ME2 Pipeline Worker Charged with Falsifying Welding Records

A worker hired to x-ray welds on sections of the Mariner East 2 pipeline in southwestern Pennsylvania has been charged falsifying records, indicating that he performed the work when he didn’t. That’s a felony. According to one news account the worker, from Westmoreland County, PA, is expected to plead guilty and faces up to five years in prison and a fine up to $250,000. The good news is that Energy Transfer, the builder, discovered the deception and immediately reported it. ET reinspected all of the welds supposedly inspected by this worker.
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PA Sen. Dinniman Tries to Use COVID-19 to Block ME2 Work

PA Sen. Andy Dinniman

Rahm Emanuel (Democrat), former Mayor of Chicago and former Chief of Staff in the Bill Clinton White House, once famously quipped, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” That’s a pretty sleazy thing to say and a pretty sleazy way to behave. But there you go. Another Democrat, PA State Sen. Andy “Tony Soprano” Dinniman is adopting Emanuel’s sleazy strategy. Dinniman has been trying for over two years to shut down construction of Energy Transfer’s Mariner East 2 pipeline project (see Philly Dem Senator Tries to Shut Down ME2 Pipe Construction). He’s been completely unsuccessful. Now he’s trying to use the COVID-19 coronavirus scare to get the project stopped.
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Is ME2 Pipe Construction Stopped Following Wolf COVID-19 Order?

Yesterday Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf issued an executive edict that all “Non-Life-Sustaining Businesses” will close as of 8 pm last night. Notwithstanding the sleazy attempt by State Sen. Andy Dinniman to shut down construction of the Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipeline project by using the virus as an excuse (see today’s companion story), there appears to be some confusion as to whether or not ME2 construction is subject to Wolf’s edict to stop construction. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) refuses to tell ME2 to stop building. However, in Wolf’s list of what is “life-sustaining” and what isn’t, all construction, including “Utility Subsection Construction” is in the stop-work category. Is ME2 or isn’t it still actively under construction at this point?
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Debrosse Memorial Report: 2019 Ohio Oil Production Breaks Record

Earlier this month the Ohio Oil & Gas Association (OOGA) held its 73rd annual Winter Meeting in Columbus. One of the speakers was Martin Shumway, technical director at Locus Bio-Energy Solutions. Shumway shared details from the latest DeBrosse Memorial Report (full copy below). What does the report show for 2019? Ohio oil production hit the highest level ever in state history in 2019. There were 406 oil and gas wells completed last year, of which 351 (86%) were Utica wells. Belmont County saw the most wells drilled (80). Ascent Resources (formerly American Energy Partners) drilled the most wells last year in Ohio (104 wells), up 49% from 2018.
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PA Petchem Bill Delivered to Gov. Wolf – Will He Sign It?

Pennsylvania House Bill (HB) 1100, aimed at attracting new petrochemical investment to the state, was passed by the PA Senate in early February (see PA Senate Tweaks, Passes Bill Attracting Cracker-Type Investment). HB 1100 provides a tax incentive for companies to build NEW plants in the state that use Marcellus methane gas. Inexplicably PA Gov. Wolf said he would veto the bill when it hits his desk (see Gov Wolf to Veto Bill Attracting Cracker-Type Investment to NEPA). The Republican-controlled legislature held back from sending the bill to Wolf and for the past six weeks Republicans, Democrats, business and labor groups have conducted a high-pressure campaign to either force Wolf to sign it, or force Democrats in the legislature who voted for the bill the first time to vote for a veto override.
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Best Guess on How COVID-19, Oil Price War Will Impact M-U in 2020

The world as we knew it radically and fundamentally changed over the past two weeks. That’s a fact. The double whammy of the COVID-19 coronavirus shutting down world commerce (causing a big reduction in the use of oil and gas), and the Saudis and Russians engaging in an oil price war, flooding the world market with oil at a time when oil demand has gone down, is going to have an impact on the oil AND natural gas markets in the U.S. (and around the world) for months, likely years to come. How much of an impact is yet to be seen. We think the impact will be big. The experts at RBN Energy have taken a stab at predicting how these events will affect the entire U.S. oil and gas industry in 2020. As part of their coverage, RBN looks at impacts on “gas-focused” drillers, primarily in the Marcellus/Utica.
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U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer Asks Trump to Embargo Saudi/Russian Oil

U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer, Republican from North Dakota, sent President Trump a letter on Wednesday asking the President to take “immediate action” in slapping an embargo on crude oil imported from Russia, Saudi Arabia, and other OPEC countries. In 2018 (most recent stats) the U.S. imported nearly 1.5 million barrels per day of oil from Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. Cramer wants the spigot turned off from those countries in order to give our own companies the opportunity to supply oil to ourselves. We personally love the idea–but there are others (whom we respect) who strongly disagree with an embargo or any kind of governmental interference in the free market.
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Shale Energy Stories of Interest: Fri, Mar 20, 2020

NATIONAL: U.S. oil industry could end up losing more than 200,000 jobs; U.S. natural gas tumbles to 24-year low; U.S. LNG exports rise on week; U.S. shale goes viral; U.S. shale producers cut executive pay as oil prices crash; As total U.S. crude oil imports have fallen, imports from Canada have increased; Educator turned potential profiteer in climate litigation law firm; E&Ps slashing already-weak capital spending amid oil price rout; Coronavirus won’t stop flow of FERC orders, chairman says; INTERNATIONAL: Oil rallies, with U.S. prices scoring their biggest daily percentage climb on record; Fitch sees global oil demand plunging by 7-10 million b/d in 2Q.
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