Free Pipeline Training Course in April in SWPA & Eastern OH

The Gas Technology Institute (GTI) has previously offered a 100% free training program for those interested in a career building pipelines in the Marcellus/Utica region (see 4-Wk FREE Training Program Helps Unemployed Get M-U Pipeline Jobs and Still a Few Openings for Free Training for M-U Pipeline Jobs in SWPA). GTI is offering the same training program once again in April, at two locations: Armstrong County Industrial Development Council in Freeport, PA, and Belmont College in St. Clairsville, OH. Each location is limited to 20 students. If you are interested and live somewhere within driving distance of either location, what are you waiting for? Sign up before all slots are taken! Starting salaries for graduates “often exceed $50,000” and can lead to careers with salaries in the six-figure range (hey, where do we sign up?!). We have the details of how to enroll for FREE in this valuable training course–a course worth $3,500…
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New Video of Burning XTO Well in Belmont County; EPA’s Wild Claim

XTO well in Belmont County, OH

As we reported on Tuesday, it has now been over a month since a Utica Shale well being drilled by XTO Energy Belmont County, OH exploded and caught fire (see XTO Well Explosion in Ohio Still Under Investigation Month Later). A variety state and federal agencies are investigating to see what went wrong. Still no guesses or theories. However, lack of hard data isn’t stopping the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from making a wild, off-the-cuff claim that the well leaked 100 million cubic feet of methane into the atmosphere per day until it was capped (see Exploded XTO Well in Belmont County Finally Capped After 20 Days). What does the EPA base that claim on? Nothing. It’s a guess. EPA officials were at the scene of the exploded well shortly after it exploded–but they never took any measurements. Why measure when you can guess? XTO is pushing back against the EPA’s wild guess. Below we have more on the EPA’s guesswork, and a just-released video of the burning well, taken from the air on the day the well exploded…
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XTO Well Explosion in Ohio Still Under Investigation Month Later

On Feb. 15, XTO Energy was drilling a Utica Shale well on the Schnegg well pad near Captina Creek (York Township, Belmont County, OH) when they “lost control” of the well and it exploded and caught fire (see XTO Energy Utica Well Explosion in Belmont County – 100 Evacuated). Fortunately no one was injured. It took XTO 20 days to get the well capped so it would stop venting methane into the atmosphere (see Exploded XTO Well in Belmont County Finally Capped After 20 Days). It’s now 35 days from the initial explosion and XTO and state officials investigating the incident still don’t know why it happened. An XTO spokesperson updated Belmont Count commissioners last week on the aftermath of the explosion and how XTO is working hard to ensure area residents are well taken care of. Here’s the latest on the aftermath, and the ongoing investigation…
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PTT Global Ohio Cracker Grows to $10B Project w/New Partner

With much fanfare, yesterday a press event was held in Columbus, OH to make an official announcement of what we already know: that South Korea’s Daelim Chemical, a subsidiary of Daelim Industrial, is now a partner with PTT Global Chemical in the Belmont County ethane cracker project. We previously brought you that news on Feb. 1 (see PTT’s “Big Announcement” – Gets a New Partner for Belmont Cracker). OH Gov. John Kasich along with officials from PTT and Daelim held a presser yesterday to officially announce the partnership, but also to announce that PTT has pulled the trigger on buying more land for the project–a positive sign. There was also talk by all three that the size of the project has grown. Plans are now that the project will cost $7.5-$10 billion to build, and it will have the same daily capacity as the Shell cracker now under construction in PA–using up to 100,000 barrels of ethane per day to make ethylene (raw plastic). Disappointingly, there was no “final investment decision” (FID) announcement. However, Kasich said he is “very hopeful” all three will be back, soon, to make an FID announcement…
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Top 3 Most-Drilled Counties in Ohio Utica for 2017

If you look at the number of Utica wells drilled in 2017, Belmont, Monroe and Jefferson counties were the top 3 counties in the state for new Utica wells drilled. However, if you dig a little further, you’ll find that two of those three counties saw more wells drilled in 2017 than in 2016, while one of them saw a 45% drop in new wells drilled in 2017–indicating that county has “fallen out of favor,” at least to some extent. Which is which? For that, you have click to continue reading…
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Exploded XTO Well in Belmont County Finally Capped After 20 Days

On Feb. 15, XTO Energy was drilling a Utica Shale well on the Schnegg well pad near Captina Creek (York Township, Belmont County, OH) when they “lost control” of the well and it exploded and caught fire (see XTO Energy Utica Well Explosion in Belmont County – 100 Evacuated). Fortunately no one was injured. Some of the ~100 people from the nearby 30 homes who were evacuated finally felt safe enough to return home–some 10 days later (see Neighbors of Exploded XTO Well in Belmont, OH Finally Return Home). However, not all of them returned home. Some did not want to return until the well is capped. We’re happy to report the well is finally, after 20 days, now capped. In order to cap it, workers first had to flare the well (burn off excess gas)–which happened Tuesday. XTO’s #1 priority now that the well is capped is to get those displaced back into their homes…
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XTO Well Blowout in Belmont County, OH Still Leaking 2 Wks Later

Two weeks after an XTO Energy well in Belmont County, Ohio exploded (not hurting anyone, blessedly), the neighbors have moved back–all but four homes closest to the pad. However, the well remains uncapped. Although it’s an unfortunate event that has caused a major upset for around 100 people, one Belmont County commissioner waxed philosophical by saying, “accidents happen.” What’s the latest on this accident and the cleanup effort by XTO?…
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XTO Exploded Belmont Well Still Not Capped, Neighbors Stay Away

Last Thursday XTO Energy was drilling a Utica Shale well on the Schnegg well pad near Captina Creek (York Township, Belmont County, OH) when they “lost control” of the well and it exploded and caught fire (see XTO Energy Utica Well Explosion in Belmont County – 100 Evacuated). As we reported yesterday, most evacuees were allowed to return home, with just a few still not able to access their homes (see Most Evacuees Return Home After XTO Well Explosion in Ohio). However, we’ve since that time, we’ve learned that although evacuees were allowed to return home (and some did, to check on things/grab items), none of them stayed overnight in their own homes. Why? The well is still not capped. And as long as it’s not capped and continues to “spew” methane into the air, residents don’t feel safe. Can’t say that we blame them. We wouldn’t want to be in the vicinity either. The latest news is this: Power was restored to the area yesterday, but since the power has been out since last Thursday, you can imagine the condition of refrigerators and freezers in those homes where power was off. XTO has pledged to replace all fridges and freezers, and compensate residents for the cost of food lost, from having the power turned off. There’s still no estimate on when the well will be capped (a damaged crane has to be removed first)…
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Most Evacuees Return Home After XTO Well Explosion in Ohio

As we reported yesterday, last Thursday XTO Energy was drilling a fourth Utica Shale well on the Schnegg well pad near Captina Creek (York Township, Belmont County, OH) when XTO “lost control” of the well and it exploded and caught fire (see XTO Energy Utica Well Explosion in Belmont County – 100 Evacuated). We have an update. Most of the evacuees have now returned to their homes (a few still have not). Also, the well is still not capped, meaning “unknown quantities” of methane are leaking into the air. Which, judging by most press accounts, is a greenhouse gas environmental catastrophe. Actually, it’s nothing of the sort. The amount of gas a single well vents into the atmosphere until it’s capped doesn’t even move the needle on the faux global warming scale. Frankly, it’s laughable. No, we’re not laughing at this accident/disaster. Far from it. We thank God nobody was hurt. It should not have happened. And yes, the well needs to be capped–quickly–which XTO and the company hired to do it (Cudd Energy Services) are working hard to do. We’re just providing balance to the “methane leaking from this uncapped well is the end of the world” narrative so prevalent–even in local news outlets. Here’s the latest update on what’s happening at the Schnegg well pad…
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XTO Energy Utica Well Explosion in Belmont County – 100 Evacuated

Last Thursday XTO Energy was drilling a fourth Utica Shale well on the Schnegg well pad near Captina Creek (York Township, Belmont County, OH) when XTO “lost control” of the well and it exploded and caught fire. There were 24 people working at the well pad at the time. Fortunately, none of them were injured. Following the explosion and fire, 36 nearby homes and farms (around 100 people) were evacuated. So far the evacuees have not been allowed to return, although that may change today. XTO is putting them up at nearby hotels in St. Clairsville, Moundsville and Wheeling. Crews have worked to try and keep the brine gushing from the well from reaching Captina Creek. XTO hired Wild Well Control to put out the fire (which happened quickly). XTO has also hired Cudd Energy Services to cap the well. Three wells on the pad that were producing have been shut down for the time being. Below is the chronology of the explosion and aftermath, as it happened. This story is still unfolding, now five days later…
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PTT’s “Big Announcement” – Gets a New Partner for Belmont Cracker

PTT Global Chemical, based in Thailand, has snagged a major/important new partner in its project to build a $6 billion ethane cracker complex in Belmont County, Ohio. That partner is Daelim Chemical, a subsidiary of Daelim Industrial, which is one of Asia’s top engineering/construction firms (and one of the largest companies in South Korea). The addition of Daelim is yet another positive sign that PTT will, at some point this year, pull the trigger and make a “final investment decision” (FID) to move forward with the project. PTT disappointed when they didn’t follow through with an FID in 2017, as they had promised. To be fair, these projects are big and a misstep can bankrupt a company. The Belmont cracker will be the largest single investment made by PTT since becoming a company–so we understand their reticence. Still, when you promise, you promise. Just last month, in December 2017, PTT delivered the disappointing news that there would be no FID announcement in 2017, but that there would be a big announcement “in early 2018” (see PTT Global Chemical Officially Delays Cracker Decision Until 2018). We figure the announcement about Daelim must be that announcement. It certainly qualifies as big, and it’s still early in 2018. In football terms (in honor of this weekend’s Superbowl), on Tuesday PTT achieved another first down, retaining possession of the ball (control of the Belmont cracker project), moving it further down the field toward the goal. But they haven’t yet made a touchdown (an FID). Perhaps not learning from past mistakes, PTT set a new expectation that the FID will be made “by the end of 2018″…
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Ohio Continues to Drag Feet Approving Mountaineer NGL Storage

We’ve written plenty about Mountaineer NGL Storage hub project proposed for Monroe County, OH, located just across the river (and border) from West Virginia (see our Mountaineer NGL Storage stories here). What do we know about the proposed project? The Colorado company behind the project plans to spend up to $500 million to build it; some 20 drillers have expressed interest in contracting with the facility to store ethane; and the nearby PTT Global cracker plant project (if it gets built) and the under-construction Shell cracker plant are both interested in connections to the facility. In November, we learned there is a construction delay until mid-this year (see Yet Another Update on Stalled Mountaineer NGL Storage Proj in OH). Why the delay? The delay is because of regulators in Ohio. There is no one agency charged with reviewing and issuing permits for the entire project–it involves three OH agencies. There also seems to be an issue with one of the agencies, the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR), becoming comfortable with storing NGLs in a salt cavern (done all the time in other locations). ODNR is dragging its feet, and members of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association (OOGA) are beginning to publicly voice their dissatisfaction with the delays…
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PTT Global Chemical Officially Delays Cracker Decision Until 2018

PTT Global Chemical, based in Thailand, continues to delay a final investment decision (FID) regarding their much-ballyhooed ethane cracker project in Belmont County, OH. In April 2015, PTT announced they are interested in building a ~$5 billion ethane cracker plant complex in Belmont County, OH (see It’s Official: Belmont County Chosen as POSSIBLE Cracker Plant Site). In May 2016, a story in the Bangkok Post said the final investment decision (FID) will definitely come in 2017. In December 2016, Belmont County officials said the FID would come by the end of March this year (see OH Cracker Final Decision Coming Soon, Site Now Cleared & Ready). But in February, PTT said the FID won’t come until “late 2017,” which is “several months later than we originally announced” (see PTT Global Delays Final Investment Decision for OH Ethane Cracker). Two weeks ago a PTT representative said the company will make some sort of an announcement “by the end of the year” (see PTT Global Final Decision re Belmont Cracker Plant Late Again). We now have the announcement: “PTTGC America will have a significant update that will demonstrate momentum for this project early in 2018. We thank all Ohio and Belmont County partners for their support, and we wish you a happy holiday season.” So the big announcement is that there will be another big announcement in “early 2018.” Yeah, we’re becoming irritated at being teased that the decision is just around the corner…
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PTT Global Final Decision re Belmont Cracker Plant Late Again

An MDN reader recently asked us, “Hey, what’s up with the Belmont County, OH ethane cracker? We haven’t read anything in a while.” You haven’t read anything on MDN, nor anywhere else, because there’s been nothing to read. PTT Global Chemical, based in Thailand, announced in April 2015 they are interested in building a $5 billion ethane cracker plant complex in Belmont County, OH (see It’s Official: Belmont County Chosen as POSSIBLE Cracker Plant Site). In May 2016, a story in the Bangkok Post said the final investment decision (FID) will definitely come in 2017, but they called the decision “delayed.” PTT disagreed with that assessment, saying a decision coming in 2016 or 2017 is not “delayed” (see PTT Global Says Belmont, OH Ethane Cracker NOT Delayed). In December 2016, Belmont County officials said the FID would come by the end of March this year (see OH Cracker Final Decision Coming Soon, Site Now Cleared & Ready). But in February, PTT said the FID won’t come until “late 2017,” which is “several months later than we originally announced” (see PTT Global Delays Final Investment Decision for OH Ethane Cracker). It’s pretty “late” in 2017, wouldn’t you say? A company representative says the company will make some sort of an announcement “by the end of the year,” but that’s all he will say. It certainly doesn’t seem as if an FID is in the cards in the next three weeks…
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