New Shale Permits Down in PA & OH as Winter Begins

An analysis by Argus Media shows the number of new permits issued to drill in the Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale was down 42% in November 2018 over the same time a year ago. Drilling in Ohio’s Utica Shale was down 26% in November vs. a year ago. Yet one overpowering fact remains: Production in both states is UP over a year ago! How do you explain it? Each year drillers get better at what they do–they get more gas from drilling fewer wells. Longer laterals, more sand, improved fracking techniques–it all adds up to more production with less drilling. Our region is also still working down our DUC (drilled but uncompleted) wells inventory, which means less drilling. And winter cold has set in, early. Yeah, less drilling means fewer jobs and fewer opportunities to sell goods and services to drilling companies. But watch for the permit numbers to start going up again (our prediction). Why? Because with pipelines which recently went online and new pipes due to go online, the price our gas is fetching has dramatically increased–and that means the willingness of M-U drillers to drill new wells will increase too.
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Dominion Slaps Sierra Club, SELC for False Statements re ACP

It’s about we fight back against radical, insane people like those at the Sierra Club and the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC). They are so far outside of the mainstream, and they are such pathological liars, it’s time to take the gloves off and fight back. Dominion Energy is doing exactly that! Dominion released a statement yesterday that directly and strongly (with fighting language) refutes recent false statements (i.e. lies) made by the Sierra Club and SELC about Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). We’re standing up and cheering!
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Meeting Reveals Details re PGE’s Loyalsock Creek Pipe Project

Pennsylvania General Energy drills in several PA counties, including Lycoming County in the north central of the state. According to the Marcellus & Utica Shale Upstream Almanac 2018, PA General Energy is the fourth-largest driller in Lycoming County, with 103 producing wells and 42.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas production in 2017. PA General Energy wants to drill more wells in Lycoming. Those wells will need a gathering pipeline connected to them, and a water pipeline to provide water for drilling and fracking. Even though a water pipeline would save an estimated 126,000 truck trips on local roads, some residents are opposed (see Lycoming County Residents Oppose Loyalsock Creek Gathering Pipe). Last night residents got to hear more details about the project at a meeting organized by PA State Rep. Garth Everett.
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Battle Over Weymouth, MA Compressor Stn Continues in Fed Court

Credit: YouTube

In January 2017 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted final approval for the $452 million Atlantic Bridge expansion project (see FERC Approves Atlantic Bridge Project for New England/Canada). The Spectra Energy/Enbridge project beefs up capacity along the Algonquin Pipeline, along with more capacity for Spectra Energy’s Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline, to carry more Marcellus/Utica gas into New England and (eventually) all the way to Nova Scotia, Canada. Most of the project is now done–except in Massachusetts where a critical compressor station planned for Weymouth is stalled.
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Colluding Big Green Groups File FERC Motion to Block MVP Southgate

Every square inch of every new (even every repurposed/existing) pipeline will be opposed in court. You can bet your life on it. Radical environmentalists have made pipelines the new evil incarnate in the modern world. Never mind without pipelines we’d all live in the Stone Age again. The point, on the part of Big Green, is not to actually stop these projects–but make them pay big money. And make them a poster child for fundraising campaigns. Even though some of the 300-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) is on hold due to court delays over stream crossing permits (see 4th Circuit Court Cancels Mountain Valley Pipe Nationwide Permit), some work does continue on the project. And although the project is far from built, EQT Midstream, the builder, has filed plans with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to extend the pipeline another 70 miles south into North Carolina, called the MVP Southgate project (see EQT Makes it Official, Files with FERC to Extend MVP into NC). On Monday, a group of six Big Green groups filed with FERC to “intervene” and stop the MVP Southgate project.
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Proposed New O&G Emissions Regs Will Disadvantage PA Drillers

The liberal PA Gov. Tom Wolf administration continues to tinker with (i.e. destroy) the Marcellus miracle in the Keystone State. In August the Wolf Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) finally, after years of work, implemented onerous new regulations to cut down on so-called fugitive methane emissions from new drilling and pipelines (see PA Harms Drillers, Pipelines with Over-Strict Methane Rules). Existing well pads and pipelines are now in Wolf’s crosshairs. The DEP has, for some time, considered requiring new regulations to further reduce volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions at existing oil and gas sites. The DEP recently released a draft of those regs, and is meeting TODAY to discuss the new proposed regulations (see PA DEP Releasing Expensive New O&G Emissions Reg). The question is, since the federal EPA is “relaxing” the standards on which these onerous new PA standards are based, will PA, by adopting these new standards, make itself uncompetitive against other shale drilling states? PA DEP Sec. Pat McDonnell seems to think so.
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Pitt Researchers Discover Cheaper Way to Convert NGLs to Plastics

Pitt research appears on cover of journal

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh may have just discovered a way to turn “light alkanes” (i.e. propane, butane) into raw plastics that is cheaper than cracking ethane. At least, that’s what we think they’ve discovered. It’s hard to tell. In a research paper recently published titled, “Structure–Activity Relationships in Alkane Dehydrogenation on ?-Al2O3: Site-Dependent Reactions,” Pitt researchers say they’ve discovered a way to produce olefins using “the nonoxidative dehydrogenation of alkanes on metal oxides, taking advantage of the Lewis acid?base surface functionalities of the oxides.” Er, right. What we do know is that the Pitt researchers are excited about their discovery, and say, “We now have a better tool to develop active catalysts for alkane-olefin conversion, which could be a game-changer in the petrochemical and polymer industries.” Below is a write-up from Pitt about the new research, in lay language, along with an abstract from the paper.
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Energy Stories of Interest: Thu, Dec 13, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: 13 well permits approved in Ohio’s Utica; Westmoreland natural gas plant nears opening date; Barrett questions gas safety consultant’s ties to industry; Going green with natural gas vehicles; WV Sen. Joe Manchin becomes Ranking Member of Energy Ctte; Could U.S. natural gas stocks catch up this winter?; Growing dependent on Russia: the gas routes in Europe; US lawmakers officially condemn Russia’s natural gas pipeline into Germany.
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