Range Resources Lays off 55, including 33 in PA

cutting jobsYesterday Range Resources, the fourth largest driller in the Marcellus, announced the company is laying off 55 people companywide, with 31 of those positions located in Washington County, PA. Another 20 positions will be eliminated in Range’s home office located in Fort Worth, TX. Two of the jobs disappearing will be in Williamsport, PA, and the final two in Oklahoma. Range CEO Ray Walker used the same identical language he’s used twice before (lazy PR department?) in saying, “Low commodity prices have created a harsh reality that everyone in our industry is facing.” Indeed. The oil and gas industry is facing the toughest market it’s had in 30 years…
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Anti Admits Fayette County, WV Ban Aims to Shut Down All O&G Wells

An update on a developing story we’ve covered the past several months. In January, three Democrat county commissioners from Fayette County, WV, with the backing and help of the radical WV Mountain Party, voted to ban injection wells in the county (see WV County Officially Bans Injection Wells; Children Brainwashed). In fact, the ban is intentionally written so broadly it will also ban the operation of more than 500 vertical oil and gas wells in the county. The next day EQT sued to overturn the ban (see EQT Sues WV County that Banned Injection Wells, Seeks Injunction). Not long after, a U.S. District Court judge slapped an injunction on the county preventing them from enforcing the ban at least until a hearing scheduled for later this month (see Judge Stops WV County from Enforcing Injection Well Ban, For Now). The judge says EQT “is likely to succeed” in their lawsuit to overturn the ban.” The new news is an article where one of the chief architects of the ban, from the Mountain Party, admits the ban is intended to stop all oil and gas activity in the county. Another well operator in Fayette County, Cabot Oil & Gas, is now evaluating the ban and considering joining the lawsuit against the county. We sure hope Fayette County has a LOT of money squirreled away for legal fees and fines and penalties coming their way…
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EPA Science Advisory Board Engaging in Fraud re Fracking Study

Last December we asked a very important question: Will EPA Whore Itself to Antis and Change Fracking Water Study?. We now know the answer: Yes. The EPA is engaging in political prostitution, having sold itself to the Democrat kook left fringe base of the party. As we stated in December, the one great, huge, towering problem that anti-drillers have is that there is no scientific evidence that supports their wild claims that fracking contaminates water–which is their favorite lie to spread. When the Environmental Protection Agency arrived at the same conclusion, that fracking doesn’t pollute water, after four years of studying it, that really took the wind out of the sails of rabid fossil fuel haters (see EPA Draft Report Says Fracking Doesn’t Pollute Groundwater Supplies). So now the EPA has set about to “fix” it by changing the results of their original findings. It’s like the experiments you used to do in chemistry lab in high school. You add 5 grams of chemical compound A to 10 grams of chemical compound B and the observable result should be that the new mixture/compound turns blue. But for whatever reason it turns orange. So on your lab paper you record the result as (yes) turning blue! You receive a “100” on your lab report. The EPA, using a small group of bought-and-paid-for “scientists” called the Science Advisory Board is reviewing the earlier finding that took the EPA four years of research to produce–so the EPA has cover to say “it’s blue” and not orange. That’s what is now happening. It’s called scientific fraud…
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NJ Pinelands Commission Chairman Replaced, Pipeline Back On?

In January 2014 MDN brought you the story that due to incessant nagging from the NJ Sierra Club and the NJ League of [Liberal Democrat] Women Voters the Pinelands Commission, which oversees a stand of scrub pines in South Jersey, nixed a plan for a new natural gas pipeline to bring cheap, clean, abundant Marcellus Shale natural gas to South Jersey for use by residents and to feed an electric plant a local utility wants to convert from burning coal to natgas (see Sierra Club, LWV Chooses Coal over NatGas in South Jersey). In May 2014, NJ Gov. Chris Christie replaced two of the “no” voters on the Pinelands Commission, much to the consternation of the antis (see Marcellus Pipeline May Come to South Jersey After All). It was our hope that the plan to build the short 22-mile pipeline to bring natural gas to South Jersey would once again reactivate. So far it hasn’t. But perhaps there is new hope. Gov. Christie has just replaced the chairman of the Pinelands Commission with his own person in that position. The former chairman, who is a Republican (but caved to pressure and voted no on the pipeline) is not saying this is political payback, but he implies such is the case. We certainly hope it is…
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Builder Abandons NJ NatGas-Fired Electric Plant after Opposition

Just a few weeks ago we told you that a fifth new natural gas-fired electric plant was coming to New Jersey. The Amwell Energy Center in Hillsborough Township (Somerset County), NJ will produce 640 megawatts, cost $1 billion to build, and provide enough electricity to power 700,000 homes during peak summer months (see 5th Marcellus Gas-Powered Electric Plant Coming to New Jersey). Oh, and it will use lots of yummy, clean-burning Marcellus Shale gas from Pennsylvania to power it. Except the plan to build the new plant is now down the crapper. Genesis Power, the builder of the project, folded like a cheap suit once ninny nanny antis started to oppose the project…
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I Put a Spell on You: Marcellus Shale Hex Signs on Display

This is one of those stories that’s fun to write. Fun because anti-drillers are so darned kooky. Some of the kookiest are those who pass themselves off as artists and attempt to convey the “horrors” of shale energy via their “art.” To be perfectly honest, we’re not sure if that’s what is going on here, but we suspect it is (an anti-drilling exhibition). There is a new art exhibit about to open at the AFA (Artists for Art) Galley in Scranton, PA titled ‘Marcellus Shale Hex Signs: A Modern Pastiche.’ A local artist has created “hex signs” based on Marcellus Shale drilling. Hex signs, for those who don’t know, are a form of Pennsylvania Dutch folk art, most often a circle with stars, animals and other shapes in it (see the history of hex signs here). While most people don’t ascribe superstition to hex signs, as in “I’ll put a hex on you,” some do. Most often hex signs are viewed as just pretty folk art decorations, painted on barns or houses, or made into yard signs. Our Scranton-area artist decided to marry themes from the Marcellus Shale with hex signs. After viewing one, if you can make heads or tails of it, you’re doing better than us…
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Gulfport 2015 Update: Reserves Up 83%, NatGas Production Triples

Gulfport Energy, a Utica Shale driller quite active in Ohio until mid-2015 when they began to pull back, released their fourth quarter and full year 2015 operational update yesterday. But not their financials–that comes later this month. There is no mention of drilling activity in 4Q15 (nor any guidance for 2016). We previously brought you the rumor that Gulfport was pushing the pause button on their drilling activities, back in November (see Rumor: Gulfport Energy Suspends Some (All?) Ohio Utica Drilling). However, data from the forthcoming Volume 3 of the 2015 Marcellus and Utica Shale Databook, which covers permit activity for from September through December 2015, shows that Gulfport received 30 permits in Ohio during that period of time. So it appears they have continued their program, albeit scaled back. The 4Q15 and full year 2015 update shows Gulfport’s oil and gas reserves have grown 83% for 2015 over 2014, and natural gas production tripled year over year. Production/operations-wise, 2015 was a very good year for Gulfport. What’s left to be seen is whether it was a good year for Gulfport financially too. Here’s the operations update…
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ExxonMobil 2015: 50% Decline in Earnings, Thank God for Downstream

Yesterday ExxonMobil released its fourth quarter and full year 2015 update. Not a pretty picture. ExxonMobil is the largest oil and gas company headquartered in the U.S. It’s also the owner of XTO Energy–which is one of the major drillers in the Marcellus/Utica Shale. Everyone watches Exxon closely as a barometer for other oil “majors” as they’re called. Yesterday Exxon reported a 58% drop in quarterly profit for 4Q15 (over 4Q14), and a 50% decline in 2015 earnings over 2014 earnings. Capital and exploration spending was $31.1 billion in 2015, down 19% from 2014. Exxon anticipates more cuts in spending for 2016, with capital and exploration spending of $23.2 billion, a decrease of 25% from 2015 levels. The clear sentiment in the statement below is, “Thank God for downstream” (gas stations and chemical plants) which kept the company from falling even further…
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Anadarko 2015: Loses $6.7B, Marcellus Drilling Almost Dried Up

Anadarko Petroleum is a huge oil and gas company with drilling operations scattered all over the world–both onshore and offshore. One of those operations, teeny tiny for Anadarko, is in the Marcellus Shale in Lycoming County, PA. Some of their leases are for land in the Loyalsock State Forest where antis are attempting to stop Anadarko from drilling (see Antis Ask PA Gov Wolf to Stop New Drilling in Loyalsock Forest). Don’t worry, Anadarko can take a hint. What was once a very active drilling program in PA for Anadarko just a few years ago–with 30, 40, even 60 permits being issued for wells in any given four month period–has dried up to virtually nothing. For the last four months of 2015 Anadarko received 4 permits to drill in PA, according to the latest data from the Marcellus and Utica Shale Databook. On Monday Anadarko released their fourth quarter and full year 2015 results. The company posted a $1.25 billion loss for 4Q15 alone. The company lost $6.7 billion for the full year. Yikes! Grab the tourniquets before the company bleeds out! Anadarko announced spending for 2016 will be slashed 50% over 2015 spending levels…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Wed, Feb 3, 2016

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Most prolific natgas region is in decline; big oil companies at risk of Moody’s downgrade; OH has drilled 1,673 Utica wells; crude by rail is slowing down; oil industry supports energy reform bill; Alberta cuts royalty tax to boost local drilling; BP’s disastrous 2015; and more!
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