Showing posts from July, 2016

Oil Prices Slip to Three-Month Low

From Bloomberg: Oil fell to a three-month low in New York as supplies were considered plentiful even as stockpiles were seen deepening a record pullback in the U.S., the biggest fuel consumer.  West Texas Intermediate futures declined 1.3 percent after falling 2.4 percent Monday. While U.S. crude inventories probably slid by 2.25 million barrels last week, gasoline supplies may have added 600,000 barrels, swelling stockpiles already at their highest in decades, according to a Bloomberg survey before a government report Wednesday.  Crude has slipped more than 15 percent since early June after almost doubling from a 12-year low in February as supply disruptions from Nigeria to Canada trimmed a worldwide surplus. BP Plc, the first oil major to report second-quarter results, missed analyst estimates as lower prices continued to erode income and refining margins shrank. The rest of the article is available by clicking here. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @Energ

Halliburton Posts $3.2 Billion Loss, Lays Off More Workers

From Fuel Fix: Halliburton reported a $3.2 billion loss in the second quarter Wednesday, largely because of a $3.5 billion breakup fee it paid rival and former acquisition target, Baker Hughes.  Halliburton’s acquisition of Houston-based Baker Hughes fell apart in early May after the Justice Department intervened because of anti-competitiveness concerns.  Halliburton said it cut about another 5,000 jobs globally during the second quarter, bringing the total workforce to just more than 50,000 people. Halliburton has eliminated more than 35,000 jobs in two years, roughly 40 percent of its total jobs during that timeframe.  Halliburton’s second-quarter revenue of $3.8 billion was off almost 35 percent from the same period a year earlier, when the company recorded earnings of $54 million. In the first quarter of this year, Halliburton posted revenue of $4.2 billion and a $2.4 billion net loss.  Halliburton’s North American revenue fell 15 percent in the second quarter, Chairman a

Eclipse Resources Drills Two Utica Shale Wells in 2nd Quarter

From an Eclipse Resources press release: Since resuming operations in the 2nd quarter, the Company has drilled 2 gross (2.0 net) operated Utica Shale wells and is currently drilling its third well in the dry gas portion of its Utica Shale acreage. In addition, the Company has completed 4 gross (3.9 net) wells averaging 10 stages per day in the liquids rich portion of its Utica Shale Acreage utilizing all slick water, 150’ stages and higher sand concentrations of 1,800 to 2,000 pounds/foot. The Company expects to put the pad into sales in the next 30 days. Further, the Company is approximately 50% done fracking its five well Wheeler pad and have been completing 8-11 stages a day while using higher sand concentrations of 2,000 pounds/foot.  Commenting on the second quarter, Benjamin W. Hulburt, Eclipses Resources’ Chairman, President and CEO said, “I continue to be impressed with our team’s strong execution, especially as we continue to extend the lateral length on our wells in the h

Energy Industry Job Cuts Not Stopping Yet

From NGI: The energy industry has lost tens of thousands of jobs since oil prices collapsed in 2014, and while the workforce reductions may have slowed, several companies have reported more layoffs in cost-cutting efforts during recent days.  "As a result of the weakness in activity that will persist through 2016 as expected, we have made another significant adjustment to our cost and resource base, including the release of more than 16,000 employees during the first half of 2016 and a further streamlining of our overhead, infrastructure, and asset base," Schlumberger Ltd. CEO Paal Kibsgaard said. "This has led to $646 million in restructuring charges in the second quarter for the reduction in our workforce..."  About half of those cuts reportedly came in the second quarter.  The restructuring "should bring the company into the shape where we are well-positioned to navigate the bottom of the market and also well-positioned to start growing again going f

EIA Projection: Utica Shale Gas Production to Increase in August

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Despite Provocative Headlines, New Pa. Study Fails to Link Fracking to Asthma

by Seth Whitehead, Energy in Depth Researchers at Johns Hopkins University and Geisinger Health Systems have teamed up again to release another study of the potential impacts of oil and gas development in the Marcellus, this time focusing on exacerbations of asthma attacks. This  new study  claims those who live near shale gas wells are “1.5 to four times likelier to have asthma attacks than those who live far away.” Just to provide some quick context, this is the same team of researchers who published a study claiming premature birthrates were higher in counties closest to shale wells, even though they were right in line  with the national premature birth rate. One of the researchers that stands out is Brian Schwartz,  a fellow at the Post Carbon Institute  which has called fracking a “ virus .” Considering that background, it’s not surprising that, despite the fact that  study  after  study , including data from the  Environmental Protection Agency , has shown that fracking does

Chesapeake Energy Faces Lawsuit Over Alleged Bid-Rigging

From Bloomberg: Chesapeake Energy Corp., the company Aubrey McClendon built into a natural-gas giant, was sued along with his former partner by lease holders who say the pair conspired to rig bids for drilling rights during the shale boom.  The lawsuit against Chesapeake and Tom Ward comes four months after a federal grand jury indicted McClendon on March 1 for allegedly fixing shale lease auctions. McClendon died a day later, at age 56, when the SUV he was driving slammed into a bridge in Oklahoma City, where he lived and worked.  The suit, brought by Chisholm Partners LLC and its investors, accuses Chesapeake and Ward of working together to artificially lower prices while McClendon led his company and Ward was chief executive officer at SandRidge Energy Inc. The plaintiffs are seeking at least $30 million in damages in the lawsuit filed July 13 in a federal court in Kansas City, Kansas. “Chesapeake along with the defendants and SandRidge, between them, illegally ‘divided up’ t

Officials Hopeful That Cracker Plant Will Prompt Action on $2.3 Billion Ohio River Project

From Powersource: River industry officials hope Shell Chemical’s decision to build an ethane cracker plant on the Ohio River will provide enough of an incentive to get a long-delayed, $2.3 billion lock and dam project off the ground.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been considering modernizing Depression-era locks and dams on the Ohio River at Emsworth, Dashields and Montgomery since 2003. The Corps is expected to sign off on a study justifying the work this fall, which would be enough time to get Congress to authorize the project before the current session ends.  Shell has already built two docks for barges at the site, located in Potter and Center townships, Beaver County, and has moved in materials by barge as part of its preliminary work. Industry officials expect the company, a division of Netherlands-based Royal Dutch Shell, will rely on the river to move material and they say the businesses expected to be created by the cracker plant also will need dependable river i

Guernsey County Commissioners Continue to Oppose Drill Cuttings Treatment Facility

From Gas & Oil: The Guernsey County commissioners have reiterated opposition to a planned drill cuttings treatment facility to be located in the Desmond Hall Industrial Park.  “Our position hasn’t changed,” said Commissioner Dave Wilson, speaking on behalf of the board. “The primary reason we had this meeting was to give the public an opportunity to hear from these people, for our state elected representatives ... with Senator (Troy) Balderson and Representative (Brian) Hill being here ... to be able to hear the concerns here, since they would be our conduit to the OEPA and the ODNR, and those who are in control of the permitting process.”  Wilson said concerns heard from residents and municipal and business representatives were varied.  “The concerns have been varied in terms of potential contamination to ground water,” he said, “in terms of wells, in terms of the secondary or backup water source for the Village of Byesville, a concern expressed by a representative here of

Utica Shale Rig Count Jumps on Latest ODNR Permitting Report

Activity finally may be picking back up in the Utica shale, according to the latest weekly permitting update from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The Utica shale rig count has been on steady decline for many months now, but is showing signs of recovery lately.  This week saw it jump to 16, the highest total since early in March of this year. In addition to the rig count increase, the total number of wells permitted has now gone over 2,200 for the first time with the addition of 7 new permits listed last week.  It stands at 2,201, with 1,763 wells drilled and 1,347 producing. View the report below or by clicking here . Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

University of Cincinnati Conducting Yet Another Taxpayer Funded Air, Groundwater Study

by Nicole Jacobs, Energy in Depth The University of Cincinnati (UC) has been in the news recently due to two studies on the impacts of oil and gas on air and water quality in Ohio. One is a  yet to be published study  of groundwater  that found no impacts from fracking . The other was  recently retracted  due to bad data that initially claimed fracking could increase cancer rates through air pollution. The corrected data showed its previous conclusions to be widely inaccurate, as levels were in fact well  below the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards  for health concerns.  Both of these studies received  significant funding   from taxpayers . Now, on the heels of those two studies, one of the researchers of the  retracted report ,  Dr. Erin Haynes , is embarking on another taxpayer-funded study, this time focusing on an injection well in Guernsey County. The new  study will look at  “volatile organic compounds, formaldehyde, particle matter and radioactivity levels” and “s

Goldman Sachs: 100,000 Oil Industry Jobs Could be Coming Back in Next 2 Years

From CNN Money: Good news laid-off oil workers: U.S. energy companies could soon face a serious worker shortage.  Goldman Sachs believes the American oil industry is about to stage a big comeback from the painful downturn and big job losses caused by oversupply. As more oil fields come on line and America's oil boom gets back on track, there simply won't be enough people to do the required drilling, well completion and other logistical work. Cheap oil wiped out nearly 170,000 oil and gas jobs since late 2014 as desperate companies scrambled to cut costs and avoid bankruptcy.  That means just to keep up with the expected ramp-up in drilling activity, the oil and gas industry would need to add 80,000 to 100,000 jobs between now and the end of 2018, Goldman predicted in a recent report. Read more by clicking right here. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

Cracker Plant Projects Provide Opportunity for Plastics Companies

From Gas & Oil: As a professional in the business development world, Paul Boulier, vice president of business attraction at Team Northeast Ohio, said Ohio businesses should treat the growing ethane and oil industry in the state as a marathon rather than a sprint.  On June 7th, Royal Dutch Shell announced that it will be moving forward with a multi-billion dollar cracker plant in Beaver County along the Ohio river.  In the middle of the Utica Midstream conference in Canton on June 8, Boulier was asked by the Chamber's vice president for public policy and energy David Kaminski to give his feedback on the announcement by Shell the day before.  Boulier explained he has 42 years of experience in the industry and the Shell cracker plant announcment, he said, will help the industry people and public at large to “connect the dots” in the growth of the energy market in Ohio and the businesses who want to benefit from it. Continue reading by clicking here. Connect with us on F

Depleted Workforce and Other Factors Slow Oil Industry Revival

From Reuters: Two years ago, Reg MacDonald's 20-day drilling classes were packed to capacity, with nearly 40 students eager to land lucrative jobs in the booming oil and gas industry. Now he is lucky if he gets half a dozen to enroll.  The latest rout in oil prices has been the last straw for many workers just getting back on their feet after the last downturn in 2008, said MacDonald, president of Maritime Drilling Schools Ltd in Nova Scotia, Canada, which trains both entry-level and experienced workers for oilfield jobs all over the world.  "It's not stable. It's too cyclical. You get ahead and you lose," said MacDonald, who has been in the industry since the mid-1970s.  Supply outages brought oil prices close to $50 a barrel that many U.S. shale producers say they need to lift output, and drilling has picked up in some of the best oil patches.  Conversations with larger producers, contractors and suppliers suggest, however, that any recovery will look

Ohio Seeing Power Plant Building Boom

From The Columbus Dispatch: A power-plant building boom has hit Ohio, the first since shale natural gas changed just about everything in the state's energy landscape.  Six plants are under construction or in the planning stages across the state, including one near Circleville. The projects show how shale gas is transforming the electricity market in a state long associated with coal and coal-fired electricity.  "Don't be surprised if the future of power generation is natural gas, along with wind and solar," said Don Mason, a Zanesville lawyer who specializes in energy issues and a former member of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. "There is an abundance of natural gas that will provide the price to beat."  It is no accident that he left coal off his list. Coal-fired power plants are closing because of a combination of old age and the high costs of complying with clean-air rules. Gas plants also emit pollutants, but at much lower levels than co

Ohio Inches Closer to 2,200 Utica Shale Permits

The latest weekly update on permitting from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources shows that the slow crawl in the number of permits issued continued last week.  Six new permits show up on the latest report.  Three of those are for sites in Jefferson County, while one permit each went to Belmont, Monroe, and Noble counties. There are now 2,197 permits issued for Utica shale horizontal drilling in the state, with 1,759 wells drilled and 1,347 wells producing.  The Utica rig count is 12. View the report below or by clicking here. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! Follow @EnergyNewsBlog

Corrected UC Fracking Study Shows Retracted Original Exaggerated Cancer Risk by 725,000 Percent

by Seth Whitehead, Energy in Depth Prior to being  retracted  last month due to what researchers called “honest calculation errors,” a 2015 University of Cincinnati  study  on the effects of shale development in Carroll County, Ohio, suggested “natural gas extraction may be contributing significantly to PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon emissions) in the air, at levels that are relevant to human health.” That assessment led to alarmist headlines, such as Newsweek’s  “Fracking Could Increase Risk of Cancer, New Study Finds,”  But it turns out that the  corrected version , posted this week, has reached  the exact opposite conclusion : “This work suggests that natural gas extraction is contributing PAHs to the air, at  levels that would not be expected to increase cancer risk .” In fact, the researchers’ “honest calculation errors” in the original study led to an exaggeration in the cancer risk from PAH emissions in Carroll County by an astounding  7,250 times  what the cor

Injection Well Shut Down After Illegal Dumping May Soon Be Back in Action

From Business Journal Daily: The new owner of a shuttered Class II injection well along McCartney Road in Coitsville Township could resume operations in the near future, confirms a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.  Eric Heis, responding by email to a request from The Business Journal related to the status of the Collins #6 well, said that the well permit was transferred after the initial owner’s permit – in this case, D&L Energy – was revoked.  “The well in question was transferred to a new owner after D&L Energy’s permits were revoked, and the new owner expressed interest in operating the well in the future,” Heis said in his email.  The prospect of restarting the well drew protestors near the site Tuesday. They held signs denouncing the use of injection wells as dangerous to the environment and the public.  The bulk of D&L’s assets that included the Collins injection well were purchased by Denver-based Resource Land Holdings LLC through U.

Seventy Seven Energy Emerges From Bankruptcy with New $100 Million Loan

From the Wall Street Journal: Oil-field-services provider Seventy Seven Energy Inc. is preparing to get out of bankruptcy after a judge agreed to approve a reorganization plan that would give the Oklahoma company access to up to $100 million in a new borrowing deal.  Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., said in court Wednesday that she would give Seventy Seven Energy permission to put its reorganization plan into action. The plan would allow bondholders owed $1.1 billion to take over most of the ownership in the company, which provides drilling, hydraulic fracturing and oil-field-rental services to exploration and production companies.  “By converting all of the funded bond debt to equity under the plan and structuring the exit facility on the [current terms and conditions], [Seventy Seven Energy and its affiliates] have the means to withstand the volatility endemic in the current commodity market,” Chief Financial Officer Cary Baetz s

Belmont County Cracker Plant Likely to Force Some Residents to Move

From The Intelligencer: The skyline alongside the Ohio River will soon change, as contractors plan to demolish the stack of the R.E. Burger Plant by the end of the month to make room for a multi-billion-dollar ethane cracker. Since officials with Royal Dutch Shell confirmed plans to build their giant petrochemical plant near Monaca, Pa., anticipation for the PTT Global America project in Belmont County has continued building. Although PTT executives had hoped to make a final investment determination this year, company spokesman Dan Williamson this week said the final decision will likely occur next year.  “We are continuing the front-end engineering design process. The site remediation is also in progress. We will have enough information to announce a final investment decision in the first quarter of 2017,” Williamson said.  As contractors working for FirstEnergy Corp. work to clear the former R.E. Burger Plant for about one-third of the land needed to construct the massive ethan

Speculation Mounting That Oil Prices Will Drop Again

Predicting what will happen to oil prices seems to be the ultimate example of an inexact science.  A lot of very intelligent people who get paid to speculate on what will happen next have been proven wrong over and over, especially in the past two years or so. With that in mind, take the following for what it's worth. After seeing prices rebound quickly and go north of $50 in recent weeks, the oil price has declined again of late, landing in the $45 range over the past couple of weeks.  A variety of factors have been implicated in that drop, including Brexit and the latest rhetoric from OPEC.  And now the talk among analysts seems to be concerned with if and how much further oil may drop before the price starts to rise again. First, from Forbes contributor Michael Lynch: The Brexit-induced turmoil in financial markets undoubtedly affected oil prices, despite the likelihood that fundamental effects will be minimal. British economic growth and oil demand might be somewhat s

Calls Increasing for Oil and Gas Companies to Disclose Details of How Shifting to Renewable Energy Will Affect Them

From Forbes: The fossil fuel industry risks losing $33 trillion in revenue over the next 25 years as global warming may drive companies to leave oil, natural gas and coal in the ground, according to a Barclays Plc energy analyst.  Government regulations and other efforts to cut carbon emissions will inevitably slash demand for fossil fuels, jeopardizing traditional energy producers, Mark Lewis, Barclays’s head of European utilities equity research, said Monday during a panel discussion in New York on financial risks from climate change.  His comments are part of a growing chorus calling for more transparency from oil and gas companies about how their balance sheets may be affected by the global shift away from fossil fuels. As governments adopt stricter environmental policies, there’s increasing risk that companies’ untapped deposits of oil, gas and coal may go unused, turning valuable reserves into stranded assets of questionable value. “There will be lower demand for fossil fue

Number of North American Drillers Filing for Bankruptcy Has Hit 85 Since Start of 2015

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National Science Foundation Study Clears Fracking of Contaminating Water

From The Daily Caller: Natural sources of methane are far more likely to contaminate groundwater than hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, according to a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded study published Monday.  The study examined methane levels in groundwater supplies going back 25 years and determined that biologically generated methane and naturally occurring coal were the primary sources of methane in groundwater.  The research also disproves environmental claims that methane from fracking causes tap-water to flame.  “This latest study is another blow to the credibility of anti-fossil fuel activists have made water contamination a central claim in their case against fracking despite being consistently debunked by science,” Randy Hildreth, the Colorado Director of the pro-industry group Energy In Depth, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “None of the cases of contamination researchers looked at in Colorado’s DJ Basin were attributed to wells using hydraulic fract

American Energy Alliance Gives Donald Trump its Endorsement

From The Daily Caller: The American Energy Alliance (AEA) gave Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump its endorsement, adding that the billionaire’s policy will lead to a renewed era of economic prosperity.  The AEA said Tuesday that the presumptive Republican presidential candidate would peel back many of President Barack Obama’s energy policies, including those that regulate fossil fuels.  “Donald Trump has put forth a plan that would move our country forward by opening up more federal lands and waters for energy exploration of all kinds, utilizing cutting-edge technologies to tap into our vast resources, unwinding the Obama administration’s harmful regulations, and subjecting the Paris Agreement to the scrutiny it deserves,” Tom Pyle, the group’s president, said in a statement Tuesday.  Pyle added: “These policies will usher in an era of prosperity that will strengthen our economy, put more money in the pockets of American families, and lift many struggling American

U.S. Natural Gas Supply Glut is Starting to Disappear

From Reuters: U.S. natural gas prices have risen by a third since hitting a two-decade low in the first quarter, amid signs supply and demand are rebalancing and excess stocks left over from an unusually warm winter are being worked down.  The volume of gas in working storage hit a record 4.01 trillion cubic feet in November 2015 and is still at 3.18 trillion cubic feet, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration ( ).  Gas stocks are 513 billion cubic feet (19 percent) higher than in the same week in 2015. But the build has shrunk steadily from a record 1.014 trillion cubic feet (69 percent) in March ( ).  In response to the earlier slide in prices, the number of rigs drilling for oil and gas across the United States has fallen to the lowest level since World War Two. By the start of June 2016, there were just 82 rigs drilling for gas, down from over 300 in June 2014, according to services company Baker Hughes. Read more of this

Corrected Data from Retracted UC Study Show Emission Levels Well Below EPA Standards

by Seth Whitehead, Energy in Depth One of the authors of a  recently retracted  University of Cincinnati air quality study that yielded headlines such as Newsweek’s  “Fracking Could Increase Risk of Cancer, New Study Finds”  has admitted that the corrected study shows  absolutely no evidence  to support such alarmist headlines.  confirmed Friday what EID suspected when it  broke news  of the retraction earlier this week — corrected data from the study shows that the levels of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) found near fracking sites is below the levels the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says would increase risk of cancer: “… the conclusions have been reversed — the original paper stated pollution levels exceeded limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for lifetime cancer risk,  but the corrected data set the risks below EPA levels .” Study co-author Kim Anderson of Oregon State University was quoted in a  press relea