Remains of Chevron Contractor Found at Greene County Well Site

light a candleUnfortunately our worst fears were realized when PA State Police announced yesterday they had removed “what appear to be” the remains of Ian McKee, 27, a Cameron International contractor working at the Chevron Marcellus well site in Greene County. A warning folks, this is a bit gruesome. Apparently they found some bones but no body. It is a heart-rending story. No matter who it would have been, it’s a tragedy. In the case of Ian, he was young, living with his fiance with a baby on the way. Please say a prayer for his family and friends–they will need it in the coming days as they deal with this.

To their credit Chevron released a statement about finding Ian (see below). Oddly, the company Ian worked for that was doing contract work for Chevron–Cameron International–has not posted any public statements on their website… from the beginning. Below Chevron’s statement is a news account of the “somber” news conference held yesterday where Chevron announced finding Ian’s remains…
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Chevron: Sorry Turning Your Life Upside Down–Here’s a Free Pizza

In the midst of a public relations emergency (nightmare), snap decisions are made quickly. Frankly, it’s tough to be critical about the decisions made under such pressure. It’s tough to imagine what someone goes through until you “walk in their shoes.” We’re mindful of that and this is not an attempt at “piling on.” But we can’t ignore the story of how Chevron has addressed the current Greene County, PA well fire crisis. A worker from a contracting company–Cameron International–lost his life in the explosion and fire that raged for nearly five days before it burned out. As we’ve noted several times, to their credit, Chevron was open and transparent, posting frequent updates on their website (see Chevron’s Updates here).

During the crisis emergency equipment, personnel and around-the-clock activity in the area greatly disrupted the lives of those living nearby. Someone at Chevron decided it would be a good idea to show the company’s appreciation to those neighbors whose lives were turned upside down. So Chevron reps went door to door at about 30 nearby homes and handed out…a coupon for a free pizza and 2 liter soda–value $12. Thunk. While we appreciate they wanted to do something, this was decidedly not the best decision that could of been made by Chevron during this entire crisis, as noted by the Washington Observer-Reporter:
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McClendon Hauls in Another $1.2B, Utica Shopping Spree Continues

Aubrey McClendon is a high roller kind of guy–I think we can all agree on that one. We respect a guy who can put together deals like Aubrey can. A few weeks ago he announced that he had done deals to lease another 130,000 acres in the Ohio Utica Shale (see McClendon Confirms 3 New Utica Shale Deals: Hess, XTO, Paloma). Now he has to come up with the cash to pay for the deals. The company already has some of the cash, but they need more. Yesterday Aubrey announced that his new company, American Energy Partners, has raised an eye-popping additional $1.2 billion in cash, bringing his grand total (so far) to $2.9 billion raised since last October. The man has sure got some moves!

Here’s the latest complicated financing deals Aubrey’s been up to so he can continue snapping up Utica acreage, of which he once famously said “[the Utica] is the best thing to hit the state of Ohio economically since maybe the plow”…
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WV Forced Pooling Bill Already in Trouble, Passage Doubtful

Yesterday MDN told you about the new initiative in the West Virginia legislature to revive (yet again) a forced pooling bill (see WV Legislature Makes Another Run at Forced Pooling/Unitization). A few more details on that initiative have (as we suspected) appeared in WV media outlets. Not only was House Bill (or HB) 4558 introduced, but a companion bill Senate Bill (SB) 578 was also introduced. Already one of the senators sponsoring the Senate bill has asked his name to be removed and is backing away from it, saying the measure “will not pass.”

Even Corky Demarco, executive director of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association, says he’s “not sure” of the outcome for the legislation. All of which means it sure looks to us like it’s (once again, thankfully) DOA for this session. However, we’ll continue to keep an eye on it. Here’s the latest…
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WV Bill to Allow More Drill Cuttings in Landfills Faces Opposition

MDN told you in stories both yesterday and today about WV House Bill (HB) 4558 that would allow forced pooling in the state–a bill that seems headed for defeat. However, there is a second House Bill actively under consideration related to the Marcellus/Utica drilling industry in the state. HB 4411 would establish in law that WV municipal landfills can legally accept over the current legal monthly maximum limit of drill cuttings for disposal (full copy of the bill is embedded below). Last year the WV DEP issued a directive that allows landfills to accept drill cuttings over the maximum 10,000 tons, something that some landfills have done since that time (in some cases landfills are accepting up to 40 tons per month). Apparently HB 4411 will codify the DEP directive into law, meaning future administrations can’t arbitrarily decide to rescind the more generous directive in place now.

A House hearing was held yesterday on HB 4411. Of the 20 speakers who addressed the House panel, 19 of them spoke against the law. The sole supporter was Charlie Burd, executive director of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia. Here’s more of the story on disposing of drill cuttings (leftover rock and dirt) in municipal landfills…
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EnLink’s 2014 Crystal Ball: $525M Revenue, $430M Capex

Stockholders will soon vote on the previously announced merger between midstream company Crosstex Energy and driller Devon Energy (see Crosstex Energy Gets a Name Change, Merger with Devon Proceeds). There’s no reason to think the merger will not proceed smoothly. Both companies have operations in the Marcellus and Utica Shale region. The name of the new Devon subsidiary will be EnLink Midstream. As we previously mentioned, Barry Davis, CEO of Crosstex will become (or remain) CEO of EnLink. For us this is a feel-good merger–no one loses their job and Davis, by all accounts, is a really nice guy to work for (see A Peek Behind the Curtain of Crosstex/Devon Midstream Marriage).

Yesterday Crosstex issued their “best guess” as to what revenues and expenses will be for the company for 2014–something financial types call “guidance.” Here is Crosstex/EnLink’s best stab at peering into the crystal ball for 2014…
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Another Day, Another “Study” Saying Marcellus Kills Nature

We sometimes wonder: Do some humans suffer from species guilt? Why do some people seem to believe that the human animal–the crowning achievement of all of God’s (or evolution, depending on your view of origins) animals–is actually an infestation on Mother Earth? There is a direct correlation between man’s development and use of energy, and man’s advancement. We live longer, are healthier, and enjoy more “stuff” than ever–largely because of energy: electricity, oil, natural gas and coal. Everything from your phone to your computer to the clothes you wear and the shoes on your feet, even what you eat–all of it is derived from and delivered by abundant energy sources. And yet, some humans want to turn the clock back–they want less energy. It’s like they have a death wish for the human species, or perhaps they are self-loathing. It’s simply irrational and unfathomable.

Those are the thoughts we had after reading about the latest release of a “study” that takes a look at how drilling in the biggest and best shale play–the Marcellus–maybe, might, possibly, could, theoretically lead to the destruction of wildlife habitat and freshwater ecosystems. But why stop there? Let’s throw in wind power too! Wind power also screws up wildlife habitats. And so this latest “research” study, titled Shale Gas, Wind and Water: Assessing the Potential Cumulative Impacts of Energy Development on Ecosystem Services within the Marcellus Play (copy embedded below, authored by the anti-drilling Nature Conservancy and published in a “peer-reviewed” journal), seeks not to eliminate Marcellus drilling (because that train has already left the station), but instead encourages Soviet-style central planning by government bureaucrats to minimize the effects of all this willy nilly drilling that’s goin’ on out they’a…
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Access Midstream Execs Tout the Marcellus/Utica on Analyst Call

MDN told you yesterday that Access Midstream had a really good year in 2013, thanks in part to the Marcellus and Utica Shale (see Access Midstream Has a Good Year: Revenue Up 80% for 2013). The executive team for Access held a conference call with analysts yesterday and (no surprise) a lot of the talk revolved around the Marcellus and Utica. We thought it was interesting and thought you might too:
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The Twisted Logic of an Anti-Driller: Blame Natgas for Everything

If you try to enter the mind of a devoted anti-driller to understand their viewpoint and how they think, you risk going insane. We caution against it.

Here’s an example of how “logic” works for anti-drillers. There’s a big chemical spill that affects the drinking water for 300,000 West Virginians–caused by the coal mining industry. You no doubt remember the headlines from a month or so ago. Since the coal industry caused the problem, we need new legislation that targets the shale drilling industry. Wait, what??? Yeah, that’s how logic works for an anti-driller…
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