Dominion Energy files to expand capacity in Pennsylvania-Ohio pipeline

In January, Dominion Energy requested to expand its existing DETI pipeline to deliver more Pennsylvania Marcellus gas into the Ohio Utica region, generating more electricity for the Midwest market, according to the Marcellus Drilling News. The requested construction is relatively small compared to the possible results, and the PA DEP recently published a request for comments on the project in the PA Bulletin. For more, read the full story

Ohio, Pennsylvania

Shell receives three technical deficiency letters from PA DEP

The Pennsylvania DEP raised several environmental concerns regarding Shell’s permit request to construct the Falcon Pipeline which would be part of the infrastructure associated with Shell’s ethane cracker facility currently under construction in Potter Township, according to the Pittsburgh Business Times. Shell released a statement on its company’s commitment to addressing the concerns before the 60-day deadline and then moving forward with the project. For more, read the full story.


More development on the horizon for the tri-state area

The Tri-State area (Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia) will continue to grow as an oil and gas production hotspot in the coming years, Bryce Custer recently speculated to the Herald-Star, because the area is extremely attractive to investors. For example, the recent JSW Steel of India acquisition in the region may prompt the return of a steelmaking. For more, read the full story.

Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

Shell Chemicals reveals technology guiding their new ethane cracker construction

Shell Chemicals recently presented technologically advanced plans for constructing their new ethane cracker plant in Potter Township, Pennsylvania at a chemical-industry conference, according to the Pittsburgh Business Times. The corporation plans to use new and unprecedented technology, in this capacity, such as radio-frequency identification tags on the physical pieces of the plant, for what they hope will prompt a large petrochemical industry in Appalachia. For more, read the full story.


Shell Chemicals moves forward with ethane cracker site construction in Pennsylvania

Shell Chemicals has finished preparing its Potter Township site for a new $6 billion ethane cracker plant, and is ready to build the plant and its surrounding petrochemicals complex, reports Hazardex. Thanks to the currently booming shale industry, the corporation is receiving generous incentives for its venture and construction will create 1,000 jobs in the area. For more, read the full story.


Studies show PA water supplies unaffected by drilling boom

Recent Yale and Penn State studies found that groundwater near oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania was not significantly impacted despite the state’s increasing drilling activity, and resident and environmental group concerns, according to The Intelligencer. Although researchers found that methane increased in some water supplies, this phenomenon was attributed to natural variability. For more, read the full story.


Appalachian Storage Hub Conference speakers agree now is the time to build

The petrochemical industry in Appalachia is currently booming with the Shell ethane cracker under construction and other projects planned in the tri-state area. The Gulf Coast has many large storage hubs for the petrochemical industry, but industry experts at the Appalachian Storage Hub Conference agreed the Appalachian region needs its own storage areas to reach full output potential, according to the Pittsburgh Business Times. The payoff associated with an Appalachian storage hub is massive reports a recent American Chemistry Council study; it could spur billions of dollars in investment and create nearly 100,000 jobs.  For more, read the full story

Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

PA Supreme Court: Oil and gas wells may not be an acceptable use in certain residential/agricultural zoned areas

In a 4-3 decision, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in Gorsline v. Board of Supervisors of Fairfield Township, J-13-2017, 2018 Pa. LEXIS 2781 (June 1, 2018), announced a ruling that may impact shale gas development in non-industrially zoned areas throughout Pennsylvania. In the case, Fairfield Township approved an application to permit Inflection Energy, LLC to drill multiple gas wells in a residential-agricultural zoned area. The issuance of the permit was based upon the township board of supervisors’ determination that the drilling and operation of the wells was “similar to and compatible with the other uses permitted in the zone” where the property is located and that the wells constituted a “public service facility” under the local zoning code. Two local families appealed the township’s decision.

The trial court overturned the decision to permit the oil and gas wells, finding that the board’s classification of the wells as “similar to” a “public service facility” was not supported by substantial evidence. The intermediate appellate court reversed the trial court, finding that the oil and gas company’s proposed use was similar to and compatible with a “public service facility” and/or an “essential service.” The Pennsylvania Supreme Court found that the board’s determination to permit the wells as “similar to and compatible with” a “public service facility” or “essential service” was an error as a matter of law. The Court reasoned that the proposed drilling did not demonstrate any benefit to the local community such that it could be considered a public service facility but indicated its decision did not decide that all oil and gas development in residential or agricultural zones is unacceptable as a matter of Pennsylvania law. In fact, the Court noted that the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code specifically “permits the governing body of a municipality to amend its zoning ordinances to permit oil and gas development in any or all of its zoning districts.” For more, read the full Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story.

Oil & Gas Litigation, Pennsylvania

Private equity owner could combine Appalachian oil and gas companies

Pittsburgh Business Times reports that EnCap Investments, the private equity owner of Penn Energy Resources LLC and Eclipse Resources, is considering merging the oil and gas companies. Click here to read more.


Former Rice Energy leaders launch new oil and gas fund

The Pittsburgh Business Times reports the family that started natural gas drilling company Rice Energy Inc., which was acquired by EQT Corp. in 2018, has started a new oil and natural gas venture. The newspaper says Rice Investment Group, based near Pittsburgh, is a $200 million multi-strategy fund that will invest in oil and gas companies "with a focus on partnering where [its] operational, technical and strategic experience add value.” Rice Investment Group includes brothers Daniel Rice, Toby Rice, Derek Rice and Ryan Rice. For more, read the full story.

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