Ohio NGL Storage Permit Expires, Builder Says Project Still Alive

Mountaineer NGL Storage is planning to build an NGL (primarily ethane) storage operation in Monroe County, OH, located just across the river (and border) from West Virginia. Last summer David Hooker, president of Mountaineer and president of the parent company Energy Storage Ventures (located in Denver, Colo.) announced the project had received all necessary permits to begin construction, and that construction “could” begin by the end of March this year (see Mountaineer NGL Storage Says Construction Begins in OH 1Q20). One teeny tiny problem. One of the necessary permits needed for the project expired last week. What’s going on?
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WV Advances Bills to Attract NGL Hub, Cracker Plant, Downstream

The West Virginia House of Delegates Finance Committee approved two bills yesterday that would create two new tax credits. The aim is to boost more development in the natural gas industry in the Mountain State. One bill, House Bill (HB) 4421, is meant to attract a natural gas storage hub and an ethane cracker plant to the state. The other, HB 4019, is meant to attract “downstream” natural gas manufacturing facilities. Both bills now go to the full House for a vote.
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WV Legislature Advances Bill Granting Tax Credit for NGL Storage

Two weeks ago MDN told you about two bills important to the oil and gas industry in West Virginia that are quickly advancing through the state’s current 60-day legislative session (see WV House Advances 2 O&G Bills: Orphan Wells & Faster Permits). You may now add a third bill to the list–one previously not on our radar. House Bill (HB) 4421, called the “Natural Gas Liquids Economic Development Act,” is aimed at providing a tax credit to those who would store or transport natural gas liquids (NGLs).
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Mariner East Pipe Flips PA from Propane Shortage to Surplus

Credit: Energy Transfer

The 2014 Polar Vortex event, when most of the U.S. was plunged into record low temps for an extended period, created a propane shortage for many. One of the states most affected by lack of propane during that event was…Pennsylvania! Should such an event hit again, PA is now in the clear, thanks to the Mariner East pipelines.
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Did Federal Budget Passed This Wk Torpedo M-U NGL Storage Hub?

Appalachia Development Group is leading an effort to build a ~$10 billion (or $2.5B, or $3.4B, depending on your source) NGL storage hub in Appalachia–most likely in West Virginia (see WV’s US Senators Lead the Charge to Build $10B NGL Storage Hub). The project, called the Appalachia Storage and Trading Hub, needs a federal loan guarantee of $1.9 billion, which has been in the works for the past several years (see Appalachian NGL Storage Hub Gets Serious with DOE Loan Guarantee). The loan guarantee is now in doubt following a budget bill passed by Congress earlier this week.
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M-U Drillers Face Ongoing Challenge re More NGL Production

click for larger version

Although the Marcellus (and Utica) is known worldwide as a “gas play”–meaning methane (CH4) production–a number of producers in southwestern PA, eastern OH and northern WV value the two plays for other hydrocarbons, NGLs (natural gas liquids). While methane or “natural gas” prices have gone low and stayed low, NGLs, which also come out of the ground along with methane, fetch much higher prices, and can make the difference between profitability and unprofitablity. But for M-U drillers there’s a problem with NGL production.
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Slowdown in Texas Permian Will Benefit Marcellus/Utica

U.S. shale regions (click for larger version)

Yesterday was the final day of the Hart Energy Marcellus-Utica Midstream Conference being held in Pittsburgh. While the first day’s sessions had “a somewhat downbeat tone” (see M-U Drillers Tell Pipeline Companies to Lower Fees, or Else), the second day’s sessions were more optimistic–especially with respect to our region’s prospects to ship natural gas and NGLs to other regions.
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Making the Case for Crackers, Other Petchem Plants in SWPA

Speaking of cracker plants and the exciting news that ExxonMobil is very actively searching for a location in the Marcellus/Utica region to build one (see today’s lead story), the fact that Exxon is looking is driving leftist environmental kooks bonkers. They hate the Shell cracker going up in Beaver County, and they want to ensure there are no other such plants built anywhere in the region–or at least in Pennsylvania. The eco-leftists have bullied Pittsburgh’s Mayor Bill Peduto to join their cause, who recently stated in a speech, “I oppose any additional petrochemical companies coming to western Pennsylvania.” The president of the Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council has responded to Peduto’s inane comments, exposing him for the dunce he is.
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Enterprise Decides to Expand ATEX Ethane Pipeline to Gulf Coast

In August, Enterprise Products Partners, the builder and operator of the Appalachia-to-Texas Express (ATEX) ethane pipeline, launched an open season to gauge interest in expanding the capacity along the 1,192-mile pipeline (see Enterprise Looks to Expand ATEX Ethane Pipeline to Gulf Coast). Good news! The open season is now closed and yes, there is more than enough interest from customers to increase capacity along the line by an additional 45,000 barrels per day.
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NETL Makes Case in Congress for Big Appalachian NGL Storage Hub

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) recently pulled together a report (“findings”) that were circulated to Congress, making the case for a large-scale natural gas liquids (NGL) storage and trading hub in the Marcellus/Utica region. No doubt this report was a response to moves by the radical left to prevent such a hub from receiving any kind of federal loan guarantees.
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PBS Goes to Scotland, Discovers Shale/Plastics Aren’t Bad After All

PBS reporter Reid Frazier should enjoy what is likely to be his one and only trip to Europe on the StateImpact Pennsylvania company dime. He’s gone there to follow Marcellus molecules exported from Pennsylvania, to see how they’re used. Frazier’s first stop is Scotland where they use our ethane to create plastics. Frazier’s report is actually (shock warning, please sit down) pretty fair and balanced–even complimentary of the Marcellus Shale and the plastics industry! Frazier’s overlords inside the William Penn Foundation (big financial backers of StateImpact) are NOT going to be happy with his reports if they continue like this one.
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Another Mariner East 2 Pipe Sinkhole Opens in Delaware County

Credit: PA Environment Digest Blog (click for larger version)

Once again drilling work to install Sunoco’s Mariner East 2 Pipeline in Middlefield Township in Delaware County, PA (near Philadelphia) has resulted in a sinkhole. This one is about the size of a 15×15 swimming pool. Sunoco reports the hole exposed a 12-inch pipeline flowing NGLs (no holes, no leaks in the pipeline). The company immediately filled in the sinkhole and covered over the NGL pipeline.
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Work at Sunoco’s Marcus Hook Causes Range to Tweak NGL Forecast

Sunoco is performing “optimization work” at the Marcus Hook export terminal this month. Marcus Hook is where two (soon to be three) Mariner East Pipelines terminate, hauling NGLs (propane, ethane, butane) from western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio all the way to the Philadelphia area. At Marcus Hook the NGLs get separated and most (not all, but most) get loaded onto ships for export to other countries. Sunoco needs to upgrade a few things to export even more. They’re shutting down Marcus Hook this month, and that’s a (temporary) problem for the main shipper sending NGLs to the facility–Range Resources.
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PA DEP Changes Sides, Says Marcus Hook Should Get 1 Big Air Permit

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP), which once supported (in court) Sunoco Logistics Partners method of requesting permits for the Marcus Hook facility (near Philadelphia), has just flip flopped and change sides, now siding against Sunoco and the permits the DEP itself issued for the Marcus Hook facility. DEP is now siding with the radical Clean Air Council demanding that all of the work at the Marcus Hook facility be done under a single emissions permit, not separate permits.
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MarkWest Continues to Expand NGL Infrastructure in the Wet M-U

Our friends at RBN Energy recently launched a new mini-series of blog posts delving into Marcellus/Utica gas processing and fractionation in the wet gas region–meaning southwest PA, eastern OH, and the northern panhandle of WV. We previously brought you part 1 of that series (see Overview of Gas Processing & Fractionation in M-U Wet Gas Region). Today we have part 2, which takes a close look at MPLX (i.e. MarkWest Energy) and the key role their processing plants play in allowing NGL production in the M-U to continue growing.
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MPLX VP Says We Need NGL Storage, and We Need it NOW

Some interesting comments by Jim Crews, vice president of northeast business development for MPLX (formerly known as MarkWest Energy), during a presentation he gave at the Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia’s (IOGAWV) Summer Meeting last week. Crews said lack of natural gas liquids storage is a crisis (our words, reflecting his sentiment). And we need storage not only here in the Marcellus/Utica region–but across the country. “We’re out of storage,” he said, and “Cargoes are just being given away.”
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