Patterson-UTI Nov Rig Count, Up 6th Mo in a Row

6-in-a-rowAs 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 over the past year plus–until June (see Tide has Turned: Patterson-UTI June Rig Count Ticks Up by 2). June was the first time in over a year that Patterson’s rig count reversed and began to climb once again. Since June the count has steadily risen. The latest count, for November, once again shows an increase. It’s not much–Patterson added just two rigs over the October average. But hey, this is now the sixth month in a row the count has gone up, which is a good sign!…
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Bowling Green, OH Votes to Deny NEXUS Pipe Easement for City Land

unwiseAll seven members of the Bowling Green City Council (Wood County) unwisely voted to reject an offer from Spectra Energy’s NEXUS Pipeline to lease 4 acres of city-owned land for the pipeline. Why unwise? Because the project is close to receiving its final federal approval, which will give it the right to use eminent domain to use the land anyway (see FERC Approves NEXUS Pipeline, Project on Track for 2017). Spectra offered $151,000 for the easement and was willing to follow an existing easement already in place for power lines. When (not if) NEXUS gets built, Bowling Green can expect to receive far less in the way of a lease payment. Even though the fix was in before the vote was taken, one lawless resident–Joe DeMare, a Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate in the most recent election (loser)–wouldn’t shut his yap and had to be escorted out by security. Apparently he thought there should be more public comment (i.e. camera and microphone time for himself) before the vote was taken. Whatever. Big Green antis celebrated the vote. We predict it will be a short-lived celebration…
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Talen Puts Coal-to-Gas Powergen Conversion on Hold in Mountour, PA

on holdIn June Talen Energy announced that one of its coal-burning electric generating plants, located in Montour County, PA, will get an upgrade to burn natural gas in addition to burning coal (see Talen Energy Converting Moutour, PA Plant to Burn Coal AND NatGas). The Montour Power Plant went online in 1972/73 and generates 1,504 megawatts of electricity. The $70 million upgrade planned by Talen (requiring a 15-mile pipeline) will continue to produce the same amount of electricity, but will give the plant the option to power it with either natgas or coal, depending on which is cheaper. However, those plans are now on hold. Talen has just announced it will not, for now, move forward with the upgrade. Why? Talen says it wants to evaluate the results of a similar project already completed in York County, PA before moving forward with the project in Montour County…
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New Head of WVONGA Pushes for Forced Pooling Law

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Anne Blankenship

In November the West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association (WVONGA) hired Anne C. Blankenship, an attorney with Babst Calland, to serve as executive director (see WVONGA Hires Babst Calland Attorney as Executive Director). As we noted at the time, she has some big shoes to fill following the sudden death of WVONGA’s former director Corky DeMarco (see WVONGA Executive Director Corky DeMarco Dead at 68). Anne becomes the standard-bearer for shale drilling in the Mountain State. She’s not wasting any time. The Charleston Gazette-Mail published an editorial by Anne today, a column in which she introduces herself and lays out her priorities for the coming year. One of those priorities is to push for a forced pooling law. She’s also pushing hard for new pipelines to get built…
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PDC Releases 2017 Plans – Drilling Just 2 Utica Wells in 2H17

PDC Energy logoPDC Energy, a driller in the Wattenberg Field in Colorado and the Utica in Ohio, paused their Utica drilling program in 2015 (see PDC Energy Pushes Pause Button on OH Utica Drilling for 2015). Last December the company announced they would restart Utica drilling in 2016 with plans to drill five wells (see PDC Energy to Restart OH Drilling in 2016, Drilling 5 Utica Wells). Indeed they did reactivate their program, in a much-scaled-back fashion, this past year. One of the Utica wells PDC drilled, the “Neff” well, came online earlier than expected and began producing in 2Q16 (see PDC Energy 2Q16: Utica Program Active Again, Neff Well Online). However, another shale play has turned the head of PDC–the Delaware Basin in Texas. PDC released their plans for 2017 yesterday. There is a brief mention about the Utica–they plan to drill two more wells in the second half of 2017 and spend just $18 million to do it. Both wells will be drilled in Guernsey County, OH. Here’s a preview of what’s ahead for PDC in 2017…
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Lack of NatGas Pipelines Casts Doubt on NE Winter Electric Rates

iso-new-englandContrary to the assurances of charlatans like Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey who tells us new natural gas pipelines are not needed, New England is once again looking down the throat of potential electricity shortages this winter–if we have another winter like that of 2013/2014. ISO New England Inc. (ISONE), the electrical grid operator in the region, issued a statement last week to say they are implementing a 2016-17 Winter Reliability Program to guard against potential electricity shortages because there’s not enough natural gas in the region to power electric plants if much of that gas is also heating homes and businesses on cold days. According to ISONE, “Electricity supplies should [not a reassuring word] be sufficient to meet consumer demand for electricity in New England this winter.” They then go on to say, “but constraints on the region’s natural gas pipelines could pose a challenge to reliable operations.” In other words, if it gets really cold and snowy, we’re screwed. So, to fend off that screwing, ISONE has devised a program to load up on oil, of all things, and LNG, to help produce electricity if natgas runs short. Don’t say we haven’t repeatedly warned New England that without new pipelines they will not only continue to pay 4x what everyone else pays for electricity, at some point there just won’t be enough fuel sources to produce electricity and sooner or later New England will have brownouts and/or rolling blackouts–because THEY’RE FOOLS and continue to reject safe, reliable natural gas pipelines…
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Liberal PA News Media Wants ND Pipeline Protesters to Come Here

mob-ruleAnd so it begins. So-called “reporters” who are either too stupid or too lazy to examine important issues closely, like the issue of paid, out-of-state protesters who descended on Standing Rock, ND and have engaged in multiple lawless acts, are now beginning to hold up Standing Rock as the model for how to defeat important oil and gas infrastructure projects in the Marcellus/Utica region. The editorial writer(s) at the Delaware County Daily Times has deigned to compare Standing Rock and the temporary block on completing it by the politicized Obama Administration to the Mariner East 2 NGL pipeline slated to be built across Pennsylvania. The writer(s) express their hope to see the lawless criminals from Standing Rock to “pop up here if and when construction on Mariner East 2 begins.” You see why the newspaper industry in this country is crashing and burning? Because of such blatant bias and misstatements of fact (i.e. lies)…
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Technip, FMC Shareholders Approve Merger; Fat Lady Sings in Jan?

fat-lady-singsIn May, U.S.-based oilfield services company FMC Technologies announced they will merge with their much larger quasi-competitor, France-based Technip, in an all-stock deal that will create a new company called TechnipFMC worth $13 billion (see FMC Technologies & Technip to Merge, Create $13B Oilfield Giant). FMC had/has some operations in the Marcellus/Utica, hence the merger has implications for our region. The Obama Dept. of Justice approved the deal in June (see FMC Technologies/Technip Merger Approved by Obama DOJ/FTC). Apparently it’s A.O.K. for a French company to buy an American company, but when one American company (Halliburton) wanted to buy another (Baker Hughes), that wasn’t OK with the Obamadroids (see Obama DOJ Kills Halliburton/Baker Hughes Merger, Deal “Terminated”). But we digress. The European Union, like the Obama DOJ, also gave its blessing on the deal. The shareholders for the two companies voted yesterday to consummate the marriage. The only thing left now is for the fat lady to sing, which appears will happen early in 2017 (likely January). The date of the official merger will be known on Dec. 21…
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Cheniere Repeats $1.5B “Note” Strategy with Second LNG Subsidiary

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Cheniere Energy operates the only liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility in the United States (currently), in Sabine Pass, Louisiana. There are others planned, like the Cove Point, Maryland facility currently under construction. We keep tabs on Cheniere, even though it’s located in Louisiana, because some of the pipelines that serve it have Marcellus/Utica natural gas flowing through them. It’s potentially a very important market for our natural gas. It’s not cheap to build and operate these massive petrochemical plants. In September Cheniere floated IOUs (i.e. bonds) to raise $1.5 billion for the Sabine Pass operation (see Cheniere Energy Upsizes IOU Offering from $1B to $1.5B). What you may not know is that Cheniere is also in the midst of building a second LNG export facility–in Corpus Christi, TX. Although we don’t know for sure, we expect that facility will, one day, also use at least some Marcellus/Utica gas to chill and export abroad. Cheniere must have had good success with raising $1.5 billion for Sabine Pass because they’ve turned around and are now doing it all over again–raising $1.5 billion by floating new notes–for the Corpus Christi project…
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Feds Dole Out $4.8M to National Labs for Fracking Research

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The feds are falling in love with fracking. Who knew?! The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has just awarded six research projects to U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories to advance fundamental shale research. The two-year projects, totaling $4.8 million, “will investigate the processes associated with hydrocarbon extraction from unconventional shale reservoirs and lead to a better understanding of factors affecting prudent resource development.” Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has three of the projects. The other three go to Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) National Accelerator Laboratory. The projects aim to fill in “knowledge gaps” and will ultimately, hopefully, lead to fracking done more safely and in an “environmentally responsible” way. Here’s a description of the studies the grants will fund…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Tue, Dec 6, 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: Pipeline projects in PA deserve support; Mass. AG tries to change story re Exxon in federal court; Trump offers opportunity to correct country’s energy policy; shale companies hedging is turning oil market “upside down”; natgas prices hit near 2-year high; EPA close to releasing final fracking report; OPEC should be very afraid of US shale companies; 3 Sec State candidates have o&g connection; India moving to natgas economy; and more!
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