Virtual Pipeline Says Goodbye to NY, Sets Up Across Border in PA

New York State is the biggest loser. In every sense. NG Advantage, which once tried to set up a virtual pipeline operation in the Town of Fenton (suburb of Binghamton, NY), has shaken the dust of New York off its shoes and has, instead, decided to build the facility (with millions in tax revenues and over 100 jobs) 25 miles across the border in Springville Township, Susquehanna County, PA–in the heart of Marcellus country. Good for NG! Nice people, and they deserved much better treatment than they got here in NY. We personally hoped and lobbied for NG to locate in the Town of Windsor, NY, where MDN is located. But alas, the experience they had with the Town of Fenton was so nasty, they decided to abandon any plans of locating a business in NY. Can’t say that we blame them. NY is about the most business unfriendly state in the Union.
Continue reading

Accident: CNG “Virtual Pipeline” Truck Rolls Over in Upstate NY

One of the arguments/concerns used to defeat a facility near Binghamton, NY that would fill trucks transporting CNG to large customers not lucky enough to be located close to a natgas pipeline is that the trucks used to haul the CNG are “bomb trucks.” Just waiting to explode if they should be in an accident. And you know that sooner or later there will be an accident. NG Advantage had big plans to build a virtual pipeline (gas compression & trucking facility) on the outskirts of Binghamton, in the Town of Fenton. The facility would use gas from the Millennium Pipeline to fill trailers outfitted with a series of CNG canisters. We sat through several information sessions where the safety of those trailers was explained. We looked at one of the rigs, up close and personal. We recall one woman from Hillcrest screeching “It’s so BIG!” upon seeing the tractor trailer–which is much shorter than a standard tractor trailer rig. We heard NG explain that if a truck should be so unfortunate to be in an accident, the safety design would automatically release the gas, which dissipates into the atmosphere immediately–making an explosion or fire extremely unlikely. But facts make no difference in a heated, emotional debate. NG isn’t the only company attempting to service businesses in Upstate with CNG, to compensate for Cuomo’s ban on safe pipelines. Another company, Xpress Natural Gas (XNG), has a virtual pipeline operation based just south of Binghamton in Susquehanna County, PA. Things are so much easier in PA (sigh). An XNG truck was traveling through Otsego County, NY, when the truck overturned on a rural roadway. We thought, this is it. Major explosion, right? Scorched earth everywhere. Ball of fire. Driver burned to a cinder. But no, none of that happened. In fact, NOTHING HAPPENED. The truck overturned, and there it sat until it was pulled back upright again. Perfectly safe, as designed. Which illustrates and exposes the lies so often spread about virtual pipeline operations…
Continue reading

NG Advantage Virtual Pipeline Project Near Binghamton is Dead

In March MDN brought you the news that NG Advantage, which had big plans to build a virtual pipeline (gas compression & trucking facility) on the outskirts of Binghamton, NY, appears to have given up on the Town of Fenton location for the planned project (see NG Advantage Looks Beyond Fenton, NY to Build Virtual Pipeline). That impression is now further strengthened by comments coming from the Fenton town attorney at a meeting last week when he said, “My sense is that they [NG Advantage] are abandoning the project.” Abandoning in Fenton, yes. But not outright abandoning the project. Fenton, and indeed perhaps Broome County, is the biggest loser. But rumor has it that NG is looking elsewhere, nearby, for an alternative location. MDN’s sources keep whispering Hancock, NY as a possibility (in Delaware County). We’ve also heard Deposit, NY mentioned (sitting on the border of Broome and Delaware counties, not far from Hancock). MDN remains a top cheerleader to have NG bring their project to MDN’s own neighborhood, truck traffic and all, in the Town of Windsor. Sadly, no word on a Windsor option from our sources. So what did Fenton and surrounding communities achieve with their “victory” in defeating NG’s project in Fenton?…
Continue reading

NG Advantage Looks Beyond Fenton, NY to Build Virtual Pipeline

In a sad postscript, it appears that NG Advantage, which had once hoped to establish a virtual pipeline operation (compressing natural gas from the Millennium Pipeline) in the Town of Fenton (suburb of Binghamton), has finally given up on building the project in Fenton and is instead looking elsewhere. At least that’s our impression based on a couple of sources. We have no confirmation nor comment from NG–so this is purely our own speculation. However, a local television station in Binghamton recently noticed that NG is loading pipes onto a trailer, moving them out of the former construction site. The Town of Fenton Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) ruled in February that the facility does not qualify as an allowed use under existing zoning regulations (see NG Advantage Loses Zoning Vote for Virtual Pipe Near Binghamton). The Fenton Town Board is in no mood to overrule the ZBA decision, according to Suervisor Dave Hamlin. Case closed–unless NG plans to sue the town to recover costs, or try to force the issue of building the plant–which we don’t see happening. At any rate, MDN has heard scuttlebutt around the virtual water cooler that NG is looking at several other locations–in and out of Broome County. It would be a tremendous loss for Broome if NG locates outside the Greater Binghamton area. Meanwhile, MDN continues to spot XNG trucks (from a virtual pipeline in Susquehanna County, PA) passing through the Vestal, NY area–through densely populated centers–each and every day. They are the very same kind of trucks NG had proposed to use in Fenton. Yet not a peep about the XNG trucks that pass through our community…
Continue reading

Can Virtual Pipelines Rescue New England from Russian LNG?

The whole story of Russian LNG coming to Boston to help New England with its crisis shortage of natural gas continues to irk us. Although Russia and the Yamal plant where the gas was liquefied were sanctioned under President Obama. However, the actual gas itself was/is not sanctioned, for whatever reason. We have a situation where New England continues to obstinately refuse new natgas pipelines, instead buying LNG from Russia during critical shortages. We’re paying (and depending on) our enemies for natural gas when world-class supplies of it exist a few hundred miles away in the Marcellus. We’ve written about this confounding situation since early January (see our Russian LNG stories here). Last Friday the co-founder of NG Advantage–a “virtual pipeline” company that compresses natural gas from interstate pipelines and transports it, via trucks, to businesses and organizations that want gas but can’t get it via pipelines–wrote an intriguing blog post. Tom Evslin’s post makes a case for using virtual pipelines (i.e. CNG transported by trucks) as an alternative to help alleviate the extreme winter shortages in New England. Could trucked CNG (and LNG) actually eliminate the need for a pipeline to New England? We would argue “no.” However, without a doubt a virtual pipeline could help in certain places and under certain circumstances. Here’s Tom’s argument in favor of using virtual pipelines to alleviate New England’s stubbornly high prices for natural gas, and possibly save us from importing Russian LNG…
Continue reading

XNG Virtual Pipeline Defends Itself Against Antis in Otsego Co. NY

Earlier this year Xpress Natural Gas (XNG) spent $18.6 million to build a “virtual pipeline” facility in Susquehanna County, PA that employs ~90 people and loads up to 100 compressed natural gas (CNG) tanker trucks each day with PA Marcellus gas, for deliveries to customers across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states (see Major CNG Virtual Pipeline Coming to Susquehanna County, PA). Many of XNG’s trucks (40 per day) head up Interstate 81, catch Interstate 88 in the Binghamton area, and keep on going, eventually arriving in Herkimer County where the trucks unload the gas into the Iroquois Pipeline. Iroquois gets up to 50 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) from XNG’s trucks, using it for resale to customers further on down the pipeline in New York and New England (see XNG Virtual Pipe Delivering 50 MMcf/d of PA NatGas to NY Pipeline ). However, some residents in Upstate NY, in Otsego County (we suspect the same anti-fossil fuel nutters who lobbied to ban fracking and ban new pipelines) are up in arms with XNG’s daily truck trips. In order to shave miles and money from having to use Interstate 90 (NY Thruway with big tolls), XNG instead leaves I-88 and uses several state highways, routing the trucks through small towns. An eyewitness who lives along the route emailed MDN back in September said, “these [XNG drivers] are very considerate to the speed limits in the small towns they go through, I think these drivers are well disciplined…(maybe disciplined is not the right word) and the trucks are very quiet.” However, a group of antis turned up at a meeting last Thursday night in Otsego County to gripe and moan about the truck traffic. They don’t want fracking. They don’t want pipelines. And now they don’t want trucks hauling natural gas coming past their front door. Maybe they should just quit using all fossil fuels themselves and begin living like cavemen again?…
Continue reading

Hey Broome County: Enviros Love NG Advantage’s Virtual Pipeline

As we reported in August, a Broome County, NY judge ruled that the Town of Fenton (Binghamton area) Planning Board did not take a hard enough look at environmental and traffic issues related to their approval of NG Advantage’s plan to construct a facility in the town to compress and load natural gas onto tractor trailers for delivery to regional customers who desperately need the gas–what is called a “virtual pipeline” (see Judge Rules Against Broome Virtual Pipe, NG Advantage to Try Again). The judge’s ruling delays the project for months, at least. NG must now resubmit the project for approval by the Fenton Planning Board. Before doing that, NG must first conduct a full environmental impact study and an aquifer study. Even with environmental studies, don’t expect the locals, who appear to have very closed minds, to accept the outcome (see 2nd Approval for Virtual Pipeline in Broome County Not Assured). Some (many?) of the locals have been unduly influenced by charlatans who swoop into town and talk about “bomb trucks” and other nonsense, and then leave town once the locals are hot and bothered and agitated. These out-of-towners are professional agitators–paid by Big Green to do what they do. In a bid to counter the lies and smears pedaled by these people, NG is spreading the news that REAL environmentally-conscious people support NG’s virtual pipeline operations. For example, a dairy farm cooperative in Vermont and a sustainable lettuce and caviar farm in eastern New York are both NG customers and sing the praises of clean-burning, sustainable natural gas deliveries to their operations. Yes, those who actually care about the environment support NG Advantage and virtual pipelines…
Continue reading

2nd Approval for Virtual Pipeline in Broome County Not Assured

As we reported last week, a Broome County, NY judge ruled yesterday that the Town of Fenton (Binghamton area) Planning Board did not take a hard enough look at environmental and traffic issues related to their approval of NG Advantage’s plan to construct a facility in the town to compress and load natural gas onto tractor trailers for delivery to regional customers who desperately need the gas–what is called a “virtual pipeline” (see Judge Rules Against Broome Virtual Pipe, NG Advantage to Try Again). The judge’s ruling delays the project for months at least. NG must now resubmit the project for approval by the Fenton Planning Board. Before doing that, NG must first conduct a full environmental impact study and an aquifer study. Even with environmental studies, don’t expect the locals, who appear to have very closed minds, to accept the outcome. That much was clear at a Fenton Planning Board meeting last night. Residents packed the small meeting room to voice their displeasure with the project. Until now the project has enjoyed overwhelming support by the Planning Board and Town of Fenton officials. However, that may be changing. Town of Fenton Supervisor Dave Hamlin said there is “no certainty” that NG’s new, second application will get approved by the Fenton Planning Board…
Continue reading

Making a Strong Case for NG’s Virtual Pipeline Near Binghamton

Somewhat surprising for our local Gannett outlet here in Binghamton (the Press & Sun-Bulletin), but on Sunday the newspaper published two opinion pieces that make a very strong case FOR building a natural gas transfer station (i.e. virtual pipeline) in the Town of Fenton, on the outskirts of Binghamton, by NG Advantage. One of the editorials was written by a resident who lives in the community where the station will get built. The arguments are compelling and destroy the NIMBYism and hysterics of local residents opposed to the project. The other editorial is from the fire chief and emergency management director from a community in New Hampshire that has two facilities to decompress gas delivered by NG Advantage. He speaks about the safety of the trucks and the gas carried on them. Bottom line: This facility is safe, the trucks hauling the gas are safe, and it’s good for the economy. There’s absolutely no reason why it should not get built in Fenton (near Binghamton)…
Continue reading

Update on NG Advantage Virtual Pipeline near Binghamton

What’s the latest with the proposed virtual pipeline in Broome County, NY? NG Advantage wants to build a “virtual pipeline” operation in a suburb of Binghamton. The location NG picked, after considering up to six locations in the region, was selected because of it’s proximity to major highways, proximity to the Millennium Pipeline, and availability of high-power electric lines. A virtual pipeline is nothing more than a compressor plant (series of compressor plants) that grabs gas from a pipeline, in this case the Millennium, and compresses it and loads it onto special tractor trailers that then deliver the gas to industrial customers like manufacturing plants, hospitals, and even small regional gas distribution systems servicing residential homes. The location NG selected, in the Town of Fenton (within spitting distance of Hillcrest and Port Dickinson) was approved by the Town of Fenton after a detailed review. The area they selected is zoned industrial and is, in fact, a former dump site. However, residents from nearby neighborhoods (Hillcrest and Port Dick) were not aware of the project (so they claim) and when construction began to clear the dump site, and residents learned what was going to be built at the site, some of them demanded court action to oppose it. So far we’ve had two court cases asking county-level court (called “Supreme Court” in NY) to stop the project, which it temporarily has. And there we sit–waiting on a local court. When traveling through the neighborhoods near the site you see plenty of “No Compressor Station” signs. Ask any of the locals why they oppose it and the issue pretty much centers on truck traffic. The plant itself is safe. It doesn’t emit anything in the way of air pollution. It’s quiet–running on electric motors. The only thing people have to complain about is 3-4 trucks an hour going in and out of the plant. That’s it. But that’s enough to warrant a major fuss. The very latest is that State Senator Fred Akshar and Assemblyman Clifford Crouch, both of whom represent people in the Town of Fenton, visited the NG Advantage facility in Vermont last week–a facility similar to the one proposed for Fenton. They wanted to see it for themselves. Neither rep really has a say in what will happen in Fenton (the matter is in the courts at this point), but at least they informed themselves about the issue and can talk, rationally, with some of their irrational constituents…
Continue reading

Broome “Titanic” County Desperately Needs NGA Virtual Pipeline

Recently Broome County (NY) Executive Jason Garner sounded the alarm about county finances. He compared Broome County’s economic situation to the Titanic. The New York State Comptroller’s office issued a report in September 2016 that said Broome County has been in fiscal stress over the past three years. Thank you Gov. Cuomo for banning fracking–the one thing that could have pulled us out of the hole. With all of the bad news, you would think Broome County would be a cheerleader for a proposed “virtual pipeline” project from NG Advantage, planned for the Town of Fenton in a Binghamton suburb. In fact, Fenton approved the project (after a detailed review), and construction began in June (see NG Advantage Virtual Pipe “Done Deal” in Broome County, Antis Stymied). However, when the county weighed in on the NG Advantage project, back in May, it recommended against building the project (see NG Advantage Virtual Pipeline May be Coming to MDN’s Backyard). Isn’t that just like Broome County? We’re sinking (yes, MDN editor Jim Willis lives and writes MDN from Broome County), the County Executive sounds the alarm, yet the county wants to deny a project that will bring 150 full-time jobs and millions in tax revenue to county coffers. The irony was not wasted on NG Advantage, which issued this statement following Garner’s economic pronouncement that we’re sitting on the Titanic here in Broome County…
Continue reading

NG Asks Judge to Toss Case Blocking Virtual Pipeline in NY

NG Advantage wants to build a “virtual pipeline” operation in ultra-liberal Broome County, NY, in a suburb of Binghamton. The location NG picked, after considering up to six locations in the region, was selected because of it’s proximity to major highways, proximity to the Millennium Pipeline, and availability of high-power electric lines. A virtual pipeline is nothing more than a compressor plant (series of compressor plants) that grabs gas from a pipeline, in this case the Millennium, and compresses it and loads it onto special tractor trailers that then deliver the gas to industrial customers like manufacturing plants, hospitals, and even small regional systems servicing homes. The location NG selected, in the Town of Fenton (within spitting distance of Hillcrest and Port Dickinson) was approved by the Town of Fenton after a detailed review. The area they selected is zoned industrial and is, in fact, a former dump site. However, residents from nearby neighborhoods (Hillcrest and Port Dick) were not aware of the project (so they claim) and when construction began to clear the dump site, and residents learned what was going to be built at the site, some of them demanded court action to oppose it. So far we’ve had two court cases asking county-level court (called “Supreme Court” in NY) to stop the project, which it temporarily did (see Court Halts Work on Broome Co. Virtual Pipeline, Residents Sound Off). MDN editor Jim Willis attended a meeting by NG Advantage held for area residents and he has to say the company is bending backward, forward, sideways, upside-down, back flipping–and in general doing anything and everything they can–to prove to residents that a few trucks an hour hauling natural gas is not the horror they have been led to believe it will be. But in an all-too-familiar pattern, the residents’ minds are made up and nothing short of shutting the project down will be acceptable. And so the fight now goes to court. Last week NG responded to the temporary restraining order, asking the judge to toss it out so they can get back to building the facility. If for some reason NG is blocked, the company will be out $23 million…
Continue reading

Court Halts Work on Broome Co. Virtual Pipeline, Residents Sound Off

Tractor Trailer NG proposes to use at Fenton location – Click image for full size version

MDN editor Jim Willis attended one of the information sessions offered by NG Advantage at the Port Crane fire hall last night. NG Advantage is making a concerted effort to dispel false rumors and misunderstandings on the part of neighbors who live near a proposed “virtual pipeline” site that is a series of compressor stations grabbing gas from the Millennium Pipeline in a Binghamton suburb, compressing it and loading onto tanker trucks. Jim knew it was going to be an interesting night when he arrived at 7:15 pm to find a packed previous session that began at 5 pm was still going strong. Jim wandered to the back of the facility (in the parking lot) to view one of the tanker trucks that NG hopes to have accessing the facility (see our pic). In fact, two of these trucks each and every hour of the day will enter and leave the facility, some 50 trucks per day, on average, according NG officials. As Jim approached the truck, a woman also walking in the same direction said loudly, “My God! Look how BIIIIIIGGGG it is!” Like she’d never seen a tractor trailer before (actually, it’s shorter than a standard trailer). Since no one else was close to her, Jim assumed she said it for his benefit–likely hoping he would join in and agree. Jim said nothing. The same woman grilled the NG rep standing there, asking how many trucks per day, etc. And then she said, “I’m against this–I’m just glad there’s now a stop work order,” which was the first we had heard the news (more on the stop work order below). The woman’s demeanor and her ebullience that the project is now halted was an early signal: Jim knew he was in for a long night of high emotion from local residents who don’t want the facility, largely because of truck traffic. Jim was right…
Continue reading

Church Asks NY Court to Stop Broome County CNG Virtual Pipeline

NG Advantage is building a new compressor station to tap into the Millennium Pipeline where it crosses the Chenango River near Port Dickinson, a suburb of Binghamton, in Broome County, NY (see NG Advantage Virtual Pipeline May be Coming to MDN’s Backyard). NG already has three businesses lined up to buy CNG (compressed natural gas) from the project. So-called virtual pipelines compress natural gas and load it onto tanker trucks, and then distribute the CNG to businesses that are not fortunate enough to be located near a natgas pipeline. It’s a cool concept that bypasses anti-drilling objections to pipelines. However, virtual pipelines have one negative side-effect for local residents: LOTS of truck traffic. The Town of Fenton Planning Board recently approved the project, and MDN can report (since we swung by the site) that bulldozers and backhoes are hard at work transforming the site, getting it ready to construct the compressor station. However, a local elementary school, more than half a mile away, decided to sue to try and stop the project (see NY School Saddles Taxpayers w/Legal Fees to Oppose Virtual Pipe). Now, a local Catholic church’s parish center, St. Francis of Assisi, has joined several nearby residents to launch their own lawsuit/petition asking a local court to halt construction…
Continue reading

Canadian Co. Uses Virtual Pipeline to Sell LNG in New England

For some time, MDN has had an eye on a trend we find exciting: “virtual pipelines,” by which we mean facilities located along a pipeline that compress natural gas, load it onto tanker trucks, and then distribute that gas to businesses that are not fortunate enough to be located near a natgas pipeline. With irrational opposition to pipelines rampant, virtual pipelines are a good alternative. We recently highlighted a new project coming in our own area of Broome County, NY (see NG Advantage Virtual Pipeline May be Coming to MDN’s Backyard). We have a new twist on the virtual pipeline–something we’ve not read about before: Setting up a virtual pipeline for LNG (liquefied natural gas) instead of CNG (compressed natural gas). Typically virtual pipelines are CNG-based, far easier to transport and to use. Gaz Metro is Quebec’s largest natural gas distributor with an LNG facility in Montreal. Gaz Metro also happens to own Vermont Gas Systems. Gaz Metro recently beefed up its Montreal LNG plant and is now trucking LNG to Vermont and other New England states, targeting large industrial users and energy companies who use LNG for “peaking”…Continue reading

NG Advantage Virtual Pipeline May be Coming to MDN’s Backyard

For the past few years MDN has had an eye on a trend we find exciting–“virtual pipelines”–by which we mean facilities that are located along a pipeline that compress natural gas (CNG), load it onto tanker trucks, and then distribute that gas to businesses that are not fortunate enough to be located near a natgas pipeline. With irrational opposition to pipelines rampant, virtual pipelines are a good alternative. We were first alerted to this trend when International Paper’s Ticonderoga mill in northern New York, near the Vermont border, opted for a virtual pipeline from NG Advantage, back in 2015 (see NY Paper Plant Opts for “Virtual” NatGas Pipeline Over Real One). NG Advantage has established a presence throughout New England, most recently adding Maine to their delivery options (see NG Advantage’s “Virtual” NatGas Pipeline to Maine Begins Flowing). In January, a competitor of NG Advantage–Xpress Natural Gas (XNG) set up a virtual pipeline in Susquehanna County, PA–not far from MDN HQ (see Major CNG Virtual Pipeline Coming to Susquehanna County, PA). Imagine our surprise–and delight–to find out that NG Advantage wants to build a virtual pipeline about 9 miles from MDN HQ–along the edge of Binghamton in an adjacent suburb called Port Dickinson! This one flew mostly under the radar. NG Advantage has proposed a new compressor station and tap into the Millennium Pipeline where it crosses the Chenango River. They already have three businesses lined up to buy CNG from the project. Port Dickinson approved the project last night, but it’s still not a done deal yet…
Continue reading