Harold Hamm Talks About Trump, OPEC, and Global Warming

Last week MDN editor Jim Willis attended the “Platts Global Energy Outlook Forum 2016,” held at the beautiful Cipriani, located across the street from the iconic bull that sits on Wall Street. As in previous years, this year’s event featured a number of big names in the oil and gas industry. Most notable was the opening keynote address and Q&A with Harold Hamm, CEO of oil driller Continental Resources (and an adviser to Donald Trump). The luncheon featured the former Secretary General of OPEC. As you can surmise, this year’s event, unlike previous years, was mostly about oil. The recent OPEC agreement to cut production among member states by 1.2 million barrels per day, and a follow-on agreement by non-OPEC members (like Russia) to cut another 600,000 barrels per day, was the topic du jour for speakers and audience members alike. Below are MDN’s notes from Harold Hamm’s address and Q&A session…
Continue reading

Hooyah! Trump Picks Former SEAL Ryan Zinke as Sec Interior

Rep. Ryan Zinke

Donald Trump has made another outstanding pick to join his cabinet. Trump will nominate Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke, a retired Navy SEAL, avid outdoorsman, and noted conservative, to become the next Secretary of Interior. He would be the first Interior Secretary from the state of Montana. Zinke said in a statement that he is honored to be selected, and that he intends to make the Interior Department “great again” under President Trump–a statement meant to tick off the libs (and it does). Radicals from the Sierra Club and other fringe groups hate his guts–which means we love him. Hooyah!…
Continue reading

PA DEP Sec. Believes in Global Warming (Amidst Record-Cold Days)

Patrick McDonnell Acting Secretary, DEP

By all accounts Pennsylvania’s Acting Secretary of the Dept. of Environmental Protection, Pat McDonnell, is doing a reasonably good job (see Gov. Wolf Nominates Pat McDonnell to Head PA DEP, Finally). He’s certainly much less confrontational than his predecessor (see Smoking Gun: Copy of the Email that Got John Quigley Fired). However, McDonnell professes to believe in man-made global warming. He recently said that addressing “climate change” remains a “top priority” for the Gov. Wolf administration. Whatever. What’s somewhat disturbing is that PA intends to go well beyond federal guidelines when it comes to restricting “carbon-causing” activity in the state. However, what we find amusing is that as McDonnell mouthed his words about global warming, we are in one of the coldest of cold snaps to hit the northeast in several years. Way below the average temp for this time of year. Ah, Mr. Secretary, tell us again how human activity is causing Mom Earth to toast…
Continue reading

Backlogs in the Marcellus/Utica – COBs and DUCs

We’ve seen signs of increased drilling in the Marcellus/Utica. Just look at the Baker Hughes rig counts month by month. Ever so gradually, the number of rigs operating in our region is creeping back up. The smart analysts at BTU Analytics have been crunching the numbers and looking at the data–and they have a theory about why new drilling is coming back, very soon, in the Marcellus/Utica. It all has to do with the backlog. You’ve heard about DUCs–drilled but uncompleted wells. But have you ever heard of COBs? That’s Completed wells on backlog. Depending on where you are located in PA, COBs have a great deal to do with where drilling will happen…
Continue reading

Former CEO of Piedmont Natural Gas Joins National Fuel Gas Board

Thomas Skaines

National Fuel Gas Company (NFG) is a large Buffalo-based utility with subsidiaries active in drilling and midstream. NFG is the parent of Marcellus driller Seneca Resources and midstream company Empire Pipeline. NFG announced earlier this week that they have a new independent board member–Thomas E. Skains–who is the former Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Piedmont Natural Gas Company. Must be Mr. Skains is looking for things to do. Last year he sold Piedmont to Duke Energy for $6.7 billion. As part of the deal, he got a $14.4 million golden parachute (see Piedmont Natural Gas CEO’s Pure Gold Parachute – $14.4M). The merger closed in October of this year. It’s been a few months, so Skains is beginning to land on various boards, including Duke Energy’s board, and now, NFG’s board…
Continue reading

Cheapest Sources of Electricity? Natural Gas & Wind, Says UT Study

Natural gas and wind are the lowest-cost technology options for new electricity generation across much of the U.S. when cost, public health impacts and environmental effects are considered. So says a new research paper released by The University of Texas at Austin. Researchers assessed multiple generation technologies including coal, natural gas, solar, wind and nuclear. Their findings, as depicted in a series of maps illustrating the cost of each generation technology on a county-by-county basis throughout the U.S., are featured in a new white paper titled “New U.S. Power Costs: by County, with Environmental Externalities” (full copy below). What’s interesting to us is who helped fund the research. Two organizations helping pay the bill were the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation and the Environmental Defense Fund. That is, those with a bias against fossil fuels. We wonder if they’ll ask for their grant money back? Here’s a summary of the research, followed by the full report…
Continue reading

NatGas v Wind – No Contest, NatGas Wins

You hear a lot about wind these days, not so much about solar, as an alternative to nasty fossil fuels like natural gas. But is wind really “all that?” We spotted an Associated Press story bragging about “the nation’s first offshore wind farm” opening off the coast of Rhode Island. Deepwater Wind built five turbines producing 30 megawatts of electricity (enough electricity to power 17,000 homes) 3 miles off Block Island–at a cost of $300 million. That’s about $10 million per megawatt to construct the facility. Let’s compare that to building a natural gas-fired electric plant. Natgas plants cost about $1 million per megawatt (10x less). This past year the very first built-from-scratch natgas plant built to use Marcellus Shale gas, called Panda Liberty, went live (see First NatGas Power Plant in Marcellus, Panda Liberty, Goes Online). Panda Liberty is an 829-megawatt Marcellus gas-fired electric generating plant in Asylum Township, Bradford County, PA. While Panda Power doesn’t release financial details, we believe we’re on solid ground by estimating the cost to build the plant at $829 million. Here’s the kicker: Panda Liberty’s 829 megawatt plant supplies enough electricity to power 1 million homes! Let’s see, spend $300 million to supply 17,000 homes, or $829 million to supply 1 million homes. Hmmm, tough one. We know, it’s not an exact apples to apples situation. The wind farm continuously gets its energy source (wind) for free, and the gas that powers Panda Liberty is not free. But honestly, there’s not enough ocean, or hilltops, to site those big, ugly turbines to take the place of clean-burning natural gas. In our book, there is no comparison. Natgas wins, hands down…
Continue reading

Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, Dec 16, 2016

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Trump cheered in PA ‘thank you’ tour; supply chain co switches from coal to gas; estimating the econ benefits of the shale revolution; moving Midwest motor fuels East; exporting more LNG in the national interest; soil bacteria loves to eat methane; Chesapeake drills deeper for profit; and more!
Continue reading