Senate approves FERC nominees to fill out commission

The U.S. Senate has approved two more members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that oversees the nation's power grid and natural gas pipelines, including President Donald Trump's choice for chairman, reports the Associated Press. The news service says senators approved Republican Kevin McIntyre to chair the commission and Democrat Richard Glick to round out the five-member panel. The commission was without a quorum for six months earlier this year. For more, read the full story.

National

Energy Transfer Partners closes sale of stake in Rover Pipeline

Business Wire reports that Energy Transfer Partners has announced that its subsidiaries, Energy Transfer Interstate Holdings and ET Rover Pipeline (“HoldCo”), have closed the previously announced sale of a 49.9% interest in HoldCo to Blackstone Energy Partners. As a result of the closing, HoldCo is now owned 50.1% by Energy Transfer and 49.9% by Blackstone. Upon completion, the 713-mile Rover Pipeline will be able to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from the Marcellus and Utica shale plays to markets across the United States and in Canada. For more, read the full story.

National, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

Chesapeake says Justice Department has dropped probes of royalty, land practices

The U.S. Department of Justice has ended a three-year investigation of Chesapeake Energy Corp.’s oil and natural gas royalty payment and land purchase practices without taking action, according to Reuters. The news service reports that Chesapeake said in a recent securities filing that the Justice Department advised it on September 19, 2017 that it had concluded the probes. The department had subpoenaed documents from the company in 2014 after dozens of landowners and others accused it of short-changing them on royalties for natural gas and other fuels. For more, read the full story.

National, Ohio

Federal court upholds approvals for LNG projects

The Associated Press reports that a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has upheld U.S. Department of Energy decisions approving three projects to export liquefied natural gas (LNG), including Dominion Energy's export terminal in Cove Point, Maryland that will use natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale plays. The news service says the Sierra Club was seeking to overturn approvals for Dominion’s terminal as well as ones in Louisiana and Texas, claiming they would increase air and water pollution and contribute to global warming. But the three-judge panel ruled in a unanimous opinion that the Energy Department fulfilled its legal obligations in approving the projects under the National Environmental Policy Act and other laws. For more, read the full story.
 

National, Ohio, Oil & Gas Litigation, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

EQT confident Mountain Valley Pipeline approvals are on track

With one federal approval in hand and other state and federal approvals in process, oil and natural gas company EQT Corp. thinks its Mountain Valley Pipeline could start on schedule in early 2018, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. "We don't see any major obstacles," said Jerry Ashcroft, chief operating officer of EQT Midstream Partners during a recent conference call. The Business Times says the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has already voted to issue a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the 303-mile pipeline that would carry natural gas from West Virginia to Virginia, and state environmental permits are pending. For more, read the full story.

National, West Virginia

PJM Interconnection CEO opposes plan to prop up coal, nuclear power plants

PJM Interconnection LLC, the largest U.S. power grid power operator, is asking federal regulators to reject Energy Secretary Rick Perry's plan to prop up ailing coal and nuclear plants possibly at the expense of natural gas producers and renewable energy companies, according to Bloomberg. "I don't know how this proposal could be implemented without a detrimental impact on the market," said PJM Chief Executive Officer Andrew Ott, adding Perry's proposal is discriminatory and inconsistent with federal law. Bloomberg says Perry's plan has also “drawn fire from a wide coalition of natural gas producers, renewable energy generators and public utilities, which argue that such an approach would distort markets, inhibit competition and raise consumer prices.” For more, read the full story.

National

Natural gas power plant developers urge FERC to reject special rates for coal, nuclear facilities

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports developers of 29 independently owned natural gas-fired power plants in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania are warning federal regulators that the future of competitive electric markets would be destroyed by special pricing for older coal and nuclear power facilities. In a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the developers urge the commission to reject the U.S. Department of Energy's recommendation to provide full rate recovery to legacy coal and nuclear power generation units. Additionally, Energy in Depth Ohio has compiled a list of natural gas power plant projects in various stages of development in the three states, noting they represent $21 billion in private-sector investment and have the potential to create 21,000 jobs.

National, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

New filter offers solution to drilling wastewater disposal issue

A new filter produced by Rice University researchers “has proven able to remove more than 90% of hydrocarbons, bacteria and particulates from contaminated water produced by hydraulic fracturing operations at shale oil and [natural] gas wells,” reports ScienceDaily. For more, read the full story.

National

Report: Ascent Resources considers IPO or sale

The Wall Street Journal reports that Ascent Resources LLC, the Appalachian oil and natural gas exploration company founded by the late oilman Aubrey McClendon and two energy investment firms, is preparing for an initial public offering (IPO) or sale. Citing comments from “people familiar with the matter,” the newspaper says the Oklahoma City-based company, which has operations in Ohio’s Utica shale play, is interviewing bankers “to shepherd an offering and aiming for a stock-market valuation of more than $3.5 billion.” Should that happen, according to the Journal, an IPO likely would not take place until 2018. A subscription is required to read the full story.

National, Ohio

Ineos makes move to create shale boom in Great Britain

Bloomberg reports that Great Britain’s Ineos AG “has taken another step toward creating a shale boom on its side of the Atlantic” with the promotion of Ron Coyle to chief executive officer of its shale division. The news service says Coyle will oversee a subsidiary that includes three of the engineers who helped start the U.S. hydraulic fracturing boom in Texas. Ineos, the largest holder of United Kingdom shale gas exploration licenses with more than 1 million acres, foresees drilling dozens of oil and natural gas wells within the next year. For more, read the full story.

Global, National
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