Fire at Shell PA Cracker Complex; COVID Cases Spike at Plant

Shell cracker plant site (Credit: Sally Maxon/Beaver County Times)

Last Saturday a small fire occurred in a metal storage container at the Shell ethane cracker plant complex still under construction in Beaver County, PA. The on-site fire department quickly extinguished the blaze (no injuries). Also last week, Shell reported 61 new cases of COVID-19 among workers at the plant. Currently, 97 employees (out of 7,950, or 1.2%) have the virus. Some 238 site employees have recovered from COVID infection and returned to work since the beginning of the pandemic in March.
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M-U Drillers Increasingly Shut-In Wells to Boost Gas Price, Profits

By now it’s a cliche to say that 2020 has been an exceptional year–and not in a good way. For the first time in our memory of writing MDN, we witnessed widespread curtailments or “shut-ins” of wells in the Marcellus/Utica during 2020. That is, drillers voluntarily turned the values off and flowed less gas in a bid to (a) not sell the gas at prices that don’t return a profit, and (b) drive up the price of gas (see M-U Shut-ins Help Keep Regional Gas Prices Stable…for Now). Will that trend continue in 2021?
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DPR: Most Shale Plays, Incl. M-U, Continue Big Drop in Production

Yesterday our favorite government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), published our favorite monthly report, the Drilling Productivity Report (DPR). The latest DPR, which shows estimates for oil and gas production from the seven largest shale plays in the U.S., shows a drop in shale gas production across all plays (including the Marcellus/Utica)–except for a slight production increase in the Haynesville–coming next month in January. The M-U is forecast to drop another 154 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) from production levels in December.
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S&P Global Platts Analytics 2021 Annual Energy Outlook

Each year S&P Global Platts hosts its “Global Energy Outlook Forum” in New York City, an event we always look forward to attending. The Forum assembles some of the best thinkers and industry participants from across all energy sectors to discuss what happened during the previous year, and what’s on the way next year and down the road with respect to energy. All kinds of energy. This year, given COVID-19, there was no Forum. However, Platts did release its 2021 Energy Outlook yesterday.
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Seneca Resources Sells 92K Acres of Timberland in PA/NY

Some of the acreage purchased from Seneca (Photo: Courtesy of LandVest)

The Lyme Timber Company has closed on a deal to buy approximately 92,000 acres of forestland in North Central Pennsylvania and Southwest New York from Marcellus/Utica driller Seneca Resources for $116 million. Wait, why did Seneca own all of that acreage to begin with?
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Other Stories of Interest: Tue, Dec 15, 2020

OTHER U.S. REGIONS: Calcasieu Pass LNG project ahead of schedule, CEO says; NATIONAL: The Stealth Green New Deal; Flexible cement is made to fill the fine gaps around leaky gas wells; Biden eyes new EPA picks as Nichols falls from favor; Federal Reserve steps up climate-change response, backlash from House Republicans; North Face joins growing corporate hypocrisy against oil & gas industry; INTERNATIONAL: Bombshell report pours cold water on global LNG outlook.
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