Noble/CONSOL Breakup Continues: Noble Sells 50% of CONE Midstream

Noble Energy dropped a bombshell that it has sold its 100% interest in 385,000 Marcellus/Utica acres and wells producing 415 million cubic feet equivalent of natural gas in West Virginia and Pennsylvania for $1.225 billion to “an undisclosed buyer” (see Noble Energy Sells Remaining M-U Assets for $1.2B – Who Bought?). MDN exclusively shared the news of exactly the who the “undisclosed buyer” is: HG Energy (headquartered in Parkersburg, WV), backed with money from investment firm Quantum Energy Partners. HG is a “portfolio company” of Quantum. The press release announcing the acreage/asset sale went to great lengths to stress that Noble’s half operating interest in the CONE Midstream pipeline gathering system was not part of the deal. CONE is a 50/50 joint venture between CONSOL Energy (the “CO” part of the name), and Nobel Energy (the “NE” part of the name). CONE was Noble’s final connection to our region. No more. Yesterday, Noble Energy announced they’ve sold their 50% stake in CONE to Quantum Energy Partners for $765 million. This time Noble went ahead and announced the buyer, perhaps figuring MDN would find out and blab it any ;-). Here’s the announcement that Noble Energy has left the Marcellus/Utica building…
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Another 7 Easements Signed for Shell’s Falcon Ethane Pipeline

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Last year MDN shared details about Shell’s Falcon Ethane Pipeline system–a pipeline with two “legs” that will feed Shell’s mighty ethane cracker plant in Beaver County, PA (see Shell Working on 94-Mile Ethane Pipeline to Feed PA Cracker). Before the pipeline system had a name (Falcon), Shell had begun the process of signing up landowners to allow the pipeline to cross their property–as far back as February 2016 (see Exclusive: Shell Leasing Land for 2 Pipelines to PA Cracker Plant). In January 2017, we reported on Shell’s progress in leasing land for the pipeline (see Shell Leases More PA Properties to Build Ethane Pipeline). This is a further update. Shell has signed an additional seven parcels of property–in Beaver County–bringing the total to 32 easements now secured for the project in Beaver County…Continue reading

Platts: M-U Drillers Need to Double Rigs to Fill Pipelines in ’17

Platts senior energy analyst Luke Jackson yesterday posted a Platts Snapshot titled, “New Northeast US Gas Pipelines Will be Hard to Fill.” Provocative title. It’s a video. Below is a transcript of the video. In it, Jackson says according to their analysis that drillers in southwestern PA and eastern OH and the northern panhandle of WV will struggle, but eventually succeed, in producing enough natural gas to fill new pipelines coming online this year. But they won’t be able to fulfill their obligations until perhaps December 2017. That is, Antero, Range Resources and Ascent Resources will need to rapidly ramp up drilling–or risk paying for pipeline capacity they’re not using. However, it was Jackson’s comment about pipelines coming online in 2018 and 2019 that really caught our attention. He says in the video: “This new capacity will be nearly impossible to fill, barring a massive ramp in drilling activity, which, per our forecast, is not expected to occur.” So Platts says Marcellus/Utica drillers will not be able to produce enough natural gas to fill all of the new pipelines that will be online by 2019. If we assume the price of natgas goes higher over the next few years (not an unreasonable assumption), what this means is that new drilling is going to ramp up like crazy in the next few years. Buckle up! Here’s the transcript…
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Frack Crew Shortage Hits Nationwide, Including the Marcellus

Once upon a time (in 2013), the oil and gas industry was expanding so rapidly that in places like North Dakota workers at the local McDonalds were getting a singing bonus and making $20/hour. No lie. Workers on drilling rigs and frack crews were paid a premium to keep working. But we became victims of our own success. So much oil and natural gas was produced, the market became saturated and prices crashed. And along with the price crash, rigs were idled and workers were laid off–in the tens and eventually hundreds of thousands. By the time of the deepest, darkest part of the down cycle (early 2016), some 350,000 workers in the industry had received a pink slip (see Big Oil’s Footprint in Washington Shrinks With Price of Crude). Oil and gas is a boom and bust business–that’s the reality. And guess what? The boom times are back. There are now not enough workers and some crews are leaving one company and going to work for another–lured away by higher wages. It’s happening across the Fruited Plain. It’s also happening in the Marcellus. One (very big) Marcellus driller was “left short of fracking crews during the first quarter when some pumping companies walked away for higher-paying contracts.” What does it all mean? It means the good times are here again. Let’s enjoy it while it lasts…Continue reading

Study: Appalachia New Gulf Coast for Petchem, WITH Storage Hub

An economic report released yesterday by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) shows that the Appalachian region could become a second center of U.S. petrochemical and plastic resin manufacturing, similar to the Gulf Coast. ACC President and CEO Cal Dooley presented the findings at a Capitol Hill press event with lawmakers including Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.). “The Appalachian region has distinct benefits that could make it a major petrochemical and plastic resin-producing zone,” Dooley said. “Proximity to a world-class supply of raw materials from the Marcellus/Utica and Rogersville shale formations and to the manufacturing markets of the Midwest and East Coast has already led several companies to announce investment projects, and there is potential for a great deal more.” What will it take to turn our region into another Gulf Coast petchem powerhouse? According to the report, an NGL (natural gas liquids, i.e. ethane) storage hub. You may recall Sens. Capito and Manchin recently introduced a bill to study an Appalachian NGL storage hub (see WV/OH Senators Intro Bill to Study Appalachian Ethane Storage Hub). The study, titled “The Potential Economic Benefits of an Appalachian Petrochemical Industry” (full copy below), says by 2025, the four-state region could see 100,000 permanent new jobs, including 25,700 new chemical and plastic products manufacturing jobs, 43,000 jobs in supplier industries and 32,000 ‘payroll-induced’ jobs in communities where workers spend their wages (restaurants, hotels, etc.). The new investment could also lead to $2.9 billion in new federal, state and local tax revenue annually. It’s huge! There’s a lot riding on an ethane storage hub, which was the point of the report and the political dog and pony show yesterday in Washington, D.C….Continue reading

Mon Valley in Catbird Seat, Close to Both Shell & PTT Crackers

As we have endlessly covered, Shell is in the midst of building a $6 billion ethane cracker plant in Beaver County, PA (see Breaking: Shell Pulls the Trigger, PA Ethane Cracker is a Go!). Cracker plants chemically “crack” ethane to produce ethylene–the raw material used to make plastics, anti-freeze and more. As we point out in another article today, these ethane crackers (along with an ethane storage hub) have the ability to turn the Marcellus/Utica into a new Gulf Coast for petrochemical manufacturing (see Study: Appalachia the New Gulf Coast for Petchem w/NGL Storage Hub). Other cracker plants have been mentioned for the region–the most realistic being a second cracker in Belmont County, OH by Thailand-based PTT Global Chemical. PTT announced earlier this year they are delaying a final investment decision until “late 2017” (see PTT Global Delays Final Investment Decision for OH Ethane Cracker). However, most people (including MDN) think it’s a safe bet that PTT will move forward with the project. The Shell cracker, and the prospect of the PTT cracker, is stirring up a lot of interest in the part of manufacturers to locate in the Mon Valley–that area along the Monongahela River south of Pittsburgh. That region is ideally located–about an hour from the Shell cracker in Beaver County, and about an hour from the proposed PTT cracker in Belmont County, OH. We call it the catbird seat…Continue reading

Cuomo Tries to Finish Killing NY NatGas with New Methane Rules

It’s so enormously frustrating to live in The Empire State–New York. Which is where MDN is produced. Our illustrious governor, Andrew Cuomo, has drunken deeply from the man-made global warming Kool Aid fountain. Cuomo, a radically left Democrat, may or may not actually believe in man-made global warming. Makes no difference. He, like other lib Dems, find it a useful tool to control the population. If you can control what people use for energy (and what how they pay for health care), you control their lives, period. Cuomo has made a decision to align himself with global warming nutters who oppose all fossil fuels because supposedly said fossil fuels, when burned, release carbon dioxide into the air. CO2 becomes “trapped” in the atmosphere and takes a long time to dissipate, creating (as the disproved theory goes) a “greenhouse effect,” trapping heat and (eventually) catastrophically warming Mom Earth. The problem, that we’ve pointed out countless times, is that empirical data–where people use instruments to monitor “average” temperatures–proves the earth has been cooling for the past 20 years. That little fact never makes it into mainstream media because it destroys the mythology that’s developed around this POLITICAL issue. Global warming is not, as the left pushes, about science. It is about politics. But we digress. Yesterday Gov. Cuomo released burdensome new methane emissions regulations that will further hamstring New York’s wilting conventional (not shale) oil and natural gas drillers. It seems Andy simply wants to extinguish the rest of the industry in our beloved home state…
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Getting to Know Rob Powelson, Our Next/New FERC Commissioner

As MDN alerted you on May 10, President Trump has nominated two highly qualified individuals to serve on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission–Neil Chatterjee and Rob Powelson (see Trump Nominates 2 New FERC Commissioners – Powelson & Chatterjee). Rob is a member of the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission (PUC), and currently the president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). Big Green is amping up its opposition to Rob Powelson. In March, Powelson had the temerity to tell the truth. During a speech he compared wacko pipeline protesters who were camping out at FERC members’ homes–threatening the commissioners–to Islamic jihadists (see Powelson Under Fire for Calling Enviro Jihadists, “Jihadists”). The enviro jihadists jumped on that, demanding Powelson be dropped from consideration for a FERC post. We’re happy to see Trump metaphorically stick his finger in their eye. We spotted an article that goes into a bit more depth on Powelson’s background and qualifications to hold this very important position. Let’s get to know Rob Powelson just a little bit better…Continue reading

Cherif Souki’s Tellurian LNG IPO Flames Out, Withdrawn Day Later

As we pointed out last December, evil corporate raider Carl Icahn (invests in companies so he can fire a bunch of people, boost the stock and pocket the profit) had fired Cheniere Energy CEO Charif Souki (see Evil Corporate Raider Carl Icahn Claims Another CEO Scalp). Souki didn’t let it slow him down. He started a new LNG export company–Tellurian Inc.–to compete with his old company (see Revenge: Fired Cheniere CEO Starts Competing LNG Company). We kind of had (past tense) a soft spot for Souki, getting tossed from the company he started. But then we read comments he made about Donald Trump a few weeks before the election last November. Souki thought (like many) that Trump had no chance of winning, but if by some miracle Trump did win, Souki said he would “reconsider my nationality.” He was born in Egypt but is an American citizen now. After Trump’s victory, Souki seems to have forgotten about his threat to leave the country and change his citizenship. Can anybody say “two-faced”? Tellurian has a subsidiary called Driftwood LNG that we track. Even though Driftwood (when built) will be located along the Gulf Coast, it’s quite likely some–even a lot–of Marcellus/Utica gas will feed it. Hence our interest. So we’re always conflicted when it comes to news about Tellurian. Should we cheer or should we mourn when something negative happens to the company. This time we’ll cheer. On Wednesday, Tellurian announced it would float 10 million shares of new stock in an initial public offering (IPO). A day later, the company withdrew the offering due to “adverse market conditions.” That is, due to lack of interest…
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Marcellus & Utica Shale Story Links: Fri, May 19, 2017

The “best of the rest” – stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading. In today’s lineup: Dominion’s Cove Point LNG project now 89% done; Pilgrim Pipeline foes try to get law passed against it; WNF lease sales generate $1.75M for OH communities–so far; FirstEnergy nuke hearings in OH House suspended; Philly refineries hit hard times, again; court suspends litigation over EPA methane rule; Halliburton says company hiking prices “significantly”; after $500B and four decades, Energy Dept. doesn’t have much to show; and more!Continue reading