PA DEP Signals Approval for Adelphia Gateway Pipe Near Philly

Adelphia Gateway map (click for larger version)

In January the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a favorable environmental assessment for New Jersey Resources’ Adelphia Gateway pipeline project in the Philadelphia area (see Adelphia Gateway Pipe Enviro Assessment Approved by FERC). On Saturday, the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) indicated it will soon issue a federal “401” Clean Water Act stream crossing permit for the project.
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Converted Oil Pipeline Near Philly Extends Open Season for NatGas

Earlier this month we shared the exciting news that an old oil pipeline stretching from Northampton County, PA through Bucks, Montgomery, and Chester counties, terminating in Delaware County at Marcus Hook had been purchased by a subsidiary of New Jersey Resources will get converted to flow more Marcellus natural gas to the greater Philadelphia region (see Oil Pipeline Near Philly to be Converted to Flow Fracked NatGas). The project/pipeline has been named the Adelphia Gateway. On Nov. 2nd the project began an “open season”–a period of time when shippers can reserve capacity along the pipeline. Such contracts typically run for 10-20 years and guarantee the pipeline (which will invest millions) can recoup its investment and make a profit. The open season was scheduled to expire on Nov. 20th, but Adelphia has extended the open season to Dec. 8th. Adelphia says the extension was to allow for the Thanksgiving holiday. Typically such an extension means the project hasn’t secured enough business to be profitable. We don’t have a feel one way or the other for this project. Perhaps a number of people did take off for the Thanksgiving holiday and this will give Adelphia a chance to button up previously expressed interest. Signing on the dotted line means an office full of lawyers will need to review it first–and lawyers like their vacations…
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Oil Pipeline Near Philly to be Converted to Flow Fracked NatGas

Exciting! We have a brand new pipeline project to tell you about–located in the Greater Philadelphia area. Although the project is new, the pipeline is old–already in the ground. Talen Energy, birthed in June 2015 from a combination between PPL Energy Supply and certain assets of Riverstone Holdings, is one of the largest competitive energy and power generation companies in North America. Talen’s core business is building and operating electric generating power plants. One of the assets Talen inherited in the merger is an 84-mile pipeline called the Interstate Energy Company which runs from Northampton County, PA through Bucks, Montgomery, and Chester counties, terminating in Delaware County at Marcus Hook. Talen announced yesterday they’ve sold the Interstate Energy Company (the pipeline) to Adelphia Gateway, a subsidiary of New Jersey Resources, for $189 million. The northern 34 miles of the pipeline was converted to flow natural gas back in 1996. The southern 50 miles currently flows oil, but Adelphia (NJ Resources) announced yesterday they will convert the oil portion of the pipeline to instead flow natural gas. The bottom line is that a wide swath of Greater Philly is about to get a new source of clean-burning, abundant fracked PA natural gas…
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PA Republican Senate Extends SE PA Drilling Ban in Newark Basin

As MDN has explained in a companion story appearing today (see PA Republican Senate Changes Lease Terms for Landowners), the PA legislature has slipped a number of “environmental riders” into one of the final budget bills. The riders are bits of legislation that have nothing to do with the budget or spending, but tacked on as a way of getting them passed without the mess of voting on them individually. One of those riders affects the potential to drill for oil and gas in southeast PA. Back in 2012, an eleventh hour deal was snuck into the Pennsylvania budget signed into law by then-Gov. Tom Corbett (see Republicans Sneak SE PA Drilling Ban into Budget Deal). An amendment was introduced to the budget that established a moratorium on drilling in southeastern PA in the South Newark Basin, a small area which stretches from New Jersey through Bucks, Montgomery and Berks counties in PA. Caving to pressure from the libs that elect them, RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) placed an ongoing moratorium on any kind of drilling–test wells or otherwise–in their region. Disgusting. However, Section 1607, as it is called, had this provision: “This section shall expire January 1, 2018.” Senate Republicans have once again screwed the drilling industry by removing the expiration date, but leaving the moratorium in place. There are certain conditions that must be met according to 1607 (see them below), but practically speaking, we doubt those provisions will ever happen, meaning there will never be drilling in southeast PA…
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2 Spineless PA RINOs Join Call for High Marcellus Severance Tax

Several mainstream media outlets are trumpeting that “Republicans join the call for tax on Marcellus drillers.” Of course you have to read the fine print of the story to learn the so-called Republicans, which are really Republicans-In-Name-Only (RINOs), are really just two Republicans from the Philadelphia area where there is no drilling. They both want to stick their fingers into the pockets of landowners and drillers so they have funny money to throw around and buy votes with. Yes, we’re talking to you Gene DiGirolamo (Bucks County) and Tom Murt (Montgomery/Philadelphia counties). Shame on both of you.

The real story is this: Two spineless RINO sellouts from the Philly area “join the call” for obscene taxes on the drilling industry. There is no mass movement among Republicans in Pennsylvania to kill off the drilling industry with high severance taxes being advocated by just about every Democrat legislator and Democrat candidate in the state. We sure hope the people of PA have wised up to the Dem drivel about taxing one industry (shale drilling) to give the Dems (and RINOs) boatloads of money to squander on pet projects–the chief pet project being to put money into the pockets of people who will vote for them…
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Could Philly Burbs See Shale Drilling?! PA DCNR Launches Study

Last summer MDN told you about a new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) “discovery” that there are more untapped shale plays in the northeast. One of those plays is the Newark Basin that underlies parts of New Jersey, Maryland, and yes, Pennsylvania (see the USGS report and map here: Maryland has Multiple Shale Basins?!). In particular, the South Newark Basin lies under parts of southeastern PA–Philadelphia and its suburbs. While no one believes there will ever be a drilling rig in Philadelphia, there is the possibility of drilling out in the burbs.

The PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has just “quietly” awarded a contract to Penn State University to study “what lies beneath” in Bucks and Montgomery counties. The contract began July 1 and won’t be completed until June 30, 2015–two full years. When done, we should have a good idea of whether or not there’s recoverable shale gas in the area. So, is this study a prelude to drilling one day?…
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Republicans Sneak SE PA Drilling Ban into Budget Deal

11th hourAn eleventh hour deal was snuck into the Pennsylvania budget signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett late Saturday night. On Friday, an amendment was introduced to the budget that would establish a moratorium on drilling in southeastern Pennsylvania in the South Newark Basin, a small area which stretches from New Jersey through Bucks, Montgomery and Berks counties in PA.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently completed an evaluation of the South Newark Basin, which contains both shale and coal bed methane deposits, along with four other East Coast basins and issued a report showing how much natural gas each basin contains (a copy is embedded below). The report says the South Newark Basin contains a minimum of 363 billion cubic feet of natural gas deposits, and their best guess is it contains around 876 billion cubic feet. It’s much smaller than the Marcellus, but certainly nothing to sneeze at.

With all of the gas drilling in the rest of the state, and with new drilling laws now in place, why place a temporary moratorium that expires in 2018 on the southeast region of the state? That’s where politics rears its ugly head—and this time it’s the Republicans who are to blame.

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