The state Department of Environmental Protection has rescinded a Marcellus Shale wastewater treatment permit that would have allowed a New Jersey company to spread chemically contaminated salts on roadways, sidewalks and fields statewide. The DEP pulled the permit, issued in August to Integrated Water Technologies Inc., after admitting the required public notice about the permit did not accurately describe the permitted activity and the department hadn't fully considered the impact on the environment.
Private landowners are reaping billions of dollars in royalties each year from the boom in natural gas drilling, transforming lives and livelihoods even as the windfall provides only a modest boost to the broader economy. In Pennsylvania alone, royalty payments could top $1.2 billion for 2012, according to an Associated Press analysis that looked at state tax information, production records and estimates from the National Association of Royalty Owners. For some landowners, the unexpected royalties have made a big difference.
The parent of Columbia Gas Transmission said Friday it has won federal approval for a plan to spend $300 million a year through 2017 on improvements to its Appalachian pipeline system. Indiana-based NiSource Inc. said the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the plan for Columbia Gas Transmission's lines in West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland and Kentucky. Chief Executive Officer Jimmy Staton says the $1.5 billion investment will help ensure safer, more reliable pipeline infrastructure for customers and the communities across the region.
A European petrochemical producer has entered into a 15-year agreement to ship Marcellus Shale ethane to Norway from a Sunoco Logistics terminal in Marcus Hook. INEOS Europe, which is based in Switzerland, announced that it has signed a deal with Evergas, a Danish shipping company, to build and operate vessels to transport super-cooled ethane to chemical plants called "crackers" in Europe. Ethane, a derivative of natural gas, is used to manufacture plastics. Sunoco Logistics is modifying a pipeline to deliver ethane and other shale-gas products from western Pennsylvania to the former Sunoco refinery site in Marcus Hook.
Although plans for a natural gas compressor station in West Wyoming are temporarily on hold, UGI Energy Services still plans to construct a pipeline that will provide UGI Penn Natural Gas customers with gas from Northeastern Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale. "We're moving forward with the pipeline regardless," said Kevin Kelleher, manager of producer services for UGI Energy Services Inc. in Wyomissing. The company plans to run approximately 28 miles of 24-inch diameter pipeline from an existing facility in Washington Township, Wyoming County, to connect to a UGI utility line and the Transco interstate pipeline in West Wyoming.
The state Department of Environmental Protection has announced a yearlong study of radiation levels in equipment and wastes associated with oil and gas development it says will be the "most extensive and comprehensive" ever conducted. The regulatory agency announced the study Thursday and said it will test radiation levels at dozens of well pads, wastewater treatment plants and waste disposal facilities statewide.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Thursday raised the financial penalty against UGI Utilities to the maximum $500,000 for the February 2011 natural gas explosion in Allentown that killed five people and leveled half a block. Under the original terms of the settlement, announced in October, UGI was to pay a $386,000 fine and speed up replacement of cast-iron pipes.
Cumberland County commissioners voted 2-1 today to use $50,000 of its $400,000 in Marcellus shale funding for the county's farmland preservation program. Before the commissioners hand over the remaining $350,000 to the Land Partnership Grants Program, they want to review the program's operational guidelines to verify that it's a fit for Marcellus shale funding, said Stephanie Williams, the county's greenway and open spaces coordinator.
Opportunities exist for area businesses to get a piece of the pie in the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania. "We are trying to educate and inform local companies so they are aware of the activities that are around and what they can do to become part of the play," said Martin J. Marasco, president and CEO of Altoona-Blair County Development Corp. Tuesday at a natural gas business development seminar at the Blair County Convention Center.
The Constitution Pipeline Co. selected a proposed route for a new pipeline, one it will pitch to federal regulators. The transmission line would transport natural gas from Susquehanna County to New England. After a year of soliciting input from landowners and stakeholders, Constitution tweaked about half of the originally proposed route, said project manager Matt Swift in a statement.