Kentucky County Suing to Stop TGP from Reversing Pipeline for NGLs

Rowan County, KY

In February MDN told you that Kentucky antis went to court to try and block a plan by Kinder Morgan to convert a portion of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline that flows natural gas from the Gulf Coast to the northeast, to reverse the pipeline and flow natural gas liquids from the Marcellus/Utica region to the Gulf (see Kentucky Antis File Lawsuit to Stop TGP NGL Pipe Reversal). The reversal is part of a $4 billion project called the Utica Marcellus Texas Pipeline (UMTP) project. The first step in reversing the existing pipeline was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last October (see FERC Advances Plan to Reverse Part of TGP to Haul M-U NGLs to Gulf). Antis in Kentucky got their bluegrass knickers in a twist over FERC’s action. They filed a request for “rehearing” of FERC’s decision, which is the first step in a process that typically ends up in court. Normally FERC has 30 days to decide on a rehearing, however, they have a tactic they call a “tolling order” which allows them to extend the amount of time to make a rehearing decision–indefinitely. FERC pulled out the tolling order card and played it last November (see FERC Frustrates Kentucky Radicals Seeking to Stop TGP Pipe Reversal). The ticked-off antis filed a lawsuit challenging the FERC tolling order. While all of that continues to play out, one of the Kentucky counties along the TGP route–Rowan County–is filing its own lawsuit to stop the reversal and conversion of the pipeline. No, Rowan County has no standing to file such a lawsuit, but apparently they’ll need to learn that the hard way…
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Whatever Happened to Illegally Dumped Frack Waste in KY Landfill?

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In March 2016, MDN reported that 47 dumpsters full of concentrated frack waste from OH, PA and WV was illegally dumped in a Kentucky landfill in Estill County, KY (see Marcellus/Utica Frack Waste Illegally Dumped in Kentucky Landfill). The cuttings were buried between July and November in 2015, near as anyone can tell. The landfill sits across the road from a school. Normal frack waste has extremely low (usually no) radioactivity. But when drill cuttings are further processed and concentrated, as was the case with this series of loads, the naturally occurring radiation present can become more concentrated. Fortunately there’s no indication of a problem at the landfill: no indication that it’s leaking radioactivity into the water table, etc. But parents and residents were rightly up in arms (see Local Residents Demand KY Landfill Accepting Frack Waste Close). We last provided an update on this situation in July 2017 (see Update on Illegally Dumped Frack Waste in Kentucky Landfills). What’s happened since then? Not much. The radioactive waste is still there, buried. Still no signs of any leakage or problems. The landfill owners were fined and are required to create a mitigation plan. State officials want to keep the waste right where it is–best not to disturb it. But some locals want it dug up and moved–to somewhere/anywhere else. Here’s the latest on the “hot mess” in Estill County’s landfill…
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Kentucky Antis File Lawsuit to Stop TGP NGL Pipe Reversal

Kentucky antis have gone to court to try and block a plan by Kinder Morgan to convert a portion of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline that flows natural gas from the Gulf Coast to the northeast, to reverse the pipeline and flow natural gas liquids from the Marcellus/Utica region to the Gulf. Part of the 964-mile project runs through Kentucky (see KM Plans to Convert Tennessee Gas Pipeline to Flow M-U NGLs South). The first step in the reversal process was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last October (see FERC Advances Plan to Reverse Part of TGP to Haul M-U NGLs to Gulf). Antis in Kentucky got their bluegrass knickers in a twist over FERC’s action. They filed a request for “rehearing” of FERC’s decision, which is the first step in a process that typically ends up in court. First the “aggrieved party” (antis are in a perpetual state of being aggrieved) must request a rehearing. If FERC denies the rehearing request, antis (Big Green groups with deep pockets representing them) then file a lawsuit in federal Appeals Court to try and stop FERC from continuing to approve the project. Normally FERC has 30 days to decide on a rehearing, however, they have a little tactic they call a “tolling order” which allows them to extend the amount of time to make a rehearing decision–indefinitely. FERC pulled out the tolling order card and played it with the TGP project last November (see FERC Frustrates Kentucky Radicals Seeking to Stop TGP Pipe Reversal). The antis aren’t waiting. They’ve just filed a lawsuit challenging the FERC tolling order. Here’s the latest from the enviro nuts in the Bluegrass State…
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Part of TGP’s Broad Run Pipe Expansion Starts Up in Kentucky

In December 2016 MDN brought you news about Kinder Morgan’s “Broad Run Expansion Project” that will expand transportation capacity of natural gas on the existing Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP) system. Antis tried to stop the project, but the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected their pleas (see FERC Denies Anti Request to Stop KM’s Broad Run Expansion Project). The Broad Run Expansion includes construction of two new compressor stations in Kanawha County, WV, one new compressor station in Davidson County, TN, and one new compressor station in Madison County, KY. TGP is also increasing compression capacity by modifying two of its existing compressor stations in Powell and Boyd counties in KY by replacing existing capacity with new, higher-rated horsepower compression units. The project will provide an extra 200,000 dekatherms per day (Dth/d) of transportation capacity along the same path as the Broad Run Flexibility project, which was placed in service on Nov. 1, 2015. All of the additional gas will come from Antero Resources and their Marcellus/Utica program. Kinder/TGP has been busy working on the $406 million project and the pieces are now coming together. On Monday, FERC sent a letter to KM/TGP telling them the brand new compressor station in Madison County, KY can begin operations. KM plans to have the entire project up and running by June 1st of this year…
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FERC Frustrates Kentucky Radicals Seeking to Stop TGP Pipe Reversal

What’s in the water in Kentucky? Seems to be a state full of anti-drilling, anti-pipeline nutters. Kentucky has been responsible for killing at least one pipeline, the Bluegrass Pipeline that would have flowed Marcellus/Utica NGLs (natural gas liquids) all the way to the Gulf Coast (see Bluegrass Pipeline Aborted Before It was Born – RIP). That project would have involved laying 200 miles of new pipeline through Kentucky, and wealthy horse farms would have none of it. Kinder Morgan is making a run at a similar project–but this time the pipeline is already in the ground. Kinder Morgan, as we previously reported, is working on a project to convert 964 miles of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline, part of which runs through Kentucky (KM Plans to Convert Tennessee Gas Pipeline to Flow M-U NGLs South). Kinder wants to reverse the flow of TGP, which currently sends natural gas from the Gulf Coast to the northeast, turning it around and sending natural gas liquids from the Marcellus/Utica to the Gulf Coast. The first step in the process was recently approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (see FERC Advances Plan to Reverse Part of TGP to Haul M-U NGLs to Gulf). Antis in Kentucky have their bluegrass knickers in a twist over FERC’s action. They’ve filed a request for “rehearing” of FERC’s decision, which is the first step in a process that will end up in court. First the aggrieved party must request a rehearing. If FERC denies the request, the antis (using Big Green money) then file a lawsuit in federal Appeals Court to try and stop FERC from continuing to approve the project. Normally FERC has 30 days to decide on a rehearing, however, they have a little tactic they call a “tolling order” which allows them to extend the amount of time to make a rehearing decision–indefinitely. FERC has pulled out the tolling order card and played it with the TGP project–and that has the Kentucky nutters fuming…
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KM Plans to Convert Tennessee Gas Pipeline to Flow M-U NGLs South

TGP – section of pipeline to reverse & convert to NGLs (click for larger version)

Here’s a story that wasn’t actively on our radar. It’s an old story, but is now in the news again with the recent quorum reestablished at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). In August 2013, exactly four years ago, midstream giant Kinder Morgan and competitor midstream company MarkWest Energy (now part of Marathon Petroleum) signed a joint venture agreement to repurpose a significant portion of Kinder’s Tennessee Gas Pipeline (964 miles of it) running from the Louisiana Gulf Coast to Ohio. That 964-mile portion of TGP currently flows natural gas from the Gulf northward. Kinder and MarkWest want to reverse the flow and instead flow natural gas liquids (NGL) through the pipeline from the Utica and Marcellus region south to the Gulf Coast. The project would also build a new 200-mile pipeline from TGP in Louisiana to Texas. In order to make the project happen, the first step is to ask FERC for permission to “abandon” (stop using) the 964-mile segment, called Pipeline No. 1, from Louisiana to Ohio. Which TGP did in Feb. 2015. The project progressed. Last November FERC issued a favorable environmental assessment for the project (full copy below). And then FERC lost a quorum of voting members in February of this year, stalling further progress. With a quorum now restored, antis in Kentucky, a state that seems to be allergic to any kind of pipeline for any purpose, have begun bellyaching about it. Which is what caught our attention. We’ve gathered together information we can find on this project–a potentially very important project–to move Marcellus/Utica NGLs to the Gulf Coast…
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Fracking Comes to Kentucky – Encore Drills First Horizontal Oil Wells

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Kentucky is an interesting state with respect to the oil and gas industry. Historically there has been a fair amount of conventional (vertical only) drilling for oil and gas in the state. Over the past few years there have been a number of gas and petrochemical projects in the state (see our Kentucky stories here). However, the state also has a liberal tilt, at least when it comes to fracking and pipelines. A few years ago Kentucky pretty much single-handedly axed the Bluegrass NGL (natural gas liquids) pipeline, a $1.5 billion project that would have stretched from the Utica/Marcellus all the way to Gulf Coast (see Kentucky House Votes to End Eminent Domain for Bluegrass Pipeline). As for fracking, in 2015 the Kentucky Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, a group that “rarely meets” (previous meeting was in 2006) held a meeting to consider granting Kentucky’s very first deep horizontal natural gas drilling permit (see Kentucky Fracking One Step Closer: Commission Considers 1st Permit). The permit under consideration was to drill in the Rogerville Shale, by an affiliate of EQT. So when we spotted a press release/article about Encore Energy currently drilling its first (of four) horizontal oil wells in the Berea in Kentucky, wells that will be fracked…that’s big news! No, it’s not the Marcellus/Utica, but it’s close to us, and it’s in the Appalachian region. And it’s fracking a horizontal well in a state that has not been overly friendly in approving such activities. Here’s the low down on Encore…
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Paradise Comes to Kentucky: TVA NatGas Elec Plant Fires Up

Last week the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) held a dedication ceremony for the Paradise Combined Cycle Gas Plant in Drakesboro, Kentucky. The Paradise plant is a natural gas-fired plant that replaces two now-closed coal plants at the site. The new plant is capable of producing 1,100 megawatts of electricity (really big plant). The cool part, for us, is that Marcellus/Utica gas is either already feeding the plant, or soon will. The plant is fed by a 20-mile pipeline connecting to the Texas Eastern pipeline system (Tetco). We don’t know for sure whether Tetco is now carrying Marcellus/Utica gas south, but we do know that last December the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued certificates for three Spectra Energy projects to expand Tetco to carry Marcellus/Utica gas to Ohio, Kentucky and Mississippi (see FERC Issues Certificates for 3 Spectra Energy Pipe Projects in M-U). So either Paradise is getting gas from our region, or it soon will. Either way, hey, it’s Paradise for Marcellus drillers!…
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Rayne Xpress Gets FERC Approval to Begin Construction in KY

Rayne XPress map – click for larger version

In January, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) voted to approve and issue a certificate to Columbia Pipeine’s Leach XPress and Rayne XPress pipeline projects (see FERC Approves $1.8B Leach & Rayne XPress Pipeline Projects). The two projects work hand in glove to move Marcellus/Utica gas all the way to the Gulf Coast (see Columbia Gas: $1.75B for 2 Projects to Send Marcellus Gas to Gulf). You might think (as we did) that when FERC granted the final certificate, that would be the end of the story. Start the bulldozers, begin building! But no, such is not the way it works in bureaucrat-land. It seems FERC also needed to issue a “Mother May I?” certificate to begin construction, which they did on Friday (amidst a flurry of other certificates issued)…
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Somerset KY Attempting to Land $70M Gas-to-Liquids Plant

Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) plants convert natural gas, a hydrocarbon, into other hydrocarbons, like diesel fuel, gasoline, solvents and waxes. An abundance of cheap natural gas in the Marcellus/Utica is one of the prime motivators for establishing GTL plants in the region. Although we’ve heard plenty of talk about such plants, we’ve only seen a few prototypes get built. There’s lots of talk, lots of smoke–but so far, no fire. Will that soon change? We spotted a story about a GTL plant that may locate in Somerset (Pulaski County), Kentucky. Which we find interesting since Kentucky hates new gas pipelines, yet wants to build a plant that will use gas coming from pipelines (see KY Court Decision Goes Against Pipelines re Eminent Domain). But hey, maybe attitudes will change when they see the economic and environmental benefits from more natural gas, right? The mayor of Somerset is excited and perhaps prematurely announcing his town may (underscore may) get a new $70 million GTL plant. Thing is, the unnamed builder of the plant is also considering a location in Ohio, where there’s plenty of local natgas and pipelines already built. The good mayor may want not want to count his chickens before they hatch…
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FERC Allows KM to Begin Broad Run Expansion Project in KY

Last week MDN brought you news about Kinder Morgan’s Broad Run Expansion Project will expand transportation capacity of natural gas on the existing Tennessee Gas Pipeline system. Antis tried to stop the project, but FERC rejected their pleas (see FERC Denies Anti Request to Stop KM’s Broad Run Expansion Project). The Broad Run Expansion includes the construction of two new compressor stations in Kanawha County, WV, one new compressor station in Davidson County, TN, and one new compressor station in Madison County, KY. Tennessee Gas also expects to increase compression capacity by modifying two of its existing compressor stations in Powell and Boyd counties in KY by replacing existing capacity with new, higher-rated horsepower compression units. The project will provide an extra 200,000 dekatherms per day (Dth/d) of transportation capacity along the same capacity path as the Broad Run Flexibility project, which was placed in service on Nov. 1, 2015. All of the additional gas will come from Antero Resources and their Marcellus/Utica program. On Wednesday FERC gave Kinder Morgan permission to upgrade the two existing compressor stations in KY, but (for now) that’s all–something called a “partial notice to proceed”…
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FERC Delays EIS for Mountaineer XPress & Gulf XPress Pipelines

delayedThe Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has just thrown a little cold water on two important pipeline upgrades to carry more Marcellus/Utica gas to southern markets. A final environmental impact statement (EIS) was due from FERC for both the Mountaineer XPress and Gulf XPress projects no later than April 28, 2017. FERC says that deadline is going to slip by three months due to reroutes and additional environment information requested. MDN has previously reported on Mountaineer XPress, which includes 165 miles of new pipeline with approximately 2.7 billion cubic feet (Bcf) per day of transportation capacity from existing and future points of receipt along or near the Columbia pipeline system–most of it located in West Virginia (see Details on Columbia Pipeline Mountaineer XPress Pipeline Project). We have not, however, reported on Gulf XPress, which seems to be a project different from other Columbia projects we’ve highlighted, including Rayne XPress and Leach XPress. The Gulf XPress project does not appear to be either of those projects renamed (or original thought). Gulf XPress consists of constructing seven new midpoint compressor stations along the existing Columbia pipeline system in Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi, with the aim of moving an additional 875 million cubic feet (MMcf) of Marcellus/Utica gas per day southward, to the Gulf Coast region…
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FERC Denies Anti Request to Stop KM’s Broad Run Expansion Project

request-denied.jpgKinder Morgan’s Broad Run Expansion Project will expand transportation capacity of natural gas on the existing Tennessee Gas Pipeline system. The project includes the construction of two new compressor stations in Kanawha County, WV, one new compressor station in Davidson County, TN, and one new compressor station in Madison County, KY. Tennessee Gas also expects to increase compression capacity by modifying two of its existing compressor stations in Powell and Boyd counties in KY by replacing existing capacity with new, higher-rated horsepower compression units. The project will provide an extra 200,000 dekatherms per day (Dth/d) of transportation capacity along the same capacity path as the Broad Run Flexibility project, which was placed in service on Nov. 1, 2015. All of the additional gas will come from Antero Resources and their Marcellus/Utica program. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Certificate to build the project in September. However, several anti-drillers filed an appeal, asking for a stay claiming a removal of 40 acres of forest for a compressor station would irreparably harm Mom Earth. FERC has just ruled against the stay and told the antis Mom Earth will be just fine. Fire up the backhoes!…
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Chesapeake Sells 882K Acres & 5,600 Conventional Wells in WV, KY

for-sale.jpgChesapeake Energy, which continues to be strapped financially, embarked on a mission to lighten the debt load years ago–first under co-founder Aubrey McClendon, and then more aggressively under his successor, Doug “the ax” Lawler. Many pieces of the company have been sold off: the Oilfield Services division, all of its Haynesville Shale assets, all of its Barnett Shale assets…we could go on. Chessy loves to do land deals. In December 2014 Chesapeake sold off 413,000 Marcellus acres mostly in West Virginia (see Southwestern Paid Chesapeake $12K/Acre for Land Signed @ $5/Acre). Once again Chesapeake is selling off assets in Appalachia. This time they have cut a deal to sell a mammoth 882,000 acres along with 5,600 operating gas wells in West Virginia and Kentucky. However, the land and wells are in the “shallow” Devonian layer. That is, they are conventional (not shale) wells and acreage. Who’s the buyer and how much is Chesapeake receiving?…
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WV, OH, PA, KY Should Cooperate on $10B NGL Storage Hub

cooperationIn May MDN brought you the news that a researcher at West Virginia University believes an natural gas liquids (NGL) storage hub is what the Marcellus/Utica region really needs (see WVU Researcher Says Marcellus/Utica Needs an Ethane Storage Hub). According to Brian Anderson, director of WVU’s Energy Institute, without ethane storage (and pipelines) the Marcellus/Utica region risks seeing its abundant ethane leave the area, mostly heading to the Gulf Coast. We need that ethane here, in our area. Kevin DiGregorio, executive director of the Chemical Alliance Zone, is also taking up the cause. Writing an opinion article in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, DiGregorio says West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Kentucky need to band together to build such a project. Set aside their competitive natures and cooperate? Yes. Why? Such a project will cost an estimated $10 billion–far more than a single ethane cracker project. No one state can do it on its own. It will take all our states cooperating to pull it off. Below is DiGregorio’s op-ed along with more details about the proposed NGL storage hub…
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Update on Illegally Dumped Frack Waste in Kentucky Landfills

Estill County, KYIn March MDN reported that 47 dumpsters full of concentrated frack waste from OH, PA and WV was illegally dumped in a Kentucky landfill in Estill County, KY (see Marcellus/Utica Frack Waste Illegally Dumped in Kentucky Landfill). The cuttings were buried between last July and November, near as anyone can tell. The landfill sits across the road from a school. Normal frack waste has extremely low (usually no) kind of radioactivity. But when drill cuttings are further processed and concentrated, as was the case with this series of loads, the naturally occurring radiation present can become more concentrated. Fortunately there’s no indication of a problem at the landfill: no indication that it’s leaking radioactivity into the water table, etc. But parents and residents were rightly up in arms (see Local Residents Demand KY Landfill Accepting Frack Waste Close). The hunt has been on to track down the perpetrator–but apparently he’s hard to find and not long after the story broke, he shut down the company’s website and changed the address of the company to a public library address. Yeah, something is fishy…
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