MDN Off for MLK Day – Jan 18, 2021

Dear MDN Reader:

Since it is a stock exchange holiday, and to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., MDN is taking today off, Monday, Jan. 20. We are sending along an updated calendar of events relevant to the Marcellus/Utica for the next 90 days. Full strength MDN will return Tuesday!

Shell Cracker Construction “in the Home Stretch” – Ready in 2022

It’s been a long road, but we’re nearing the end. Shell’s $6 billion ethane cracker plant, officially called the Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex (PPC), is close to being done. It’s likely the PPC, located in Beaver County, PA, will be up and running sometime next year. When it is, the market for Marcellus/Utica NGLs will profoundly change. PPC will use an average of 85,000 barrels per day of M-U ethane. Our ethane will no longer be a waste product that many drillers pay to get rid of, but rather a profitable product they sell.
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Antis Ask Gov. Wolf to Block PA DEP Permit for Plum Injection Well

Anti-fossil fuel zealots sent a letter to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf two days ago asking him to use dictatorial powers to overturn a permit issued by the Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) that allows a wastewater injection well to be built in Penn Township. The radical group ProtectPT (funded by Heinz Endowments and Google’s former CEO Eric Schmidt), along with a number of other oddball groups, lobbed a Hail Mary, asking Wolf to exercise his “supreme executive power” to stop the project. Perhaps they’re confusing Wolf with the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un?
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Driftwood LNG Export Facility to Begin Construction “This Summer”

click for larger version

Driftwood LNG, a 27.6 million tonnes of LNG per year facility that will cost on the order of $16.8 billion to build, has not made an official final investment decision (FID) to proceed with building the FERC-approved project. However, Charif Souki, chairman of Tellurian (the builder) said yesterday he is targeting this summer to begin construction on the project. What’s changed?
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EIA: U.S. Oil & NatGas Production Will Fall in 2021, Rise in 2022

In its January 2021 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) just released, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts annual average production of U.S. oil will fall to 11.1 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2021 before rising to 11.5 million b/d in 2022. As for natural gas, EIA says U.S. marketed natural gas production will decline by 2% to an average of 95.9 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2021. Like oil, EIA predicts the fall in natgas production will reverse in 2022 and will rise by 2% to 97.6 Bcf/d.
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Panama Canal Losing Business as US LNG Exports Find Alternate Routes

Two days ago MDN told you that the Atlantic Ocean near the country of Panama has become a virtual parking lot for LNG tankers as they wait up to 10 days to transit the Panama Canal on their way to Asia (see Panama Canal Becomes Bottleneck for U.S. LNG/LPG Heading to Asia). The ships, which cost on the order of $250,000 *per day* to transport the LNG, are now finding other routes. The primary alternative is the Suez Canal.
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Discovery of New Catalyst Helps Natural Gas Burn Even Cleaner

Researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago have developed a cutting edge catalyst made up of 10 different elements–each of which on its own has the ability to reduce the combustion temperature of methane–plus oxygen. This unique catalyst brings the combustion temperature of methane down by about half, from above 1400 degrees Kelvin down to 600 to 700 degrees Kelvin. What it means is that natural gas can burn cleaner and emit far less carbon dioxide.
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Court Approves Chesapeake Bankruptcy Plan to Dump $7B of Debt

Over the objections of a junior creditor group, a judge for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Houston said yesterday he will approve Chesapeake Energy’s bankruptcy plan to jettison $7 billion (out of $8.9 billion) worth of debt. Chesapeake will exit bankruptcy within the next 30 days and will continue to retain and drill on its Marcellus Shale assets in northeastern Pennsylvania.
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Strong Support for PennEast Pipe During PA DEP Virtual Hearing

Yesterday the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) held a virtual hearing to accept public comment on the topic of issuing water crossing and sediment/erosion permits for the PennEast Pipeline project. The hearing lasted over three hours with some 70+ people speaking (for up to 3 minutes each). Much to the consternation of anti-fossil fuelers, there was a strong showing of support for the project.
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US Well Locks in Long-Term E-Fracking Contracts with Range, EQT

In a pair of announcements earlier this week, U.S. Well Services announced it has signed new long-term deals with both Range Resources and EQT to supply “electric fracking” services. We told you in February 2020 that Range had signed on with U.S. Well Services to continue using its electric fracking service (see Range Resources Converts to Electric Fracking with US Well Serv.). A couple of months later EQT signed up with U.S. Well too (see EQT Converting One-Third of Completions to US Well E-Fracking). What’s the difference between traditional fracking and electric or e-fracking?
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K Petroleum Must Pay Penneco $511M for Gas Sales in SWPA

In November 2019 the U.S. District Court of Pennsylvania ruled that K. Petroleum Inc. (KPI), headquartered in Gahanna, OH, had breached a contract with Penneco Oil by not paying Penneco for gas flowing through KPI’s gathering pipeline system for wells owned and operated by Penneco. Yesterday the same court finally (after more than a year) completed calculations for what KPI owes Penneco. The tab comes to $511,292.15.
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3 Firms Merge to Form New Enviro/Engineering Consultant

Drillers and pipeline companies often need the services of environmental and engineering consultants as they plan their projects. There are a number of companies in this space operating in the Marcellus/Utica. Investment firm Round Table Capital (RTC) Partners recently purchased three companies and is merging them to create “a market leader in the Environmental Consulting and Engineering Services market.” RTC launched this new venture with the acquisition of Hull & Associates, LLC in July of 2020 (the foundation of their new “platform”) and has further expanded Hull with the acquisitions of Duffield Associates, LLC and HSW Consulting, LLC in December.
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Spoiled Kids Stage a “Die-in” at Connecticut Capitol re Gas Plant

(Credit: Hartford Courant/Kassi Jackson)

Ever see a spoiled rotten child, say about two years old, who is told “NO” and proceeds to throw a temper tantrum and drop to the ground and lie there, not moving, pretending to be dead? That’s what the scene looked like yesterday in Hartford, Connecticut as a small group of spoiled rotten children (high school and college-age, never really grew up mentally) staged a “die-in” where they flopped themselves on the ground like petulant two-year-olds and stayed there in an effort to protest a clean-burning, safe, much-needed gas-fired electric power plant planned for Killingly.
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Companies Eye M-U Region to Build New Factories, Leverage Shale

MDN is proud to once again partner with our friend Joe Barone from Shale Directories to help promote an important, upcoming conference. The 2nd Annual Appalachian Basin Real Estate Conference is slated for March 25 at the Oglebay Resort and Conference Center, in Wheeling, WV. This conference will attract businesses from outside the Marcellus/Utica region who may be interested in locating operations here to take advantage of our abundant and cheap natural gas and NGLs.
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Other Stories of Interest: Thu, Jan 14, 2021

MARCELLUS/UTICA REGION: Corning Natural Gas to be acquired by Argo Infrastructure Partners for $150 million; NATIONAL: EIA expects higher wholesale U.S. natural gas prices in 2021 and 2022; API looking for common ground to preserve U.S. energy dominance as Dems take control; The future of work in oil, gas and chemicals; Third of oil and gas workers faced pay cut in 2020 due to pandemic; INTERNATIONAL: The Biden administration and energy Part II – international relations; NFE to acquire Hygo Energy Transition and Golar LNG Partners in Combined $5 billion transaction; NFE to acquire power purchase agreements and build LNG-to-power project at Suape Port in Brazil.
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