Rumor: Ohio Cracker Plant Announcement Coming This Week

rumor millLast October MDN told you about the rumor that a pair of companies from Thailand and Japan were partnering with the aim of building an ethane cracker plant in the Marcellus/Utica region (see Thailand & Japan Partner to Build 3rd Big Marcellus Ethane Cracker). It’s not just any pair of companies, either. The companies are Thailand’s largest chemical company, Bangkok-based PTT Global Chemical, and Japan’s fifth largest general trading company/conglomerates, Tokyo-based Marubeni Corp. These are serious players. They were reported to be considering three different locations in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Since that time we’ve not heard anything–until now. Yesterday, Columbus Business First reporter Tom Knox reported PTT is taking a “big step forward” in the process and has decided on a site in Belmont County, OH. The new rumor is that PTT/Ohio will make some sort of announcement this week…
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Ohio “Baby Cracker” Plant Still a Go – 2018 Startup Date

Lots of cracker plant talk today on MDN. Last October, MDN told you about potential plans for a “baby” ethane cracker plant–smaller than the typical project–to be built (potentially) in Monroe County, OH (see Ohio to Get “Baby” Ethane Cracker Originally Slated for WV). The company behind that project is Appalachian Resins (AR). Their plan is to build an ethylene/polyethylene production facility rather than a full-blown cracker plant. Although smaller, it would still be a huge (really huge) economic boom for the region. A few weeks ago DownstreamToday learned that AR is still committed to moving forward with their plans to build the baby cracker in Monroe County, even though some of the economics have changed…
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Baker Hughes Follows Schlumberger, Ups Layoffs to 17% of Workforce

meat cleaverIt seems that unfortunately, Schlumberger’s second round of layoffs was an omen and indeed a predictor of things to come (see Schlumberger Cuts Another 11K Jobs, 15% of Workforce Gone in 4 Mos). After Schlumberger announced their new massive layoff, Baker Hughes followed suit and today added another 3,500 layoffs to the 7,000 previously announced (see Baker Hughes Announces 7,000 Layoffs Due to Low Oil Price). The new 10,500 number represents 17% of Baker Hughes’ workforce. Of course mixed up in this mess is the shotgun marriage–Baker Hughes is being forced to sell to Halliburton (see Halliburton & Baker Hughes Vote to Approve Shotgun Wedding). This morning Baker Hughes released their first quarter 2015 results, and the new layoffs news was embedded in that announcement…
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Patterson-UTI Shaken Down for $12.26 Million

The ShakedownPatterson-UTI operates (leases out) drilling rigs for shale and conventional drilling. They are one of the biggest rig firms in the Marcellus/Utica. They were also, a few years ago, a juicy target for the mob. The mob told Patterson that the goodfellas didn’t like Patterson’s hiring patterns. Patterson wasn’t treating all of its employees exactly the same. And the color mix of employees was a bit off for the mob’s taste. So the mob did what they do best–a shake down. Patterson could pay them big bucks and the problems would all magically disappear. It’s called protection money. The cost to Patterson to “protect them” would run into the millions–which is why the company originally opposed such a scheme. But in the end, Patterson caved and handed over $12.26 million in protection money to the mob. Oops. Did we say “mob”? We meant to say “U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.” And did we say “protection money?” We meant to say “settlement.” Here’s the details behind the shakedown of Patterson-UTI…
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PA DEP Releases 2013 Air Pollution from Drilling Report

Each year the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) collects air emissions data for the natural gas industry as required by PA’s Air Pollution Control Act. Yesterday the DEP issued a comprehensive report for calendar year 2013. It’s no surprise that several categories of air pollutants increased–the more wells you drill, the more activity, the more air pollution. What *is* surprising is that two categories of air pollution decreased: carbon monoxide (CO) and methane (CH4). You also need to throw this into the mix: The way the information is collected and reported changed in 2013. The DEP began requiring data from compressor stations supporting coalbed methane wells. That is, they grew the pie–the data is sort of apples and oranges. And still the CO and CH4 numbers went down! Below is the DEP summary of the numbers, broken out by type of air pollution…
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PA DEP: Sunoco Facing “Significant” Fine for Non-Toxic Mud Spills

Last September MDN told you about a drilling mud spill that ended up in Little Mingo Creek in Washington County, PA (see Mariner East Pipeline Drilling Spills Mud in Local Creek). Sunoco Logistics was using a contractor to drill under the creek when the drill bit hit something really hard and broke, and the mud poured out of a ruptured hole and into the creek. Fortunately the mud, which is a substance called bentonite, is non-toxic and used in products from shampoo to deodorant and toothpaste. However, in sufficient quantities it can suffocate aquatic life. We didn’t think much about that incident until we spotted a story that says the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) is about issue Sunoco Logistics a fine for that accident–a really big fine…
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Bentek: March US Gas Production Up 8% from Year Ago, 1% from Feb

Researchers at Platts’ Bentek Energy division estimate natural gas production in the lower 48 States increased by 1.8 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) to 73.4 Bcf/d during the month of March. That’s an 8% increase over March of 2014. Production was up only 1% from February 2015, illustrating the coming slow down in production. You can’t lay down all of those rigs (875 rigs idled in the past 6 months) and shut-in production without it having an effect sooner or later…
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Opposing Viewpoint on Gulfport Water Lawsuit Against Barnesville

MDN reader Eric Fenster, who lives in the Piedmont Lake area of Ohio, wrote to take issue with MDN’s “take” on the lawsuit brought by Gulfport Energy against Barnesville for breach of contract in selling them water for use in drilling and fracking (see Barnesville Officials “Didn’t Think” When Signing Gulfport Water Deal). Mr. Fenster believes MDN has it mostly wrong and that the Gulfport lawsuit is frivolous and should be dismissed. He outlines his thinking in the following guest post…
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Steingraber: Only Jobs for Women in Fracking are Maid & Prostitute

Yesterday we told you about Ithaca College’s Sandra Steingraber and how she approaches the weighty issues of shale drilling–by making things up (see Sandra Steingraber’s Irrational Hatred of Fossil Fuels Continues). On April 6th we told you that Steingraber was due to deliver a lecture at the University of Pittsburgh on fracking and feminism (see Funny! NY Fractivist Steingraber Says Fracking is a “Feminist Issue”). It seems Steingraber delivered just what radical feminists wanted to hear. Steingraber actually said this about the jobs generated by the drilling industry for women: “The jobs for women are ‘hotel maid’ and ‘prostitute’.” Steingraber maintains that fracking is a man’s world. Who knew Steingraber was such a sexist? Once again Sandra Steingraber makes things up out of her rather fertile imagination…
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Going Amish? NY Nutters Push to Dump All Fossil Fuel Use by 2030

Have you noticed how anti-drilling nutters have become even more shrill lately? They never were “reasonable” people–able to be reasoned with. But lately…wow. How about this example: A fringe collection of 70 “groups” (each “group” is a single person or perhaps half a dozen people a most) that you’ve mostly never heard of are supporting an initiative in New York called 100% Renewable Energy by 2030. They are true global warming believers–and God help you if you try and talk any sense to them on that topic. This group of 70 is attempting to build on the success of pressuring the spineless Andrew Cuomo in banning fracking by banning the use of fossil fuels by 2030. Yes, they’re totally nuts–we know that. Yes, they ignore facts like the materials used to make their precious windmills and solar panels are highly toxic and put the health of workers in places like China in constant danger. They never let facts get in the way of a good fantasy. And so now they peddle this concept that “if we only had the political will, we could be using 100% so-called renewable energy” in 15 short years. We call it psychotic…
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