PTT Global Delays Final Investment Decision for OH Ethane Cracker

PTT Global Chemical, based in Thailand, announced in April 2015 they are interested in building a $5 billion ethane cracker plant complex in Belmont County, OH (see It’s Official: Belmont County Chosen as POSSIBLE Cracker Plant Site). Last May a story in the Bangkok Post said the final investment decision (FID) will definitely come in 2017, but they called the decision “delayed.” PTT disagreed with that assessment (see PTT Global Says Belmont, OH Ethane Cracker NOT Delayed). Last December Belmont County officials said the FID would come by the end of March (see OH Cracker Final Decision Coming Soon, Site Now Cleared & Ready). The disappointing news is that PTT now says the FID won’t come until “late 2017,” which is “several months later than we originally announced.” So yes, it appears the Bangkok Post story was right after all. PTT vice president Toasaporn Boonyapipat, head of the company’s North American operations, released a statement on Tuesday to update everyone on the project timeline. State and local officials were quick to try and tamp down speculation that PTT is having second thoughts about the Belmont cracker…
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Top 20 Marcellus Drillers in Southwest Pennsylvania

The sharp folks over at the Pittsburgh Business Times have been looking through data from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and have compiled a list of 20 drillers who have at least a dozen shale wells in the southwest PA region. And they ranked them from lowest to highest. We’ve grabbed the list below. The interesting thing for MDN is that there is one name in the list not familiar to us, and we’ve been watching this space since 2009. Always fun to learn something new. Here’s the list of southwest PA’s “Top 20” Marcellus drillers…
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Anti-Fracking Protesters Turn Out in Force at DRBC Meeting

As we warned you earlier this week, a large contingent of anti-fossil fuel wackos protesters planned to crash a meeting of the Delaware River Basin Commission yesterday (see Josh Fox & Antis Plan to Disrupt DRBC Meeting This Wednesday). Their concern is that the DRBC may be reconsidering its years-long ban on fracking in the Delaware River Basin–a ban which illegally denies landowners in Pike and Wayne counties (PA) from profiting from the Marcellus Shale beneath their land. True to form, the protesters bused people to the meeting from places like New York City–so they could pack the room. On the docket were two items of concern for antis: (1) a short, 8-mile pipeline that will cross through a small sliver of DRBC-controlled territory, and (2) adoption of a two-year water resource plan “that instructs staff to carry out the commission’s natural gas regulations.” The antis are concerned the water plan will restart the discussion on regulations to allow fracking. Although DRBC Executive Director Steve Tambini told the motley crew that the Commission was there to listen only, NOT to answer questions, Maya van Rossum (THE Delaware Riverkeeper) demanded Tambini answer HER questions anyway…
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Williams 2016 Results: Northeast Revenue Up 11.5%

Williams released its fourth quarter and full year 2016 update yesterday. CEO Alan Armstrong reports “strong” 8% year-over-year growth for the company. Williams operates nationwide, but our primary area of interest is, of course, the northeast. The company reports the northeast operation’s EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) was $840 million in 2016, up from $753 million in 2015 (an 11.5% increase). Below is the update, along with the latest PowerPoint slide deck used on an analyst call, and the latest Williams “Data Book,” loaded with lots of great details about their various pipeline systems…
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Bankruptcy Court Approves Stone Energy’s Reorg Plan

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 86,000 acres of leases. In December Stone filed for bankruptcy protection (see Stone Energy Files for Bankruptcy, Largest Shareholder Opposes). The plan, like most of these types of plans, hoses existing shareholders and hands the ownership keys of the company over to debtors instead, which Stone’s largest shareholder objected to. But apparently that shareholder getting something was better than getting nothing, and he worked out a deal with Stone, dropping his objection (see Stone Energy’s Largest Shareholder Caves, Agrees to Bankruptcy). Last week the bankruptcy court approved the sale of Stone’s Marcellus/Utica assets to EQT (see EQT Wins Bankruptcy Auction for 86K Stone Energy M-U Acres, $527M). Now comes word that the court has approved the rest of Stone’s plan…
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Weatherford Tries to Dig Out of Debt – $2.5B Securities Offering

Weatherford International is the fourth largest oilfield services company in the world, employing some 44,000 people. They have a branch office in Canonsburg, PA (Pittsburgh area) with major operations in the Marcellus/Utica. Since November we’ve highlighted the financial problems at the company (see our Weatherford stories here). On Monday, after trading hours, Weatherford filed a $2.5 billion mixed securities shelf registration. What the heck is that? According to Wikipedia, “Shelf registration…is a type of public offering where certain issuers are allowed to offer and sell securities to the public without a separate prospectus for each act of offering. Instead, there is a single prospectus for multiple, undefined future offerings.” Weatherford asked the Securities and Exchange Commission if it can offer (1) 84.5 million new units (i.e. shares) at a proposed maximum offering price of $6.43 per unit to raise $543 million, and (2) offer up to $2 billion in debt or equity securities. One analyst believes the company is around $4 billion in the hole. This is an attempt to claw its way out of that hole…
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Trump Administration Delays Listing Bumble Bee as Endangered

We’ve written before about the thuggish nature of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The USFWS is responsible for recommending and listing varies species as threatened or endangered–empowered to do so under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). USFWS has WAY too much power under dictatorial rulers like the ignominious B.H. Obama. On September 22, 2016 the USFWS published a proposed rule to list the rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) as “endangered” under the ESA. The rusty patched bumble bee is found in the Midwest and eastern parts of the U.S. If it gets listed, it will have SIGNIFICANT impacts on drillers and midstreamers (see “Endangered” Bumble Bee May Slow/Stop O&G Projects in Northeast). With just a few days left in Obama’s reign of terror, the USFWS pulled the trigger and did it (see USFWS Pulls the Trigger and Lists Bumble Bee as Endangered). Except happily, that’s not the end of the story. The white knight rode into town (D.J. Trump) and with the stroke of his pen, delayed implementation of the onerous new listing. Which has antis, like the Rockefeller-backed Natural Resources Defense Council, up in arms. They’ve just sued…
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ND Protesters Pollute the Water/Land They’re Protesting to Protect

Here’s a story fake news outlets like the Washington Post refuse to cover. The bought-and-paid-for protesters in North Dakota, supposedly protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline over concerns it may pollute local water supplies, have themselves created a dire situation with their illegal protest camp that now threatens the same local water supply (used by Indian tribes) that they supposedly are protesting to protect! The situation perfectly encapsulates the brain-dead philosophy and motivation of this group of environmental anarchists. Forbes contributor David Blackmon has written a brilliant article that should be on the front page of every news outlet in the country. But you won’t find this story in any of the fake “mainstream” news outlets–because the story doesn’t support the fake narrative they’re trying to get you to believe. Read the following and try not to let your blood boil…
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House Ctte Investigates EPA Employees re Secret Communications

Employees of federal government agencies, like the Environmental Protection Agency, are supposed to conduct official business of the agency in the open. That is, employees, BY LAW, cannot shield their communications–phone, email, instant messages, etc.–by using encrypted services. The law is there so those auditing, or making requests via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), have access to just how the people’s business is getting done. Republicans on the House Committee on Science, Space & Technology have reason to believe that some career employees at EPA are breaking that law by shielding their communications (i.e. colluding with radical environmentalists)–and Congress is demanding answers…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Thu, Feb 16, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: UGI aims to bring natgas to Tunkhannock, PA; time to let Sunoco build Mariner East 2; Range Resources’ landlord puts office building up for sale; Energy Transfer completes deal to get $3.4B in funding for pipeline projects; Rockies natgas revival; learning to frack; energy exports boost allies; and more!
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