Shale Energy Saving Manufacturing Plants, Jobs in Appalachia

Eagle Manufacturing, located in Wellsburg, WV, was struggling in the early 2000s. The company makes plastic safety products. Foreign competition was hammering the company (tough to compete with children in China who work in factories for a dollar an hour). The company almost offshored production to China, but decided to stick it out a few more years here at home. And then the Marcellus/Utica Shale miracle happened.
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ESC Suspends WV Brooke County Power Plant Project

Well that’s disappointing. Earlier this year Energy Solutions Consortium (ESC) asked the State of West Virginia to guarantee a $5.5 million loan for a proposed new shale gas-fired power plant planned for Brooke County which would help them secure even more funding for the project. Several weeks ago the state went one better than the original request and said it would not only guarantee the loan, it would actually make the loan (see WV Brooke County Power Plant Gets $5.5M Direct Loan from State). And now it’s all off…
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Weekly Shale Drilling Permits for PA, OH, WV: Sep 28 – Oct 2

Somebody lit a fire under drillers in Pennsylvania last week! Or maybe we should say a fire was lit under the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP). PA issued 35 new permits last week spread pretty much across the entire state–in the northeast, central, and southwest portions of the state. Ohio, once again, issued no new Utica permits last week. West Virginia issued a single new permit last week.
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Weekly Shale Drilling Permits for PA, OH, WV: Sep 21-25

An unusual situation for permits to drill new wells for last week. Pennsylvania only had 5 new permits while West Virginia had 12 new permits. It’s typically the other way around. Could this be the beginning of the effects from PA raising the permit fee from $5,000 to $12,500 per well? Maybe! Ohio had no new Utica permits issued last week. Drilling seems to have slowed in the Buckeye State.
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WV Brooke County Power Plant Gets $5.5M Direct Loan from State

On Sept. 10, a day after a meeting of the West Virginia Economic Development Authority meeting, we reported (based on media reports) that the Authority had voted to approve a $5.5 million loan guarantee for a proposed new shale gas-fired power plant planned for Brooke County, WV (see WV Approves Loan Guarantee for Brooke County Power Plant). We were wrong. In fact, the Authority did something better than a simple loan guarantee…
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WV Approves Loan Guarantee for Brooke County Power Plant

Justice (with a small “j”) has prevailed in West Virginia. We’ve covered the issue of a proposed new shale gas-fired power plant planned for Brooke County, WV for years. We are down to the wire on some of the final bits needed for this project to advance. One of those bits, the last major hurdle, is a loan guarantee for $5.5 million, covering a tiny part of the financing required to build this nearly $1 billion project. Yesterday the WV Economic Development Authority unanimously approved the loan guarantee.
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Brooke County Blames Coal Lobby for WV Gas Plant Delay

We should have known that West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice is in league with his fellow coal baron Robert Murray. Officials from Brooke County, WV, where Energy Solutions Consortium is planning to build a $1.25 billion natural gas-fired power plant, are blaming the long fingers of Bob Murray for a last-minute delay of a state loan guarantee that was supposed to be made in August (see WV Gov. “Clarifies” Remarks Bashing Gas-Fired Plant, Doubles Down).
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WV Gov. “Clarifies” Remarks Bashing Gas-Fired Plant, Doubles Down

What is wrong with West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice? Last week we told you about Justice trash-talking a proposed natural gas-fired electric plant planned for Brooke County (see WV Gov. Jim Justice Trash-Talks Brooke County Gas-Fired Power). Justice outright questioned the project’s viability. He made some followup remarks yesterday to “clarify” his remarks from last week. Except Justice didn’t really clarify anything. If anything, he doubled down on his trash-talking of the project.
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WV Gov. Jim Justice Trash-Talks Brooke County Gas-Fired Power

WV Gov. Jim Justice

Just when you thought West Virginia Governor Jim Justice could be trusted with oversight of the state’s Marcellus/Utica industry, he goes and spoils it. Justice, who made his fortune in coal, is once again trash-talking shale gas. This time Justice is questioning a proposed shale gas-fired power plant planned for Brooke County.
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Brooke County, WV Gas Power Plant Inches Closer to Construction

ESC Brooke County Power artist rendering (click for larger version)

Energy Solutions Consortium (based in Buffalo, NY) has been attempting to build a Marcellus/Utica-gas fired electric power plant in Brooke County, WV for years. In Feb. 2019 we spotted a news story that said the project finally received all of its permits and would begin construction in 2019 (see WV NatGas Power Plant Gets Final Permits, Construction Begins Soon). Construction never happened last year. However, we have new evidence construction may now be on the horizon.
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Proposed New PA Pipeline to Connect Rover Pipe to WV Power Plant

Tri-State Corridor Project (click for larger version)

It’s not often a new pipeline project crops up and slips by us. On May 31, Equitrans (formerly EQT Midstream) filed an official request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to build a 16.7-mile pipeline from southwest Pennsylvania into West Virginia in order to feed what will become WV’s very first natural gas-fired electric power plant (see WV NatGas Power Plant Gets Final Permits, Construction Begins Soon). The pipeline will connect to and feed gas from the mighty Rover Pipeline.
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WV NatGas Power Plant Gets Final Permits, Construction Begins Soon

ESC Brooke County Power Plant concept drawing (click for larger version)

Although Big Coal tried its best to prevent a single new gas-fired electric plant from getting built in West Virginia–indeed delaying several projects for years–we’re happy to report the first such project, in Brooke County, finally has ALL of its necessary permits and will begin construction this year.
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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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Brooke County WV Power Plant Wins State Approval

Last September none other than West Virginia’s Secretary of Commerce, Woody Thrasher, admitted publicly that his beloved state is decidedly unfriendly to new natgas-fired electric plant projects (see WV Sec Commerce Says State Unfriendly to Gas-Fired Power Plants). In a speech before state legislators, Thrasher said while Ohio has built 19 new gas-fired power plants, and Pennsylvania has built 22 new gas-fired power plants, WV has built NONE. Zero. Nada. And that has to change. Pressure from the coal industry and regulatory red tape are preventing new projects from happening. A few years ago it seemed as though a project in Marshall County was ready to begin construction (see Progress for 3 WV NatGas Electric Plants; 1 Breaks Ground in 2016). However, that project is stalled–perhaps even dead (according to rumors we’ve heard). Last week there was a sliver of light when Harrison County commissioners voted to pass a resolution supporting a long-delayed gas power plant project there (see Harrison County, WV Commissioners Vote to Help Delayed Elec Plant). And now, finally, some sunshine breaks through! A power plant project in Brooke County, WV (same developers, Energy Solutions Consortium or ESC) received a siting certificate approval from the WV Public Service Commission. This is a good sign. Finally, a power plant project in WV that is moving forward…
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WV’s Northern Panhandle Sits in the Shale Catbird Seat

The Northern Panhandle of West Virginia is doubly blessed. The Panhandle is four counties: Hancock, Brooke, Ohio and Marshall. Some add a fifth–Wetzel County. The first four counties in the list sit in a slice of real estate located between Pennsylvania and Ohio. The Panhandle currently produces 38% of WV’s natural gas production, and nearly 70% of its oil production. That’s the first blessing–good rock sits under those counties. The second blessing is the panhandle’s location between PA and OH. On one side, sitting just a few minutes away, is the mighty Shell ethane cracker plant, currently under construction in Monaca (Beaver County, PA). On the other side, also just a few minutes away, sits the proposed PTT Global Chemical ethane cracker site in Dilles Bottom (Belmont County, OH). The second blessing is this: many petrochemical and manufacturing companies will build, even relocate, their operations to take advantage of the raw materials that will come from both cracker plants. And guess where many of them will choose to locate? Yep–right smack in the middle, which is where the Northern Panhandle happens to be–sitting in the catbird seat…
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