1/24/18 Note: We have edited this post to be less incendiary and more respectful of the opposing viewpoint.
Yesterday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rejected a request by Constitution Pipeline to overrule the (very corrupt) New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation and allow construction of the pipeline to commence (see our lead story today: Death of the Constitution Pipeline? FERC Refuses to Overrule NY DEC). As we report in that story, Williams is not (yet) giving up the hope and dream of building the Constitution. However, given that tree clearing for the pipeline would have to begin now, and be done by the end of March (in order to save the bats–don’t ask), another year will go by before the Constitution could even begin construction. And it will take a year to build. That’s IF Williams prevails in court. In the meantime, businesses in New York State are DESPERATE to receive shipments of natural gas. Major employers in the Southern Tier of New York had planned to tap into the Constitution and use cheap, abundant, clean-burning Marcellus Shale gas from Pennsylvania, saving them money and lowering emissions. Without the Constitution, what can these employers do? Yes, they can leave the state (and some already have). But there is a solution. NG Advantage is planning to build a “virtual pipeline” in the Town of Fenton, on the outer edge of Binghamton, NY (Broome County). A virtual pipeline is a compressor plant (series of compressor plants) that grabs gas from a pipeline–in this case the Millennium Pipeline–and compresses it and loads it onto special tractor trailers that then deliver the gas to industrial customers like manufacturing plants, hospitals, and even small regional gas distribution systems servicing residential homes. NG’s project got derailed last year when a group of residents living nearby sued, stopping the project in its tracks (see Broome Virtual Pipe Project in Limbo, Fenton Board Refuses to Act). The residents claim three trucks per hour going through side streets will negatively alter the neighborhood. It’s bogus. NG is undaunted. They have patiently, calmly and repeatedly reached out to the community to answer questions and address concerns. NG has more than bent over backwards in an attempt to work with community. NG followed the judge’s directive and refiled the project with the Town of Fenton for a second time. There is a Fenton zoning board hearing at 6 pm on Tuesday, Jan. 23 at the Port Crane Fire Department to consider NG’s refiled request. Residents who are opposed are already gearing up to pressure board members. Pro-gas folks need to show up in large numbers to show the zoning board there is support for this vital project. Let’s not let the other side win this one! Jobs in, indeed the future of, the Southern Tier depend on it… Continue reading
Winter has arrived here in the Marcellus/Utica. Keeping a truck idled for hours at a time–just to keep it warm or to get it warmed up before driving–is a waste of money. It’s also harmful to the environment (lots of nasty diesel emissions). There is a better way–the Webasto way. Webasto designed and manufactures an ingenious solution, a tiny little device like a motor, that will heat up the fluids in a truck, meaning you don’t have to start it minutes and hours ahead of time just to warm it up. They even have a device that will keep the cabin warm–without running the truck’s engine! How clever is that? MDN is delighted to bring our audience a new sponsor/advertiser: Webasto. Never heard of it? You may actually have one of their systems in your equipment and not even realize it. They’re responsible for the technology behind Engine-Off heating solutions–improving driver comfort and engine performance for all types of vehicles. Webasto was founded in 1901 in Germany and remains headquartered there. However, it is truly an international company, with operations around the world, including here in the U.S. There are a number of subsidiaries and divisions within the company. The part of the company that has become an MDN sponsor manufactures technologies, like heaters, used in big trucks (see it here).
Obviously not all MDN readers are interested in technology that keeps trucks warm in the winter. But there are a number of trucking companies, and fleet managers, who subscribe to and read MDN. Companies that work in the Marcellus/Utica region. We have some information you need–information that will (a) save you BIG money, (b) improve your environmental record, and (c) lower maintenance costs for your trucks… Continue reading
Earlier this year Xpress Natural Gas (XNG) spent $18.6 million to build a “virtual pipeline” facility in Susquehanna County, PA that employs ~90 people and loads up to 100 compressed natural gas (CNG) tanker trucks each day with PA Marcellus gas, for deliveries to customers across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states (see Major CNG Virtual Pipeline Coming to Susquehanna County, PA). Many of XNG’s trucks (40 per day) head up Interstate 81, catch Interstate 88 in the Binghamton area, and keep on going, eventually arriving in Herkimer County where the trucks unload the gas into the Iroquois Pipeline. Iroquois gets up to 50 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) from XNG’s trucks, using it for resale to customers further on down the pipeline in New York and New England (see XNG Virtual Pipe Delivering 50 MMcf/d of PA NatGas to NY Pipeline ). However, some residents in Upstate NY, in Otsego County (we suspect the same anti-fossil fuel nutters who lobbied to ban fracking and ban new pipelines) are up in arms with XNG’s daily truck trips. In order to shave miles and money from having to use Interstate 90 (NY Thruway with big tolls), XNG instead leaves I-88 and uses several state highways, routing the trucks through small towns. An eyewitness who lives along the route emailed MDN back in September said, “these [XNG drivers] are very considerate to the speed limits in the small towns they go through, I think these drivers are well disciplined…(maybe disciplined is not the right word) and the trucks are very quiet.” However, a group of antis turned up at a meeting last Thursday night in Otsego County to gripe and moan about the truck traffic. They don’t want fracking. They don’t want pipelines. And now they don’t want trucks hauling natural gas coming past their front door. Maybe they should just quit using all fossil fuels themselves and begin living like cavemen again?… Continue reading
Twin Eagle Resource Management, headquartered in Houston, TX, bills itself as a provider of wholesale energy and midstream services throughout North America. Twin Eagle also serves the upstream (drilling market) via a number of transloading facilities to ship and store frac sand. Currently Twin has five facilities, serving: Central Eagle Ford (Elmendorf, TX), South Eagle Ford (Laredo, TX), Powder River Basin (Douglas, WY), Permian Basin (Big Spring, TX), and DJ Basin (Evans, CO). You can now add a sixth facility–a frac sand transloading facility in Bridgeport, WV, to service the Marcellus/Utica region. Last week Twin Eagle Sand Logistics (Twin Eagle subsidiary) announced a deal to buy an existing frac sand terminal in Bridgeport from Process Transloading Bridgeport. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. “Transloading” is a simple concept. It means you ship the sand in via railroad, or barge, unload it, store it, and then load it onto trucks which haul it to well pads where it gets used to frack shale wells. Let’s give a hearty welcome to the latest entrant into the Marcellus/Utica supply chain! Here are the particulars of the Bridgeport facility… Continue reading
Iroquois Gas Transmission is not waiting for the Constitution Pipeline to get built–they’ve found a way around it. At least for some of the supply they hopped to get from the Constitution. Iroquois is a 416-mile interstate natural gas pipeline extending from the U.S.-Canadian border at Waddington, NY, through New York State and western Connecticut to a terminus in Commack, NY (Long Island), and from Huntington (on Long Island) to the Bronx, NY. It is an important pipeline in the Empire State. Iroquois was in line to receive some of the 650 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of natural gas the Constitution would flow from northeast PA to Schoharie County, NY, where the Constitution would connect to both the Iroquois and Tennessee Gas Pipeline. We’re not sure how much of the 650 MMcf/d Iroquois was supposed to get, but right now and for the foreseeable future, they’re getting nothing, thanks to a corrupt governor who has corrupted New York’s environmental agency which has denied the Constitution a necessary permit to build. Iroquois has found a way to replace at least some of that volume–by trucking it in. That is, a “virtual pipeline” which is now feeding the Iroquois, and in-the-ground pipeline. Usually it’s the other way around! Iroquois is getting up to 50 MMcf/d from Xpress Natural Gas (XNG), which is trucking the gas from a facility in northeastern PA (Susquehanna County). Here’s a story you’ll read first (perhaps only) on MDN–of how a virtual pipeline is now feeding an interstate pipeline in New York State with fracked gas from Pennsylvania… Continue reading
As we reported last week, a Broome County, NY judge ruled yesterday that the Town of Fenton (Binghamton area) Planning Board did not take a hard enough look at environmental and traffic issues related to their approval of NG Advantage’s plan to construct a facility in the town to compress and load natural gas onto tractor trailers for delivery to regional customers who desperately need the gas–what is called a “virtual pipeline” (see Judge Rules Against Broome Virtual Pipe, NG Advantage to Try Again). The judge’s ruling delays the project for months at least. NG must now resubmit the project for approval by the Fenton Planning Board. Before doing that, NG must first conduct a full environmental impact study and an aquifer study. Even with environmental studies, don’t expect the locals, who appear to have very closed minds, to accept the outcome. That much was clear at a Fenton Planning Board meeting last night. Residents packed the small meeting room to voice their displeasure with the project. Until now the project has enjoyed overwhelming support by the Planning Board and Town of Fenton officials. However, that may be changing. Town of Fenton Supervisor Dave Hamlin said there is “no certainty” that NG’s new, second application will get approved by the Fenton Planning Board… Continue reading
In February MDN told you we had made a discovery in reading through Crestwood Equity Partners (formerly known as Crestwood Midstream) quarterly update: the company is “developing a greenfield rail-to-truck NGL terminal in Montgomery, NY that will increase propane supply reliability across the Northeast markets” (see Crestwood Building Rail-to-Truck NGL Terminal in Orange County, NY). The terminal will come from “multiple producers in the Marcellus and Utica regions.” At that time, Crestwood was in the process of building the terminal, which will handle propane, in Orange County, NY–not far from New York City. Given NY’s allergy to any project related to fossil fuels, we found the news quite incredible. Something even more incredible: the terminal is done and the grand opening will happen next Wednesday, Sept. 6th… Continue reading
E2 Energy Services, which operates numerous natural gas processing facilities in the Marcellus/Utica, has just recapitalized “through an equity commitment from Tailwater Capital.” MDN first heard of E2 back in October 2014 when EnLink Midstream transferred ownership (“dropped down”) its investment in E2 Appalachian Compression, LLC and E2 Energy Services, LLC from one EnLink corporate entity to another (see EnLink Midstream’s Primary Focus in the Marcellus/Utica is…). EnLink, at least in 2014, owned a majority interest in E2–so we consider E2 a subsidiary of EnLink. Now comes word that a private equity investment company, Tailwater Capital, has committed a big slug of money, although we are not given the amount. When a company like E2 “recapitalizes” that typically means the company is swapping debt (bonds and notes) for equity (stocks). The announcement from E2 does not share the exact nature of the recapitalization. Below is the announcement, along with a list of E2’s assets and operations in the Marcellus/Utica region… Continue reading
Please note: Thanks to MDN reader Todd S. from Washington County, PA for correcting our map/distance from the Starpointe Business Park to the cracker plant location in Monaca, PA. Our previous Google map showed an incorrect distance (46 miles). It is actually ~28 miles. The story below has been corrected to reflect it.
It looks like Shell is going to build a trucking dispatch operation for its ethane cracker–but it won’t be located anywhere near the cracker site. The new trucking facility will be located in Washington County, PA–a half hour away. MDN was one of the first to announce Shell’s final investment decision to build an ethane cracker plant (that we now know will cost $6 billion) in Beaver County, PA (see Breaking: Shell Pulls the Trigger, PA Ethane Cracker is a Go!). A lot has happened at the site, situated on a former zinc smelting plant site in Monaca, PA. Shell built a new access road for trucks accessing the site–a concrete bridge overtop an adjacent highway–even before the final investment decision (see Shell Begins Building Bridge to PA Cracker Plant Site). Shell leased a huge office building and parking lot near the site (see Shell Leases 76,000 Sq Ft Office Space Near Cracker Plant Site). Shell even leased part of a nearby mall parking lot, for workers to park there (see More Evidence that the Shell Ethane Cracker Plant in PA is a Go). Everything we’ve seen thus far seems to be activity in and around Monaca–in Beaver County. That is, until now. A meeting yesterday of the Washington County (PA) Board of Commissioners hinted that Shell is about to build a facility there. Yesterday the commissioners voted to approve a new 31-acre development with a “90-bay distribution center and trucking dispatch operation” at Starpointe Business Park, in Hanover Township. The resolution contained this language in describing the project: “…to construct a two-unit building for Shell.” County officials and Shell officials won’t confirm a thing, but it seems pretty likely Shell is planning to build a big trucking facility in the business park, which is (by our calculations) about 28 miles and a half hour from the cracker site… Continue reading
West Virginia University professor and researcher Dr. Michael McCawley, chairman of the Dept. of Occupational & Environmental Health Sciences in the School of Public Health, has been studying the health effects of fracking since 2012. Dr. McCawley launched the Marcellus Shale Energy and Environment Laboratory (MSEEL)–a project that drilled a test well is providing real-time air, noise, occupational safety and health monitoring over a five-year period (see WVU Launches 5-Year Study of Local Frack Site for Air, Noise, H&S). It is one of three such projects approved and funded (in part) by the U.S. Dept. of Energy. When Dr. McCawley theorizes on something to do with fracking, we sit up and take notice. He does not appear, to us, to have any ax to grind with drilling. He’s a researcher looking for answers to questions. We spotted a report by The Allegheny Front, a PBS program with an anti-drilling bent, but sometimes with good reports, interviewing Dr. McCawley about his newest theory as to whether or not, and how, fracking may have local health impacts. McCawley’s theory, after standing in the middle of Montrose, PA watching truck after truck after truck pass through town, is that the presence of so many trucks, most of them burning diesel fuel, may indeed impact people who live close to drilling sites. Diesel emissions in concentrated form are not good. Here’s what McCawley had to say, via Allegheny Front… Continue reading
We just knew getting a “virtual pipeline” facility built in ultra-liberal Broome County, NY was proceeding a little too easy. MDN recently told you about a proposed virtual pipeline (i.e. natgas trucking system) coming to MDN’s neighborhood. NG Advantage wants to build a new compressor station and tap into the Millennium Pipeline where it crosses the Chenango River near Port Dickinson, a suburb of Binghamton, in Broome County (see NG Advantage Virtual Pipeline May be Coming to MDN’s Backyard). NG already has three businesses lined up to buy CNG (compressed natural gas) from the project. So-called virtual pipelines compress natural gas and load it onto tanker trucks, and then distribute that gas to businesses that are not fortunate enough to be located near a natgas pipeline. It’s a cool concept that bypasses anti-drilling objections to pipelines. However, virtual pipelines have one negative side-effect for local residents: LOTS of truck traffic. The Town of Fenton Planning Board recently approved the project and although we thought it wasn’t quite yet a done deal, apparently it is a done deal, as a small group of antis learned earlier this week at a Town of Fenton meeting (see NG Advantage Virtual Pipe “Done Deal” in Broome County, Antis Stymied). However, that may not be the end of it. Antis (in New York as elsewhere) don’t fade away without a LOT of loud-mouthed opposition, and a LOT of legal action. Antis are now pegging their hopes to defeat this fossil fuel intruder on the actions of a local school district. The Chenango Valley School District operates the Port Dickinson Elementary school close to (half mile? quarter mile?) the proposed compressor station for the virtual pipeline project. The CV school board voted last night 8-0 to hire a law firm to fight the project, with no cap on how much in legal fees local taxpayers will have to pay for this folly. The clock is now ticking. It’s quite likely the project will get built before it ever sees its first court hearing–and antis know it… Continue reading
For some reason we’ve always loved stories about how shale energy has revitalized the short line railroad industry. Maybe it’s from some deep-seated psychological connection of playing Monopoly as a child and loving to own the railroads on the board–including the Short Line. Who knows? We’ve just stumbled across another such shale energy story connected to a short line railroad. This one involves the mighty Rover Pipeline, now under active construction across Ohio and in Michigan. When Energy Transfer, the company building the $3.7 billion, 711-mile Marcellus/Utica natural gas pipeline began to look at logistics and where they would store all of the pipeline and other materials needed to construction the mammoth project, they happened across a rail yard and transloading facility located in Massillon (Stark County), OH. Massillon Logistics, founded in 2004 by Steve and Dave DiPietro, had launched Republic Short Line Railroad (RSL), along with four other subsidiaries, to operate at a former steel mill site (465 acres) now called the Massillon Energy & Technology Park. RSL and the expansive park were just what Energy Transfer needed for Rover. The pipeline project has provided RSL with a boatload (or rather, rail yard) of business and money to grow…Continue reading
For some time, MDN has had an eye on a trend we find exciting: “virtual pipelines,” by which we mean facilities located along a pipeline that compress natural gas, load it onto tanker trucks, and then distribute that gas to businesses that are not fortunate enough to be located near a natgas pipeline. With irrational opposition to pipelines rampant, virtual pipelines are a good alternative. We recently highlighted a new project coming in our own area of Broome County, NY (see NG Advantage Virtual Pipeline May be Coming to MDN’s Backyard). We have a new twist on the virtual pipeline–something we’ve not read about before: Setting up a virtual pipeline for LNG (liquefied natural gas) instead of CNG (compressed natural gas). Typically virtual pipelines are CNG-based, far easier to transport and to use. Gaz Metro is Quebec’s largest natural gas distributor with an LNG facility in Montreal. Gaz Metro also happens to own Vermont Gas Systems. Gaz Metro recently beefed up its Montreal LNG plant and is now trucking LNG to Vermont and other New England states, targeting large industrial users and energy companies who use LNG for “peaking”…Continue reading
According to Center Port Terminal, McKees Rocks Harbor Services (MRHS) has put the “Port” back in Center Port. Center Port Terminal is the former Ormet Aluminum Plant site located on the shoreline of the Ohio River in Monroe County, OH. The plant closed its doors as an active aluminum plant in 2014 after Ohio regulators and Gov. John “foreigner hunter” Kasich failed to get high electric rates reduced for the plant, and refused to allow Ormet to burn coal to produce their own electricity until they could begin using natural gas to create electricity from gas wells drilled on the property (see Final Chapter of Ormet Plant Closing – Utica Could have Saved It). The new owner, Niagara Worldwide LLC, first tried to market the property, renamed Center Port Terminal, to Marcellus/Utica Shale drillers and oilfield services companies (see New Ormet Aluminum Plant Owner Shops Barge Facility to Shalers). The terminal has also been marketed as the perfect place to locate a natgas-fired electric plant (see Old Ormet Site in Monroe, OH Shopped as Power Plant Location). Earlier this year, the facility was marketed to manufacturing companies (see 3rd Time the Charm: OH Center Port Terminal Woos Manufacturers). One of the chief advantages of the facility is cheap transportation to/from on the Ohio River. Center Port has 52 barge slips. It’s also connected to rail lines and highways. MRHS opened “fleeting operations” at the facility and within 90 days barge traffic to the facility tripled. That’s good for everybody, including the Marcellus/Utica industry… Continue reading
Last week MDN shared the good news that Utica Shale condensate (very light oil) had begun flowing through the new Marathon Petroleum Cornerstone Pipeline (see Utica Condensate Begins Flowing Through Cornerstone Pipeline). The Cleveland Plain Dealer published an interesting story about the pipeline on Saturday, explaining in depth what condensate is and how/why Marathon upgraded its refinery in Canton to handle it. However, it was another point made in the story that caught our attention. The MarkWest Energy (now a part of Marathon) processing plant in Cadiz, Ohio cleans and separates out condensate from other natural gas liquids (like ethane and propane) before sending the condensate to the Canton refinery. Until the Cornerstone went online, it took 130 tanker trunk trips PER DAY, operating around the clock, to cart the condensate from Cadiz some 60 miles to Canton (and then back for another pickup). While the trucks are still operating, for now, once the pipeline is fully operational and pumping at full capacity, it will end those truck trips… Continue reading
November 2012 was the first time we wrote about the transloading facility in Wellsville (Columbiana County) Ohio (see Drilling Mud Manufacturer Opens Plant in Wellsville, OH). A transloading facility is a place where things like pipes and grain and oil and gas and whatever comes in on one form of transportation, say a train or a barge–and gets unloaded and then is sent out via a different form of transportation, typically a truck. The Wellsville Intermodal Facility is one such transloading facility smack in the middle of Utica Shale country. The second time we wrote about the facility was January 2013 (see Columbiana Port Authority Close to Final Deal with Marathon). The third time we wrote about it was October 2013 (see Progress for Arrowhead NGL Transload Facility in Wellsville, OH). Today is the fourth time. Pier 48 Stevedoring operates a crane at the facility to load and unload barges. Pier 48 has been operating a 60-ton bridge crane used to move cargo containers (think truck trailers). However, Pier 48 just cut the ribbon on a brand new bucket crane, which can grab loose materials–even liquids–and hold it without leaking, to move whatever it is from a hold in a barge into a tank on land (or the reverse). The comment made during the ceremony that caught our eye is that this new crane has come at “an incredibly opportune time” because of the Shell ethane cracker plant being built 25 miles away, and a second potential cracker that may get built not far down the river in Belmont County. This new crane, and the transloading facility, sit in the catbird seat. With the coming cracker plants, manufacturers will locate in the region and need bulk shipping services for the materials they handle and the products they make… Continue reading