Oil & Gas Supply Chain Heading for Permanent Downsize

It’s been a tough past five months in the shale industry. While it’s been tough in the gas-focused plays like the Marcellus/Utica, it’s been tougher in the oil-focused plays like the Permian. Employment in the O&G space has shrunk, by one account, by some 86,000 jobs. We’re now at the same employment level as we were following the downturn in 2014-2016. “But everyone knows this industry is cyclical. It’ll bounce back again, right?” This time it may be different. According to analyst John Kemp, this time some of the jobs (and companies) leaving the industry will be gone for good…
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Victory Lap! Gov. Wolf Signs Tax Break Bill for New Petchem Plants

It’s time for a victory lap. Pennsylvania Republicans, with the help of some brave Democrats (and former Democrats), passed and convinced Gov. Wolf to sign a bill into law that will grant tax breaks to companies willing to build brand new petrochemical plants in the Keystone State–plants that use huge quantities of Marcellus Shale gas. Wolf signed the bill yesterday, after vetoing a similar bill earlier this year. The normally chatty Wolf press operation barely mentioned his signature on the bill.
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10 Democrat Senators Ask Warren Buffet to Invest in WV NatGas

Waaaiiit just a minute. Did we just slip through the looking glass? Ten Democrat State Senators from West Virginia sent a letter earlier this week to Warren Buffett asking the billionaire to consider investing in natural gas projects in the Mountain State. The letter states their sadness that Atlantic Coast Pipeline was canceled, but expresses hope that Buffett’s purchase of Dominion’s other pipeline assets augurs a bright future. We could have sworn this letter was sent by conservative Republicans!
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PA Senate Votes to Pass Resurrected Petchem Bill in Record Time

Wow! That was fast! Last week we brought you the rumor that a bill to allow incentives for petrochemical plants willing to build new facilities in Pennsylvania (generating hundreds of jobs and hundreds of millions of investment in the state) appears to be back on after the bill was previously vetoed by Gov. Tom Wolf earlier this year (see Bill to Bring Cracker-Type Investment to Northeast PA Resurrected). The radicals at PennFuture sounded the alarm over the weekend that House Bill (HB) 1100 is back on and that Wolf is ready to sign a revised version (see PennFuture Wages War Against Fossil Fuel Jobs in PA re HB 1100). Actually, the bill has been renamed to HB 732 and it already passed a vote by the full PA Senate yesterday!
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Bill to Bring Cracker-Type Investment to Northeast PA Resurrected

In April 2019, Pennsylvania State Rep. Mike Turzai, Speaker of the House (who has since resigned and left), along with a group of conservative Republicans, announced a plan for the future of PA (see PA Republicans Launch “Energize PA” to Counter Wolf’s “Restore PA”). Called Energize PA, the plan as codified in eight bills would “make it easier for companies to get environmental permits, encourage development on abandoned industrial sites, and make it cheaper to run natural gas lines to businesses.” One of the eight bills is House Bill (HB) 1100, a bill offering a tax incentive, a reduction in taxes, IF a company builds a new petrochemical plant in the state–particularly in the northeast “dry gas” area of the state.
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Trump DOE Report Backs Cracker, Petchem Investment in Marc/Utica

In April 2019 President Trump issued an Executive Order instructing the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) to assess opportunities to promote growth in the Appalachian region. Yesterday a report was released by DOE doing just that. The 75-page report is titled “The Appalachian Energy and Petrochemical Renaissance: An Examination of Economic Progress and Opportunities” (full copy below). The report not only outlines petchem opportunities in the Marcellus/Utica, it makes recommendations to put those opportunities on steroids.
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Leftwing Academic Hacks Trash Talk PA, OH Cracker Plants

A group of leftwing radical professors (all of the Democrats) from seven universities in Ohio and Pennsylvania have colluded to write a letter to the governors of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The letter trash talks the billions of dollars in economic impact and tens of thousands of jobs ethane cracker plants and the petrochemical industry will have in the region. The leftist gang of seven poo-poos those estimates and says the proposed PTT cracker is too “risky” to approve. How do they figure?
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Carnage Continues: Rig Count Down Another 76, Marcellus Down 2

The U.S. rig count continues in a freefall, losing massive numbers of rigs each week. Over the past month rigs have gone down 47, then 45, then (gulp) 80, and then 74 (see Rig Count Plunges Another 74; M-U Count Steady as She Goes). Last week the rig count crashed another 76–the second-highest loss for one week in the modern era. Most of rigs disappeared from the oil patch. However, last week the Marcellus lost 2 rigs too.
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Oilfield Service Companies Hit Hard by Crash in Oil Price

While shale oil producers are suffering mightily during the current oil price crash, brought on by both the COVID-19 coronavirus travel restrictions and the Saudi price war, the oilfield services (OFS) companies that do all of the drilling and fracking for the oil producers are suffering even more. Companies like Schlumberger, Halliburton and Baker Hughes (among many others) are laying off employees and writing down billions of dollars worth of assets. On Monday Baker Hughes said it will write down $15 billion in value. While this carnage is not affecting the Marcellus/Utica per se, all of the aforementioned companies taking it on the chin in other plays also drill here in the M-U.
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PA Petrochemical Growth May Happen Due to…Coronavirus?

Quick: What’s the raw material used to make respirator masks, gloves, face shields and other high-demand products used by the medical community to combat the coronavirus pandemic? Correct, it’s plastics. And what is the primary feedstock used to make the plastic that in turn makes all of those live-saving products? Correct again: natural gas and natural gas liquids. Or another word for it, petrochemicals. The “Think About Energy” seminar series, usually held in-person, hosted its first virtual event yesterday. Four fantastic speakers spoke about how the coronavirus pandemic, among other things, may drive the expansion of petrochemicals in PA. Expanding the petchem industry in the Keystone State may literally be a life or death issue.
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What a National Ban on Fracking Would Mean in Real Numbers

We’re not anywhere close to being “through” the worst of the coronavirus siege. Yet the environmental left in this country is opportunistically using the virus to push for the end of oil AND natural gas use. It’s mindblowing how stupid they really are. They are blinded by their own wacko non-God environmental religion. As we begin to exit from the virus crisis, attention will once again return to the race for the U.S. presidency and to calls from a majority of the Democrat Party to slap a nationwide ban on fracking. What would that *really* mean, in dollars and cents and jobs? We have some numbers for you to mull over.
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Rig Count Drops Like a Rock, Biggest 1-Week Drop “in Decades”

Two weeks ago MDN told you about the biggest single-week drop in U.S. rig counts since the final week of December 2015–more than four years ago (see Biggest Rig Count Drop in 4 Years – Who’s Still Drilling?). Rigs dropped by 47 in a single week. That was then. Last week rigs dropped by another 64! NGI says it was “one of the largest down weeks in the past two decades.” Call it a new (and somber) record for the past 20 years. The good news, if there is any, is that the counts in the Marcellus/Utica remained the same week over week. Once again it seems that gas-focused shale plays are the beneficiary of the oil price crash as everyone assumes associated gas coming from shale oil plays will (sooner or later) dry up.
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COVID Loan/Grant Money for Small & Medium-Size Biz, Including M-U

Attention all small- and medium-sized businesses (those with fewer than 500 employees): Beginning tomorrow (Friday) you can sign up for the Small Business Paycheck Protection Program, part of the COVID-19 relief package recently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump. This is important! The program, administered by local banks (won’t charge you any fees) will allow you to borrow money to cover payroll (and benefits), mortgage interest, rent and utilities for up to 8 weeks. Here’s the kicker: Those loans, provided they meet certain guidelines, will be FULLY FORGIVEN. In other words, this is a grant to help you get through the COVID crisis. And it applies to Marcellus/Utica companies and those who service them (as well as other kinds of businesses).
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PTT Cracker Project Reaches Tax Agreement with Belmont County, OH

Even amid the coronavirus pandemonium and economic destruction happening everywhere, important oil and gas (and petrochemical) projects continue to make progress. In particular, the PTT Global Chemical plan to build an ethane cracker plant in Belmont County, OH still shows signs of life. In February PTT’s CEO signaled that a final investment decision on whether (or not) to build a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker in Belmont County, OH is coming by “mid-year 2020” (see PTT CEO Sends Loud & Clear Signal of Positive FID on OH Cracker). While work to prep the site and get it ready is now paused, work behind the scenes continues. Last week Belmont County commissioners, Mead Township trustees and the Shadyside Board of Education approved a new deal on tax payments should the project get built. This is a major milestone.
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PA Gov Wolf Vetoes Jobs-Creating Petchem Bill – Blames COVID-19

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf was less than honest when he vetoed House Bill (HB) 1100–a bill that would generate thousands of new jobs and cause money to pour into the PA economy by granting tax breaks (for a limited time) to companies willing to build *brand new* petrochemical plants ($450 million minimum investment) that use natural gas as the feedstock. In vetoing the bill on Friday, Wolf more or less blamed the coronavirus–even though he had promised to veto this bill in February, a month before the pandemic began in U.S. (see Gov Wolf to Veto Bill Attracting Cracker-Type Investment to NEPA)!
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