Chevron Laying Off 23% of their Marcellus Workforce in Pittsburgh

cutting jobsWell, don’t say we didn’t warn you. In November MDN brought you the news that Chevron announced the are “restructuring” their northeast business until to “become more efficient” and for “long-term growth.” We pointed out at the time that kind of language doesn’t inspire confidence (see Chevron Scaling Back in the Marcellus/Utica? Maybe). We also said it was a good sign that no WARN Act notices of impending large layoffs had been issued. Oops. That’s now changed. In an emailed statement yesterday, Chevron said it plans to lay off 162 Pennsylvania workers as part of their “restructuring”–nearly a quarter of their Marcellus workforce. Ouch. It wasn’t so long ago Chevron was planning to build a massive, new 350,000 square foot regional headquarters near Pittsburgh (see Chevron Puts Moon Twp, PA Office Building Project on Hold). It seems that project is now dead–no signs of life. Here’s the disappointing info on Chevron’s coming round of layoffs…
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Not Every NE Driller is Laying Off Workers – Some Buck the Trend

Lately it seems the news has been bad when it comes to layoffs and cutbacks in the northeast shale drilling industry. We recently had the bombshell that Schlumberger is cutting 9,000 jobs because of low oil prices (see Schlumberger Firing 9,000 to Reduce Head Count, “Low Oil Prices”). Then Baker Hughes announced layoffs of 7,000 (see Baker Hughes Announces 7,000 Layoffs Due to Low Oil Price). Both are national layoffs–we don’t know how many of those jobs are in the northeast, but the northeast is the biggest shale region in the U.S. at the moment, so it stands to reason some (many?) will come from our neck of the woods. Today Chevron announced they’re laying off 162 people in the Pittsburgh area (see our lead story today). Almost every major Marcellus/Utica driller has announced major cuts in their capital expenditure budgets for 2015–from Range Resources and Antero Resources to the much smaller firms like Rex Energy and Stone Energy. Less spending on drilling = cutbacks in jobs, at least jobs at oilfield services and other related companies. So when we saw a story that says “wait a minute, we’re not cutting jobs”–and the people saying it are the heads of big Marcellus/Utica drillers, that caught our attention…
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DEP Begins Air Study Near Proposed Frac Sand Facility in NEPA

For some time, MDN has followed the developing story in rural Tunkhannock, PA (Wyoming County) where D&I Silica, now owned by Hi-Crush Partners, wants to build a frac sand transfer station along a rail line. D&I lacked only one thing before they could begin construction–a permit from the county. Residents in the area are concerned that the silica, or frac sand, will become airborne and create health issues–so the county resisted in granting the permit. D&I took the county to court and the case was settled last November, allowing D&I to move forward. However, the county wanted to conduct an air quality study. The state Dept. of Environmental Protection said they would conduct an air quality study, but the county a private, third party company to do the study (see Deuling Air Quality Studies for NEPA Frac Sand Transfer Station). Once the county found out the air quality study would cost them $130,000, they decided the DEP’s study will do just fine, thank you very much. The county decided to pay $7,500 instead to have their independent, third party consultant review the study done by the DEP. Yesterday the DEP showed up and started to set up equipment for the study…
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NEPA Anti-Drilling Group Holds Press Conf to Celebrate Court Settlement

On Monday, MDN told you about the resolution of a case in involving a northeast Pennsylvania anti-drilling group, Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition, or GDAC (see NEPA Anti Group Wins Lawsuit, Dropped from Terrorist Watch List). GDAC was placed on a state terrorist watch list in 2010. GDAC says they are peaceful and have never broken any laws in their efforts to stop Marcellus Shale drilling in the Keystone State. GDAC sued the PA Dept. of Homeland Security over the matter and last week the two sides settled the federal lawsuit. Terms of the settlement are private and not disclosed by request of the state, which says to us GDAC probably got money out of it. If taxpayer money has gone to settle the case, why don’t we have the right to know how much? Yesterday GDAC and their attorney held a press conference to discuss the settlement of the case…
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SEPA Towns Manipulated by Big Enviro Groups to Oppose PennEast

You might think, in casually reading the local newspaper in southeast Pennsylvania, that all of your neighbors have spontaneously risen up to oppose an evil, nasty, money-grubbing pipeline called the PennEast. Your neighbors are concerned about safety–and YOU should be too! There’s just one teeny tiny problem–national anti-drilling groups are behind this “spontaneous” uprising. Groups like the Sierra Clubbers, and the odious and misnamed Food & Water Watch (FWW), which is not an impartial group that’s “advocating for clean water and safe food.” FWW are virulent anti-drillers who oppose fossil fuels of any kind and are well-organized and flush with Big Enviro money. FWW descends on small towns–places like Lower Saucon Township in Northampton County, PA (population 9,884)–and they hoodwink local political leaders into believing that the pipeline is evil. So a resolution gets passed by the town board opposing it. Voila, “everyone” is against it. Orgasmic joy sweeps over Food & Water Watch HQ. On to the next town…
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Anti Group Asks PA Court for a Do-Over on State Land Drilling Decision

Earlier this month we reported the crushing defeat of the litigious anti-drilling group Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation (PEDF) in their lawsuit that attempts to stop all drilling and leasing of state-owned lands for oil and gas drilling (see PA Court Rules to Allow More Leasing/Drilling of State-Owned Land). Even though it was a victory for pro-drillers, it was a “dirty” win because it relied on and reinforced the flawed PA Supreme Court “Robinson” case on Act 13 zoning (see Troubling Win in PA Court Victory that Allows State Land Drilling). The litigious PEDF is back to take yet another bite at the apple. They’ve filed an “Application for Reargument” in the case. They want the judge to call a “do-over” so they can try, once again, to ban drilling on state-owned land…
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Sen. Inhofe Outsmarts Democrats, Votes to Say Climate Change is Real!

Sen. Jim Inhofe from Okalhoma, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, has changed the debate on man-made global warming once again, much to the consternation of the wacko left. We saw a press release from Inhofe’s office yesterday (below) saying that Sen. Inhofe and virtually every other Republican in the Senate had just joined the Democrats in voting 98-1 in favor of an amendment on the Keystone XL Pipeline bill that says “climate change is real and it is not a hoax.” We did a double-take. Really? Inhofe says he now believes in climate change?! Then we read further. In the next breath, Inhofe said: “How arrogant is it for people to say that man can do something about changing the climate?” Inhofe, by co-sponsoring and voting for the amendment, is pointing out the corrosion of our language…
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Quirky Friday: What’s the Main Selling Point of Erie, PA Trailer Park?

It’s Friday and sometimes the impending weekend puts us in a quirky mood. And then we notice something that strikes us as quirky or interesting–and we pass it along. Such is the case with this story. UMH Properties, Inc. is a real estate investment trust (REIT) that owns and operates manufactured home communities in seven states throughout the northeast–trailer parks and modular home communities. UMH issued a press release yesterday to crow about buying yet another trailer park in Erie, PA for $3.8 million. Stick with us, there is a point. The main advantage/reason that UMH purchased this particular trailer park to add to their growing portfolio? It’s located in the Marcellus/Utica region, and because it’s located in prime shale country, they figure occupancy rates will remain high…
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