RE Burger Smoke Stack Demolished Today, Prep for OH Cracker Plant

RE Burger Plant
RE Burger Plant – click for larger version

The next chapter in the quest to build a $5.7 billion ethane cracker plant complex in Belmont County, OH takes place today. Part of the chosen site for PTT Global Chemical’s cracker plant is the 130-acre site where the R.E. Burger Plant, a coal-fired electric generating plant owned by Ohio utility company FirstEnergy, is located. Today is the day that the plant’s 854-foot concrete smoke stack will get demolished. By the time you read this, it will already be on the ground. Local media is calling the site “historical” and a “landmark.” We’d call it an eyesore. Bring on the cracker! NOTE: We found a dramatic video of the smoke stack and nearby buildings coming down–give it a watch!…
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FERC Approves Transco Expansion Projects in NYC & Virginia

approvedIn July 2015 Williams filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the $130 million New York Bay Expansion project, which will flow Marcellus gas to 500,000 additional New York City residents by the 2017/2018 heating season (see Williams Announces New Upgrades to Transco Pipeline into NYC). In March 2015, Williams filed an application with the FERC for the Virginia Southside II Expansion project, to provide 250,000 dekatherms per day of Marcellus gas to power Dominion’s new monster 1,580 megawatt natgas-fired electric generating plant in Greensville County, VA (see Dominion Begins Building Virginia’s Biggest NatGas Power Station). GREAT news! Yesterday FERC approved both projects…
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Meigs County, OH Tosses Anti-Frack Nov. Ballot Initiative

rejected.jpgIn May MDN told you agitators from the PA-based radical anti-drilling group called CELDF–Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund–had gone fishing for dupes in Meigs County, OH (among other locations) to see if they could trick enough dumb dumbs into signing a petition to get a so-called Community Bill of Rights initiative on the ballot in November (see PA-Based CELDF Looks for New Dupes in Meigs County, OH). A “Community Bill of Rights” is nothing more than “frack ban” as you’ll see below. We’re sorry to report the CELDF found enough stupid people in Meigs to sign (see More Frack Ban Ballot Measures Coming to OH in November). However, county leaders in Meigs, and other locations, have had enough of the CELDF and their troublemaking. The Meigs County Board of Elections has ruled the ballot initiative invalid. The crazies are, of course, threatening to sue…
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EQT Changes Course, Slowing Utica, Ramping Up Marcellus/UD

EQT logoEQT, one of the big Marcellus/Utica drillers, with its headquarters in Pittsburgh, released an interesting second quarter 2016 update yesterday. Along with the update came a quarterly conference call with analysts. You may recall that the Utica Shale play previously turned the head of EQT (see EQT Dumps Marcellus Drilling, Concentrates on the Utica in 2016 and EQT is in Love with the Utica – Comments from Analyst Call). EQT has done a 180 degree about face. On the call and in the update from yesterday, the company said they are slowing their Utica program and instead ramping up their Marcellus and currently dormant Upper Devonian (UD) drilling program again. Why the change of heart? It’s a whole lot cheaper to drill a Marcellus or UD well than it is a Utica well. Plus, you have to drill UD wells at the same time you drill the deeper Marcellus, otherwise you’ll lose the UD layer. You can’t go back and drill/frack the shallower UD layer after you’ve already drilled the Marcellus layer. We also learn from yesterday’s update that after making $5.5 million in profit in 2Q15, EQT lost $259 million in 2Q16. However, the stock market was unfazed and EQT’s stock price actually closed up yesterday…
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MPLX Cornerstone NGL Pipe Done by End 2016, New Projects Coming

Cornerstone Pipeline Route Map
Cornerstone Pipeline Route Map – click for larger version

Marathon Petroleum Corporation’s MPLX midstream/pipeline division, which includes what used to be called MarkWest Energy, issued its second quarter 2016 update yesterday. Among the important bits of news, MPLX’s Cornerstone Pipeline is currently under construction and will be completed by the end of this year. Cornerstone is a $250 million, 50-mile natural gas 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. From Canton, Marathon plans to move condensate and NGLs to Midwest refining centers and into Canada. Other exciting news: Marathon’s engineering teams continue to “evaluate synergistic projects” for the Marcellus/Utica, including “a butane-to-alkylate facility, a regional NGL export solution in the Northeast, and a long-haul pipeline to the Gulf Coast, such as a reversal of the Centennial Pipeline.” Very cool. Here’s the MPLX update…
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Epsilon Energy: Still No Marcellus Drilling, Focused on NEPA Pipe

Epsilon EnergyCanadian driller and midstream company Epsilon Energy had a shareholder rebellion in 2013 and threw out the sitting board of directors (see Shareholder Rebellion at Epsilon Energy – New Board as of Today). Epsilon CEO Michael Raleigh announced at the time that the company had embarked on a turnaround strategy of focusing on the Marcellus Shale–less than a year after saying they would scale back in the Marcellus (see Epsilon Energy Makes “About-Face” on Marcellus Drilling). Epsilon was and remains a very small player in the Marcellus–but the Marcellus is it’s entire focus. The company released its second quarter 2016 update yesterday. From what we can tell, the company has not drilled, and doesn’t plan to drill, a single Marcellus well since 2014. However, they do own a 35% interest in the Auburn Gas Gathering system in the northeast PA Marcellus (Williams is majority owner with 44%). Epsilon’s capital expenditures for 2Q16 were a grand total of $100,000 (i.e. nothing), all of it spent on the Auburn system. Here’s the latest from Epsilon…
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Baker Hughes Laid Off 3K in 2Q16, No Drilling Recovery in 2016

Baker Hughes logoOnce the Obama Dept. of Justice burst the dream of merging with Halliburton (see Obama DOJ Kills Halliburton/Baker Hughes Merger, Deal “Terminated”), Baker Hughes set out to right the ship and deal with the most serious down market in a generation. BH issued their second quarter 2016 update yesterday and held a conference call with analysts. Among the measure BH took in 2Q16 to righ the ship was laying off another 3,000 workers (always a sad thing). BH used $1.5 billion of a $3.5 billion break-up fee they collected from Halliburton to buy back outstanding debt. Perhaps the most ominous news coming from yesterday’s update is that BH believes drilling in North America is unlikely to rebound for the rest of the year. We had hoped the corner has already been turned (see Crack of Light – OH Sand Producer Says Market Turning Around). According to BH, such is not the case…
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CARBO Says 2Q16 “Likely” the Bottom for Proppant Market

CARBO logoContrary to the BH view that drilling will remain in the crapper for the rest of 2016 (see Baker Hughes Laid Off 3K in 2Q16, No Drilling Recovery in 2016), CARBO Ceramics, a company that supplies sand and ceramic beads used in fracking, was more upbeat about the rest of the year in their second quarter 2016 update. CARBO’s CEO Gary Kolstad said, “…the second quarter likely marked the bottom for activity levels as both oil and natural gas commodity prices and the North American rig count started to recover,” and “Sales volumes began to improve as the quarter progressed. In addition, with the increasing commodity prices, we have received increasing customer inquiries about procuring ceramic proppant for completions in the second half of 2016.” In other words, things are beginning to look up–at least according to CARBO. Their own numbers don’t seem to reflect that optimism. Total proppant sales (as measured in millions of pounds sold) were down an astonishing 75% year over year: 448 million pounds sold in 2Q15 vs. 112 million pounds sold in 2Q16. Here’s the CARBO upbeat 2Q16 update…
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WVU Launches INFUSE Program to Help Other Countries with Shale Dev

WVU logoThe U.S. State Department and West Virginia University (WVU) want to give other countries interested in developing their own shale deposits a helping hand. The State Department’s Bureau of Energy Resources has reached a cooperative agreement with WVU to create the International Forum on Unconventional Gas Sustainability and the Environment, or INFUSE, a unique technical program dedicated to increasing other countries’ understanding of best practices for unconventional gas resource development. INFUSE will use a mix of classroom and in-the-field activities. Here’s the lowdown on INFUSE…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Jul 29, 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: Northeast natgas production vs. takeaway capacity; the ugly side of pipeline politics; more pipeline opposition in New England; pipeline opposition in NJ; M&A activity picked up in 2Q16; why oil prices are heading into the $30s again; National Oilwell Varco not ready to call the bottom of the market just yet; one nation, fueled by natgas (with liberty and justice for all); and more!
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