Dominion Pipeline to Feed Western PA NatGas to OH Power Plant

We’re always delighted to share news of a “new” pipeline project in the Marcellus/Utica. This particular project from Dominion Energy, tiny compared to most, its unusual in that it will flow natural gas from western PA into Ohio to feed a new natural gas-fired electric plant. You don’t often see gas from PA flow to Ohio for local use. Kind of a “man bites dog” story.
Continue reading

PA DEP Claims Energy Transfer Illegally Damaged Streams, Wetlands

Speaking of the exploded Revolution Pipeline located in southwestern Pennsylvania that’s led to a driller declaring bankruptcy (see EdgeMarc Energy Files for Bankruptcy, Blames Revolution Pipe Outage), yesterday the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued an order to Energy Transfer, builder of Revolution, to “identify and restore or mitigate all streams and wetlands that it illegally eliminated or altered during the construction” of the pipeline. DEP claims ET “illegally” eliminated at least 23 streams and changed the length of another 120 streams.
Continue reading

AECOM Wins Contract to Service Shell Cracker Plant

Bechtel, a huge multi-national engineering firm, is the company building the mighty Shell ethane cracker in Monaca, PA. Shell won’t divulge when they think the cracker will be up and running (still a year or more away), but in what we consider a very good sign that the cracker will be operating sooner rather than later, Shell has just awarded another huge multi-national engineering firm, AECOM, the contract to maintain all the machinery at the cracker plant once it’s built and running.
Continue reading

Imported Steel for Shell Ethane Pipeline Shows Up at Philly Port

Shell pipes being unloaded – click for larger version

All 97 miles of imported steel pipeline that will be used to construct Shell’s Falcon ethane pipeline project was offloaded at a Philadelphia port last month (10,996 pipes!), and is now loaded on trucks and on the way to the Pittsburgh region (some may have already arrived).
Continue reading

MDN Featured in PublicSource Story re Shell’s PA Cracker

More than a month ago MDN editor Jim Willis was contacted by PublicSource, an independent non-profit news organization based in Pittsburgh. A reporter wanted to know if Jim would grant an interview as part of a story he was doing on the Shell cracker, pipelines and the petchem industry in southwest Pennsylvania. Jim said yes.
Continue reading

Ambridge Water Authority Changes Tune re Shell Ethane Pipeline

Shell has calmed the troubled Ambridge waters–that is, the Ambridge Water Authority waters. Shell hit a snag with plans to build its Falcon Ethane Pipeline when the Ambridge Water Authority claimed construction of the pipeline under several streams feeding the Ambridge reservoir would endanger the drinking water for 30,000 people (see Ambridge Water Authority Strongly Opposes Shell Ethane Pipe Route).
Continue reading

PennEnergy Offers $3.5K/Ac to Drill Under SWPA Town Park

NOTE: This story and the headline have been updated to correct an earlier error from the source we used. It is not FirstEnergy but PennEnergy that is proposing to drill under the park.

We spotted a second story today about a new lease, in this case proposed lease terms, for land in southwestern Pennsylvania. This time the driller, PennEnergy, wants to drill under (not on) a town park that sits on the border of Allegheny and Beaver counties.
Continue reading

“Growing” Opposition to Shell Ethane Cracker Pipe from One Source

In June, Shell said that they plan to build their Falcon ethane pipeline in 2019 (see Shell Says Falcon Ethane Pipeline to Get Built in 2019). The pipeline won’t actually flow ethane to the Shell cracker in Monaca (Beaver County), PA until 2020 at the earliest–because the cracker plant itself won’t go online until 2020 at the earliest. The 97-mile, two-legged Falcon Pipeline is interesting because Shell didn’t use eminent domain. Shell negotiated with every landowner and got them all to sign on the dotted line. Yet we’re now hearing from Pittsburgh media that there is “growing” opposition to the project. Unless you’re a landowner with the right to stop it, or the Sierra Club with billions in the bank to launch frivolous lawsuits, there is no stopping this project, “growing opposition” or not. When you dig into the news, you will find the “growing” opposition seems to be coming from a single source–the Ambridge Water Authority.
Continue reading

30-Story Quench Tower Set in Place for Shell Ethane Cracker

On Sunday, what will be the tallest and heaviest piece of equipment that’s part of the mighty $6 billion Shell ethane cracker in Monaca (Beaver County), PA was hoisted into place. It’s called a “quench tower” and it looks like a humongous silo. It’s 300-feet high, which translates into about 30 stories. One of the world’s largest cranes had to be reserved a year ago in order to do the lifting. It took all day, but by 3:30 pm, the quench tower was standing upright–yet another monument to the power of the Marcellus Shale.
Continue reading

“Cracker Effect” – Shell Plant Will Create 7,400 Permanent Jobs

Ever hear of the “cracker effect”? No, we hadn’t either. Not until we read about a new study by a husband and wife team from Washington & Jefferson College. The pair studied the economic impact of cracker plants on surrounding communities–some 34 ethane crackers in 16 counties around the country. Most of the cracker plants are located along the Gulf Coast. The purpose of the study is to accurately forecast what will happen with Shell’s new $6 billion ethane cracker currently under construction in Beaver County, near Pittsburgh. What might the real, measurable economic effect be from Shell’s cracker? According to the authors, the Shell cracker will generate ~7,400 permanent, long-term jobs. Crackers not only create new jobs, they boost wages in cracker counties by nearly 13% over counties without crackers. But counties without a cracker plant benefit too. Counties bordering counties with a cracker plant see lower unemployment rates. No mystery there. While the authors alluded to some negatives from crackers, we were hard-pressed to find any! It sure looks like everything is coming up roses with the Shell cracker. The numbers prove it…
Continue reading

Revolution Pipeline Explosion in W PA – What We Know So Far

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) is taking the lead in investigating the Energy Transfer Revolution Pipeline explosion and fire that happened in Beaver County early Monday morning (see Revolution Pipeline Near Pittsburgh Explodes – Home & Barn Destroyed). The PUC issued an update yesterday outlining what they know so far about the incident. PUC Chairman Gladys Brown cautioned that it’s still too early to draw any conclusions, although the working theory is that there was a landslide in the area due to continuous heavy rain for weeks. Brown said the engineers and investigators need time to investigate. No instant answers. Continuing bad weather in the area has hindered the investigation. PUC pipeline safety engineers have, however, confirmed a few facts about the incident…
Continue reading

Revolution Pipeline Near Pittsburgh Explodes – Home & Barn Destroyed

Yesterday morning shortly before 5 am, a 24-inch gathering pipeline in Beaver County, PA (about 30 miles from Pittsburgh) caught fire and exploded. Fortunately, nobody was hurt, although a nearby home, barn and two garages were leveled by fire from the blast. The pipeline went online just last week, on Sept. 3. It wasn’t even officially/commercially online–it was still in testing phase. The exploded pipeline is part of Energy Transfer’s 100-mile Revolution Pipeline system. The pipe gathers dry and wet gas from local wells and delivers it to a cryogenic separating plant in Washington County, PA. From there, the separated methane goes into the Burgettstown Lateral of the Rover Pipeline (Burgettstown began service on Sept. 1). Following the explosion around 30 homes within a half mile were evacuated, but returned later in the day. Some 1,500 people in the area were without power for part of the day after six high-tension electric lines were toppled, either by the blast or the ensuring fire. A full investigation is now under way, but early indications are a “ground slip” (i.e. landslide) was the cause. That area has been pounded day after day with torrential rain, saturating the ground and causing multiple landslides in the area. Philadelphia antis (on the other side of the state) have already piled on, rubbing their hands with glee, pointing out Energy Transfer is the same company as Sunoco Logistics Partners–the company building the Mariner East 2 pipeline project. Antis are using a freak accident  and tragedy in the hills outside Pittsburgh to try and stop ME2 in the flat country of Greater Philadelphia…
Continue reading

Shell Ethane Cracker Gets Reprieve from Trump Steel Quotas

Shell ethane cracker plant under construction in Monaca, PA – so many cranes you can’t count them!

RINO Pat Toomey can rest easy–there will be no delays in building the $6 billion Shell ethane cracker near Pittsburgh. The Trump Administration previously slapped a 25% tariff (i.e. tax) AND quotas on imported steel coming from countries dumping steel in our markets, driving out our own steel industry. Last week Trump lifted the quota from steel coming from certain countries, including Brazil. Shell is getting steel they need for the cracker from Brazil. Indeed, Shell’s Brazilian steel is already sitting in a U.S. port, undelivered due to the quota (a limit on how much can be imported). Now Shell’s steel can get shipped to Pittsburgh and used by the army of people working there. But get this: Shell will still have to pay the 25% tariff/extra charge for their Brazilian steel. Toomey, an early and persistent Trump critic (and a DC swamp dweller), one of PA’s two U.S. Senators, recently claimed Trump’s quotas/tariffs would result in layoffs and delays at the cracker (see Sen. Pat Toomey Claims Trump Tariffs Will Delay Shell Cracker). With that barrier now gone, Toomey will have to find something else to criticize about Trump. How about his hair?…
Continue reading