BIG Decrease in BH Rig Counts, Including Marcellus/Utica

over a cliffBaker Hughes, the company known for its publicly available rig count data (and it’s pink drill bits use in breast cancer awareness) yesterday published its official monthly rig count tally for March. In the public press release BH notes that (our language) rig counts have fallen off a cliff. The U.S. land-based rig count, most of which are used to drill in shale plays, sunk to 1,067, down 238 rigs from February (which is 18% in a single month), and down 683 from March 2014 (which is 39%). Not a pretty picture. MDN wondered if the same trend held for the Marcellus/Utica, so we ran the numbers for PA, OH and WV…
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Johns Hopkins Says PA Fracking Causing High Radon in Nearby Homes

Johns Hopkins University researchers are fresh out with a “fracked natural gas will give you cancer from radon” study. In the latest attack on fracking, published in Environmental Health Pespectives and titled “Predictors of Indoor Radon Concentrations in Pennsylvania, 1989–2013” (full copy below), Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers rather simplistically say that levels of radon in Pennsylvania homes have been going up since 2004–when the first Marcellus Shale well was drilled in the state and the likely source is Marcellus Shale wells. They say prior to 2004, levels of radon in PA homes was pretty much steady-state–that it did not increase. Since the “big thing” that’s happened over the past decade is a lot of Marcellus drilling, voilà, must be those nasty frackers are the source. They also notice that homes closer to fracked shale wells have higher concentrations of radon than homes not close to fracked shale wells. We’re fully in favor of public health research–we just wish it was a little more rigorous than what passes for research at the anti-drilling Johns Hopkins…
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List of 6 New Natural Gas-Fired Electric Plants Coming to Ohio

There are “at least” six natural gas-fired electric generating plants planned for Ohio. Yesterday we told you that one of the plants, in Carroll County, will break ground this week (see New Utica-Powered Electric Plant Breaks Ground in Carrollton, OH). Advanced Power Services’ Carroll County Energy LLC is spending $900 million to build an electric plant north of Carrollton. What about the other five. Who’s building them and where?…
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LNG Love Story: Shell Makes Play to Buy BG in $69.7B Megamerger

Love StoryIt’s an LNG love story. Yesterday Shell announced they are buying BG Group, the former British Gas, for $69.7 billion dollars. To put it in perspective, in 1998 Exxon bought Mobil for $80 billion, forming what is now ExxonMobil. So this is that kind of scale–really really huge. The oil and gas industry is buzzing about the deal. Is this the first of many such consolidations, given the low price of oil? Will the Shell/BG deal impact shale drilling? What does it ultimately mean? We’ll leave it to others to discuss the broader implications. What we always wonder is, how will this affect the Marcellus/Utica? We have a few thoughts. Both Shell and BG have acreage in the Marcellus/Utica. But before we get to that, the first thing to understand about the Shell/BG deal is that it’s about LNG. This merger will make Shell the largest player in the global LNG market–easily twice the size of the nearest competitor…
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Moody’s: “Vast Majority” of LNG Export Projects Will be Canceled

The analysts at Moody’s Investors Service have turned decidedly bearish on the plethora of proposed LNG (liquefied natural gas) export plants in both the U.S. and Canada. There are nearly 30 LNG export plants proposed in the U.S., 18 proposed projects in western Canada, and 4 in eastern Canada. One of them–Cove Point, Maryland, being built by Dominion–is right now in the midst of construction. The Cove Point plant will export Marcellus and Utica Shale gas to Japan and India. A number of the other LNG plants would also export Marcellus/Utica gas–in particular the four proposed plants in Nova Scotia (see Canadian LNG Exports, New England Pipelines & the Marcellus). However, according to Moody’s, the “vast majority” of proposed LNG projects, including the four in Nova Scotia, will never happen…
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New Report: Marcellus/Utica Holds 35% of U.S. Recoverable Natgas

The Potential Gas Committee (PGC), a private non-profit organization loosely affiliated with the Colorado School of Mines, performs a comprehensive study of potential supplies of natural gas in the United States every two years. In April of 2013 MDN reported the committee’s findings of just how much gas is down there (see Marcellus Region Contains Huge 33% of All U.S. Recoverable NatGas). It’s two years later and time for a new report. PGC is reporting because of shale and new technology, the U.S. now has more technically recoverable natural gas than it has ever had in its history–over 2,515 trillion cubic feet. Two years ago the Marcellus/Utica represented 33% of the entire supply of recoverable natural gas. Now? That number is up to 35%. Below we have the press release and detailed summary of the report, along with a slide deck published by the PGC yesterday…
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Chesapeake Utilities Completes $59M Purchase of OH Midstream Co.

In February MDN told you about Chesapeake Utilities, a diversified energy company with businesses in natural gas distribution, transmission and marketing, electricity distribution, propane distribution and wholesale marketing (nothing to do with Chesapeake Energy) purchasing a small midstream company in Ohio–Gatherco, Inc (see Chesapeake Utilities Buys OH Midstream Co, Targets Shale Industry). Part of the motivation is to target the Utica Shale industry in Ohio by building gathering pipelines. Last week Chesapeake Utilities announced the deal is now done and Gatherco has been renamed and merged with Chesapeake subsidiary Aspire Energy of Ohio…
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Carrizo CEO Sells 6K Shares of Stock for $307K

Chip Johnson, CEO of Carizzo Oil & Gas, an active driller in both the Marcellus and Utica Shale, has just sold 6,000 shares of company stock that he owns, netting him a cool $307,380. Does it mean anything? Not really. After selling those 6,000 shares, he still owns 608,356 shares worth $31 million. So we think about all it means is that Chip and his family are planning a summer vacation…
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