Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Thu, Mar 6, 2014

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading:


Halcon: ‘Premature’ to Comment on $70M Project
Youngstown Business Journal
A statement released Wednesday afternoon by Houston-based Halcon Resources Corp. says it’s “premature” to comment on viability of the company’s proposed $70 million investment to build a transloading terminal at the Ohio Commerce Park in Lordstown. Concerns about the project’s future arose after Halcon confirmed that it planned to suspend drilling in the Utica shale this year, as it assesses the performance of a handful of wells now producing or will be producing in the play. “It’s premature to comment on the future development of the rail terminal as it’s dependent on the overall development of the northern tier, not just by Halcon, but other operators in the area,” Halcon said in its sttatement.

Stark State to host drilling class starting on March 17
Akron Beacon Journal
Stark State College and ShaleNET will offer a three-week floor hand class beginning March 17. Full scholarship funding from ANGA (America’s Natural Gas Alliance) is available for qualified students who are unemployed Ohioans or military veterans. The registration deadline is March 7. This class teaches the skills needed to get an entry-level position in the oil and gas industry. Floor hands operate well drilling and service rigs, assist in the connection and disconnection of pipes and do general maintenance. These labor-intensive jobs are often 12-hour shifts for 14 days at a time. Six of the eight students in the College’s last floor hand class were employed in Canton and Dover the week after the class ended, while the other two students are enrolled in Stark State’s credit programs in oil and gas. The class will be held at the Hoover District campus, 265 East Maple St. NE, North Canton. Each potential student must pass a physical, a drug screen and a criminal background check which may cost up to $150. A valid driver’s license (and a copy of a DD214 for veterans) also is needed. For more information or to register, call 330-494-6170, Ext. 5662 or Ext. 5194.

Marcellus Shale Documentary Project Comes to YSU
Youngstown Business Journal
The Youngstown State University Department of Art is presenting a series of events called the Marcellus Shale Documentary Project: MSDP, which includes a photography exhibit, series of lectures and film screening throughout the month of March. The photography exhibit, on display in the Bliss Hall Gallery through April 4, features the work of Noah Addis, Nina Berman, Brian Cohen, Scott Goldsmith, Lynn Johnson, and Martha Rial, the six photographers of the Marcellus Shale Documentary Project.


DEP proposes $2.3 million fine for 2008 gasoline spill from Sunoco pipeline
StateImpact Pennsylvania
A 12,000-gallon gasoline spill from a ruptured pipeline in Westmoreland County in 2008 could cost Sunoco Logistics Partners more than $2.3 million in civil penalties from the state. The Department of Environmental Protection filed a complaint Friday with the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board asking it to impose a fine of at least $2.38 million against Sunoco Logistics and its subsidiary Sunoco Pipeline. The November 2008 spill in Murrysville contaminated Turtle Creek and killed nearly all of the aquatic life in a three-mile stretch of the waterway, triggered evacuations of homes and businesses, and shut down U.S. Route 22 for hours in the community 20 miles east of Pittsburgh. Mistakes during maintenance on the 8-inch interstate pipeline caused a plug to blow out, which “forced the gasoline to fountain twenty (20) to thirty (30) feet into the air” and rain “down onto and into nearby businesses, parking lots, and the surrounding soils and surfaces,” DEP said in its complaint. Federal pipeline regulators said the incident caused $1.1 million in property damage but no injuries.

West Virginia

LGCR Provides Update, Analysis On Latest Version Of Storage Tank Regulation Bill
West Virginia Natural Gas Law Blog
To address the chemical leak in the Elk River that occurred on January 9th, Senate Bill 373 has been winding its way through the West Virginia Legislature. Since we last reported, the bill has undergone substantial changes in the House and may undergo even more changes as it is still being debated before the House Judiciary Committee…and is slated to go to the House Finance Committee thereafter. Although it is too early to say with certainty what the final bill may look like, there are a few things those in the oil and gas industry should be aware of as the bill currently stands:

Future Fund Resolution Clears Committee
Charleston WCHS Channel 8
The House Judiciary Committee had a busy morning Wednesday. The committee approved a resolution for the Future Fund constitutional amendment. It would set aside money from fees and taxes on Marcellus Shale drilling for future development. Before it passed, the committee allowed a change for a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate to change how the money is spent.


Rockefeller Front Group Attacks Cove Point [MUST READ!]
Natural Gas Now/Tom Shepstone
Jim Willis related a story the other day about, noting how radical the group was and its opposition to the Cove Point LNG facility in Maryland. He also observed that its kooky leader Bill McKibben, had Tweet-endorsed a Ku Klux Klan type demonstration at the home of an Enbridge Energy board member Mark Maki. Enbridge is involved with the Keystone Pipeline and a small band of cowards covered their faces and burned torches in front of Maki’s home with the support of McKibben. When the whole thing was exposed by Watts Up With That, the cowards took down their radical self-congratulatory web page but, of course, it had already been preserved. You can read all about here, here and here but these posts don’t tell the most interesting part of the story, or who the real white sheet cowards are. The anti-fracking, anti-Keystone, anti-fossil fuels and anti-Cove Point efforts of are all financed by the Rockefeller family, which made its fortune from oil. The group is a rebranded version of McKibben’s earlier “Step-It-Up” campaign and was formed with Rockefeller family assistance through the Sustainable Markets Foundation, about which we have written several times.

You Say You Want a Revolution – Shale Gas Implications for US Manufacturing Part 2
RBN Energy
Low natural gas prices are expected to fuel a revolution in US manufacturing industry over the coming years. This new industrial revolution affects not only gas and power intensive industries but downstream products produced from petrochemicals. Manufacturing industries that left the US decades ago are returning to take advantage of lower costs. Today Taylor Robinson from PLG Consulting details three phases to this industrial renaissance.

Natural gas industry ready to rebuild depleted U.S. supply
U.S. utilities have withdrawn a record amount of natural gas from underground storage to meet heating and power needs during an extremely cold winter, but gas producers say they are confident they can rebuild inventory. “We believe North America has the capacity to supply far more natural gas than we are doing now at a reasonable price,” said William Maloney, Statoil’s executive vice president of development and production for North America, speaking at the IHS CERAWeek conference in Houston, an annual meeting of global energy leaders. Some traders have expressed doubts that inventories would be rebuilt in time for next winter, but Maloney said the biggest challenge is not supply, but demand. “Is there enough demand to lead to sustained higher prices and can matching midstream and upstream capacity happen in a continuous way?” Maloney noted that the number of rigs looking for gas has fallen, but gas production has kept rising as the industry finds more efficient methods to drill and complete wells in U.S. shale formations.

Is Boardwalk Pipeline Partners a Strong Turnaround Play?
The Motley Fool
Investors on the hunt for promising turnarounds aren’t afraid to buy when there’s blood in the streets and accept a fair amount of volatility. In the oil and gas Master Limited Partnership space, no company fits this premise better right now than natural gas midstream operator Boardwalk Pipeline Partners LP. Boardwalk Pipeline Partners has lost billions in market value in just a few weeks after the painful decision to slash its distribution by 80%. Since MLPs, like Boardwalk, are required to distribute the majority of their cash flow to investors, a distribution cut is a sure sign of severe trouble. Nevertheless, investors interested in turnaround stories see the potential for higher gains after such profound losses. Read on to find out what is key to Boardwalk making good on its turnaround efforts.

Natural Gas Revolution ‘Unlikely’ to Go Global Quickly
NGI’s Shale Daily
Natural gas exploration is making headway in pockets around the world thanks to U.S. technology, but it’s unlikely to replace coal on a global basis anytime soon, BHP Billiton Ltd.’s chief said Tuesday. As one of the featured speakers on the second day of IHS CERAWeek, CEO Andrew Mackenzie said he expected the United States to remain the unconventional leader for some time to come. Mackenzie helms the largest mining company in the world. The “gas revolution is unlikely to go global quickly,” Mackenzie said of domestic shale and tight gas development. “We are unlikely to see gas replace coal globally at the scale and pace seen here in the U.S.”

Drilling for Certainty: The Latest in Fracking Health Studies
For years, environmentalists and the gas drilling industry have been in a pitched battle over the possible health implications of hydro fracking. But to a great extent, the debate — as well as the emerging lawsuits and the various proposed regulations in numerous states — has been hampered by a shortage of science. In 2011, when ProPublica first reported on the different health problems afflicting people living near gas drilling operations, only a handful of health studies had been published. Three years later, the science is far from settled, but there is a growing body of research to consider. Below, ProPublica offers a survey of some of that work. The studies included are by no means a comprehensive review of the scientific literature. There are several others that characterize the chemicals in fracking fluids, air emissions and waste discharges. Some present results of community level surveys.

Study says women, minorities to increasingly fill gas, oil jobs
Akron Beacon Journal
Minorities are projected to fill an unprecedented number of jobs in the oil, natural gas and petrochemical industries—increasing from one-quarter of total jobs in 2010 to one-third by 2030—according to a new IHS report sponsored by API. “The oil and natural gas industry pays wages significantly higher than the national average and can provide tremendous career opportunities for women and minorities,” said Jack Gerard, API President and CEO. “To lower unemployment and shrink the income inequality gap without spending a dime of taxpayer money, we encourage President Obama to embrace this pro-development energy opportunity.” Of up to 1.3 million new job opportunities in the oil, natural gas and petrochemical industries predicted by 2030, almost 408,000 positions—32 percent of the total—are projected to be held by African American and Hispanic workers, according to the report. Women are estimated to fill 185,000 of those jobs, and 63 percent of new job opportunities will be in blue collar professions.