, but the key component, the heart of the project, is a new 23-mile pipeline from the shore of New Jersey into (on the bottom of) the Raritan Bay–running parallel to the existing Transco pipeline–before connecting to the Transco offshore. Much of the Raritan Bay pipeline is located in New York territorial waters, meaning the NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC), which is controlled by anti-everything Andrew Cuomo, must sign off. So far the DEC has issued two “application incomplete” notices to Williams, the most recent in July (see NY DEC Tells Williams NE Supply Water Permit App is “Incomplete”). Which is not a bad thing as it keeps the project alive, allowing Williams to resubmit the application again. In other words, although the project is delayed because of NY, it’s not dead like some of the other Williams projects in NY. FERC issued a favorable draft environment impact statement (DEIS) in March of this year (see Williams Northeast Supply Enhancement Pipe Gets Favorable DEIS). FERC was due to issue the final environmental impact statement this month, on Sept. 17, but last week FERC told Williams they’re delaying. Now the final EIS is due by Jan. 25, 2019. Is this bad news for the project?…
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New WV Facility Opens to Handle Radioactive M-U Waste

SECUR, a privately owned company headquartered in Pittsburgh that (among other things) cleans up radioactive waste from shale drilling, has just opened a new 10-acre branch facility in Tyler County, WV to do just that–to clean up NORM (naturally occurring radioactive materials) and TENORM (technically-enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material). The facility cleans up both liquids (wastewater) and solids (drill cuttings) that contain a tiny bit of radiation in them, making them suitable for safe disposal. No, there is no permanent storage at the facility–the site, located in Friendly, WV, is only used to clean up the stuff coming in. SECUR then repackages the material and sends it back out to licensed disposal facilities. And did we mention…SECUR is a woman-owned, small business? Nice. Here’s the good news of yet more jobs and an essential service have come to the WV part of the Marcellus/Utica…
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Cracker Boost: FERC Approves Shell Falcon Ethane Pipeline Rates

Getting permission to build a new pipeline from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is one thing. An important thing. But beyond permission to build, you also need permission to charge a particular rate for those using the pipeline. Shell is currently building a $6 billion ethane cracker in Monaca, PA, near Pittsburgh, to chemically “crack” ethane from shale wells into ethylene–the raw building material of plastics. Shell is also building a 97-mile, two-legged pipeline system called the Falcon Ethane Pipeline (see Exclusive: Shell Leasing Land for 2 Pipelines to PA Cracker Plant). Shell ran an “open season” to lock up shippers–drillers who will provide ethane to the plant via the pipeline–in October 2016 (see Shell Launches Open Season for PA-WV-OH Falcon Ethane Pipeline). The open season worked. Of course it worked! Shell wouldn’t be spending $6 billion to build a plant that can’t get cheap ethane to it!! However, the whole project took another (important) step forward last week when FERC approved the rate structures for using the Falcon Pipeline…
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Enviros Oppose U of Michigan Plan to Use Gas-Fired Electricity

Is there any fixing stupid? We suppose not. So-called environmentalists are opposing a plan by the University of Michigan to update the main campus’ Central Power Plant with a natural-gas fired turbine to produce electricity for the Central and Medical Campus buildings. By doing so, the University will leapfrog to achieving 50% of its goal to reduce so-called greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2025 (seven short years from now). Put another way, by building this gas turbine and using the electricity it generates, the University of Michigan will be halfway to their emissions reductions goals. One turbine. Clean natural gas. It’s a win/win all the way around. Yet environuts oppose the plan because it is a “long-term investment in fossil fuels.” Again we ask, is there any fixing stupid?…
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Energy Stories of Interest: Wed, Sep 12, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: ETP to inspect entire blast-damaged gas pipeline in Pennsylvania; Oil and gas industry ‘here to stay’ in Harrison County, OH; Extension of natural gas line to Williamsport could start next month; Senate candidate Barletta talks energy at CNX offices; Orion strategies opens Pittsburgh office; Ramos joins firm; New York City fossil fuel divestment in the spotlight; California commits energy suicide – no fossil fuel electric by 2045; Had it bet on nuclear, not renewables, California would already have 100% clean power; U.S. shale gas prices staying lower for longer; EIA projects record high US natural gas output, demand in 2018; EIA nudges natural gas price forecast higher to $2.99 in ’18, $3.12 in ’19; Why China’s fracking hopes will hit the rocks; Will the U.S. let India continue to import Iranian crude?
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