IN OTHER NEWS:
Natural Gas Fueling West Virginia’s Revenue Boom
West Virginia is once again bringing in record-breaking tax revenue surpluses, with natural gas severance driving more than 20% of those surpluses. Natural gas severance tax revenue between the start of the 2023 fiscal year in July and October accounted for approximately 20% of the $575 million in total general revenue fund surplus tax revenue during the same time period. Natural gas severance tax collections during the first four months of the current fiscal year of $205 million exceeded the $92 million estimate by the state Department of Revenue. Year-to-date severance tax collections for natural gas, oil, and coal of $341.2 million were 474.5% more than the $59.4 million estimate for a year-to-date surplus of $281.8 million – making up nearly 50% of the total year-to-date surplus. October severance tax collections of $69.1 million were 475.7% more than the $12 million revenue estimate for a $57.1 million surplus for the month.
Since Nov. 6 Natural Gas Has Been Escaping From A High Pressure Underground Gas Storage Area In Cambria County, PA – Equitrans LP, Local EMS, DEP Are Responding
Equitrans LP, local emergency officials and the DEP have been responding to a high pressure natural gas leak from the Rager Mountain Gas Storage Area in Jackson Township, Cambria County since November 6. DEP has so far issued five notices of violation to the company, including failure to provide initial access to the incident site, venting gas into the atmosphere and for failure to operate a gas storage well to maintain its integrity. Gas continues to leak from one of the storage area wells at this writing. The well is a conventional gas well that was first drilled in 1965, according to DEP inspection reports. On November 6, Equitrans LP said they were notified of the leak at approximately 3:30 p.m. and their technicians arrived on site about 4:15 p.m. to find natural gas venting from storage well 2244. Read more here. Residents living in the area were alerted to the leak by a very loud hissing or roaring sound and the odor of natural gas. Residents continue to report smelling natural gas and complain of headaches and other health symptoms, according to media reports. The storage well is one of 10 operating storage wells and two observation wells located at the Rager facility, according to the company.
Environmentalists breathe sigh of relief in Pennsylvania
Environmentalists in Pennsylvania breathed a sigh of relief as the midterm election results rolled in — with their favored candidates in the major races defeating opponents widely viewed as climate-change skeptics and pro-drilling advocates. It remains unclear who will dominate the legislature, both chambers of which have been controlled by Republicans in recent years, though Democrats say they expect to have enough votes to take back the House. Josh Shapiro, the state’s current attorney general, defeated Doug Mastriano by a landslide, 56% to 42%. Because of Mastriano’s stance on climate issues, the League of Conservation Voters had named him one of the 12 worst environmental candidates in the nation at the state and local level.
European Energy Prices Rise as US LNG Plant Set to Stay Offline
Benchmark gas futures jumped as much as 13%, following an increase of 16% on Monday. Freeport LNG in Texas will likely extend an outage that began in June, increasing global competition for much-needed supplies right before the winter. Freeport LNG told buyers it will likely cancel shipments scheduled for November and December as work continues on repairs and regulatory approvals before a restart, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The plant previously accounted for about 15% of US shipments of the fuel, and the outage extension is set to increase the competition for cargoes in Europe and Asia.
Natural Gas Flaring Is Set to Rebound in Permian Basin
Operators in America’s biggest shale oil basin are set to significantly increase the amount of natural gas they burn into the atmosphere because of a lack of pipeline capacity to ship it elsewhere, according to Rystad Energy. Permian Basin gas production has rebounded more quickly than oil since the pandemic, leaving pipelines effectively maxed out. It will be the latter half of next year before several major pipeline expansions come online to ease the shortage. Producers that haven’t yet secured space on existing pipes face a stark choice: throttle back gas and halt more valuable oil production, or continue to pump crude and burn off the excess gas.
Germany opens first quay to import liquefied natural gas
The quay is the first in Germany to be adapted to accommodate a floating LNG terminal that allows ships to deliver gas in liquid form. The jetty will house a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) ship, which is expected to be permanently stationed there. The Norwegian vessel, named Höegh Esperanza, is expected to moor at the quay in December. The environment minister for the state of Lower Saxony, Christian Meyer, said the terminal would help secure Germany’s energy supplies in the short term.
The citizen scientists of Crackerland: Armed with buckets and hunting plastic pellets, neighbors prepare for the petro plant next door
In Beaver County, as Shell’s hulking petrochemical plant slowly scales toward full capacity, a growing network of local citizens is doggedly watching the facility. Among the communities surrounding the cracker plant, as it’s known, residents are organizing to keep tabs on their new industrial neighbor. Some are installing air monitors and cameras on their homes, and others are gathering samples from the water’s edge. Many are documenting their experiences and observations as the plant spurs changes to their neighborhoods. Soon, Shell will need to apply to the state Department of Environmental Protection [DEP] and federal Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] for a Title V permit that would essentially allow the plant to operate for five years. In anticipation of a future public comment period, the citizen scientists and watchdogs of Eyes on Shell are gathering data that could be a lynchpin of resident input into that process.
Microplastics pervade even top-quality streams in Pennsylvania, study finds
Another common source of microplastic pollution is “nurdles,” tiny polyethylene pellets made by petrochemical manufacturers as a feedstock for plastics. Pennsylvania environmentalists fear that “nurdle” pollution in the western part of the state will worsen with the imminent opening of a massive plant in Beaver County in western Pennsylvania where the oil giant Shell will convert ethane from the state’s rich natural gas reserves into pellets for use by plastic manufacturers. For wildlife, microplastics can cause malnutrition or even starvation when animals eat the fragments, thinking they are food, and fail to obtain the nutrition they need. Wild creatures are also susceptible to toxic chemicals, such as PCBs, that attach themselves to the plastic fragments.