Insane Legislation Requires PA Residents Use 100% Renewable Energy

Right around Earth Day politicians become even nuttier than they usually are. This year is no exception. A truly breathtaking, totally insane pair of bills have just been introduced in the Pennsylvania legislature, in observance of Earth Day, that would force all Pennsylvanians to use electricity generated from 100% so-called renewable sources by the year 2050. It’s totally preposterous and lunatic–but there you have it. Actually being in your right mind is no longer a requirement for high office–at least in PA. Democrat Rep. Chris Rabb introduced the bill in the PA House, and Democrat-lite (i.e. RINO) Sen. Charles McIlhinney introduced the bill in the PA Senate. Unsurprisingly they’re both from the Philadelphia area, where living in the real world doesn’t exist. The object of the proposed law is to dump the use of all “fossil fuels” and instead rely on unreliable wind and solar to produce all electricity in the Keystone State. Do you know how much of PA’s electricity is produced by wind and solar today? A piddly 2.8%. Nuclear generation is the #1 source of electric in PA at 41%, followed by coal at 29.6% and natural gas at 25%. Do you really, in your heart of hearts, believe PA can generate 100% of its electricity from wind and solar by 2050? It’s a fantasy, totally unconnected with reality. Yet that’s all we’ll hear and read for the next few days until, blessedly, we get past so-called Earth Day…
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Lordstown, OH Power Plant Investor Tries to Block 2nd Plant

Be careful who you sell your energy projects to. That’s the lesson we take away from a spat that’s developed in Trumbull County, OH over a proposed second Utica gas-fired electric plant in Lordstown. Clean Energy Future (CEF) is currently building the Lordstown Energy Center, and has been since June 2016 (see Lordstown Energy Center Breaks Ground on $890M Electric Plant). CEF then proposed, and got the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) to approve, plans to build a second Utica-fired plant next door to the first (see Ohio Approves 2 Utica-Fired Power Plants in Guernsey, Trumbull Counties). As is typically the case, CEF (the builder) sold most of the first project to investors. In this case the new majority owner for the first power plant is Macquarie, an international equity firm. CEF sued Macquarie in September saying the company is preventing CEF from building the second plant. Macquarie says if a second plant gets built in the same location, the first plant (now owned by Macquarie) will take a $6.7 million hit on earnings each year. Macquarie wants CEF to pay them that amount annually when/if the second plant gets built. To which CEF says, “They’re looking for an extortion payment.” CEF is threatening to sue Macquarie for $100 million for delaying construction. A judge will now decide if construction can proceed and whether or not CEF will need to make annual payments to Macquarie…
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More Dynamite Stolen from PA Pipe Site than Originally Reported

We have an update to a story we first brought you yesterday, that someone(s) has stolen a bunch of dynamite and the blasting caps needed to detonate it from a construction site for the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline in Lancaster County, PA (see Dynamite Stolen from Atlantic Sunrise Pipe Site in Lancaster County, PA). Investigators with the federal ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) are “moving with a sense of urgency” to locate the thieves. Two new bits of information. First, even more dynamite was stolen than previously reported–some 704 pounds (instead of 640) and 450 blasting caps (instead of 400). The second bit of information is that the contractor who was storing the dynamite is being investigated to see if the material was stored properly, according to strict federal guidelines. You don’t leave dynamite in a trailer without the wheels being removed from the trailer and industrial strength locks and lock shields. Here’s the latest on this developing situation…
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Time to Support Transco’s Northeast Supply Enhancement Project

In March the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a favorable draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the Williams Transco Northeast Supply Enhancement (NESE) pipeline project (see Williams Northeast Supply Enhancement Pipe Gets Favorable DEIS). The project is meant to increase pipeline capacity and flows heading into northeastern markets. In particular, Transco wants to provide more Marcellus natural gas to utility giant National Grid beginning with the 2019-2020 heating season. National Grid operates in New York City, Long Island, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. There are a number of components to the project, but the key component, the heart of the project, is a new 23-mile pipeline from the shore of New Jersey into (on the bottom of) the Raritan Bay–running parallel to the existing Transco pipeline–before connecting to the Transco offshore. This project needs *your* help. Please join MDN in supporting the project by signing this online petition to FERC. A second way you can support the project is by attending and speaking at one of four regional FERC hearings, which begin next week…
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Va. Water Bd Wants More Assurances re MVP & ACP Pipeline Projects

In October 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved two important Marcellus/Utica pipeline projects–Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), and EQT Midstream’s Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) (see FERC Approves Atlantic Coast, Mountain Valley Pipeline Projects). ACP is a $6.5 billion, 594-mile natural gas pipeline that will stretch from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina. MVP is a $3.5 billion, 303-mile natural gas pipeline that will run from Wetzel County, WV to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsylvania County, VA. However, as we’ve all learned the hard way, federal approval by FERC is only the first step. Individual states get a very limited say in pipeline project siting by being given the power to issue federal Clean Water Act permits for stream crossings. Some states, like New York, abuse the power and attempt to shut down federal projects. Other states, like Virginia, waffle around. Here’s the latest from Virginia. The state Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ) decided last year to let the federal Army Corps of Engineers handle the water permitting for the two pipelines. But then the state Water Control Board (WCB) stepped in, claiming they have authority to help regulate the construction of these two federal projects (which they don’t, but that’s a story for another day). The WCB eventually approved MVP and conditionally approved ACP. However, under extreme pressure (bullying) from Big Green proponents, the WCB is rethinking their approvals and has “cracked the door open” to review the water crossings already approved by the Army Corps of Engineers. Yeah, it’s a hot mess in Virginia…
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Michigan Anti Fossil Fuelers Oppose DTE Gas-Fired Plant Proposal

(PRNewsfoto/DTE Energy)

Last June DTE Energy filed paperwork in Michigan to build a new “state-of-the-art” natural gas-fired power plant in St. Clair County (see DTE Energy Files to Build New Natgas-Fired Elec Plant in Michigan). The gas-fired plant will produce 1,100 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 850,000 homes. If all goes according to plan, the new $1 billion plant will go online in 2022, helping to offset three coal-fired plants set to be retired by 2023. The process is long to approve and then build such a project, with many hoops to jump through. The first major hurdle, perhaps THE major hurdle, is an approval by Michigan utility regulators. The deadline for that approval is almost here–April 27. With the deadline looming, Big Green, with its ongoing, irrational hatred of all fossil fuels, has ramped up opposition to the project. An approval by regulators is being complicated by the fact that DTE filed two months after new energy laws went into effect, but before the Public Service Commission finalized its guidelines under those new laws, in December. Apparently there’s an issue with the application as it relates to the December guidelines–an issue that would potentially delay the project another year or more…
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Half of India’s Contracted US LNG Won’t End Up in India

MDN brought you the great news earlier this week that late Sunday night the very first shipment of Marcellus LNG had left the dock at Cove Point, Maryland (see First-Ever Shipment of Marcellus LNG Leaves Cove Point, Maryland). We still don’t know where the first shipment will end up. In the world of Big Energy and LNG, sometimes the destination isn’t known until the ship is under way! The first shipment is owned by Japan. Between Japan and India, all of the Marcellus LNG produced at Cove Point is spoken for (i.e. contracted) for the next 20 years. However, that does not mean all of that LNG will end up in Japan or India. Far from it. Both countries are wheeler dealers, swapping LNG cargoes from around the world. Japan decided it could get LNG from a closer-to-home source and so has swapped/sold the first Marcellus Cove Point shipment to someone else (we’ll tell you who when we find out). It’s likely going to be the same for the first shipment owned by India. We recently spotted the following article from India which says HALF of India’s U.S. contracted LNG–from both Cheniere Energy along the Louisiana Gulf Coast, and from Dominion’s Cove Point facility–will NOT end up going to India but instead has already been swapped or sold, at least for the first year…
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Other Energy Stories of Interest: Thu, Apr 19, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: Six permits issued in Ohio Utica last week; PA PUC chairwoman Gladys Brown reappointed to second five-year term; energy leadership academy in WV taking applications; celebrate natgas on Earth Day in Ohio; top Trump energy adviser quits; FERC commissioners whipsawed at House hearing; does energy bill in Senate stand a chance?; Kinder Morgan close to pulling plug on Canadian pipeline project; OPEC does happy dance with high oil price; and more!
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Dynamite Stolen from Atlantic Sunrise Pipe Site in Lancaster County, PA

Approximately 640 pounds of dynamite and 400 blasting caps were stolen from a locked trailer at a construction site for the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline in Marietta (Lancaster County), PA this past weekend. Because the theft involved explosives, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has been called in to investigate. The ATF is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction. We sincerely hope the perp(s) are caught and go to jail–for a long time. If you know anything, call the ATF hotline at 888-ATF-BOMB (888-283-2662). Not sure who thought up that phone number for the ATF, but it’s certainly memorable! Here’s the details…
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EQT Sues WV for Passing Minimum Royalty Law re Flat Rate Leases

Earlier this year the West Virginia legislature passed Senate Bill (SB) 360, which Gov. Jim Justice subsequently signed into law (see WV Gov Justice Signs Bill to Guarantee 12.5% Minimum Royalty). SB 360 overturns a ruling by the WV Supreme Court in Leggett v. EQT Production, a case in which the Supremes (in a very unusual move) reversed their own previous decision and allowed EQT to deduct post-production expenses in an old flat rate lease. In essence, SB 360 guarantees rights owners/landowners a 12.5% minimum royalty, regardless of post-production deductions–but only in flat rate leases. A flat rate lease is a lease in which a company pays a regular (in EQT’s case, annual) payment, regardless of how much oil/gas is produced. Traditionally drillers don’t deduct post-production expenses because the payments they make aren’t all that much anyway. But then EQT began to claim deductions, prompting a lawsuit that went all the way to the Supreme Court. The legislature aimed to “fix” what they considered an error in the court’s ruling. EQT claims the new law is unconstitutional and last week filed a lawsuit (copy below) asking a judge to block implementation of the law, set to take effect on May 31…
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PA DEP Hunger Games Competition to Distribute $12.6M in ME2 Money

In February Sunoco Logistics Partners agreed to pay a massive (historically high) $12.6 million fine to the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) for “permit violations related to the construction of the Mariner East 2 pipeline project” (see Sunoco LP Pays PA DEP $12.6M to Resume ME2 Pipeline Construction). Sunoco’s ME2 construction activities caused a few erosion issues here and some drilling mud leaks there–so-called “harms” to the environment. Surely some of the massive, historically high $12.6 million fine Sunoco is paying will be used to “fix” those problems, right? Wrong. Sunoco has to pay twice–pay to clean up the problems AND pay the fine. The fine was essentially a shakedown–Sunoco had to pay it or they would not be allowed to resume construction work on ME2. Yesterday the DEP announced a new program to distribute the $12.6 million of fine money. In Hunger Games tradition, the DEP is launching a lottery for the 85 municipalities along ME2’s path, allowing those “districts” to submit begging proposals to request some of the money for programs in their district. What kind of programs? “[P]rojects that reduce or minimize pollution and protect clean water.” In other words, just about anything contestants can dream up. They have 45 days, from May 7 to June 21, to make a grab for the cash (i.e. submit a grant application)…
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Rex Energy Gets 1 Extra Wk to Pay Defaulted IOU, Files Annual Report

Two weeks ago Rex Energy filed a notice with the Securities and Exchange Commission to alert shareholders that the company has defaulted on an interest payment due on senior notes (see Rex Energy Defaults on IOUs, Can’t File Annual Report on Time). Rex said in the filing that the noteholders to whom payment is due (Angelo, Gordon & Co.) signed a temporary “forbearance” agreement that gives Rex a little breathing room–until April 16 to pay up. Angelo, Gordon & Co. promised not to take any action until that date. In a second filing two weeks ago, Rex said they would not be able to file their annual 2017 report on time. We have updates on both filings. First, Rex has still not made the interest payment and still has not negotiated a new agreement with Angelo, Gordon & Co. However, yesterday Angelo signed a new, second forebearance agreement giving Rex one more week–until April 23–to either pay or agree to a new deal. The clock is ticking. Meanwhile, last Friday Rex filed it’s annual report for 2017. Among the revelations in the report: Rex plans to spend $78-$83 million on drilling this year, down from spending $133 million last year…
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WV’s Thrasher “Hopeful” First Chinese Project Announcement Soon

Yesterday the seventh Marcellus and Manufacturing Development Conference was held in Morgantown, WV. The event keynote speaker was Steve Winberg, the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy. He talked about the relationship between manufacturing and shale production. Fortunately for us, Winberg (part of the Trump Administration) said the DOE’s attitude is to not interfere with the shale miracle. Other speakers included Brian Anderson, director of the WVU Energy Institute. However, it was a brief comment made by WV Secretary of Commerce, Woody Thrasher, that really caught our attention. Last November Thrasher signed a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese government, an agreement in which the Chinese pledged to spend $83.7 billion over the next 20 years in WV’s shale and petrochemical sectors (see China Agrees to Invest Amazing $83.7 BILLION in WV Shale, Petchem). So far, five months later, not one red yuan has been invested. What’s the holdup? For one thing, there’s a developing trade war (see Will Trade War with China Affect $83.7B Investment in WV Shale?). Thrasher said yesterday he doesn’t think the trade war will interfere with China’s WV investment (if wishes were horses…). Thrasher also said he’s “very hopeful in the near future that we’ll be able to announce the first project” using Chinese money. Now that is definitely good news–perhaps the biggest news coming from yesterday’s event…
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Duke Energy Refiles 13-Mile Cincinnati NatGas Pipeline Plan

Duke Energy needs to replace an aging pipeline, built in the 1950s, near Cincinnati, OH–or some people in Cincy will have to go without natural gas. Duke has proposed a 13-mile, 20-inch pipeline along two potential routes. The project is called the Duke Central Corridor Extension Gas Pipeline. Both of the proposed routes are opposed by antis, including a group calling themselves NOPE–Neighbors Opposing Pipeline Extension. We call them DOPEs–Dummies Opposing Pipeline Extensions. Will the DOPEs volunteer to shut off the natural gas to their homes and businesses if the pipeline doesn’t get built? Not on your life! With just weeks before a final approval by the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB), Duke asked the state to push the pause button last August (see Duke Energy’s 13-Mile Cincinnati NatGas Pipeline Put on Hold). At the time, Duke said they had “potential concerns” about building the pipeline on a property close to a Superfund site in Reading, should they build it along the alternate route. Those concerns have now been addressed and the project is unpaused and moving forward once again. Duke recently refiled their application to build the new pipeline along the alternate route, with a few tweaks. The usual suspects are turning up to oppose it all over again…
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US NatGas Production Will Grow 59% by 2050 Thx to M-U

In February our favorite government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, issued its Annual Energy Outlook 2018 report (full copy below). This week the eager beavers at EIA culled through that report to highlight important information about U.S. natural gas production. In a Today in Energy post on Monday, the EIA made some startling observations. EIA predicts that U.S. natural gas production will grow 59% from 2017 to 2050, starting at 73.6 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2017 and reaching 118 Bcf/d in 2050. Massive! They also say that most of the projected production growth comes from the Marcellus/Utica region. However, as MDN has pointed out repeatedly in recent months, “associated natural gas” from the Permian region in Texas and New Mexico will also be a significant contributor to overall natgas production growth in the coming 30 years. Here are some intriguing insights into predictions made by some of the best number crunchers in the business…
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Other Energy Stories of Interest: Wed, Apr 18, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: Penn Twp showdown in Westmoreland County begins; green insanity in Rhode Island; impact of pipeline constraints on Permian producers; fracking transparency bill moves forward in Illinois legislature; LNG exports could produce $3.3 TRILLION in econ benefits by 2050; a natgas giant like no other; U.S. offers $25M in cybersecurity grants following pipe attacks; just who is buying U.S. LNG; Australian territory lifts frack ban; and more!
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