Sen. Manchin Questions Officials About Appalachian Storage

(September 11, 2019) — U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has closely questioned details of an $83-billion Chinese investment in his state. Manchin, a supporter of a proposed Appalachian NGL storage hub, expressed his concerns during a committee hearing to examine the importance of energy innovation to economic growth and competitiveness. Heard was testimony from Brian Anderson, director of the National Energy Technology Labora- tory and John Deskins, director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at West Virginia University.
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee defends USA propane supply from Chinese investors reports BPN the propane industry's leading source for news and information since 1939
The senator expressed his growing concern over the lack of transparency surrounding the Chinese investment in West Virginia’s energy sector under a memorandum of understanding (MOU). Manchin observed that the significant $83-billion investment is welcome “if it’s for capital expenditure.” As a point of comparison, he noted that his state’s entire budget is roughly $4 billion a year. However, he asserted the intent of the MOU remains unclear.

“If it’s for removing resources such as ethane, propane, butane, and making a commitment of taking all of our wet gas, which we use as a building block to reinvigorate our petrochemical base, then I would hope for the officials in my state of West Virginia, that is a nonstarter. We will do everything we can to prevent that from happening.” He added, “Bring your investments for capital improvements and capital expenditures; don’t bring your investments to try to think you’re going to rob us of our natural resources.”

Queried by Manchin about what development of an NGL storage hub and petrochemical revitalization could mean for West Virginia and the region, Deskins observed that while the ongoing surge in raw natural gas production in the state has been remarkable and beneficial, the number of jobs created is not close to offsetting jobs lost in the coal industry. Exporting raw natural gas to other states affords benefits, “but it’s not a transformative opportunity for West Virginia, it’s not going to allow us to achieve the prosperity we’ve been hoping for over the long run,” he said.

Deskins emphasized that an NGL storage hub is just part of the process, but keeping gas in West Virginia for use in chemicals and plastics production, and other types of manufacturing, would yield value-added benefits by the export of more valuable products. “To the extent that we can really achieve our full potential, and see the value-added manufacturing that could take place in West Virginia, can be a completely different and transformative experience for a state to bring in tens of thousands of high-paying jobs that could make a real difference,” he said.

West Virginia officials see the state’s vast natural gas reserves as providing a path for renewed economic prosperity for the Mountain State. Envisioned is a hub rivaling the Gulf Coast as a center for processing natural gas and producing plastics. Top officials have lined up behind a plan to spend as much as $10 billion to develop a mammoth underground storage to hold natural gas liquids used in manufacturing.

By providing a sizeable storage hub for ethane and other NGLs, proponents say the move would encourage the expansion of a chemical production corridor that is emerging along the upper Ohio River and bring thousands of good-paying jobs to the region. At the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing, Manchin noted that “the petrochemical industry along the Ohio River and up the Kanawha River…has been strategic for our country since World War II. It’s a shell of what it used to be, so we have the ability to grow within that same footprint and it’s not being utilized.”

Taking Responsibility Is Priority In Propane Industry

by Richard Fredenburg…  

We all know that life is full of responsibilities. As adults, there are aspects to our personal and professional lives that nobody else can or will take over. Some are major and some are minor, but they still fall on our shoulders.
Richard FREDENBURG LP-gas engineer at North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services advises propane professionals on safety issues reports Butane-Propane News the propane industry's leading source for news and information since 1939
I remember in my youth that my parents got me out of bed for school and church. Then they decided I could take on that responsibility and they bought me an alarm clock. They eased me into it for a while, making sure that I was up. Then they left it to me, even if it meant that I might have to miss breakfast or be late. It was a training process. It’s a responsibility that continues to this day. Some days getting myself up on time takes on more urgency, as not getting up may make me miss a plane or fail to get to the hospital for an early-morning procedure.

Many things factor into how we prioritize our responsibilities. Certain responsibilities demand the highest priority, particularly when it comes to safety. For example, staying on the right side of the road when driving would be of the highest priority, not only for my own safety, but for the safety of loved ones and others on the road. Not paying or being late on bills is not as critical, but it can have a long-term negative effect on my quality of life.

The wide variety of responsibilities we face each day is mind-boggling. Sometimes we have to prioritize them for importance and the time it takes to complete them. Consider this very limited listing:

• Deciding how we will nourish our bodies.
• Stopping for that yellow light or running it.
• Locking the front door when we leave while there are still people asleep inside.
• Taking time to examine so many things about this cylinder and remove the sleeve before filling it.
• Watching out for myself on my walk because I can’t depend on the drivers to watch out for me.
• Wearing the protective gear the league requires before playing this game.
• So many more!

As a propane retailer, you have certain legal responsibilities with respect to code requirements and how your actions may affect employees, customers, and the general public.

At a recent meeting of the North Carolina Propane Gas Association, I shared that the number of meter-seal violations took a dramatic upswing this year. Where the monthly rate had been 13 in 2017 and 9.9 in 2018, this year’s rate in the first three months is 26.3. More than double! Dealers are not taking the responsibility for ensuring their truck and dispenser meter seals are secure. If you want to avoid violations and penalties, you may need to assign your drivers the responsibility of checking the meter seals on their truck as part of each day’s pre-trip inspection and on a dispenser every time they fill its tank.

I’ve seen several cases where a violation and penalty were avoidable if the dealer paid attention. For example, a dealer had been penalized for not having meter seals on his dispenser out front and for some third-party dispensers he owns. When the inspector later learned that there was a metered cylinder-filling dock attached to the bulk tank out back, he wrote a violation for no seal on that meter. That violation could have been avoided by the dealer extending his experiences with other meters to that one.

Taking responsibility applies to many other situations. Deliveries and cylinder filling are major ones. The person most likely to be intimately involved in a filling incident is the one operating the truck or dispenser because they are right beside the container and at the business end of the hose. It is in their best interest to examine the container for safety before they begin filling it.

We know of instances of both portable and stationary containers taking off like rockets because the bottom blew out while they were being filled. One operator left a 100-lb cylinder laying on its side in the covered bed of a pickup truck while he filled it. He hadn’t checked the bottom of the cylinder for corrosion, and it blew out while being filled, engulfing the covered truck bed and the area around the truck with several gallons of propane that quickly turned to several cubic yards of vapor.

A driver was killed because the soil under the blocks of a 1000-gal. tank had eroded and the tank came down the hill when the extra weight of the fuel was added. If he had checked the stability of the tank or approached it from above rather than below, he would likely still be with us.

The person doing the filling also takes on some responsibility for customer safety for at least a while. Errors made while filling a cylinder or preparing it for transportation can be life-threatening for the customer. Will the employee take the time to insist on securing the cylinder in an upright position rather than allowing the customer to lay it down in the trunk? The employees must care enough to take their responsibilities seriously.

From a business perspective, it is important to always keep the customer in mind when it comes to all safety measures. After one of our inspectors corrected an employee after observing violations when filling a cylinder, he was told, “If I’d known there was going to be a test, I would have paid more attention.” I challenge you to consider if this is the attitude of a caring employee taking his responsibilities seriously. Isn’t each cylinder filling a test of the operator’s knowledge of safe filling?

I received a call from a customer complaining that the propane company said it couldn’t fill the customer’s tank because recent changes to the law made the tank illegal. This caller said other customers in their neighborhood were being told the same. The company said it would relocate tanks at the customers’ expense.

I asked the customer if this company installed the tank. On confirmation that the company had, I suggested that they challenge the company about the “legality” of the initial installation and that the company should fix its installation error at company cost. I also pointed out that consumer tank installation requirements have changed very little in 20 years and that almost none of those changes are retroactive. Is this a case of the company trying to pass off financial responsibility for its improper installations to its customers?

When our new inspection database started assigning follow-up inspection dates, we encouraged those with failing inspections to correct their violations within the 30- or 60-day grace period or to request an extension when they had a justifiable reason for needing more time. Those who take the responsibility of making corrections quickly will likely pass their next inspection. Those who request an extension will likely get the extra time they need. But, they need to understand that the extension is for a limited time and they are ultimately responsible for taking corrective action. If they shirk that responsibility, they may be inspected before they are ready, and that could end up costing them money.

New employees will not be able to take responsibility for various duties until they are trained. Then you will probably make additional assignments as their training and experience allow them to take on more responsibility. We hope you will continue to instill in them a sense of responsibility to do the right things for their own safety as well as that of your customers.

Richard Fredenburg is LP-gas engineer at the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

BantamWesson Acquires Oxford Oil in Connecticut

(September 11, 2019) — Cetane Associates LLC has announced that BantamWesson, headquartered in Waterbury, Connecticut, has acquired Oxford Oil Company, LLC, based in Oxford, Connecticut.

BantamWesson acquires Oxford Oil in Connecticut reports Butane-Propane News the propane industry's leading source for news and information since 1939 Sept. 2019Founded in 1953, Oxford Oil is a full-service heating oil and propane business with residential customers located in the corridor between Waterbury and New Haven, Connecticut. Energy Management Professionals, LLC, which operates under the name BantamWesson, was formed in 2016 with the merger of Bantam Supply Co., Inc. and Wesson Energy, Inc. With locations in Bantam, Connecticut and Canton, Connecticut, BantamWesson sells and delivers propane and bio-heating fuels and performs HVAC, plumbing, electrical, energy audit, home automation, and air quality services throughout western and central Connecticut.

In a thank you letter to Cetane, Tom Biondi, President of Oxford Oil wrote “I wanted to say how much I appreciate what you and your team at Cetane Associates have done for us. You have been great and without you our sale would never have happened.  I will recommend you for your expertise and professionalism. I will never forget your display of confidence and your guidance. You were always there and still are.”

Craig Snyder, President of BantamWesson commented, “We are extremely pleased to have Oxford Oil join our family of companies. The operation dovetails with the southern end of our operating area. We’ve worked with Steve Abbate and his team on a few occasions, so we knew he would help make this acquisition happen for us.“

Cetane Associates, LLC provided intermediary advisory services to both parties for the transaction.

About Cetane Associates
Cetane Associates, LLC is a leading provider of financial advisory services to owners of businesses in the retail energy distribution industry. Clients engage Cetane to advise on sales, spin-offs, and acquisitions, as well as perform valuation and ad hoc corporate finance assignments. For more information, please visit www.cetane.net.

ThompsonGas Acquires Quality Propane

(September 10, 2019) — ThompsonGas (Frederick, Md.) has acquired Quality Propane, a heating fuel provider in Chippewa Falls, Wisc. Details regarding the transaction were not released. ThompsonGas said it was proud to welcome Quality Propane and is committed to serving the residential, commercial, and industrial customers who have valued the company for more than 20 years.

quality propane in wisconsin acquired by ThompsonGas reports Butane Propane News September 10,, 2019“Bryan Nayes built a company with strong values and a commitment to customer service,” said Derek Ashmore, regional vice president at ThompsonGas. “The opportunity to carry on his legacy with Quality Propane is truly an honor and a privilege. We look forward to offering additional value and services to the local area and beyond.”

“The strong communities in northern Wisconsin make it an excellent place to do business,” added Jim Davis, ThompsonGas COO. “The entire team at ThompsonGas is looking forward to expanding our presence in the region and providing our customers with the best products and services available in the industry.”

“Bryan Nayes will be continuing on with Quality Propane and assisting in the day-to-day operations,” said Jeff Kerns, ThompsonGas CEO. “The ThompsonGas family is excited to add Bryan’s experience and knowledge to the team.” The acquisition strengthens ThompsonGas’ national footprint by expanding the company’s presence in northern Wisconsin. The company now serves more than 170,000 customers in 20 states in the East, Southeast, West, and Midwest.

Anova Hires Danelle DiLibero as Vice President of People and Culture

New Providence, New Jersey (September 10th, 2019) — Anova recently announced that Danelle DiLibero will serve as its new vice president of people & culture. An accomplished human resources and talent professional, Danelle will lead Anova's end-to-end employee experience, ensuring Anova has the key strategies in place to accelerate a culture of performance excellence, high engagement and continuous improvement.

Danelle DiLibero joins Anova as Vice President of People and Culture for Visionary Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) company to create leading employee experience and bring fresh ideas to propane industry reports Butane-Propane News BPN the propane industry's leading source for news and information since 1939Danelle has more than 20 years of experience within various industries, including financial services (Goldman Sachs), consulting (BCG), engineering and manufacturing (Sensata Technologies), and technology (RMS). She joins Anova from her most recent position as the global head of talent acquisition at Verisk Analytics. In her new role, Danelle will establish the overall people and talent strategies and organizational development plans to attract and develop top talent.

Danelle joins Anova following a period of rapid organic growth. Earlier this year, Anova launched as the new singular, global brand combining industry leaders DataOnline, WESROC, Wikon, iTank and ISA (Intelligent Sensing Anywhere).

"Danelle will be fundamental in strengthening the experience we provide to the Anova family," says CEO, Chet Reshamwala. "She brings deep experience in building resilient people operations, while also developing a strong workplace culture rooted in values, brand, and transparency. We truly have the best team on the planet driving our business, and our investment in their careers is a top priority."

Danelle is an active conference speaker and panelist on the topics of HRTech, Candidate Experience, Diversity Best Practices, and the Future of Work. In 2015, Danelle was requested to participate in a discussion with the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to discuss job-ready education and education debt. She also enjoys her time as an advisory board member to Starship HSA and NetWorkWise. In the non-profit world, Danelle is an annual volunteer at the Patriot Outpost, a military hospitality venue at PGA tournaments and with The Laurus Project.

"The Anova leadership have built a unique and successful organization by fostering a culture that enables its team to do their very best work each day," said Danelle. "In an era of heightened corporate transparency, greater workforce mobility, and added skills gaps, Chet recognizes that culture, engagement, and retention are key challenges for business leaders. I am excited to have the opportunity to shape Anova as it continues to encourage a culture defined by meaningful work, deep employee engagement, and strong leadership. We're setting a standard and I can't imagine a more exciting time to come aboard!"

Danelle will work primarily from Anova Headquarters in New Providence, New Jersey but will have a significant presence in all the regions in which Anova operates.

About Anova
Anova is a leading global provider of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions to remotely monitor and manage industrial assets. Drawing on more than 30 years of experience, the company provides wireless hardware and cloud-based analytics to reduce operational costs, prevent stock-outs, and improve end-customer service and engagement. Anova incorporates the DataOnline, Wikon, WESROC, iTank and ISA brands, and has offices in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, plus a global network of representatives. With a growing network of cellular, satellite, and LPWAN devices in 65+ countries around the globe, Anova is connecting the industrial world - for better. Additional information can be found at www.anova.com.