Breaking: Shell Pulls the Trigger, PA Ethane Cracker is a Go!

stoppress.jpgThis is the biggest of big news. We’ve been waiting for this day a LONG time. Earlier today Shell held a “Capital Markets Day” (in the Netherlands) and provided an extensive update on “reshaping” the company–for 2020 and beyond. As part of the update, hidden part of the way through their press release, we get this statement from Shell: “In Chemicals, the company already has brownfield growth projects underway on the US Gulf Coast and in China. Today we are announcing the final investment decision on a new, 1.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) cracker and polyethylene plant in Pennsylvania, USA, which will use natural gas from shales production as its feedstock. Once these projects are on stream, early in the next decade, Shell’s ethylene capacity should reach around 8 mtpa, compared with 6.2 mtpa today.” The implication is that the FID (final investment decision) is “yes, we’re building it” as evidenced by the phrase “once these projects are on stream…” MDN predicted it (see More Evidence that the Shell Ethane Cracker Plant in PA is a Go). You don’t spend half a billion (out of $2-$3 billion) and not move forward. Still, it’s fantastic to have Shell finally, after five years, say “Yes, we’re building it.” Another fascinating bit of news from today: Shell says shale will be very important to the future of the company, after 2020…
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PA Dems Eating Their Own – Turn on Gov. Wolf over Quigley Firing

Greg Vitali
PA State Rep. Greg Vitali – Dem

Pennsylvania State Rep. Greg Vitali, a far-left Democrat from the Philadelphia area, is attacking his own governor, the most liberal governor in the U.S., Tom Wolf (according to InsideGov), for not being liberal enough when it comes to the environment. Vitali staged a press conference yesterday and essentially announced open warfare on Wolf. Vitali is still PO’d (personally offended) over the firing of Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary John Quigley (see Smoking Gun: Copy of the Email that Got John Quigley Fired). You may recall that Quigley was fired not for using a profanity-laced email to his Big Green friends in the radical environmental movement–but because he used a private email account to send the email, unethical in the extreme, and perhaps illegal (we hope someone is investigating). But sycophantic reporters refuse to focus on the true reason for Quigley’s firing–his off-the-reservation actions–and instead attempt to prop him up and say “he was too effective.” That’s the coordinated storyline being pedaled by lefties like Vitali. After the bombshell “resignation” announcement the Dems, including Jan Jarrett, tried to blame Democrat Sen. John Yudichak from Luzerne County, PA for Quigley’s firing (see PA Radical Enviros Blame Democrat Senator for Quigley Firing). Dems love to blame-shift. Trying to hang Quigley’s sins on Yudichak went nowhere fast, so the Dems are now turning on Wolf himself. The Dems are eating their own. Love it!…
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ETE & Williams Engage in More Posturing Before June 24 Deadline

As the World TurnsThe ongoing soap opera of whether or not Energy Transfer Equity really will buy Williams continues to play out. Yesterday ETE (and Williams) issued press releases announcing that Williams shareholders have until 5 pm on June 24 to provide their official voting documentation on the merger. ETE is careful to point out that Williams shareholders should hold on to their shares–not turn them in–until the merger is official and completed. ETE also says once they’ve voted on the merger, Williams shareholders can’t turn around and sell their Williams shares of stock until the final merger is either declared a “go” or a “no go.” The elaborate ands, ifs & buts in the ETE statement still leaves us wondering whether or not this is all just kabuki theater–a show–with no real intention of closing on the merger. Case in point: here’s what ETE’s lawyers said in yesterday’s announcement…
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IMG’s Tiny NatGas-Fired Electric Plants Take Off in the Marcellus

IMD MidstreamMDN first told you about IMG Midstream in August 2014 (see 7 Small Marcellus-Powered Electric Plants Coming to NEPA). At the time, IMG was proposing to build seven “tiny” natural gas-fired electric plants–each plant producing on the order of 20-22 megawatts of electricity (enough to power 13,000 homes). IMG added a couple of more to their plans in November 2014 (see Details on IMG’s “Tiny” Marcellus-Powered Electric Plants in NEPA). The beauty of IMG’s tiny natgas electric plants is that they are really small–about the size of a basketball court; they produce almost no air pollution; and they are quiet. It’s a really cool concept. We spotted an update on IMG in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. IMG’s very first tiny electric plant, in Susquehanna County, PA, went online last October. The second plant, in Bradford County, PA, went online last week. The former 9 planned plants has now ballooned. IMG plans to have 25 plants operating within the next five years!…
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Carrizo O&G Top Management Dumps Another $646K in Company Stock

Carrizo logoCarrizo Oil & Gas, a Houston-based driller, actively drills in the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas, the Delaware Basin in West Texas, the Niobrara Formation in Colorado, and until mid-year in 2015, they did have an active drilling program in the Ohio Utica and Pennsylvania Marcellus. No more. They haven’t drilled in Appalachia since 3Q15 (see Carrizo O&G 1Q16: Still Not Active in the Marcellus, Prod. Down). However, we expect at some point Carrizo will return to northeast drilling–so we keep track of the company. Last year we noted that Carrizo’s top mangement was engaged in dumping the company’s stock (see What’s Up with Carrizo Top Mgmt Continued Selling of Co. Stock?). They’re at it again. Three of Carrizo’s top managers, including the CEO, COO and a VP, along with a board member, have just sold off a collective 17,082 shares worth $646,280. Hey, we have absolutely no issue with those who help a company succeed, in profiting from that success. Top managers are often awarded stock bonuses and it’s not uncommon to cash them in. But we get nervous when we see the people running a company selling large tranches of stock, repeatedly. Makes us wonder what they know that we don’t!…
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Lordstown Energy Center Breaks Ground on $890M Electric Plant

Artist's rendering of Lordstown Energy Center
Artist’s rendering of Lordstown Energy Center – click for larger version

You can build them big, or build them small. MDN brought you an update today on IMG Midstream’s very successful “tiny” natgas-fired electric plants, beginning to dot the Marcellus landscape in Pennsylvania (see today’s companion story). However, there are many large natgas-fired electric plants being planned or built as well. An $890 million electric generation plant planned for Lordstown (Trumbull County), OH that will be powered with Utica Shale gas won village approval last summer (see Lordstown $800M Gas-Powered Electric Plant Gets Village Approval). The Lordstown Energy Center, as it’s called, then won state approval in the fall (see Lordstown $800M Gas-Powered Electric Plant Gets OH State Approval). Yesterday was the official groundbreaking for the Lordstown plant…
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First Time Ever – Shale Insight Event to Involve OH & WV

Shale Insight 2016For the first time ever the Marcellus Shale Coalition is cooperating with two other major statewide oil and gas groups to host its signature event called Shale Insight. MDN editor Jim Willis has attended Shale Insight for the last four of its five years–and Jim has always noticed it’s a largely Pennsylvania-focused event. This year that all changes. Shale Insight 2016, to be hosted in Pittsburgh, will also be co-sponsored and co-hosted by the Ohio Oil & Gas Association (OOGA) and the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association (WVONGA). This moves Shale Insight from a Marcellus-focused event to a Marcellus/Utica/Northeast-focused event. Very exciting! Here’s the good news…
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Solar & Wind Electric Plants Cost 2x-4x More than NatGas to Build

EIAAs you may have noticed, in today’s lineup of stories MDN covered news about two different natural gas-fired electric plant companies and the plants they are building in the northeast. Gas-fired plants are not only springing up everywhere in the northeast, but across the country. Why? Because a) Obama’s war on coal has forced many coal generating plants to close, and b) shale gas has made clean-burning natural gas as cheap as, sometimes cheaper than, burning coal to produce electricity. But coal and natgas aren’t the only sources that produce electricity. Solar, wind, biomass and others are also used to produce electricity. Radical environmentalists, who frankly don’t think for themselves and live in a false bubble, pretend that solar and wind could, “if we only had the will,” take over all electric production in this country. What a lark. There’s a reason natural gas is becoming the dominant fuel to produce electricity in this country–it costs less. Our favorite government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, is fresh out with an analysis of how much it costs to build new electric plants. Guess which source is the cheapest? Yep–natural gas. And guess which sources cost two-to-four times as much to build as natgas? Yep–wind and solar. Which is why the radicals want to force natural gas into oblivion. Their preferred sources just can’t compete economically…
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IHS Report: Shale & Fracking Delivered U.S. Energy Independence

IHS logoA new report just issued by Global consulting and research firm IHS, says that Canadian oil sands and U.S. “tight oil” (i.e. shale oil) production have “become the twin pillars of North American energy security.” Canada’s oil sands the shale in U.S. represent 95% of the growth in North American oil production from 2009-2015. Over the same time we reduced our dependence on offshore oil imports by 40%. Folks, this is HUGE. Fracking of shale is nothing short of a miracle in our country. For Crazy Bernie Sanders to shout, as he did at a rally in California last week, that “We are going to ban fracking all across this country” is insanity itself. Can you imagine if that fossil actually became President and signed an Executive Order banning all fracking? Hillary Clinton’s position is essentially the same as Crazy Bernie’s. Loony tunes. For the first time since the oil shocks of the 1970s when OPEC began to royally screw us over, we now can tell OPEC where to go pump their oil. You can see why Obama’s decision to deny the Keystone XL Pipeline from Canada is so stupid and damaging to our energy security…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Tue, Jun 7, 2016

best of the restThe “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Rice Energy approves directors; Integrated Core ups ownership of Rice; Wellington Mgmt ups ownership of Southwestern; JPMorgan Chase ups ownership of Rex Energy; OH uses geography & shale to sell the downstream; Reed Smith cutting back on space; Crazy Bernie promises to ban fracking from sea to shining sea; natgas price hits a new 5-month high; $50/barrel for oil won’t last, crash coming; CNG roadshow; and more!
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