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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EIA Says NatGas in Storage Will Hit Record High Later This Year

Last week MDN told you that our favorite government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, predicts natural gas production from the country’s seven largest shale plays will decrease in March (see EIA: Shale NatGas Production Declines First Time in 39 Months). The trend has reversed and is now heading in the downward direction. Yet this week the same EIA published a post to say natural gas inventories (i.e. storage) will reach a record high later this year. Less production but more storage? How does that work??
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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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NatGas in Storage Really High, Which Means Prices Really Low

Natural gas is one of those commodities that economists consider as close to a “pure” commodity as one can get. Meaning the classic supply and demand curve rules. When you get more supply than you have in demand, the price goes down–along a predictable curve. In the natural gas world, supply signals come from a couple of different numbers. One is overall production. Another is storage–how much natural gas is sitting, unused, in underground storage, put there during summer “injection season” so it can be used during the winter “withdrawal season.” The bad news (for prices) is that with relatively mild temperatures this winter, we are at near-record high storage levels, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
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Fed Court Rules Columbia has Right to Use OH Gas Storage Field

Medina, Ohio

In a phenomenally complex court case decided last July by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, Columbia Gas (TC Energy) won the right to continue storing natural gas in an underground storage field near Medina, Ohio. The landowners, who claim Columbia owes them (more) money for using the land under their property, appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supremes turned it down yesterday, meaning the Sixth Circuit ruling stands.
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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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PA DEP Targeting NatGas Storage Operators Using Act 13 Law

In October MDN reported that Equitrans (formerly EQT Midstream) had settled an outstanding issue with the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) over the company’s failure to produce a “verified statement” that proves they have turned over every rock and branch looking for old conventional wells that are not mapped in a natural gas storage field in Greene County, PA (see PA DEP Fines Equitrans $650K for SWPA Gas Storage Field Violation). According to law firm Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, gas storage is “no longer under the radar” in PA.
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PA One of Two Finalists for “Massive” Ethane Storage Hub

The Appalachia Development Group (ADG) is leading an effort to build a ~$3.3 billion NGL storage hub in Appalachia. From the start, the thinking has been the storage hub would be located somewhere in West Virginia (see WV’s US Senators Lead the Charge to Build $10B NGL Storage Hub). But what’s this? ADG Chairman and CEO Steven Hedrick, speaking at a conference last week, confirmed potential sites for the project have been narrowed down to two. And one of those sites, according to “sources” (not Hedrick), is located in southwestern Pennsylvania.
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NatGas in Storage Triples from April 1 to October 31

On April 1 of this year the U.S. exited natural gas consumption season (“winter”) with a relatively low value of 1,155 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in storage. Fast forward to October 31 and the end of the injection season, when gas is stored away for the winter months, and that number had soared more than 3X to 3,724 Bcf. Underground storage of natgas as of October 31 was 37 Bcf higher than the previous five-year end-of-October average. The U.S. Energy Information Administration, our favorite government agency, calls this year’s injection season ramp-up pace a “near-record.”
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PA DEP Fines Equitrans $650K for SWPA Gas Storage Field Violation

Equitrans (nee EQT Midstream) owns a natural gas storage field in Greene County, PA, in the southwest corner of the state, called Swarts Field. Natural gas storage fields are an important, but often overlooked, part of the natgas ecosystem. Last December the state Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) threatened to shut down Swarts Field because of coal mining in the area, saying Equitrans had not properly mapped old/abandonded conventional gas wells in the area (see PA DEP Threatens to Close Equitrans Gas Storage Field in SWPA). The good news is the DEP threat is now over. The bad news is that Equitrans has to pay a $650,000 fine.
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NatGas in Storage Goes Above 5-Yr Average Pressuring Prices Lower

click for larger version

Storage isn’t as sexy as “fracking” when talking about the natural gas industry. But storage, the amount of gas stored during summer months for use during winter months, is a closely watched number. Last year storage numbers ran below the 5-year average (see EIA: Underground Natural Gas Storage Declined in 2018). If there’s less of a commodity (like natgas) available, given the same or increasing demand, prices will go up. Prices didn’t really go up all that much over the last year because, as we’ve pointed out, the ability of drillers to quickly open the spigots any time they want and let it flow is now a new kind of “storage” (see Utilities Now Depend More on Pipelines, Less on NatGas Storage).
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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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Trump Admin “Full Court Press” re Appalachian NGL Storage Hub

Steven Winberg, the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s assistant secretary for fossil energy, spoke to West Virginia lawmakers on Tuesday. His message? The Trump Administration is prioritizing building out a petrochemical industry in Appalachia. Among Winberg’s comments, on the matter of establishing an NGL storage hub in Appalachia, he said: “At DOE we have a full court press on this.” For those who don’t follow basketball, the term full court press means aggressive pressure against the opponent in the back court. Winberg’s meaning: DOE is doing everything it can to make the NGL storage hub project happen.
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PA Landowners Seek Class Action Against EQT re Gas Storage

Last July a group of 100+ southwestern Pennsylvania landowners sued EQT for failure to pay them rental fees for storing natural gas under their properties (see 100+ PA Landowners Sue EQT re Gas Storage Field Payments). That same group has just filed a request in U.S. District Court to upgrade the lawsuit to class action status, potentially including thousands of affected landowners.
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Marcellus/Utica Ethane Supplies at Tipping Point – Action Needed NOW

Last week Shaledirectories.com and TopLine Analytics hosted the one-day Appalachian Storage Hub Conference in Canonsburg, PA. Charles Zelek, a senior economist with the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy was one of the speakers. According to our friends at Kallanish Energy who attended, Zelek “implored” the audience to establish an ethane storage hub in the Tri-State area. Like now, before it’s too late.
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