PA Cracker Plant Stirs Up More Barging Business Along Ohio River

It’s fun to see all of the many, varied businesses impacted by the shale industry and by “downstream” projects like the mighty $6 billion Shell ethane cracker, currently being constructed in Monaca (Beaver County), PA. One of the reasons for selecting the Monaca site for a cracker is it’s location along the Ohio River, with access to barges. A majority of the components and materials being used to build the cracker are being shipped in by barge. That single project (the Shell cracker) has had and is having a huge economic impact throughout Beaver County and the entire region–especially on the barge industry. After the cracker is complete, output from the plant (plastic pellets) will likely not be shipped by barge, but by rail and truck. However, the cracker will attract a number of new manufacturing facilities to the region, locating there to use the plastic pellets coming from the cracker. Those plants manufacture a variety of products–and many of those products will be shipped by barge. The Pittsburgh region is experiencing a barge shipping renaissance, thanks to the Marcellus/Utica and thanks to the Shell cracker…
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The Folly of Divesting Fossil Fuel Stocks – Pension Funds Fall

In some liberal-dominated cities and states in the U.S., sleazy politicians have pushed their public pension funds to divest from fossil fuel companies. Dump the stock they own in those companies. Why? Who knows why. There’s no explaining insanity. Supposedly fossil fuels are evil and so-called renewables are righteous, so these sleazy politicians (like NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo) are forcing municipalities and entire states to divest. We told you last week that Gov. Andrew “tinhorn dictator” Cuomo is forcing the state public employee pension fund to divest–and it will cost pensioners a staggering $1 trillion out of their own pockets as a result (see Cuomo Plan to Divest Pension Fund from Fossil Fuels Cost NY $1T). The same thing will happen elsewhere if divestment catches on. Here’s a question: Why stop with divesting from fossil fuels? What about other libnut causes, like Pepsi and Coke–they make sugary drinks that make kids fat. What about divesting from fast food establishments, like McDonalds and Burger King and Wendy’s? What about divesting from Chick-fil-A? After all, Chick-fil-A is run by Christians (yuck!) and they dare to close their restaurants on Sundays. In fact, let’s just divest from everything! Where does this madness stop?…
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Utica Shale’s Impact on Ohio Past 10 Years: $100 Billion!

Aubrey McClendon, co-founder of Chesapeake Energy and founder of American Energy Partners (renamed to Ascent Resources) was the first to recognize the importance of the Ohio Utica Shale and once famously said the Utica is “the biggest thing to hit Ohio since maybe the plow.” Turns out he was right, God rest his soul. The Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA), a national group of families, farmers, small businesses, distributors, producers and manufacturers joined together to support America’s energy future, has just released a report that shows from 2006 to 2016, Ohioans saved more than $40 billion (!) on energy costs (natural gas and electricity) because of the Ohio Utica Shale. The report, titled “The Benefits of Ohio’s Natural Gas Production to Energy Consumers and Job Creators” (full copy below), breaks down the savings this way: Ohio residential customers saved close to $15 billion during the 10-year period, while commercial and industrial consumers saved more than $25 billion. But that’s not all. The report also quotes JobsOhio in saying that shale-related investment in the Buckeye State from 2011-2017 was a staggering $63.9 billion. If you add those two numbers together, the amount of money saved on energy (and therefore spent on other things), and the amount of money invested, it totals more than $100 billion of economic impact from shale in Ohio–in ten short years. Put another way, one-tenth of trillion dollars has been spent in Ohio because of shale. Mind-blowing…
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Marcellus/Utica Pipe Maker BENEFITS from Trump Tariffs

Contrary to the doom and gloom predictions that the hothead and dangerous Donald Trump, by imposing tariffs on Europe and China, is creating a “trade war” that is going to sink the U.S. and world economies–the facts show otherwise. Even the mighty American Petroleum Institute has been lobbying and complaining loudly that Trump’s tariffs will hurt the oil and gas industry. Except, it isn’t happening. At least not in the Marcellus/Utica. In fact, the opposite is happening! Dura-Bond, a company that manufactures steel welded pipes in McKeesport, PA, is *benefiting* from the tariffs. M-U pipeline companies are now buying Dura-Bond’s pipes instead of foreign imports. Dura-Bond is investing, like crazy, in the McKeesport facility in order to use the plant to manufacture smaller, midstream pipe. That ain’t supposed to happen! These words are sure to grate on a lot of people’s nerves (and we LOVE saying them): THANK YOU President Trump!…
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Westmoreland Gas-Fired Plant Stabilizes County Water Rates

In August 2016, energy giant Tenaska (headquartered in Omaha, NE) broke ground to build a 925-megawatt natural gas-fueled power plant in South Huntingdon (Westmoreland County), PA (see Groundbreaking for Tenaska Marcellus-Fired Electric Plant in SWPA). The Tenaska Westmoreland Generating Station is costing ~$780 million to build and will be online by the end of this year (see Tenaska Gas-Fired SWPA Elec Plant Fully Staffed, Online in Dec). Some of the money spent, $25 million, was spent to upgrade the local Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County water treatment plant. Upgrades included 13 miles of new pipeline from the Tenaska site to a new pumping station in Bullskin, Fayette County. Upgrades also included a device that removes moisture from sludge left over after river water is treated. The Tenaska plant will use 8-10 million gallons of water per day. The upgrades to the municipal water authority benefit everyone who uses the system, not just Tenaska. How does it benefit everyone? The Municipal Authority said there are “no plans for a rate increase for a substantial period of time.” For years to come, Westmoreland water rates will not go up, thanks to this Marcellus gas-fired electric plant…
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WV Gov. Justice Perpetrating an Injustice on NatGas Developer

Steven B. Hedrick

In June MDN told you about a controversy swirling around Steven B. Hedrick, CEO of Appalachia Development Group and also CEO of the non-profit Mid-Atlantic Technology, Research and Innovation Center, or MATRIC (see Manufactured Controversy re $10B NGL Storage Hub Proponent). Hedrick, in his role as CEO of Appalachia Development Group, has led an effort to get a $10 billion NGL storage hub established in Appalachia–most likely in West Virginia. It’s a huge amount of money, will take cooperation from multiple states and will require multiple sources of funding to make it all happen. Hedrick has led the effort. Both of WV’s U.S. Senators, Shelley Moore Capito (Republican) and Joe Manchin (Democrat) have worked on behalf of this project and have had words of high praise for Hedrick and his efforts. And then, “out of the blue” last month comes an attack on Hedrick from the Charleston Gazette-Mail. We now know why–the attacks were instigated by WV Gov. Jim Justice. Which makes us scratch our head. What in the world is Justice thinking? Why would he attack the one person who is key to the state attracting a project (and investment) equivalent to two cracker plants? What is Justice smoking?…
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$83.7B Chinese Investment in WV Shale & Petchem Still Alive?

Chinese yuan

Is China’s $83.7 billion investment in West Virginia’s shale and petrochemical industries, announced last November, on hold or not? In early April, when the current “trade war” with China began to heat up, we said this with respect to the deal China signed to invest $83.7 billion in West Virginia shale and petrochemicals: “However, if a trade war does develop, it would be foolish to not think those investments (withholding them) will be used against us.” (see Will Trade War with China Affect $83.7B Investment in WV Shale?) In June at the Northeast U.S. Petrochemical Construction Conference in Pittsburgh, our fears (and prediction) were confirmed. Chinese officials were due to attend the event and announce the first round of investments in WV. However, Brian Anderson, director of the West Virginia University Energy Institute, said given the trade war now on with China, the officials elected to stay home instead. Anderson said, “The pending trade war has put this project in jeopardy” (see Trade War Puts $83.7 Billion Chinese Investment in WV on Hold). But what’s this? Anderson now appears to have changed his tune. He recently told a reporter, “In terms of the development process, we continue to move forward…We’re even working on the next potential visits by officials and team members, so it’s not just the high-level executives, but development teams.” Hmmm. Which is it? Is the deal in jeopardy or moving forward?…
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Shell Cracker to the Rescue – Saving the Erie, PA Plastics Industry

The benefits of the mighty Shell ethane cracker now under construction in Beaver County, PA just keep multiplying. In April MDN brought you news that Penn State Behrend (in Erie County) had been tapped by the PA Dept. of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to be the “lead partner” with a $250,000 grant for developing business and market opportunities for the state related to the cracker (see Penn State to Help Create New Biz Opportunities from Shell Cracker). Erie County, where Behrend is located, is certainly not next door to the cracker. It’s two hours away! There are several other Penn State campuses closer to the cracker. So why was Behrend selected? In a word, plastics. “The strength of Erie’s plastics industry and the success of Penn State Behrend’s School of Engineering, which offers one of only six accredited U.S. plastics undergraduate programs, makes Erie of particular interest to DCED.” A new article says that the cracker will not only preserve the 4,300 plastics-related jobs in and around Erie, there’s reason to believe the plastics industry in Erie will “grow larger and stronger” because of the two-hours-away cracker. Again we ask the question, Why? Answer: Because buying plastics pellets from the Shell cracker two hours away is a whole lot cheaper (due to shipping costs) than buying plastics pellets from the Gulf Coast, as happens now. One would be justified in saying, Shell cracker to the rescue!…
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Anti Group Sues WVU to Disclose Details of $83.7B China Deal

Appalachian Mountain Advocates, a far-left, radical anti-drilling organization that some media outlets refer to as a simple “nonprofit law firm,” has filed a lawsuit against West Virginia University to force the university to hand over privileged and secret communications concerning the deal WV struck with China to invest $83.7 billion in the state, in the shale and petrochemical industries. As you may recall, that deal was announced last November (see China Agrees to Invest Amazing $83.7 BILLION in WV Shale, Petchem). The particulars of the “deal” have never been announced–other than the top line number of $83.7 billion in investments. In fact, the “deal” was called a “memorandum of understanding” (MOU), which we said at the time: “[the deal] signed in China yesterday is a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU). It’s a handshake–a gentleman’s agreement. And sometimes those agreements disappear. So this is far from a done deal.” In early December, following calls to disclose the deal, WV Gov. Jim Justice said the specifics are confidential (see WV Gov Justice Says China Investment Specifics are “Confidential”). So now, here comes a Big Green group trawling for trash–attempting to use (abuse) anything they can to make trouble for the shale industry. They hope if they can get their hot red hands on emails to and from the Red Chinese, they can fabricate a mountain out of a mole hill…
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INGAA: US/Canada Needs to Spend $44B/Year on Pipelines Thru 2035

A newly published study by the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) Foundation is raising eyebrows. The study, titled “North America Midstream Infrastructure through 2035” (full copy below), says the United States and Canada together will need to invest a total of $791 billion, or an average of $44 billion per year, from 2018 to 2035, to build new natural gas and oil pipelines (and associated infrastructure). That is some serious cash! The study makes certain assumptions, like this one: “Because production costs are relatively low in the Marcellus and Utica compared with production costs elsewhere, the study anticipates both production and infrastructure needs related to natural gas will be focused in the U.S. Northeast.” Meaning a lot of the money to build pipelines will go to our region. And this: “The study estimates about 25 billion cubic feet per day of new capacity to move Marcellus and Utica supplies to consumers and export facilities through 2035.” Whoa! According to the updated EIA Drilling Productivity Report issued on Monday, the Marcellus/Utica region will produce 28.9 Bcf/d of natural gas in July. Another 25 Bcf/d on top of that (essentially doubling current production) means by 2035 our region will produce over 50 Bcf/d of natgas. Incredible! No wonder we need more pipeline investment. Here’s an overview, along with a copy of the full study…
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Trade War Puts $83.7 Billion Chinese Investment in WV on Hold

You can’t say we didn’t warn you. In early April, when the current “trade war” with China began to heat up, we said this with respect to the deal China signed to invest $83.7 billion in West Virginia shale and petrochemicals: “However, if a trade war does develop, it would be foolish to not think those investments (withholding them) will be used against us.” (Will Trade War with China Affect $83.7B Investment in WV Shale?) At yesterday’s Northeast U.S. Petrochemical Construction Conference in Pittsburgh, our fears (and prediction) were confirmed. Chinese officials were due to attend the event and announce the first round of investments in WV. However, Brian Anderson, director of the West Virginia University Energy Institute, said given the trade war now on with China, the officials elected to stay home instead. Anderson said, “The pending trade war has put this project in jeopardy.” Add to the trade war the fact that WV Gov. Jim Justice just fired the guy who built the relationships and negotiated the $83.7 billion deal, Commerce Sec. Woody Thrasher (see WV Commerce Secretary Who Brokered $83B China Deal…Fire), and it doesn’t bode well for China’s billions of investment. The Chinese are using their announced investment as an economic weapon against the U.S. Which points out the folly of relying on investments from your enemies to prop up your economy. Make no mistake: China is an enemy of the United States. However, there’s one thing the Chinese are not retaliating against, and indeed something they want more of: U.S. LNG…
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What Will Convince Investors to Spend $10B on M-U NGL Storage Hub?

One more item to share with you from last week’s second annual Appalachian Storage Hub Conference convened at the Hilton Garden Inn Pittsburgh/Southpointe. As we previously highlighted, most of the event revolved around the proposed plan to build a $10 billion ethane storage hub (see Southpointe Event Focuses on M-U NGL Storage Hub). One of the panel discussions addressed the issue of how to attract that kind of money. $10 billion is just a number on paper. How much is that, really? West Virginia is the state most frequently mentioned as the host state for the $10B project. WV’s budget for this fiscal year is $4.3 billion. So the investment needed to build the proposed storage hub project would run the entire state of WV for more than two years! Where do you get that kind of money? And what do investors look for when deciding to spend that kind of money? That’s what the panel discussed…
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Industry Expert Says 3 More Crackers Coming to M-U

Last week the second annual Appalachian Storage Hub Conference convened at the Hilton Garden Inn Pittsburgh/Southpointe. As we pointed out in a post last week, the main topic of discussion was the $10 billion NGL/ethane storage hub (see Southpointe Event Focuses on M-U NGL Storage Hub). As big as the storage hub project is (and the news surrounding it), there was even bigger news coming from the event: 3 more ethane cracker projects for the Marcellus/Utica are likely to announce in the coming year! Tom Gellrich, principal of Top Line Analytics, talks to a lot of people. He’s an insider. At last week’s event, Tom shared some of his insights. He said PTT Global will commit to its previously announced cracker in Belmont County, OH, sometime this year. No real revelation there–we’ve been expecting such an announcement for the past two years. That’s one of three. Then Tom said the on again, off again Braskem/Odebrecht plan to build a cracker near Parkersburg, WV is on again and he expects an announcement to that effect in the next year. Wow! That’s two of three. And then Tom teased the crowd by saying there’s a THIRD project bubbling in the background. No details on who is behind it or where it will be located. Tom says to look for an announcement on this third cracker project by this time next year. Bonus: Tom believes Shell will take a hard look at building a new/second cracker right next to the first, after the first is completed (a fourth new cracker?). We have embarrassing riches of ethane crackers! Each one costing multiple billions of dollars to build…
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New Yorkers Pay 44% More for Electric than Neighboring States

On average, New York residents pay 44% more for electricity than neighboring states, like Pennsylvania. In January of this year, New Yorkers (and NY utility companies) were briefly forced to pay a record high of $140.25 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) for natural gas, as opposed to what everyone else was paying (an average of $3.08/Mcf)–which is 46 times as much! Both stats are rooted in the same issue: NY pays WAY MORE for energy than it has to, because Andrew Cuomo is blocking natural gas pipelines into the state from PA. So says a new report titled “Pipelines and their Benefits to New York” (full copy below). The report, published by the Consumer Energy Alliance, examines the benefits of pipelines to New York, highlighting the need for affordable energy supplies to keep the daily lives of families and businesses across New York moving. Without those pipelines, we’re toast. You can’t build windmills and solar farms fast enough to meet the growing demand for electricity–and natgas. Cuomo’s dysfunctional energy policies are blocking all New Yorkers, upstate and downstate, from living even moderately prosperous lives…
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NJ & PA Could Have Saved $1.3 Billion if PennEast Were Live

Click image for larger version

Too bad it takes so long to approve a new natural gas pipeline like PennEast–a $1 billion, 120-mile, 36-inch pipeline from Dallas (Luzerne County), PA to Pennington (Mercer County), NJ. Why does it take so long–years, in fact? Well there’s the federal regulatory process. But then there are the multiple, ongoing challenges from Big Green groups, people who irrationally hate all fossil fuels. Big Green launches lawsuit after lawsuit in an attempt to bury projects like PennEast in legal horse manure. One of the chief purveyors of said horse manure is THE Delaware Riverkeeper (Maya van Rossum). What if PennEast had been built two years ago, right after filing their well-laid-out, safe plan? If it had been built, consumers in PA and NJ over the past two winters would have saved $1.3 billion, according to a new study by Concentric (full copy below). Can you imagine the good things that could be done with an extra $1.3 billion in the hands of private citizens? All of the economic benefits that would ripple through the economies of PA and NJ? Instead, all of that benefit is being blocked by a few radical greens…
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LNG Exports to Add $1-$2 Trillion to U.S. Economy by 2050

Here are some numbers that are, frankly, hard for us to wrap our heads around. LNG Allies, a nonprofit trade group, recently issued a study they conducted showing that LNG exporters will add between $716 billion and $1.267 trillion in cumulative “direct, indirect, or induced value added” to the U.S. economy by 2050. Yes, trillion, with a “t”. During the same period of time, the study says value added to the economy from supplying the natural gas to those LNG plants (that is, all of the drilling and fracking), will be worth $948 billion to nearly (gasp) $2 trillion! No wonder President Trump is pushing hard to get more LNG export plants online. Here’s a quick overview, followed by a copy of the study/slide deck…
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