Truck Crash Spills 5000 Gal. of Brine into OH Reservoir

barnesville ohioA trucking company contracted to haul brine (i.e. naturally occurring water from the depths that comes out of a borehole long after drilling operations are completed) for Gulfport Energy crashed last Wednesday early in the morning and spilled 5,000 gallons of brine onto a field, which found its way into a creek, which emptied into a local reservoir serving Barnesville, OH residents (Belmont County). The trucking company is ECM Energy Services Inc. Barnesville was not drawing any water from the reservoir at the time (they have three local reservoirs from which to draw), so there was no threat to the local human population. Neither was there any impact on the local wildlife population. In fact, it was pretty much a non-event–except for the way it was inaccurately portrayed by media outlets like the Columbus Dispatch, whose reporter either intentionally misrepresented the facts, or was too obtuse to understand the facts…
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Time to Fire John Quigley Following Remarks to Marcellus Investors

John Quigley
John Quigley – Sec. PA DEP

John Quigley should be fired–immediately. He is the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP). Quigley previously worked for the anti-drilling PennFuture organization, an organization that seems to still have a big influence over him. On Friday, March 4, in his role as DEP Secretary, Quigley did intentional, massive damage to the state’s ability to attract new investment to the Marcellus industry. Quigley used calculated, disparaging comments about the industry during a call with Deutsche Bank Markets Research, broadcast to big money investors. He actually intended to, and did, talk down the industry and its prospects in Pennsylvania–meaning many investors decided to write PA off their list of places where they might want to invest. By all accounts, Quigley wants to discourage more investment in his state’s Marcellus industry. Although not criminal, it is unforgivable and he needs to be removed from office–NOW…
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Belmont County, OH has Top 10 Most Productive Utica Wells in 4Q15

Last week MDN reported on Ohio’s Utica Shale production numbers for 2015–which more than doubled (see Ohio Utica Shale Production Doubles in 2015! Top 5 Counties & Drillers). We gave you a bit of analysis on the top counties and drillers. Today we bring you more analysis of those numbers. Specifically, during the last quarter of 2015, the top 10 most productive Utica wells in Ohio were found in one county: Belmont. Eight of the top 10 wells in 4Q15 were drilled by a single driller: Rice Energy. Here’s more juicy details about Ohio’s Utica production in 4Q15 and for all of 2015…
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Somber Milestone – US Rig Count Hits Lowest Level in 68 Years

Baker Hughes released their weekly rig count numbers last Friday (see full report below). We typically don’t report on the weekly ups and downs of rig counts, preferring to check in on a monthly basis to get an idea of the overall trend. But last week’s weekly report was historic, which is why we’re commenting on it now. Baker Hughes began tabulating weekly rig counts 68 years ago. The number of working rigs in the United States last Friday hit 480–the lowest number on record since Baker Hughes began keeping records. While the Marcellus count went up by 3 last week, right now there are only 19 rigs operating in Pennsylvania–less than before the Marcellus boom began and down from the high water mark of 114 rigs operating in 2012. When rigs are operating, it means jobs and economic stimulus for a community and region. It also means landowners get royalties, and that money gets invested and/or spent in a community. The converse is also true: no rig activity, fewer jobs and economic impact. Therefore the number of rigs operating is always of keen interest…
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Cornerstone Liquids Pipeline Set to Begin Construction in E Ohio

The Cornerstone Pipeline, announced at the end of 2013, is a 50-mile liquids pipeline being built by Marathon Petroleum from the MarkWest cryogenic processing plant in Cadiz (Harrison County), OH northwest connecting to M3’s fractionator plant in Scio (also in Harrison County) and M3’s cryogenic processing plant in Leesville (Carroll County) before terminating and connecting to Marathon’s refinery in Canton, OH (see Marathon Petroleum’s Newly Announced “Cornerstone” Utica Pipeline). The pipeline will carry, at various times, crude oil, condensate and natural gasoline. Last fall Price Gregory, the company hired to build the Cornerstone, advertised for 400 workers (see Price Gregory Hiring 400 People in OH to Build Cornerstone Pipeline). Seems like it’s taken a long time, but construction of the pipeline is set to begin “in the next several weeks”…
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Stone Energy Borrows $385M, Maxes Out Credit Line

Stone Energy is an independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company (E&P) headquartered in Lafayette, Louisiana, drilling mainly in the Gulf of Mexico but also with a presence in the Marcellus/Utica Shale. Last year they quit drilling in the northeast and actually shut-in part of their production due to low prices (see Stone Energy 3Q15: Shut Down 110 Mmcfe/d of Marcellus Production). Last year the company lost over $1 billion (see Stone Energy 2015: $1.1 Billion Loss, Quit Drilling in Marcellus). Last Thursday Stone announced they’ve maxed out their credit cards. That is, they have now borrowed as much as they can borrow on their existing line of credit from the bank–grabbing another $385 million. The borrowed money (which now totals $477 million) will be used for “general corporate purposes.” That is, to pay salaries and keep the lights on…
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Williams Building Alabama Pipeline with Marcellus Connection

On Friday Williams announced it will begin construction in May on the Hillabee Expansion Project, a new pipeline spur built off the huge Transco pipeline system. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the project in February. The Hillabee Expansion Project is designed to expand the existing Transco pipeline’s capacity in Alabama beginning in May 2017, supplying gas to the proposed Sabal Trail pipeline. The Hillabee Expansion is designed to be constructed in three phases, adding a total of approximately 1,131,000 dekatherms per day (dt/d) of pipeline capacity to the Transco system by May 2021–enough natural gas to meet the needs of over 4 million American homes annually. So what does a new pipeline being built in Alabama have to do with the Marcellus/Utica? Quite a lot, as it turns out…
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Marcellus/Utica Gas Increasingly Heads to Canada via Pipeline

In a low-price environment for natural gas, like the one we are in now, it’s every man (and woman) for himself. Marcellus/Utica drillers are scrambling to get their production to markets that pay enough to stay in business. While we still don’t have our own LNG export facility in the northeast, Cove Point, Maryland is under construction. But it won’t be ready for several more years. In the meantime, how can our drillers get product to international markets? One international market is obvious: Canada. It used to be that Canada sent natural gas to the U.S. It still does, but increasingly the flows are reversing and the U.S., especially in the Marcellus/Utica region, is sending natural gas to Canada. How? Using pipelines. Some of the pipelines are being built new. Some already exist and are getting reversed…
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PDC Energy Gets More than Asked For in New Stock Offering

Last week MDN told you that PDC Energy, a driller with operations in Ohio’s Utica Shale, floated another 5+ million shares of company stock looking to raise ~$263 million (see PDC Energy Offers 5.15M Shares of New Stock, Wants to Get $263M). In what is perhaps a good sign that investors haven’t abandoned drillers, PDC actually got $296.8 million, floating nearly 6 million shares. Seems there are still investors willing to back nasty, evil, vile fossil fuel companies. Who knew?…
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PA RINO Rep. Kate Harper Trots Out Severance Tax, Again

What is it about elected “Republicans” in the Philadelphia orbit? Seems to us most of them are Republicans in Name Only (RINOs). One such elected RINO, PA House of Representatives member Kate Harper, R-61, is once again floating a severance tax plan. Her 3.5% tax plan sounds better (on the surface) than Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf’s 6.5% plan–except she also wants to keep the impact fee and not allow that fee to be deducted from the 3.5% tax she wants to raise for the teachers’ unions. At least Wolf allows impact fees to be deducted from his plan. The point is, Harper is completely bonkers. Out of her mind. Read today’s companion story about rig counts and how PA has been decimated. And she wants to slap a tax on production?…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, Mar 14, 2016

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Southwestern Energy expecting massive writedowns; PA rig count goes up by 3 last week; lessons learned from Dimock trial; legal implications of Dimock case; PA issuing “administrative concern” violations; inside the PA pipeline task force; NGL prices recovering faster than oil prices; Hillary’s fracking blunder; NASA study refutes EPA statement on methane emissions; and more!
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