Rig Counts for World, US & Marcellus/Utica Continue to Tumble

Shell Gas Drilling Rig Used in Tioga County, PAThe number of active drilling rigs worldwide, in North America and in the Marcellus/Utica continued to tumble in January. Baker Hughes released their average rig count data for January last Friday. The news, as we expected (but nevertheless hoped wouldn’t be the case) was not good. Worldwide the number of active oil and gas rigs fell by 78. In North America the rig count went down by 28 rigs, but that’s not the full story. Rig counts in the United States fell by a whopping 60 while the rig count in Canada went up by 32. So here at home the story was bloodier than the top level numbers indicate. What about in the Marcellus/Utica? Once again MDN brings you the exclusive chart for Marcellus/Utica rig counts over the past 12 months. Region-wide rigs went down another by seven in the Marcellus/Utica. All three states that we track–PA, OH, WV–had rig count losses in January…
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PA DEP Sec. Quigley Keeps Secret Key Part of New Drilling Regs

There is still a chance, beyond a lawsuit, that onerous new oil and gas regulations proposed by Pennsylvania Sec. John Quigley will not be adopted as they have been promulgated. We frankly thought it was a done deal–just get them printed in the Pennsylvania Register, wait 45 days and voila–new laws are born, without the involvement of the state legislature. But the state legislature DOES play a role after all. The House and Senate Environmental Resources and Energy committees will both take a look and approve, disapprove or take no action on the new regs that separate existing regulations, referred to as Chapter 78, into two sets of regulations, 78 and 78a (for conventional and unconventional, or shale). However, Gov. Wolf seems to have the last say in the matter and he’ll likely sign off on the new rules regardless of what the people, via their representatives in the legislature, want. That’s how Dems govern–against the will of the people. Dictatorial. Here’s the thing. Sec. Quigley is intentionally withholding 29 new forms that the industry will have to fill out as part of the new regulations. Legislators are asking how, in any sense of the word, it is fair to vote on something when you haven’t seen the full language, including these 29 forms? Quigley’s action is (in our opinion) illegal–disclosure of the forms is required under PA’s Right-to-Know law. This is yet another abuse of power by PennFuture PA DEP Sec. Quigley…
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Actor James Cromwell Admits He’s Clueless, Fights Pipeline Anyway

James Cromwell as Zefram Cochrane
James Cromwell as Zefram Cochrane

Hollywood stars are some of the dumbest people on the planet. We’ve seen it again and again. They glom onto a “cause” either to boost their own sagging careers (get their name into the press again), or because they have an otherwise empty and meaningless life, or because–who the heck knows why? They certainly aren’t experts–although they pretend to be. Susan Sarandon and Yoko Ono joined the anti-fracking movement and rode a fossil-fuel-belching bus from New York City up to Susquehanna County, PA two years ago to “tour” the fracking fields of northeastern PA (see Looney Toons Anti-Fracking Celebrities Visit Montrose, PA). Another Hollywood nutjob is James Cromwell, who played Zefram Cochrane (mythical creator of the warp engine) in the 1996 movie Star Trek: First Contact (one of our favs). Cromwell, a New York City resident, owns a home in upstate, in Orange County. A natural gas-fired power plant is scheduled to be built near his summer home and he’s been protesting, to the point of getting himself arrested in December (see Actor James Cromwell Arrested Protesting NY Power Plant Site). Cromwell has been unsuccessful in stopping progress on the power plant. Apparently he’s in a down cycle right now with his career, and he was reading the newspapers and noticed a story we also noticed (and highlighted) last Friday–an anti-drilling family trying to stop a pipeline from clipping a few maple trees on their property (see Maple Syrup Farm in Path of PA Pipeline, Antis Make Most of It). Cromwell decided to take a Friday drive to visit the five acre plot and lend his name to their cause. Thing is, he admitted he’s essentially clueless about the whole thing–but since it’s a natgas pipeline, and he now hates natgas, what the heck. It only took him maybe two hours to drive from his upstate home to Susquehanna County to pay some fellow antis a visit…
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The Dismal Outlook for Marcellus/Utica Drilling in 2016

Yes, it’s bad out there and getting worse–at least in the short term–when it comes to drilling in the Marcellus and Utica Shale. Several major drillers in the northeast have announced cuts–big cuts–and those cuts will impact not only the employees at those companies, but also the many supply chain companies that provide goods and services to them. There were a paltry 19 rigs operating in Pennsylvania last Friday. In January 2014, just two years ago, there were 55 active rigs working in the PA Marcellus. Here’s a recap of who’s cutting how much in 2016 (and perhaps beyond)…
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Insanity: O&G People Donating to Katie McGinty Campaign

Here’s our definition of insanity: You work for an oil or gas company in the Marcellus/Utica region, and you donate money to the U.S. Senate campaign of Katie McGinty, formerly the chief of staff for PA Gov. Tom Wolf. McGinty once served as Secretary of the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection under then Gov. Ed “fast Eddie” Rendell. She is an anti-driller–a radical environmentalist. So why would you give money you earned in the oil and gas industry to the campaign of someone who wants to destroy your industry? That’s what we call insane. Here’s who has done it…
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EQT Proved Developed Reserves Jump 30% in 2015

It’s the time of year when drillers boast about 2015 numbers–specifically how much oil and gas is down there. It’s called “proved reserves” (for a quick tutorial, see Defining O&G Reserves: Proved, Recoverable & In-Place). Last week EQT disclosed that their proved developed reserves jumped up 30% in 2015 over 2014. Below is some interesting information on EQT’s reserves (proved and otherwise) not only for the Marcellus, but for the Utica and Upper Devonian too…
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Bear Head LNG Exports Get Final DOE Approval – Good for Marcellus

A Canadian liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility planned for Nova Scotia received final authorization from the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) to export LNG to countries that do not have free trade agreements with the United States. Bear Head LNG, a $2.2 billion project proposed by Australian company Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (LNGL) received Canadian approval a year ago (see Canada’s 1st LNG Export Facility Gets Green Light; Marcellus Gas?). The project then received DOE approval to export to free trade agreement countries in July of 2015 (see 2nd Canadian LNG Plant Gets U.S. Approval to Export Marcellus Gas). Now the project is approved for non-free trade agreement countries. However, as we said in July, there are still important hurdles to jump before the project gets built: (1) the Maritimes & Northeast pipeline has to get FERC permission to reverse its flow, which will send Marcellus and Utica gas northward; (2) the gas has to get to the Maritimes & Northeast pipeline in the first place via new pipelines from either Kinder Morgan or Spectra Energy (currently a battle royale); and (3) the price of oil has to rise to make the whole thing economical, since LNG is so closely tied to the price of oil. We don’t see that happening until later this year, at the earliest. Here’s the exciting announcement that regulation-wise the project is cleared for take-off…
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Pipelines the New Battle Against Fracking in the Northeast

The latest focus of the war, and it IS a war, over the use of fossil fuels, focuses on pipelines. Anti-fossil fuel radicals admit their hatred of fossil fuels is driving them to try and (1) delay and (2) deny permits for pipelines to get built. Particularly in the northeast. Emboldened by their success in pressuring Barack Hussein Obama to deny a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, antis in the northeast are working overtime to try and scuttle a number of natural gas pipeline projects. One of their favorite targets is the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Antis are slowing down regulatory approvals by filing thousands of comments, registering as “intervenors,” and by targeting FERC itself, encouraging investigations into the agency. Typical bullying behavior that we’ve come to expect from them. The fossil fuel haters strategy is laid out in the pages of the Washington Examiner
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29 States Ask Supreme Court to Stop Obama Clean Power Plan ASAP

On January 26, 2016, 29 states and state agencies, including Ohio and West Virgina, filed an application with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking an immediate stay of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP). A week before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals denied such a stay, so the states are taking it to the final authority in such matters. The states are begging the court for a stay because the CPP will do “irreparable harm” if it is allowed to be implemented by the dictatorial Obama Administration. For background on how this horrible plan will damage natural gas and our economy in general, see 9 Fatal Flaws with Obama EPA Clean Power Plan. Energy law firm Baker Hostetler LLP is the law firm of record for the State of Oklahoma and Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality in this case. Below is an update from Baker Hostetler on the Supreme Court filing…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, Feb 8, 2016

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Enough time already on Constitution Pipeline; CONSOL sets natgas production record; law firm chasing NEXUS landowners, instead of ambulances; Wolf to submit new budget with severance tax, again; natural gas facts & fiction; four shale plays quit drilling; Obama’s $10/barrel tax on oil; Pride and Prejudice and Zombie oil companies; Boone Pickens gets out of oil altogether; Fear the Bern; and more!
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