PTT CEO Sends Loud & Clear Signal of Positive FID on OH Cracker

It was April 2015 when PTT Global Chemical, a huge petrochemical company based in Thailand, first announced they would consider building an ethane cracker plant in Ohio (see It’s Official: Belmont County Chosen as POSSIBLE Cracker Plant Site). Since that time PTT has purchased land for the plant and has even been seen moving dirt around at the site (see Dirt Being Moved at PTT Ohio Ethane Cracker Site – Still no FID). We’ve been somewhat critical of PTT over the years, chiding them because they’ve teased a “final investment decision” (FID) is just around the corner. The alluded to dates came and went–and still no FID. (Why do you build me up, buttercup, baby just to let me down, and mess me around?) Here we go again. PTT’s CEO has just announced the company is “on track” to make an FID on the Ohio cracker project “by mid-2020.”
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Ascent Resources: Prod. Up 45% in ’19, Spending Down 42% in ’20

Ascent Resources, originally founded as American Energy Partners by gas legend Aubrey McClendon, is a privately-held company that focuses 100% on the Ohio Utica Shale. The company recently issued its full-year 2019 update with a look at what it plans for 2020. Ascent is Ohio’s largest natural gas producer, and 2019 was a VERY good year for the company’s production. Average daily production zoomed up 45% from 2018, to 1.97 billion cubic feet equivalent per day (Bcfe/d). Of that number, some 1.8 Bcf/d was natural gas, and oil production was 13,000 barrels/d. Most importantly, Ascent made a profit of $466 million in 2019, compared to losing $4 million in 2018. Way to go!
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Marcellus/Utica Drillers’ Stock Prices Near/At Historic Lows

The value of a company’s stock price is important, for a variety of reasons. The stock price reflects investor confidence in whether the company can earn its keep and grow profits in the future. A higher stock price wards off takeovers. Upper management gets a raise. And the company can borrow money when it needs to at reasonable interest rates. All sorts of reasons why the stock price is important. Unfortunately for top drillers in the Marcellus/Utica, their stock prices have tanked. As a group, and individually, the stock price is either near or even at the lowest it’s *ever been.* Let that sink in.
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PA Rep. Metcalfe Lights into DEP Secretary re RGGI Non-Answers

Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell gave an embarrassing performance on Monday before the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee (ERE). He was there to answer questions about his agency’s annual budget request. As the discussion turned to Gov. Tom Wolf’s attempt to force PA to join the so-called Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), McDonnell equivocated and danced around questions about this tragedy-in-the-making. We understand…he has to support his boss. Like we said, embarrassing.
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More on Natural Gas Compressor Station Shut Down by Cyber Attack

Last week MDN told you about a U.S.-based compressor station facility that had to shut down operations for two days after sustaining a cyber attack that prevented personnel from receiving crucial real-time operational data from control and communication equipment (see Natural Gas Compressor Station Shut Down by Cyber Attack). While the specific facility that sustained the attack has still not been identified, the chatter is that the episode happened in December and the facility is regulated by (under the control of?) the U.S. Coast Guard. We have a few more details about the attack…
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Business/Labor Joins Hands, Asks PA Gov Wolf to Sign Petchem Bill

It doesn’t happen often, so when it does, it’s worth noting. Both business (Chamber of Commerce) groups from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, along with labor union groups from both cities, have reached across the aisle to work together in an effort to try and convince Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf to sign House Bill (HB) 1100–a bill that would attract new petrochemical investment (and jobs) to the state. Inexplicably Wolf has pledged to veto the bill when it hits his desk (see Gov Wolf to Veto Bill Attracting Cracker-Type Investment to NEPA).
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Despite Coronavirus Fear, U.S. LNG Exports Continue at Brisk Pace

We can’t tell you how many stories and headlines we’ve seen over the past few weeks that proclaim the coronavirus is killing the oil and natural gas markets (not to mention the stock market). The theory goes that China is scaling back the production of consumer crap that Americans buy because Chinese workers are dropping like flies. Less production equals less need to import oil and gas, resulting in, what? A worldwide economic recession? Depression? End of Days? Run for the hills! U.S. LNG exports are frequently mentioned as being negatively impacted by the coronavirus. Except…they aren’t. Here’s a contrarian view.
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Shale Energy Stories of Interest: Wed, Feb 26, 2020

MARCELLUS/UTICA REGION: Pa. House Speaker Mike Turzai: Banning fracking would destroy Pennsylvania’s economy; NATIONAL: U.S. crude oil production increases; imports remain strong to support refinery operations; Michael Bloomberg’s climate change plan would wreak economic mayhem; INTERNATIONAL: Russia’s Novatek celebrates another Yamal LNG milestone.
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