Schlumberger Cuts Another 11K Jobs, 15% of Workforce Gone in 4 Mos

meat cleaverWow–it’s getting savage out there in the oil (and gas) fields with respect to jobs. In January we told you that Schlumberger (pronounced Shlum-Bur-Zhay), the world’s (and the U.S.’s) largest oilfield services company, cut 9,000 jobs from the company (see Schlumberger Firing 9,000 to Reduce Head Count, “Low Oil Prices”). Since that time, other companies like Halliburton and Baker Hughes (both competitors of Schlumberger) have cut 6,400 and 7,000 jobs respectively. Ouch. Looks like that was just getting the ax sharpened. Last Thursday Schlumberger announced another round of job cuts–this time 11,000. Analysts are predicting this is the opening round of more cuts to come from other companies, a so-called second round…
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Bluescape Pulls Strings Installs New CEO, COO at EXCO Resources

Note: Thanks to a sharp MDN reader for pointing out that EXCO is NOT a wholly own subsidiary of Bluescape. Our mistake! The two companies are, however, tightly working together. We maintain, however, that Bluescape is pulling the strings after purchasing 5.9 million shares of EXCO stock.

We’re not sure how we missed it, but somehow it had escaped our attention that EXCO Resources, with 145,000 net acres in the Marcellus Shale, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bluescape Resources Company. We’re not sure when that happened. Bluescape, judging from their website, is an investment holding company–the money behind other companies like EXCO. The Bluescape website says they own 330,000 net acres in the Marcellus. Since Bluescape does no drilling of its own in the Marcellus (we checked our own Marcellus and Utica Shale Databook), it leads us to conclude EXCO isn’t Bluescape’s only investment/subsidiary in the northeast. Over the past few weeks, EXCO has experienced a shake-up in upper management, with Bluescape pulling the strings. At the end of 2014, EXCO suspended dividend payments for shareholders–never a positive sign (see EXCO Resources Suspends Dividend Payments to Shareholders). Also in December, the company appeared on Debtwire’s “Distressed Watchlist” (see 4 Marcellus Companies Debut on Debtwire’s Distressed Watchlist). In February, EXCO was listed on “The Oil Company Death List” (see 19 Oil/Gas Companies on “Death List” – 8 are in Marcellus/Utica). So it should come as no surprise that EXCO has both a new CEO and new COO over the past two weeks…
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6 Months Later: Gastar Deal to Drill Under Ohio River Not Done

Last October MDN brought you the news that Gastar Exploration had won a lease with West Virginia to drill under a 232-acre tract of the Ohio River at the border of Marshall and Wetzel counties (see Gastar Wins Lease to Drill Under Ohio River in WV). Terms of the lease: $3,500 per acre signing bonus with 20% royalties. At that time, “final aspects of the lease” were being negotiated. In March of this year Statoil signed a deal with WV to drill under 474 acres of the Ohio River (see Statoil Cuts Deal to Drill Under 474 Acres of the Ohio River in WV). Terms of the Statoil lease: $8,732 per acre signing bonus with 20% royalties. The Statoil deal is done and dusted. The Gastar deal? It’s six months later and the lawyers are still squabbling back and forth. The final contract has not yet been signed…
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McClendon’s American Energy-Utica Signs OH Water Deal with MWCD

The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) continues its pro-drilling ways. MWCD was organized in 1933 to reduce the effects of flooding and conserve water for beneficial public uses, oversees 16 dams and reservoirs across 22 counties in Ohio, covering 20% of the state. A huge part of Ohio is under the oversight and control of the MWCD. We’ve previously covered their deals with Antero Resources to lease District property for drilling. We’ve also covered District deals to sell water to Antero and other shale drillers. Last week they signed a new deal, much smaller than others they’ve signed, to sell water to Aubrey McClendon’s American Energy-Utica subsidiary. American Energy will pay $6 per 1,000 gallons (a little over half a penny per gallon). The deal is only for three months–from May through July…
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Range Loses 2nd Appeal, Must Provide PA Well Site Chemical List

Three families who live near a former drill site and frack wastewater impoundment at the Yeager Marcellus Shale site in Washington County, PA sued Range Resources in May 2012 claiming the air they breathe and the water they drink had been contaminated by Range’s operation at the site (see EPA Investigating Range Drill Site in Western PA). Litigation ensued, and years passed. In 2013, a Washington County court ordered Range (not its contractors, but Range itself) to disclose a list of all chemicals used at the site–right down to the type of motor oil used in vehicles coming and going at the site (see PA Judge Forces Range, Contractors to Provide Chemical List). It will be an almost impossible task to construct such a list at this point, especially in light of the fact they’re in the process of closing the site. So Range appealed. Last June they lost that appeal (see Court Says Range Resources Must Disclose Chemicals in SW PA). Range appealed again, and last week they lost that second appeal…
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Why Some WV Landowners Resist MVP Pipeline: Threats & Low $$

Two weeks ago MDN told you that EQT, NextEra US Gas Assets and their Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project have sued 103 West Virginia landowners to force them to allow access to their property so they can survey it for potential paths for the MVP (see Mountain Valley Pipeline Sues 103 WV Landowners for Survey Access). MVP is a 330-mile pipeline that will stretch from Wetzel County, WV to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsylvania County, VA. But landowners in, of all places, WV seem to be turning against the pipeline. There are so many projects underway in WV and other Marcellus/Utica areas, it almost seems as if there is pipeline fatigue setting in. Make no mistake, pipelines like the MVP are desperately needed to move large volumes of Marcellus/Utica gas to markets outside of the immediate region. Without the pipelines, the drilling will stop–which is what anti-drillers want to happen. But sometimes otherwise supportive landowners are not so supportive of a given pipeline project. Let’s get an inside perspective to better understand some of the reasons why…
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Rex Energy: 1Q15 Production Up 60%; Still Selling Keystone Clearwater

Rex Energy issued a brief announcement today to say a) first quarter 2015 production was up 60% over first quarter of last year, and b) the company is still on track to sell its 60% ownership interest in Keystone Clearwater Solutions, the company’s water service subsidiary (announced in February, see Rex Energy Looks to Sell 28,300 Marcellus Acres in Bid to Raise $). Here’s the details…
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ExxonMobil Donates $47M to Higher Ed, Including Marcellus Region

ExxonMobil runs an incredibly generous program called the Educational Matching Gift Program under which they have just donated $47 million to ~900 colleges and universities across the United States. Here’s how it works: for every $1 ExxonMobil employees, retirees, directors and surviving spouses contribute to the Matching Gift Program, ExxonMobil matches it with $3. In Pennsylvania, the total pot donated to higher education was $3.8 million. In Ohio, it was $909,000. Virginia colleges are getting $1.3 million. New York State colleges and universities are getting a whopping $3.4 million–after New York State has screwed ExxonMobil royally (the company has lost millions of dollars in lease expirations when it couldn’t drill shale wells in the state because of Andrew Cuomo’s fracking ban). And yet, ExxonMobil gave money to the Empire State anyway, to some of the very schools who provide shelter and sponsor anti-drilling zealots. It shows the caliber of the people who run the company. One more: New Jersey, big users of oil and gas, but haters of pipelines and shale drilling, got $1.1 million…
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Sandra Steingraber’s Irrational Hatred of Fossil Fuels Continues

There is no middle ground, no compromise, no basis on which to have a rational, intelligent discussion with a person who refuses to acknowledge reality. The reality we’re talking about is the fundamental and necessary role of petrochemicals–i.e. fossil fuels–in every society on earth, save a few jungle tribes. If you live in any modern civilization on earth today, fossil fuels make it possible. From the clothes on your body to the shoes on your feet, the chair you sit in, the carpet you walk on, the walls and roof of the house or dormitory where you live, the vehicle you drive–the materials that compose it, manufacture it and and power it are based on fossil fuels. And yet there are so-called intelligent, learned people, like Ithaca College’s Sandra Steingraber, who insist we must adopt a tribe-like existence and dump all fossil fuels–now. Forever. One of Steingraber’s favorite methods in talking about fossil fuels (and fracking) is to wax “poetic.” Her latest discourse, recently delivered at Wells College in beautiful Cayuga County, NY (Finger Lakes region), is described this way: “Rather than dissect the dispute [about fracking] through science, charts and graphs, visiting speaker Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D., instead probed the use of fossil fuels through anecdotes and imagery.” In other words, she just makes it up. She concocts erroneous analogies and stories, comparing fracking to things like smoking, and relies on her oratory skills to convince people that fracking, indeed fossil fuels in general, are from the devil himself. And young people at places like Wells College just lap it up…
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