Supplier Fair to Sell Products for OH Cracker Held in…London?

Little by little, piece by piece, the evidence continues to mount that PTT Global Chemical and their partner Daelim Chemical will make a positive final investment decision (FID) to build a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker in Belmont County, OH. On Monday we told you the State of Ohio is investing another $30 million in the project, even though the project is not officially a done deal, yet (see Ohio Pays Another $30M to Kickstart PTT Belmont Cracker Project). Our latest bit of evidence that the Belmont cracker will indeed get built: PTT is holding a “supplier fair” for companies to win contracts to provide various supplies and equipment for the facility. Oh, and the supplier fair is being held in London–as in the United Kingdom!
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Indiana Co Sets Up Shop in W PA Thx to Marcellus-Fired Gas Plants

Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) finally broke ground and began to build a new Marcellus gas-fired power plant in Cambria County, PA in October 2017 (see CPV Marcellus-Fired Power Plant in Cambria, PA Breaks Ground). Located 60 miles east of Pittsburgh, the CPV Fairview Energy Center is a 1,050-megawatt natural gas and ethane-fueled two-by-one combined-cycle electric generating plant expected to begin commercial operations in early 2020. An Indiana company supplying scaffolding to work on that plant was so impressed with the project, and others like it popping up in PA, that the company has decided to establish a branch operation in Johnstown, PA.
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Supply Chain Success – WV Excavator Blossoms in Marcellus/Utica

Alex Wolfe

We love reading about entrepreneurs–young or old–who take a risk and achieve success. Particularly in the Marcellus/Utica industry. We have another such story to share–of a young man who began with a mini excavator (bought with tax refund money) and an old bulldozer donated by his grandfather–and turned it into 125 employees, 20 dump trucks, 10 tractor trailers and 80 pieces of excavating equipment.
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PA Businesses Still Not Paid for Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline Work

NOTE: See our follow-up post on this, with important new information: New Details on Williams and Unpaid Pipe Contractors in Lancaster.

Hey Williams, get off your rear-ends and start paying the bills owed for work done on YOUR pipeline! At least 77 local businesses in and around Lancaster County, PA are caught in the crosshairs of a dispute between Williams and one of its main contractors, Welded Construction (see Williams Withholds Payment Forcing Pipeline Builder into Bankruptcy).
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Northeast PA Railroad Traffic Surges Due to Marcellus Shale

We love a good railroad story–always have, always will. And here’s a great railroad story. The freight trains in northeastern Pennsylvania will this year, once again, set a new record. Last year the Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad, which operates 85 miles of track in Lackawanna and Monroe counties, hauled 8,572 carloads. This year they will fly by that number, to a new record. Why? Mainly due to frack sand used by Linde Corp, which supplies sand to drillers in the region. Translation: Drilling picked up again in 2018 in northeastern PA.
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First “Big” Chinese Energy Investment in WV is…Software?

Wendy’s iconic “Where’s the Beef” commercial

It’s been exactly one year since the announcement and signing of a memorandum of understanding between China and the State of West Virginia, whereby China pledged to spend (over 20 years) an incomprehensible $83.7 billion (with a “b”) on petrochemical and shale projects (see China Agrees to Invest Amazing $83.7 BILLION in WV Shale, Petchem). How much money has China actually invested in WV to date? NOTHING. ZERO. NADA. That is, until now. Maybe. We came across a story about a WV company, TMC Technologies, working closely with China to develop software that will keep LNG exports heading to China, safe.
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New M-U Pressure Pumping Co. Starts Up in Pittsburgh

Yet another Range Resources alumnus is now working for someone else–himself. Matt Curry, a chemical engineer and Pittsburgh native who used to work for Range, along with Chris Combs, who’s worked for a number of drilling services companies in Texas, co-founded Praetorian Energy Solutions, a “pressure pumping and pumpdown services” headquartered in Canonsburg, PA. The company, launched earlier this year, is (so far) working in the Eagle Ford Shale play in Texas–because that’s where they bought their equipment. That equipment will be heading north soon to operate in the Marcellus/Utica. What is a pressure pumping/pumpdown company?
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CEC Interview: 6-9 Mo Delays for New Drilling Permits in PA

Civil & Environmental Consultants (CEC) is a large engineering firm with offices scattered across the country. We’re not sure which office is “headquarters,” but we know they have a sizable office in Pittsburgh. While CEC provides services to a number of industries, they have been a big part of the Marcellus/Utica since its birth in the 2000s. As the Farmer’s Insurance commercials say, “They know a thing or two because they’ve seen a thing or two.” Which is, of course, an understatement. They know a lot because they’ve seen (and done) a lot–when it comes to the Marcellus. Another large company, law firm Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney (headquartered in Pittsburgh), recently interviewed CEC Founding Principal and Strategic Development Officer Greg Quatchak for their “Energy Insider” series of interviews. Quatchak talks about CEC and it’s important role (as he should), but woven into the responses to BIR’s questions we learn some important information, like this: It still takes 6-9 months on average for Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection to issue Marcellus Shale drilling permits. In Texas it takes their counterpart (the Texas Railroad Commission) about a week to issue the same type of permit. Yes, there are important differences between Texas and PA–geography, wetlands, threatened/endangered species, archaeology. And yes, the time to get a permit in PA has improved over the past year or two. But come on, 6-9 months! Here’s an interesting interview of one of the principals in an employee-owned company…
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Drilling Mud Co. Opens in Monroe County, OH, 40 New Jobs

American Mud Works held a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week to officially open up a new regional headquarters in Monroe County, OH. The company specializes in mixing drilling mud–the stuff used to cool drill bits as they chew away at solid rock some 1-2 miles below the surface. They also recycle used drilling mud and wastewater/brine. The company’s main headquarters is in Texas. They’re locating a branch operation in Monroe to service the Utica and Marcellus industries in our region. In the short-term, the new office, due to be fully operational in about four weeks, will staff up by hiring 30-40 people. However, American Mud has bigger goals in view. They aim to add more service lines and expand their operations down the road. The number of employees will likely go much higher as they expand. Let’s welcome American Mud and another 40 jobs to Appalachia!…
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Texas Crane Company Buying Marcellus/Utica Crane Company

TNT Crane & Rigging, headquartered in Houston, TX, has just purchased itself a major presence in the crane/rigging market in the Marcellus/Utica. TNT announced on Tuesday it is “merging with” (i.e. buying out and merging in) Allison Crane & Rigging, located in Williamsport, PA. When you read these kinds of announcements you’re never quite sure who is buying whom. But it became clear in this announcement. TNT, which is a “portfolio company” of (i.e. majority owned by) First Reserve, a BIG private equity investment firm, owns and operates 700 cranes in 44 different branch offices across North America. Allison operates 30 cranes. That’s how we know who bought whom. Here’s the news that TNT and Allison figure they’re better together…
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Anatomy of an M-U Shale Startup: Tier 1 Rental and Distribution

One of the bits of news we love to cover is when a new business starts up for the express purpose of servicing the Marcellus/Utica industry. Having started our own company–Marcellus Drilling News–we know a little bit about the challenges one faces in launching a new business. But nothing on the scale of launching a business that ends up employing dozens, even hundreds, of people. When we see that happening, we have deep respect and admiration. In 2014, Frank Catroppa, a serial entrepreneur, rolled the dice and launched Tier 1 Rental and Distribution LLC, based in Robinson (Allegheny County), PA. Tier 1 provides trucking and related gas drilling services to the shale industry. Not long after the business began, the shale recession hit with many drillers pulling back from new activity. How did Mr. Catroppa weather the downturn, having just started a new company? And how is the company doing now? The story (below) certainly doesn’t chronicle everything that goes into starting and maintaining a company aimed at selling goods and services to the Marcellus/Utica industry, but it does provide some great insights into timing, confidence, and the sheer guts it takes to believe in your ideas. Tier 1 is an inspiration for others considering whether or not to launch a product/service aimed at our industry…
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Shale Support Exclusive Frac Sand Supplier for NEPA Facility

Last September MDN told you that Shale Support Holdings, “a leading provider of frac sand and logistical solutions to the oil and gas proppant market” (headquartered in Texas, with an operations center in Mississippi), was stepping up its presence in the Marcellus/Utica region with a partnership with Tidewater Logistics (see Shale Support Holdings Expands M-U Frac Sand Business via Partnership). The partnership increases Shale Support’s operations in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Because Shale Support can ship sand direct from Mississippi, which is much closer than most other alternatives, the price for frac sand is cheaper for customers. Shale Support has just announced another important deal, to become the exclusive supplier for a major regional frac sand facility in Wysox (Bradford County), PA…
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The Critical Role of Subcontractors in WV Shale Industry

Charlie Burd, IOGAWV

A recently published interview with Charlie Burd, executive director of the Independent Oil and Natural Gas Association of West Virginia, yields new insights into the current status of the oil and gas industry in the Mountain State. One of those insights is the importance of subcontractors–what we call the supply chain–to the oil & gas industry in WV (and elsewhere). We often refer to producers or exploration and production companies as “drillers.” To be honest, it’s almost always a hired subcontractor that does the actual drilling. And subcontractors do a host (most of) the other pieces of getting a well up and running–everything from water deliveries for fracking to fencing around well pads to hauling away drill cuttings and brine. Burd talked about the key role subcontractors play in the process. He also said that 99.9% of the small, “mom and pop” independent producers (conventional drillers) that have been around for the past 150 years are now out of business in WV, since the rise of shale drilling. That’s a pretty startling statistic. Oh! And Burd explained the difference between “major” oil and gas companies, like Exxon and Chevron, and “independent” companies like Antero Resources and Cabot Oil & Gas. We always wondered what earned the biggies their name “the majors,” even though there are some “independents” nearly as large (in revenue) as the majors. We now know the difference…
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New WV Facility Ships First Compressors for M-U Pipe Customers

Bidell Gas Compression facility in Weirton, WV (click for larger version)

In March 2017, Bidell Gas Compression, a subsidiary of Canadian company Total Energy Services, announced it would establish its U.S. manufacturing headquarters in Weirton (Hancock County), WV–in the northern panhandle of WV (see Biddel Gas Compression Selects WV Northern Panhandle for US HQ). Biddel manufactures and sells pipeline compressors. The site they chose in Weirton includes a 100,000 square-foot building, part of the old ArcelorMittal machine shop operation. On Monday, Biddel shipped out from the new Weirton facility, their very first truckload of newly manufactured compressors. The news article we spotted says delivery of the compressors will happen today. We’re assuming delivery is to a Marcellus/Utica pipeline project, somewhere in our region, given the short time between shipment and delivery. This is a feel-good story. It is one more evidence that our industry, which used to import everything from workers to equipment, has matured. We now make what we use right here at home! Here’s the deets on Biddel’s first compressor shipment…
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Pittsburgh-based Water Provider for Shale Drillers Expanding

HydroEdge Solutions is on the grow. The company designs and operates temporary water lines for Marcellus/Utica drillers. The company started in 2013 in Pittsburgh with three employees, and today they have 92 employees! HydroEdge is looking to add another 20 employees using $8 million of debt financing they just received from an unnamed “independent, third party lender.” That money breaks down as a $5 million one-year loan and a $3 million line of credit. Some of HydroEdge’s A-list customers include EQT, CNX/CONSOL, Rice Energy, Statoil, and EdgeMarc Energy. Impressive list. Here’s the lowdown on an up-and-coming service provider in the Marcellus/Utica, flush with cash and ready to hire…
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