No Downturn Here: Hilcorp Gives $100K Bonus to Every Employee

hilcorp logoHilcorp Energy, owned by billionaire Jeffery Hildebrand and founded in 1989, is one of the largest privately-held oil and natural gas exploration and production companies in the United States. Hilcorp is the largest oil producer in Louisiana. The company operates along the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana, in Alaska and in the Marcellus/Utica Shale–in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Hilcorp is an important driller in our neck of the woods. The company is headquartered in Houston, TX and employs over 1,350 employees. Since the company is privately held and no one really knows much about its ownership, most people believe Hildebrand keeps all of the company’s stock for himself. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t reward his employees. During one of the worst downturns in the industry in a generation (2015), Hildebrand is handing out a $100,000 bonus to each employee this Christmas. Talk about generous! Holy smokes. No wonder Hildebrand’s employees are some of the most loyal and hardworking in the business…
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Where Do Drillers Like CONSOL Think Gas Prices are Heading?

Where do Marcellus/Utica drillers believe the price of natural gas in the northeast is heading over the next few years? Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall in boardroom meetings where gas price is discussed? We have the next best thing. It’s called hedging. Drillers (and others who buy and sell natural gas) often engage in a practice called hedging, which is, in a simplified explanation, a contract to sell (or buy) a commodity like natural gas at an agreed-on price at a future date. There is an element of risk in hedging. What if the price goes a lot higher? You have to sell at the lower price you agreed to. What if the price goes a lot lower? You’ve covered your derriere by locking in a higher price for the gas your produce. If you look at the hedging contracts gas companies strike, you get a sense for where they believe the price will go. We have an example from CONSOL Energy which has just released details of their hedging for the next few years. Where does CONSOL believe the price of natural gas is going from now until 2018? In a word, down…
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Poly(ethylene) Wants a Cracker: OH Study Predicts Ethane Tsunami

A researcher and “Executive in Residence” from Cleveland State University, Andrew Thomas, writes about a new study produced by the University “to better understand the ramifications of huge quantities of natural gas and liquid ethane being produced in Ohio.” Unfortunately we were unable to track down a copy of the full study and its results, but we do have the summary as contributed by Thomas in writing for Crain’s Cleveland Business. And wow, what insights we gain! Thomas says the study he worked on concludes that even in this down market, Ohio’s production of natural gas liquids (NGLs), specifically ethane, is on a rocket ride to the moon. He says, “Ohio’s about to see an ethane tsunami.” He also says if all four ethane crackers that have been floated as possibilities for the region get built, that would only sop up one-third of the ethane supply projected to be produced in the Marcellus/Utica. Here’s the high-level but very exciting and insightful news coming from this study…
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WV Hare Krishnas “Purify” Gas Money to Benefit Commune

Outside of Moundsville (Marshall County), WV is a Hare Krishna community called New Vrindaban. Hare Krishna is an offshoot of Hinduism. According to Wikipedia, “International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) was formed to spread the practice of bhakti yoga, in which those involved (bhaktas) dedicate their thoughts and actions towards pleasing the Supreme Lord, Krishna.” We’re not here to make fun of any particular religion, but believe it or not, there is a tie-in between Hare Krishna in New Vrindaban and the Marcellus Shale. The community there (a commune, actually) used to have the opinion (still does) that “gas drilling is exploitative, that it is unsustainable and ‘contributes to the culture of death and toxicity.’ Somehow signing bonuses and royalties helped them to see past their disdain. The Krishnas in Moundsville used to use horse and buggies to get around. Those days are long gone and fossil fuel-powered cars are here to stay. The Krishnas in New Vrindaban signed leases, a couple of times, over the past few years and they haven’t looked back. They like the money that “toxic” gas has brought to the commune…
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Gov. Ed Rendell & Tom Wolf Support Philly Energy Hub Plan

Looks like former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and current Gov. Tom Wolf won’t be getting Christmas cards from rabidly anti-fossil fuel organizations like THE Delaware Riverkeeper (Maya van Rossum), the Philly Clean Air Council, the odious Food & Water Watch and others. Why? Because Rendell has just outted himself and Wolf as supporters of the Philadelphia Energy Hub concept. MDN has covered the push by Philly over the past few years to position itself as an “energy hub” which means a couple of things. It means a push to bring oil and gas produced in Pennsylvania (and Ohio, and even in the North Dakota Bakken) to Philly for processing in Philly’s refineries and then shipped domestically and exported internationally. It also means a push to build new petrochemical plants in the Philly area to take advantage of NGLs (natural gas liquids)–turning them into plastics and other products that use hydrocarbons as their feedstock. Such petrochemical plants would attract thousands of new jobs and potentially create billions in economic impact. It is a big, bold and ingenious plan. Smart people are for it. Dumb people, well you know (see Anti-Drillers Pressure Philly City Council to Dump Energy Hub Plan and Gang of 20 Anti-Fossil Fuel Groups Attack Philly Energy Hub Plan). In a guest editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer, former Gov. Rendell (also known as Fast Eddie) gives his full-throated support for an energy hub in Philly. He also indicates Wolf is on board with it too…
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Township in Lebanon County, PA Welcomes Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline

One township in Lebanon County, PA hasn’t caved to the very loud (and very small in number) anti-pipeline ninny nannies–and that has them spinning and sputtering. South Annville Township supervisors decided last Wednesday night that they would NOT pass a resolution expressing opposition to Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise pipeline. Why not? Because (a) its a meaningless gesture–FERC won’t consider it in their decision-making, and (b) there are a lot of people in the town who WANT the pipeline. So kudos to the supervisors of South Annville Twp for doing the right thing…
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ExxonMobil Gets a New President, Rex Tillerson Successor?

ExxonMobil is an important energy company–one of the most important worldwide. ExxonMobil is the largest publicly-traded oil and gas company in the world (by market capitalization). It’s an American company. And it has a meaningful presence in the Marcellus/Utica region via its wholly-owned subsidiary XTO Energy, which it purchased in 2010 for $35 billion. ExxonMobil is the largest natural gas producer in the United States–and has been for years. So when a major change is made at the top of the company, it’s big news–for everyone. Last Friday ExxonMobil announced they have a new president. No, Rex Tillerson isn’t going anywhere (for now). Tillerson will remain as CEO of ExxonMobil. However, Darren Woods will take on the role of president. Woods was also appointed to the Board of Directors last week–meaning Woods (50 years old) is the obvious successor to Tillerson when Tillerson (63 years old) decides to retire. The succession plan is now in place. Here’s a bit more about Woods and where he comes from…
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Here’s How Drilling Slowdown Affects the Marcellus Supply Chain

Yes, the slowdown in drilling IS having effect–everywhere, including the Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale. Supply chain companies–those companies not directly involved with drilling but supply goods and services to other companies that are directly involved–are feeling the effects. From hotels and restaurants to a men’s clothing store, the slowdown is having an effect. But it’s not all bad news…
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PA Big Green Groups Fully Unmasked – Want to Ban All Fossil Fuels

Just when you thought the nutty anti-drillers couldn’t get any nuttier–they have. An op-ed running in a major Pennsylvania newspaper, the York Dispatch, penned by the heads of two radical green organizations (PennFuture and Conservation Voters of PA) calls for Pennsylvania “to move with deliberate speed to a zero-carbon economy that relies on clean energy and energy efficiency to power our future.” This is certifiable insanity–like bring out the straitjackets time. The letter writers believe that it’s time to dump the use of all fossil fuels as energy sources. The problem is, there are a whole lotta stupid people who will read it and agree–people who are totally ignorant of how the world works–in particular how energy works and how fossil fuels have led to the best conditions mankind has ever experienced on Planet Earth. By the way, three top lieutenants in the PA Gov. Tom Wolf administration are from PennFuture–so that gives you an idea of why his administration is crashing and burning…
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Paris Climate Treaty Signed by Obama NOT Binding on U.S.

On Saturday, our illustrious president, Barack Hussein Obama, claims to have committed the United States into giving up its national sovereignty in the name of so-called man-made global warming. Obama and nearly every country of the world signed a climate agreement/treaty that commits the nations of the world to lower carbon dioxide emissions. You know, CO2–the stuff you exhale with every breath you take. Yeah, that stuff is supposedly warming up ole Mom Earth–catastrophically. Except it’s not. There is no empirical data that shows the earth is heating up–only doctored computer models. Satellite data shows the opposite–the average temp of Mom Earth is not heating up and hasn’t been for 18 years–how many times do we have to HOLLER this for it to get through? But facts aren’t what the Paris agreement is about. We can tell you what the agreement is about in two simple points: (1) transferring massive amounts of hard-earned wealth away from America to other countries, via a carbon tax; (2) banning the use of all fossil energy–asap. No, this is not hyperbole. It’s not overstating the case. This is EXACTLY what the Paris Climate Conference was all about…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, Dec 14, 2015

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Marcellus is driving the shale revolution; 3 crackers in the northeast? “Not a chance”; OH will set new records in 2015 for injection wells; Sunoco signing leases in N Strabane; Kinder Morgan says NED isn’t dead; warm weather keeps natgas price low; and more!
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