Sustained Outrage

Yesterday, Chesapeake Energy officials were tweeting away in an effort to downplay the potential impacts of their company’s decision to sign a long-term contract to transport 75,000 barrels of ethane per day from the Appalachian shale region to the Texas Gulf Coast:

“We believe 75,000 barrels a day is a fraction of the ethane that will be produced. The news is ABUNDANCE.”

“If we can get a price locally, we will sell locally. The pipeline agreement is not a sales agreement.”

Chesapeake’s Scott Rotruck had already told the Gazette’s Eric Eyre that this pipeline agreement would not be the end of West Virginia’s efforts to lure a “cracker” plant to our state. As Eric reported on Sunday:

Rotruck said the pipeline project actually could help West Virginia’s chances of recruiting a cracker plant to the state. Ethane supplies “should remain significant” in the region, he said.

Sites under consideration for the cracker plant include Bayer-owned properties in New Martinsville and Institute.

“This announcement should not preclude our state’s ability to attract an ethane cracking facility,” said Rotruck, Chesapeake’s vice president of corporate development. “It will help ensure robust Marcellus development, which must be demonstrated in order to build a cracker.

“Proper ethane management will be a multi-tiered solution, with possibilities for storage, pipeline and cracking facilities.”

But the West Virginia AFL-CIO is apparently not convinced. Here’s the press release they sent out yesterday evening:

John Dillinger, the famous bank robber of the 1930’s when asked why he robbed banks replied, that’s where the money is! Today if West Virginia working families, (who struggle each day due to the scarcity of good jobs), were to ask Chesapeake Energy CEO, Aubrey McClendon why he is robbing West Virginia we suspect he would answer; because that’s where the money is!

After reviewing a document from the American Chemistry Council we believe Chesapeake Energy’s decision to export up to 125,000 barrels of ethane per day, (from our valuable Marcellus shale natural resource), by pipeline to the gulf coast will potentially destroy any hope of as many as 12,000 West Virginia jobs and result in the loss of $800 billion in wages and tax revenue.

Is this justice for West Virginia working families or is it another example of an out of state corporation robbing us?

(The labor organization apparently got their numbers confused … Chesapeake’s deal involves up to 75,000 barrels per day, while 125,000 barrels per day is the entire capacity of the Enterprise Products Partners pipeline).

There’s some interesting discussion of the whole pipeline issue over at the Marcellus Drilling News site and the Energy Inc. blog from the Pittsburgh Business Times.