GreenHunter Gets Permission From Coast Guard to Barge Brine...Or Maybe it Doesn't
So, first an update from the Akron Beacon Journal:
A $3 million plan by a Texas-based company to ship liquid drilling wastes via barges on the Ohio River is gaining steam.
GreenHunter Resources Inc. said its proposal was quietly approved in the fourth quarter 2014 by the U.S. Coast Guard.
No announcement was made at the time of the federal approval.
A new barge terminal at Portland in Meigs County in southern Ohio will be completed in the next six to nine months to handle the new barge shipments, company officials said.This is, of course, great news for GreenHunter. But it might be prudent to hold off on popping the cork on the celebratory champagne. From TribLive:
The U.S. Coast Guard has denied statements by GreenHunter Resources that it has given the Texas-based water management company clearance to ship wastewater from shale drillers by barge along the Ohio River.
The Coast Guard said Wednesday that it had not taken final action on a 2012 request by GreenHunter Resources “to transport shale gas extraction wastewater and has not classified this cargo for shipment.”
GreenHunter Resources, based in Grapevine, Texas, said in a statement to investors on its website that it received approval from the Coast Guard late last year. The company's vice president of business development, John Jack, did not immediately respond to phone and email messages.
Earlier, Jack had said he “can't confirm nor deny” the decision but that the company has been working with the Coast Guard on the issue for three years.So it is hard to tell exactly what the situation is.
Meanwhile, Casey Junkins writes for The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register that GreenHunter faces further challenges even if the company's barging plan does have (or eventually gains) Coast Guard approval:
The Wheeling Planning Commission approved "Phase 1" of GreenHunter's plan to build the frack water recycling plant in Warwood. Site plans at the time showed the company planned to build 23 separate 1,000-barrel tanks on the 2.35-acre site, some of which would hold clean rainwater, while others would contain reusable frack water, drilling waste fluid, or flowback water.
However, the planning commission did not approve "Phase 2" of the project, which would allow GreenHunter to load Ohio River barges with fracking waste at Warwood so the material could be shipped southward for disposal in deep injection wells in the Marietta, Ohio area.
"Without the barging, this facility does not make any sense," GreenHunter Water Vice President of Business Development John Jack said during a January 2014 meeting with city and county leaders. "I won't start this facility until I get approval by the U.S. Coast Guard."
Jack did not immediately return calls seeking comment Tuesday. However, Trosclair emphasized the growing need for such a facility that would reduce the amount of truck traffic on roadways across the Marcellus and Utica shale fields. He said that for every 10,000 barrels of frack waste transported by barge, the company would be able to reduce the time trucks spend hauling the material by 600 hours.
"Demand for services at GreenHunter Resources remains strong," Trosclair said. "While the increase in demand for services is an important component of our success, the improvement of increasing efficiencies at GreenHunter Resources is equally important."
GreenHunter's new dilemma may be finding a barging terminal local leaders will allow the company to use. Wheeling leaders maintain the firm does not have permission to use the barging infrastructure at Warwood because they said the area alongside the Wheeling Heritage Trail is zoned for "residential" use.What is next for GreenHunter, then? Your guess is as good as mine.
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