US Well Services Lays Off Nearly 50 in Jane Lew, WV

cutting jobsU.S. Well Services, headquartered in Houston, TX but with a sizable office in Jane Lew, WV, is an oilfield services company providing hydraulic fracturing services in unconventional oil and natural gas basins–including the Marcellus and Utica Shale. According to their website, U.S. Well Services operates both diesel and electric fracking fleets. On Wednesday, with no warning, they laid off most of their workers in the Jane Lew office–just under 50 people, meaning the company was not required to give advance notice under the WARN Act. Here’s what happened on Wednesday, what U.S. Well Services calls an “unfortunate reduction”…
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PA Pipeline Task Force Report: 658 Pages, 184 “Recommendations”

In May 2015 Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and his underling Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary John Quigley created a “Task Force on Pipeline Infrastructure Development” (see Disaster on the Horizon: PA Gov Wolf Creates Pipeline Task Force). The purpose of the group was “to identify best practices for pipeline siting, permitting and safety.” We won’t recount all of the twists and turns–of how the Task Force was packed with government employees beholden to Wolf, etc. Along the way antis tried to protest and derail the meetings held by the Task Force (see PA DEP Sec. Quigley Calls Pipeline Protesters “Badly Misinformed”). The final meeting has been held and the final report is now in. Yesterday Quigley released the Task Force’s Final Report, all 658 pages of it with 184 recommendations (full copy below). Along with the release of the final report, Quigley also issued what he calls the top 12 recommendations coming from the Task Force for how PA can and should handle a coming expansion of gathering pipelines in the state…
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Drillers Leaving Wet Gas Areas of Marcellus/Utica for Dry Gas

An excellent article appearing on the World Oil Magazine website explores an interesting phenomenon at work in the Marcellus/Utica. The article is wide-ranging and provides an update on the activities and strategies for many of our region’s top producers. But the beginning of the article is what really caught our attention. The author states that there is a shift happening away from drilling in the liquids-rich (i.e. areas with a higher concentration of natural gas liquids, like ethane, propane and others) to the “core” dry gas areas of the Marcellus/Utica. He quotes Rice Energy CEO Dan Rice in saying, “…there has been a noticeable shift in producer activity away from liquids-rich and non-core dry gas Marcellus and Utica areas, and into the Marcellus and Utica’s dry gas cores.” We have to confess that’s the first time we’d heard that. We thought it was the reverse–that there was more drilling headed to the wet gas areas. Huh. Here’s more from the article…
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Athens, OH Antis Lose Appeal in County Court re Injection Well

In January 2015 (over a year ago) the radical antis of the Athens County Fracking Action Network (ACFAN) in Athens County, OH filed an appeal with the Ohio Oil and Gas Commission opposing a permit issued to K&H Partners to drill a new/second wastewater injection well in Athens County (see Athens County, OH Anti-Drillers Sue to Stop New Injection Well). The Oil and Gas Commission rejected the complaint because, they said, they don’t have jurisdiction over permits to drill wells. The case was appealed to county court and last week the county court judge sided with the Oil and Gas Commission. That is, ACFAN’s request to overturn the permit to drill the well has been rejected. The next move by ACFAN losers is to appeal it to a higher court–the 10th District Court of Appeals. No word yet if they want to waste their money on an appeal. However, they appear to have endless resources from Big Green groups to keep them going with endless lawsuits…
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CEO: What Williams Would Do if Chesapeake Declared Bankruptcy

Alan Armstrong, president and CEO of Williams, spoke on an investor/analyst phone call yesterday to discuss Williams’ fourth quarter and full year financial and operational results. He had a lot to talk about. As we reported yesterday, the company saw massive losses in 2015 (see Williams 2015: $1.6B Loss in 4Q15, $1.4B Loss Full Year 2015). However, early in Armstong’s talk, he addressed an issue that’s gotten a fair bit of press lately: What would Williams do if Chesapeake Energy declared bankruptcy? Armstrong spent several minutes discussing such a possibility and how it might affect Williams. Here’s what he said on the call about a potential Chesapeake bankruptcy scenario…
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Judge Hears Eminent Domain Case Against Mariner East 2

Five Washington County, PA property owners had their day in court yesterday with their case against Sunoco Logistics Partners and the Mariner East 2 pipeline project. The attorney for the plaintiffs argued that Mariner East 2 is an interstate pipeline (begins in Ohio, crosses the northern panhandle of West Virginia and then crosses Pennsylvania from west to east) and therefore it does not fit the definition of a public utility under PA law. Public utilities in PA have the right to use eminent domain, which is what this case appears to be about–denying Sunoco the right to use eminent domain in cases where it cannot come to an agreement with the landowner. But as you’ll see below, we don’t think that’s what this case is REALLY about. Sunoco argued that the pipeline is both an interstate and intrastate pipeline with “numerous public benefits.” He hastened to add one of those benefits is a $1.9 billion investment that will result in a $4.2 billion economic impact on the state…
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Columbia Pipeline 2015: $267M Income; Project Updates Galore

Columbia Pipeline Group (CPG) turned in their fourth quarter and full year 2015 financial and operational update yesterday. Unlike Williams that lost $1.4 billion in 2015, CPG made $267.6 million in 2015. Along with a financial update, CPG also gives an extensive update on a number of Marcellus/Utica pipeline projects. Well worth the read! Here’s yesterday’s CPG update…
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More on Wolf/Quigley 4-Point Plan to Reduce Methane Emissions

In January Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced a 4-point plan to supposedly reduce the amount of methane leaking from various oil and gas related activities–like drilling, compressor stations, etc. (see PA Gov. Wolf’s Plan to Kill Drilling via Methane Emissions Regs). A few days later Wolf’s Secretary for the Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP), John Quigley, further expounded on this manifestly poor idea (see Quigley Expounds on Methane Emissions Plan: Drillers to Get Hosed). The concern is that methane is a so-called greenhouse gas and that “fugitive” methane escapes into the atmosphere and will toast ole Mom Earth. Dumb as rocks–but there it is. To prevent old Mom Earth from toasting, Wolf and Quigley’s answer is the same as every liberal Democrat’s answer: more regulation. Last week the DEP revealed a little bit more about where they’re going with this…
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EPA Science Advisory Board *Affirms* Fracking Study

An interesting public relations battle is happening in mainstream media. Last June MDN brought you the news that the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a long-awaited, four-year study of fracking and water–and found that fracking does not impact groundwater supplies (see EPA Draft Report Says Fracking Doesn’t Pollute Groundwater Supplies). That sent anti-fossil fuel radicals to their psychiatrists for increased dosages of Thorazine. Since that time antis have been looking for a way to reverse the finding. And we thought they had found it. The EPA appointed a Science Advisory Board (SAB) to re-evaluate the report (see Will EPA Whore Itself to Antis and Change Fracking Water Study?). From their initial meetings and comments, we though the fix was in (see EPA Science Advisory Board Engaging in Fraud re Fracking Study). The mainstream media trumpets the SAB’s statements as indicating the original report and its conclusions are wrong. But if you read what the SAB is saying, you come to a different conclusion. Can it be that the SAB is actually strengthening the case that fracking doesn’t contaminate water supplies?…
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Maryland Senate Candidate’s Full-Throated Endorsement of Fracking

Dave Wallace is running for the U.S. Senate in the great state of Maryland. To be honest, we don’t know much about Dave (we don’t live in Maryland), but what we do know is that he is the only candidate running who is giving his full-throated support for fracking in The Old Line State. You read that right. A candidate that full supports fracking not only in Maryland, but across our great country. Here’s what Dave said about fracking in a column he wrote for The DC Caller…
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Attend the O&G Awards Northeast Industry Summit for FREE

Oil & Gas AwardsMDN is very excited to once again support the Oil & Gas Awards Northeast Industry Summit, happening on Wed. March 30 in downtown Pittsburgh. This year’s Summit will run from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm and is FREE to attend (register here). MDN editor Jim Willis helped craft the program for this year’s Summit, which will focus on operating in the current tough environment. Attend to hear from leading organizations like: U.S Chamber of Commerce, Stone Pier Capital, EdgeMarc Energy Holdings, Chevron Appalachia Business Unit, Eclipse Resources, Hodgson Russ, Blank Rome, U.S. Well Services, Columbia Pipeline Group, Civil Environmental Consultants, M3 Midstream, Themark Corporation, Shalewater Solutions, McCutcheon Enterprises, Select Energy Services, and Mustang Oilfield Services. Details below…
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