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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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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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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Mountain Valley Pipe Keeps Building Despite Court Action re Permits

Mountain Valley Pipeline, a project of EQT Midstream, continues to work on constructing its 303-mile long project from West Virginia into Virginia–despite a recent court order overturning some of the permits for the project (see Court Overturns MVP WV Permit; FERC Shutdown Coming Again?). The fact that MVP is working as fast as they can despite a partial shut down has antis fit to be tied. Which puts a broad smile on our face.
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Diversified Gas & Oil Buys Core Appalachia for $183M

Diversified Gas & Oil continues its mission to buy as many non-shale (conventional) oil and gas wells as it can in the Appalachian Basin. In June, MDN brought you the exclusive news that Diversified had purchased EQT’s Huron Shale assets in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia for $575 million (see Diversified Gas & Oil Adds to Conventional Assets in KY, VA, WV). They’ve just done it again. This week Diversified announced a deal to buy out Core Appalachia for $183 million, which includes ~5,000 producing wells (90% of production is natgas) and 1.3 million acres in West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia.
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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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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 Columbia WB XPress Pipe for Partial Startup

Click for larger version

Yesterday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) not only authorized the 1.7 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline to begin service (today’s top story), FERC also authorized a second project, Columbia Pipeline’s WB XPress, to begin service. Or at least, to begin partial service–of its “Western Facilities.” WB XPress, located in West Virginia and Virginia, expands capacity of the Columbia Gas Transmission pipeline system by 1.3 Bcf/d, linking Marcellus gas supplies to new markets.
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