Contractor Sues EQT $1.9M for Refusing to Pay for Spill Cleanup

Yet more intra-industry snipping to report (o&g companies suing o&g companies), this time between EQT and a contractor the company hired to clean up a spill (for $1.9 million) who says EQT never paid. EQT Gathering hired InterCon Construction to drill and install replacement pipeline in Indiana County, PA. InterCon did the work. During construction, InterCon experienced an “inadvertent return” (drilling mud leaking out on the surface where it’s not supposed to). InterCon fixed the issue, finished their work, and left. Triad Engineering was also involved in the project. The leak later returned. EQT asked InterCon to return and clean it up, which they did (for a price). According to court documents, EQT sued Triad for not properly sealing a bore hole, leading to the “new” leak. Yet EQT is refusing to pay InterCon for the cleanup, inferring they were to blame.
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Liens Against ME2 Pipeline Landowners Near Philly Dismissed

That was fast. Last week we reported that lawyers for a Mariner East 2 (ME2) subcontractor, United Piping Inc., had filed liens against the property of three landowners near Philadelphia because the ME2 contractor they worked for, Welded Construction, had declared bankruptcy and couldn’t pay them. And since ME2 builder Sunoco Logistics (along with Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline builder Williams) withheld payments from Welded, forcing it into bankruptcy, United figured they would extract their pound of flesh from landowners. Which, as we said, is outrageous and wrong (see Bankrupt Pipeline Contractor Leads to Liens Against PA Landowners). A day after that story broke, the companies involved (namely Energy Transfer, on behalf of Sunoco Logistics) got it resolved.
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PA Residents Sound Off Against Adelphia Pipe at DEP Hearing

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection held a public hearing last week for the Adelphia Gateway project, a plan to convert an old oil pipeline stretching from Northampton County, PA through Bucks, Montgomery, and Chester counties, terminating in Delaware County at Marcus Hook, to instead pump natural gas (see Oil Pipeline Near Philly to be Converted to Flow Fracked NatGas). It was pretty easy to predict that the hearing would elicit negative feedback, based on previous stories of residents unhappy with the location of a planned compressor station (see Update on Adelphia Gateway – Converting Oil Pipeline to Flow NatGas). And sure enough, many who spoke at the hearing were not happy.
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Northeast PA Railroad Traffic Surges Due to Marcellus Shale

We love a good railroad story–always have, always will. And here’s a great railroad story. The freight trains in northeastern Pennsylvania will this year, once again, set a new record. Last year the Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad, which operates 85 miles of track in Lackawanna and Monroe counties, hauled 8,572 carloads. This year they will fly by that number, to a new record. Why? Mainly due to frack sand used by Linde Corp, which supplies sand to drillers in the region. Translation: Drilling picked up again in 2018 in northeastern PA.
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Bankrupt Pipeline Contractor Leads to Liens Against PA Landowners

Ambulance-chasing lawyers for a Minnesota-based subcontractor (United Piping Inc.) have filed a lien against some of the landowners where Mariner East 2 (ME2) crosses, claiming the landowners may have to pay them because the contractor, Welded Construction, can’t. The lawyers are using a little-known law in Pennsylvania that dates to 1901 to make their claim. This is seriously screwed up. You may recall we previously told you that Williams, disputing work Welded Construction had done for them in building the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline, refused to pay $23.5 million, causing Welded to declare bankruptcy (see Williams Withholds Payment Forcing Pipeline Builder into Bankruptcy). What we didn’t know, until now, is that Sunoco Logistics Partners, builder of the ME2 pipeline, also withheld payments to Welded. United Pipeline says because of Welded’s bankruptcy and failure to pay them (because Williams and Sunoco withheld payments), they (United) now have the right to go after landowners for that money. This is nuts!Continue reading

Repsol Adds New PA Rig, Will Increase Marcellus Prod. 50% by 2020

Yesterday MDN editor Jim Willis attended the 12th Annual Platts Global Energy Outlook Forum in New York City. Christmastime is a great time to visit NYC. The conference opened with a talk given by Paul Ferneyhough, Repsol’s executive director for North America. The big news from Ferneyhough’s talk and subsequent remarks later in the day is that Repsol plans to ramp up production on their Marcellus acreage located in northeastern Pennsylvania by another 50% by 2020. Ferneyhough said the company, just last week, added a second drilling rig in the Marcellus. That one extra rig will allow them to quickly ramp up production. Several other news outlets, including Reuters, published news of the 50% increase. What they don’t tell you is how Repsol will manage to get that increased production to market, and what they can’t tell you is the added information Ferneyhough told Jim in a private conversation following his presentation.
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Virtual Pipeline Says Goodbye to NY, Sets Up Across Border in PA

New York State is the biggest loser. In every sense. NG Advantage, which once tried to set up a virtual pipeline operation in the Town of Fenton (suburb of Binghamton, NY), has shaken the dust of New York off its shoes and has, instead, decided to build the facility (with millions in tax revenues and over 100 jobs) 25 miles across the border in Springville Township, Susquehanna County, PA–in the heart of Marcellus country. Good for NG! Nice people, and they deserved much better treatment than they got here in NY. We personally hoped and lobbied for NG to locate in the Town of Windsor, NY, where MDN is located. But alas, the experience they had with the Town of Fenton was so nasty, they decided to abandon any plans of locating a business in NY. Can’t say that we blame them. NY is about the most business unfriendly state in the Union.
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PA Supreme Court Upholds ME2 Right to Use Eminent Domain

One of the ways anti-fossil fuel groups have tried to stop the Mariner East 2 Pipeline project is by tying it up in court. Various lawsuits have been filed going back years. One litigant, a Big Green group headquartered in Philadelphia, the so-called Clean Air Council, has tried repeatedly to get the courts to deny ME2 the right to use eminent domain in cases where landowners refuse to cooperate (see Clean Air Council’s Strange War Against Mariner East Pipeline). CAC argued that ME2 is not a “public utility” and therefore not entitled to the use of eminent domain. That argument flamed out. In May, PA’s Commonwealth Court ruled that yes, ME2 is a public utility entitled to use eminent domain if it needs to (see PA Court Rules ME2 Pipe has Power of Eminent Domain, Period). CAC had one last card to play, taking the case to the PA Supreme Court. They played it, and lost.
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By the Numbers – Shale Drilling “Still Strong” in PA & OH

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued 269 permits for Marcellus (and possibly a few Utica) shale wells in October and November. The Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) issued 22 permits in the Utica/Point Pleasant shale play in October, and 11 permits in November (as of Nov. 17). That’s over 300 new shale wells between the Marcellus and Utica in the most recent two months–a strong showing. Farm and Dairy, a 100+ year-old publication serving the rural communities of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, recently tabulated the permit numbers for western PA and eastern OH, down to the county level. Here’s what the numbers show.
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CNX Midstream Sues Contractor for Walking Away from Pipe Project

On Monday, CNX Midstream sued West Virginia contractor Ronald Lane Inc. claiming the contractor “without warning or justification ceased work on the Project and abandoned the Project,” the Project being a package of water and gas pipelines in Greene and Washington counties in PA. And that, “Lane informed [CNX] that Lane intended to redirect all of its forces and efforts to other projects that Lane considered to be more profitable than the Project. Lane made it clear to [CNX] that Lane had no intention to perform any more work on the Project.” Lane was the winning bidder for the Project in late 2017 at a total cost of $7.1 million. According to the lawsuit, CNX claims Lane began construction in March and abandoned the Project in June.
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Penn State Guide to Marrying Marcellus Gas with Renewables

Penn State’s Dept. of Architectural Engineering recently released a guide for those interested in “conceiving, developing and financing ‘hybrid’ fossil fuel and renewable energy systems.” The guide, titled “CHP-Enabled Renewable Energy in Microgrids in Pennsylvania: A Guidance Document for Conceiving Feasible Systems” (full copy below) outlines systems to provide on-site, natural-gas-fueled electric and thermal (e.g. hot water or steam) energy generation (combined heat and power, or CHP) in combination with renewable energy resources such as solar photovoltaic arrays and battery storage systems. The target audience for such systems are owners of commercial and industrial buildings, multi-family buildings, hospitals, food processors and large users of steam or hot water; commercial, institutional and industrial parks and campuses; and municipalities and rural co-op organizations.
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Philly OKs $60M Plan to Partner with Russian re LNG Export Plant

Russian native Boris Brevnov, a former Enron executive, and banker Charles Ryan, a Radnor native who was once chief country officer in Moscow for Deutsche Bank, have just landed themselves a sweetheart deal with Philadelphia Gas Works to build a small LNG plant that will export Marcellus gas. The Philadelphia Gas Commission voted to approve a deal yesterday with Liberty Energy Trust. We frankly have mixed emotions about the news. We’re glad to see another LNG export facility, this one in PA (albeit quite small), but unhappy that these particular people are the ones building and operating it. Yes, there’s a lot of history to cover in this story.
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PA Natural Gas Production Hits Another All-Time High in 3Q18

Yesterday the PA Independent Fiscal Office (IFO) released their latest quarterly Natural Gas Production Report for Jul-Sep 2018 (full copy below). It shows natgas production rose an amazing 18.5% compared to the same period last year. The report also shows the number of producing wells is up 10.4% from last year. Total natural gas production volume was 1,567.5 billion cubic feet (Bcf), and the number of producing wells in 3Q18 was 8,917 (of which 8,431 were shale wells). The biggest news is that once again 3Q18 saw the highest quarterly production of natural gas in the state–ever. This is the eighth quarter in a row there has been an increase in production. Two-thirds of the state’s natural gas production consistently comes from four counties: Susquehanna, Washington, Greene and Bradford.
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PA Shale Water Company Hiring 125 New Employees

This is the kind of news we love to share! Keystone Clearwater Solutions, which was once majority owned by Rex Energy until they sold it to American Water Works in 2015 (see Rex Energy Sells Keystone Water Subsidiary to American Water Works), is hiring. And boy are they hiring! Keystone needs to hire 125 people, from truck drivers (most of the positions) to mechanics to technicians to supervisors. Keystone offers “complete water management solutions” to the shale industry, from the development and operation of surface water intakes to the operation and maintenance of water pipeline systems, pipeline construction projects, and water transfer services. Keystone is holding interviews across PA, OH and WV in December to fill the open positions. Christmas came early!
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DEP Issues 4th Update to PA’s Bizarre Climate Action Plan

Every three years the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection is required, by state law, to produce an update to the state’s so-called Climate Action Plan. The fact that they have such a plan boggles the mind–a plan to address global warming (the operative word being “global”) from one state. To be fair, a number of states and even large cities also have such plans. These plans are all arrogant nonsense. No entity, especially not a single state, can do a darned thing to affect the temperature of Mom Earth, but they pretend they can. And they use the existence of such plans as a manipulative political tool to force policy changes that inflict great economic harm on their citizens–all in the name of saving the planet. They’ve brainwashed our children into believing we’ll die if we don’t give up fossil fuel use. The DEP recently released their triennial update, and it’s as crazy as ever.
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Wilkes-Barre, PA Suburb Votes to Block Marcellus Industry

It’s kind of unusual, but we suppose not totally unheard of, for a township in the heart of the Pennsylvania Marcellus region in the northeast to essentially reject the Marcellus industry and tell the industry it isn’t wanted in their town. That’s the very loud and clear message just sent by Dallas Township (Luzerne County, near Wilkes-Barre) in adopting new zoning regulations that limit businesses related to the Marcellus industry from operating anywhere but in ~10% of the town. And we’re not talking about drilling–there is no Marcellus drilling in Dallas, in fact none in Luzerne County at all. We’re talking about things like “compressor stations, metering stations, processing facilities, hydraulic fracturing water withdrawal and treatment services.” And such restrictions do impact the industry, especially those related to pipeline infrastructure.
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