Proposed OH, WV Laws Clamp Down on Illegal Pipeline Protests

Bills aimed at clamping down on illegal pipeline protests (which pretending to be free speech but aren’t) have been introduced in both the Ohio and West Virginia legislatures. In WV, House Bill (HB) 4615 passed the House last week and is now under active consideration in the WV Senate. In Ohio, Senate Bill (SB) 133 was passed last May. The bill was recently reported out of a House committee and likely to see a full House vote soon. It’s obvious that regular folks are tired of radicals and their illegal attempts to block pipeline projects.
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OH Supreme Court Rules REX Pipe Owes $2M in Excise Tax

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the Ohio tax commissioner correctly charged Tallgrass Energy’s Rockie Express (REX) pipeline $2 million in excise tax (based on $699 million of income), for gas transported from and to (within) Ohio. REX claimed it did not owe the tax because the same law that exempts gas transported out of state applies to gas sales in-state. But the tax commission, and now the Supremes, say that the portion of gas transported through REX that stays in Ohio is not exempt and can be taxed. So pay up.
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PTT Voices Concerns re Plastics; Still No Decision to Build OH Cracker

It amazes us that we now have to defend perhaps the greatest advancement to the longevity of not only humankind but all species on planet earth. That advancement is PLASTICS. Yes, plastics. The invention of plastic and its uses on Mom Earth has made our lives better. Plastics, contrary to the current popular mythology, have extended human and animal life. And yet, even the companies that build giant cracker plants to create raw plastic pellets (for further use in thousands of plastic products) must now bow down before environmental crackpots to declare their concern (even dislike) of the very thing they produce: plastic. It’s bizarre.
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Ohio Invests Another $20M in PTT Cracker Site, $70M Total So Far

We’re now a couple of months shy of the fifth anniversary for when PTT first announced they would consider building an ethane cracker plant in Ohio (see It’s Official: Belmont County Chosen as POSSIBLE Cracker Plant Site). Since that time, PTT has purchased land for the plant, and last fall was seen moving dirt around at the property (see Dirt Being Moved at PTT Ohio Ethane Cracker Site – Still no FID). Even without a final investment decision (FID) to build, the State of Ohio continues to invest money in the project–another $20 million last week.
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Montage Resources 2020 Sneak Preview: More OH Marcellus Drilling

Montage Resources provided a sneak preview yesterday for what to expect in 2020. You may recall Montage is the name of the company that resulted after the merger of Eclipse Resources with Blue Ridge Mountain Resources 11 months ago (see Blue Ridge Merges with Eclipse, Renamed to Montage Resources). Montage says it will drill 65% of its 2020 wells in the Ohio Marcellus. You read that right–the Marcellus play in Ohio!
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Legal Effort to Overturn FirstEnergy $1B Ohio Nuke Bailout Dead

The Ohio Supreme Court, on Christmas Eve, threw a lifeline to an effort to overturn an Ohio law that provides corporate welfare in the form of $1 billion of ratepayer (taxpayer) money to FirstEnergy, which recently changed its name to Energy Harbor (see OH Supreme Court Keeps Door Open to Reverse $1B Nuke Bailout). Last week the Supremes snatched the lifeline away and the current effort to block the $1 billion bailout is officially dead.
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TC Energy/Columbia Finally Get FERC Approval for Buckeye XPress

Buckeye XPress (click for larger version)

Last May the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) finally, after a months-long delay, issued a favorable environmental assessment (EA) for the Buckeye XPress (BXP) pipeline project (see Buckeye XPress Pipe Project in OH, WV Gets Favorable FERC Review). In October, Columbia (i.e. TC Energy) tried to goose FERC into issuing a final approval to build the project. Last Thursday FERC finally granted that approval–once again after a months-long delay.
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EPA Fines Gulfport $1.7M for Clean Air Violations in Ohio Utica

Yesterday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it has reached a settlement with Gulfport Energy over alleged air emissions violations found at 17 well pad locations Gulfport operates in the Ohio Utica. The violations happened in 2015. The settlement includes Gulfport paying $1.7 million in fines and spending another $2 million in “improvements” to cut down on volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions at the 17 well pads.
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Rover Pipe Wants to Flow Extra 175 MMcf/d – No Extra Cost/Equipment

The $4.2 billion, 713-mile Rover Pipeline system that flows Marcellus/Utica natural gas from western PA and eastern OH all the way to Canada, placed the final two pieces of the system online in November 2018 (see FERC OKs Final 2 Rover Pipeline Laterals – Now 100% Online). The mainline Rover pipeline flows 3.25 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d). Rover wants to expand that capacity without any new equipment and without any additional cost. How do they plan to pull that rabbit out of their hat?
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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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Big Green Tries to Whip Up Opposition to PTT Ohio Cracker

Big Green is doing its best to stir up opposition to PTT Global Chemical’s proposed ethane cracker plant in Belmont County, Ohio. Big Green is also trying to hide its involvement and pass itself off as organic, local community opposition. Not true. Last week the same so-called community organizer addressed an anti meeting at a local church and organized a “protest” a few days later.
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EmberClear’s Cadiz, OH Gas-Fired Power Plant Project Heats Up

In September 2016, MDN reported that EmberClear has plans to fund and build a new $900 million electric generating plant in Harrison County, OH (see $900M Utica Gas-Fired Electric Plant Coming to Harrison County, OH). The Harrison Energy Center project was supposed to begin construction by the end of 2018, which didn’t happen. Then it was supposed to begin construction by mid-2019 (see EmberClear’s Cadiz, OH Gas-Fired Power Plant Slightly Delayed). That didn’t happen either. We now have a new timeline and important news about the project.
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County Says Proposed Columbia Gas Central OH Pipe Not Long Enough

Proposed Marysville Connector in Union County (click for larger version)

Columbia Gas of Ohio (NiSource) recently announced a new $135 million pipeline project to bring new supplies of Utica-sourced natural gas to homes and businesses located north and west of Columbus, in central Ohio (see Columbia Gas Plans New NatGas Pipeline in Central Ohio). The project, called the Northern Loop Project, includes a 4.78-mile pipeline segment in Union County, called the Marysville Connector. County officials oppose the plan–because (they say), it’s not long enough!
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ODNR Advertising for Contractors to Plug 200 Orphan Wells by June

Map of Ohio’s orphan wells (click for larger version)

Ohio’s Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) has the “help wanted” sign out, looking for contractors willing to plug some 200 orphaned oil and gas wells in the state before the fiscal year ends in June. ODNR has a budget of $25 million to spend in the next six months, and its burning a hole in their pocket.
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Ohio Court: Utica Frackers Owed Sales Tax Refunds for Equipment

Good news for oilfield services companies that offer fracking services in the Ohio Utica Shale. The Tenth District Ohio Court of Appeals recently ruled that an amendment to an existing law granting tax exempt status for oil and gas equipment not only applies to equipment purchased by frackers from now on, it also applies to equipment they’ve purchased (and paid sales tax on) going back in time too. In other words, some frackers are owed refunds on the sales tax they’ve paid in the past.
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Marcellus/Utica Rig Counts 2019 – The Trend was Not Our Friend

If you use the number of active rigs operating in a given shale play/state as the measure for “success,” 2019 wasn’t such a good year for the Marcellus/Utica. In January, Pennsylvania entered 2019 with 48 active rigs. In December that number was cut nearly in half, to 25 active rigs. It was a similar story for Ohio, which entered 2019 with 17 active rigs and exited with 12 rigs. West Virginia, on the other hand, entered 2019 with 15 rigs and exited the year with the same number. But at one point during the year WV had 21 active rigs. We have the monthly rig stats below for all three states.
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