Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Tue, May 6, 2014

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


Questions Remain About What To Do With All That Appalachian Ethane
NGI’s Shale Daily
A startup company that launched plans in 2012 to develop a small-scale, regionally-focused ethane cracker in the Appalachian Basin continues to promote its project two years on, but even though more specifics have been released, the company still can’t say with certainty when it will break ground for the project. NGI’s Shale Daily first reported on Appalachian Resins Inc.’s plans to build a 15,000 b/d ethane cracker capable of producing 500 million pounds per year each of single-grade ethylene and polyethylene after CEO Jim Cutler addressed a Pittsburgh midstream conference in February 2013 (see Shale Daily, Feb. 6, 2013). At the time, it wasn’t clear where exactly the facility would be built. Vice President of Operations Rick Caldwell expanded on Cutler’s earlier comments at the Utica & Marcellus NGL & Natural Gas Markets & Takeaway Conference in Columbus, OH, on Tuesday, and he offered up a clearer picture of why the economics of a smaller facility work better than those that are considered to be “world class.”

Shale Drives $1M Expansion at Bolt Construction
Youngstown Business Journal
It’s hard not to notice the physical impact of the shale industry as you drive along South Avenue in Beaver Township past Bolt Construction Inc. While there are no visible well sites — drilling for oil and gas isn’t as prevalent in this section of the Utica shale as elsewhere in the state — the large steel structure taking shape next to the company’s offices shows how the industry is transforming many local businesses. “Two years ago, we experienced record sales,” reports Bolt Construction’s president, Bruno Miletta. “Last year, we tripled that record. We’re at the point where we’ve outgrown the old shop.” The company is building a new $1 million fabrication shop equipped with some of the latest ventilation, welding stations and lighting, says the company’s vice president, Todd Miller.


Backlogged Wells Show Marcellus Operators’ Sharp Focus on Southwest PA
NGI’s Shale Daily
A close analysis of Pennsylvania production data by Barclays Capital shows that Marcellus operators are more focused on the state’s southwest wet gas window, indicating that, for now, the stubborn number of backlogged wells in the northeast’s dry-gas window is likely to remain high. The analysis, released on Friday, expands on a commodities research note the bank issued in March (see Shale Daily, March 3) after looking at year-end production data from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

Penn College dedicates rig simulator used in natural gas training
Penn State News
Pennsylvania College of Technology held a ceremony today (May 2) at its Energy Technology Education Center to dedicate a drilling rig simulator that supports hands-on learning for the college’s natural gas training offerings. The simulator was purchased with U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training funds. In addition, New Pig, of Tipton, donated a protective geosynthetic membrane that was installed beneath the rig simulator. The simulator provides students in ShaleNET’s noncredit, short-term roustabout and floor hand courses with hands-on training opportunities. Plans include making the simulator available to train new short-service employees for private drilling companies. Also under consideration is training of other populations, such as veterans.

Lancaster speakers join Marcellus Shale industry rally
Lancaster Online
For a county with no fracking, Lancaster will be surprisingly well represented today at the Marcellus Shale Coalition’s “Pennsylvania Jobs Pennsylvania Energy” rally in Harrisburg. Two of the nine scheduled speakers are local: George “Hank” Rettew Jr., CEO of Rettew Associates; and Les Houck, a Salisbury Township supervisor. Several thousand people are expected at the event, with organizers providing chartered bus transportation from 14 counties. About a dozen Rettew executives and employees are attending, company spokeswoman Holly White said. Though she could not offer specifics regarding what Rettew’s CEO would say, the engineering firm supports the rally’s aims, she said: To show support for the industry and raise awareness of the benefits it provides communities across Pennsylvania.


Shale water and waste management company exits South Texas
San Antonio Business Journal
GreenHunter Resources Inc., a provider of water and waste-management services in U.S. oil-and-gas basins, has exited South Texas. The Dallas-based company recently sold its Dilley salt water disposal well in Frio County, disposing of its last remaining asset in the Eagle Ford Shale formation, says Melissa Pagen, its assistant vice president for investor relations. She didn’t reveal the well’s buyer or the sale price. GreenHunter last year began selling off non-core assets so it can focus on its operations in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays of West Virginia and Ohio.