Deep Well Services Sells Itself to Houston PE Firm White Deer Energy

Some big, breaking news to share with MDN readers: Deep Well Services, a Marcellus/Utica-born company that specializes in “snubbing” work (completing those super-long laterals you read about), has been sold. Deep Well announced today a deal to be bought out by Houston private equity firm White Deer Energy. No, Deep Well and the expert team of 220 who work there now are not going anywhere. The company, headquartered in Zelienpole, PA, will retain its western PA HQ–same workers, same management team. However, the official announcement says White Deer’s investment will now allow Deep Well to “enter new basins.” Hmmmm. Intriguing. We wonder which new basins they’re considering? MDN spoke to Deep Well Mark Marmo this morning and got the inside skinny. According to Mark, the “big thing” about this deal is “the opportunity to have capital like we’ve never had before. Our growth has been limited to adding one new unit per year. We will now be able to add three new units a year.” Mark also said, “Today we have 220 people. In the next 18 months we’ll have 330 people.” Mark, who is born and raised in the Pittsburgh area, said his goal “is to put a lot of western Pennsylvanians to work making six figures, not $10.10 an hour.” The White Deer Energy deal will make that happen…
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Southwestern Appeals “Trespass” Case to Entire PA Superior Court

Southwestern Energy has just taken the next very important step in a process that frankly has us holding our breath. Two weeks ago MDN brought you the news that the Pennsylvania Superior Court handed down a decision that has the power to greatly restrict, perhaps even stop, Marcellus drilling in PA (see PA Superior Court Overturns “Rule of Capture” for Marcellus Well and PA “Rule of Capture” Case has Power to Limit Marcellus Drilling). The issue, in brief, is that the Superior Court decision disallows using an age-old principle called the “rule of capture” when it comes to shale drilling and fracking. It opens the door to a myriad of frivolous lawsuits claiming that a fracture, a crack created during fracking, is draining gas from a neighbor’s property without justly compensating the neighbor for the gas. Southwestern successfully argued in a lower court that the odd crack here and there that may slip under a neighbor’s property is permissible. The landowner appealed the case to Superior Court and three judges heard the case. One of the Superior judges authored a decision overturning the lower court, with a second judge “joining” (agreeing with) the decision. The third judge was AWOL (“not participating”). Frankly, the stakes could not be higher for the future of Marcellus drilling in PA. Southwestern has just filed a request with the Superior Court asking that all 20 judges who sit on that court hear and consider the case, which makes sense given the gravity of the case and PA’s economic future…
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First-Ever Shipment of Marcellus LNG Leaves Cove Point, Maryland

Finally. Finally! Finally!!! The very first cargo of Marcellus Shale gas has been liquefied, loaded and as of Sunday night, set sail from Dominion’s Cove Point LNG plant–heading for we’re not sure where yet. We’ve waited YEARS for this day! Let’s pop the cork on a bottle of the bubbly and celebrate. Last week MDN told you that a ship called the Patris was due to dock at Cove Point and load the first shipment of Marcellus molecules (see Dominion Announces Cove Point LNG Open for Business). It appears that information was incorrect. It was correct at the time! Either the Patris was redirected somewhere else, or we’re not sure what happened. But news has just broken that late Sunday night, close to midnight, a ship by the name of Adam departed Cove Point loaded with the very first Marcellus shipment. Several more ships are said to be headed for Cove Point now. International shipping isn’t our specialty, so we won’t quote chapter and verse for which ships and when. This first shipment that left Sunday belongs to Japan, but there’s no indication it will actually go to Japan. As we’ve noticed and have been reporting, both Japan and India (which will take all of the LNG Cove Point can produce) are in the game of swapping cargoes they own, sending Cove Point cargoes to customers closer to the point of origin in return for receiving cargoes that originate closer to their own shores. When we hear where the first Marcellus cargo lands, we’ll let you know. In the meantime, here’s the information we can find about the very first load of Marcellus Shale gas to get exported from Cove Point…
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EIA Apr ’18 Drilling Report: M-U Production Through the Roof

Yesterday our favorite government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), issued our favorite monthly report, the Drilling Productivity Report (DPR). The DPR is the EIA’s best guess, based on expert data crunchers, as to how much each of the U.S.’s seven major shale plays will produce for both oil and natural gas in the coming month. We sound like a broken record, but the numbers continue to be mind-blowing–hitting new all-time, breath-taking highs each month. This month is no exception. Example: EIA predicts that in the next 30 days natural gas output from the U.S.’s seven major shale plays will go up another 1+ billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d)! Let’s put that in perspective. Germany and France together use 10 Bcf/d of natural gas. In less than a year, the U.S. could completely meet the natural gas needs of both Germany and France–using only our increases in production! Just as mind-blowing: Last month production in the Marcellus/Utica (called Appalachia in the report) went up 359 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d)–more than 1/3 of a Bcf. This month? EIA says our production will grow ANOTHER 386 MMcf/d! It’s staggering the amount of natural gas our region produces. Not to be left out, the Permian Basin, long known as an oil play, is now actively competing with the Marcellus/Utica. Permian gas production is set to grow another 222 MMcf/d this month. Here’s the latest…
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Did StateImpact Forum on PA Gas Royalty Issue Resolve Anything?

Perhaps our headline for this article is a tad misleading. Maybe the better question is, Was a meeting held yesterday in Towanda, PA on the topic of gas royalties *meant* to resolve anything? The answer of which is, “Probably not.” PBS StateImpact Pennsylvania organized and hosted a forum yesterday on the topic of PA landowners getting screwed over by energy companies with respect to royalty payments. Both sides were well represented at the forum. We think it’s a cool concept, to get both sides talking about a very important issue. However, StateImpact, funded and controlled by Big Green backers including the William Penn Foundation and Heinz Endowments, is not an impartial, unbiased news organization that wants to honestly explore this important issue. StateImpact is NOT an impartial broker. Their purpose is to play both sides against each other and enjoy the chaos that ensues. Whip up more animosity between both sides. Make no mistake: StateImpact abhors shale drilling and prefers it not happen at all in PA. With that as the proper context to understand the event, some good points did emerge from the discussion, despite StateImpact’s bad intentions…
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Sunoco Requests Change of Drilling Methods for ME2 Near Sinkholes

Underground horizontal directional drilling (HDD) work done by Sunoco Logisitics Partners in Chester County to install the twin Mariner East 2 (ME2) pipelines has led to the development of three large sinkholes (see 3rd Sinkhole Appears Near ME2 Construction in Chester County, PA). The third sinkhole that developed exposed a portion of the existing Mariner East 1 pipeline, causing ME1 to be closed until further notice (see PA PUC Shuts Down Mariner 1 Pipeline Due to Mariner 2 Sinkhole). In order for ME1 to reopen, the state Public Utility Commission has to be assured further drilling for ME2 won’t further disturb ME1. The problem is that the underground geology in that area of Chester County is known as a karst–analogous to Swiss cheese rock layers underground. Not conducive to HDD work. So Sunoco is changing gears. The company has filed a request with the Dept. of Environmental Protection (which oversees the regulation of the project) to change from using HDD to instead using a couple of alternative methods to get the pipe in the ground–including trenching. Before the DEP gives its OK, they will first hold a public hearing on April 30th in West Chester…
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Mr. Bennett Goes to Washington – Former OOGA VP Joins Trump Team

One of “our own” (from the Marcellus/Utica industry) is heading to Washington, D.C. to work for the Trump Administration, in the Dept. of Energy. Shawn Bennett, formerly Executive Vice President for the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, is heading to the swamp to become Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oil and Natural Gas. That is, Shawn will head up the office of oil and natural gas at the DOE. How cool is that?! We sincerely hope he doesn’t get infected with swamp fever and instead works hard to promote the many benefits of fossil fuels. We’re sure he’ll be a huge success! Here’s the official announcement…
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Other Energy Stories of Interest: Tue, Apr 17, 2018

The “best of the rest”–stories that caught MDN’s eye that you may be interested in reading: Huge crowds for Atlantic Coast Pipe job fair in WV; Dominion considers selling Blue Racer Midstream investment; Marietta College students install wellhead on campus; Shale Insight returns to Pittsburgh in October; natgas-powered bitcoin mining in the Permian?; natgas prices stuck in neutral; anti goes berserk, burns himself to death as protest fossil fuels; LNG helping expanded Panama Canal; and more!
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