FERC Approves PA to OH Risberg Pipeline to Begin Construction

Click for larger version

FERC has finally come out of its funk. At least with respect to the RH energytrans Risberg Line project. We have been waiting and waiting and waiting to bring you this exciting news: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has given final approval for the Risberg Line project to begin construction! Risberg is a 60-mile, $86 million pipeline from Crawford County, PA through Erie County and into Ashtabula County, OH. According to FERC’s own schedule, an OK for the project was due no later than Sept. 27, which didn’t happen. In October, RH energytrans was diplomatic and said, “It may take a little longer than we might hope” (see FERC Stuck in Slow Mo – Late Approving PA to OH Risberg Project). The folks at RH are far more patient than we are. Their patience has paid off. On Friday, FERC pulled the trigger and sent final approval. RH says construction will begin “by the end of this year,” which is now just over two weeks away.
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2 Workers Injured Working on Mariner East 2 Pipe Near Pittsburgh

Pipeline Inspection Gauge

Two workers were injured, one seriously, when a “pig” they were operating at a section of the nearly completed Mariner East 2 pipeline (near Pittsburgh, in Westmoreland County) accelerated and hit them late Sunday. What’s a pig? It stands for Pipeline Inspection Gauge–a device used inside a pipeline for cleaning, inspection and maintenance, and fluid batching. A pig is pushed along the inside of the pipeline by the flow of liquid or gas or (in this case), air. A pig launching station is used to insert the pig into a pipeline using a series of valves and hatches. The pig is pushed through the pipeline by the fluid/gas/air to the pig receiving station. We don’t have all the details for how this accident happened. What we know is that two workers, a man and a woman, were operating the pig when it hit them. Both were taken to the hospital. The woman was later released, but the man sustained a broken arm and is still hospitalized.
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First Domino Falls: Judge Grants PennEast Pipe Eminent Domain

It certainly seems as if the deck has been stacked against the PennEast Pipeline project, a $1 billion, 120-mile natgas pipeline that will stretch from northeast PA to the Trenton area of New Jersey. As we pointed out in November, DTE Energy’s NEXUS Pipeline, a 255-mile pipeline from Columbia County in Ohio to Southern Michigan, received its Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval around the same time PennEast did, about a year ago. NEXUS is already built and flowing, PennEast hasn’t turned the first shovelful of dirt yet. It’s been a real battle for PennEast (see The War to Build PennEast Pipeline Continues). However, things are finally beginning to look up. Last week a federal judge granted PennEast its first approval in a string of eminent domain cases, giving PennEast the right to enter and survey a property in Carbon County, PA. Mixing our metaphors, last week’s decision is the first domino falling, with the rest sure to follow.
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Virginia AG Sues Mountain Valley Pipeline re “300 Violations”

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, a liberal Democrat, has filed a lawsuit against Mountain Valley Pipeline alleging the project has violated Virginia environmental regulations some 300 times. You know, things like workers throwing candy wrappers and cigarette butts on the ground. The AG filed the lawsuit “on behalf of Department of Environmental Quality Director David Paylor and the State Water Control Board.” Since when does allegedly violating certain low-level regulatory standards become a matter of concern for a state attorney general? Apparently AG Herring doesn’t have enough to do. His action smacks of political persecution, no? Someone trying to curry favor with radical leftists in order to launch his own bid for governor some day? That’s exactly what’s going on. Yet another Democrat abusing his office to feather his own political nest. Disgusting.
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Virginia’s Biggest NatGas-Fired Power Station Goes Online

Greensville County Power Station (click for larger version)

In March 2015, Dominion announced plans to build the State of Virginia’s largest natural gas powered electric generating plant, in Greensville County, VA (see Virginia’s Largest Electric Plant to be Powered by Marcellus Gas). The $1.3 billion state-of-the-art natural gas-fired electric generating station generates 1,588 megawatts of electricity. Construction began in June 2016 (see Dominion Begins Building Virginia’s Biggest NatGas Power Station). And finally on Saturday, Dec. 8, the plant went online. Dominion’s own 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline (when completed) will provide cheap, abundant, clean-burning Marcellus/Utica Shale gas to power it. Until Atlantic Coast is up and running, where will the gas come from to power it? We couldn’t find confirmation on the source of gas that feeds it now–but we’re guessing it’s Marcellus gas, making this a hugely important new market for our gas.
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Elba Island LNG Won’t be Fully Online Until “End of 2019”

Elba Island LNG

Elba Island LNG, situated along the Georgia coastline near Savannah, was originally due to begin operations now, in the fourth quarter of 2018 (see Elba Island, Ga. LNG Export Startup Delayed to 4Q18). But in October Kinder Morgan, the builder and owner of the project, delayed the startup until first quarter of next year (see Elba Island, Ga. LNG Export Startup Delayed (Again) – Now 1Q19). Elba Island will be the second LNG export facility along the East Coast, after Cove Point in Maryland. As we previously noted, Elba is quite a bit smaller than Cove Point. Whereas Cove Point, which has been up and running since March, can take in and liquefy up to 3.5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas, Elba Island will be able to liquefy up to 350 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d)–just 10% of Cove Point’s capacity. In a post on the U.S. Energy Information Administration website yesterday, we learned that Elba will *begin* operation in early 2019, but it won’t be *fully* up to speed until the end of 2019.
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4th Circus Blocks Permit, Stops All Work on Atlantic Coast Pipe

The judges at the Fourth Circuit (i.e. Circus) Federal Court of Appeals are at it again, micromanaging and making life miserable for Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The clowns of the Fourth Circus on Friday put a hold on a permit issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) that allows the pipeline to get built through areas with so-called endangered and threatened species. FWS determined the impacts to such species would be minimal. Big Green groups, including the radical Sierra Club, filed a lawsuit and in response to that lawsuit, to give the lawsuit time to play out, the clown judges suspended the FWS permit–effectively shutting down all work along the 600-mile project, even though the so-called “sensitive” species (four of them) are found along just 100 miles of the project. It’s not the first time the clowns have interfered (see 4th Circus Court Blocks Some Atlantic Coast Pipe Work in WV).
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Contractor Sues EQT $1.9M for Refusing to Pay for Spill Cleanup

Yet more intra-industry snipping to report (o&g companies suing o&g companies), this time between EQT and a contractor the company hired to clean up a spill (for $1.9 million) who says EQT never paid. EQT Gathering hired InterCon Construction to drill and install replacement pipeline in Indiana County, PA. InterCon did the work. During construction, InterCon experienced an “inadvertent return” (drilling mud leaking out on the surface where it’s not supposed to). InterCon fixed the issue, finished their work, and left. Triad Engineering was also involved in the project. The leak later returned. EQT asked InterCon to return and clean it up, which they did (for a price). According to court documents, EQT sued Triad for not properly sealing a bore hole, leading to the “new” leak. Yet EQT is refusing to pay InterCon for the cleanup, inferring they were to blame.
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12 Landowner Lawsuits Filed Against NEXUS, Contractor in Ohio

A lawyer representing 12 Ohio landowners has filed separate lawsuits on behalf of each landowner against NEXUS Pipeline and a contractor NEXUS used to build the pipleline–Michels Corp. The lawyer says he plans to file more lawsuits in the coming weeks. According to the attorney, the lawsuits aim to hold NEXUS and Michels “accountable for specific damages they’ve caused,” and to prevent future pipeline builders from “trampling on the rights of property owners.” The charges vary, but include allegations of pumping water and silt onto farms without permission from the owners, destroying topsoil and crops (without compensation), failure to repair damaged drain tiles, and more.
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Liens Against ME2 Pipeline Landowners Near Philly Dismissed

That was fast. Last week we reported that lawyers for a Mariner East 2 (ME2) subcontractor, United Piping Inc., had filed liens against the property of three landowners near Philadelphia because the ME2 contractor they worked for, Welded Construction, had declared bankruptcy and couldn’t pay them. And since ME2 builder Sunoco Logistics (along with Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline builder Williams) withheld payments from Welded, forcing it into bankruptcy, United figured they would extract their pound of flesh from landowners. Which, as we said, is outrageous and wrong (see Bankrupt Pipeline Contractor Leads to Liens Against PA Landowners). A day after that story broke, the companies involved (namely Energy Transfer, on behalf of Sunoco Logistics) got it resolved.
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Bankrupt Pipeline Contractor Leads to Liens Against PA Landowners

Ambulance-chasing lawyers for a Minnesota-based subcontractor (United Piping Inc.) have filed a lien against some of the landowners where Mariner East 2 (ME2) crosses, claiming the landowners may have to pay them because the contractor, Welded Construction, can’t. The lawyers are using a little-known law in Pennsylvania that dates to 1901 to make their claim. This is seriously screwed up. You may recall we previously told you that Williams, disputing work Welded Construction had done for them in building the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline, refused to pay $23.5 million, causing Welded to declare bankruptcy (see Williams Withholds Payment Forcing Pipeline Builder into Bankruptcy). What we didn’t know, until now, is that Sunoco Logistics Partners, builder of the ME2 pipeline, also withheld payments to Welded. United Pipeline says because of Welded’s bankruptcy and failure to pay them (because Williams and Sunoco withheld payments), they (United) now have the right to go after landowners for that money. This is nuts!Continue reading

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.
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PA Supreme Court Upholds ME2 Right to Use Eminent Domain

One of the ways anti-fossil fuel groups have tried to stop the Mariner East 2 Pipeline project is by tying it up in court. Various lawsuits have been filed going back years. One litigant, a Big Green group headquartered in Philadelphia, the so-called Clean Air Council, has tried repeatedly to get the courts to deny ME2 the right to use eminent domain in cases where landowners refuse to cooperate (see Clean Air Council’s Strange War Against Mariner East Pipeline). CAC argued that ME2 is not a “public utility” and therefore not entitled to the use of eminent domain. That argument flamed out. In May, PA’s Commonwealth Court ruled that yes, ME2 is a public utility entitled to use eminent domain if it needs to (see PA Court Rules ME2 Pipe has Power of Eminent Domain, Period). CAC had one last card to play, taking the case to the PA Supreme Court. They played it, and lost.
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NY, Other Lib States Try to Block Dominion New Market Pipe Project

New Market Project – click for larger version

Last July a small group of rich snobs from Cooperstown, NY calling themselves Otsego2000 sued the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in federal court to try and stop Dominion Energy’s New Market Project (currently under construction), a VERY modest upgrade to an existing pipeline that runs through Upstate (see Otsego2000 Snobs Appeal FERC Approval of New Market Pipe Project). The false premise of Otsego2000’s lawsuit is that FERC did not consider mythical man-made global warming when it decided to approve the New Market Project. Unfortunately, the wildly left/radical New York Attorney General’s office has just entered the case by filing a “friend of the court” brief, along with the wildly left/radical AGs in Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington State, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. But wait…the pipeline doesn’t run through any of those other states (other than NY) and has zero impact on those other states. Doesn’t matter. The point is they want to redefine how FERC does its job by bastardizing our laws, and this case conveniently provides them with a way to do it.
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PA Shale Water Company Hiring 125 New Employees

This is the kind of news we love to share! Keystone Clearwater Solutions, which was once majority owned by Rex Energy until they sold it to American Water Works in 2015 (see Rex Energy Sells Keystone Water Subsidiary to American Water Works), is hiring. And boy are they hiring! Keystone needs to hire 125 people, from truck drivers (most of the positions) to mechanics to technicians to supervisors. Keystone offers “complete water management solutions” to the shale industry, from the development and operation of surface water intakes to the operation and maintenance of water pipeline systems, pipeline construction projects, and water transfer services. Keystone is holding interviews across PA, OH and WV in December to fill the open positions. Christmas came early!
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Williams Unveils “Leidy South Project” to Expand Transco in PA

It’s the birth of a brand new pipeline expansion project. Several weeks ago Williams pre-filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to make certain upgrades (all of them in Pennsylvania) to its mighty Transco Pipeline. The upgrades include replacing smaller pipeline with larger pipeline in some areas, adding “looping” in other areas, and upgrading four compressor stations. The changes will flow an extra 582 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of Marcellus gas from northeast and southwest PA to “growing demand centers along the Atlantic Seaboard.” Williams is holding two (of four) open houses next week to discuss the project. Below are details about the project and a copy of Williams’ FERC pre-filing application.
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