Rig Counts Heading Down in Most Shale Plays – What About M-U?

It’s hard to miss the stories in oil and gas (even national) media: Company after company, in particular oilfield services companies, are predicting a big slowdown in drilling during the second half of 2019. Over the past few days OFS companies including Schlumberger, Halliburton, Patterson-UTI, Superior Energy Services, Helmerich & Payne, and RPC have all predicted a coming decline (crash?) in drilling in the near future. What about the Marcellus/Utica region? Does the coming slowdown affect us too?
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Braskem Gives Up on WV Cracker – Parkersburg Site for Sale

A sad end to the hope that Braskem, the largest petrochemical company in Latin America (headquartered in Brazil), is going to build an ethane cracker in Wood County, WV, near Parkersburg. We hasten to add Braskem leaving doesn’t mean someone else won’t will build a cracker plant there–it just won’t be Braskem. News is leaking that Braskem has put the land they had purchased for a possible cracker up for sale.
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Federal Judge Approves EQT $53.5M WV Class Action Settlement

In February MDN brought you the news that EQT had settled a class action lawsuit in West Virginia with landowners and rights owners ending EQT’s practice of post-production deductions from royalty checks (see EQT Settles WV Class Action Royalty Lawsuit for $53.5M). EQT agreed to pay $53.5 million into a settlement fund that will disburse payments to each individual litigant–unless they elect to opt out of the settlement and continue on with a private lawsuit against EQT. Courts take a looooooooooong time to do anything, including putting a stamp of approval on this settlement.
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Drumbeat Grows Louder for WV to Release Details on China Deal

A week ago MDN told you that Joe Manchin, one of West Virginia’s two U.S. Senators, is not happy that details of the deal signed between WV and China in which China agreed to invest $83.7 billion (with a “b”) in WV’s shale and petrochemcial industries is secret (see U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin Demands Details on China’s WV Deal). Manchin claims the Chinese want to abscond with WV’s natural resources–natural gas, ethane, propane, etc.–and create jobs back in their own country. Otherwise why would the projects China is looking to invest in remain secret?
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WVONGA Hits Back Hard Against Leftist Charleston Gazette-Mail

Anne Blankenship, WVONGA

Last December MDN pointed out the biased “reporting” now coming from the Charleston (WV) Gazette-Mail (see Antis Get a Reporter at the Charleston Gazette-Mail). Reporter Ken Ward, Jr. now has most (all?) of his salary paid by anti-fossil fuel organizations, and his “reporting” on the shale industry reflects the bias of his paymasters. Following a couple of recent grossly biased “articles” penned by Ward and fellow “reporter” Kate Mishkin, the West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association is hitting back–hard.
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Researchers Mix Power Plant + Frack Wastewater, Get Clean Water!

Lance Lin, civil and environmental engineering professor, is the lead investigator of a research project aiming to reduce the use of fresh water resources by the nation’s power plants.

We love how innovative our industry, and indeed academic researchers, are. Who would ever think to combine wastewater coming from electric power generating plants with wastewater from oil and gas wells? Both industries, the power industry and the O&G industry, produce a LOT of wastewater. Researchers at West Virginia University have combined both wastewater streams to produce “water that is clean enough to reuse.” How cool is that?!
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U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin Demands Details on China’s WV Deal

One of West Virginia’s two U.S. Senators, Joe Manchin, is not happy that the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by China and his home state is hush hush. Manchin has not seen a copy of that agreement and he wants to see it, NOW. At a Senate hearing last week, Manchin made noise about the $83.7 billion deal signed by WV and China, part of a Trump Administration effort, back in 2017 (see China Agrees to Invest Amazing $83.7 BILLION in WV Shale, Petchem).
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Atlantic Coast Pipe Workers Change Hearts & Minds in WV

Dominion Energy began work on the 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) project in West Virginia in May 2018 (see Atlantic Coast Actual Pipeline Construction Begins in WV). Unfortunately work is now stalled on ACP thanks to lawsuits filed by Big Green organizations. We spotted a heart warming story of how, when construction first began, a WV resident had major concerns. Frankly, she was against the project. But pipeline workers soon changed her mind.
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WV Still Waiting for First Penny of Chinese $83.7B Investment

Two weeks ago at the Northeast Petrochemical Conference in Pittsburgh, a panel of speakers from West Virginia, including former Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette, addressed the topic of Advanced Manufacturing and Petrochemicals related to the shale industry. At the end of the prepared talks, the session was opened to questions from the audience. MDN asked the first question, which was this: “The $83.7 billion question is, what’s going on with the proposed investment in shale and petchem promised by China?”
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NGL Storage Hub Federal Loan Guarantee May be in Trouble

Appalachia Development Group is leading an effort to build a ~$10 billion (or $2.5B, or $3.4B, depending on your source) NGL storage hub in Appalachia–most likely in West Virginia (see WV’s US Senators Lead the Charge to Build $10B NGL Storage Hub). The project, called the Appalachia Storage and Trading Hub, has already hired an engineering firm and has the backing of President Trump (see Pres. Trump Targets Marcellus/Utica to Bulk Up PetChem Industry). It’s estimated such a project would lead to the creation of 100,000 new jobs. Federal loan guarantees of $1.9 billion have been in the works for the massive project for several years (partially approved), but those loan guarantees may now be in jeopardy thanks to leftists.
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WV Supreme Court Rejects Nuisance Lawsuit Against Antero

In Feb. 2016, lawsuits filed by some ~200 West Virginia residents against Antero Resources were combined into a class action (see More People Pile on Antero, Seek to Join Mass “Nuisance” Lawsuit). The lawsuits are called “nuisance” lawsuits because, according to the plantiffs, Antero is a nuisance to them (truck traffic, noise, lights at night, etc.). The collective class action nuisance lawsuit was appealed all the way to the WV Supreme Court. On Monday, the Supremes rejected the nuisance claims, granting Antero a big victory.
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New Study Says Fracking Scares Birdies in WV Marcellus

Brown-headed cowbird – loves fracking!

Yet another fake science “study” that attempts to denigrate the Marcellus Shale miracle. This one was published by none other than Oxford University Press. Researchers “studied” 27 bird species and their distance from Marcellus Shale gas drilling sites in West Virginia. The researchers found some birds like living close to shale drilling, and some avoid it. They concluded (without connecting any dots) that the birds they studied are “early indicators of ecosystem degradation.” Shale drilling is killing the pretty little song birds. BUNKUM.
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WV Supreme Court Tweaks Shale Well Property Tax Calculation

Last Wednesday the West Virginia Supreme Court issued a consolidated opinion lumping together seven similar lawsuits filed by Antero Resources and CNX Resources against the WV state tax commissioner and the Doddridge County Commission. The lawsuits take issue with the way gas well valuations are calculated for property taxes.
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Dominion Investigating Condensate Tank Fire in Tyler, WV

On May 25, lightning struck a 1 million gallon condensate tank near Friendly (Tyler County), WV on a Saturday afternoon (see Lightning Strikes Huge Condensate Tank in Tyler, WV – Fire Now Out). At least, that’s the theory. The strike (if that’s what it was) ignited the tank, creating a “massive” fire according to news accounts. Dominion Energy, owner of the tank, is still investigating to see how the fire began (was it really lightning?), and how such accident can be avoided in the future.
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Pres. Trump Targets Marcellus/Utica to Bulk Up PetChem Industry

President Trump is pushing members of his administration to work with state regulators in Appalachia–Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania–to “build the country’s first natural gas and petrochemical hub” outside of the Gulf Coast. According to Energy Secretary Rick Perry, such a plan is in the the country’s national security interests. Members of the Trump team are also having discussions with leftists like NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo, to try and convince him to allow pipelines into and through the state. If states like NY won’t allow it, Perry holds out the hope/threat that the feds will invoke the Constitution’s interstate commerce clause to make them.
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