PA DCED First Grants Then Rescinds ME2 Pipe Construction Waivers

Remember that old Abbott and Costello comedy routine, “Who’s on First?” That aptly describes what appears to be happening at the Pennsylvania Dept. of Community and Economic Development (DCED). PA Gov. Tom Wolf issued an edict several weeks ago that bans businesses from working unless they appear on a list of “life-sustaining” activities, in an effort to halt the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Companies can apply for a waiver if they’re not on the life-sustaining list. The DCED is in charge (if you can call it that) of reviewing and issuing the waivers. Yesterday the DCED issued waivers to Energy Transfer to button up some final bits of work on the Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipeline project in several locations near Philadelphia. A few hours later DCED rescinded/pulled those waivers. What’s going on?
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ISS Asks Williams Stockholders to Block Chairman re Poison Pill

A couple of weeks ago midstream giant Williams said it had swallowed a big, fat poison pill (see Williams Swallows Poison Pill to Prevent Company Takeover). The Williams board adopted something called a “limited duration stockholder rights agreement” to fend off potential hostile takeover attempts from those who would buy up a significant number of shares of stock while the company’s share price is down due to the worldwide stock market crash over COVID-19 coronavirus concerns. A major (and influential) proxy adviser, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), has taken the “unusual step” of advising Williams shareholders to vote against reelecting board Chairman Stephen Bergstrom at the annual meeting later this month, in retaliation for his poison pill.
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PA Petrochemical Growth May Happen Due to…Coronavirus?

Quick: What’s the raw material used to make respirator masks, gloves, face shields and other high-demand products used by the medical community to combat the coronavirus pandemic? Correct, it’s plastics. And what is the primary feedstock used to make the plastic that in turn makes all of those live-saving products? Correct again: natural gas and natural gas liquids. Or another word for it, petrochemicals. The “Think About Energy” seminar series, usually held in-person, hosted its first virtual event yesterday. Four fantastic speakers spoke about how the coronavirus pandemic, among other things, may drive the expansion of petrochemicals in PA. Expanding the petchem industry in the Keystone State may literally be a life or death issue.
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Nuverra Environmental Cuts Budget 30%, Lays off 100 People

Nuverra Environmental Solutions (formerly Heckmann) is one of the largest companies in the United States that handles transportation and disposal of shale drilling wastewater and leftover rock and dirt from drilling. The company has major operations in the Marcellus/Utica region. Given that Nuverra’s customers, oil and gas drillers, are canceling work right and left meaning less work for Nuverra, the company announced it is laying off roughly 100 employees, cutting the salaries of everyone else, and slicing other non-essential expenses in an effort to ride out the coronavirus/oil price crash storm.
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Dominion’s Net-Zero Emissions in Va. Does NOT Mean Fossil-Free

A recent column appearing in a Virginia newspaper shares what it believes is a revelation: When big energy/utility companies like Dominion Energy say they will achieve “net-zero carbon emissions,” they don’t mean they will stop using fossil fuels to create energy. Not by a long-shot. What “zero carbon” or “net-zero carbon” means is that all carbon dioxide (generated when burning natural gas to generate electricity, for example) is captured and used for something else. CO2 is not released into the atmosphere. Even though companies like Dominion are able to capture and reuse CO2, and prevent methane from leaking, it’s STILL not good enough for those who irrationally hate fossil fuels.
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The Case for Rising NatGas Prices – How High and How Soon?

We’ve preached “lower for longer” for a long time now–the theory that natural gas prices are low and will remain low for the foreseeable future. Not because we want it to be that way, but because it is that way, and we want you, our beloved MDN readers, to know the truth. We live for the day when we can tell you natgas prices are heading higher. Are we finally beginning to see some hope in that regard? Maybe! We’ve outlined the latest thinking across several recent posts that given the crash in oil prices, less associated natural gas will be produced leading to less supply on the market and (eventually) higher prices for gas. When will that happen? We have some new speculation to share.
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Shale Energy Stories of Interest: Thu, Apr 9, 2020

MARCELLUS/UTICA REGION: Shale gas was in trouble, then came the coronavirus; No need for natural gas pipeline across Raritan Bay, environmental report says; NATIONAL: Natural gas market starting to discount oil production shut-ins; Coronavirus clouds outlook, but EIA still sees Henry Hub at $2.11 this year; What COVID-19, global LNG demand loss could mean for U.S. gas storage refill; Shale cutbacks to fall on weakest drillers as glut drowns market; Keeping up with the Jones Act! Changes a pandemic and price war could bring; INTERNATIONAL: Russia: U.S. shale decline can’t count as ‘output cut’; Maybe the U.S. should delay virtual G20 oil meeting; Big Oil market question: What’s already priced in?; Saudi wealth fund builds $200 million stake in Norway’s state oil company.
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