Univ of Tennessee Studies PA Fracking Effects on Water Health

It seems that universities in states outside the Marcellus region are fascinated with the Marcellus. They love to “study” it. Or at least, the Marcellus is a goldmine for them in research grants. The latest outsider to study the Marcellus is the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Using a National Science Foundation grant, researchers from UT “will look at how aquatic microbial communities are impacted by biocides associated with hydraulic fracking.” That is, they’re studying whether or not fracking, because it has a low presence of chemicals, is creating superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics. Will fracking cause a new Black Plague?
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The Winners of the PA DEP $12.6 Million ME2 Hunger Games Are…

Que the music with dramatic drums, cymbals and trumpets. Camera A, zoom in on Secretary McDonnell. The whole state is watching. It’s time for the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) to announce the winners of PA’s Hunger Games-style contest to grab a piece of the $12.6 million “fine” paid by Sunoco Logistics Partners for “permit violations related to the construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline project” (see Sunoco LP Pays PA DEP $12.6M to Resume ME2 Pipeline Construction).
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PA Senate Considers Bill Exempting Conv. Drillers from Shale Regs

The Pennsylvania Senate Appropriations Committee will today conduct an “off-the-floor” meeting to discuss and potentially report out for a vote House Bill (HB) 2154, a bill introduced in March to “roll back” (more like “lock in”) regulations that govern conventional PA drilling to the Oil and Gas Act of 1984 (see 2 PA Bills Would Roll Back Conventional Drilling Regs to 1984). The bills are in response to coming changes proposed by leftist Gov. Tom Wolf to over-regulate conventional drillers.
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How to Turn PA’s $60B Shale Energy Future into Reality Today

One year ago Chevron Appalachia and People’s Natural Gas teamed up to release a study called “Forge the Future: Pennsylvania’s Path To An Advanced, Energy-Enabled Economy” (see Chevron & People’s Natural Gas Team Up to Map Out PA’s $60B Future). Rather than wait around for “someone else” to flesh out a plan to leverage what Chevron and People’s call a $60 billion (!) opportunity in PA, they went ahead and did it themselves. Smart people. That was Phase I. Others have joined the effort which has morphed into a loose organization called PA Forge The Future. The group has just launched Phase II, a new study called “Ideas for Action: Actionable Initiatives to Accelerate Energy-Enabled Economic Development in Pennsylvania” (full copy below).
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List of 29 Marcellus/Utica Gas-Fired Elec Plants Planned or Built

Each large (over 475 megawatts) gas-fired electric power plant is an economic bonanza. The plants cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build–over a billion dollars for the largest plants. They provide hundreds of jobs during construction, jobs that last several years. They provide millions in tax revenue to local municipalities and schools. And best of all, each one of these plants uses an enormous amount of Marcellus and Utica Shale gas. There are 29 of these incredible projects already built or in various stages of planning and construction in PA, OH and WV. We have the list below.
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Cabot, Seneca Resources Grab 100% of New Transco Leidy Expansion

Williams is expanding its mighty, 10,500-mile Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co (Transco), again. Sometime this month Williams will prefile a request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the Leidy South expansion project. The new project will bump up “compression” (either build new compressors or refit existing compressors) and build new “looping” pipeline in Pennsylvania, in order to increase capacity of Transco in the northeast Marcellus region by another 580 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d).
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PA DEP Releases Revised Erosion & Sedimentation Control Permit

Some of the most important, and slowest, permits issued to drill a new shale well in Pennsylvania are “Erosion and Sediment Control” permits. Well pads and the roads built to access them involve such permits. When sediment/erosion permits are delayed, the whole project is delayed. The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection published an updated general permit covering Oil and Gas Development Erosion and Sedimentation Control (ESCGP-3) in the Pennsylvania Bulletin on Saturday, Oct. 6. The new permit is supposed to streamline and make the approval process faster. We’ll see about that.
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Get an “Unfair” Advantage for 2019 Northeast Oil & Gas Awards

Each year MDN partners with the Oil & Gas Awards to promote their Northeast Awards–a way for companies in the oil and gas industry that operate with distinction to get recognized by their peers. In March 2019 the Northeast Oil & Gas Awards will celebrate their 7th year! We hope that you and your colleagues will be able to share *your* successes and participate in the greatest celebration of our industry at the Oil & Gas Awards in Pittsburgh in March 2019. The deadline to enter is Dec. 12. MDN has what we consider a way you and your company can gain an “unfair” advantage–stacking the deck in favor of your company winning.
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FERC Approves Atlantic Sunrise for Startup! Pipe Opens Sat. Oct. 6

Yesterday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) finally (finally!) granted Williams permission to open the taps up and let natural gas flow along the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline, a 200-mile greenfield pipeline from northeastern to southeastern PA. Startup was delayed two months from Williams’ original estimate (due to Williams, not FERC). But that’s all behind us now. Beginning tomorrow, Marcellus molecules from Cabot Oil & Gas, Chief Oil & Gas, and Seneca Resources will begin flowing along the pipeline, heading out of our region where those molecules will fetch higher prices.
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Wolf Pledges to Pursue Severance Tax Next 4 Years if Reelected

We’re going to dub Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, “Tommy One Note.” Wolf participated in a debate with his far-more-qualified-to-be-governor opponent, Scott Wagner, Monday evening in Hershey, PA. It was/is the only debate that will be held between the two. The debate (if you can call it that) was “moderated” by Jeopardy host Alex Trebek. During the debate Wolf indicated that if he is elected to a second four-year term, he will keep fighting every single year, year in and year out, to pass an exorbitantly high severance tax to pay back teacher’s unions for voting for him.
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Royalty Bill to be Discussed in PA House Committee Meeting Oct 9

In early 2017 at the beginning of a new session of the Pennsylvania Legislature, PA State Senator Gene Yaw introduced a pair of bills he dubbed the “Oil and Gas Lease Protection Package” (see  2 Royalty Bills Focus of PA Senate Hearing Today). Senate Bill (SB) 138 allows landowners the right to review drilling company records to verify proper royalty payment, and require drillers to pay royalties within 90 days of production.

10/9/18 Update: The House meeting to discuss SB 138 has been postponed to a later, unspecified date.
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Mariner East 2 Pipe Startup Delayed Due to “Regulatory Issues”

ME2 Pipeline (red dotted line) – click for larger version

Energy Transfer Partners and their Sunoco Logistics unit had previously predicted the Mariner East 2 NGL (natural gas liquids) pipeline would be up and running no later than Sept. 30. That date came and went, and the pipeline is still not ready. According the ET, the reason is due to “regulatory issues.” Meaning, what exactly? We have a list of the “issues” holding up ME2 from launching.
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Williams CEO Compliments PA Gov Wolf, Roasts NY Gov Cuomo

Williams CEO Alan Armstrong

On Friday Williams CEO Alan Armstrong addressed CEA’s Energy and Manufacturing Summit in Pittsburgh. Ahead of that address, Armstrong granted an exclusive interview to the Pittsburgh Business Times, an interview in which he had some flattering words for Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (i.e. sucked up to him), and some rather unflattering words for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
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Senate Committee Hears Testimony on Foreign Meddling in PA Shale

The Pennsylvania Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee yesterday heard testimony from several witnesses on the topic of foreign meddling meant to suppress or stop Marcellus Shale production in the Keystone State (and beyond). There were three witnesses, all of them stars (and all MDN friends). One of the three was MDN buddy Tom Shepstone, writer of the always-excellent Natural Gas Now website. As he so deftly does, Tom connected the dots between foreign money and (in this case) the Heinz Endowments, further connecting Heinz to non-profits like THE Delaware Riverkeeper and PBS’ StateImpact Pennsylvania. Here’s how it works: Chris Heinz (one of the directors of the Heinz Endowments) is heavily invested in a Ukrainian gas company. That company is competing with, and wants to suppress, American (including Marcellus) gas from being sold to Europe. Heinz Endowments pumps big money into Riverkeeper, StateImpact and other anti-fracking shill groups, enabling them to file lawsuits, launch negative PR, and make all manor of mischief to slow and stop Marcellus drilling. Which benefits Chris Heinz’s back pocket. The solution, according to Tom, is “sunlight.” Force these non-profits to disclose who is funding them. And get the Auditor General to investigate the “unholy alliance” between these nonprofits and foreign entities. We’d add a third item: Get the IRS to investigate funders like Heinz, organizations that engage in overtly political activities via proxy, in violation of their tax-exempt status…
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PA Republicans Support Bill to Make Pipeline Trespass a Felony

Perhaps this is an overstatement and a tad too generalistic, but once again Republican lawmakers have shown they are the party of law and order, while Democrats have shown they are the party of lawlessness and disorder–at least in Pennsylvania. Yesterday the PA House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee tweaked and then passed (on a party line vote) Senate Bill (SB) 652 which makes trespassing on rights-of-way of “critical infrastructure” (pipelines, power lines, refineries, etc.) a felony instead of a misdemeanor. Democrats don’t like it, because their party’s members are typically the ones who engage in illegal trespass in order to slow down and block work on things like don’t like–like pipelines. Dems maintain they have a right to “free speech” to illegally block pipeline work, just because they don’t like it and can’t stop it using lawful means. The difference between the two sides could not be more clear…
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Lobbyists Tell PA Lawmakers Nukes Safer than Gas-Fired Plants

Sometimes you can’t convey it all in a headline that should be 65 characters or less (in order to make the Google gods happy). In this case, the longer headline we would have used is this: “Lobbyists tell Pennsylvania lawmakers that nuclear powered electric plants are safer from cyber and physical attack than natural gas-fired plants (and therefore should be preferred to gas-fired plants).” That was the upshot of a hearing held yesterday by the PA House-Senate Nuclear Caucus, a hearing in which nuclear energy lobbyists claimed “no mandatory physical or cyber security standards exist for natural gas systems” in contrast to the nuclear energy industry that has to meet “demanding security requirements.” We should hope so! We hope that nuke facilities are more strictly regulated than natural gas facilities. If a nuke goes offline/has an accident/is overtaken in a physical attack, thousands of people die and it’s an environmental disaster. If a natgas-fired plant goes offline, the lights go out for a while. Big difference, we would say…
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