Sunday, August 12, 2012

Weekend Penn. Marcellus News Update, 8/12/12

As always, please click the headline to read the complete story.

Marcellus pipeline project could benefit Marcus Hook
Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. announced on Thursday a "binding open season" for Marcellus producers to commit themselves to buying capacity on the Mariner East pipeline project. Pipeline companies typically request binding bids only when they are certain that a project will get enough commitments to proceed.
The Mariner East project, which calls for repurposing an existing Sunoco pipeline that crosses Pennsylvania, was originally conceived in 2010 as a way to find markets for Marcellus ethane by sending the material to Philadelphia for shipment by sea to Gulf Coast petrochemical plants. Those plants in Texas and Louisiana convert or "crack" ethane into a key ingredient used in the manufacturing of plastics.
But the project has been reimagined in recent months to include propane, which, like ethane, is found in abundance in the rich "wet gas" produced in the Marcellus wells in southwestern Pennsylvania.
Marcellus producers have already begun trucking propane to Sunoco's Marcus Hook location for loading on ships for export to Europe, according to MarkWest Energy Partners L.P., which is working with Sunoco on the Mariner project. Propane fetches a premium price in Europe as a heating fuel and a raw material for chemical producers.
Audubon Pennsylvania, the Ruffed Grouse Society and the Marcellus Shale Coalition have organized a series of meetings across southeastern and Central Pennsylvania to draw hunters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts into the discussion of post-Marcellus Shale drilling habitat restoration.
Paul Zeph, director of conservation for Audubon Pennsylvania, said the organizations hope to develop "input to the gas drilling industry regarding how they are doing, concerns, issues, etc.
"We're looking for people who can also voice support for a partner effort to work with the industry to create the kind of habitat we want when drilling is completed in the future."
Billed as "listening sessions," the meetings will follow the facilitated method of developing the questions and suggestions to be taken from the sessions to the gas industry.
Drilling into Marcellus shale deposits is banned in Pittsburgh, yet hydraulic-fracturing, or fracking, operations in the countryside nearby have helped bring in jobs and boost demand for office space in Pennsylvania’s second-biggest city. “Like eds and meds, like steel once was in Pittsburgh, it would be the industry to grow and employ people and turn the economy around,” Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, 32, said of gas extraction. Nearby drilling can provide a “growth mechanism” the city can use to propel a rebound, he said. The city faced insolvency in late 2003, as the population and employment fell.
Impressions Media has launched nepaenergyjournal.com, a new website covering the Marcellus Shale energy industry in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
The site, a companion to the quarterly NEPA Energy Journal magazine, features all of the coverage contained in the magazine, additional content from local and national sources and additional resources and information. Digital replica versions of each magazine are available free on the site.
Sunoco Logistics Partners LP on Friday begins a binding open season for Project Mariner East, a pipeline project to transport propane and ethane from the Marcellus Shale areas in western Pennsylvania to southeastern Pennsylvania.
An open season is when the developer of a pipeline accepts bids from companies that want to use it. Developers use nonbinding open seasons to determine demand for a pipeline and binding open seasons to obtain commitments for the pipeline’s use.
Even with police watching the rally, protesters seemed unfazed.
“We’re here to say: ‘This is our homeland, and we will protect it,’” said Sandra Steingraber, an ecologist and author.
Said protester Kat Stevens: “This is the place that makes the destruction of Pennsylvania possible.”
Beyond supporting drilling operations in Pennsylvania, Schlumberger is a nuisance to Horseheads residents because of the silica dust it spreads, the noise it makes and its bright overnight lights that “make Yankee Stadium look dim,” protester Ruth Young said.
The group said finding new sources of energy is important, but the focus should be on going green.
“The sooner this fracking bridge to nowhere is gone, the sooner the workers can be trained for the green-collar economy,” Young said.
The rally was organized by Shaleshock Direct Action Working Group, a coalition of community members from Chemung, Cortland, Schuyler, Seneca, and Tompkins counties. The organization’s mission is to “defend people, land and water from hydro-fracking.” Its website can be found at dontfrackwithus.org.

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