Energy Stories of Interest: Tue, Jul 16, 2019

MARCELLUS/UTICA REGION: Former EQT CEO Rob McNally gets $3.4M to leave company; PA conventional drillers want to restore program to spread brine on roads; Watson to helm Utica Shale Academy; OTHER U.S. REGIONS: Fracking in California is about to get a lot more difficult; NATIONAL: EIA expects U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions to fall in 2019; Why U.S. exports of LNG to China are expected to be a major component of a trade deal; Protest at Massachusetts home of FERC member Cheryl LaFleur; INTERNATIONAL: Climate Apartheid? (video); GALACTIC: The meaning of methane on Mars.
Continue reading

Ohio Pays Another $30M to Kickstart PTT Belmont Cracker Project

We’ve found one more bit of evidence that Ohio officials believe, rather strongly, that PTT Global Chemical will move forward with building a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker in Belmont County. JobsOhio, a private non-profit with a board appointed by the Ohio governor, gets most of its operating revenue from taxes on liquor sales in Ohio. JobsOhio previously spent $17 million in 2016 to clean up the site where PTT says they may/maybe/might build a cracker plant (see JobsOhio Picks Up the $17M Cost for Prepping OH Cracker Site). JobsOhio has just committed another $30 million for “site preparation work” for the cracker. One news source reports this is “the largest grant ever awarded in the Buckeye State” (by JobsOhio).
Continue reading

Ohio Says PTT Cracker Will Get Built – Bechtel Confirms EPC Contract

Last Thursday and Friday, MDN attended the Northeast Petrochemical Conference & Exhibition in Pittsburgh. There were a number of interesting stories coming from the event that we will chronicle this week. However, there was one bit of breaking news from the event: Bechtel Oil, Gas & Chemicals Senior Project Manager of Pennsylvania Chemicals, Paul Marsden, made official what we previously shared as a rumor–that Bechtel has been selected as the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contractor to build the PTT cracker plant complex, when and if a positive final investment decision is made. According to a number of sources, that decision will get made this year.
Continue reading

Energy Stories of Interest: Fri, May 31, 2019

MARCELLUS/UTICA REGION: PA Auditor General urges Game Commission to fix its finances, better monitor gas & oil lease revenues; Ohio House approves bill to aid nuclear, coal power plants; NATIONAL: U.S. E&Ps hold line on capex, but production genie out of the bottle as natgas, oil surge; Increased need for oilfield services could tempt majors toward acquisitions: CEO; ‘9 in 10 US shale oil companies burning cash’ – Rystad Energy; Green group updates its takedown of natural gas as bridge to climate solution.
Continue reading

NatGas Replacing Coal for Power Gen in Ohio; Renewables Tiny 3%

Here’s an interesting and fun fact: In just 12 years electricity generated by coal plants has gone from powering 87% of Ohio’s homes and businesses to just 47%. So-called renewables (solar and wind) make up a whopping 3% of Ohio’s electric generation. So what’s replacing coal? Natural gas, which now generates 34% of the state’s electricity. Gas still hasn’t beaten coal, but give it a few more years and it will.
Continue reading

Energy Stories of Interest: Tue, Apr 23, 2019

MARCELLUS/UTICA REGION: Senate Enviro Committee to consider renominations of McDonnell (DEP), Dunn (DCNR); Pennsylvania utility regulator speaks out against state Senate’s nuclear bailout bill; OTHER U.S. REGIONS: ‘Ramifications for gas markets’ as nuclear subsidies approved in New Jersey; NATIONAL: Celebrate Fossil Fuel Appreciation Day; U.S. shale DUC wells: Time bombs waiting to go off on OPEC?; Amid the furor of the Green New Deal, don’t overlook the shale revolution; Elizabeth Warren has a lot of bad ideas, but her anti-drilling plan might be the worst; TruStar CNG fueling milestone underscores ‘success story’ of natural gas; U.S. exports transform NGL markets; Unreliable nature of solar and wind makes electricity much more expensive, major new study finds; Pulitzer Prize administrator defends process after prize goes to board member’s wife; INTERNATIONAL: ExxonMobil agrees 20-year LNG deal with China’s Zhejiang Energy.
Continue reading

Energy Stories of Interest: Mon, Apr 22, 2019

MARCELLUS/UTICA REGION: PA Sen. Gene Yaw critical of Energy Transfer at industry event; False alarm – no leak in Sunoco pipeline near Philadelphia; FirstEnergy’s supposed ‘green new deal’ to bail out nuclear plants is really just a political deal; Columbia Gas employees celebrate Earth Day with cleanup in Beaver County; ODNR issues 13 permits in Utica Shale; Gov. Tom Wolf visits Marietta in long-shot push for tax on natural gas drillers; OTHER U.S. REGIONS: Port Arthur LNG given green light to start construction; FERC approves Driftwood LNG construction; The Permian-driven shale boom is slowing, and that’s OK; NATIONAL: Elizabeth Warren’s green mistake; DLA awards natural gas supply contracts to four firms; U.S. oil, natural gas prices racing in opposite directions; Why are natural gas prices crashing?; INTERNATIONAL: Cuadrilla ‘ready to frack’ at second well in Lancashire as pressure on embattled industry builds; Qatar Petroleum issues 100 LNG carriers build invite; Russia and China close to deal on ‘very big’ Arctic projects that would move natural gas.
Continue reading

PA, OH Bills Would Prop Up Failing/Expensive Nuclear Power Plants

New York State is already doing it, Pennsylvania is actively considering doing it, and now, Ohio has caught the contagion too. The “it” we’re talking about is soaking electric rate payers to pump more money into the coffers of big corporations so they can keep uneconomic and financially failing nuclear electric generating plants operating. Both PA and OH lawmakers have floated plans to soak rate payers in their respective states.
Continue reading

Energy Stories of Interest: Thu, Apr 4, 2019

MARCELLUS/UTICA REGION: Dominion Energy, American Red Cross present April 6 preparedness day at nine Ohio locations; Pa. Senate bill aims to aid state nuclear plants; Dominion Energy CEO: Making the switch from coal to natural gas; OTHER U.S. REGIONS: Pacific Northwest sees highest daily natural gas spot prices in the U.S. since 2014; California’s oil industry collapses despite shale boom; Chesapeake opens ‘green’ natural gas vehicle fueling stop in Dover; Washington state rail bill could put 150,000 b/d of Bakken oil shipments at risk; NATIONAL: U.S. natural gas prices unmoved by colder winter, low inventories; The U.S. oil boom is sinking OPEC imports; INTERNATIONAL: Top 10 destinations for US LNG exports; South Korea’s crude oil imports from the US could surpass 40 mil barrels in H1 2019; LNG will be big part of China-U.S. trade once tensions resolved; U.S. LNG producers offer alternative pricing to woo buyers.
Continue reading

WV NatGas Power Plant Gets Final Permits, Construction Begins Soon

ESC Brooke County Power Plant concept drawing (click for larger version)

Although Big Coal tried its best to prevent a single new gas-fired electric plant from getting built in West Virginia–indeed delaying several projects for years–we’re happy to report the first such project, in Brooke County, finally has ALL of its necessary permits and will begin construction this year.
Continue reading

Big Crowd Turns Out to Support/Oppose Drilling Under SWPA Park

The mystery is now solved. Last week we incorrectly (based on a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article) reported that FirstEnergy wants to drill a well under (not on) Linbrook Park, located in the Borough of Franklin Park in Allegheny County (see original story here). It’s not FirstEnergy but PennEnergy that wants to do the drilling.
Continue reading

PennEnergy Offers $3.5K/Ac to Drill Under SWPA Town Park

NOTE: This story and the headline have been updated to correct an earlier error from the source we used. It is not FirstEnergy but PennEnergy that is proposing to drill under the park.

We spotted a second story today about a new lease, in this case proposed lease terms, for land in southwestern Pennsylvania. This time the driller, PennEnergy, wants to drill under (not on) a town park that sits on the border of Allegheny and Beaver counties.
Continue reading

Small but Determined Group Wants to Block Ohio Cracker Plant

Last week the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency held an information session (to give out info) along with a public hearing (to accept comments) on the draft air pollution permit for PTT Global Chemical’s proposed ethane cracker plant complex in Belmont County, OH (see Ohio EPA to Hold Air Permit Hearing for PTT Cracker Nov. 27). Some 100 or so people turned up for the hearing, according to media accounts. Perhaps 35 people spoke during the public comment period. There were both supporters and detractors. We suppose we knew there were folks opposed to the project, but this is really the first time we’ve read about an organized effort to stop the project. That effort comes from the usual (irrational) anti-fossil fuel suspects who oppose all drilling, pipelines, and anything else to do with fossil fuels.
Continue reading

Study: PJM Elec Grid is Just Fine Changing from Coal/Nukes to Gas

PJM is the largest electric grid operator in the U.S. It serves 65 million people in 13 states plus the District of Columbia (including PA, OH, and WV). Last week PJM released a summary of findings for a report that evaluates PJM’s “resiliency”–ability to deliver electricity even under adverse conditions and heavy loads. Know what they found? PJM is reliable and can withstand periods of highly “stressed” conditions, including the phaseout of more coal-fired power plants. PJM, perhaps more than any other grid, relies increasingly on natural gas. The study shows reliance on Marcellus/Utica natgas is solid, contrary to the what scaremongers claim. There is no reason to worry.
Continue reading

Universities Float Plan for Utica-Powered Microgrid in Cleveland

Cleveland State University and Case Western Reserve University have floated a bold plan to build a $100 million microgrid to power the city of Cleveland, OH’s central business district in downtown, a 2-3 square mile area. At the heart of the microgrid would be a Utica gas-fired combined heat and power system (CHP). The CHP plant would produce up to 48 megawatts of electricity and act as a backup and/or alternative to the grid. The cost per kilowatt-hour would higher than electricity from the regular grid, but hey, it would mean virtually 100% up-time, providing electricity when grid demand is extreme (hot summers, cold winters). It’s all about reliability.
Continue reading

How to Turn PA’s $60B Shale Energy Future into Reality Today

One year ago Chevron Appalachia and People’s Natural Gas teamed up to release a study called “Forge the Future: Pennsylvania’s Path To An Advanced, Energy-Enabled Economy” (see Chevron & People’s Natural Gas Team Up to Map Out PA’s $60B Future). Rather than wait around for “someone else” to flesh out a plan to leverage what Chevron and People’s call a $60 billion (!) opportunity in PA, they went ahead and did it themselves. Smart people. That was Phase I. Others have joined the effort which has morphed into a loose organization called PA Forge The Future. The group has just launched Phase II, a new study called “Ideas for Action: Actionable Initiatives to Accelerate Energy-Enabled Economic Development in Pennsylvania” (full copy below).
Continue reading