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Friday, May 26, 2017

Letter to the Editor: Geologist Says Rover Pipeline Problems Are Common and Being Handled Properly

Rover’s Focus is Rightly on Containment, Working with Authorities

by Bill Godsey

Regarding the Rover Pipeline’s recent release of drilling fluid in Ohio, I would argue that these occurrences – which are fairly common among the industry – are being properly addressed. It’s important for open communications among state and federal regulators and private companies like Rover to continue. Containment is appropriately the focus of those involved.

It’s expected that drilling fluid can and will rise through naturally occurring, pre-existing cracks I n the soil during horizontal directional drilling (HDD), which is considered an industry best-practice for installing pipe under wetlands and other sensitive areas. These “inadvertent returns” are common during the HDD process, and do not pose any long-term threats to the environment. Further, Rover included a comprehensive plan to address any such occurrence in its permit application, approved by FERC, to build the pipeline.

Rover is not taking the situation lightly – they have no reason to. Simply put, it in the best interest of private companies to properly follow the correct procedure to continue construction, but the company has every reason to be a good environmental steward and protector of the communities in which they are building. Projects of this nature was intentionally designed to mitigate short and long-term environmental impacts.

While media reports might aim to sensationalize the ongoing correspondence between the Rover Pipeline and the OEPA, I think it’s important to allow the process to be completed without exaggeration or hysteria.

Bill Godsey is a licensed professional geologist and a former geologist for the Texas Railroad Commission.

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Rover Pipeline Faces More Scrutiny from Ohio EPA Thanks to Stormwater Overflow

From The Columbus Dispatch:
The Rover pipeline is in trouble again, this time for storm water overflows on farm fields along its construction route. 
In a statement released Friday, Rover Pipeline officials responded to complaints from Ohio farmers regarding overflows that the company said are caused by recent rainfalls. Heavy rain has caused pipeline trenches and work spaces to fill with water and spill onto fields. 
Texas-based Energy Transfer, which is building the $4.2 billion underground pipeline route, said it is working with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Energy Regulatory Agency, as well as the farmers, to remove the water. 
“Rainfall in Ohio this spring has not been unprecedented,” Ohio EPA spokesman James Lee said in an email statement. “Had Rover better planned their storm water management, they would have been aware that rain is common in Ohio during the months of April and May.” 
This isn’t the first time Rover has had to apologize for its actions.
Read more of that article by clicking here.

Meanwhile, activists are appealing to the FERC to stop construction on the pipeline.  From Livingston Daily:
Grassroots groups in Michigan and Ohio filed a complaint Wednesday asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to halt construction of Energy Transfer's Rover Pipeline through the two states and reopen an environmental impact review because of recent environmental incidents.

Michigan Residents Against the ET Rover Pipeline and Ohio-based non-profit FreshWater Accountability Project are asking FERC to revoke the certificate issued to the company in February that allowed it to start building the 42-inch natural gas pipeline, which is not yet in operation.

"It's going to be an uphill fight, but we put together a string of pretty irresponsible actions by ET Rover," the groups' attorney Terry Lodge said Wednesday.
The effort has little chance of success.  Read more by clicking here. 

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May 31 Event in Jefferson County Promises Update on Area Oil and Gas Activity

From the Weirton Daily Times:
Area residents will have the opportunity to hear an update on the status of the oil and gas industry in Jefferson County on May 31.

That’s when the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the Jefferson County Port Authority, will present a panel discussion and luncheon focusing on developments in the area. 
Sponsored by Ascent Resources, the presentation will run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Hellenic Hall, 300 S. Fourth St. Topics include the state of the industry in and around Jefferson County, permits, production, pipelines, infrastructure, investment and more. 
Speakers will include Amanda Finn, government relations manager for Ascent; Mike Chadsey, director of public relations for the Ohio Oil and Gas Association; Jimmy Stewart, president of the Ohio Gas Association; and Jackie Stewart, state director for Energy in Depth. A question-and-answer session will be included.
Read more by clicking here.

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State Historic Preservation Office Says Rover Pipeline Owes it $1.5 Million

From the Canton Repository:
The Rover Pipeline hasn’t honored an agreement to pay for harm the project does to historic properties, according to the State Historic Preservation Office. 
The dispute surfaced a week after state environmental regulators proposed penalizing Rover for construction mishaps and questioned whether the project is taking Ohio seriously as it rushes to finish the $4.2 billion natural gas pipeline. 
In February, Rover agreed to pay the State Historic Preservation Office $1.5 million a year for five years. The money will fund statewide education for historic preservation. 
Rover was supposed to make the first payment by March 1, but the bill remains unpaid, despite repeated contacts between the State Historic Preservation Office and Rover, according to an April 28 letter from the preservation office to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The letter was filed Friday on the FERC online docketing system.
Energy Transfer, which is building the Rover pipeline, says that this claim is inaccurate and they do not owe the preservation office $1.5 million.  Click here to continue reading.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Utica Shale Goes Over 2,000 Wells Drilled; Rig Count Rises Again


New permits issued last week: 10  (Previous week: 8+2
Total horizontal permits issued: 2515  (Previous week: 2506+9
Total horizontal wells drilled: 2005  (Previous week: 1990+15
Total horizontal wells producing: 1558  (Previous week: 1549+9
Utica rig count: 24  (Previous week: 23)  +1

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NEXUS Gas Transmission Donates $50,000 For Scholarship to Stark State

From Columbus Monthly:
NEXUS Gas Transmission has presented Stark State College with a $50,000 scholarship donation. 
According to a news release, Stark State is located near the proposed NEXUS gas pipeline route and offers relevant training for many careers in the oil and gas industry. As indicated by the college, the one-time donation will be used to support industry related programs, scholarships or training facility improvement for students pursuing certification and training to work in the oil and gas industry. 
We are grateful for this donation and the ability to use it to directly support hands-on training activities related to OSHA Safety Classes, Environmental Compliance Sampling of soils, water and air, and Department of Transportation (DOT)-required Operator Qualification training,” said Stark State College President Para M. Jones in a news release. “These skills and certifications are critical components of the labor force needs related to gas, water and other infrastructure projects throughout the region.”
Read more by clicking here.

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OPEC Asks for Help in Balancing Oil Market

From CNN Money:
OPEC has asked a favor of other major producers: Please stop pumping so much and help us balance the market. 
The unusual plea was issued Thursday in the cartel's closely-watched monthly report, which found that global markets are still suffering from too much supply.

The report said that balancing the market would "require the collective efforts of all oil producers" and should be done "not only for the benefit of the individual countries, but also for the general prosperity of the world economy." 
OPEC said that one producer in particular is to blame: The U.S., where shale producers have continued to ramp up their drilling despite lower crude prices.
Continue reading this article by clicking here.

Meanwhile, a Forbes article says that U.S. shale drillers still haven't won their battle with OPEC:
  • More than 200 U.S. energy companies filing for bankruptcy in less than 2 years;
  • A commodity price about half of what it was 3 years ago;
  • Rig count half of the 2014 level;
  • An industry just now beginning recover from large layoffs during 2015 and 2016.
If the current state of the U.S. upstream oil and gas industry is what an industry looks like when it has "won" a war, then let's not have any more wars, OK? 
 
But that's exactly what some in the energy-related news media would have you believe:  that the U.S. shale industry has succeeded in staring down the OPEC cartel's effort to put it out of business and emerged victorious.  Several readers contacted me and ask me if that was not in fact the bottom line of the piece I posted last Friday, titled "OPEC Still Fundamentally Misunderstands U.S. Oil Industry."

Well, no, that was not the point, but since some took it that way, I guess a fuller explanation is in order.

Click here to read more from that article. 

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CORN Sues to Try and Block the NEXUS Pipeline

From US News:
More than 60 property owners in northeast Ohio are asking a federal court to block a proposed high-pressure natural gas pipeline.

Organizers of the Coalition to Reroute Nexus say a suit filed Friday in U.S. district court charges that the project violates the owners' due process rights, misuses eminent domain to take property, and jeopardizes their safety. It seeks injunctions against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Nexus Gas Transmission.

"This complaint has been a long time in development," said Paul Gierosky, a co-founder of the group. "Our every experience in dealing with FERC and Nexus has been documented and will be brought to bear in this case."

The lawsuit contends that the federal commission and used false and misleading information designed to trick property owners into waiving their constitutional rights. It urges the court to enjoin FERC from issuing a certificate to Nexus for the pipeline.
Read more by clicking here.

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