Elba Island, Ga. LNG Export Startup Delayed (Again) – Now 1Q19

The East Coast’s second LNG export plant to come online, after Cove Point in Maryland, will be Elba Island in Georgia. In July, Kinder Morgan, the builder and primary sponsor of the project, pushed back startup for the plant from the third until fourth quarter of this year (see Elba Island, Ga. LNG Export Startup Delayed to 4Q18). In what appears to be a pattern, Kinder has just delayed startup again–now estimated to be first quarter of next year.
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Dominion Officially Axes Compressor Station Plan Near Mt. Vernon

In July MDN told you that Dominion Energy had decided, at least unofficially, to abandon a plan to build a compressor station across the Potomac River from Mount Vernon–the home and estate of our illustrious first president, George Washington (see Dominion Surrenders to Mt. Vernon – Relocating Compressor Station). Mount Vernon caretakers said the station would junk up their pretty view, which Dominion disputed. Regardless, Dominion said it would work with Mount Vernon on a plan to locate the compressor somewhere else that wouldn’t interfere with the view. Dominion has just made it official. On Monday they said they won’t build the station where originally planned.
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Belmont, OH Leaders Say PTT Cracker Decision Coming This Year

Last Friday three county commissioners from Belmont County, OH took a field trip to visit Beaver County, PA, touring the Shell ethane cracker site and talking with Beaver County officials about how the project has impacted that area. Tuesday night, a member of the Potter Township (PA) Board of Supervisors came to a meeting of local leaders in Belmont County, to talk about the Shell cracker project and what such a project in Belmont could do for the Ohio Valley. PTT Global Chemical is supposedly close to making a final investment decision on building a cracker in Belmont. The interesting comment coming from Tuesday’s meeting was about the timing of a decision to build the PTT cracker: “It [the decision] will be revealed by the end of the year.” So says Belmont officials.
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Va. Governor Refuses to Stop Mountain Valley Pipeline Work

Va. Gov. Ralph Northam

The pressure DC swamp dwellers and anti-fossil fuelers from across the country (indeed from across the world) have put on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (a Democrat) has been intense. They want Northam to abuse his executive authority, in contravention of the law, and block both the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) projects in his state. Northam’s predecessor, Terry McAuliffe (also a Democrat) created the state’s first Environmental Justice Advisory Council. That Council, packed with anti-fossil fuelers, has advised Northam to block ACP and MVP. Northam has just given his own Council a polite but firm, NO.
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M-U Uses More NatGas for Electric Generation than Any Other Area

PJM Interconnection is a regional transmission organization (RTO) operating the electric grid in all or parts of 13 states and the District of Columbia, including PA, OH and WV. It is the largest competitive wholesale electricity market in the U.S. (second largest in the world), with more than 1,000 companies (1,376 generation sources) as members, serving 65 million customers with 177 gigawatts of generating capacity. It’s yuge! EIA published numbers yesterday quantifying natural gas-fired generation in PJM. The upshot: natural gas has eclipsed coal in electric generation in PJM, and PJM uses more natgas plants in both raw numbers and as a percentage of electricity generated, than any other power grid.
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Univ of Tennessee Studies PA Fracking Effects on Water Health

It seems that universities in states outside the Marcellus region are fascinated with the Marcellus. They love to “study” it. Or at least, the Marcellus is a goldmine for them in research grants. The latest outsider to study the Marcellus is the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Using a National Science Foundation grant, researchers from UT “will look at how aquatic microbial communities are impacted by biocides associated with hydraulic fracking.” That is, they’re studying whether or not fracking, because it has a low presence of chemicals, is creating superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics. Will fracking cause a new Black Plague?
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Wisconsin Frac Sand Mines Increasingly Dependent on M-U

Some of the best frac sand to be found–the finest particles–come from Wisconsin sand mines. Once upon a time Wisconsin was the primary frac sand producing state, for both the northeast and the southwest. But then Texas oil frackers began experimenting with Texas sand and found they could use it. No, the Texas sand is not quite as fine (or good) as Wisconsin sand, but it works. And it’s cheap, because transportation costs are low. Shipping sand from Wisconsin to Texas by rail costs big bucks. The northeast is not blessed with its own sand mines for fracking, so we still depend on places like Wisconsin. And now, increasingly, Wisconsin depends on us.
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Energy Stories of Interest: Thu, Oct 18, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: Ohio Public Utilities Commission to help with gas restoration in Massachusetts; Columbia Gas launches “Back-to-Business” initiative to support to affected businesses; Business groups ask SCOTUS to shut down Massachusetts #ExxonKnew shakedown; PUC delays natural gas plant vote; Duluth hearings will go on; Emails show law firm pitched San Francisco on idea of suing energy producers; NYMEX Nov natural gas futures rise to $3.268 MMBtu on weather-related issues; Global warming to leave us crying in our costlier beer; Venture Global LNG to supply U.S. natural gas to Poland; U.S. LNG 25% cheaper than Russian gas: PGNiG; U.S. shale surges as Saudi Arabia issues veiled supply threats; How high can oil prices go?; Asia’s natural gas prices are rising – now higher oil prices and tariffs could cause more pain.
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The Winners of the PA DEP $12.6 Million ME2 Hunger Games Are…

Que the music with dramatic drums, cymbals and trumpets. Camera A, zoom in on Secretary McDonnell. The whole state is watching. It’s time for the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) to announce the winners of PA’s Hunger Games-style contest to grab a piece of the $12.6 million “fine” paid by Sunoco Logistics Partners 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).
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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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FERC Gives Atlantic Coast Pipe Permission to Cut Trees in Va.

In September the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) lifted a stop-work order for the 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) project that stretches from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina (see Victory! FERC Lifts Stop Work Order for Atlantic Coast Pipeline). Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit took further action to overturn permits that affect about 21 miles of the project (see 4th Circuit Again Blocks NPS Permit for Atlantic Coast Pipeline). However, most of ACP remains under construction. Yesterday FERC granted ACP permission for tree cutting in Buckingham County, Va.
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Trout Unlimited Takes a Stab at Blocking Pipelines Using Maps

You can just imagine it. Maya van Rossum (THE Delaware Riverkeeper), Tony Ingraffea (former Cornell prof and member of Trout Unlimited), Sandra Steingraber (paid by Ithaca College to be a climate protester) and other far-out lefties sitting in a room hatching yet another plan to block new pipeline projects, all in a bid to stop the use of all fossil fuels. “I know I know!” says one of them. “Let’s create a map of ‘high value streams and rivers’ and ‘areas of ecological sensitivity’ and then dare those filthy, nasty pipeline companies to build a pipeline across any of them. We’ll draw the map so every area is at ‘risk’–except for a few ditches in the middle of nowhere. That’ll do it!” And, voila, Trout Unlimited (TU), colluding with other Big Green groups, has just released a magical map to, you know, be “helpful” to pipeline companies, so they know where they can’t stick a nasty pipeline (i.e. anywhere). That’s what TU has just released.
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PA Senate Considers Bill Exempting Conv. Drillers from Shale Regs

The Pennsylvania Senate Appropriations Committee will today conduct an “off-the-floor” meeting to discuss and potentially report out for a vote House Bill (HB) 2154, a bill introduced in March to “roll back” (more like “lock in”) regulations that govern conventional PA drilling to the Oil and Gas Act of 1984 (see 2 PA Bills Would Roll Back Conventional Drilling Regs to 1984). The bills are in response to coming changes proposed by leftist Gov. Tom Wolf to over-regulate conventional drillers.
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Rice Boys Invest in Fracking Software Company, Toby Joins Board

After selling Rice Energy to EQT (see EQT Buys Rice Energy in $8.2B Deal, Becomes #1 Gas Producer in US), the four Rice brothers, all of whom worked at Rice Energy (and left after the merger), launched a new venture (see Rice Brothers Act II – $200M Marcellus/Utica Investment Firm). Dan, Toby, Derek and Ryan Rice plus a fifth partner, a former VP at Rice, pooled $200 million of their money (and their expertise) and launched Rice Investment Group (RIG). RIG has just closed on a round of investment in Cold Bore Technology, a company that uses software to do better fracking. Toby Rice joined Cold Bore’s board. It’s good to see the boys back and active.
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FERC Commissioner LaFleur Admits She’s a Global Warming Activist

Cheryl LaFleur

For some time we’ve noticed that both of the Democrat members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have been voting against natgas pipeline projects using the excuse of mythical man-made global warming (euphemistically labelled “climate change”). It used to be, under Lord Obama, that Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur didn’t use the climate change excuse when deciding about projects. But something happened. Someone got to her. Maybe Chuck Schumer? Nancy Pelosi? Somebody has told LaFleur if she ever wants another job in the DC swamp after she leaves FERC, she needs to start vetoing pipeline projects. And so she does. Using global warming as the excuse. LaFleur talked about her new-found penchant to use global warming in FERC decision making at the North American Gas Forum this week in DC.
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Energy Stories of Interest: Wed, Oct 17, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: Natural gas service coming to Tunkhannock; Ohio county commissioners visit Shell cracker site; New CNX Midstream president sees opportunity in the pipelines; Tug Hill alliance grows, secures funds for wind farm review; City workers’ pension funds hinge on Mayor de Blasio’s environmental stand; Is the Niobrara really the next big thing?; Construction reaches its peak at Duke’s Lake Julian, NC plant; NJ lawmakers seek to limit disposal of fracking by-products; U.S. shale’s glory days are numbered; The changing U.S. energy trade balance is still dominated by crude oil imports; Industry, regulators unite to defend fracking in Mexico; Tokyo to back US exports of shale gas to Asia; Temporary natural-gas generators power data centers.
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