4 Companies Consider WV for Ethane Cracker Plant

number 4West Virginia’s intrepid State Commerce Secretary, Keith Burdette, is once again talking up ethane cracker plants. He says there are now four possible companies interested in building crackers in West Virginia—and that does not include Shell (which announced they would build across the border in PA).

We know about two of the four: Aither Chemicals (see this MDN story), and Brazilian company Braskem (see this MDN story). But who are the other two?

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Penn Virginia Sells Appalachian Drilling, Closes Office

Penn Virginia announced today it’s selling off all of its Appalachian drilling operations—except for its Marcellus Shale drilling operations—for $100 million. They are also closing their Canonsburg, PA regional office. Why the sale? They want to get out of debt and plow the proceeds into drilling in the Marcellus and in the oily parts of the Eagle Ford Shale play.

Reading between the lines it sounds like a move away from dry gas and toward wet gas areas.

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SRBC Restricts Fracking Water Withdrawals in 64 Locations

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC), charged with overseeing the rivers and streams that flow into the Susquehanna River, which in turn runs all the way to the Chesapeake Bay, is responsible for issuing permits in their jurisdiction that allow Marcellus Shale drillers to withdraw water for use in hydraulic fracturing. The SRBC takes its job seriously and closely monitors streamflow levels. When the levels get too low due to drought conditions, the water withdrawals stop.

Such was the case yesterday when the SRBC suspended water withdrawals for 64 companies—the vast majority related the shale industry. That’s the most withdrawal restrictions issued by the SRBC since they started permitting for shale water withdrawals in 2008. (The full list, detailed by driller and county, is embedded below).

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The Shale Multiplier Effect – One Company’s Success Story

Mitt Romney will make a campaign stop later this week in North Huntingdon (Westmoreland County), PA. The “news” about that stop for MDN is not Romney’s visit, but the company he’s visiting—Horizontal Wireline Services. It’s news because it’s a shale services company that didn’t exist prior to 2010, but today employs over 100 people at starting salaries of $60,000-$80,000. The company was started with no government assistance, and financed by a private investor (the banks wouldn’t touch it).

The company’s 35 year-old founder, Joseph Sites, graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in chemical engineering in 2000, but he left PA because of no job prospects. He returned in 2010 to found Horizontal Wireline which runs wires into gas and oil wells to help with extraction.

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PA Companies Expanding Because of the Marcellus

Many small and medium-sized businesses are looking to become suppliers to the Marcellus and Utica Shale drilling industry—in business it’s called becoming part of the “supply chain.” One of the organizations dedicated to making that happen is the Pittsburgh-based Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC), headed by Kathryn “Katie” Klaber. MSC recently released supply chain recommended practices for businesses who want to participate (see this page on the MSC website).

As part of their supply chain initiative, MSC released a list of business testimonials—short descriptions and statements from companies that participate in the Marcellus Shale supply chain—how they participate and how it’s led to an expansion of revenue and jobs. The companies on this short list have collectively invested and generated hundreds of millions of dollars for the PA economy, and produced thousands of jobs. Their stories are embedded below.

On the list are engineering firms, consultants, manufacturers, law firms and more. Perhaps this list, and the success stories from these companies, will spark ideas for your company and how you can plug in to the Mighty Marcellus supply chain.

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GreenHunter’s New Water Facility on Ohio River Goes Live

GreenHunter Water’s new water and wastewater handing facility on the Ohio River in Washington County, Ohio has just gone operational. It is a bulk water storage facility, handling both fresh water used for fracking, and flowback or the salty wastewater that comes out of the ground after fracking.

From the GreenHunter press release:

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Guest Post: Media Ignores Major NY Pro-Drilling Event (FREE)

MDN note: The following guest post was submitted by Victor Furman, head of the Sapbush Road Group, a New York landowner coalition in northern Broome and southern Chenango counties. He writes about a major landowner rally in Broome County called Vote4Energy, held at the Broome-Tioga Sports Park near Whitney Point on Sunday, July 15. The rally turned out thousands, dwarfing recent anti-drilling rallies held in the area. The media was invited, but they were a no-show. Vic does a great job of pointing out the hypocrisy.

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Columbiana Port Authority Helps Shale Industry

The Columbiana County (OH) Port Authority on Monday passed a measure stating they intend to sell 3.6 acres in Wellsville, OH to Marathon Petroleum for $2.4 million. The property is part of the Port Authority’s riverfront industrial park and sits adjacent to Marathon’s storage tank/transfer facility. Marathon will use the property for trucks transporting oil and gas produced from local shale drilling.

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