Antero Resources Lays Off 250 Landmen, Blames Low Oil Prices

cutting jobsAntero Resources said on Monday it will lay off more than 250 contract land brokers operating in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The layoffs will not affect any Antero employees–only contract workers (landmen and others) who work to get leases signed, sealed and delivered for future drilling. Antero blames the low price of oil, which causes the price they get for their Marcellus/Utica natural gas liquids to be low, which means they’ll stick to drilling on the half million plus acres they already have under lease…
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US Steel Lays off 642 in OH & 142 in TX, Blames Low Oil Prices

A second mass layoff ostensibly due to low oil prices is affecting Ohio and Texas. U.S. Steel will lay off more than 600 workers at its plant in Lorain, OH and more than 140 in their Houston, TX plant. Both plants make steel pipes used in shale drilling in the northeast and beyond. Shale drilling is slowing down, and now too are the companies that supply them…
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Steep Declines in Production for Some of Utica’s Top Wells

An excellent article by MDN friend and ace reporter Bob Downing appearing in the Akron Beacon Journal tackles the issue of decline rates in Utica Shale wells–that is, how fast production drops off. Bob’s deep dive into the data found that some of the Utica’s top performing wells in January had decreased output by 47%-70% by September. Yikes! No word on how that compares to the decline rate of the Marcellus layer. Here’s a sample of Bob’s analysis…
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PA Study Finds No Negative Health Impacts from Marcellus Drilling

The Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a bipartisan, bicameral legislative agency that serves as a resource for rural policy within the Pennsylvania General Assembly, has just published the second report in a series. Titled “The Impact of Marcellus Shale Development on Health and Health Care” (full copy embedded below), the report looks at whether incidences of certain health status indicators and demand for healthcare services changed in four heavily drilled PA counties–two in the northeast and two in the southwest–during the years that Marcellus drilling activity increased. Although the report says initial results are “preliminary” and “not conclusive,” so far it seems that heavily drilled locations have not seen an increase in people injured or harmed because of shale drilling. About the only thing that did increase was the number of calls for emergency first responders–which can’t conclusively be tied Marcellus drilling…
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Gulfport Production Soars in 2014, 6 Active Rigs in OH Utica

On Monday Gulfport Energy, a major driller in the Utica Shale, released a high-level operational update. Gulfport CEO Michael G. Moore said the company produced more oil and gas in the fourth quarter of 2014 than they did in all of 2013. And the Gulfport production engine continues to chug away in the Ohio Utica Shale. Gulfport brought 22 new Utica wells online in 4Q14 and has six rigs currently drilling in the Utica. Gulfport is also wisely “hedged”–meaning they’re getting about $1 per Mcf more for their gas (they currently get $4.12/Mcf) than the current spot rate of ~$3.00/Mcf. Smart…
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Death by Thousand Cuts for Penn East Pipeline? NEPA Town Opposes

Seems like it’s becoming death by a thousand cuts for the Penn East Pipeline, a 108-mile, 36-inch pipeline from Dallas Township (Luzerne County), PA to Hopewell Township (Mercer County), NJ–essentially Wilkes-Barre to Trenton. The pipeline would connect bountiful supplies of Marcellus Shale gas from northeast PA with the Transco interstate pipeline, so the gas could fuel the enormous demands of places like New Jersey, New York and beyond. Plenty of anti-drillers in southeast PA and NJ have been carping and complaining about the pipeline. This time it’s Dallas Township itself–where the pipeline is supposed to begin–that’s complaining. On Monday, Dallas Township officials passed a resolution formally opposing the Penn East Pipeline…
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PA Marcellus Shale Health Advisory Panel Proposed, Again

State Sen. Joe Scarnati, Republican and President Pro Tempore of the PA Senate, says he will reintroduce a bill to form a Marcellus Shale health advisory panel. This is the second time Scarnati has pushed the concept (went nowhere in the last session). The panel would have nine members and would consider available research and provide expert guidance and opinion to PA elected officials, regulators and the general public. The problem is, Scarnati’s plan calls for half (four) of the nine panel members to be politicians, including Scarnati himself. Seems to us if the intent is to get at the science and offer untainted advice, you need to remove the politicians from the mix…
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Pro-Driller Ortitay Replaces Anti-Driller White in PA House

Just a brief note to celebrate yesterday, the first official day of the new Pennsylvania General Assembly and the swearing in of newly-minted Rep. Jason Ortitay, Republican from South Fayette, PA. Jason Ortitay handily defeated the dishonest anti-driller Jesse White, someone who abused his office by using fake online IDs to criticize and impugn some of his own pro-drilling constituents (see How the Mighty Have Fallen: PA Rep White Admits Guilt, Not Sorry). We’d also add that it’s interesting to us that throughout the campaign, the increasingly anti-drilling (and very pro-Democrat) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette supported Jesse White, attempting to prop him up and make excuses for his behavior (see PPG Tries to Prop Up Discredited/Shamed PA Rep Jesse White). Shame on the Post-Gazette. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Pittsburgh’s other major newspaper, supported Jason Ortitay, to their credit. Perhaps businesses in Pittsburgh should reevaluate their ad spending for 2015, eh? Jason’s claim to fame is not simply that he defeated White. Jason is pro-drilling and instead of being a career politician, he’s a small business owner of a cheesecake company. What a breath of fresh air!…
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Delaware Riverkeeper: Short-Tempered & Outright Rude [Video]

MDN friend Tom Shepstone, editor of the superb Natural Gas Now website, appeared a few weeks ago on Business Matters, a weekly business-focused television program on WFMZ in Allentown, PA. Tom was there as part of a four-person debate about pipelines and shale drilling. Also on the panel was the arrogant (and frankly adolescent-acting) Maya van Rossum, aka THE Delaware Riverkeeper (see Delaware Riverkeeper Gets a French Kiss from Phila. Inquirer). van Rossum put on quite the performance–a typical fast-talk and bully-your-opponent performance. Take time to watch the debate (embedded below)…
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Earthjustice, Others Ask FERC to Reconsider Constitution Pipeline

Thank God the Constitution Pipeline is fully authorized and permitted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (see FERC Issues Final Approval for Constitution Pipeline in PA/NY). We still have to sit through nutty anti-drillers parading before the microphones at New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) hearings about the Constitution–but that should be just a formality. At least we hope it’s a formality–one never knows with anti-drillers like Joe Martens helming the DEC. It shouldn’t be long now before the backhoes start digging. But what’s that we hear in the distance? The hyena yapping of far-left environmentalist wackos? Yep. Earthjustice, Sierra Clubbers, Catskill Mountainkeeper and other anti-drilling groups have asked FERC to reconsider their permitting of the Constitution, telling FERC they didn’t do their job right…
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