KM Says Elba Island in “Advanced Stage” of Commissioning/Startup

Kinder Morgan (KM), perhaps the largest pipeline company in the United States, was first out of the chute yesterday with a financial and operational update for the second quarter. While KM maintains a number of pipelines in the northeast, primarily the Tennessee Gas Pipeline, our main focus in reviewing yesterday’s update is for new information about the long-delayed Elba Island LNG export facility along the coast of Georgia. Elba Island will export Marcellus/Utica molecules.

We updated this post on 7/19/19 with new information.
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Work Begins to Clear Site for NEPA Landlocked LNG Export Plant

Work begins to clear site for NEPA LNG plant (credit: Rocket-Courier)

Although we’ve recently reported several stories about the CEO of New Fortress Energy (see New Fortress Energy Founder/CEO Big-time Democrat Donor) and the company’s plan to build a new dock along the Delaware River to export LNG (see DRBC Approves New Fortress LNG/NGL Shipping Dock on Dela. River), we’ve not heard much about construction of the LNG plant itself, located in northeastern Pennsylvania. We have an update.
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Supplier Fair to Sell Products for OH Cracker Held in…London?

Little by little, piece by piece, the evidence continues to mount that PTT Global Chemical and their partner Daelim Chemical will make a positive final investment decision (FID) to build a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker in Belmont County, OH. On Monday we told you the State of Ohio is investing another $30 million in the project, even though the project is not officially a done deal, yet (see Ohio Pays Another $30M to Kickstart PTT Belmont Cracker Project). Our latest bit of evidence that the Belmont cracker will indeed get built: PTT is holding a “supplier fair” for companies to win contracts to provide various supplies and equipment for the facility. Oh, and the supplier fair is being held in London–as in the United Kingdom!
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Steubenville, OH in the Catbird Seat – Between Two Crackers

Location of Steubenville, halfway between Monaca, PA and Dilles Bottom, OH

Several weeks ago MDN editor Jim Willis attended the 2019 Northeast Petrochemical Conference and Expo in Pittsburgh. A major reason for attending such events is to connect with others in the industry. On this trip, Jim had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Bryce Custer, business director for global commercial real estate company NAI’s Ohio River Corridor division. Bryce’s job is to find real estate for companies in places where maybe real estate isn’t (yet) for sale. Companies like manufacturers who want to locate near the Shell and (soon, hopefully) PTT ethane cracker facilities–looking to locate in the Ohio River Valley. Bryce helps them find suitable locations. Bryce recently spoke to the Steubenville Revitalization Group and had an interesting observation about Steubenville’s geography.
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Ohio Pays Another $30M to Kickstart PTT Belmont Cracker Project

We’ve found one more bit of evidence that Ohio officials believe, rather strongly, that PTT Global Chemical will move forward with building a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker in Belmont County. JobsOhio, a private non-profit with a board appointed by the Ohio governor, gets most of its operating revenue from taxes on liquor sales in Ohio. JobsOhio previously spent $17 million in 2016 to clean up the site where PTT says they may/maybe/might build a cracker plant (see JobsOhio Picks Up the $17M Cost for Prepping OH Cracker Site). JobsOhio has just committed another $30 million for “site preparation work” for the cracker. One news source reports this is “the largest grant ever awarded in the Buckeye State” (by JobsOhio).
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Massive Explosion, Fire at Philadelphia Refinery

PES fire

Last Friday around 4 am there was a series of three explosions and a massive fire at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) Refining Complex, the East Coast’s oldest and largest oil refinery. It took fire fighters until Saturday afternoon to extinguish the blaze. The main concern was that if the fire reached a tank of hydrofluoric acid used in the refining process it would be released as hydrogen fluoride (a poison), affecting nearby residents. Fortunately that didn’t happen. The thing about the story that caught our attention is that propane and butane (potentially sourced from the Marcellus) are what fed the fire.
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Ohio Says PTT Cracker Will Get Built – Bechtel Confirms EPC Contract

Last Thursday and Friday, MDN attended the Northeast Petrochemical Conference & Exhibition in Pittsburgh. There were a number of interesting stories coming from the event that we will chronicle this week. However, there was one bit of breaking news from the event: Bechtel Oil, Gas & Chemicals Senior Project Manager of Pennsylvania Chemicals, Paul Marsden, made official what we previously shared as a rumor–that Bechtel has been selected as the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contractor to build the PTT cracker plant complex, when and if a positive final investment decision is made. According to a number of sources, that decision will get made this year.
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First US “Small-Scale” LNG Facility Launches in Jacksonville, FL

JAX LNG (click for larger version)

Something’s happening in Jacksonville, Florida with respect to LNG. It seems LNG plants of various types are popping up all over in Jacksonville! Nearly one year ago Eagle LNG opened its Maxville facility which liquefies natural gas into LNG for loading onto ships that use it as fuel (see Marc/Utica Gas Trucked to Jacksonville, FL for Use in LNG Ship). Eagle LNG is also working on a full-blown (smallish) LNG export plant near Jacksonville too (see FERC Grants Final Enviro OK to Jacksonville, FL LNG Export Plant). What we weren’t aware of, coming out of nowhere, is another small-scale LNG facility in Jacksonville, the JAX LNG facility, which opened for business earlier this month.
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MarkWest Hopedale Plant Problem Knocks 2 Bcf/d Offline in OH, WV

A pipeline feeding the MarkWest Hopedale Fractionation Facility in Jewett, Ohio was knocked offline last Sunday, and that outage caused a cascading effect throughout the region that forced three gas processing plants in West Virginia to temporarily scale back (or stop) operations, which further caused a ~2.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) decrease in gas flows on two interstate gas transmission pipelines. The good news is that the problem is now resolved.
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Rumor: PTT Ohio Cracker Project FID Likely Coming in September

Every now and again we traffic in rumors here on MDN, but we do so rarely and only when we trust the source of the rumor. In mid-March we brought you juicy tidbits from a highly trusted source about the PTT Global Chemical ethane cracker project in Belmont County, OH, a rumor about why a final investment decision (FID) to proceed has been delayed (see Rumor: Holdup in PTT OH Cracker Final Decision Due to Labor Rate). Our source is back, with more juicy updates, including a bombshell…
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AECOM Wins Contract to Service Shell Cracker Plant

Bechtel, a huge multi-national engineering firm, is the company building the mighty Shell ethane cracker in Monaca, PA. Shell won’t divulge when they think the cracker will be up and running (still a year or more away), but in what we consider a very good sign that the cracker will be operating sooner rather than later, Shell has just awarded another huge multi-national engineering firm, AECOM, the contract to maintain all the machinery at the cracker plant once it’s built and running.
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Marcellus/Utica and Permian Go Head-to-Head to Supply Gulf Coast

We’ve been keeping an eye on natural gas supplies coming out of the ground in the Permian (West Texas and eastern New Mexico) for more than a year. Why? Because all that associated gas being produced in the Permian has to go somewhere, and increasingly it goes to places where Marcellus/Utica gas also goes. A potent competitor. A year ago we told you about Permian and M-U gas competing in Midwestern markets (see Permian NatGas Increasingly Competes with M-U in Midwest). But it’s not just in the Midwest. Both plays increasingly now compete to supply markets along the Gulf Coast.
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Nation’s Biggest NatGas Processing Plant (in WV) Getting Bigger

MarkWest Sherwood Complex

MarkWest Energy, now part of MPLX (Marathon Petroleum) operates the nation’s largest cryogenic gas processing plant operation in the country–in West Virginia. The Sherwood Complex in Doddridge County, WV has the capacity to process up to 2.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natgas, along with fractionation (separating out ethane) of up to 60,000 barrels per day (bpd). This year the facility will expand.
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Rumor: Holdup in PTT OH Cracker Final Decision Due to Labor Rate

Every now and again we traffic in rumors here on MDN, but we do so rarely and only when we trust the source of the rumor. We have such a rumor to share, from a source we trust implicitly. We’ve been carping for over a year that PTT Global Chemical has repeatedly violated our deep well of patience by hinting that a “final investment decision” (FID) is “coming soon” for their $7-$10 billion ethane cracker complex in Belmont County, OH (see Still No Ohio Cracker Announcement, Preparations Continue). We now know why the FID is tardy.
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