Potter Twp Declines to Approve Permits for Shell Cracker, For Now

The Potter Township Board of Supervisors convened a public hearing on Tuesday afternoon at 3 pm that ended up going until 1 am Wednesday. The intent was to approve Shell’s request for permits to begin construction on the multi-billion dollar ethane cracker plant. That didn’t happen. Instead, the supervisors decided to hold another hearing Wednesday night. They did, and that hearing went for over an hour, in closed-door session. At the conclusion, the supervisors made a couple of requests from Shell, which Shell agreed to. However, the supervisors are still not ready to approve the permits and instead asked for more paperwork to be filed–by both Shell and the radical, anti-fossil fuel Big Green group Clean Air Council (from Philadelphia). It seems the antis are attempting to stop this project cold–which should have the good citizens of Beaver County (indeed the entire northeast) outraged. At any rate, we’re sure the permits will be forthcoming–but now it won’t happen until sometime in January…
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Stone Energy Files for Bankruptcy, Largest Shareholder Opposes

Stone Energy, an independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company (E&P) headquartered in Lafayette, Louisiana drills mainly in the Gulf of Mexico but also has (or rather had) a presence in the Marcellus/Utica Shale with 90,000 acres of leases. In October Stone announced (a) it is selling its Marcellus/Utica assets to Tug Hill for $350 million, and (b) the company is preparing to file for bankruptcy (see Stone Energy Enters Bankruptcy, Sells Marc/Utica Assets for $350M). Stone needs the bankruptcy court’s permission to sell the acreage. However, Stone’s bankruptcy plans are facing a challenge from it’s biggest shareholder. Investor Thomas Satterfield, who now owns 9.9% of the company’s stock, doesn’t want to see that stock turned into toilet paper by handing the keys over to debtholders, as is the typical route E&Ps have taken with bankruptcy filings over the past year or so (see Stone Energy’s Largest Shareholder Opposes Current Bankruptcy Plan). Yesterday the company announced it is pushing ahead with its plan to file for bankruptcy including seeking permission to sell its Marcellus/Utica assets, over the objections of Satterfield who now says he’ll see the company in court in a bid to stop the current filing…
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Oilfield Services Co. Keane Group Floats $288M IPO

Keane Group is a Texas-based oilfield services company that provides fracking, wireline and top-hole air drilling services to oil and gas companies in the Marcellus/Utica as well as several other major basins. In January, Keane announced they were buying out Canadian-based Trican Well Service for $247 million (see Oilfield Serv. Co. Keane Group Buys Trican Well Service for $247M). The expansion tripled Keane’s fracking capacity and gave it access to proprietary new technology. Looks like the buyout, and Keane’s hard work, continues to bear fruit. Yesterday the privately-held company announced it will go public with an initial public offering (IPO) of stock. They hope to raise $287.5 million with the IPO. And get this–the stock will be traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol FRAC. Love it!…
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Marcellus Gas Part of “Low Carbon” Research Project at Penn State

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection is using an unspecified amount of grant money from the U.S. Department of Energy to fund a Penn State pilot project that combines a natural gas-fired electric plant with solar cell and battery energy storage systems in a hybrid system to power several office buildings, a sewage pump station and several Penn State training center facilities. The hope is to prove developing “microgrids” like this one can lead to a “low-carbon footprint.” Hey, at least they wised up and are using Marcellus natural gas (a hated fossil fuel) as part of their “low carbon” research. Here’s the details on the latest big money project, using taxpayer dollars, under way at Penn State…
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VA Marcellus-Fed Electric Plant Snags “Project of the Year” Award

Brunswick County Power Station – click for larger image

As we reported in April, the newest member of Dominion’s power generation fleet, the 1,358 megawatt, natural gas-fired Brunswick Power Station (Brunswick County, Virginia) began producing electricity for customers on Monday, April 25 (see Dominion Brunswick NatGas-Fired Plant Begins Electric Generation). The station produces enough electricity to power 325,000 homes. The power plant will eventually be fed by Marcellus Shale gas coming from Dominion’s own $5 billion, 550-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline. But right now it uses at least some Marcellus/Utica gas coming from the Williams Transco pipeline. There is a power generation conference going on in Orlando, FL right now (wish we were there! brutally cold today in Upstate NY). At the conference, awards have been given out by Power Engineering magazine. The Brunswick Power Station has won two prestigious awards: “Best Overall Generation Project of the Year,” and “Best Gas-Fired Project of the Year.” Congrats to Dominion!…
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Gulfport Energy Expands into SCOOP, New Stock & IOUs to Pay $1.85B

Gulfport Energy is an Oklahoma City-based independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company (“driller”) with its main operations in the Utica Shale of eastern Ohio and along the Louisiana Gulf Coast. Gulfport is considered one of the Top 5 Utica drillers (see Which 5 Drillers Dominate in the Utica Shale?). Just a week ago the company purchased another 12,600 acres in the Ohio Utica (see Gulfport Picks Up 12,600 Utica Acres in Monroe County, OH for $87M). The deal making is far from over for Gulfport. A major announcement yesterday from the company: They are entering a third play, the SCOOP (in Oklahoma) by purchasing 85,000 acres of leases with 48 horizontal wells producing 183 million cubic feet equivalent per day of natural gas. In order to help pay for it, Gulfport also announced new stock and new debt offerings of senior notes (IOUs), hoping to raise the $1.85 billion they’re paying for the SCOOP assets. No, this post has nothing directly to do with the Marcellus/Utica–except (a) we jealously wish they were investing that money here and not there, and (b) it’s yet another sign that we’ve turned the corner and drilling everywhere is once again beginning to pick up…
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EIA: US Oil & NatGas Proved Reserves Take a Dip in 2015

Our favorite government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), yesterday released their annual report of proved oil and natural gas reserves in the United States for 2015. The report, titled “U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Proved Reserves, Year-end 2015” (full copy embedded below) shows proved reserves for natural gas dropped by 64.5 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), or 16.6%. U.S. crude oil and lease condensate proved reserves also decreased–from 39.9 billion barrels to 35.2 billion barrels (down 11.8%). The drop in proved reserves for gas and oil comes after last year’s record high proved reserves (see EIA: Shale Rockets U.S. Proved O&G Reserves to New Records). Is this a big deal? What the heck are “proved” reserves, anyway? Glad you asked…
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T-Rex Retires as Chair/CEO from Exxon, Darren Woods Replaces Him

Darren Woods – New Exxon CEO

As we reported yesterday, President-Elect Trump has nominated Exxon Mobil CEO and Chairman of the Board, Rex Tillerson (T-Rex) to become the next Secretary of State (see Trumps Picks Fossil Fuel Advocates for Sec State & Dept of Energy). It was rumored that Tillerson was planning on retiring next year anyway. Trumps nomination has sped up that process. Exxon is the largest publicly traded oil company in the U.S. and the world (although there are four other state-owned, non-public companies that are bigger, revenue-wise, see Wikipedia). Exxon’s shareholders, while honored that Tillerson has been tapped for Sec State, are skittish and want to know what the plan is moving forward. That plan is now clear: Exxon yesterday announced that Darren Woods, the youthful (51 years old) current president of the company, will be elevated as Chairman of the board and CEO, to replace Tillerson…
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Job Ads for Oil & Gas Workers Up 50% Since August

Ever use the job site called Indeed? The site aggregates job ads from everywhere it can find them from around the web–into one very useful search engine. Think of it as Google for job listings. Indeed has its own blog and employs its own economists to analyze trends. Today the site released data that shows oil and gas industry job postings have spiked up 50% since a low in August, which is a good sign that the industry is, indeed (pun intended) turning around. Here’s what the Indeed economist has to say…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Thu, Dec 15, 2016

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: CONSOL focused on building Utica core; Wayne Natl Forest lease sales net $1.7M for taxpayers; proposed PA methane regs go way beyond fed standards; Mass. AG panicked over Exxon CEO becoming Sec State; protesters show up at Atlantic Coast Pipe expo–nobody notices; big non-profits corrupting America; improved drilling & completion lowers breakeven price; natgas storage whipsaws prices; and more!
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