Baker Hughes July Rig Counts – U.S. May have Bottomed, but Not NE

Are we there yetOn Friday Baker Hughes, which is being forced into a merger with Halliburton by the end of this year/early next year, issued a summary of rig counts last Friday. At first blush it appears to be good news, but when you dig under the surface, it’s not–at least for the Marcellus/Utica. The international rig count was 1,118, down 28 from the 1,146 counted in June 2015. However, the average U.S. rig count for July 2015 was 866, up 5 from the 861 counted in June 2015. It appears we’ve turned the corner on how low rig counts will go–we’ve bottomed and are either holding steady (in the U.S.), or perhaps every so slightly gaining ground again. But then we ran the numbers for the Marcellus/Utica and found rig counts continue to decline month over month…
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World Oil’s Drilling Forecast for Marcellus/Utica Balance of 2015

World Oil is out with a wide ranging forecast for what will happen for the balance of 2015 in the upstream (drilling) sector of the oil and gas industry. Using surveys of both major and smaller drillers, World Oil confirms what we already knew: driller will spend less in 2015 than they did in 2014 on drilling new wells–on average 34.2% less (because of low commodity prices). World Oil takes a look at the regional impact and offers the following insight into what’s coming for both Pennsylvania and Ohio for the balance of 2015 (hint: PA drilling won’t feel the affects as much as OH)…
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PA’s Anti-Drilling AG Kathleen Kane Arrested, Fingerprinted

Kathleen Kane, Pennsylvania’s anti-drilling Attorney General, has been arrested. It was a long time coming (too long), but last Thursday she was officially charged with perjury, obstruction, conspiracy, official oppression, and other offenses. Not related to the drilling industry. She was arrested and finger printed on Saturday. And what does Kane do? She hides behind her skirt–claiming it’s men (i.e. political bullies) out to get her because she’s a girl. Yeah, men forced her to lie under oath and fire people who worked for her that testified against her, right? What a coward. We’re not going to recount the litany of stories we’ve written about Kane’s prejudice against the Marcellus industry (you can read our Kane stories here). She hasn’t resigned–yet. We do expect that to happen. If she doesn’t resign, she should be forced from office via impeachment. Here’s the latest in PA’s ongoing soap opera about Kathleen Kane…
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One US Forest Service Employee Sends Questions to FERC re Pipeline

We spotted a story last week published by the Associated Press with a first sentence that begins this way: “The U.S. Forest Service has raised hundreds of concerns about a proposed natural gas pipeline that would carve a 30-mile swath through national forests in Virginia and West Virginia.” The pipeline is Dominion’s $5 billion, 550-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline from West Virginia into Virginia and onward to North Carolina. We read the story and then dug a bit further. It seems it’s not the monolithic U.S. Forest Service that is questioning the pipeline, but a single U.S. Forest Service worker–H. Thomas Speaks Jr., forest supervisor for the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. Mr. Speaks was fed anti-pipeline propaganda from the head of an anti-pipeline organization who is a semi-retired researcher from the University of Virginia–Rick Webb. Webb continues to use his UVA official email account to promote his anti-pipeline viewpoints, implying UVA also opposes the project (see Researcher Uses Official UVA Email to Oppose Dominion Pipeline). We Googled and found a letter from Webb to Speaks which (we assume) include some (many?) of the same talking points Speaks used when submitting his “335 questions, comments and corrections” to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission with regard to running a pipeline through 30 miles of the George Washington and Monongahela national forests…
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Earnings Call Reveals More Details on Gastar’s Marcellus/Utica Plans

Last week we reported the very brief comments in Gastar Exploration’s 2Q15 update with respect to the Marcellus/Utica (see Gastar 2Q15: No New Marcellus/Utica Wells, Production Increased Anyway). Last Friday Gastar’s executives held a conference call with analysts and from that call we get a bit more color commentary on what’s happening with Gastar’s northeast drilling program, including an interesting question/answer about Gastar’s Marcellus East acreage actually being a good prospect for Utica development and a discussion about EQT’s monster Utica well in Pennsylvania…
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Sunoco Settles Case with OH Landowners to Allow Mariner East 2

Sunoco Logistics Partners still has an uphill battle to get certain communities to approve pump and valve stations for the Mariner East 1 and 2 pipelines, but is making progress (see Sunoco Reconciles Differences with Municipalities re Mariner East). Sunoco can cross off one problem area in Harrison and Jefferson counties (in Ohio) with respect to the Mariner East 2 set of pipelines. A group of landowners in those two counties have just settled with Sunoco out of court for 50-foot-wide permanent easements the company will place on their property to build the second set of Mariner pipelines. What happened is that the landowners (wisely) held out and got more money out of Sunoco. Everyone is now happy–the landowners get a better (more reasonable) price for permanent easements, and Sunoco is that much closer to beginning construction on the next Mariner project…
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New $3M Electric Line for MarkWest Compressor in Robinson Twp, PA

West Penn Power, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., is building a new $3 million electric transmission line in Washington County, PA to aide the Marcellus industry. The new electric line, running 1.3 miles in Robinson Township, will connect to a MarkWest compressor station due to be built (see Robinson Twp Delays MarkWest Compressor, Approval Coming Soon). According to FirstEnergy, they will spend close to $50 million on new electric transimission line projects in support of the Marcellus gas industry in western PA over the next three years…
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Vote of Confidence: 2nd Rice Energy Exec Purchased Company Stock

eating your own dog foodWe’re always a little bit troubled when we see senior management at a company selling their shares of stock in the company they continue to manage. Not long ago four top Carrizo Oil & Gas executive officers, including the CEO, dumped 50,000 shares of stock (see 4 Top Carrizo O&G Officers, Incl CEO, Sell 50K Shares of Company Stock). Not long after that, Carrizo’s CEO Chip Johnson dumped another 6,000 shares (see Carrizo CEO Chip Johnson Sells Another 6K Shares of Stock). Then there are some companies where senior management continues to buy shares of stock. One such company is Marcellus/Utica driller Rice Energy. In May, Rice Energy senior VP and CFO Grayson T. Lisenby bought 6,000 shares of Rice Energy Midstream (see Rice Energy CFO Buys Another 6K Shares of Rice Midstream Stock). We’ve just learned (albeit late) that another Rice Energy executive–James Rogers, senior VP and chief accounting & administrative officer–also purchased stock in Rice Energy Midstream in May…
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NY Antis Set to Protest Constitution Pipeline in Albany, NY Tomorrow

New York’s anti-drillers are preparing yet another protest in Albany, NY–this time to oppose the already-permitted Constitution Pipeline. The Constitution, you may recall, is a 125-mile pipeline that will stretch from the gas fields of Susquehanna County, PA into New York, to Schoharie County. It is a critically needed pipeline to get Cabot’s natural gas in Susquehanna County to markets throughout the northeast and New England. Recently Cabot CEO Dan Dinges said he expects construction will begin this fall (see Cabot Says Constitution Pipeline Construction to Begin this Fall). That comment sent the nutters into orbit–because they are on the cusp of losing their first major battle. The only one thing that remains before Constitution’s bulldozers and backhoes start their work is for the NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to issue 401 Water Quality Certificates to allow the Constitution to lay pipe through and under swamps, creeks and other bodies of water. Everything else is permitted and ready. So anti-drillers will hold a rally as a show of force against the Constitution–tomorrow, in Albany. We sincerely hope pro-drillers will turn out in a counter-rally…
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Anti-Drilling Pittsburgh Newspaper Backs Obama Plan to Dump NatGas

Once again the editorial writers of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette slavishly support anything Barack Hussein Obama does–including his plan to dump natural gas use for electric generating plants in his recently released Clean Power Plan (see Obama Stabs Natural Gas Electric Plants in Clean Power Plan). Their default assumption is that mankind, by burning fossil fuels, is causing a catastrophic warming of the the earth–a silly notion proven wrong by science. But actual facts don’t matter anymore (really, when did fact EVER matter to liberals?). They continue to hum the mantra–humans are evil, they cause global warming. And so B.H.O.’s plan is better than nothin’ according to the wizards of smart at the Post-Gazette
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