Ohio EPA to Hold Air Permit Hearing for PTT Cracker Nov. 27

PTT Global Chemical announced in April 2015 they want to build a $6 billion ethane cracker plant complex in Belmont County, OH (see It’s Official: Belmont County Chosen as POSSIBLE Cracker Plant Site). Since that time, PTT has purchased land, paid $100 million to get the cracker facility designed, and repeatedly said a final investment decision (FID) is imminent. It’s been imminent for more than two years now. Belmont County officials recently said the decision is coming “by the end of this year” (see Belmont, OH Leaders Say PTT Cracker Decision Coming This Year). But we’ve read comments by others who say the decision won’t happen until sometime next year (see Rumblings that PTT Will Once Again Delay OH Cracker Decision). We finally have some signs of life that a decision is, indeed, coming soon.
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Va. Air Pollution Control Bd Delays ACP Compressor Station Vote

If there’s one more black person living in a given rural community than white, and if a pipeline company wants to put a compressor station in that community as the best location to push gas through the line, the very act of building that compressor station in that community is racist. That’s the horse manure being pedaled in Buckingham County, Va. Last week the State Air Pollution Control Board held two days of public hearings where antis, detecting they may lose the battle to stop a compressor station for Dominion Energy’s 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline, trotted out their so-called “environmental justice” argument. Last Friday the board decided to delay a vote on whether to approve the compressor station, until their meeting on Dec. 10.
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FERC Approves Rest of Columbia WB XPress Pipe for Startup

In early October the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted TransCanada permission to begin service on part of its Columbia WB XPress pipeline project, the “Western Build” portion of the project (see FERC Approves Columbia WB XPress Pipe for Partial Startup). The good news is that yesterday FERC granted permission to start up the rest of WB XPress, the “Eastern Build.” The $900 million WB XPress project is located in West Virginia and Virginia and expands capacity along the Columbia Gas Transmission (CGT) pipeline system by 1.3 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), linking Marcellus gas supplies to new markets. The whole WB XPress enchilada is now ready to let it flow.
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The War to Build PennEast Pipeline Continues

It’s been almost a year since the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted final approval for the PennEast Pipeline project, a $1 billion, 120-mile natgas pipeline that will stretch from northeast PA to the Trenton area of New Jersey (see FERC Grants Final Approval for PennEast Pipe – Real Battle Begins). DTE Energy’s NEXUS Pipeline, a 255-mile pipeline from Columbia County in Ohio to Southern Michigan, received its FERC approval around the same time. NEXUS is already built and flowing, PennEast hasn’t turned the first shovelful of dirt yet. What’s going on?
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EQT Pays $394K for Acid Mine Leak in Mon River Following HDD Work

On January 29, 2017, EQT used underground horizontal directional drilling (HDD) to drill a hole under State Route 136 in Allegheny County, PA, to install a water pipeline. As they were drilling, using what we now know was an out-of-date map, EQT hit an abandoned coal mine full of water, and four million gallons of acid mine drainage (AMD) leaked into the Monongahela River. EQT worked hard and fast to stop the leak (stopping it two days later) and set up a system to prevent any further leaks. Now, nearly two years later, it’s time to pay the piper. EQT just agreed to a fine of $294,000 for violating the Clean Streams Law, and payment of an additional $100,000 to the Clean Streams Foundation to provide for maintenance, operation, and replacement of a system to keep AMD from leaking at the site in the future.
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Game On: NFG Accepts US EPA “Methane Challenge”

We’re not much of a fan of the federal Environmental Protection Agency–especially the agency under the jackboots of the Obamadroids. The Obama years saw egregious abuses and wild new regulations that tried to stamp out the fossil fuel industry. In March 2016, we told you about a new “voluntary” program set up by the Obama EPA called the Natural Gas STAR Methane Challenge Program (see Dominion & NiSource Bow Down to Lord Obama, Worship the EPA). The program is aimed at trying to reduce the amount of so-called fugitive methane escaping into the atmosphere from oil and gas sources (never mind far more methane escapes into the atmosphere from the agriculture industry than oil and gas, such facts just get in the way of partisan politics). We’re still not sure we like the program, but it has (at least for now) remained voluntary. NFG, National Fuel Gas Company, with all five of its subsidiary companies, has just signed on to the program–to prove their dedication as good stewards of environmental resources.
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MVP, ACP Pipes Receive Very Few Violation Notices in WV

It would be great when you are drilling a well, or building a pipeline, that when a state government inspector swings by to check up on the project, they don’t spot any problems. Especially for big projects like pipelines that run hundreds of miles. It would be nice, but not reality. Something always happens here and there. Unforeseen. Like weather with torrential rain, resulting in runoff from a ditch you just dug. The inspector swings by the next day and notices water and dirt where it’s not supposed to be, and voila, a “notice of violation” (NOV) is issued. It happens. That’s the way the world works. For Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) and Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), both with segments in West Virginia, NOVs have been and no doubt will continue to be issued. How many NOVs would you imagine have already been issued for each project in WV? How many is “too many” and indicates the project builders are being sloppy?
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House Flipping Democrat Portends Trouble for O&G Industry

The results of Tuesday’s elections, with the House of Representatives flipping to Democrat control, is a disaster. That is our considered opinion. And not just because we’re died-in-the-wool conservatives and believe in freedom and the rule of law. But for what it portends for the oil and gas industry. Some on our side, the pro-fossil fuel side, think everything’s just fine with Dems in control of the House. They say the oil and gas industry likes “divided government” because it ensures any changes that happen will happen slowly. We’re not convinced. Why? We look at the actual words of those seizing (and we use that word intentionally) power come January. The House, under Democrat tyranny, is gearing up to hold hearings on everything, including so-called “climate change” and Trump’s efforts to roll back egregious Obama regulations related to “climate change.” Dems plan to use the power of subpoena to try and stop efforts to right-size and eliminate unnecessary regulations in agencies like the EPA. We think the oil and gas industry, whether they admit it or not, is in for the fight of its life come January 1. We hope we’re wrong. We fear we are not.
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4th Circus Court Blocks Some Atlantic Coast Pipe Work in WV

Circus clown

Dominion’s 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) from West Virginia to North Carolina has had its share of setbacks. Lately it seems that regulatory (and lawsuit) issues have been breaking in ACP’s favor. Just two weeks ago the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted approval for ACP to begin construction in West Virginia (see FERC Green Lights Atlantic Coast Pipeline Construction in WV). Right on cue, the U.S. Fourth Circuit (i.e. “Circus”) Court of Appeals has arrived to throw cold water on the project yet again. This time the Fourth Circus has put a temporary stop on constructing the pipeline across/under/through streams and rivers in WV.
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NY Constitution Pipeline Not Dead Yet, FERC Grants 2-Yr Extension

Miracle of miracles, two (!) Democrat FERC commissioners (Cheryl LaFleur and Dick Glick), along with one Republican commissioner (Chairman Neil Chatterjee), voted unanimously to extend the time frame by another two years for Williams to build the Constitution Pipeline. As you may recall, the Constitution was stopped cold by corrupt NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his lackeys at the state Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Constitution is planned to run from Susquehanna County, PA up into, and mostly situated in, New York State. Cuomo won’t be happy with this decision because it’s a very loud and clear signal that FERC believes the project *will* some day get built.
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EQT Makes it Official, Files with FERC to Extend MVP into NC

MVP Southgate map – click for larger version

In April MDN told you that even though Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) had only just begun to build along it’s 300+ mile route from West Virginia to southern Virginia, and even though the project faces enormous opposition from extremists who sit in the tops of trees and on top of poles, MVP went on offense by announcing a binding open season (time when customers can sign on the dotted line) to expand the not-yet-built pipeline even further (see Mountain Valley Pipeline Launches Plan to Expand 70 Miles into NC). The MVP Southgate project, as it’s called, will flow gas from the MVP mainline where it terminates in Pittsylvania County another 70 miles south to new delivery points in Rockingham and Alamance counties in North Carolina. Yesterday MVP (i.e. EQT Midstream) filed the official request with FERC.
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Which Federal Agencies Regulate What in Oil & Gas?

Who regulates what when it comes to the federal government and the oil and gas industry? We have an alphabet soup of federal agencies and agencies within agencies that regulate some aspects of drilling (on federal lands), pipelines, and by extension (because of air emissions) compressor stations, trucking and more when it comes to our industry. We recently spotted a helpful article that gives a high-level overview of who is regulating what. It’ll make your head spin! And this is just at the federal level. Add to this each state with its own regulatory fiefdoms and it’s a miracle any drilling ever happens.
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FERC OKs Final 2 Rover Pipeline Laterals – Now 100% Online

Flashback: In May of this year, Energy Transfer CEO Thomas Long said Rover Pipeline would be fully online by June 1st (see ETP Update: Rover Fully Online by June 1, Mariner East 2 Online 3Q18). Whoops. Gotta watch those “forward-looking statements” Tom. A large portion of the pipeline, designated Phase 1A, finally began flowing natural gas on Sept. 1st (see Big Portion of Rover Pipeline Now Up & Running – Thru Most of Ohio). Other bits and bobs have come online since that time. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission held back final approvals for some Rover laterals (offshoot pipelines that gather gas from various locations) as a way to force ET to perform clean-up work (see FERC Continues to Block Rover Laterals Until Restoration Work Done). The final two laterals, located in West Virginia, are now cleared to begin operation.
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WV Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Gas-Fired Power Plant

ESC Brooke County power plant concept drawing

Last Thursday the West Virginia Supreme Court effectively ended opposition against building natural gas-fired power plants in the Mountain State. We’ve brought you a number of articles detailing how the coal lobby has tried its best, via numerous lawsuits, to block three Marcellus-fired power plants from getting built (see Murray Energy Continues to Block Gas-Fired Plants in WV). The final attempt to stop these projects is to challenge air permits issued by the WV Public Service Commission. Isn’t that rich? Coal objecting to air permits for natural gas electric plants, which pollute far less than coal. The WV Supreme Court took up a challenge by Big Coal (i.e. coal baron Robert Murray) against one of the projects located in Brooke County. Last week the Supremes ruled in favor of the gas-fired plant. Victory! So when will construction begin?
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MPLX $7M Fine/Settlement: Fix Air Pollution in PA-WV-OH-KY-TX-OK

MPLX, i.e. MarkWest Energy, has been slapped pretty hard by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection, and several other state environmental agencies. Last Thursday the federal EPA serving as lead agency, announced a settlement with MPLX (and its various subsidiaries) to pay nearly $7 million in fines and corrective actions to cut down on air emissions at 21 of its plants in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Texas and Oklahoma. Of that total, $925,000 is a fine or “penalty” for violating clean air laws at the plants. The rest of the money will be spent on corrective actions to fix things and cut down on air emissions.
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PA DEP Sec. McDonnell Goes to Williamsport to Chat Up the Locals

PA DEP Secretary Pat McDonnell

Several topics were on the table yesterday as Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Pat McDonnell visited Williamsport to chat up the local hoi polloi. Global warming was a hot topic (pun intended). So too was the obscene 240% hike in shale permit fees from $5,000 to $12,000 per well. Being a good Democrat, the Secretary mischaracterized President Trump’s attempts to correct the Obama EPA’s wild overregulation as a “rollback on air and water quality.” Nice try Pat, but no cigar. Here’s a summary of McDonnell’s gassing around session yesterday in Williamsport.
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