U.S. Oil & Gas Job Losses Hit ~200,000 in 2020 Due to Pandemic, M&A

Rystad Energy says worldwide the oil and gas industry has lost some 400,000 jobs in 2020. About half of those, says Rystad, are jobs lost in the U.S. Reuters is quoting Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette as saying U.S. oil production will likely not return to its pre-pandemic peak of 13 million barrels of production per day–at least not any time soon. Ergo, those jobs are not coming back any time soon.
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Shale Energy Saving Manufacturing Plants, Jobs in Appalachia

Eagle Manufacturing, located in Wellsburg, WV, was struggling in the early 2000s. The company makes plastic safety products. Foreign competition was hammering the company (tough to compete with children in China who work in factories for a dollar an hour). The company almost offshored production to China, but decided to stick it out a few more years here at home. And then the Marcellus/Utica Shale miracle happened.
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SWPA Unions Join Shale Cos. to Back House ‘COVID Comeback’ Bills

Back in March, just as the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning to enter the public consciousness, some 500 people from labor unions and industry met in Pittsburgh to launch an organization called Pittsburgh Works Together (PWT), dedicated to fighting back against those who want to end southwest PA industries including steel, natural gas, and petrochemicals (see CNX CEO Backs New SWPA Group to Counter “Elites and Extremists”). The alliance is going strong. Last week MDN editor Jim Willis had the pleasure of interviewing (via phone) Jeff Nobers, Executive Director for both the Builders Guild of Western Pennsylvania and PWT.
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WV Announces New $350M Methanol Plant in Pleasants County

methanol

Some exciting news to share! A company called West Virginia Methanol Inc. has selected a site in Pleasants County, WV to develop to build a $350 million methanol plant. Methanol plants convert natural gas into methanol, used as a chemical feedstock (raw material) to create other things, like gasoline, antifreeze, plastic bottles–even LED and LCD screens. Methanol plants use a LOT of natural gas.
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Diversified Gas & Oil Employs 425, Spends $100M per Year in WV

Rusty Hutson, Jr. – DGO CEO

Diversified Gas & Oil (DGO) is a fascinating company (see our DGO stories here). DGO’s strategy is to seek wells in “the long tail.” That is, wells already drilled with production along the decline curve. DGO CEO Rusty Hutson, a West Virginia native, recently wrote a column for the Charleston Gazette-Mail expressing his company’s love for and investment in the Mountain State. DGO’s commitment to WV is extensive.
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Deloitte Study: The Future of Work in Oil, Gas and Chemicals

click for larger version

Consulting powerhouse Deloitte has just released a sobering new study called, “The future of work in oil, gas and chemicals” (full copy below). The study says the U.S. oil, natural gas, and chemicals (OG&C) industry slashed 107,000 jobs from March to August 2020, the fastest rate of layoffs in the industry’s history. Ouch. Even more sobering, the study says 70% of those 107,000 jobs lost during the pandemic may not return by the end of 2021 if oil remains at $45 per barrel, which seems likely.
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Newly Passed Act 66 Petchem Bill Lights a Fire for PA Econ Dev

In July Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law House Bill (HB) 732, a bill 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 (see Victory Lap! Gov. Wolf Signs Tax Break Bill for New Petchem Plants). HB 732 has become Act 66 in PA’s codes and regulations.
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Justin Bieber Captures the Plight of Laid-Off Oil & Gas Workers

Bet you never thought you’d read about (or watch) a Justin Bieber video on MDN. We never thought we would write about or feature Bieber’s music. But then we watched a video of his newest song called Holy, a video that’s been watched (so far) over 32 million times since it was released to Youtube on Sunday! In the video Bieber plays the part of an oilfield worker who gets laid off. It’s poignant. Frankly, it brought tears to our eyes.
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Pipeline Foes in NY, NJ, PA Killing $3.5B Investment, 17K Jobs

The Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) released an important new study yesterday. Titled “How Pipelines Can Spur Immediate Post-COVID Economic Recovery,” the new study finds delays, obstruction, and cancellation of pipeline infrastructure projects are threatening at least $13.6 billion in economic activity, over 66,000 jobs, and more than $280 million a year in state and local tax revenue at a time when America’s financial recovery from COVID-19 requires MORE investment and tax revenue. A section of the report finds anti-pipeline fanatics in NY, NJ, and PA threaten $3.5 billion worth of investments and 17,000 jobs in our region alone.
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Clinton County, PA Petchem Plant to Drill 25 New Marcellus Wells

Clinton County, PA

Earlier this year MDN brought you news about a new half-billion-dollar petrochemical plant that will convert Marcellus Shale gas into feedstock (chemicals) to be used in agriculture, manufacturing, medicine, and transportation, coming in Clinton County in central Pennsylvania (see $500M Marcellus-Fed Petchem Plant Coming to Clinton County, PA). The project is progressing and we have more details about what, exactly, the plant will produce.
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Equinor (Statoil) Cutting US Workforce, No New M-U Drilling 2020

Oil and gas drilling giant Equinor (formerly called Statoil) is owned by the Norwegian government. Equinor/Statoil has drilled in the Marcellus/Utica for years. As recently as June 2019 the company reported drilling 9-14 Utica wells per year (see Equinor (Statoil) Drilling Long Utica Laterals, Production Up 5X). But then in March of this year, just prior to the pandemic, the company decided to temporarily suspend it’s Utica (and Bakken) drilling program (see Equinor (Statoil) Stops All U.S. Shale Drilling, Incl. Marcellus). The company is now saying it won’t drill any more new wells this year in the U.S. and is cutting jobs here (and in Canada and the U.K.).
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Report: Marcellus Shale Jobs in Pennsylvania Down 7.4% in 2019

We spotted a story from ace reporter Paul Gough (Pittsburgh Business Times) titled, “5 things to know about Pennsylvania’s new energy report.” According to Gough, earlier this week PA released a new “Pennsylvania Energy Jobs Overview” report. Wait, what? Why didn’t the Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) or Gov. Wolf’s office issue a press release to announce this new report? We don’t know why, but they didn’t. The DEP did issue a press release about an uptick in jobs in the so-called renewable energy sector–but nothing about all the other forms of energy. However, we have a copy of the full report (below). It shows the total number of jobs in the Marcellus/Utica went down last year by 7.4%, or 1,897 jobs lost.
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Range Resources Lays Off 40 Employees in Pittsburgh & Fort Worth

Most of the layoffs during this particularly brutal (and historic) downturn in the oil and gas market have taken place in oilfield services companies like Halliburton, Baker Hughes and Sclumberger. But exploration & production companies are not immune. Chevron is laying off workers in their Marcellus/Utica operation because the company is selling all of its Appalachian assets and leaving the region (see Chevron Cutting 320 Jobs in Marcellus/Utica Beginning April 6th and Chevron Cuts Another 80 Jobs in M-U; Still Looking for Buyer). Another M-U driller is also laying off personnel–Range Resources.
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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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Shell Builds COVID Testing Lab at Cracker Site, Adds More Workers

Last week we brought you news that Shell had temporarily suspended adding back some 300 workers per week at its ethane cracker construction site in Beaver County, PA following a spike in COVID-19 coronavirus cases (see Shell Stops Adding Workers at Cracker Site After New Virus Cases). The new news is that as of today, Shell has resumed adding workers back because they’ve built their own COVID testing lab *on site* at the cracker facility. They can now get test COVID results in 4 hours instead of 4-6 days. Sometimes you just have to do it yourself.
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