Scuttlebutt: With Halliburton Deal Crumbling, GE Eyes Baker Hughes

rumor-mill.jpgLast Thursday MDN brought you the news that the Dept. of Justice has decided to try to block the merger/buyout of oilfield services company Baker Hughes by bigger oilfield services company Halliburton (see Obama DOJ Sues to Block Halliburton/Baker Hughes Merger). When you add up opposition from both Europe and Brazil, this deal looks like it will never take place. So what happens now? Halliburton/BH say they will fight the DOJ’s action. But let’s get real. When was the last time anyone went up against the DOJ antitrust division and won? Which brings us to the rumor mill, which is now swirling that General Electric’s (GE) Oil & Gas division may make a run at buying out Baker Hughes…
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Some Utica Drillers Go Back to Wider Well Spacing – New Trend?

HorizontalWellMDN spotted a fascinating story in NGI’s Shale Daily publication about what may be a new trend developing in the Utica Shale. It all concerns interlateral well spacing. What the heck is that? When you drill a shale well, like a Utica well, you can drill down from a single location (i.e. well pad) multiple times and when you turn the drill bit horizontally, you drill an entirely new well. So each well pad contains, typically, anywhere from 2-12 underground wells. Each horizontal well underground is called a lateral. When you drill a lateral, you frack it–using small explosive charges to crack the rock apart near the lateral, injecting water with sand into the cracks. The water drains out, the sand remains “propping open” the cracks to allow natural gas (or oil, or NGLs) to drain out of the cracks, into the well and up the borehole to the surface. In the past few years most drillers have found putting the laterals about 750 feet apart keeps them far enough apart that the cracks from one well don’t interfere with the cracks from another well (see image below). Ideally you want the laterals to be far enough away that they don’t drain any gas from the next lateral–but close enough that you’re not leaving undrained rock in between. That distance in the Marcellus/Utica seems to be around 750 feet. But Rice Energy and Gulfport Energy, two major players in the Utica, are moving back to 1,000 foot spacing between their laterals. Why?…
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List of 59 Oil & Gas Companies Filing for Bankruptcy in 2015/2016

Last November MDN brought you a list of 36 North America drillers that had, as of that time, declared bankruptcy (see List of 36 Oil & Gas Companies that Filed for Bankruptcy in 2015). The law firm compiling the list, Haynes and Boone, is back with an updated version. Since that time more have fallen to low commodity prices for oil and gas. There are now 59 drillers who have declared bankruptcy–42 last year and (so far) 17 in 2016. Fortunately, the only Marcellus/Utica name we spot on the list is Magnum Hunter Resources, which filed for bankruptcy back in December (see Sad Day: Magnum Hunter Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy). Here’s the latest edition of Haynes and Boone’s “Oil Patch Bankruptcy Monitor”…
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Authors of UK Fracking Study Dismayed that Fracking is Safe

A group of UK researchers/professors have just published a new study on fracking and traffic-related environmental impacts from it. The study is titled “Investigating the traffic-related environmental impacts of hydraulic-fracturing (fracking) operations” (full copy below) and appears in the journal Environment International. The authors conclude that heavy truck traffic from fracking operations has a negligible impact on the environment. Here’s the funny part: the authors aren’t all that happy with their own findings. But to their credit, the researchers don’t screw with the data and attempt to hide or change their findings–as some hucksters do from American universities like Duke and Cornell…
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Lebanon County Judge Says Mariner East 2 Can Use Eminent Domain

The last refuge of the desperate in Lebanon County, PA to stop new pipelines from being built is to use the courts to try and delay or stop both the Williams Transco Atlantic Sunrise or the Sunoco Logistics Partners Mariner East 2 pipelines. That refuge is now gone–at least for Mariner East 2. Last Thursday Lebanon County Judge Robert Eby ruled that yes, Mariner East 2 is an intrastate as well as interstate pipeline–giving it authority under PA state law to use eminent domain for those (very) few holdout landowners who refuse to bargain in good faith and simply want to stop the pipeline…
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Delaware Riverkeeper Keeps Up Aggressive Attack on FERC, New Angle

THE Delaware Riverkeeper, a radical left-wing group that’s not much more than its director, Maya van Rossum, and a lawyer, continues (with big money funding from NGOs like the Heinz Endowments and the Park Foundation) to aggressively attack the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. We warned you last year that Riverkeeper was attempting to overload FERC’s approval process for the PennEast Pipeline by encouraging anti-drilling zealots to register, en masse, as “intervenors” (see Delaware Riverkeeper Scams FERC in Review of PennEast Pipeline). Riverkeeper even asked their wacko followers to register their own children as intervenors–again in an attempt to overload FERC’s workload. Riverkeeper has sued FERC God knows how many times now (see THE Delaware Riverkeeper Sues FERC, Tries to Close it Down). But since none of those efforts are working, Riverkeeper (and van Rossum) are trying yet another tactic. They want the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a “review” of FERC in hopes that somebody–Obama? Congress? another agency?–at the federal level will come down on FERC to prevent the agency from doing its job–reviewing and approving new pipelines. We have evidence…
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PA Senate Race – Dems Try to Outdo Each Other as Anti-Frack

“I hate frackers more than you do and I’ll screw them more than you will.” “No, I hate them more than you do!” And so it goes with the Democrats running in the primary for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania. The three candidates vying to run on the Dem ticket in November are all, to one degree or another, anti-fracking. The lead candidate is Kathy McGinty, former chief of staff for failing Gov. Tom Wolf and former head of the Dept. of Environmental Protection under Ed “fast Eddie” Rendell. Her challengers are accusing her of being in bed with the frackers. She says fracking is OK–as long as you regulate it to death. None of them are qualified to be Senator, but then look who’s president right now…
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Rise of the New (Environmental) Nazis – Free Speech Under Attack

Is this how it started in Nazi Germany in the 1920s? No, we’re not being melodramatic. Those are the thoughts flying through our heads when we read that the Attorney General from the U.S. Virgin Islands–an unincorporated “territory” of the United States–issued a subpoena to the conservative think tank Competitive Enterprise Institute demanding all communication between it and ExxonMobil on the issue of mythical “climate change.” The AG, a radical Democrat, is fishing to see if he can sue Exxon into extinction, because people at Exxon may have an opinion on climate change contrary to the radical AG’s opinion. No longer can adults have honest disagreements on important issues like climate change. Now, if you disagree and attempt to offer evidence to support your position, including communication with a “non-approved” source–you may end up in jail and your money stripped away. The parallels between what leftists today are doing and leftists did nearly a century ago in Germany are chilling. The first thing to go is freedom of expression…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Mon, Apr 11, 2016

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: FERC lets REX pipeline add more shippers; Ravenna Oil expanding; Utica conf optimistic; pipeline rules will have dramatic impact on PA; methane madness infects Washington, DC; NGL prices head higher; global temp record is the smoking gun on collusion & fraud; and more!
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