CONSOL Energy Lays Off Workers in CNX Gas Division in WV/PA

breaking-news.jpgUPDATE 4PM 4/10/15: A highly placed source tells MDN that the number of total layoffs in the gas division is 170, many of which happened today. The total number is just shy of 5% of CONSOL’s total workforce. Our thoughts and prayers go to those affected.

It’s not often that MDN gets to break news–but from scouring available news sources, we believe this is one of those times. Yesterday a long-time MDN reader phoned MDN to report that CONSOL Energy has begun, and is in the process of, a large round of layoffs in its CNX Gas division. The layoffs include personnel cuts in the following CONSOL locations: In WV there have been cuts in the Jane Lew and Bluefield offices; and in PA, cuts have been made (or will be made) in the Waynesburg, Indiana, and Canonsburg offices. We must stress this is second-hand information. We believe our source, but we do not have confirmation of cuts in all of those locations. Our source told us he had once worked in the Jane Lew office when that operation was part of Dominion (prior to CONSOL taking it over) and that someone he once worked with in that office–a woman who’s worked in that office/operation for 28 years–was just given her pink slip. So our source has an inside track on the situation. However, it’s always best to get confirmation, so MDN contacted CONSOL via email to ask for confirmation (or denial) and this is what CONSOL said…
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Trans Energy Sells 5,159 Acres/12 Wells in Wetzel County for $71.3M

UPDATE 4/11/15: We now know the identity of the company doing the buying. See our note at the end of the article.

Trans Energy, a small but active “pure play” Marcellus driller in West Virginia, announced it has signed a deal with an unnamed buyer for one-third of their remaining Marcellus acreage, located in Wetzel County, WV. The deal is for 5,159 net acres and twelve producing Marcellus wells. Sale price? $71.3 million. This deal means that Trans Energy will no longer have active operations or leases in Wetzel County. They will continue to have active operations and leases in Marshall and Marion counties. This is not the first time Trans Energy has sold some of their WV acreage to an unnamed buyer. They sold 1,163 acres and two well pads with an unfinished well in Tyler County in October 2013 (see Trans Energy Sells Off Holdings in Tyler County, WV – Who Bought?). As in 2013, the buyer for the Wetzel acreage is not named, but MDN has a guess about who it may be…
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Columbia Gas Slapped with $150K Fine for Pipeline Work in 2011-12

Building a pipeline can be expensive in more ways that one. Columbia Gas Transmission has just been fined $150,000 by the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environment Protection for violations of the Clean Streams Law during construction of a pipeline in Pike County–construction that happened in 2011-2012. The DEP made inspections during the construction and observed over 100 violations–“failure to implement, maintain and provide temporary stabilization of disturbed areas, and potential pollution and sediment discharges into waterways.” Why it takes three years to levy and collect a fine we have no idea. Here’s the announcement from the DEP…
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Baker Hughes Axes their Quarterly Well Count Report :-(

In July 2013 Baker Hughes, the third largest oilfield services company in the U.S. that’s being forced to merge with Halliburton, the second largest oilfield services company, started a useful new quarterly report called the well count report (see BH Launches Well Count Report, Perfect Compliment to Rig Count). You know Baker Hughes as the company that releases weekly and monthly rig count data. Just yesterday our lead story was the latest rig count stats from BH (see BIG Decrease in BH Rig Counts, Including Marcellus/Utica). BH has counted and reported the number of active rigs drilling for the past 70+ years. With rigs becoming more efficient–fewer of them drilling more wells–it made sense to add a report that would track the number of new wells spud, or new wells started, in a given period of time. That was the quarterly well report. Unfortunately BH has just announced they are immediately discontinuing the well report, less than two years after they launched it…
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Wolf Chief of Staff McGinty Lies About PA Severance Tax/Impact Fee

retreadKatie McGinty is one of the Ed Rendell retreads employed by current PA Gov. Tom Wolf. She’s one of two former DEP Secretaries (under Rendell) working for Wolf. In fact, she is Tom Wolf’s chief of staff–arguably the second-most powerful person in Harrisburg after the governor himself. We’ve previously chronicled her background and how she might influence Wolf on Marcellus drilling matters (see How Will Wolf Appointment of McGinty Affect Marcellus Drilling?). In commenting on Wolf’s proposed 15% (effective rate) severance tax with the editorial board of a Washington County newspaper, McGinty also shows her skill at bald-faced lying…
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DEP Still Studying Keystone Landfill Expansion, Plans 2nd Hearing

The third busiest landfill in Pennsylvania is the Keystone Sanitary Landfill, located on the outskirts of Scranton. The Keystone Landfill accepts a great deal of drill cuttings from Marcellus drilling. MDN has chronicled the long fight to first accept, then expand acceptance of drilling waste at the site. Last year Keystone applied for a permit to expand the landfill again–but instead of outward, they want to expand it upward, making it higher, to gain more capacity. At present about 10% of the incoming waste stream at the landfill is shale waste. The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) had, as of last summer, delayed granting the expansion request pending more study (see DEP Delays Scranton Landfill Expansion; Requires Study). In the meantime, Keystone’s base operating permit was up for renewal and earlier this week they got that renewal from the DEP. In the DEP announcement about renewing Keystone’s base permit, they mentioned that a new/second public hearing will soon be held on Keystone’s request to expand upward…
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Mike Bloomberg Gives Sierra Club $30M to Fight Coal, But Loves Gas

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is one conflicted dude. On the one hand he loves natural gas (a fossil fuel) and thinks we should have more of it, and on the other hand he hates coal. So get this… On Wednesday Bloomberg attended a big soiree where he handed a personal check for $30 million (part of a $110 million donation) to the nutters of the Sierra Club to further fund their “Beyond Coal” campaign. At the event he was asked if he would be supporting the Sierra Club’s Beyond Natural Gas campaign. He said no. He not only said no, he went on (later in the day) to devastate every argument the Sierra Club has against natural gas. Bloomberg, in a Wall Street Journal interview on Wednesday, took pot shots at Andrew Cuomo’s anti-fracking ban. Bloomberg loves gas but hates coal. Like we said, one conflicted dude…
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A Look at Fracking Propaganda and How It’s Manufactured

pull the curtain backHere’s how mainstream media and “environmentalists” collude to lie to you. First, a group of virulent anti-fossil fuelers sit around a conference table at the William Penn Foundation, or Heinz Foundation, or Sierra Club, or NRDC, or take-your-pick. Maybe they all have a big confab on Martha’s Vineyard–many pinheads are better than one. They sit there in a room heated by natural gas using electricity created with natural gas (or coal), sitting on chairs made from petrochemicals, and sitting there in clothes made from petrochemicals (fossil fuels) to talk about ending fossil fuels. The environmentalists talk about which issues poll well and scare the most people with respect to fracking. Everyone decides “cancer” is a great one. Yeah, we’ll use cancer. “How do you get cancer?” asks one them at the confab. “From radiation,” comes the response from one good little LibDem. “What if we could tie cancer to fracking? Wouldn’t that be great?!” Everyone cheers. How to do it…how to do it. “I know! Radon! We’ll convince everyone that fracked gas creates clouds and plumes of suffocating radon and that radon will kill ’em by giving them cancer.” Horray! Next step: Find willing accomplices in the scientific community that can be bought off with grant money to “study” the issue and publish a pre-determined anti-fracking outcome in a peer-reviewed journal (see Johns Hopkins Says PA Fracking Causing High Radon in Nearby Homes). The penultimate step: Get a single, sympathetic mainstream media reporter to write a story blaming fracking–as if it’s proven science. Enter the Washington Post with a story yesterday sporting this headline: “Rise of deadly radon gas in Pennsylvania buildings linked to fracking industry”…
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