Are WV’s Rugged Mountains Too Much for Mountain Valley Pipeline?

WV mountains

Equitrans Midstream’s Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), which stretches 303 miles from Wetzel County, WV to Pittsylvania County, VA, is backed into a corner by anti-fossil fuelers. The project is 92% complete and in the ground, yet somehow antis have successfully blocked an Army Corps of Engineers Nationwide Permit 12 (NWP12) that allows the project to cross creeks and rivers and mud puddles. Antis convinced three leftist judges on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn the NWP12 permit–twice. One of the ongoing issues the project faces are steep mountain passes in West Virginia.
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EQT Update – Making Moves to Drill More in WV in 2021

Yesterday the country’s largest natural gas producer, EQT Corporation, released its 4Q and full-year 2020 update, holding a conference call with analysts to discuss the results. The update shows the company produced an average of 4.45 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of natural gas in 4Q. Although there was plenty of “free cash flow” for the year, on paper the company lost $967 million in 2020, which is an improvement over the year before when it lost $1.2 billion. Perhaps the biggest news (for us) coming from yesterday’s update is that in 4Q EQT turned its drilling attention to the West Virginia Marcellus. EQT plans to do much more drilling in WV this year too.
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WV Sen. Joe Manchin Continues Letter Writing to Biden, Pro NatGas

WV Sen. Joe Manchin

Early last week West Virginia U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin sent a “Dear Joe” letter to President Biden expressing his support for both Keystone and MVP (see WV U.S. Senators Strongly Oppose Biden’s Climate Policies, Nominees). In the letter, Manchin asked Biden to reconsider pulling the permit for Keystone XL. He made the point loud and clear that our country must maintain its energy security through pipeline projects like Keystone and Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). Interestingly, Manchin sent a second letter to Biden on Friday, this one to promote fracking and natural gas infrastructure.
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WV U.S. Senators Strongly Oppose Biden’s Climate Policies, Nominees

West Virginia is represented by one Republican U.S. Senator, Shelley Moore Capito, and one Democrat, Joe Manchin. Manchin is tolerable (just) because he advocates for coal and oil/gas. Manchin is also the new chairman of the powerful Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Manchin, to his credit, is pushing back against Joe Biden’s ill-advised cancelation of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. In fact, both Biden and Capito are loudly supporting Keystone and (important for us) the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project, which runs through WV.
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WVDEP Fines MVP Another $303K for Erosion, Sediment Issues

Last year the West Virginia Dept. of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) fined the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project $265,972 for erosion and sediment issues related to constructing the 303-mile pipeline (see Mountain Valley Pipe Agrees to Pay $266K Fine for WV Enviro Damage). Here we go again. WVDEP has just issued another proposed consent order/fine for the same issues, this time totaling $303,706.
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Geological and Economic Survey’s Critical Role in WV O&G

Life is full of unsung heroes. The West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey (WVGES) is one such hero in the Mountain State. WVGES plays a vital role in the state’s shale gas/oil industry. How WVGES determines where and how much natural gas, oil, and NGLs are located under the crust of WV. They also determine how best to take advantage of those natural resources.
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WV Employs Just 11 Inspectors for 75K Active & Abandoned O&G Wells

The West Virginia Office of Oil and Gas (part of the Dept. of Environmental Protection) reports there are some 60,000 active and 15,000 abandoned oil and gas wells in the state. Staffers at Oil and Gas respond to complaints and do the inspection for all those wells. Currently, there are just 14 field staffers with three moving to other positions leaving just 11 staffers who are in the field to monitor all those wells.
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How Biden’s Drilling Ban on Federal Lands Affects the M-U

On Joe Biden’s first day in occupying the White House, he signed an Executive Order (EO) suspending new oil and gas leasing while the Interior Department reviews existing leases and permitting practices for 60 days. The aim is to make the federal lease ban permanent. However, some permits on existing leases will continue to be issued during the 60-day review period. You may think Biden’s federal lease ban does not affect the Marcellus/Utica region. You would be wrong.
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MVP Filing New/Revised Request to Finish Almost-Done Pipe

Equitrans Midstream’s Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), which stretches 303 miles from Wetzel County, WV to Pittsylvania County, VA, is backed into a corner by anti-fossil fuelers. The project is 92% complete and in the ground, yet somehow antis have successfully blocked an Army Corps of Engineers Nationwide Permit 12 (NWP12) that allows the project to cross creeks and rivers and mud puddles. Antis have convinced three leftist judges on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn the NWP12 permit–twice. But, MVP has just outmaneuvered the antis.
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EQT Asks 2 WV Judges be Removed from Royalty Cases re Conflicts

EQT Corporation, the largest natural gas producer in the United States, is asking West Virginia officials to remove two judges from hearing cases brought by landowners against the EQT relating to royalty disputes for alleged improper deductions. EQT wants Judges Timothy Sweeney and David W. Hummel Jr. to be disqualified from at least three cases (that we know of).
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Southwestern, Equinor Win Post-Production Deduction Lawsuit in WV

Just coming to light (for us) is a decision issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on Dec. 1, a ruling on post-production deductions by drillers when calculating gas royalties “at the wellhead” in West Virginia. The drillers, in this case, were Southwestern Energy and Equinor (formerly known as Statoil). The drillers won the right to claim certain post-production deductions.
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Dominion Files Plan with FERC to “Undo” Atlantic Coast Pipe Work

Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) had laid 30 miles of pipeline and had cut trees for 222 miles along the 600-mile route before Dominion decided last summer it no longer wanted to be in the interstate pipeline business, canceling ACP (see Dominion Cancels Atlantic Coast Pipe, Sells Pipe Biz for $9.7B). Earlier this week Dominion filed a plan (full copy below) with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to clean up and “undo” the project.
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MVP Asks FERC to Use Alternative Method to Finish 77 Miles

Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), a 303-mile, 2 Bcf/d pipeline to move Marcellus/Utica gas from West Virginia to southern Virginia, has been hounded by radicals from Big Green groups including the Sierra Club for years. Big Green apparently has the clown judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in its back pocket because the clowns keep overturning legal and legitimately issued permits by government agencies including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (see 4th Circuit Clown Judges Signal They’ll Overturn MVP Permit, Again). MVP is now trying to get around the court’s obstructionism with an alternative method to install pipe.
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PA’s UGI Corp. Deal to Buy WV’s Mountaineer Gas Company

UGI Corporation, one of Pennsylvania’s largest natural gas utility companies, is buying Mountaineer Gas Company, one of West Virginia’s largest natural gas utility companies, for $540 million. UGI serves 700,000 customers across PA (and one county in Maryland). Mountaineer serves 215,000 customers across WV. Both companies are big buyers of Marcellus/Utica shale gas.
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NETL Morgantown, WV Working on Carbon Capture for Gas-Fired Plants

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The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) is one of the crown jewels of our federal government. NETL is a U.S. national laboratory under the Dept. of Energy Office of Fossil Energy. NETL focuses on applied research for the clean production and use of domestic energy resources. Capturing and using carbon dioxide is a key focus of NETL’s programs.
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