PA DEP Seeks Comments on Pipe Project to Flow Marc Gas to Ohio

You don’t often read about pipeline projects that seek to flow more Pennsylvania Marcellus gas into the Ohio Utica region. In January, Dominion Energy filed a request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to expand capacity along the existing Dominion Energy Transmission Inc. (DETI) pipeline from Pennsylvania to Ohio (see Dominion Files FERC Request to Expand Pipeline from PA to OH). Why? To flow more gas that will be used to generate electricity for the Midwest market. The project, called the Sweden Valley Project, is projected to cost $48 million and add another 120 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of PA Marcellus Shale gas to the existing flow along DETI. Dominion says all 120 MMcf/d is already contracted and spoken for–by an unnamed customer. The project expands existing capacity by building a tiny three miles of new pipeline, with the new pipeline lying next to existing pipeline (in Greene County, PA). The only greenfield/brand new construction is a 1.75-mile pipeline to connect with the Tennessee Gas Pipeline in Tuscarawas County, OH. The other main part of the project is updating three units a compressor station in Licking County, OH. In the constellation of pipeline projects that disturb earth and disrupt landowners, this one is pretty minor–yet it will deliver big results by flowing an extra 120 MMcf/d of gas west to a new market. The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection published a notice in the July 21 PA Bulletin asking for comments on the project in PA–in Greene and Armstrong counties…
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XTO Plan to Drill Wells at Former Golf Course Delayed by Zoning Bd

In February MDN told you that XTO Energy, the shale drilling arm of Exxon Mobil, has plans to begin drilling five new shale wells in Armstrong County, PA on a former golf course (see XTO Plans 5 Shale Wells at Former Golf Course in Armstrong County). XTO presented a plan in February to build a drill pad on what used to the seventh green at the former Phoenix at Buffalo Valley Golf Course in Freeport, PA. The plan calls for drilling 4 Marcellus wells and 1 Utica well on the pad. Some 20 residents showed up for the February meeting. Not a single one spoke out against the plan. Nor did any of the Freeport officials. Last night the Freeport Zoning Board met, ostensibly to vote on XTO’s plan. However, the officials delayed the vote, claiming “there was just too much information to digest.” No date is yet set for another meeting to consider XTO’s “too much information” proposal…
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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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XTO Plans 5 Shale Wells at Former Golf Course in Armstrong County

You don’t hear much about XTO Energy drilling in the Marcellus these days. That’s not to say they aren’t busy. They certainly are/have been. In PA’s Butler County, XTO had spud (begun to drill or completed drilling) some 145 shale wells as of 2016. In neighboring Armstrong County, XTO had spud/drilled 4 shale wells as of 2016. The number in Armstrong will more than double if XTO wins approval for a series of wells they plan to drill on a single well pad. Last night XTO presented a plan to build a drill pad on what used to the seventh green at the former Phoenix at Buffalo Valley Golf Course in Freeport, PA. The plan calls for drilling 4 Marcellus wells and 1 Utica well on the pad. Some 20 residents showed up for the meeting. Not a single one spoke out against the plan. Nor did any of the Freeport officials. Here’s the details on XTO’s plans to sink a hole (in one!) on the seventh green in Armstrong County…
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Still a Few Openings for Free Training for M-U Pipeline Jobs in SWPA

In November MDN brought you details about 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). The first batch of students to successfully complete the training (classes held each Wednesday), graduate today! Following graduation is a job fair with potential employers who are ready, willing and eager to hire those new graduates. A next section of the 4-week program begins next Wednesday at Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s campus in the Northpointe Technology Center (Armstrong County, PA). Believe it or not (we don’t know how this can be true), there’s still a few open spots. Each section is limited to 20 students. If you are interested and live somewhere within driving distance of Armstrong County, what are you waiting for? We have the details of how to enroll for FREE in this training course–a course worth $3,500…
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4-Wk FREE Training Program Helps Unemployed Get M-U Pipeline Jobs

If you are unemployed–particularly if you once worked in the coal industry–and you’re interested in getting your foot in the door of a rewarding job in the Marcellus/Utica industry, LISTEN UP! For those who live in southwestern PA and eastern OH, the Washington Greene County Job Training Agency and the Gas Technology Institute have teamed up to provide a FREE 4-week training program just for you (details here). Called “From Black to Blue,” the program includes classroom and hands-on training so you will understand how the natural gas industry works, with an emphasis on natgas utilities and the pipeline industry. Starting salaries for pipeline-related jobs often exceed $50,000 per year, and eventually you may make in excess of $100,000 per year. These are awesome jobs, and this is an awesome opportunity to get trained for it. The first round of classes start Nov. 30 and Jan. 8 in Freeport, PA. Training in Ohio begins Jan. 15 in St. Clairsville. Below are the details, along with an application for the program. DO NOT DELAY, fill it out today and send it in…
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4 Marcellus Wells Approved in S Buffalo Twp – Concerns Discussed

In 2012 Pennsylvania under then Gov. Tom Corbett passed the Act 13 law, a major revision to PA’s oil and gas laws. Part of Act 13 would have established a uniform set of zoning ordinances, replacing and superseding any such local ordinances. But then seven selfish towns got together and sued to the state to retain the right of imposing their own zoning ordinances for some oil and gas development. The lawsuit was a years-long process with the case ending up at the PA Supreme Court–where the seven selfish towns won the right to impose their own ordinances on o&g development–up to a point (see PA Supreme Court Rules Against State/Drillers in Act 13 Case). Nowadays, PA towns have their own ordinances to deal with issues like truck traffic, noise, lights, setbacks and more. Fine. It is what it is and instead of a consistent set of rules, drillers are faced with a crazy quilt of differing rules across different townships. Snyder Brothers, which has already drilled several Marcellus Shale wells in South Buffalo Township (Armstrong County), wants to drill four more Marcellus wells in the town–next door to their previously drilled wells. So they applied for “conditional use” permits from the town to drill them. Town supervisors granted the permits, but not before conducting a public hearing where residents sounded off about the project. What is interesting about the hearing is that none of the residents opposed the new wells–but they did have some tough questions for Snyder Bros. about lights and noise and water wells. Good questions. Honest questions. Tough questions. And Snyder Bros. answered those questions and made promises/assurances to local residents. This is how a free, open and democratic society works. This is how adults behave. Give and take, back and forth, in a spirit of “let’s do it right the first time so we don’t have problems.” Hats off to the residents and supervisors of South Buffalo Twp, and to Snyder Brothers, for showing the rest of PA (looking at you Peters Twp) how it’s done…
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Top 20 Marcellus Drillers in Southwest Pennsylvania

The sharp folks over at the Pittsburgh Business Times have been looking through data from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and have compiled a list of 20 drillers who have at least a dozen shale wells in the southwest PA region. And they ranked them from lowest to highest. We’ve grabbed the list below. The interesting thing for MDN is that there is one name in the list not familiar to us, and we’ve been watching this space since 2009. Always fun to learn something new. Here’s the list of southwest PA’s “Top 20” Marcellus drillers…
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EQT Dumps Marcellus Drilling, Concentrates on the Utica in 2016

just been dumpedIn addition to releasing their third quarter 2015 results yesterday, the top brass from EQT also held an analyst phone call. On that call we got updated details from EQT’s president of exploration and production, Steven Schlotterbeck, about the single highest initial-producing Utica Shale well ever drilled, EQT’s Scotts Run 591340. We also heard from Steve about two more Utica wells they’re currently drilling–one in Greene County, PA (about five miles from the Scott’s Run well), and one in Wetzel County, WV. But the big news from yesterday’s call came from EQT CEO David Porges. He said EQT has decided to suspend drilling in central PA and in the Upper Devonian–anyplace outside of their “core” Utica locations. Essentially, EQT is giving up on the Marcellus (for now) and going after the Utica instead. This is certainly big news and affects landowners in Marcellus-only areas–pretty much any place outside of southwest PA and the northern panhandle of WV. Porges says IF the Utica pans out as expected, it will be bigger than the Marcellus production-wise over time. EQT’s current thinking is that they will trim their drilling program to concentrate on drilling 10-15 Utica wells in 2016…
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MDS Energy Takes Next Big Step: Drills 1st Horizontal Wells in PA

Here’s a story we love to tell. A small, independent exploration and production (E&P) company located in the Marcellus Shale of Pennsylvania, with headquarters in Kittanning (Armstrong County), PA (near Pittsburgh), decided a few years back they would not sell out to a larger company but would instead stick around and see where the Marcellus rocket ship would take them. MDS Energy (an MDN subscriber and Databook purchaser, we’re proud to say) bought some drilling rigs and started drilling the vertical sections of horizontal wells for some of the bigger companies in the Marcellus. They also drilled their own vertical-only (conventional) wells, leaving the “big boys” to spend money figuring out the best way to drill horizontally in the Marcellus. The time is now right and MDS is taking it’s next big step: they’re starting to drill their own horizontal wells in western PA…
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EQT Gathering Gets USACE Green Light for Armstrong County Pipeline

EQT Gathering wants to install an 8.1 mile gathering pipeline in Armstrong County, PA. Some of the pipeline crosses federal lands and requires the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to conduct an environmental assessment and judge whether or not the project would significantly impact “natural and cultural resources.” The Corps has done their investigation and has issued an FONSI–a Finding of No Significant Impact. Which means sometime after a 30-day public comment period (during which shrill anti-drillers will no doubt wail and moan), EQT will be able to move forward with the project. A happy ending!

The statement issued by the Corps:
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NiSource Big Pine Gathering Pipeline Goes Online in SW PA

NiSource and Columbia Pipeline Group announced yesterday their new Big Pine Gathering System is now online and running in PA’s Marcellus Shale. Big Pine is a 57-mile pipeline gathering system serving southwestern PA: Allegheny, Butler, Armstrong, Indiana and Westmoreland counties. NiSource has a long-term contract with XTO Energy to deliver XTO’s natural gas to three different pipeline transmission systems. In addition to XTO, NiSource recently signed PennEnergy Resources as another customer for the new pipeline.

Details from the NiSource press release:
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MDS Energy’s Fracking Fluid Alternative for 3 PA Marcellus Wells

An interesting short item MDN picked up from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review about driller MDS Energy.

The South Buffalo Township Planning Commission (near Pittsburgh) recently recommended that township supervisors approve a request from MDS Energy to drill three Marcellus Shale wells. The interesting bit is the liquid MDS plans to use in fracking the wells…

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Manor Township, PA Denies ION Access for Seismic Survey

Houston-based ION Geophysical GX Technologies recently made a request to Manor Township (Armstrong County, PA) to allow them onto town property to conduct seismic mapping of the Marcellus and other underground structures. The board of supervisors for the town turned them down.

Here’s what ION told the supervisors at a meeting in July about what they hoped to do:

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Seismic Testing for Shale Coming to Armstrong County, PA

Ion GX Technology is in the process of contacting landowners and filing the necessary paperwork to begin seismic testing in Armstrong County, PA along with some portions of Westmoreland and Indiana counties. Landowners do not have to grant permission for seismic testing and cannot be forced to do so.

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