FERC Approves Rest of Columbia WB XPress Pipe for Startup

In early October the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted TransCanada permission to begin service on part of its Columbia WB XPress pipeline project, the “Western Build” portion of the project (see FERC Approves Columbia WB XPress Pipe for Partial Startup). The good news is that yesterday FERC granted permission to start up the rest of WB XPress, the “Eastern Build.” The $900 million WB XPress project is located in West Virginia and Virginia and expands capacity along the Columbia Gas Transmission (CGT) pipeline system by 1.3 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), linking Marcellus gas supplies to new markets. The whole WB XPress enchilada is now ready to let it flow.
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EQT Tries to Gut WV 1982 Minimum Royalty Law for Flat Rate Leases

EQT certainly isn’t following Dale Carnegie’s advice on How to Win Friends and Influence People. Just the opposite, as the company continues to squeeze every last penny it can out of landowners’ pockets who hold old “flat rate” leases in West Virginia. We’ve reported on EQT’s efforts to overturn WV’s Senate Bill (SB) 360, passed earlier this year and signed into law by Gov. Jim Justice (see EQT Still Fighting WV Minimum Royalty Law for Flat Rate Leases). That law disallows post-production deductions for flat rate leases, ensuring landowners receive a minimum 12.5% royalty. In April, EQT sued to overturn the original law, from 1982, on which SB 360 rests–the law that guarantees a 12.5% royalty. Get rid of the original law, and the later law (disallowing deductions) disappears too.
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WV Class Action Against EQT re Royalty Deductions Heads to Court

It’s been five years in the making, but finally a class action lawsuit that began in 2013, on behalf of 10,000 West Virginia landowners and royalty rights owners against EQT’s practice of deducting post-production expenses from royalty payments, will finally get its day in court in two weeks. That’s what we learn from an extended article published by ProPublica and the Charleston Gazette-Mail on the topic of WV drillers and their practice of “whittling away payments” from rights owners. Just over a month ago MDN told you about an elderly WV couple who won their private lawsuit against EQT on the same matter (see EQT Loses Post-Production Deduction Lawsuit to WV Couple). Based on the outcome of that lawsuit, EQT should be a tad nervous about this class action proceeding to trial.
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MVP, ACP Pipes Receive Very Few Violation Notices in WV

It would be great when you are drilling a well, or building a pipeline, that when a state government inspector swings by to check up on the project, they don’t spot any problems. Especially for big projects like pipelines that run hundreds of miles. It would be nice, but not reality. Something always happens here and there. Unforeseen. Like weather with torrential rain, resulting in runoff from a ditch you just dug. The inspector swings by the next day and notices water and dirt where it’s not supposed to be, and voila, a “notice of violation” (NOV) is issued. It happens. That’s the way the world works. For Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) and Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), both with segments in West Virginia, NOVs have been and no doubt will continue to be issued. How many NOVs would you imagine have already been issued for each project in WV? How many is “too many” and indicates the project builders are being sloppy?
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First “Big” Chinese Energy Investment in WV is…Software?

Wendy’s iconic “Where’s the Beef” commercial

It’s been exactly one year since the announcement and signing of a memorandum of understanding between China and the State of West Virginia, whereby China pledged to spend (over 20 years) an incomprehensible $83.7 billion (with a “b”) on petrochemical and shale projects (see China Agrees to Invest Amazing $83.7 BILLION in WV Shale, Petchem). How much money has China actually invested in WV to date? NOTHING. ZERO. NADA. That is, until now. Maybe. We came across a story about a WV company, TMC Technologies, working closely with China to develop software that will keep LNG exports heading to China, safe.
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4th Circus Court Blocks Some Atlantic Coast Pipe Work in WV

Circus clown

Dominion’s 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) from West Virginia to North Carolina has had its share of setbacks. Lately it seems that regulatory (and lawsuit) issues have been breaking in ACP’s favor. Just two weeks ago the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted approval for ACP to begin construction in West Virginia (see FERC Green Lights Atlantic Coast Pipeline Construction in WV). Right on cue, the U.S. Fourth Circuit (i.e. “Circus”) Court of Appeals has arrived to throw cold water on the project yet again. This time the Fourth Circus has put a temporary stop on constructing the pipeline across/under/through streams and rivers in WV.
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FERC OKs Final 2 Rover Pipeline Laterals – Now 100% Online

Flashback: In May of this year, Energy Transfer CEO Thomas Long said Rover Pipeline would be fully online by June 1st (see ETP Update: Rover Fully Online by June 1, Mariner East 2 Online 3Q18). Whoops. Gotta watch those “forward-looking statements” Tom. A large portion of the pipeline, designated Phase 1A, finally began flowing natural gas on Sept. 1st (see Big Portion of Rover Pipeline Now Up & Running – Thru Most of Ohio). Other bits and bobs have come online since that time. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission held back final approvals for some Rover laterals (offshoot pipelines that gather gas from various locations) as a way to force ET to perform clean-up work (see FERC Continues to Block Rover Laterals Until Restoration Work Done). The final two laterals, located in West Virginia, are now cleared to begin operation.
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WV Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Gas-Fired Power Plant

ESC Brooke County power plant concept drawing

Last Thursday the West Virginia Supreme Court effectively ended opposition against building natural gas-fired power plants in the Mountain State. We’ve brought you a number of articles detailing how the coal lobby has tried its best, via numerous lawsuits, to block three Marcellus-fired power plants from getting built (see Murray Energy Continues to Block Gas-Fired Plants in WV). The final attempt to stop these projects is to challenge air permits issued by the WV Public Service Commission. Isn’t that rich? Coal objecting to air permits for natural gas electric plants, which pollute far less than coal. The WV Supreme Court took up a challenge by Big Coal (i.e. coal baron Robert Murray) against one of the projects located in Brooke County. Last week the Supremes ruled in favor of the gas-fired plant. Victory! So when will construction begin?
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EQT Midstream Plans 1.2 Bcf/d Hammerhead Pipeline to Feed MVP

EQT Midstream, which is about to be renamed to Equitrans Midstream Corp. in a few weeks, recently issued its third quarter 2018 update (same day that EQT the driller issued its update). As you know, the two are about to split and become two independent companies. As part of the EQT Midstream update, the new midstream company leaders spoke about Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), a 303-mile pipeline from West Virginia into southern Virginia. MVP has experienced a lot of setbacks, most of them from a campaign of lawsuits filed by Big Green organizations (like the odious Sierra Club). A new pipeline project related to MVP was mentioned prominently in this week’s quarterly update. The pipeline is called Hammerhead.
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WV Farmers Set Up Small Campsites to House M-U Workers

When shale drilling activity ramps up, the people who are needed to do all those jobs show up. In droves. Some come from out-of-state. Some are local, and some from in-state but not local. Regardless, they all need a place to sleep. A home away from home (if they aren’t local). Increasingly those places are campgrounds. Problem is, there aren’t enough campgrounds for workers to park their RVs. So enterprising farmers in West Virginia are turning some of their acreage into campgrounds, to profit by hosting shale workers. Some establish small campgrounds, with just a handful of (2-4) sites. But beware–there’s a pile of permits required to operate a campground of any size. Some farmers are skipping the permit process, which is NOT recommended.
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MVP Allowed to Restart Pipe Construction at WV Trail Crossing

Although EQT Midstream’s 303-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project has experienced a number of legal and regulatory setbacks and is currently blocked from constructing pipeline across/under/near any river, stream, or wetland in all of West Virginia and all of Virginia (some 1,100 different locations), believe it or not there are still many places where MVP can and is still installing pipeline (see Mountain Valley Pipe Keeps Building Despite Court Action re Permits). The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, rather than shut down all MVP construction as is being demanded by antis, continues to grant permission to MVP to build. Here’s a few more such places in West Virginia.
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WV PSC Hearing on Eastern Panhandle Expansion Project

A near-capacity crowd (over 300 people) filled the Storer Ballroom at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, WV on Wednesday to hear and talk about the Mountaineer Gas Eastern Panhandle Expansion Project–a project to deliver natural gas to a new industrial facility in Berkeley County, WV, and provide gas to other local businesses and residents in the Tri-State area. The meeting (a public hearing) was hosted by the West Virginia Public Service Commission. It was moved to Shepherdstown from Charleston at the request of fussing Sierra Clubbers.
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FERC Green Lights Atlantic Coast Pipeline Construction in WV

Dominion’s 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) from West Virginia to North Carolina has had its share of setbacks. But these days, it appears the project is building momentum and government/regulatory decisions are breaking in ACP’s favor. The project is on track to finish by the end of 2019, so says Dominion. The latest win for ACP came yesterday when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted permission for ACP to begin construction pretty much in all locations in West Virginia. The only prohibitions are small areas in National Park Service land and a few locations where there may be Indiana bats.
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6 Protesters Arrested for Blocking MVP Pipe Trucks in WV

Although EQT Midstream’s 303-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline project has experienced a number of legal and regulatory setbacks and is currently blocked from constructing pipeline across/under/near any river, stream, or wetland in all of West Virginia and all of Virginia, there are still places where MVP can build (see Mountain Valley Pipe Keeps Building Despite Court Action re Permits). MVP is legally continuing construction activities. Except sometimes MVP is illegally blocked by protesters who irrationally believe natural gas will kill the planet because it’s a “fossil fuel.” It happened again on Monday when six nutjobs were arrested at an MVP pipeline storage yard near the border of Raleigh and Fayette counties in WV.
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Another Setback for MVP – Permits Pulled in WV Northern Panhandle

We thought that all of Mountain Valley Pipeline’s (MVP) permits issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for stream and wetland crossings had been pulled in both West Virginia and Virginia, but alas, no. One of the regions where permits issued by the Army Corps (called NWP 12 permits), in the northern panhandle of WV, is issued by a different Army Corps district office (in Pittsburgh). That office has now revoked MVP’s permits in Wetzel and Harrison counties–another 59 stream and 62 wetland crossings. Which now makes it complete: MVP cannot engage in any construction across/under/near any river, stream, or wetland in *all* of WV and *all* of VA. That is, until they get the NWP 12 permit reworked and reissued.
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Doddridge County #1 in WV Natural Gas Production

According to Anne Blakenship, executive director of the WV Oil & Natural Gas Association (WVONGA), Doddridge County leads WV’s 55 counties in “oil and natural gas production.” She said Doddridge will “remain at the epicenter” of the state’s oil and gas industry “for years to come.” While Doddridge is indeed the #1 natural gas producing county, replete with a number of gas processing plants (and pipelines), Doddridge is not the #1 oil producing county.
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