PA’s Anti-Drilling AG Kathleen Kane Sentenced to Jail for Perjury

kane-in-handcuffs
Kathleen Kane hauled to jail in handcuffs

We take no pleasure in announcing the ignominious end to an ignominious career. Kathleen Kane, former Pennsylvania Attorney General who prosecuted and persecuted others, particularly in the gas drilling industry while she was in office, has herself been prosecuted for committing perjury (i.e. lying under oath) about leaking privileged grand jury information in a case unrelated to gas drilling. She committed the same crime Bill Clinton did when he was president–except sleazy Bill Clinton didn’t go to jail–but Kane is. Don’t shed any tears for Kane–she deserves it…
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Best Employment Opportunities in O&G Right Now: Frac Crew

drilling-equals-jobs.jpgMDN editor Jim Willis recently had the pleasure of addressing the Petroleum Club at the University of Pittsburgh’s Bradford, PA campus. Not in person, but via Skype video. When Jim asked the group, most of them in their second year of a two-year petroleum technology program about future job prospects, he got the impression they are concerned. The Marcellus industry has not been immune to layoffs. Graduating with a degree in an industry that’s seen 300,000+ layoffs over the past two years might make some question the wisdom of entering the program in the first place. Jim’s message to these eager young people bursting with potential? Don’t give up–and be encouraged. At the recent Shale Insight event and Benposium East event (both held in September), Jim had a number of conversations with those who either work in or invest in the o&g industry. His conclusion after speaking with industry insiders? Things are beginning to turn around. In fact, we can’t count the number of stories that talk about the coming shortage of good workers in the o&g industry. Today we spotted a press release from Energent Group promoting new research and wanted to highlight some of the information in that release–information that may be helpful to our new young friends at Pitt-Bradford, and for others in the industry looking for work. The research highlights the fact there are many drilled but uncompleted wells (DUCs), in all shale plays–but particularly in the oily Permian and Eagle Ford shale plays. According to the Energent research, workers probably stand the best chance of getting a job with a frac crew–because companies will first work on completing the already-drilled wells by fracking them. Makes sense to us!…
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Stock Analysts Wait to See if NE Drillers are Hedging Gas @ $3/Mcf

hedgingOne company that has been really smart and savvy when it comes to hedging is Antero Resources. Earlier this year when the average price of natural gas was selling for under $3 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) on the benchmark Henry Hub, Antero averaged a sale price of $4.54/Mcf–in the Marcellus/Utica! Where prices are always BELOW the Henry Hub (see Antero Resources 1Q16: Production Up 18%, Sells Gas for $4.54/Mcf). The reason Antero can sell natgas at a higher price is because they previously contracted with buyers months (sometimes years) in advance to sell the gas at the higher price. Such contracts are called hedging. Stock analysts are eagerly waiting to see if not only Antero but other Marcellus/Utica drillers have hedged their upcoming sales. This is earnings report season, which happens every three months like clockwork. What will the earnings reports show with respect to hedging? Analysts are holding their breath (and their money), waiting to see…
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Buckeye’s MI/OH Pipeline Open Season a Success, Project Advances

West to East Project Map
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In September MDN told you that Buckeye Partners, a publicly traded master limited partnership (MLP) that owns and operates 6,000 miles of pipeline, had launched an open season for a second round of expansion on the Michigan/Ohio refined products pipeline (see Buckeye Partners Expanding MI/OH Refined Products Pipeline, Again). “Refined petroleum products” are things like gasoline, kerosene and heating oil. The pipeline runs from Woodhaven and Detroit, Michigan, and from Toledo and Lima, Ohio, to destination points in both Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. We track this project and others like it because it’s quite possible some of the oil that gets refined into gas and heating fuel flowing through this pipeline comes from the Marcellus/Utica. Good news: the open season for the second expansion was successful and Buckeye plans to move forward with the project, which should be completed by the end of 2018…
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Oct 31 Deadline to Send Comments to Ohio EPA re NEXUS Pipeline

OH Route of Proposed NEXUS Gas Pipeline
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Yet another deadline approaches for the NEXUS Pipeline, a $2 billion, 255-mile interstate pipeline that will run from Ohio through Michigan and eventually to the Dawn Hub in Ontario, Canada. It is a critically needed pipeline to move Utica and Marcellus Shale gas from an over-saturated market in the northeast to markets in the Midwest and Canada. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is charged with evaluating and approving (or not) the project. However, as often happens, various state agencies are also involved in the project. One of those agencies if the Ohio EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). In September the Ohio EPA issued permits to allow NEXUS to build five new compressor stations along the pipeline’s route through OH (see OH EPA Grants Permits for 5 NEXUS Pipeline Compressor Stations). The Ohio EPA is back, this time considering whether (or not) to issue stream crossing permits to NEXUS. The pipeline will cross streams and swamps (i.e. “wetlands”) in these watersheds: Upper Ohio, Tuscarawas, Mahoning, Cedar-Portage, Lower Maumee, Ottawa-Stony, Black-Rocky, Huron-Vermilion and Sandusky. The public (i.e. YOU) have until next Monday, Oct. 31, to file comments on NEXUS’ “401 water quality certification” as it is called. Get writing!…
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Marcus Hook Refinery Already Exporting Propane – Who Knew?!

who knewWe spotted what is, to us, a fascinating story about propane use across the country. There are those, like LP Gas magazine, that closely watch usage trends for propane. As you may know, propane is an NGL, or natural gas liquid. It is one of the hydrocarbons that comes out of a borehole drilled to extract either oil or natural gas. Along with oil and gas other hydrocarbons come out of the hole–NGLs like propane, ethane, butane, etc. One of the places propane is increasingly produced, and consumed, is in the northeast–because of Marcellus/Utica drilling. The sharp editors at LP Gas noticed an historically unusual trend–a spike way up in propane usage in one of the main regions tracked, in the northeast. The explanation for the spike up in usage? Propane is getting exported from the Marcus Hook refinery. Therefore much larger volumes of propane are being “consumed” by those exports. Which we find fascinating. We are producing AND consuming propane within the Marcellus/Utica region. That is, we’re generating wealth by exporting propane. We knew about ethane exports already happening at Marcus Hook (see Bon Voyage! First Ethane Export Ship Leaves Marcus Hook in Philly). And we knew that it’s been in the plans to export propane (see Rex Energy Cuts Deal to Export Ethane, Propane to Europe via Philly). What we didn’t know is that propane exports are *already happening* from Marcus Hook…
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Black & Veatch NatGas Industry Report: Optimism Reigns; Should It?

optimismBlack & Veatch, a global engineering, consulting, construction, and operations company that is a major player in the oil and gas market, has just-released a new report: 2016 Strategic Directions: Natural Gas Industry Report (see a copy below). The new report tackles market outlooks for the upstream, midstream and downstream segments. One of the sections that caught our eye: power market opportunities, which explores how coal plant retirements and lower operating dispatch costs have moved natural gas to its place as the primary energy source in the United States. Also in the report, the attitudes of those working in the industry is optimistic. But the report authors issue a note of caution: “Yet, this optimism may be masking some substantial warning signs, particularly for upstream and midstream players. Tight controls on capital investments, tied to the low margins inherent in today’s pricing environment, have constrained new projects. Lower crude oil prices have revitalized petrochemical projects in the downstream sector, particularly in international markets, but investors still question long-term viability. This raises a key question for how organizations are, or are not, positioned to take advantage of an eventual pricing correction.” In other words, drillers and pipeline companies shouldn’t be popping the cork on the champagne bottle just yet. Here’s the fifth annual natgas update from B&V…
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Carrizo Floats 6M New Shares of Stock to Buy More Eagle Ford

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. That trend continues. It seems other plays have lured Carrizo’s heart, and money. Yesterday the company announced it is floating 6 million new shares of stock, hoping to raise $225 million. The reason? To buy another 15,000 acres of leases–in the Eagle Ford oil play in Texas. Once again Carrizo ignores the Mighty Marcellus. Their loss. Here’s an update on new stock and a new land deal in the Lone Star State…
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Lawyers Warn Pipeline Case May Turn Midstreamers “On Their Heads”

court-gavel.jpgA couple of legal beagles from the Fox Rothschild law firm (in NJ) are sounding the alarm that two bankruptcy court decisions in New York State are threatening to up-end the midstream industry across the country. We tend to agree with them. Earlier this year, MDN brought you the news that a NY bankrutpcy court judge had allowed Sabine Oil & Gas, going through bankruptcy, to cancel a pipeline gathering contract with Cheniere’s Nordheim Eagle Ford Gathering in Texas (see Midstream Nightmare Comes True: Judge Lets Driller Cancel Contracts). Nordheim spent $84 million building a pipeline system to Sabine’s wells. In return for laying out that kind of money, Sabine, as is always the case, signed a multi-year contract with Nordheim (10 years in this case), ensuring Nordheim would make a profit on its up-front investment. The judge allowed Sabine to carte blanche cancel the deal several years into the contract. We asked at the time: If a driller signs a contract and that signature is no longer any good, will anyone build pipeline systems anymore? A pair of lawyers delve into the case and point out: “If other judges follow the analysis and conclusions reached in the Sabine Oil case, the expectations of midstream service providers in the oil and gas extraction process might be turned on their heads.” Indeed…
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Carl Icahn’s Cheniere CEO Lines Pockets with Another $1.5M Stock

Jack Fusco
Jack Fusco

In May MDN reported that the odious corporate raider, Carl Ichan, had installed a new CEO at Cheniere Energy, after he had ousted co-founder and former CEO Charif Souki (see Carl Icahn Installs New Puppet as CEO of Cheniere Energy). It didn’t take long (July) for new CEO Jack Fusco to start lining his pockets with $1.5 million of Cheniere stock (see Carl Icahn’s Cheniere CEO Buys 37,604 Shares of Stock). He’s doing it again. Fusco has just purchased another $1.5 million worth of company stock…
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