By the Numbers – Shale Drilling “Still Strong” in PA & OH

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued 269 permits for Marcellus (and possibly a few Utica) shale wells in October and November. The Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) issued 22 permits in the Utica/Point Pleasant shale play in October, and 11 permits in November (as of Nov. 17). That’s over 300 new shale wells between the Marcellus and Utica in the most recent two months–a strong showing. Farm and Dairy, a 100+ year-old publication serving the rural communities of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, recently tabulated the permit numbers for western PA and eastern OH, down to the county level. Here’s what the numbers show.
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CNX Midstream Sues Contractor for Walking Away from Pipe Project

On Monday, CNX Midstream sued West Virginia contractor Ronald Lane Inc. claiming the contractor “without warning or justification ceased work on the Project and abandoned the Project,” the Project being a package of water and gas pipelines in Greene and Washington counties in PA. And that, “Lane informed [CNX] that Lane intended to redirect all of its forces and efforts to other projects that Lane considered to be more profitable than the Project. Lane made it clear to [CNX] that Lane had no intention to perform any more work on the Project.” Lane was the winning bidder for the Project in late 2017 at a total cost of $7.1 million. According to the lawsuit, CNX claims Lane began construction in March and abandoned the Project in June.
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NY, Other Lib States Try to Block Dominion New Market Pipe Project

New Market Project – click for larger version

Last July a small group of rich snobs from Cooperstown, NY calling themselves Otsego2000 sued the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in federal court to try and stop Dominion Energy’s New Market Project (currently under construction), a VERY modest upgrade to an existing pipeline that runs through Upstate (see Otsego2000 Snobs Appeal FERC Approval of New Market Pipe Project). The false premise of Otsego2000’s lawsuit is that FERC did not consider mythical man-made global warming when it decided to approve the New Market Project. Unfortunately, the wildly left/radical New York Attorney General’s office has just entered the case by filing a “friend of the court” brief, along with the wildly left/radical AGs in Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington State, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. But wait…the pipeline doesn’t run through any of those other states (other than NY) and has zero impact on those other states. Doesn’t matter. The point is they want to redefine how FERC does its job by bastardizing our laws, and this case conveniently provides them with a way to do it.
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Penn State Guide to Marrying Marcellus Gas with Renewables

Penn State’s Dept. of Architectural Engineering recently released a guide for those interested in “conceiving, developing and financing ‘hybrid’ fossil fuel and renewable energy systems.” The guide, titled “CHP-Enabled Renewable Energy in Microgrids in Pennsylvania: A Guidance Document for Conceiving Feasible Systems” (full copy below) outlines systems to provide on-site, natural-gas-fueled electric and thermal (e.g. hot water or steam) energy generation (combined heat and power, or CHP) in combination with renewable energy resources such as solar photovoltaic arrays and battery storage systems. The target audience for such systems are owners of commercial and industrial buildings, multi-family buildings, hospitals, food processors and large users of steam or hot water; commercial, institutional and industrial parks and campuses; and municipalities and rural co-op organizations.
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API NatGas Price Explainer: Recent Price Swings Not Extraordinary

MDN has run a number of stories on the recent wild fluctuations in the price of natural gas. As we always explain, there is no one “price” of natgas for everyone–but there is the Henry Hub price, which is used for trading futures contracts (NYMEX). That price is watched like a hawk by everyone who trades natural gas. A casual observer of the market might think, based on media coverage, that the swings in the NYMEX price mean something bad. Negative. “The price I’ll pay this winter will go high, and it will stay high, and the shale “revolution” was always just a mirage and this proves it!” Whew. Take a chill pill. The chief economist for the American Petroleum Institute recently penned what we call a natgas price explainer, looking at the recent spikes in the price, providing context for understanding that the price we pay for gas is still, on average, at historic lows. And no, the sky is not falling.
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Big Green Nightmare: WV Sen. Joe Manchin Ranking Mbr Energy Ctte

Although the Democrats will seize control of the House of Representatives come January, putting Nancy Pelosi in charge, fortunately the Senate will remain under Republican control. However, as happens each two years, a number of committee assignments and chairmanships and ranking member assignments will change. One of those changes is in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (Democrat) may become the ranking (longest serving) Democrat on the committee, and because of tradition, he would then assume the role of Ranking Member of the committee. That prospect doesn’t sit well with the radical children of the Big Green movement–because Manchin is from WV and he loves and supports the coal industry and he loves and supports natural gas. Worse yet, Manchin sometimes (not often, but sometimes) votes with Donald Trump (gag). The petulant children of Big Green groups like “Friends of the Earth” are stomping their feet, demanding that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer deny Manchin the Ranking Member position.
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Study: Shale Boom Lowered Trade Deficit by $250B

What if the shale revolution had never happened? We’d be another $250 billion in the hole with our trade deficit. That’s the finding of a new report released by IHS Markit titled “Trading Places: How the Shale Revolution Has Helped Keep the U.S. Trade Deficit in Check.” The report finds the total U.S. merchandise trade deficit in 2017 was $250 billion lower than it otherwise would have been if the petroleum (crude oil, refined products and natural gas liquids – petroleum liquids separated out from natural gas and also known as NGLs) trade deficit had remained at its 2007 level. Thank God for shale! The report also examines the impact of rising U.S. oil, natural gas and chemicals production on the domestic trade merchandise balance and how the U.S. position in energy and chemicals may evolve in coming years. Interesting stuff.
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Energy Stories of Interest: Thu, Dec 6, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: Natural gas panel highlights potential and challenges; The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a vote for the future; Equitrans Midstream plans to simplify structure, eliminate IDRs; Inside Puerto Rico’s quest for 100% renewables: A clash over natural gas; Trump’s best play: Stand aside and let coal country become gas country; Weather, low storage, drive up the price of natural gas; Big Oil battles gender problem that may take decades to fix; Big Green tries to grow scope of Clean Water Act by using courts.
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