FERC Finally Approves 2 Key Rover Pipeline Laterals, Sept 1 Start

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) game of hardball with Energy Transfer over the Rover Pipeline has finally paid off. For months FERC has refused to allow four Rover laterals–feeder pipelines to shuttle gas from where it’s produced into the main Rover pipeline–to start up (see FERC Plays Hardball with Rover – Refuses to Certify 4 Laterals). The reason? ET has not, according to FERC, lived up to its word on restoration work. Things like smoothing over the dirt and replanting grass and other vegetation over top of the buried pipeline. Earlier this month ET assured FERC it would have the majority of restoration work done on two key laterals–the Burgettstown Lateral in southwestern PA, and the Majorsville Lateral in the northern panhandle of WV–by the end of this month (see FERC Continues to Block Rover Laterals Until Restoration Work Done). With recent evidence that ET is indeed living up to its word, last Thursday FERC gave ET permission to start up both the Burgettstown and Majorsville Laterals on Sept. 1. The majority of the restoration work will be done by this Friday, Aug. 31. However, there will still be some odds and ends after that (addressing “ground movement areas) that will go on through December. That leaves two final laterals–the CGT (Columbia Gas Transmission) and Sherwood Laterals, still not online. This is a prime example of FERC playing hardball, contrary to the “rubber stamp” antis claim FERC is for pipeline companies…
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New WV Facility Ships First Compressors for M-U Pipe Customers

Bidell Gas Compression facility in Weirton, WV (click for larger version)

In March 2017, Bidell Gas Compression, a subsidiary of Canadian company Total Energy Services, announced it would establish its U.S. manufacturing headquarters in Weirton (Hancock County), WV–in the northern panhandle of WV (see Biddel Gas Compression Selects WV Northern Panhandle for US HQ). Biddel manufactures and sells pipeline compressors. The site they chose in Weirton includes a 100,000 square-foot building, part of the old ArcelorMittal machine shop operation. On Monday, Biddel shipped out from the new Weirton facility, their very first truckload of newly manufactured compressors. The news article we spotted says delivery of the compressors will happen today. We’re assuming delivery is to a Marcellus/Utica pipeline project, somewhere in our region, given the short time between shipment and delivery. This is a feel-good story. It is one more evidence that our industry, which used to import everything from workers to equipment, has matured. We now make what we use right here at home! Here’s the deets on Biddel’s first compressor shipment…
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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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Rover Pipeline’s SWPA Burgettstown Lateral Ready for Startup

Click map for larger version

On Tuesday, Rover Pipeline (Energy Transfer Partners) sent an official request to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) asking for permission to begin service on one of the remaining legs of the pipeline not yet up and running as part of Phase 1 development. Rover wants to begin service on the Burgettstown Lateral by Feb. 26. The Burgettstown Lateral (see the map below) extends from Burgettstown (Washington County), PA through Hancock County, WV and into eastern Ohio, connecting to the main Rover Pipeline in Carroll County. The Burgettstown Lateral is 51.3 miles long and includes a compressor station in/near Burgettstown to push the gas along the entire length of the lateral. Rover still maintains they will have the entire Rover Pipeline network up and running by the end of March. There are still some areas in Ohio where they are working (drilling for a second pipeline under the Tuscarawas River), however, most of the work remaining to be done is in Michigan–Phase 2 of the project. When it’s all done, up and running, Rover will flow 3.25 billion cubic feet per day of Marcellus/Utica gas to the Midwest, Gulf Coast and Canada. Below is Rover’s request to “start me up” for the Burgettstown Lateral, along with a map of the lateral…
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Weirton, WV Tries to Interest the Chinese in a Cracker Plant

The early bird catches the worm. Not even a day had gone by when Patrick Ford, the executive director of the Weirton-based Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle, piped up and signaled China that Weirton would be a great place to locate an ethane cracker plant. Ford said Weirton sits roughly halfway between Shell’s cracker plant under construction, and a planned cracker plant by PTT Global in Belmont County, OH. Weirton was considered for both of those projects but apparently there was an issue getting enough contiguous acreage for a large-scale project like a cracker. However, Ford says those issues are now resolved and Weirton is open for cracker business. Ford told a reporter, “We want to see a third ethane cracker in this region — and it should be in Brooke or Hancock County” (note that Weirton straddles both). We like Weirton’s plucky opportunism. Businesses and projects in WV should not sit on their hands. Get that Chinese money and get it quick, before it disappears into someone else’s pocket!…
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Progress in Building $9M Natgas Valve Manuf Plant in WV

In January MDN told you that Italian company Pietro Fiorentini had signed paperwork to buy land to build a $9 million factory in Weirton, WV (see Italian Co. Building $9M Natgas Valve Manufacturing Plant in WV). The company will manufacture pressure regulators and valves for the natural gas industry at the site. One big problem: The site is a former surface coal mine and before they can build, they first must be cleaned up (“remediated”) to prevent exposure to metals in groundwater. Pietro Fiorentini and the Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle (BDC) filed a cleanup plan. That plan has been accepted by the Office of Environmental Remediation (OER) at the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP). After the site is cleaned up, construction will begin on the new manufacturing plant…
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WV Northern Panhandle Sees Econ Revival with Nearby Cracker Proj

It seems the northern panhandle area of West Virginia is sitting in the catbird seat. The geography of Hancock, Brooke, Ohio and Marshall counties sits in between Shell’s ethane cracker plant in Beaver County, PA on one side, and the proposed PTT Global Chemical cracker plant in Belmont County, OH on the other side. The PTT plant is not yet official, but is certainly looking that way. The next “gold rush” for states including PA, OH and WV are manufacturing plants that use the output from the cracker plants. And the northern panhandle, being between both locations, is getting a lot of interest and attention…
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Italian Co. Breaks Ground on $5.5M Natgas Valve Manuf Plant in WV

Artist’s rendering of what Pietro Fiorentini will look like – click for larger version

In January, MDN told you about Italian company Pietro Fiorentini and their plans to build a factory in Weirton, WV (see Italian Co. Building $9M Natgas Valve Manufacturing Plant in WV). Since 2013, the company has warehoused and sold pressure regulators and valves for the natural gas industry out of rented office space in Wheeling, WV. Pietro Fiorentini actually manufactures the equipment they sell and for the past 4 1/2 years has held an option to purchase land in the Weirton Three Springs Business Park. In January the company committed to building a factory on the Weirton site to manufacture the equipment they sell. Eventually the manufacturing plant will employ 150 people. A week and a half ago, Pietro Fiorentini broke ground at the site, on a new $5.5 million, 100,000 square foot building. They expect the plant to be up and running next spring…
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Biddel Gas Compression Selects WV Northern Panhandle for US HQ

Last Friday Bidell Gas Compression, a subsidiary of Canadian company Total Energy Services, announced it will establish its U.S. headquarters in Weirton (Hancock County), WV–in the northern panhandle of WV. According to their website, Biddel “is a leading supplier of reciprocating and rotary screw natural gas compressors from 20 to 8,000 brake horsepower.” That is, they manufacture and sell pipeline compressors. The site they chose includes a 100,000 square-foot building, part of the old ArcelorMittal machine shop operation. The investment will create 130 new jobs and spur new growth in other area businesses…
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WV Social Worker Claims Marcellus Drilling Causes Homelessness

Lisa Badia, executive director of the Greater Wheeling Coalition for the Homeless “can’t be certain how many homeless people dwell in Hancock, Brooke, Ohio, Marshall and Wetzel counties,” but she is certain that part (much?) of the homeless problem is caused by Marcellus/Utica Shale drilling. Yep, sinking a hole in the ground causes homelessness. How? According to Badia, when drilling came to town 4-5 years ago, a bunch of out-of-staters showed up to work on drilling rigs (and for pipeline companies, etc.). Those out-of-staters began paying sky-high rental rates for apartments and trailers, driving up the price of rental housing throughout the region. And when that happened, folks on welfare could no longer afford to pay the rent (with our taxpayer money). If it’s a decision between booze and cigs or rent, you know what goes! So those po’ folk ended up sleeping on heating grates–because of that nasty, awful fossil fuel drilling…
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WV Northern Panhandle Production Rockets 3X from 2012 to 2014

Natural gas production in the northern panhandle area of West Virginia is rapidly expanding–nearly 3 times in 2014 what it was in 2012, according to West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey statistics. In Ohio, Marshall, Wetzel, Brooke, Tyler and Hancock counties natural gas production was 123.8 billion cubic feet in 2012. In 2014, that number ballooned to 346.7 Bcf. What about 2015 and beyond? And, who’s doing all that drilling?…
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The Marcellus/Utica Production Rocket Ship in WV

Prior to 2012, Brooke County, WV produced zero natural gas. Nada. Zippo. Nothing. In 2012 the county produced 1.4 million cubic feet (Mmcf) of natural gas. Barely a blip. In 2013, Brooke County produced 8 BILLION cubic feet of natural gas. The trajectory for the county, and other counties in the northern panhandle of WV is startling–thanks to the Marcellus and now the Utica Shale. Brooke is not the only eye-popping example in WV…
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New Condensate Processing Coming to Utica/Marcellus from Ergon

coming soonNew condensate processing is on the way later this year from Ergon, Inc.–a company headquartered in Mississippi but with refineries and processing facilities in Ohio and West Virginia (and operations that include western Pennsylvania, Kentucky and New York). Ergon announced yesterday the company has spent over $75 million in the past two years to upgrade facilities, and continues to spend. Coming later this year is a 10,000 barrel per day condensate stabilization facility in Marietta, OH. Coming next year, the same kind of facility (also 10,000 bbl/d) in Newell, WV…
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5th Upper Devonian Driller + Maps of Best UD Spots to Drill

out of the blueIt seems as if “out of the blue” the Upper Devonian Shale (UD) has popped up on the radar screen–quite suddenly and in quite a big way. The Upper Devonian is located a few hundred feet above the Marcellus Shale layer in the northeastern U.S. Over the past few weeks, MDN has highlighted stories of drillers expanding their UD drilling programs–including CONSOL, Rex Energy, Range Resources and EQT Corporation (see EQT 4th Driller to Target Upper Devonian Shale Layer). Courtesy of a sharp MDN reader, we can add a fifth UD driller to the list: Chesapeake Energy. Todd Sigler reports that Chesapeake has drilled an Upper Devonian well in Hancock County, WV and has several Upper Devonian permits in extreme western Beaver County, PA.

Todd also pointed us to two excellent drilling presentations about the UD, one from Range Resources and one from Rex Energy, which we’ve embedded below. The Range presentation includes a good backgrounder on the UD and a great series of maps showing where the best places to drill in the UD can be found–currently–based on our knowledge and experience so far. The Range presentation also discusses how Range (and others) are adopting a “stacked play” strategy of drilling the Upper Devonian, Marcellus and Utica layers–all in the same well bore. How cool is that?!
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WV Scores Another Shale Supply Chain Company – from Italy

West Virginia is working hard to attract all kinds of businesses to the state that plug in to the shale industry supply chain—and it’s paying off. Reporting that the state gave them “some very interesting support,” Italian company Pietro Fiorentini, a pressure regulator and valve manufacturer, said they first need to gage interest to their products, but they’re already feeling good about WV and making plans to build a new, $9 million manufacturing plant in Weirton, WV.

Support from the state (and local municipalities) is not the only reason for the company’s interest in the northern panhandle of WV—geography is the other prime reason…

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