Shell PA Cracker Already Attracting New Factories…to Ohio

Stark County, OH

The Stark County (OH) Economic Development Board has landed what is hopefully the first (of many) tenants from the plastics manufacturing industry. IML Containers was looking for a spot to locate a new plant near one of their big customers, Land O’Lakes (has a facility in Cleveland). Stark County offered a small tax break, and the big advantage of being close to the under-construction Shell ethane cracker in Beaver County, PA. It’s also close to a likely second cracker plant in Belmont County, OH. IML makes plastic shipping containers for Land O’Lakes, and plans to set up “research and development, die cutting, molding, production and warehousing for packaging use with a variety of food products” at their Stark facility. IML is beginning now, at a temporary location (70 new jobs!) and will build a new plant in the next two years. In addition to a cheap source of plastics from the crackers, another advantage is being located within a six-hour drive of most of IML’s North American customers…
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Crude Oil Truck Drivers Needed in Ohio Utica

While the Marcellus Shale play is mostly about natural gas, with some natural gas liquids in the southwestern part of the play, the Utica play in Ohio is a different story. Yes, a lot of natgas and NGLs get produced in the Utica, but the Utica also has a lot of oil coming out of the ground. Crude oil. Straight from the Utica/Point Pleasant rock layer. Something that hadn’t dawned on us (until now) is this question: How do Utica drillers get their crude to refineries? With natgas and even NGLs, it’s done mostly via pipelines. When’s the last time you heard about a “gathering pipeline” running to a well pad for crude oil? Yeah, never. So how do drillers get all that oil to refineries? They truck it. Another interesting factoid: those Pilot Flying J truck stops don’t only sell refined petroleum (diesel) to truckers, some of those operations also truck raw crude to refineries. The Pilot Flying J in Canton, OH is one such operation–and they currently have a shortage of truck drivers to haul Utica crude. It’s a “trucker’s market” right now. If you have a Class A commercial driver’s license with Hazmat (hazardous materials) and tanker endorsements, Flying J wants to talk to you, stat…
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Stark County, OH Farmer Sues NEXUS Pipeline for Erosion Damage

The NEXUS Pipeline project, owned by DTE Energy and Spectra Energy (Enbridge), is being sued by a farmer in Stark County, OH. NEXUS is a $2 billion, 255-mile interstate pipeline that runs from Ohio through Michigan and eventually to the Dawn Hub in Ontario, Canada. The Stark County farmer signed an easement with NEXUS in 2016. Construction began earlier this year. In late March, a lawyer hired by the farmer sent NEXUS a letter telling the company of erosion at the farm, due to their digging activities. The farmer estimated about $23,000 of damage at the time. But, according to the lawsuit, NEXUS didn’t fix the problem and that led to more damage–now up to $55,000 worth. The problem is that topsoil on the farm has been washed away. The farmer wants it replaced. If true, it certainly seems like a reasonable request to us. The farmer isn’t demanding millions of dollars, just the cost to replace soil swept away by NEXUS-related digging…
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Shale Brewing Opens Brewpub Near Canton, OH

In December MDN told you about a small-but-growing brewery in Canton, OH started by shale co-workers who had “a passion for easy drinking brews” (see Ohio Utica Gives Rise to…Beer?! Introducing Shale Brewing Co.). The Shale Brewing Company produces microbrews with names like “Cold Rolled Ale” and “Roughneck Red.” How cool is that? We reported in January that the company has continued to grow their distribution network as far away as the PA and WV border (see Ohio Utica Shale Beer Expands Distribution to WV, PA). We’ve heard that if you look hard enough, you might even find a bottle Shale Brewing beer in Pittsburgh. We’re hoping Roughneck Red will become the official beer of MDN. Shale Brewing is on the grow again. The brewery has relocated from downtown Canton to nearby Jackson Township, and last night debuted a new brewpub with nine (!) beers on draft…
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Ohio EPA Continues to Target Rover Pipe in New FERC Letter

When will Captain Craig “Ahab” Butler, executive director of the Ohio EPA, realize he’s never going to harpoon his great white whale–Rover Pipeline? Captain Butler is at it again. The Ohio EPA filed a letter with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) last week claiming that testing done by OEPA found the presence of very low levels of the toxic chemical tetrachloroethene at Rover’s underground drilling site at the Tuscarawas River in southern Stark County. OEPA admits they can’t prove the very low levels of the compound actually came from Rover’s drilling activity–but hey, what’s proof got to do with it? Un-coincidentally, two Democrat members of Congress, one from New Jersey, the other from Washington State (one 560 miles away from Ohio, the other 2,400 miles away from Ohio) are asking FERC for a “briefing” on the Rover Pipeline project. Apparently OEPA couldn’t get any Ohio members of Congress to step up and pressure FERC, so OEPA went shopping for sympathetic Dems in other states who would. And oh, by the way, the Dems want (i.e. demand) their “briefing” no later than Feb. 28th…
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Ohio Utica Shale Beer Expands Distribution to WV, PA

In December MDN told you about a small-but-growing brewery in Canton, OH started by shale co-workers who had “a passion for easy drinking brews” (see Ohio Utica Gives Rise to…Beer?! Introducing Shale Brewing Co.). The Shale Brewing Company produces microbrews with names like “Cold Rolled Ale” and “Roughneck Red.” How cool is that?! You can add two more new beers to the Shale Brewing lineup: Coffee Cream Stout and Deep Driller Porter (we love the creativity of these guys). The company now has 150 accounts and distributes their beer as far away as the PA and WV border. We understand if you look hard enough, you might even find a bottle in Pittsburgh. We’re hoping Roughneck Red will become the official beer of MDN ;-). Here’s an update on Shale Brewing and their continuing expansion…
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Ohio Utica Gives Rise to…Beer?! Introducing Shale Brewing Co.

Looks like the Utica/Marcellus has its own brand of beer! Who knew? We spotted an article about a small startup called Shale Brewing Company–saying the company is “back.” Back from where? We didn’t know it existed and had left, let alone that it’s now “back.” The company produces microbrews with names like “Cold Rolled Ale” and “Roughneck Red.” Hmm, we thought that sounded intriguing, so we kept digging. We found information that Shale Brewing Company was started by shale co-workers who had “a passion for easy drinking brews.” The company, started in 2014, “has had a couple of starts and stops since its early days as a nanobrewery.” But once again it’s back–this time making batches of beer in downtown Canton, OH. Currently it’s hard to find a bottle of Shale Brewery’s beer, but there are a few locations around Canton where you can score a six pack…
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FERC Allows Rover to Use HDD in 4 More Locations, Incl Ohio River

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last Thursday granted Rover Pipeline permission to resume horizontal directional drilling (HDD) at four more locations where it had been stopped. One of those locations is drilling under the Ohio River in the Majorsville area. Rover is a $3.7 billion, 711-mile natural gas pipeline that (will eventually) run from PA, WV and eastern OH through OH into Michigan and on to Canada. A large portion of the pipeline began flowing natural gas on Sept. 1st (see Big Portion of Rover Pipeline Now Up & Running – Thru Most of Ohio). Since then, Phase 1A of the pipeline has steadily increased its throughput and now flows over 1.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of Utica/Marcellus Shale gas to Defiance, OH (see Rover Pipe Nearly Doubles Flow with Addition of Carroll, OH Compressor). However, it could flow more, if the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) would allow Rover to finish Phase 1B pipeline work in OH/WV to feed more gas to the main part of the pipeline. The problem is that Rover had early missteps, the most serious of which spilled 2 million gallons of non-toxic drilling mud in a swamp (i.e. “wetland”) near the Tuscarawas River back in April (see Rover Pipeline Accident Spills ~2M Gal. Drilling Mud in OH Swamp). Following that and several other mishaps, FERC shut down all Rover HDD work–for months. Gradually FERC has allowed Rover to resume HDD work, and with this latest round of four more HDD locations, it appears to us that only two HDD locations remain on the “do not drill yet” list, one of them being the Tuscarawas River location…
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OH EPA Director Manipulates Atty General to Sue Rover Pipeline

The director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Craig Butler, continues to go off the rails with a major grudge against Rover Pipeline (see Ohio EPA’s Craig Butler Goes Nuts, Demands $2.3M from Rover Pipe). Using his position and the power of his agency, Butler has now convinced Ohio’s wishy washy Republican Attorney General, Mike DeWine, to sue Rover “for polluting state waters while constructing a natural gas pipeline across Ohio.” Which is, of course, nonsense. Yes there have been some spills of drilling mud. It happens. Yes, one of them was totally unacceptable (see Rover Pipeline Accident Spills ~2M Gal. Drilling Mud in OH Swamp). However, using the mighty power of the entire state to sue a private company because Butler has an ego trip and wants to shake down the Rover project for millions is unacceptable. It’s time to fire Craig Butler. Below is the AG DeWine’s brief statement, a copy of the sham lawsuit DeWine filed late last week, and a response from Energy Transfer Partners, the builder of Rover…
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Explosion at Columbia Pipeline Meter Station in NE OH Kills Worker

Stark County, OH

In a tragic accident, one worker was killed and another injured while working at a Columbia Gas Transmission pipeline metering station in Stark County, OH on Monday. Media reports say Wesley J. Johnson, 60, of Wooster, OH was standing near the pipe when the end cap came off the pipe and the pressure of the gas in the line exploded outward (not igniting), throwing Johnson backward into a fence. He died instantly from massive trauma to his chest. The pipe valve has been sent to a crime lab to determine what happened. Residents living in the area around the metering station were evacuated for 45 minutes, until the all-clear was given for them to return. Nearby residents reported hearing an explosion and said the sound of the gas coming out of the pipeline was loud–like a jet engine. It’s always a sad day when we have to report of a fatality in the industry…
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ET Says Accident or Anti Sabotage Caused Diesel in Rover Mud Leaks

Rover Pipeline is Energy Transfer’s $3.7 billion, 711-mile Marcellus/Utica natural gas pipeline that will run from PA, WV and eastern OH through OH into Michigan and eventually into Canada. On April 13, Rover workers experienced an “inadvertent return” of “horizontal directional drilling fluid”. That is, they sprung a leak and spilled nearly 2 million gallons of drilling mud (see Rover Pipeline Accident Spills ~2M Gal. Drilling Mud in OH Swamp). The leak did not spill into the Tuscarawas River (thankfully), but into a wetland next to the river. As we pointed out at the time, “Fortunately the primary component of said drilling fluid is nontoxic bentonite–the same ingredient used to make shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and kitty litter.” The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) investigated the spill, following an “anonymous tip” and found the presence of diesel fuel in the spilled mud. Diesel fuel IS toxic–and its presence is not a good thing. OEPA’s testing found “very very low levels” of diesel fuel, whatever that means. Even very very low amounts are not good–and in fact are illegal. Since that time Energy Transfer has tried to figure out why there is diesel in the drilling mud–because they sure didn’t order it, and they firmly believe their drilling contractor did not add it to the mud. So how did it get there? On Friday Energy Transfer offered two theories–either an accident spilled diesel into the mud, or it was intentionally placed there by antis, as an act of sabotage. We do find it interesting that OEPA Director Craig Butler, who has been combative against Energy Transfer and the Rover project, claims an anonymous source tipped him to the presence of the mud. Was the anonymous source a whistle blower who worked for the contractor and claimed this is a routine practice? Did OEPA find diesel in unused drilling mud? Have they found the presence of diesel at ANY other locations where HDD is being used? We certainly had the thought fly through our brains, for only a moment, “What if an anti deliberately put diesel in the mud?” when this story first broke several months ago. But we immediately dismissed the idea. Not even antis would stoop so low as to poison Mother Earth to advance their cause. Or would they?…
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Rover Drilling Contractor that Spilled Kept ‘Incomplete Records’

Rover is Energy Transfer’s $3.7 billion, 711-mile Marcellus/Utica natural gas pipeline that will run from PA, WV and eastern OH through OH into Michigan and eventually into Canada. On April 13, Rover workers experienced an “inadvertent return” of “horizontal directional drilling fluid”. That is, they sprung a leak and spilled nearly 2 million gallons of drilling fluid (see Rover Pipeline Accident Spills ~2M Gal. Drilling Mud in OH Swamp). The leak did not spill into the Tuscarawas River (thankfully), but into a swamp (i.e. “wetland”) next to the river. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) investigated the spill (following a tip) and claimed to find the presence of diesel fuel in the spilled mud (see OH EPA Says Diesel Fuel Found in Rover 2M Gal Drilling Mud Spill). OEPA reported their findings to FERC and FERC launched an investigation into the Tuscarawas spill. FERC hired engineering firm J.D. Hair & Associates to review what went wrong. The Hair report is in. The reviewers can’t say with any confidence whether or not Rover (Energy Transfer) and the contractor doing the underground horizontal direction drilling (HDD) at Tuscarawas, Pretec Directional Drilling, followed project requirements. Why? Because of “very limited” documentation. That is, poor record-keeping. The 425-page report (full copy below) does offer some theories as to why Pretec’s HDD drilling leaked: Pretec encountered “sticky clay” while drilling, so they doubled the amount of drilling mud to clean the cutter. The extra pressure forced the mud out of cracks in the ground–and resulted in a 2 million gallon spill…
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Rover Pipeline Helps OH Short Line Railroad Expand

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

OH EPA Says Diesel Fuel Found in Rover 2M Gal Drilling Mud Spill

Rover is Energy Transfer’s $3.7 billion, 711-mile Marcellus/Utica natural gas pipeline that will run from PA, WV and eastern OH through OH into Michigan and eventually into Canada. On April 13, Rover workers experienced an “inadvertent return” of “horizontal directional drilling fluid”. That is, they sprung a leak and spilled nearly 2 million gallons of drilling fluid (see Rover Pipeline Accident Spills ~2M Gal. Drilling Mud in OH Swamp). The leak did not spill into the Tuscarawas River (thankfully), but into a swamp (i.e. “wetland”) next to the river. As we pointed out at the time, “Fortunately the primary component of said drilling fluid is nontoxic bentonite–the same ingredient used to make shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and kitty litter.” On Friday, the Columbus Dispatch reported the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) investigating the spill has found the presence of diesel fuel in the spilled mud. Diesel fuel IS toxic–and its presence is not a good thing. Furthermore, OEPA Director Craig Butler, who has been combative against Energy Transfer and the Rover project, claims an anonymous source tipped them that diesel fuel was being added to the drilling mud. So OEPA tested the spilled mud, and mud not yet used, and found “very very low levels” of diesel fuel, whatever that means. The original “proposed” (i.e. not yet officially assessed) fine by the OEPA was $431,000. Then OEPA said it would up the fine to $714,000 after storm water runoff became an issue (see OEPA & Rover at Odds Over Storm Water Runoff, “Fine” Now $714K). With the diesel fuel “revelation,” OEPA is upping their proposed fine to $914,000. Pretty soon we expect it will sail on by a cool $1 million. OEPA has presented their findings to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and the two remaining FERC commissioners have launched an investigation…
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Rover Pipeline Accident Spills ~2M Gal. Drilling Mud in OH Swamp

We suppose it was bound to happen, but fervently wish it hadn’t. In the process of drilling underneath the Tuscarawas River (in Stark County) one week ago, on April 13, Rover workers experienced an “inadvertent return” of “horizontal directional drilling fluid.” That is, they sprung a leak and spilled nearly 2 million gallons of drilling fluid. Not, thank God, into the Tuscarawas River, but into a swamp (i.e. “wetland”) next to the river. Fortunately the primary component of said drilling fluid is nontoxic bentonite–the same ingredient used to make shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and kitty litter. We’ve covered other such nontoxic spills in the past (see our bentonite stories here). The biggest threat to aquatic life in the river is if large quantities of bentonite get into the river and smother the little fishies and salamanders–from lack of oxygen. A second spill happened while drilling horizontally under another swamp the very next day–in Richland County. Rover workers spilled 50,000 gallons of drilling fluid there. Both spills were immediately reported to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, which is on the job, monitoring cleanup efforts. A whopping fine is sure to follow…
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Jobs in Building Trades “Strong” for Next 3 Yrs in OH Utica

Those who oppose fossil fuels try various arguments to convince the general public that extracting oil and gas is bad for the environment. They claim (without facts or proof) that drilling pollutes the water, it pollutes the air, it does permanent damage to the environment. When faced with lack of evidence, antis slip-slide into other arguments against drilling and pipelines. An undeniable benefit from the shale industry is jobs. That includes jobs building pipelines. You need an army of bulldozers, backhoes, truckers, welders and construction workers to lay a pipeline (see today’s lead story and the awesome video of the Rover Pipeline getting built in Richland County). Antis say, “But jobs building pipelines and power plants and processing plants are temporary. They’re illusory. No long-term benefit.” We’ll never forget the powerful statement given at a hearing about the proposed Constitution Pipeline from Francis Cooney, a 28-year member of the plumber and pipe-fitters union. He said this in response to the “those jobs are temporary” meme offered by antis that evening: “For 28 years every job I’ve had has been a temporary job! My temporary jobs have put two kids through Syracuse University” (see Vicariously Attend FERC Scoping Hearing on Constitution Pipeline). Which obliterates the nonsense about “temporary jobs.” Good news for Ohioans who work “temporary jobs” in the trades in Stark and surrounding counties: Dave Kirven, president of the East Central Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council, says there’s plenty of work for tradespeople–that demand is “strong” for tradespeople for at least the next three years. Why? Mostly due to the Utica Shale…
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