Full Circle for Cabot O&G: From WV to PA and Back Again

full circleOn Monday, MDN highlighted a pair of stories from West Virginia in which we noted that Cabot Oil & Gas, a Texas-based company that (so far) has concentrated its Marcellus Shale drilling in Susquehanna County, PA, had drilled and plugged a well in West Virginia that seems to be aimed at the Utica Shale (and/or Marcellus) in that state (see Cabot’s Wood County, WV Utica Well – Vertical or Horizontal Miss?). Cabot is one of the most prolific producers of Marcellus Shale gas, producing an incredible 2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas from Susquehanna, a single county in northeast PA (see Cabot O&G 3Q14: A Wandering Eye + Welcome to the 2 Bcf/d Club!). It piqued our interest that Cabot may be nosing around a “new” area (for them) for horizontal shale drilling, so we asked George Stark, Cabot spokesman, about it. He called us yesterday to elucidate…
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WV Trip to Brazil Reaffirms Cracker Plant: “Comfort Level Strong”

high comfort levelLast week West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin led a trade delegation on a junket to Brazil to talk with officials from Odebrecht and Braskem about the $3 billion proposed ethane cracker plant/petrochemical complex the companies are planning for Parkersburg, WV (see WV Gov. Tomblin Leads Trade Mission to Brazil re Cracker Plant). Accompanying Tomblin on the trip were his wife, Secretary of Commerce Keith Burdette and several others. Fresh back from the trip both Tomblin and Burdette have very encouraging comments. Burdette in particular effused about the ASCENT cracker plant project, saying: “Our comfort level [that the project will happen] is very strong.” Burdette also said (perhaps in response to criticisms about an expensive taxpayer-funded trip to Brazil) that it was important for WV officials to spend time in their offices–as a courtesy and to show commitment to a project that the company is spending beaucoup bucks on in WV…
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Cabot’s Wood County, WV Utica Well – Vertical or Horizontal Miss?

Swing and a MissSeveral years ago MDN editor Jim Willis took a tour of several Cabot Oil & Gas well sites in Susquehanna County, PA. One of the sites was a completed well pad with four producing wells, located not far from Carter Road in Dimock (yes the infamous Carter Road memorialized in Gasland). As we stood on the pad, a pad not visible a few hundred feet from the road, Jim’s tour guide (Bill desRosiers) made this statement: “Cabot has over 3,000 vertical gas wells in West Virginia. You see these four horizontal wells? These four wells produce more natural gas in one day than all 3,000 of those vertical wells in West Virginia.” Jim’s jaw hit the ground. He immediately thought (still thinks): That is the power and miracle of horizontal hydraulic fracturing! So it sparked our interest when we spotted a story from Wood County, WV about a well drilled by Cabot this past August in WV–a well that Cabot immediately plugged. It was a “miss” for Cabot. Our questions: Was it a vertical-only well? Or was it intended to be a horizontal Utica well?…
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WV Gov. Tomblin Leads Trade Mission to Brazil re Cracker Plant

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s office has announced that the Governor and first lady, along with Keith Burdette, Secretary of the West Virginia Dept. of Commerce and several other officials, are going on a road trip to Brazil to babysit, er advance the ball on the ethane cracker plant planned for the Parkersburg, WV area by Brazilian company Odebrecht and its sister company Braskem. The trade delegation will discuss “next steps” with their counterparts–to ensure everything is on track. It’s also a nice little junket/vacation to get the Guv (a Democrat) out of town after his state essentially turned Republican underneath his feet in Tuesday’s election…
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Radiation Detectors for Drill Cuttings Installed at 6 WV Landfills

Earlier this year the West Virginia legislature, in special session, passed a bill (HB 4411) that Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed into law that establishes certain regulations to allow WV landfills to accept drill cuttings (leftover rock and dirt) from Marcellus and Utica Shale drilling. One of the provisions in the bill is that landfills with special, set-aside “cells” for larger volumes of drill cuttings be equipped with radiation detectors (see WV Drill Cuttings in Landfill Bill Passes in Record Time). Work on installing those detectors at six landfills is almost complete. The detectors are (or will be) installed at two sites in Harrison County, and one site each in Brooke, Ohio, Wetzel and Wood counties. How will it work?…
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Economist Briefs WVU-P on Odebrecht Ethane Cracker

In February, the former director of West Virginia University’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research and professor emeritus at WVU, Tom Witt, released a study about the coming economic miracle that will be the Odebrecht ethane cracker plant in Parkersburg, WV (see Economist Releases Report on WV Cracker Plant’s Economic Impact). Witt’s previous employer, WVU, also hired him to brief them about this coming economic miracle. They specifically want to be sure their educational programs will help prepare the local workforce. Witt briefed the Parkersburg Board of Governors earlier this month. What did he tell them?…
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Odebrect Cracker Aims to Attract Chemical/Plastics Manufacturing

David Peebles, Odebrecht’s vice president of business development and the guy working to make the $4 billion ethane cracker and petrochemical plant project in Parkersburg, WV a reality, gave some great insights into just how vast and complex a process building that plant is. Speaking yesterday at the Penn State Natural Gas Utilization Conference in Southpointe, PA, Peebles said…
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Odebrecht WV Cracker Plant Decision “By End of 2015”

An update on the progress being made by Odebrecht and their planned ethane cracker plant and petrochemical manufacturing facility planned for Parkersburg (Wood County), WV. At the recent Global Plastics Summit in Chicago, Braskem (sister company to Odebrecht) vice president of business development, Renato Monteiro, said a final decision on building the proposed cracker plant will be made “by the end of 2015.” Here’s a few other tidbits about the cracker plant that came from Monteiro at the conference, including when the first PE (polyethylene) might be manufactured at the plant…
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A Present for Attendees of Shale Gas Insight – Peebles Column

Just in time for the attendees of Shale Insight in Pittsburgh to read, a guest commentary was published in today’s edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by David Peebles, the man helping to build a $3 billion ethane cracker plant in Parkersburg, WV. David waxes eloquent on shale, ethane and energy security…
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Odebrecht Moves Forward with WV Cracker Plant Plans

It's a done dealThe previously announced ethane cracker plant that is slated to be built near Parkersburg, WV is coming along very nicely, according to Odebrecht spokesman David Peebles. A talk at the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting and Business Summit at The Greenbrier last week, along with conversations with the Parkersburg News and Sentinel, provided some key details about just where the project sits. Once again MDN notices how quickly (and convincingly) the Odebrecht cracker project is progressing after being announced just last fall, as opposed to the ponderous path being taken by Shell with their planned cracker plant, announced 2 1/2 years ago. Neither plant is a done deal, yet. But in light of Odebrecht’s full-speed-ahead attitude and news from last week, it sure seems like the WV cracker is a lot closer to being a done deal than the Shell cracker…
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Cracker Race Continues: Odebrecht Files Remediation Application

The race continues to see who will build the first multi-billion dollar ethane cracker plant in the Marcellus/Utica region. Yesterday MDN brought you the news that Shell had filed, back in May, a detailed air pollution application with the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) for their proposed cracker plant in Beaver County, PA (see Details for Shell Ethane Cracker Revealed in Air Pollution Application). Although arriving on the scene several years after Shell’s project, Odebrecht announced last November they want to build a cracker plant near Parkersburg, WV (see WV Announces Brazilian Company to Build Ethane Cracker Complex). Odebrecht has now filed a similar document–a Voluntary Remediation Program application–with the WV Dept. of Environmental Protection (WVDEP)…
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Odebrecht Cracker Plant Will be Magnet for Downstream Development

David Peebles, VP of business development for Odebrecht, presented a plan for downstream development related to his company’s proposed ethane cracker plant in Parkersburg, WV at the Department of Energy Quadrennial Energy Review Public Meeting held at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh on July 21st. The presentation shows how the proposed Odebrecht $2B+ ethane cracker plant is just the beginning of “clusters” of downstream manufacturing facilities that will be built. The cracker plant will act as a magnet for other businesses. Peebles presented the plan to DOE Sec. Ernest Moniz. And, we happen to have a copy!…
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New Truck-to-Rail Transload Facility for Condensate/NGLs in WV

listen upMarcellus and Utica Shale drillers who are looking to sell more of their condensate and natural gas liquids (NGLs) have a new option. Concord Energy has just announced they will open a new Utica/Marcellus condensate & NGL transloading facility (truck to rail) in Parkersburg, WV. The new facility, which should be operational by mid-August of this year, will allow Concord to ship up to 150,000 barrels per month of condensate and NGLs. Here’s the particulars…
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More Evidence the Odebrect WV Ethane Cracker Will Happen

MDN continues to be encouraged by what we see happening with Odebrecht and their plans to build a multi-billion dollar ethane cracker plant and petrochemical complex near Parkersburg, WV, the state’s third largest city (see WV Announces Brazilian Company to Build Ethane Cracker Complex). As we previously commented, the WV ethane cracker just feels like it’s going to happen (see Odebrecht’s WV Ethane Cracker has The Big Mo–Momentum). The evidence that it will happen continued this week…
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Wirt County WV Coalition Still in Hunt for a Deal – Who With?

Last summer it seemed like a deal to lease 241,000 acres of land in the Wood, Ritchie, Calhoun, Roane, Jackson and Wirt County area was imminent (see Wirt County Landowner Group Close to Deal for Huge 241K Acres). But then in October Jim Lydon, chairman of the Wirt County Oil and Gas Group said the deal fell through and they were still shopping for a deal (see Wirt County Landowner Deal Falls Through, Still Searching).

According to Lydon the land in their massive coalition is in the “super wet area” of both the Marcellus and Utica Shale–and indeed he’s right. The group is still searching for a deal and no one is talking (that we can tell) on the record–although an article published yesterday in the Parkersburg News and Sentinel does mention, in passing, a few possible companies that may be talking with the group about a new deal…
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WV Commerce Sec Burdette Praises Odebrecht/Antero, Warns Drillers

Aside from WV Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, no one in West Virginia has been more dedicated, more focused and more committed to finding an ethane cracker plant for the state than WV Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette. MDN has stories going back years that mention Burdette and his quest for a cracker (just one example: WV’s Burdette Still in Hunt for Ethane Cracker Plant). We think it’s a fair statement to say without Burdette, the Odebrecht cracker plant project would not have happened. Our hat is off to Keith and the marvelous work he’s done for the state.

Yesterday Keith delivered a rousing speech at the Marcellus to Manufacturing Ethane Development Conference at the Charleston Civic Center. We have a transcript of his speech below. In it, Keith acknowledges the contributions of Odebrecht’s David Peebles in making this project happen. He also praises Antero Resources for their bold and brave commitment to providing half of the ethane for the new cracker plant. Finally, Keith sounds a word of warning to other drillers that are signing agreements to ship ethane out of the northeast region. He believes they may want to reconsider. The northeast has enough ethane for “a dozen crackers” if so much of it wasn’t heading to the Gulf Coast or Canada via pipeline…
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