New Study Says Petchem Tax Credit Bill Would “Transform” PA

Pennsylvania House Bill (HB) 1100, aimed at attracting new petrochemical investment to the state, was passed by the PA House and Senate earlier this year. The bill provides a tax incentive for companies to build NEW plants in the state that use Marcellus methane gas. HB 1100 was finally delivered to the desk of Gov. Tom Wolf last week (see PA Petchem Bill Delivered to Gov. Wolf – Will He Sign It?). Wolf previously stated (for whatever strange reason) he would veto the bill. Republicans, Democrats, businesses, and labor unions have all pressured Wolf to reconsider and sign the measure into law. Now comes a bit more pressure.
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‘First of Its Kind’ Methane/Ethane PA Power Plant Now Online

CPV Fairview Energy Center (click for larger version)

Competitive Power Ventures’ (CPV) Fairview Energy Center, a 1,050-megawatt natural gas AND ethane-fueled combined-cycle electric generating plant in Cambria County, PA, went online ahead of schedule back in December (see CPV Marcellus-Fired Electric Plant in Cambria Goes Online Early). The plant went online using Marcellus gas (methane). However, the plant is designed to mix ethane in with methane and burn the mix. CPV announced yesterday tests for blending in ethane are now complete and the plant is operating at a 75/25 ratio of methane to ethane. According to CPV, Fairview Energy Center is “the first and only facility of its scale in the world to possess high content ethane blending with natural gas capabilities.”
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Some Mariner East 2 Construction Resumes During Lockdown

The confusion over whether or not the Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipeline project has (a) shut down all construction, except certain tidying up aspects at certain locations, or (b) has permission by the state to keep on building, is still not 100% settled. On Monday we told you that ME2 construction was in the process of ceasing under orders issued by Gov. Wolf (see Mariner East 2 Pipeline Construction Shuts Down re COVID-19). However, the PA Dept. of Community and Economic Development granted a waiver to ME2 for certain activities.

3/27/20 UPDATE: As we suspected and have now confirmed with an unnamed (but highly reliable) source, the ME2 sites issued waivers to continue construction on Wednesday, March 25th were areas deemed necessary to continue work in order to protect the environment or the public. While there are numerous “sites” where activity has resumed, it represents less than 20% of total project sites. For example, places where there were open cut ditches or partially complete HDDs (underground horizontal directional drilling), the company requested and was approved waivers to restart construction–after an extensive review by the Wolf Administration.
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EEIA Files Brief with U.S. Supreme Court Supporting PennEast Case

The Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance (EEIA), a non-profit representing people and businesses who work in the energy infrastructure supply chain, filed an “amicus curiae” (friend of the court) brief in support of PennEast Pipeline’s request to get the U.S. Supreme Court. PennEast has asked the Supremes to overturn a lower court decision that allows states like New Jersey to usurp federal authority by blocking PennEast, a FERC-approved pipeline.
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COVID-19 Crisis Slams the Brakes on Anti-Fossil Fuel Shenanigans

If there’s a silver lining in this tragic COVID-19 coronavirus crisis, this may be it: Radicals who want to deny everyone the right to use fossil fuels with their unending campaigns of protests and legal actions are pretty much stopped in their tracks. They can no longer make mischief to block pipelines and shale drilling and the use of natural gas by ordinary citizens (via municipal bans). The virus has stopped most court cases, public hearings, and even the right to assemble and protest. Antis are apoplectic and scared that pipeline and drilling projects will get approved and move forward because antis can’t bully public officials and courts into bending to their twisted anti-fossil fuel views.
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U.S. Explores Luring Saudis Away from OPEC into New Oil Alliance

OPEC, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, is a pact of colluding oil-producing companies that act to artificially lower or raise the price of oil around the world based on how much the colluders are willing to pump. OPEC is the antithesis of free trade. But it does serve a purpose that (unfortunately) all oil drillers, including U.S. drillers, depend on–keeping prices high enough to be profitable. OPEC added Russia in a loose confederation for the past three years or so, something referred to as OPEC+. But then Russia recently told Saudi Arabia, the main OPEC player, to kiss off and left the OPEC+ fold, preferring to pump as much oil as they can. Saudi Arabia responded by increasing its production too, to drive prices into the basement, causing Russia (and U.S. shale drillers) pain.
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Barclays Warns Oil Price Could Sink to $10/Barrel

A week ago we brought you the story that predicted the price of oil would go from the $30/barrel range down to the $20/barrel range–something almost unthinkable. And then it happened within a few days! Now we’re reading of warnings from Barclays, one of the biggest banks in the world, that the price of oil may go as low as (GASP) $10/barrel. At that price, there’s maybe one producer in the world that can still make at least some money–Saudi Arabia. Everyone else would be upside down and heading for bankruptcy court.
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Shale Energy Stories of Interest: Wed, Mar 25, 2020

MARCELLUS/UTICA REGION: Pennsylvania’s oil & gas industry is classified as a “life-sustaining business”; Pennsylvania’s gas region is still open for business, thank you!; OTHER U.S. REGIONS: Coronavirus ravages U.S. energy capital; Texas business leaders chafe at coronavirus lockdowns: ‘We’ve got to figure out how to live with this thing’; NATIONAL: Brace for bigger shale crash than five years ago, oilfield giants warn; Amid oil price crash, natural gas is also under attack; In concession to Icahn, Oxy taps former chief Chazen as chair; COVID-19 demonstrates the importance of plastics; Six pipeline companies cut $1.9 billion from their 2020 budgets; INTERNATIONAL: European natural gas storage inventories are at record-high levels at the end of winter.
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