MarkWest Plans to Build New Marcellus/Utica NGL Pipeline

Yesterday MarkWest Liberty NGL Pipeline, a subsidiary/part of MarkWest Energy (now MPLX since being bought out and merged into Marathon Petroleum in late 2015), announced plans to build a new NGL pipeline. MarkWest Liberty launched a binding open season for the new pipeline–a time when drillers can sign on the dotted line to reserve capacity along the new pipeline. The new NGL pipeline is a bit different than other NGL pipelines in the Marcellus/Utica. It will pick up NGLs from several of MarkWest’s gas processing plants in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and cart the NGLs to fractionation facilities owned by MarkWest in PA and Ohio, where those NGLs will get separated into their discrete hydrocarbon components. Let us explain it this way: Step One is that the gas comes out of the ground. But it’s not all just methane–there’s a number of other hydrocarbons (natural gas liquids, or NGLs) mixed in with it, things like ethane, butane, propane, pentane. The raw mix goes to a cryogenic processing plant where the methane (i.e. natural gas) is separated out and sent on its way to market via pipelines like Rover and Rockies Express and others. Step Two: The NGLs need further separating. That’s what a fractionation plant does. This new pipeline from MarkWest Liberty (the Marcellus unit of MarkWest) will cart the mixed bag of NGLs to fractionation facilities. After being separated into component parts, the components can then be sold. Which fits with MarkWest’s prior statements that in 2018 they would focus on creating new markets for Marcellus/Utica NGLs, butane in particular (see MarkWest Building 6 New Processing Plants, 3 Fractionators in 2018). So, which processing plants will the pipeline connect to, and which fractionation plants? The announcement does not say, and there is no PDF document available with the details, at least not publicly. For that, you need to contact MarkWest directly. We do, however, have a map of MarkWest’s facilities…
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Revolution Pipeline Explosion in W PA – What We Know So Far

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) is taking the lead in investigating the Energy Transfer Revolution Pipeline explosion and fire that happened in Beaver County early Monday morning (see Revolution Pipeline Near Pittsburgh Explodes – Home & Barn Destroyed). The PUC issued an update yesterday outlining what they know so far about the incident. PUC Chairman Gladys Brown cautioned that it’s still too early to draw any conclusions, although the working theory is that there was a landslide in the area due to continuous heavy rain for weeks. Brown said the engineers and investigators need time to investigate. No instant answers. Continuing bad weather in the area has hindered the investigation. PUC pipeline safety engineers have, however, confirmed a few facts about the incident…
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Mountain Valley Pipe Suspends Construction, Prepares for Florence

Not all that long ago (early August) the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission shut down all work on the 303-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), which runs from Wetzel County, WV to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsylvania County, VA (see FERC Shuts Down ALL Work on Mountain Valley Pipeline in WV, VA). Then FERC changed its mind, and told MVP it could restart work, which happened two weeks ago (see FERC Lifts Mountain Valley Pipe Stop-Work Order, Rehiring). Now work has stopped again–at least in Virginia–but not because of FERC or governmental intervention. MVP has voluntarily stopped building in Virginia and instead is working to prepare MVP construction sites for impacts from Hurricane Florence. MVP issued the following statement on Tuesday: “We are taking all possible precautions in Virginia to ensure the safety of our crews and communities, as well as to protect and maintain erosion and sediment controls along MVP’s right-of-way.” A wise precaution in the face of what is sure to be a rough few days this weekend. Here’s the specific actions MVP (being built by EQT Midstream) is taking to prepare for the storm…
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Bumbling DRBC Doesn’t Know Who to Contact at FERC to Block PennEast

Talk about a dysfunctional mess…The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), a governmental organization remote-controlled by Big Green special interests, doesn’t even know how to communicate with another governmental organization–the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Earlier this year, at the prompting of radical groups like THE Delaware Riverkeeper, DRBC sent a request to FERC asking the agency to block any tree felling ahead of a final approval by DRBC for the PennEast Pipeline–even though FERC and NOT the DRBC is the authorizing agency for PennEast. FERC doesn’t have to wait for anybody for any of its decisions. Regardless, FERC does listen, especially to fellow governmental organizations. FERC gets a LOT of mail, email, etc. from complainers like the DRBC, so they have strict protocols in place for how other agencies and parties talk to it. DRBC should have sent their request to FERC Secretary Kimberly Bose (she’s held that position and has been the point person since 2007), but DRBC didn’t follow protocol. Instead, they just fired off their huffy demand to someone else in a different department, so their huffy demand never got considered. Totally blown off. Funny! And now DRBC is scrambling, attempting to cover up the fact they’re so dysfunctional they don’t their know their heads from their…we’ll just leave it at that…
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The MDN Guide to PA DEP 2017 Annual Oil & Gas Report

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently published its 2017 Oil and Gas Annual Report. This is the second year in a row the DEP has published the report in an interactive, electronic (i.e.online) format ONLY, with a stated purpose “to improve public access to well information.” While it’s interesting to have the report issued online only, it’s not as useful as a PDF or printed document, in our humble opinion. What does the report show? There were 2,028 unconventional well drilling permits issued in 2017, up an astonishing 707 (54%) from 2016. What a turnaround! There were 203 conventional well drilling permits issued in 2017, up 45 (28%) from 2016. The number of well inspections hit an all-time high of 36,288 inspections (up 2% from 2016). Below we have the DEP announcement about the new 2017 report, along with select charts & information–so you don’t have to wade through the (somewhat confusing) report yourself. We call it the MDN Guide to PA’s 2017 Oil and Gas Annual Report…
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Trump EPA Releases Less Onerous Methane Regs for Oil & Gas

Barack Hussein Obama’s EPA wildly over-regulated during his tenure in office. They hurried to enact egregious standards for many things, but focused primarily on punishing fossil fuels. One of the obscene regulations they enacted was to limit methane emissions in oil and gas operations on the theory that methane is causing catastrophic man-made global warming (don’t get us started on that particular fairy tale). Look, the oil and gas industry sells methane, so it’s in their best interest to capture every last molecule they can capture in order to make a profit. But at a certain point it becomes uneconomical to try and capture a few stray molecules of methane here and there. Not for Big Green and its acolytes in the Obama operation. Their real mission is not to stop so-called fugitive methane, but to put the oil and gas (and coal) industries out of business by making it uneconomic. Using obscene regulations is their preferred method. With Donald Trump in office, the EPA is beginning to correct some of the wild over-regulating that happened under Obama, including methane regulations. Earlier this week the EPA floated tweaks to methane emissions regs, and the Obamadroids are screaming like babies who have soiled themselves. Yes, according to antis, Donald Trump is an ax murderer and relaxing an Obama over-regulation on methane, even slightly, will kill the entire planet…
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US Passes Russia to Become World’s Biggest Crude Oil Producer

For a number of years the United States has been the #1 producer of natural gas in the world, bumping Russia off that perch. Vladimir Putin didn’t like it. And now, as of this year (according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration), the good ole US of A is the #1 producer of crude oil, dethroning Russia from that perch too. Vlad really doesn’t like that! No wonder Russia is funding Big Green groups like the Sierra Club to smear shale energy and fracking. Here’s the good news from our favorite government agency, the EIA…
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Energy Stories of Interest: Thu, Sep 13, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: Lifting the curtain on the group blocking shale development in the Wayne National Forest; Congress, require BLM to respect the rights of private landowners; Unfazed by pipeline explosion destroying Beaver County house, nearby township removes setback ordinance; Dog days are over, Part 3 – What happened to the northeast gas takeaway constraints?; Idiot New Yorkers continue to oppose Albany natgas microgrid; Hurricane Florence expected to dampen natural gas demand in US Southeast; Billionaire mega-donor Tom Steyer picks favorite AG hopefuls; more global warming cases possible; Why natural gas — not renewable energy — has been the biggest disruptor in energy markets.
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