U.S. energy companies left the oil rig count unchanged this week as the rate of growth has slowed over the past month or so with a decline in crude prices from late May through late June. U.S. crude prices were on track to fall almost 4% this week as escalating U.S.-China trade tensions threatened to hurt oil demand after last week rising to their highest level since November 2014. The number of active oil rigs held steady at 863 in the week to July 13, Baker Hughes, a GE company, said in its weekly report. More than half the total oil rigs are in Permian Basin in west Texas and eastern New Mexico, the nation’s biggest shale oil field. Active units there increased by one this week to 475, the most in a month.


North Dakota has reached new records in both oil and gas production, according to preliminary data released by the state’s Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) on July 13.  The state, where the core of the Bakken/Three Forks play is located, produced roughly 1.2 million barrels per day of oil in May—an increase of about 17,000 barrels from the last record set in December 2014. “This is a very encouraging time for North Dakota as oil and gas operators and service companies have developed drilling rigs that are twice as efficient as they were in 2014 to drill and complete permitted wells,” Lynn Helms, director of the North Dakota DMR, said in a statement. “Closing the gap between current wells producing and the wells capable of producing will add to 2018 production numbers so we should continue to reach new highs.”

Tom.jpg?resize=75%2C95Tom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.


The Energy Information Administration reports natural gas-fired electricity generation continues to increase as CO2 emissions continue to drop as a result.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported yesterday that natural gas-fired electricity generation is up again and continues to grow. Meanwhile, our CO2 emissions are down to 1992 levels when our Gross Domestic Product was but a third of what it is today. It’s no coincidence.

Here’s the electricity generation story from the EIA (emphasis added):

EIA’s July 2018 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) expects natural gas-fired power plants to supply 37% of U.S. electricity generation this summer (June, July, and August), near the record-high natural gas-fired generation share in summer 2016. EIA forecasts the share of generation from coal-fired power plants will drop slightly to 30% in summer 2018, continuing a multi-year trend of lower coal-fired electricity generation.


The share of electricity generation supplied by natural gas-fired power plants has increased over the past decade, while the share supplied by coal has fallen, primarily as a result of sustained low natural gas prices, increases in natural gas-fired capacity, and retirements of coal-fired generating capacity. Over the three-year period from 2015 to 2017, the cost of natural gas delivered to electric generators averaged $3.16 per million Btu (MMBtu), compared with $7.69/MMBtu between 2006 and 2008.

The combination of relatively low natural gas prices, environmental regulations, and supportive renewable energy policies has led the industry to build new natural gas-fired and renewable capacity and to retire coal-fired power plants. As reported on EIA’s Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory, power plant operators added 5.4 gigawatts (GW) of new natural gas-fired generating capacity during the first four months of 2018 with an additional 15 GW scheduled to come online through the end of the year. This addition would be the largest increase in natural gas capacity since 2004. The electric industry also added 2.6 GW of new utility-scale solar and wind generating capacity during the first four months of the year, with an additional 9.6 GW scheduled to come online by the end of 2018. More than 10 GW of coal-fired capacity was retired over the 12-month period ending April 2018.

EIA forecasts the delivered cost of natural gas will average $3.16/MMBtu this summer, 2% lower than the average cost during the summer of 2017. In contrast, the cost of coal delivered to electric generators is forecast to rise slightly this summer. The continued low cost of natural gas, along with the recent additions of natural gas-fired capacity and retirements of coal power plants, drive EIA’s expectation that natural gas will contribute a growing share of electricity generation this summer, while coal’s share will fall.

Last week, using some additional data from the EIA, Energy in Depth picked up on what these natural gas trends mean for CO2 emissions, the basics being reflected in this outstanding chart:


Energy In Depth also notes this startling piece of information:

New Energy Information Administration (EIA) data released this week show that U.S. per capita carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are at their lowest levels since 1950. As the second column from the right from the following EIA chart shows, 2017 U.S. per capita CO2 emissions were 15.8 metric tons per person, their lowest levels in 67 years.

Interestingly, the data also shows emissions per real dollar of gross domestic product have declined to their lowest point ever. Measured in something called “chained million dollars” at the 2009 value of a dollar, metric tons of CO2 emissions have declined from an estimated 1,091 in 1950 to 301 in 2017. That’s a 72.4% drop over the 67 years meaning things have been getting steadily better, not worse, thanks largely to energy efficiency gains and things such as nuclear energy, natural gas and, yes, even renewables. We’ve simply gotten a lot smarter about the way we produce and use energy.

One of the very smartest things we’ve done, though, is to develop our shale gas resources. The shale revolution was an absolute miracle. The following chart, taken from the EIA data illustrated vividly:


Viva La Shale Revolution!


The post Natural Gas-Fired Electricity Generation Up; CO2 Emissions Down appeared first on Natural Gas Now.

New Brunswick’s energy minister says he’d like to see another nuclear reactor built in the Maritime province, The Canadian Press reported.

Rick Doucet said the development of small modular reactors could present a significant economic and export opportunity, Kallanish Energy understands.

U.S.-based Advanced Reactor Concepts announced this week it will commit $5 million to operations and research in New Brunswick. The company wants to build small, 100-megawatt reactors it describes as “inherently safe.”

NB Power president Gaetan Thomas says such reactors can be cost-efficient and complement renewable power sources.

The New Brunswick government recently announced it will spend $10 million to create a nuclear research cluster.

New Brunswick’s 660 MW Candu reactor at Point Lepreau is the only nuclear power plant in Atlantic Canada.

17d9481.jpg?resize=75%2C85Jim Willis
Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)


Developer of the proposed Ulster County 20 megawatt power plant fired back at “several inaccurate assertions” made by the County Executive.

Another case of irrational fossil fuel hatred has cropped up in (surprise!) New York State, in Ulster County (Hudson Valley area). This time the hater is Democrat County Executive Michael Hein. He doesn’t want a teeny tiny 20 megawatt gas-fired electric generating plant because he’d rather have thousands of acres plastered with solar panels and/or windmills, to produce the same drop of electricity this small gas-fired plant would produce.


Ulster County Executive Mike Hein. (Photo by Phyllis McCabe)

We have to wonder: Why is no one calling for psychological tests of these people? They are literally insane! Pathological conditions. Hein is fine with solar panels and windmills junking up the landscape, but not with a single tiny power plant that nobody would even see. Why? Because it doesn’t have the word “renewable” in the title. And because it uses an evil, vile, nasty “fossil fuel” called natural gas to power it.

The plant, proposed by GlidePath, is a “peaker.” It’s a small electric generating plant (powered by natural gas) that doesn’t even run most of the time! It only comes online during “peak” electric demand periods–times when the grid needs some extra juice. It’s used to avoid blackouts, like the one happening right now in Los Angeles.

But perhaps Hein and his buddy Andy Cuomo actually *want* New Yorkers to experience prolonged blackouts? GlidePath has responded, strongly, to the blithering idiot Hein, to set the record straight and correct Hein’s lies. Prepare to enter through the Looking Glass.

Ulster County Executive Michael Hein has turned lobbyist in an effort to keep GlidePath developers from getting approval for a proposed 20-megawatt electric generating plant in the town of Ulster.

In a telephone interview Friday, Hein said he has met with officials with the state Public Service Commission and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to lay out his concerns about the proposed project.

“The question really is (about) projects that are inconsistent with the governor’s stated targets for transition to renewable sources versus further expanding a fossil fuel-based system,” he said.

Hein said having the ear of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority is important because it provides financial incentives for electricity producers.

“Since they fund significant … commitments to energy projects, they may well play a role in the underlying economics,” he said.

GlidePath, under the name Lincoln Park DG LLC, has proposed to use about three acres of a 122-acre project site, which consist of three parcels that are owned by Kingston Landing LLC and extend from Miron Lane to state Route 32.

Hein described the project has test case for whether similar projects could be proposed in other parts of the county.

“The bigger, overarching issue … (is) because of the way these government policies currently exist, the very real possibly of this project, which is not tied to renewables, as well as many others, could dot our landscape, and that’s not something I’m OK with,” he said.

Hein noted that the county Legislature’s Democratic caucus has submitted a letter in opposition to the project.

“There is clearly shared concern that a county that is such an environmental model like Ulster County is being targeted and … that it is easier to get permits specifically because we have clean air and that’s one of the prerequisites for this type of plant,” he said. “You have to get an air quality permit and it’s easier to get in a place like this, where air quality is higher, rather than in places closer to (New York) City.”

Hein argues that GlidePath’s plans for a 50,000-gallon diesel storage tank and for the project to be serviced by natural gas make the project incompatible with the county’s environmental goals.

“This type of project … is something we would not have engaged in,” Hein said. “It’s the fact that there is underlying regulation that open up all Ulster County for these types of fossil fuel plants.”

GlidePath Chief Development Officer Peter Rood was not immediately available Friday for comment, but in a July 2 letter to Hein argued that other systems have been considered for the facilities.

“Traditional thermal generators, cutting-edge energy storage and renewable sources like wind, water, and solar can be understood as sort of energy ecosystem — these facilities all have their pros and cons,” he wrote. “But at this point in human history and advancement of technology, we really need each and every type of energy producer active and online in order for the system to work well as a whole. … We have done our homework in designing this project and we firmly believe that there are no other technologies that can provide these services with the reliability any community would expect and at a cost that ratepayers would willingly accept.”

Hein said he was able to get the state agencies to acknowledge that the plant, which is proposed to provide electricity during periods of high demand on the grid, is being proposed because the New York City metropolitan area is seen as having the greatest demand.

Rood, in his letter, also contends the project meets goals set by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and officials from both agencies Hein met with.

“Governor Cuomo announced in January a statewide target of 1,500 megawatts of energy storage by 2025,” Rood wrote. “On June 21, (the state Public Service Commission) and NYSERDA released their Energy Storage Roadmap. … Hybridized projects, just like (Lincoln Park) are cited as one of the near-term, economically attractive opportunities that can be deployed to help New York meet its storage target.”

GlidePath fired back:

Last month, Ulster County Executive Michael Hein released a statement of opposition to a 20-megawatt electric generating power plant proposed for the Town of Ulster, a project he said he believed, “threatens our citizens and our environment.” This week, GlidePath Power Solutions, LLC, the company behind the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center power plant, responded.

In a letter addressed to Hein by Peter Rood, GlidePath’s chief development officer, sought to address what he called “misconceptions about our company and the proposed project” in Hein’s June 14 letter to the New York State Department of Public Service (DPS) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), as well as a meeting between developers and the county executive on Wednesday, June 27.

“Your letter, unfortunately, makes several inaccurate assertions about the project,” wrote Rood. “While we were disappointed to not have been invited to speak directly with you about the county’s concerns, nor to have had the opportunity to provide you with accurate information prior to publication of your letter, we appreciate the subsequent meeting with you and your staff. GlidePath remains willing to work with the county and other stakeholders to address each of those stated concerns herein.”

The GlidePath-run power plant, currently undergoing an environmental review, would operate on a small parcel of a 121-acre site off Frank Sottile Boulevard. According to developer Lincoln Park DG LLC’s plans, a building housing the equipment would stand for between 30-40 feet in height; an exhaust stack would rise above the structure, and though developers were initially determined to keep that below the 100-foot height limit for the area, though developers several weeks ago said they’d scaled back the proposed height to around 80 feet, and hoped to get the stack lower than the tree line along the property, which is roughly 70 feet high. The project would include the 20 MW lithium ion battery array, and natural gas-powered reciprocating engine generators which would switch to on-site low-sulfur diesel stored in a tank if the gas supply is disrupted.


Lincoln Park Grid Support Center project site

Hein’s public statement, released on Friday, June 15, said he’d one day earlier sought aid from NYSERDA and the Public Service Commission in suspending the project until policy changes could be enacted to “allow for a non-fossil fuel alternative, such as a battery-only or battery with renewable facility.”

“Current state and federal policy is severely flawed and is in stark contrast to Governor Cuomo’s stated environmental goals,” said Hein in his statement. “As a result of these policies, Ulster County is now faced with a fossil fuel project that includes gas engines, hundred foot smokestacks, and air pollution impacts. If this project is allowed to proceed, the result will be a lose-lose outcome that will negatively impact our quality of life and further entrench the fossil fuel industry as well as the market for ‘fracked’ gas.”

Hein said the project in its current incarnation is designed to benefit downstate communities and investors rather than the local community in which it would sit, adding that more rigorous oversight could result in projects like the one proposed by Lincoln Park DG LLC becoming better for the environment, the economy and the local community.

“With the right state and federal policy changes, this project could be transformed into one that supports the growth of our local tax base while avoiding greenhouse gas emissions and protecting our residents,” Hein said. “In Ulster County, we believe that what strengthens our environment also strengthens our community and our economy and by hosting the best and most advanced renewable energy and storage projects, we can do just that.”

But Rood argued that there is a need for the project locally as a response to data published by the New York Independent System Operator about the need for addition resources in the state’s Zone G, which covers Ulster, Greene, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Sullivan and Rockland counties. Rood added that despite Hein’s contention, areas outside Zone G such as Westchester County, New York City or Long Island would be served by the Lincoln Park project.

“The project will benefit local residents, not metropolitan New York,” wrote Rood. “It is simply inaccurate to assert that the is proposed here in Ulster County only to serve the energy demands of New York City. The project will be connected to the low-voltage portion of the Lincoln Park substation, the same system to which numerous local businesses, homes and community facilities are currently connected. Because the grid operator is required to dispatch cheaper energy first, and will provide cheaper and cleaner energy, it will be utilized before the older, dirtier, fossil fuel plants in the region. All electric consumers across Ulster County would use and benefit from the reliability of services provided by the project because the LPGSC will offer the same service at a lower cost.”

Rood acknowledged that because of the interconnected statewide grid, it’s possible the state could pull energy from the Lincoln Park project to use elsewhere, though he added that it would be “extremely unlikely” that such a need would arise.

GlidePath also took exception to other issues raised by Hein, noting that the project actually aligns with Cuomo’s energy plans to source 50 percent of the state’s electricity from renewables and reduce greenhouse emissions by 40 percent by 2030.

“By providing a more efficient way to provide capacity and other ancillary services, the will displace the current providers of grid support services, which are often older fuel-oil and gas-turbine generators,” wrote Rood. “ will provide the same services with significantly less emissions.”

Rood added that the batteries would enable the project to provide frequency regulation services necessary to balance variations in output due to shifts in the environment from wind and sunlight.

While he said he understood concerns from Hein and local residents opposed to the project, Rood said that the developer would continue to be candid moving forward.

“We understand that the community is interested in fully understanding our project’s emissions and we have committed to sharing detailed data about our emissions, including sources, assumptions and calculations, throughout the SEQRA review and DEC permitting processes as we move though the SEQRA process,” Rood wrote. “We are happy to further discuss the constraints of today’s technology and why certain energy production and storage projects are required in particular regions.”

The next meeting of the Ulster Town Board is scheduled for Thursday, July 19.

Editor’s Note: Ulster County’s position is completely disingenuous and Mike Hein, the County Executive, is deceiving the public. He repeatedly claims the Ulster County uses 100% or more renewable energy. That’s not true. A review of the county tax records for its two main buildings—the Ulster County Office Building at 244 Fair Street and the Ulster County Office Complex at 1 Development Court in Kingston, indicates both are served by natural gas Hein doesn’t want produced in his county.

Hein’s claim of 100% or more renewable energy is based on the erroneous theory that energy produced by this 1.9 MW solar project on a county landfill (good idea if it weren’t for all the subsidies involved), for example, will go into the grid and offset the gas actually used to heat buildings. That theory is false. 


First, the solar project produces energy when it’s often not needed and often can’t produce it when it is needed. This means gas and electricity produced with gas are still very needed and there is no effective replacement for them. The solar project is redundant and bilks both ratepayers and taxpayers. 

Secondly, solar projects operate with a capacity factor of only roughly 25-35%, meaning the actual electricity generated is only about a third of the rated capacity, while natural gas plants today operate at a capacity factor of roughly two-thirds. Therefore, direct comparisons of solar and gas capacities inherently overstate the ability to substitute for gas even if the sun shined precisely when we wanted it to do so.

What Mike Hein is doing, most of the time, is buying and selling imaginary renewable energy that is actually provided by gas and, yet, wants none of the latter produced anywhere near him. How very Hudson Valley of him – how slimy green.


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The post Power Plant Developer Responds to Slimy Green Ulster County Executive appeared first on Natural Gas Now.

DMARKIND.jpg?resize=72%2C100Daniel B. Markind, Esq.
Weir and Partners, LLP


President Trump calls out German Chancellor Angela Merkel over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline deal she made with Russia, calling it “very inappropriate.”

President Donald Trump kicked off the 2018 NATO summit by blasting Germany over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline deal.  At the opening reception, Trump declared:

“We are protecting Germany, we are protecting France, we are protecting all of these countries and then numerous of the countries go out and make a pipeline deal with Russia where they are paying billions of dollars into the coffers of Russia.  I think that is very inappropriate.”

The Western press was stunned.  CNN posted as its website headline “Trump starts visit by insulting allies.”


Of course, readers and watchers of CNN probably have no idea what President Trump is talking about.  That network has been so busy talking about Michael Cohen, Rod Rosenstein and other sideshows it has ignored many of the world events that really shape our future.

If you think about it, it’s pretty incredible that readers of this blog, and the excerpts that I post sometimes on Linkedin and that get posted by other sites, are better informed about the Nord Stream 2 issues than readers and listeners of CNN, MSNBC or Fox.  My guess is that you will see a lot of scrambling today as these “news organizations” try to explain what the pipeline is all about.  It’s even possible that because of this, Stormy Daniels’s lawyer might not get on the air – at least for a day or two.

President Trump is absolutely right in both what he said about Nord Stream 2 and how he said it.  As I discussed last week, Nord Stream 2 is a problem from an economic standpoint in that it ties Germany more closely to Russia, it is bad environmentally because it encourages continued Russian development of natural gas without environmental constraints in a delicate Arctic ecosystem, and it is wrong politically in that it bypasses Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic States, cutting them off from transshipment payments.

Further, the Germans are doing this as they continue to fail to live up to their NATO commitment to spend 2% of the country’s GDP on defense.  As of 2016, only Greece, the UK, Estonia and Poland joined the US in living up to its NATO commitment.  Again as I mentioned last week, the Estonian Foreign Minister just came out against Nord Stream 2.


Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela

None of this has swayed German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who pushes forward with the pipeline plan.  Today she acted offended when the American President calls her out on it.

Much to the chagrin of the “smart set”, I imagine Donald Trump will get a lot of credit from Mr. and Ms. America for standing up to this sort of action by a European leader, which we have seen over and over again.  Don’t be surprised if the Baltic States and Poland reinforce President Trump’s concerns over Nord Stream 2 as the summit continues.  Donald Trump may have looked like the isolated leader coming into the NATO summit, but due to energy issues it may look very different coming out.

The post President Trump Blasts Germany Over Nord Stream 2 Deal appeared first on Natural Gas Now.

Hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGL) production at natural gas processing plants will increase from 3.7 million barrels per day (MMBPD) in 2017, to 4.3 MMBPD in 2018, and to 4.8 MMBPD in 2019, the Energy Information Administration states in the just-released Short-Term Energy Outlook.

HGLs produced at natural gas plants, including ethane, butane, propane, and natural gasoline, are expected to increase along with growth in natural gas production and natural gas processing plant capacity, Kallanish Energy learns.

However, EIA expects more than half of the 1.0 MMBPD increase in HGL production between 2017 and 2019 will stem from increased ethane production, as planned increases in demand for petrochemical plant feedstock in the U.S. and abroad lead to higher ethane recovery rates.