Largest Private Oilfield Svcs Co Says Shale is Rebounding

reboundCanary LLC is the largest privately owned (no publicly traded stock) oilfield services company in the U.S. Canary competes with the likes of Schlumberger, Halliburton and Baker Hughes. We wrote about Canary in January 2014, pointing out the company has operations in both the Marcellus and Utica Shale (see Oilfield Services Company Canary Buys Wellhead Competitor). Being privately owned gives one a certain sense of independence and fearlessness. Perhaps even a touch of contrariness. Such is Canary’s CEO, Dan Eberhart, who said last week in a press release that he believes the downward spiral of declining rig counts has stabilized and that a shale recovery has already begun in the U.S. In fact, he said, “the industry is on the way back.” When the head of the country’s largest private company that rents rigs and the manpower to run them says we’re at a turning point and drilling is about to pick up again, you need to perk up and pay attention…
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Contractor Fined $13,550 for WV Well Pad Violations/Death in 2014

We don’t normally miss news like an accident at a well pad in the Marcellus that kills someone–but we did this time. At the end of November 2014, Ryan Dunn, a contract worker employed by Precision Drilling, was working at an Antero Resources well pad in Tyler County, WV when he was struck and run over by a front-end loader used to move pipe at the site. Dunn was pronounced dead at the scene. A true tragedy. The federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) investigated and found a number of problems at the site. OSHA has completed their investigation and is assessing a total of $13,550 in penalties against Precision Drilling. We’ve not spotted anything about lawsuits or about fines by the WV Dept. of Environmental Protection. Here’s what we’re able to locate on the accident and resulting fine by OSHA…
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Two Thumbs Down on John Quigley as Sec of PA DEP

2 thumbs downYesterday Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s pick to head the all-important Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP), John Quigley, faced a confirmation hearing in the PA Senate. Quigley sparred with Republican Senators who challenged him over his two-year stint at the anti-drilling organization PennFuture. He also assured the Senators that if Gov. Wolf’s insidious severance tax is passed, the “industry’s not going anywhere” he said. In other words, we have them by the short hairs and they have no other options. Au contraire, Mr. Quigley. Au contraire. We’ve made no bones about our disdain for Quigley. He shouldn’t be the next Secretary of the DEP. But we’re under no illusion. He’ll likely get approved. What was interesting, however, is that at the conclusion of the hearing, the Senators on the panel voted to refer Quigley’s appointment to the full Senate–without recommendation. That’s extremely rare. It was a vote of no confidence by the senators, as in “here, we’ll let ya’ll vote on him any which way you want to, we wash our hands of it.” It will be interesting to see how many vote against his confirmation. It’s good to know we’re not a lone voice crying in the wilderness. There is someone else–a very important someone else–who also doesn’t think Quigley should be confirmed. That important someone else is John Peterson, former U.S. Congressman and Executive Director of the Allegheny Forest Alliance…
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Eclipse Resources Update: Squeezing More Wells in Smaller Space

Eclipse Resources, a Marcellus/Utica driller headquartered in State College PA, but drilling mainly in the Ohio Utica Shale, issued an operational update yesterday. The company says by the end of the second quarter they expect to be producing around 180 million cubic feet of natural gas per day–the high end of the previous estimated range. The company is spending less money than it expected, which keeps the investors happy. Eclipse recently completed drilling a 3-well pad in Monroe County, OH with the well spacing just 730 feet apart–the first time they’ve tried spacing wells below 1,000 feet apart. All eyes are on the outcome of that experiment. (If successful, it means they can drill more wells in the same amount of space–by their estimates, 20% more wells.) Eclipse had wanted to put those 3 wells into sales in December of this year–which now looks like it will slip into January of next year. Here’s the update with details about their Utica drilling program…
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Earthjustice Asks Court to Stop Construction at Cove Point LNG

Three weeks ago MDN told you about the frivolous lawsuit filed by Earth[in]justice attempting to stop the Cove Point, Maryland LNG export plant from being built (see DOE Grants Cove Point LNG Final Approval, Earthjustice Sues). Earth[in]justice sued on behalf of themselves (they are a small group of Washington, DC lawyers backed by Big Green money), and on behalf of Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Patuxent Riverkeeper, and the Sierra Clubbers. Meanwhile, Dominion, the owner of the project, has pushed forward with construction at the site. Dominion is about to begin construction on the foundation of the new facility sometime in June, so Earth[in]justice has just filed another lawsuit–a request for a cease and desist order to stop Dominion from constructing the foundation until after their frivolous lawsuit has a chance to get in front of a sympathetic judge…
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Anti Group “NOPE” Opposes Spectra Energy New England Pipeline

Both Spectra Energy and Kinder Morgan have competing pipeline projects to move Marcellus Shale gas to New England where it’s desperately needed. Spectra Energy’s project is called Access Northeast and has a number of regional utility partners–companies that want to buy cheap, abundant and clean-burning Marcellus Shale gas–to sell to New Englanders. Spectra Energy’s project will expand several existing pipeline systems and join them together, running from New York through Connecticut and into Massachusetts. Kinder Morgan’s project is called Northeast Energy Direct (NED), which builds a new extension of the mighty Tennessee Gas Pipeline system from New York across Massachusetts, into New Hampshire and back into Massachusetts. Both projects face resistance from nutty fossil fuel haters. The reality for both projects is that although they will deliver an abundance of new supplies of natural gas, which is good during the winter, there will be an oversupply in the summer. You don’t just turn the spigot off on a pipeline. So the plan is to put some of that natural gas on the Maritimes & Northeast pipeline and send it on up to Canada where it can be used by Canadians and/or exported. Yes, exported. Export is not a dirty word, nor will it raise the prices here at home–at least not appreciably (by more than a few cents per Mcf). A new group of anti-drillers has sprung up to oppose the Spectra Energy project. They call themselves DOPE…oops, that’s NOPE (No Pipeline Expansion). NOPE is all up in arms because a little bit of natural gas may get exported, and they think they have the smoking gun to prove it…
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Another Marcellus-Area Trailer Park Sold – For $3.5M

Seems like every now and again UMH Properties, a New Jersey-based real estate investment company, snaps up yet another trailer park. The company has added a number of them in Pennsylvania (see More Housing for Marcellus/Utica on the Way in Pittsburgh Region; Quirky Friday: What’s the Main Selling Point of Erie, PA Trailer Park?; and UMH Pays $5.3M for 2 Trailer Parks in W PA for Marcellus/Utica). UMH buys these properties specifically because they are located in active Marcellus/Utica drilling areas. Until now, all of the properties they’ve purchased close to shale activity have been located in western PA. UMH has just purchased another trailer park for $3.5 million–this one in northeastern PA…
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Anti-Drilling Martians Running for School Board in November

My Favorite MartianWho knew that Martians are Democrats? Well, to be honest, we had guessed as much. A small group of Mars School parents who object to fossil fuels have formed a group to oppose Rex Energy’s plan to drill five wells on a pad about 3/4 of a mile from the Mars School in Middlesex Township (Butler County), PA. We’ve chronicled the fight over the past year or so (see our Martian stories here). Three of the parents from the anti-drilling group ran in a primary for the school board. All three, as it turns out, are Democrats. Surprised? No, neither are we. Fracking and drilling is, largely, a partisan issue. The good news is that all three were among the lowest vote-getters in the primary–and one of them flunked off and won’t be on the ballot in November. The other two will run as Dems in a district where Republicans handily outnumber them…
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