Tri-Point OFS Liquidating Assets in June Online Auction

Tri-Point, LLC is an oilfield services company (OFS) specializing in products and services for drillers and pipeline companies. Tri-Point is headquartered in Houston, Texas but has a number of field offices, including an office in Towanda (Bradford County), PA that services the Marcellus industry. Sadly the company is in bankruptcy. We spotted an announcement about a virtual auction later this month to sell off/liquidate all of the company’s assets.
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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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Vallourec Announces Layoffs for One-Third of its U.S. Workers

Vallourec, headquartered in Boulogne-Billancourt, France, manufactures steel pipes used in the oil and gas industry. The company employs some 19,000 people in 20 countries, including the U.S. In fact, Vallourec employs more than 750 at three Youngstown, Ohio units: Vallourec Star, VAM USA and Vallourec USA Corp. Yesterday Vallourec corporate headquarters announced it will reduce (layoff/eliminate) some 900 positions “across all plants as well as support functions.” That number, 900, represents over one-third of Vallourec’s total workforce and contractor positions in North America. The announcement implies all 900 of the positions being eliminated will happen in North America.
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Shale Oil Drillers Ask OFS Providers to Slash Prices at Least 25%

If you operate a company that sells a product (particularly a commodity product) you only have two ways of making a profit: Sell the product for more money or cut expenses (or both). For oil drillers, the price of the product sold is pretty much fixed. Some drillers have “hedged” their production, pre-selling future production at a specific price. But many don’t hedge. And hedging contracts typically don’t extend beyond a year. In the case of oil, the world market sets the price, and the price this week is about half of what it was last week. That means most shale oil drillers won’t make a profit–unless they can trim costs. One of the ways drillers are attempting to cut costs is by asking the companies that do the actual drilling and perform services for them (oilfield services companies, or OFS) to cut the rate they charge.
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Logistics Co. Opens Warehouse in Bradford, PA Targeting Marcellus

Phoenix Logistics, headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, targets supply chain companies in a number of industries with warehousing, distribution, and transportation. One of the industries they target is the oil and gas sector. Phoenix has just opened a new 400,000 square foot warehousing facility in Athens (Bradford County), PA, targeting companies in the Marcellus.
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Supply Chain Cos. Getting Whacked by Shale Drilling Slowdown

Yesterday MDN brought you an article about the supply chain in Ohio–companies that sell goods and services to upstream (drilling), midstream (pipeline) and downstream (petrochemical) companies (see Ohio’s Non-Drilling Counties Look to Profit from Utica Shale Too). That article talked about businesses located in counties just west of the Utica shale in Ohio and whether or not they can get in on some of the economic action. We spotted another story, this one in the Wall Street Journal, about supply chain companies serving the oil and gas industry. If yesterday’s article was the positive/up side of supply chain, the WSJ article is the flip side–the down side of depending too much on our cyclical industry.
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Ohio’s Non-Drilling Counties Look to Profit from Utica Shale Too

Drilling is great for local counties when it arrives. Especially for the “supply chain” in those counties–companies that sell goods and services to drilling companies. Everything from retail to convenience stores to restaurants to hotels to trucking companies and more. But what about businesses in nearby counties without any drilling activity? Is there any way they can share in the bounty too? There sure is!
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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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