Rice Brothers Attempt to Take Over EQT, Install Toby as CEO

“Well, the EQT situation is a total mess.” So began a super secret email to MDN from a highly-placed source we implicitly trust. Not long after receiving that email, we spotted a press release from the Rice brothers, Toby and Derek, who along with their other two brothers, previously founded and built Rice Energy into a major Marcellus/Utica operator. The Rice brothers sold their company to EQT last year for $8.2 billion (see EQT Buys Rice Energy in $8.2B Deal, Becomes #1 Gas Producer in US). As part of the deal, the boys took 80% of their compensation in the form of EQT stock. The Rice boys now say EQT and its stock performance ain’t doin’ so hot. They (the Rice boys) think they have the solution. The solution is to install Rice leadership at EQT. Wouldn’t that be the ultimate head fake? Sell your company to a much larger company, creating the the largest natgas producer in the U.S.–then take it ALL over. A reverse takeover. Dan Rice III didn’t raise stupid boys.
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FERC Approves PA to OH Risberg Pipeline to Begin Construction

Click for larger version

FERC has finally come out of its funk. At least with respect to the RH energytrans Risberg Line project. We have been waiting and waiting and waiting to bring you this exciting news: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has given final approval for the Risberg Line project to begin construction! Risberg is a 60-mile, $86 million pipeline from Crawford County, PA through Erie County and into Ashtabula County, OH. According to FERC’s own schedule, an OK for the project was due no later than Sept. 27, which didn’t happen. In October, RH energytrans was diplomatic and said, “It may take a little longer than we might hope” (see FERC Stuck in Slow Mo – Late Approving PA to OH Risberg Project). The folks at RH are far more patient than we are. Their patience has paid off. On Friday, FERC pulled the trigger and sent final approval. RH says construction will begin “by the end of this year,” which is now just over two weeks away.
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2 Workers Injured Working on Mariner East 2 Pipe Near Pittsburgh

Pipeline Inspection Gauge

Two workers were injured, one seriously, when a “pig” they were operating at a section of the nearly completed Mariner East 2 pipeline (near Pittsburgh, in Westmoreland County) accelerated and hit them late Sunday. What’s a pig? It stands for Pipeline Inspection Gauge–a device used inside a pipeline for cleaning, inspection and maintenance, and fluid batching. A pig is pushed along the inside of the pipeline by the flow of liquid or gas or (in this case), air. A pig launching station is used to insert the pig into a pipeline using a series of valves and hatches. The pig is pushed through the pipeline by the fluid/gas/air to the pig receiving station. We don’t have all the details for how this accident happened. What we know is that two workers, a man and a woman, were operating the pig when it hit them. Both were taken to the hospital. The woman was later released, but the man sustained a broken arm and is still hospitalized.
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First Domino Falls: Judge Grants PennEast Pipe Eminent Domain

It certainly seems as if the deck has been stacked against the PennEast Pipeline project, a $1 billion, 120-mile natgas pipeline that will stretch from northeast PA to the Trenton area of New Jersey. As we pointed out in November, DTE Energy’s NEXUS Pipeline, a 255-mile pipeline from Columbia County in Ohio to Southern Michigan, received its Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval around the same time PennEast did, about a year ago. NEXUS is already built and flowing, PennEast hasn’t turned the first shovelful of dirt yet. It’s been a real battle for PennEast (see The War to Build PennEast Pipeline Continues). However, things are finally beginning to look up. Last week a federal judge granted PennEast its first approval in a string of eminent domain cases, giving PennEast the right to enter and survey a property in Carbon County, PA. Mixing our metaphors, last week’s decision is the first domino falling, with the rest sure to follow.
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Virginia AG Sues Mountain Valley Pipeline re “300 Violations”

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, a liberal Democrat, has filed a lawsuit against Mountain Valley Pipeline alleging the project has violated Virginia environmental regulations some 300 times. You know, things like workers throwing candy wrappers and cigarette butts on the ground. The AG filed the lawsuit “on behalf of Department of Environmental Quality Director David Paylor and the State Water Control Board.” Since when does allegedly violating certain low-level regulatory standards become a matter of concern for a state attorney general? Apparently AG Herring doesn’t have enough to do. His action smacks of political persecution, no? Someone trying to curry favor with radical leftists in order to launch his own bid for governor some day? That’s exactly what’s going on. Yet another Democrat abusing his office to feather his own political nest. Disgusting.
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Virginia’s Biggest NatGas-Fired Power Station Goes Online

Greensville County Power Station (click for larger version)

In March 2015, Dominion announced plans to build the State of Virginia’s largest natural gas powered electric generating plant, in Greensville County, VA (see Virginia’s Largest Electric Plant to be Powered by Marcellus Gas). The $1.3 billion state-of-the-art natural gas-fired electric generating station generates 1,588 megawatts of electricity. Construction began in June 2016 (see Dominion Begins Building Virginia’s Biggest NatGas Power Station). And finally on Saturday, Dec. 8, the plant went online. Dominion’s own 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline (when completed) will provide cheap, abundant, clean-burning Marcellus/Utica Shale gas to power it. Until Atlantic Coast is up and running, where will the gas come from to power it? We couldn’t find confirmation on the source of gas that feeds it now–but we’re guessing it’s Marcellus gas, making this a hugely important new market for our gas.
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Elba Island LNG Won’t be Fully Online Until “End of 2019”

Elba Island LNG

Elba Island LNG, situated along the Georgia coastline near Savannah, was originally due to begin operations now, in the fourth quarter of 2018 (see Elba Island, Ga. LNG Export Startup Delayed to 4Q18). But in October Kinder Morgan, the builder and owner of the project, delayed the startup until first quarter of next year (see Elba Island, Ga. LNG Export Startup Delayed (Again) – Now 1Q19). Elba Island will be the second LNG export facility along the East Coast, after Cove Point in Maryland. As we previously noted, Elba is quite a bit smaller than Cove Point. Whereas Cove Point, which has been up and running since March, can take in and liquefy up to 3.5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas, Elba Island will be able to liquefy up to 350 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d)–just 10% of Cove Point’s capacity. In a post on the U.S. Energy Information Administration website yesterday, we learned that Elba will *begin* operation in early 2019, but it won’t be *fully* up to speed until the end of 2019.
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Energy Stories of Interest: Tue, Dec 11, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: Antero Resources appoints Paul Korus to Board of Directors; NY Attorney General seeks to sink Exxon climate appeal; Sunoco pushes Pa. PUC to ax pipeline shutdown bid; After bitter fight in Minnesota, gas plant debate moves to Wisconsin; Summit Midstream announces senior management changes; After active duty, veterans find new purpose in the oil and gas industry; Buybacks: Why pipeline companies should invest in themselves; The oil and gas situation: A time for setting records; Natural gas perspectives before this winter ends; As the U.S. pushes fossil fuels at COP24, protesters howl – but allies emerge, too.
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