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Tag Archive: Natural Gas

  1. Natural Gas Power Plant to Provide Economic Catalyst to Harrison County & WV

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    A new natural-gas-fired power plant in Harrison County is expected to be operational by fall of 2021, according to a company official.

    Groundbreaking on the approximately 550-megawatt Harrison County Power Plant, a joint project of Energy Solutions Consortium and Caithness Energy, is expected to occur late this spring on county-owned property in Clarksburg’s Montpelier Addition, according to John Black, vice president of development for Energy Solutions Consortium. Black was in town Thursday to address members of the Harrison County Development Authority at their regular meeting. The meeting had to be canceled for lack of a quorum, but Black did provide an update on the project to those who were there.

    Engineering work already has started at the Glen Falls substation, he said. “There will be an expansion of the Glen Falls substation, and that’s where we’ll sell our power. That’s our point of interconnect” via a 1.8-mile transmission line, Black said. According to Black, the plant will support 400 jobs during construction, which will be filled using union laborers. The plant will have between 15 and 25 permanent employees, but will support other maintenance and supply businesses in the area. There may be additional opportunity for the construction laborers who come on board in Harrison County.

    Energy Solutions Consortium is also moving forward on a larger, 830-megawatt natural gas power plant in Brooke County. That project is approximately two months behind the Harrison County project, according to Black. “Our hope is to stagger them just enough that some of the labor can be switching from one to the other,” he said. The company estimates the annual overall economic impact of the Harrison County project will be about $880 million. “The financial commitment not only to our area, but the state of West Virginia, is substantial,” said Harrison County Administrator Willie Parker.

    Once construction is complete, the energy generated at the plant will flow into the PJM power grid, Black said. The PJM grid covers all or part of 13 states, including West Virginia and Washington, D.C., according to the transmission organization’s website. Some owners of property adjoining the power plant site have addressed the company with concerns regarding the facility’s aesthetics, noise levels and impact on traffic, but Black said the company has been able to allay those fears.

    The facility will be “very compact” at 12 acres, with a 180-foot stack that “won’t even go above the ridge line.” There will not be a visible plume, and emissions will be “well below permit limits,” Black said. The plant will run at about 55-65 decibels. According to information from Purdue University, 60 decibels is about the noise level of restaurant conversation, background music or an air-conditioning unit at a distance of 100 feet. Traffic will enter the property via a new access road rather than on Pinnickinnick Street, he said.

    According to Black, Harrison County was the ideal location for the plant because of its interconnection, fuel supply, labor development opportunities and water and sewer availability. “The real key is fuel. We’re in the heart of the fuel. To be able to get this kind of supply with only a six-mile pipeline to a major interstate is just huge for us,” Black said. Both the fuel and the transportation of that fuel to the plant will be handled by West Virginia companies, he said. EQT will construct a 6-mile pipeline to transport the gas into the plant, Black said. “Our gas bill every year is $110 million, and that’s West Virginia gas,” Black said. That will benefit the natural gas industry in West Virginia as a whole, said Harrison County Development Authority President Michael Jenkins.

    “That’s long-term severance tax revenue back to the taxpayers,” Jenkins said. “The biggest holdup to more drilling in the state and producing more wells and more royalty is having somewhere to utilize natural gas. These plants become instantly one of the largest consumers of natural gas in the region and start to build more demand for the natural gas.”

    Developers will turn over their access road to the state, and water and sewer utilities will be oversized to help accommodate additional development, Black said. “Once we are finished with it, we’re going to have 16 acres of property right next door perfect for people to come in and be a supplier to us. We’re going to have a brand new road, water and sewer access … and we’re updating the internet into the property,” he said. Harrison County Commission President Ron Watson said he hopes the infrastructure infusion in the area can spur additional growth surrounding the site.

    “It’s a beautiful day to be in Harrison County. The sun is shining brightly when you talk about half a billion dollars to build this that’s going to be back into our economy. We’ve been waiting, going through the hoops, and it will be a reality when the shovel digs,” he said.Watson said he expects the commission to reinvest funds from the eventual sale of the county property to plant developers into development in the plant area.

     

    Article by JoAnn Snoderly, WVNews

  2. PTT official gives update on cracker project

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    The project director for the planned PTT Global Chemical ethane cracker in Belmont County said having such a surplus of the natural gas liquid so close to Eastern Seaboard population centers makes the Dilles Bottom location ideal.

    Paul Wojciechowski said the Thailand-based petrochemical firm will make a final decision on construction by early next year, during the Ohio Valley Regional Oil & Gas Expo at the James Carnes Center Tuesday.

    If built, the cracker construction would generate thousands of temporary jobs and hundreds of full-time permanent jobs, along with the millions of dollars in wages paid and associated economic activity generated. Wojciechowski also told the several hundred attending that any plans to burn the liquid are counterproductive. “Friends don’t let friends burn ethane. That would be a waste,” he said. Developers of the proposed $615 million Moundsville Power natural gas power plant previously announced intentions to burn ethane in their facility.

    Also, some producers now blend ethane into their methane streams to heat homes. Wojciechowski said he plans to meet with Ohio Environmental Protection Agency officials this week to discuss some of the permits for which PTT Global Chemical will soon apply. Such a project would create certain types of air pollution, according to documents filed with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental protection for the Royal Dutch Shell ethane cracker planned for Monaca, Pa. Although Wojciechowski emphasized he could not promise the plant would be built, he said the nearly 500- acre site between Ohio 7 and the Ohio River would be preferred. “It was important for me to show you just how perfect this area is for our plant,” he said, displaying an aerial photograph of the site.

    Contractors working for FirstEnergy Corp. are demolishing the closed R.E. Burger power plant. The massive project would include the Burger site, along with another nearly 300 acres to the west. Wojciechowski said plans call for having infrastructure that would “crack” the ethane into ethylene, which then would be transformed into ethylene glycol for antifreeze polyethylene for plastic. “Hundreds of rail cars of polyethylene pellets per month,” Wojciechowski said of how much completed material the plant would ship via railroad.

    Expo attendees also heard from Rob Wingo, senior vice president of Rice Energy, on Tuesday. Rice is one of the largest producers of natural gas in the region, claiming eight of the 10 most prolific natural gas wells in Ohio during the final quarter of 2015 — all in Belmont County. “We do have a great technology team that keeps us ahead and gives us great well results,” Wingo said. Wingo said every driller in the region is waiting for more interstate pipeline capacity to come online.

    Presently, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission continues reviewing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the Mountain Valley Pipeline, the Rover Pipeline, the Leach XPress pipeline, the Mountaineer XPress pipeline and the Nexus Pipeline. Rick Frio serves as chairman of MPR Transloading & Energy Services in Bellaire and is one of the expo’s organizers. The business serves to supply fracking sand and other materials producers need. “This industry is safe, it’s effective — it’s a great thing for our communities,” he said.

    By Casey Junkins, The Times Leader

  3. Legislators Updated on China Energy Deal

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    Commerce Secretary Hopes China Energy Project Will Begin This Year.

    CHARLESTON – Commerce Secretary Woody Thrasher offered legislators a few new tidbits — though still no specifics — on the $83.7 billion China Energy agreement. Thrasher addressed a Jan. 9 joint meeting of the interim Natural Gas Development and Energy committees. Answering a question if this is a deal to simply sell off our resources, he said no. “It is bricks and mortar facilities for the purpose of generating value-added products in the petrochemical industry.”

    The immediate goal is a single project, though he wouldn’t say what it is. “We are working actively on that project one step at a time.” He continued, “Our goal is to expedite the initial project as quickly as we can for a variety of reasons. And I’m hopeful that the details of that begin to unfold in the next few months.” He hopes to see some construction by the end of this year, he said.

    Most people guess that the unspecified projects are some sort of manufacturing facilities that would use the products generated from cracker plants being developed for the region. Thrasher speculated that the majority of the market for the China Energy-related projects would be overseas, predominately China. But the focus is on employing local residents in businesses that pay taxes to West Virginia, and selling the products those businesses produce. “It makes sense from a business model.”

    Thrasher said he had no specific timeframe for any aspect of what’s unfolding, but during three visits with the people from China Energy, he’s seen a “great sense of urgency.” He’s heading back to China on Saturday, he said, to meet the company’s new board. “These are big projects. They’re significant.”

    Thrasher said last week’s announcement from Appalachia Development Group – a subsidiary of Charleston-based high-tech firm MATRIC – provides an important step forward. The group announced on Jan. 3 that it was invited to submit a Part II Application for a $1.9 billion U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantee to support the development of infrastructure for the Appalachia Storage & Trading Hub, which would store natural gas liquids for a regional plastics industry.

    The group said that the American Chemistry Council believes the hub would serve as a catalyst for the creation of an estimated $36 billion in follow-on petrochemical investments and more than 100,000 new long-term jobs, drawing resources from Marcellus, Utica and Rogersville shale deposits.

    Thrasher said that the Department of Energy’s action “has significant impact in terms of the risk level of folks coming in.” Jim Crews, vice president of business development for MArkWest Energy Partners, offered the legislators additional prospective on the region’s potential.

    “The United States, and the Appalachian Basin, is the Saudi Arabia for the production of natural gas liquids,” he said.

    Colorado-based MarkWest is a midstream gas processor with three West Virginia facilities. It’s Sherwood plant in the Doddridge County is the nation’s fourth largest and will soon be expanded to become the largest. He offered a somewhat technical slideshow on how the gas liquids – ethane, propane and butane – are separated from the methane and sent on for further production.

    The wet natural gas in this region, he said, contains enough ethane – used in light plastics – to feed six cracker plants. Some of it now gets shipped south to the Gulf for processing, but most goes to waste because it’s too expensive to ship and there’s no industry here yet to process it.

    Article By David Beard, The Dominion Post

  4. WVU-led research team lays foundation for natural gas storage ‘hub’; opportunity for economic growth in the region

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    It is no secret that the region around West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio has abundant natural gas resources, but can the three states uncover the keys to turning those resources into economic growth? West Virginia University-led research may have some of the answers.

    On August 29, WVU is releasing to the public a study that shows how the region can support storage facilities that are critical for attracting petrochemical and related industries to the area. Researchers will present the data at a technical workshop in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, hosted by the Eastern Petroleum Technology Transfer Council, PTTC, at WVU.

    Led by Doug Patchen, director of the WVU Appalachian Oil and Natural Gas Consortium and the Eastern PTTC, researchers from the geological surveys in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio studied geologic formations that could offer suitable locations for developers to build underground facilities to store natural gas liquids from Marcellus and Utica wells.

    The team identified and mapped all potential options for subsurface storage of natural gas liquids along the Ohio River from southwestern Pennsylvania to eastern Kentucky, and the Kanawha River in West Virginia. The researchers focused on three options for subsurface storage.

    One option includes areas where the Salina F Salt is at least 100 feet thick and suitable for solution mining, a type of mining that uses a liquid such as water injected through a borehole to dissolve and extract salts and minerals.

    Another option includes areas where the Greenbrier Limestone is present 1,800 to 2,000 feet below the surface and is at least 40 feet thick. Converting existing sandstone reservoirs in depleted gas fields and inactive gas storage fields to natural gas liquids storage is the third option.

    Previously, the consortium had conducted studies of the Marcellus and Utica shale gas plays. Results from those studies have been used by both small producers such as Northeast Natural Energy and large multinationals such as Exxon and have helped fuel the region’s shale gas boom. This latest work was conducted as part of the Tri-State Shale Coalition, an innovative cross-border collaboration among Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia and a critical key for unlocking the region’s economic opportunity, according to its members.

    The Coalition was created following a collaborative agreement signed in October 2015 by Governors’ offices in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Charter members include the Benedum Foundation, a charitable organization, and Team NEO, the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and Vision Shared, all non-profit economic development organizations in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

    A public-private partnership, the coalition brings together workforce development organizations, academic institutions such as WVU, and economic development groups to strategically advance the area as a “super-region” for petrochemical, plastics fabrication and advanced manufacturing jobs and investments.

    “Recognition of the enormous opportunity for economic development based upon shale gas, including downstream modern manufacturing, was the motivation for the Governors of West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania to agree to collaborate to maximize the opportunity,” said William Getty, Benedum Foundation president.

    The WVU Energy Institute secured $100,000 from the Benedum Foundation to support the study. That amount was matched by a total of $100,000 more from AEP, Antero, Blue Racer, Charleston Area Alliance, Chevron, Dominion, EQT, First Energy/Team NEO, Mountaineer NGL Storage LLC, Noble Energy, Southwestern Energy, XTO Energy and the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association.

    Click here to view the article at WVUToday.

     

  5. Reflecting & Projecting

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    REFLECTING ON 2016

    There were some economic positives in 2016. Interest rates remained low while capital slowly became more attainable, resulting in a demand for investment/income-producing assets. Education and health care remained strong in Morgantown and other parts of north central WV. Respectively, the West Virginia University Board of Governors unanimously approved a $1.04 billion budget for the fiscal year which began on July 1, 2016. (WVUToday) Ruby Memorial Hospital built a 10-story tower, totaling $220 million, that will be home to 750 new jobs, and Mon General Hospital opened a three building, 150,000 square foot, office campus.

    These recession-resistant sectors make Morgantown, and other communities in north central WV, such as Bridgeport, attractive investment options that garner attention from out-of-state money. This is evidenced in several large deals in 2016. We would be remiss without mentioning the new I-79 interchange in Morgantown. Metro News states, “A study of the entire development on both sides of the interstate predicted a $1 billion economic impact on the region annually. The impact study indicated the TIF district and incoming developers could support 9,900 jobs by 2025.”

    Jobs lead to disposal income which ultimately drives an economy. Although there were economic spotlights to be proud of, 2016 was a challenging year for many commercial real estate sectors. Much of the sluggish business climate in WV and southwestern PA can be attributed to the energy sector slowdown. The rapid decline of coal, coupled with the oversupply of natural gas/oil, negatively affected this region’s economy. Decreased energy-sector demand for office and industrial space led to increased vacancy. As a direct result of this climate, restaurant receipts, retail sales and hotel occupancy all followed suit. Energy sector downturn hurt. In our home base of Morgantown and much of north central WV, there was enough positive economic activity to downplay these challenges.

    2017 OUTLOOK

    What is on the horizon for 2017? Well, for many, the presidential election was seen as a pro-energy and pro-business election. Time will tell on both. However, in the last two months, BDR saw an uptick in office and industrial demand via phone call leads. We feel this trend will continue as we move into what we believe will be a healthier economic year with less regulation and greater consumer confidence. OPEC’s announcement to reduce oil supply is a major win for our region. Rising oil and gas prices result in greater drilling activity which leads to more jobs. Average consumers dislike paying more at the pump, but for WV and the Marcellus/Utica Shale territory, paying a little more in gas results in hundreds of high-paying jobs that support regional economic growth.

    Looking to the new year, BDR is poised to capitalize on north central WV’s growth potential, including the energy, education, medical, and government sectors.

    As you sit down to set your 2017 personal and company goals, remember this important quote: “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.” From our team to yours, we wish you a healthy, prosperous and joyful 2017.