ecorpStim Successfully Fracks PA Marcellus Well Using Baby Oil

baby oilEvery now and again eCORP Stimulation Technologies, or “ecorpStim” as they are known, reappears with a press release to announce they’re still around. The last such time MDN covered the company was in July 2014 (see ecorpStim Says New Manufacturing Process Lowers Non-Water Frack Cost). ecorpStim’s technology uses non-flammable liquefied propane as the fluid for fracking. It has the benefit of turning back into a gas and coming back out of the hole–captured and sold at a profit (or captured and re-used). One issue is, of course, the cost–although ecorpStim says they have worked hard to lower the cost. Another issue is potential flammability. However, last year ecorpStim began experimenting with “light alkanes” as an alternative fluid for fracking. In everyday language, light alkanes are “baby oil.” A big plus with using baby oil is that it’s nonflammable. It’s also safe for human ingestion and totally safe for the environment. ecorpStim released an announcement yesterday to say they have successfully fracked a Marcellus Shale well in Fayette County, PA using their new baby oil process…
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Rice Energy Fined ~$400K by PA DEP for Not Asking “Mother May I?”

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) has slapped Rice Energy and a couple of Rice’s subsidiary companies with a hefty fine of $393,500. Egads! Must be Rice did some very nasty things, right? Turns out most of the reason why the DEP fined Rice was for not playing “Mother May I?” with the DEP. In one case Rice installed a waterline between a well pad and an impoundment–without “Mother May I?” permission from the DEP. In another case Rice built a pipeline through a swamp (i.e. “wetland”) without getting DEP “Mother May I?” permission. And in yet another case Rice installed three waterlines under a creek instead of one. Rice’s midstream subsidiary was cited for “not using best management practices”–a severe no no for the DEP. Rice Midstream’s lack of management practice decorum led to a small incidence of erosion that briefly turned a creek brown. Call in the EPA! That’s your PA DEP hard at work for the people–always on the job ensuring those nasty drillers tow the line and pay big fines…
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How Low Can it Go? Patterson-UTI Rig Count Plunges to 64 in March

As we do every month, MDN tracks how many rigs oilfield services company Patterson-UTI Energy reports operating–as a proxy for when/if the drop in rig counts for the Marcellus/Utica will turn around. Patterson operates a number of rigs in the northeast, as well as other areas of the continental United States (and Canada). Month by month Paterson’s rig count has declined from 5-10% (see Patterson-UTI Average Rig Count Falls to 74 in February). The latest numbers are out and Patterson’s rig count has dropped another 10 rigs, to 64. That’s a massive 14% drop in a single month. We seriously ask ourselves, just how low can it go?…
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DOJ “Preparing Lawsuit” Against Halliburton/BH – Deal Looks Dead

Yesterday MDN told you that the U.S. Dept. of Justice has sued investment firm ValueAct Capital with an accusation that ValueAct has inappropriately pulled strings with both Halliburton and Baker Hughes in their planned merger (see DOJ Sues ValueAct Capital for Meddling in Halliburton/BH Merger). It seems that’s not the only lawsuit the DOJ is going to lodge. According to the Wall Street Journal and other national media sources, the Obama DOJ has let leak they plan to sue Halliburton/Baker Hughes to stop the merger. It appears as if it’s all but dead. The Europeans are not fans of the plan (see Europe Puts Halliburton/BH Merger Under a Microscope). Brazil is also against the deal (see Is the Halliburton Buyout of Baker Hughes in Trouble?). If the DOJ turns against it–there’s no way the deal will happen, in our humble opinion. Here’s the latest in the shotgun wedding that may turn out to be a couple at the alter with no one willing to marry them…
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Cornerstone Pipeline Slightly Delayed, Construction Begins in May

In the middle of March MDN brought you the news that Marathon Petroleum was saying they would begin construction on the Cornerstone Pipeline “in the next several weeks”–meaning by the beginning of April (see Cornerstone Liquids Pipeline Set to Begin Construction in E Ohio). The timeline has been moved back a month. Marathon officials are now saying construction won’t begin until May. Cornerstone is a $250 million, 50-mile liquids pipeline being built by Marathon from the MarkWest cryogenic processing plant in Cadiz (Harrison County, now owned by Marathon), 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. No reason was given for the delay…
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Moody’s Oil & Gas Liquidity Stress Index Hits New Worst Level

In March Moody’s Oil & Gas Liquidity Stress Index, a measure of the liquidity health of oil and gas companies, hit a worst-ever high of 27.2% (see Moody’s Oil & Gas Liquidity Stress Index Hits Worst-ever Level). A month later and the same index has topped the previous bad record–now at 31.6%. Translation: there are a record number of energy companies stretched to the limit, ready to run dry in the cash department. If prices don’t turn around soon, some (many?) of these companies will go under…
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RFK Jr Invokes Religion at Anti-Pipeline Rally in Albany, NY

A group of around 200 anti-fracking activists–or fractivists–protested at the steps of the New York State Capitol Building in Albany, NY yesterday. They were there nominally to protest Gov. Cuomo’s inevitable cave to allow the Constitution Pipeline to be built across the eastern portion of the state. However, the language from the speakers–in particular from the rather nutty Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (i.e. “Junior”)–was instructive. These people are fossil fuel haters–and their speeches dripped with their irrational hatred for all fossil fuels. Junior called fossil fuels “the dirtiest fuels from hell,” and then he called so-called renewable energy “patriotic fuels from heaven.” Some of you have laughed and poked fun at MDN, some of you have written us in anger, some have even unsubscribed when we have commented in the past on the hysterical and irrational antics of anti-fossil fuelers, pointing out that their belief in man-made global warming is religious and faith-based and NOT rooted in science. Junior’s own words yesterday are 100% vindication of our position. He couches the debate over fossil fuels in religious language. We were, and always have been, right about anti-drillers. The vast majority of antis don’t oppose drilling because of “water contamination” or “air pollution” or “methane migration” or any of a hundred other red herring excuses. They object because they fervently choose to believe in global warming, with no scientific evidence whatsoever, making all fossil fuels “evil” in their twisted worldview…
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Kinder Morgan’s Elba Island, Georgia LNG Export Plant Progresses

Last July Kinder Morgan bought out joint venture partner Shell’s portion of a proposed LNG (liquefied natural gas) project on the coast of Georgia (see KM Buys Shell’s Share in Elba LNG Export Plant, Marcellus Exports?). What does the Georgia Elba LNG plant have to do with Marcellus/Utica? Maybe nothing, but we suspect something. Kinder’s arch rival Williams owns the mighty Transco pipeline that connects, via the Elba Express pipeline, to the LNG facility. Currently Elba Island imports LNG. However, Williams has been on a mission to send Marcellus gas south–including to Georgia (see Marcellus Gas Heading to Georgia via Transco Pipeline). We don’t think it’s much of a stretch that Marcellus Shale gas, via the Transco, will be at least some of, if not the primary, source for gas exported from the Elba facility. The Elba facility is progressing. Yesterday Kinder announced “a contract for the engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning and startup of Kinder Morgan’s natural gas liquefaction project at Elba Island, near Savannah, Georgia.” The contract was awarded to IHI E&C…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Wed, Apr 6, 2016

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Pipeline timelines slip in northeast; Hillary’s fracking flip-flops; Marathon sticks with Ohio Utica despite downturn; PA service companies hurting in downturn; WV AG calls NY AG a bully; Mass. high court to decide fate of pipelines; shaleconomics; natgas rally this summer; and more!
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