Category Archives: Philadelphia

MATCOR’s Official Ribbon-Cutting Conducted By Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor James Cawley

Celebrating the completion of a new manufacturing and headquarters building by hosting an Open House.

MATCORMATCOR, Inc. the trusted full-service provider of proprietary cathodic protection products, systems, and corrosion engineering solutions celebrated the completion of its state-of-the-art manufacturing plant and headquarters by hosting an Open House on May 29, 2013. The festivities were held at the company’s new corporate headquarters in Chalfont, PA.

The new 47,000 square foot building represents MATCOR’s continued growth and success. With this expansion MATCOR continues to grow its manufacturing capabilities in PA to better meet client’s needs, while improving the facilities and the work environment for its colleagues, and by creating jobs and community development within MATCOR’s local geography.

The official ribbon-cutting was conducted by Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor James Cawley, a former Commissioner of Bucks County.   “We are honored to have Lieutenant Governor Cawley here to celebrate this important company milestone”, said Jeff Stello, President & CEO.  “His participation is extremely relevant because the Lieutenant Governor helped guide the Marcellus Shale Commission for safe and reliable development of shale gas in the Commonwealth”, added Stello. MATCOR is deeply involved in the Marcellus Shale by providing its expertise and Pennsylvania-manufactured corrosion-prevention solutions to the oil and gas industry operating throughout Pennsylvania.

For the 100 plus guests, MATCOR provided food and refreshments, tours of the manufacturing facilities, and an opportunity for customers and vendors to meet employees from all departments and across the MATCOR team. Visitors commented on the welcoming and professional feel of the new office space. During the plant tours, visitors were impressed by the manufacturing operation, MATCOR’s focus on quality and safety, and the innovative automated manufacturing processes.

Attendees included customers from throughout the region, along with notable public officials from the Commonwealth, local municipalities and counties, and other regional businesses leaders.

ABOUT MATCOR

MATCOR is a leading provider of ISO 9001:2008-certified cathodic protection products. Learn more about our services and cathodic protection installation that carry a 10 year guarantee. MATCOR offers the latest insights on anodes for cathodic protectioncathodic protection equipment and more.

Marcellus Shale Gas Impact Fee Proceeds Above $400M

HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Corbett has announced that the Marcellus Shale Impact Fee, part of Act 13, signed into law in February of 2012, has brought in more than $400 million dollars in its first two years.

“Act 13 is a law that has helped bring Pennsylvania forward both economically and environmentally,” Corbett said. “In addition to enacting some of the most rigorous environmental standards in the nation, we’ve brought in more than $400 million for our communities directly impacted by unconventional drilling, along with other environmental efforts across the state.”

“As this industry grows, benefitting all Pennsylvanians with thousands of new jobs, lower energy prices, and increased energy independence, Act 13 has played a key part in our role making sure that it grows safely and responsibly,” Corbett said.

Collections for 2012 were due to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) by April 1.

Nearly $198 million is expected to come into the state from the 2012 collections. This is in addition to the $204 million collected during the first round of collections. The 2012 amounts were released yesterday.

The collections this year are slightly lower than last year due mainly to the lower price of natural gas.

Information on the amount of money expected for 2012, as well as the amount of money collected to date, can be found on the Act 13 page on the PUC’s website, www.puc.pa.gov.

SOURCE: http://gantdaily.com/2013/04/05/corbett-impact-fee-proceeds-above-400m-198m-collected-for-2012/

Proposed Columbia Gas Pipeline – Philadelphia Area

In recent headlines from the Marcellus Shale natural gas boom, a major interstate pipeline company wants to expand its transmission network in the Philadelphia area to deliver more gas to customers.

Columbia Gas Transmission Group (A MATCOR client) submitted plans Monday with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) outlining a public campaign for its $210 million project.

The East Side Expansion Project, so named because it adds capacity to the eastern part of Columbia’s 16-state system, includes installing a 20-inch-diameter pipeline on a 7.5-mile route in Gloucester County and a 26-inch-diameter pipeline for 8.9 miles in Chester County.

“We are responding to a demand for increasing capacity of natural gas from our customers,” said Brendan C. Neal, community relations and stakeholder outreach manager for the transmission company, a subsidiary of NiSource Inc.

The new and larger pipes with greater capacity, which would be buried alongside existing Columbia pipelines, will require the company to acquire additional right-of-way from adjoining property owners. But the project is less likely to create public apprehension than a pipeline crossing virgin countryside.

“Since they’re running along an existing line, it does limit some of the concerns,” said Lyman Barnes, administrator of Logan Township, Gloucester County.

The work would expand capacity on a part of Columbia’s pipeline that runs from New York state to Virginia through Southeastern Pennsylvania. The existing line connects to the Millenium Pipeline near Port Jervis, N.Y., and transports Marcellus gas southward to Downingtown, where an eastward extension goes under the Delaware River into South Jersey.

The new line would expand supply options for the West Deptford Energy Station, a 738-megawatt gas-fired power plant being built in Gloucester County by LS Power Group. That plant, scheduled to go into service next year, would consume up to 80 million cubic feet of gas a day.

Columbia will increase capacity on its existing pipeline mostly by adding more horsepower to compressor stations in Milford and Easton, Pa., which will push greater volumes of gas though the pipes. Those station expansions are likely to attract the attention of environmental activists, who have objected to air emissions from other such projects.

Pipeline infrastructure designed to deliver natural gas from traditional production areas in the Gulf Coast states is being reconfigured to accommodate new Appalachian shale production.

The project would require FERC approval. The papers filed on Monday with the federal agency were a request to initiate a “prefiling,” which would include public meetings in April before the company formally files its application with the commission in August. Columbia anticipates FERC would authorize construction by June 2014.

SOURCE: http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20130228_Major_interstate_pipeline_firm_wants_to_expand_its_network_in_Phila__area.html

US East Coast Refineries Coming Back to Life

The shutdown of several refineries serving the Northeast and the possibility they would not reopen threatened to boost New England’s already­ high gasoline prices by as much as 15 cents a gallon was a reality 1 year ago.

But an influx of cheaper crude oil extracted from shale rock formations in the United States has helped save most of those facilities and stabilized gas ­prices.

The influx of domestic crude, known as “tight oil,” has allowed East Coast refineries to decrease their reliance on more expensive foreign oil, increase profit margins, and regain their economic competitiveness, refinery operators say. They estimate the domestic crude cuts oil costs by a few dollars per barrel, which can have a huge impact on their bottom line.

“A savings of $1 per barrel across our entire refining system is worth several hundred million dollars of net income to Phillips 66,” said Dennis Nuss, spokesman for the Houston company operating the Bayway refinery in New Jersey.

In Philadelphia, domestic supplies have helped resurrect a facility that accounts for nearly one-fourth of East Coast refining capacity. It was put up for sale in 2011 and expected to close for good last summer as high oil prices and slackening demand made it barely profitable. Today, it is refining up to 330,000 barrels of oil a day, getting about 10 percent of its crude from the Bakken shale formation in North Dakota.

Phil Rinaldi, chief executive of Philadelphia Energy Solutions, the company that now operates the refinery, said the domestic supplies are pressuring foreign producers to keep their prices competitive.

“It allows us for the first time in a very long time to have some genuine diversity of supply,” he said. “The shale plays are game-changers.”

Learn how MATCOR provides Turnkey Cathodic Protection Solutions to these “game-changers.”

Last week, the average Massachusetts gas price was $3.68 a gallon, 12 cents higher than a year ago and up 25 cents in the last month alone, according to AAA Southern New England. If the refineries had stayed shuttered, however, prices would have been driven even higher, analysts believe.

SOURCE: http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2013/02/18/shale-oil-reviving-east-coast-refineries/kBQmoNp4RNdXU4KREkv6sM/story.html

Natural gas growth means more pipelines in Chesco

WEST CHESTER – Local officials look to Columbia Gas Transmission’s plans to install another pipeline as an inevitable progression in Chester County due to the growth of the natural gas business in Pennsylvania.

“As I’ve often said, Chester County is already pipeline-central, and their numbers are going to increase, not decrease, in the years ahead,” said State Senator Andy Dinniman, D-19th of West Whiteland. “I am not against natural gas. I am for protecting our communities, our property values and our natural resources like the Brandywine Creek against harm from companies simply looking to get their product to ports in Philadelphia, Wilmington or Baltimore – or anywhere else – as quickly as possible.”

Columbia Gas Transmission is planning to install 8.8 miles of natural gas pipeline that will travel from the Eagle Compression Station and into West Bradford.

State Senator Andy Dinniman on Friday said that the natural gas pipeline proposed for Chester County by Columbia Gas Transmission is only the latest and will certainly be followed by others as the natural gas industry moves more and more Marcellus Shale natural gas to market.

Dinniman said this is why he took the lead last year in demanding the strictest state oversight of Williams Gas Pipeline’s 7-mile pipeline replacement project, and why he is introducing a three-bill package aimed at increasing the public’s ability to stay informed about pipeline projects and at protecting people’s homes, communities, and taxpayer-funded farmland from being harmed by pipeline projects.

According to Chevalier Mayes, communications manager for NiSource Gas Transmission & Storage, the pipeline, 26 inches in diameter, will affect 180 landowners in the pipeline’s right-of-way once construction for the project begins, which is anticipated to begin in April 2015. The pipeline is expected to be operational in September of that year, and would lie adjacent to an existing pipeline which is also owned by NiSource, parent company of Columbia Gas.

Mayes also said that the expansion project is a planned response for the need to meet increased demand for additional capacity in natural gas traveling through pipelines.

Columbia’s next steps for the project will be to enter into the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s pre-filing process. The purpose of requesting entry into the commission’s pre-filing process is to allow stakeholder and environmental issues to be identified and resolved at earlier stages in the project’s development and planning. According to Martin Indars, spokesman for state Sen. Andy Dinniman, D-19th of West Whiteland, the pre-filing process is expected to begin later this month.

Tommy Ryan, township manager of West Bradford, said that although representatives from NiSource, the parent company of Columbia Gas, had reached out late last year to advise them of their intended pipeline, he hopes that communication will not cease there. While NiSource representatives have contacted residents in the pipeline’s Right of Way, as well as to those within 50 feet of it, Ryan said he expects regular updates from NiSource as they move through the approval and installation process. About 14 properties will be directly affected by the pipeline in West Bradford.

According to Mayes, once they have entered into the pre-filing process, Columbia representatives will notify the public through open houses and other informational events. Those types of meetings will be ongoing throughout the project until the pipeline is operational.

A toll-free number will become available at an unknown later date and company representatives will be available to answer any questions stakeholders may have.

The pipeline is part of Columbia’s Side Expansion project, which will feature looping pipelines in both Chester County and Gloucester County, N.J. The pipeline will cross wetlands and waterways in the area; however, the exact number of crossings has not yet been determined.

SOURCE: http://www.dailylocal.com/article/20130210/NEWS/130219975/natural-gas-growth-means-more-pipelines-in-chesco#full_story

Natural-gas royalties could top $1.2 billion in Pennsylvania

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.

“We used to have to put stuff on credit cards. It was basically living from paycheck to paycheck,” said Shawn Georgetti, who runs a family dairy farm in Avella, about 30 miles southwest of Pittsburgh.

Natural gas production has boomed in many states over the past few years, as advances in drilling opened up vast reserves buried in deep shale rock, such as the Marcellus formation in Pennsylvania and the Barnett in Texas.

Nationwide, the royalty owners association estimates, natural gas royalties totaled $21 billion in 2010, the most recent year for which it has conducted a full analysis. Texas paid the most in gas royalties that year, about $6.7 billion, followed by Wyoming at $2 billion and Alaska at $1.9 billion.

Exact estimates of natural gas royalty payments aren’t possible because contracts and wholesale prices of gas vary, and specific tax information is private. But some states release estimates of the total revenue collected for all royalties, and feedback on thousands of contracts has led the royalty owners association to conclude that the average royalty is 18.75 percent of gas production.

“Our fastest-growing state chapter is our Pennsylvania chapter, and we just formed a North Dakota chapter,” said Jerry Simmons, the director of the association, which was founded in 1980 and is based in Oklahoma. “We’ve seen a lot of new people, and new questions.”

Simmons said he hasn’t heard of anyone getting less than 12.5 percent, and that’s also the minimum rate set by law in Pennsylvania.

By comparison, a 10 percent to 25 percent range is similar to what a top recording artist might get in royalties from CD sales, while a novelist normally gets a 12.5 percent to 15 percent royalty on hardcover book sales.

Before Range Resources drilled a well on the family property in 2012, Georgetti said, he was stuck using 30-year-old equipment, with no way to upgrade without going seriously into debt.

“You don’t have that problem anymore. It’s a lot more fun to farm,” Georgetti said.

SOURCE: http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20130129_Natural-gas_royalties_could_top__1_2_billion_in_Pa_.html

Williams Partners gets FERC approval for pipeline

Williams Partners LP said Wednesday that it received federal approval for a $341 million expansion of the Transco natural gas pipeline, which should expand capacity in the Northeast by this time next year.

Williams said the project will expand the Transco Leidy Line and Transco mainline in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, to transport natural gas to the Northeast. It will add 12 miles of new pipe, mostly along existing pipeline routes, and a compressor facility in Essex County, N.J.

Construction of the compressor station begins this month, with pipeline construction starting in the spring. The new line should be in service by November 2013, the company said.

The project needed approval of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

SOURCE: http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2012-11-07/williams-partners-gets-ferc-approval-for-pipeline

Gas-products pipeline to advance Marcus Hook refinery’s rebirth

Sunoco announced Wednesday that its shuttered Marcus Hook refinery will be reborn as a facility to process Marcellus Shale natural-gas products, fueling new construction and new traffic through the Delaware River port.

Sunoco’s pipeline subsidiary, Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P., is moving forward with a plan to transport high-value propane and ethane by pipeline from western Pennsylvania to Marcus Hook, where the materials will be processed in a new plant and shipped by sea to domestic and export markets.

State officials hailed the project – which Sunoco calls Mariner East – as a big boost for Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale industry by connecting the areas producing natural gas in western Pennsylvania to markets linked to Philadelphia.

“I have long held that the Marcellus Shale is an important resource that over time would benefit the entire commonwealth,” Gov. Corbett said in a statement.

The pipeline project is the latest industrial venture built on confidence that the Marcellus Shale, where full-scale production began barely four years ago, represents a long-term, reliable energy supply.

Sunoco Logistics announced the Mariner East project in 2010 as a way to repurpose an existing, underused Sunoco pipeline that has historically moved refined products from east to west.

Sunoco Logistics and its partner, MarkWest Energy Partners L.P., conceived of reversing the flow of the pipeline to move the abundance of natural-gas liquids derived from the “wet” gas produced in western Pennsylvania. MarkWest, based in Denver, is a leading processor of natural-gas liquids.

The Mariner East project envisions moving ethane and propane from Marcus Hook by sea to petrochemical plants overseas or along the Gulf Coast that value the natural-gas liquids as a raw material for plastics.

Range Resources Corp., the Marcellus pioneer whose drilling operations are concentrated in liquids-rich parts of southwestern Pennsylvania, has signed a 15-year agreement as the anchor shipper. Range has committed to provide 40,000 barrels of the project’s 70,000-barrel-per-day capacity.

Range Resources, based in Fort Worth, Texas, has already lined up a customer for its ethane. It announced Wednesday that it has signed a separate 15-year agreement with affiliates of INEOS A.G., a Swiss petrochemical producer that will take delivery of the material at Sunoco’s Marcus Hook docks. INEOS has plants in Europe, the Americas, and Asia.

SOURCE: http://articles.philly.com/2012-09-26/business/34103609_1_ethane-sunoco-logistics-pipeline-project

Gov. Corbett: Marcellus betters society

PHILADELPHIA — Gov. Tom Corbett on Thursday placed high hopes on the development of the Marcellus Shale to help him achieve his goals for Pennsylvania.

“I’m convinced that we’re beginning a new industrial revolution for the U.S. and especially for Pennsylvania,” he said at the Marcellus Shale Coalition’s annual Shale Gas Insight Conference in Philadelphia.

By the end of his tenure, which he hopes will be in six years, the governor envisions having accomplished three things.

“I want the state on sound financial footing,” he said. “I want the state to be able to say that every Pennsylvanian who wants a job has a job. And I want every person in this state trained and educated for the jobs of the 21st century.”

The gas industry’s economic contribution to the state is furthering those goals, he said.

“The Marcellus boom isn’t simply about advancing business. It’s about advancing society,” Corbett said.

In fact, during recent travels to Germany and France, the governor touted the region’s cheap energy and strategic location for foreign businesses looking to locate in the U.S.

Corbett said the anti-severance tax crowd was vindicated last week when the state received its first round of impact fee payments that neared $200 million.

“We got that right,” he said. “That’s the difference between throwing together a quick fix and planning for real progress.”

A severance tax would have brought in half of that, he said. Last week, the Pennsylvania Budget & Policy Centerdisagreed.

As convention center security kept watch over the planned anti-fracking protests outside of the building, Corbett also fired some shots at those who oppose natural gas extraction.

“We are advancing even in the face or unreasoning opposition,” he said. “Opponents agree that we can land a rover on Mars, but can’t bring themselves to think that we can safely drill a mile into our own soil.”

The governor also credited shale development with saving one of the three Philadelphia refineries that were on the chopping block at this time last year.

On Sept. 19, Philadelphia Energy Solutions announced its plans to process shale gas at the former Sunoco refinery.

Corbett said he can easily see a time when all three refineries will be turning Marcellus gas into liquid fuels and chemical feedstocks.

The governor apologized to the crowd for missing last year’s conference because of flooding in southeastern Pennsylvania and thanked participants for creating jobs in the state. As he walked out to music resembling the theme from Star Wars, Corbett received a partial standing ovation.

SOURCE: http://www.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/blog/energy/2012/09/corbett-marcellus-betters-society.html?page=all

12 SEPTA railcars damaged by Hurricane Irene could take weeks to fix – Corrosion Issues

Twelve of the 16 SEPTA railcars stuck in Trenton during Hurricane Irene will be sidelined for weeks as water damage is repaired, SEPTA officials said.

Caught by the unexpected rise of a creek that was “not on our radar screen,” SEPTA rail operations managers realized too late that the trains could be in harm’s way.

They say they will shuffle cars in SEPTA’s 365-car fleet to deal with the shortage created by the missing 12 on the Trenton line.

The rapid rise of the Assunpink Creek, which flows next to the tracks near the Trenton station, left 16 SEPTA cars stranded. Four were on tracks far enough north to avoid flood damage and have been returned to service.

But the other 12 incurred extensive corrosion and damage to their electrical motors, said Luther Diggs, SEPTA’s assistant general manager of operations. He said it might take weeks or months to repair the cars and return them to service. He did not estimate how much the repairs would cost.

“It’s not going to be easy,” Diggs said. “We’re digging into it now. We did see a lot of corrosion. Those cars sat up there a long time.”

Diggs said the absence of the cars would not cause much overcrowding for SEPTA passengers because newly arrived Silverliner V (see photo above) cars are beginning to ease SEPTA’s chronic shortage of cars.

“It should be invisible to our passengers,” Diggs said.

Diggs said SEPTA relied on previous storm experience in assuming it could safely leave the cars in Trenton during Hurricane Irene.

And five of the cars would have left on regularly scheduled runs to Philadelphia hours before Irene hit if Amtrak had not halted all train service on that section of the Northeast Corridor shortly before the trains were scheduled to depart, Diggs said.

Amtrak and NJ Transit stored out-of-service trains at their rail yard in Morrisville and they escaped damage, but SEPTA does not have a nearby yard.

Ron Hopkins, SEPTA’s chief control center officer, said SEPTA officials had tracked National Weather Service predictions for a number of creeks in SEPTA’s service area, and moved railcars and other vehicles out of the way, following standard pre-storm procedures.

But the Assunpink was not one that SEPTA was watching.

The creek, which is normally less than four feet deep, crested at 15.1 feet after Irene, setting a record, Hopkins said. As recently as 2007, the stream had risen to 13 feet without causing a problem, he said.

The creek crested at 14.6 feet in a 1976 storm, but that was before SEPTA took over operations of the railroad.

“The Assunpink never has been on our radar screen before,” Diggs said. “It just came out of nowhere.”

If they had it to do over again, SEPTA officials said, they would have moved the cars to a Philadelphia-area yard before the storm, or shifted them north to the Ham Interlocking area, where the other four cars remained above water.

SOURCE: http://articles.philly.com/2011-09-06/news/30118882_1_septa-officials-cars-train-service