MarkWest Plant Explosion in Washington Co. Injures 4; 1 Critical

An explosion and fire last night around 6 pm at the MarkWest Energy natural gas processing plant in Chartiers (Washington County), PA sent four people to the hospital–carried there by helicopter. All of them remain hospitalized, and one of them is, sadly, in critical condition. The explosion happened near “two temporary tanks that were onsite for routine maintenance,” according to a MarkWest statement. The tanks hold, “liquid ethylene glycol plus hydrocarbons”–used to clean incoming raw natural gas. The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection is on location today to determine what happened and why–and to ensure there have been no negative impacts to the environment.
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Shocker: Mountain Valley Pipeline Now 70% Built, Online by 4Q19

There’s nothing like some cold, hard facts to shock the public (in particular anti-fossil fuelers) back into reality. Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) provided just such a bucket of cold, hard facts yesterday by issuing an update on the project. Mainstream media (MSM) would have you believe that MVP, a 300-mile pipeline from Wetzel County, WV to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsylvania County, VA, is on its last legs. About to be canceled for good. No hope of completing it. Yet, the facts say otherwise.
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4th Circus Pulls Forest Service Permit for Atlantic Coast Pipe

The U.S. Fourth Circuit (i.e. Circus) Court of Appeals has bungled another decision regarding the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). Yesterday the court vacated a permit issued by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) that allows ACP to cross beneath the Appalachian Trail and 21 miles of national forest land in Virginia and West Virginia. You think we’re kidding when we refer to the judges of the Fourth Circuit as clowns? How else do you explain the judge quoting from The Lorax, a fictional children’s book written by Dr. Seuss, as part of the decision issued yesterday. The so-called decision is straight out of Alice in Wonderland. Bizarre. What’s next? Will we be treated to Youtube clips from the Captain Planet cartoon in future decisions? This faulty decision is already being appealed by Dominion Energy. It’s pretty easy to predict the decision will get overturned on appeal–by adult, non-clown judges in the next court up.
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FERC (Barely) Approves Transco Northeast Gateway Expansion

By a vote of 2-1, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) yesterday issued a final approval for Williams’ $85 million project called the Transco “Gateway Expansion Project,” which will flow an extra 65,000 dekatherms per day (65 million cubic feet) of natural gas to a couple of utility companies in New Jersey that have already signed on the dotted line as customers. The upgrades include a new compressor unit at Transco’s existing Compressor Station 303 in Essex County, NJ, a new valve and electric transformer also in Essex County, and equipment upgrades at a metering station in Passaic County, NJ. PSEG Power and UGI Energy Services have signed up to receive the extra gas–to be distributed to their customers in the region. Once again the two Democrat FERC commissioners, Cheryl LaFleur and Dick Glick, expressed overpowering, debilitating concern over how the project will “contribute” to mythical man-made global warming.
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Sunoco Fined $225K for Small Leak on ME1 Pipeline in 2017

The Mariner East 1 pipeline sprung a small leak and spilled 20 barrels (~840 gallons) of ethane and propane in Berks County, near Philadelphia, on April 1 (see Mariner East 1 Sprang a Small NGL Leak Near Philly, on Apr 1). Sunoco Logistics Partners (i.e. Energy Transfer), builder and maintainer of the pipeline, shut it down and fixed it over the next several days. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), which oversees regulation of the pipeline, has just (a year and a half later) “requested” Sunoco pay $225,000 for violating various state and federal regulations. It was an $11,250 per barrel spill.
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Pa. DEP Jumps the Gun with Proposed New Emissions Regs

We told you that yesterday the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) was meeting to unveil proposed new regulations to cut down on so-called fugitive methane emissions from existing well pads and pipelines (see Proposed New O&G Emissions Regs Will Disadvantage PA Drillers). They met and released a draft of onerous new regulations that focus more on reducing volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions than they do fugitive methane–but the result is still the same: Force drillers and pipeline companies to spend bazillions of dollars to produce a teeny tiny improvement in emissions. The Marcellus Shale Coalition said, “Rather than creating more regulatory uncertainty [with these new regs at this time], it would be prudent for DEP to delay any regulatory proposals until federal rules are finalized,” pointing out the fact that federal rules are not yet finalized. In other words, Wolf’s DEP is jumping the gun.
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Illinois Court Grants St. Louis M-U Pipeline Eminent Domain Power

Spire STL Pipeline route (click for larger version)

In February 2016, MDN told you about an exciting new market for Marcellus and Utica Shale gas that may open up one day in the Midwest (see New Midwest Pipeline to Tap REX’s Marcellus/Utica Gas). Laclede Group, a St. Louis-based natural gas utility, said they want to build a ~65-mile pipeline from St. Louis through southwest Illinois and connect to the Rockies Express (REX) and Panhandle Eastern Pipeline. The new pipeline would bring low-cost Marcellus and Utica Shale gas from REX to the utility–not only for resale to gas customers, but also potentially for new natgas-powered electric plants planned to replace retiring coal-fired plants.
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Energy Stories of Interest: Fri, Dec 14, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: Berks partnerships conserve 77 acres for migratory birds; PA clean vehicles video; Rising forecasts for 2019 U.S. natural gas production keep prices low; U.S. shale likes but doesn’t need OPEC cuts to keep on growing; The world should follow the U.S. energy model; Oil trading ‘God’ Andy Hall says shale has experts groping in dark; FTS International’s worries are not over yet; McNamee sworn in as FERC commissioner; Fluctuating natural gas prices are not a threat to the power grid; Poland’s PGNiG gets another US spot LNG cargo; Lithuania boosting ties with US LNG suppliers; Emerson buys Belgian valve company; Major LNG buyers’ uncontracted demand to quadruple by 2030.
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