Showing posts from February, 2020

Two New State-of-the-Art Gas-to-Liquids Plants Coming to Jefferson County

From the Herald-Star: A locally organized industrial development company says it will build two state-of-the-art gas- to-liquids plants on a 500-acre parcel in Saline township. Hammondsville-based Orin Holdings said the property is “adjacent to the Ohio River.”  “This parcel of land will be slated for industrial development housing two state-of-the art gas to liquids plants in the Ohio Valley,” the company said in a brief notice posted on its website.  Jefferson County Port Authority Incentives Manager Evan Scurti Wednesday stressed the project is still in a “very preliminary” stage, but said there’s “great potential.” Prior to posting that notice, Scurti said Orin Holdings had insisted on confidentiality.  “We’re ready to work with them, to hear what their needs might be as they go through the permitting process,” he said.  Orin founder Donald Brown said this morning that the site had been chosen after about three years of searching.  “We’re very pleased to find 500 acres

EQT Posts $1.2 Billion Loss in 2019, Plans to Greatly Reduce Debt in 2020

From Nasdaq: EQT Corp EQT.N, the largest producer of natural gas in the United States, on Thursday reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss and cut its 2020 capital outlays, joining peers in curbing spending as investors seek higher returns.  The company now expects 2020 capital expenditure between $1.15 billion and $1.25 billion, compared with a prior outlook between $1.25 billion and $1.35 billion.  U.S. natural gas prices are trading at their lowest in nearly two decades, with record-high levels of production outpacing domestic consumption and leading to a global glut.  As a result, several large gas producers like CNX Resources, Noble Energy have reduced the value of their production assets. EQT also took an impairment charge of $1.12 billion in the fourth quarter, which led the company to post a bigger quarterly loss. Click here to continue reading. 

Rig Count Drops, Permitting Picks Up a Bit in Utica Shale

WEEK ENDING 02/22/20 New permits issued last week:   8  (Previous week:  3 )   +5 Total horizontal permits issued:  3200  (Previous week:  3192 )    +8 Total horizontal wells drilled:  2719  (Previous week:  2717 )   +2 Total horizontal wells producing:  2451  (Previous week:  2451 )   +-0 Utica rig count:  11  (Previous week:  12 )   -1

Could Final Decision on Belmont County Cracker Plant Finally Come This Year?

From Nikkei Asian Review: PTT Global Chemical, an arm of Thai energy major PTT Group, has set aside $5 billion for its next five-year investment, of which around 80% will be spent on a petrochemical complex in the U.S. and acquisitions.  Chief Executive Kongkrapan Intarajang said the company is on track to make a final decision on the U.S. project by mid-2020. The process is moving as planned, including approval from U.S. authorities, environmental assessments and the choice of a construction company, the CEO said.  "The petrochemical complex in the U.S. will be our second home base," Kongkrapan told the Nikkei Asian Review. "We choose to invest in the U.S. because we can gain cheap raw material from shale gas near our location, while we have a big consumer base there." Kongkrapan said PTTGC's petrochemical complex will be on a 500-acre site in Ohio, where the Thai company has a 50-50 joint venture with South Korean petrochemical maker Daelim Industrial.

Oil and Gas Executives Push Back Against Democratic Presidential Candidates' Attempts to Demonize Them

From the Western Energy Alliance: In an open letter to 2020 Democratic presidential candidates printed in New York Times on February 24th, 54 executives from the western oil and natural gas industry forcefully pushed back against months of claims that they are corrupt criminals who should be jailed. The following full-page advertisement placed by Western Energy Alliance responds to statements that have gone unchallenged by Sen. Bernie Sanders , Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren by explaining the environmental and life-sustaining benefits of oil and natural gas.  Contrary to the anti-oil and natural gas messages candidates are spreading to voters and the media on the campaign trail, the underlying statement from business leaders is that it “would be criminal not to produce oil and natural gas.” They represent companies that develop oil and natural gas across the West. The full-page ad features a young boy studying by lantern light, one of the billion people wor

Immediate Outlook on U.S. Shale is Not Very Bright

From Reuters: U.S. shale oil drillers could scale back investment in production more quickly than previously expected this year after prices slid for what had been a lucrative by-product of their operations.  Oil producers have already taken a hit from the fall in global oil and gas prices as China’s coronavirus outbreak destroys demand in the world’s second-largest economy. Benchmark U.S. crude prices CLc1 have fallen about 12 percent to date this year.  Many shale producers had announced reductions in their capital expenditures even before the coronavirus outbreak due to lower oil prices in the second half of 2019. Lower spending is expected to slow the rate of shale growth, although production remains on course to reach a new record in 2020.  Shale producers now face another blow to their revenues because prices for natural gas liquids (NGLs), which include propane and butane, have also fallen. NGLs had helped prop up their bottom lines, providing lucrative returns when oil

Report Concludes That Fracking Ban in U.S. Would Cause Massive Job Losses and Huge Consumer Costs

From the Energy Policy Research Foundation: Oil and gas production from the U.S. petroleum resource base has experienced an unprecedented expansion in output which has now positioned the U.S. as the world’s largest oil and gas producer. The North American petroleum production platform is soon to become a net oil and gas exporter to the world market. This rapid expansion in oil and gas production has enhanced U.S. energy security, provided greater stability to the world oil market, and conveyed sustained economic benefits to the national economy. The expansion in output has been possible through a series of advances in extraction technology including the use of hydraulic fracturing which permits oil and gas production from so-called source rock.  Concerns over carbon emissions from sustained increases in domestic oil and gas production has now been reflected in the 2020 Presidential race, with some candidates and many public interest groups calling for an end to hydraulic fracturing

Chevron Cutting Over 300 Jobs in Appalachian Basin

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Chevron Corp. plans to eliminate 320 jobs as a result of its decision to liquidate its assets in the Appalachian Basin and ultimately close its Appalachian Mountain Business.  “We are taking active steps to reduce job loss and will facilitate the placement of as many impacted employees as we can with other Chevron business units,” said a Feb. 6 letter Chevron company officials sent to state Department of Labor & Industry.  The California-based energy company said it was providing significant advance notice of the layoffs to government stakeholders and employees despite the fact that most of the job cuts will not occur until later this year.  An initial round is scheduled for April 6, although some employees will be offered temporary assignments with extended layoff dates, potentially through Dec. 31.  Two office locations and a total of 320 workers will be affected. Click right here to continue reading. 

Report Concludes That Fracking Has Saved Consumers Over $1 Trillion in Last 10 Years

From Forbes: Could a ban on fracking happen? Would it benefit the nation? Democratic presidential candidates and some incumbent officeholders have recently called for a ban on the hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells, which is used to boost recovery from shale formations.  In 2012, my colleagues and I visited the topic with “ The Arithmetic of Shale Gas ,” in which we found that U.S. consumers benefited by more than $100 billion per year in lower natural gas prices. We contrasted that consumer gain with the harm from fracking asserted by activists (but unsubstantiated by a major Obama administration study ). So what, if anything, has changed since then? For one thing, the annual financial benefits to consumers from fracking have almost doubled as natural gas prices dropped. And we have learned more about the environmental impacts, including how to manage them.  Today, annual domestic natural gas consumption is approximately 31 trillion cubic feet, compared to 23 t

Permitting Continues to Crawl Along in Utica Shale

WEEK ENDING 02/15/20 New permits issued last week:   3  (Previous week:  2 )   +1 Total horizontal permits issued:  3192  (Previous week:  3192 )    +-0 Total horizontal wells drilled:  2717  (Previous week:  2713 )   +4 Total horizontal wells producing:  2451  (Previous week:  2443 )   +8 Utica rig count:  12  (Previous week:  12 )   +-0

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Environmental Scientist Takes Aim at Belmont County Cracker Plant in Guest Column

From a guest column by environmental scientist and Uhrichsville resident Randi Pokladnik, written for the Herald-Star: One [ sic ] again, JobsOhio, an economic development organization in Ohio, has awarded a huge sum of money, $20 million, to the Thailand chemical company PTT Global Chemical America and its South Korean partner, Daelim Industrial Co. The $20 million grant is for additional site preparation for a potential ethane cracker plant to be built at Dilles Bottom in Belmont County. This brings the total amount of money given by JobsOhio to this project to a whopping $70 million. This announcement came shortly after a Columbus-based spokesperson for the company, Dan Williamson, attempted to assuage concerns of citizens by basically “greenwashing” the dangers associated with petrochemicals and the increase in single-use plastics production. He admitted in his interview that the company has been quiet thus far but “concerned residents staging protests against the project and m

Ohio Bill Takes Aim at Unlawful Anti-Pipeline Protests

From Energy News Network: Activists say a bill advancing in the Ohio legislature could criminalize activities such as offering rides, water or medical aid to anti-pipeline protesters.  Even chanting “stop the pipeline” could be construed as encouraging damage to critical infrastructure under the bill’s vague language, critics say.  Trespass, willful destruction of property and various other actions are already crimes under Ohio law. But Ohio Senate Bill 33 calls for heavier penalties for trespass or property damage that might affect “critical infrastructure.” The Ohio Senate passed the bill last spring, and the House Public Utilities Committee reported out a substitute version on Jan. 30.  The broad definition of “critical infrastructure” would cover most oil and natural gas facilities, including many areas relating to pipelines and facilities to handle materials derived from oil and natural gas. Click here to read more. 

Write-Downs and Spending Cuts Are the Words of the Day in U.S. Shale

From Reuters: U.S. shale gas producers are ripe for further spending cuts and write-downs, investors and analysts said, with prices at four-year lows and China’s rejection of some gas imports weighing on earnings.  Natural gas production in the United States is at record levels, outpacing domestic consumption and leading to global supply glut. At the same time, China, the world’s largest importer of gas, has turned away shipments with its demand forecast to rise at the slowest pace in four years amid the coronavirus outbreak.  As a result, several large gas producers, have reduced the value of their production assets. EQT Corp, the largest U.S. gas producer, recently said it would take a write-down of as much as $1.8 billion, following CNX Resources Corp, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Chevron Corp in reducing the value of gas properties.  U.S. shale gas producers’ Antero Resources Corp, Cabot Oil & Gas Corp and EQT kick off fourth-quarter results in coming days. Antero has pl

Marcellus Shale Coalition Warns About Dire Impacts of Sanders/AOC Fracking Ban Bill

From the Marcellus Shale Coalition: Following the introduction of legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate to ban the safe, responsible use of hydraulic fracturing, Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) president Dave Spigelmyer issued the following statement:   “Banning the safe and strongly regulated use of hydraulic fracturing would bring our economy to a standstill. It would result in the loss of hundreds-of-thousands of good-paying jobs and wipeout billions of dollars of capital investment in Pennsylvania while reversing the environmental progress we have gained thanks to natural gas,” Spigelmyer said.   “As a result of this disastrous policy, hard-working Pennsylvanians who have enjoyed a decade of affordable, reliable energy would be burdened with skyrocketing costs and our county would again be reliant on foreign nations to supply the energy we need.   “Supporting and growing domestic shale production should be a core focus of any serious policy discus

EID Investigation Sheds Light on Activist-Driven Media Platform

by Spencer Walrath, Energy in Depth Earlier this week, EID  released our investigation  into the new Drilled News platform, shedding light into the connections between this new media initiative and the climate litigation campaign. Thanks to our efforts, the platform was  forced to come clean  about their funders and relationship to the problematic litigation campaign. Richard Wiles, Confirmed Key Contributor Richard Wiles’ Center for Climate Integrity (CCI) has played an integral part in the climate litigation campaign including running numerous  social media   campaigns , hosting  events  across the  country  to promote litigation, submitting an  amicus brief , and hiring a lobbyist to arrange meetings between city officials and plaintiffs’ attorneys. CCI is funded by billionaire donors both  foreign  and  domestic  to wage a climate litigation campaign against the nation’s energy producers and continues to be opaque about its backers. While Drilled News is not a direct advoc

New Study Finds That Reality Doesn't Line Up with Perception on Water Contamination from Fracking

From the University of Texas at Arlington: A study led by environmental researchers at The University of Texas at Arlington suggests a disconnect between the perception of groundwater contamination and the extent to which that contamination is attributable to oil and natural gas extraction.  Members of the Collaborative Laboratories for Environmental Analysis and Remediation (CLEAR) at UTA found that samples from only five of 36 private water wells showed any potential indications of contamination from unconventional oil and gas development, a multifaceted process that includes hydraulic fracturing. The samples were collected from the Barnett, Eagle Ford, Haynesville and Marcellus Shale regions in response to anecdotal claims of oil- and gas-related contamination.  The study, “Characterizing anecdotal claims of groundwater contamination in shale energy basins,” appears in the journal Science of the Total Environment .  Kevin Schug, Shimadzu Distinguished Professor of Analytical

Hess CEO Says U.S. Shale is Beginning to Plateau, Acknowledges Climate Change as a Real Threat

From Reuters: Shale pioneer John Hess said on Tuesday that key U.S. shale fields are starting to plateau, calling shale “important but not the next Saudi Arabia.”  Over the past decade, the shale revolution turned the United States into the world’s largest crude producer and a force in energy exports. Yet that did not translate to higher stock prices or returns for investors, with the S&P 500 Energy sector only gaining 6% in a decade, far less than the 180% return for the broader stock market.  Companies remain under pressure to trim budgets and produce enough free cash flow to pay investors higher dividends or buy back shares. The biggest industry challenge is the lack of long-term investment, Hess said.  Production in the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas is starting to plateau, while the Bakken field in North Dakota where Hess is a major producer will hit its peak production levels within the next two years, said Hess, who spoke Tuesday in Houston at the Argus Americas Cru

Legal Challenge to Nuclear Bailout in Ohio Has Been Killed

From The Columbus Dispatch: The challenge to overturn House Bill 6 – the ratepayer-financed bailout of Ohio’s nuclear power plants – is officially dead.  At the request of the opponents of the controversial legislation, the Ohio Supreme Court dismissed Friday a case in which a federal judge had asked the justices to answer legal questions about placing referendums on Ohio ballots.  The action followed the Thursday dismissal in U.S. District Court of the now-abandoned bid by Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts to force a vote on the $1 billion subsidy being routed to the owner of two nuclear plants on Lake Erie.  The group dismissed last week its appeal before the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, saying it did not have the cash to continue its fight.  The group had appealed an Oct. 23 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Edmund A. Sargus in Columbus that held it turned to the wrong court seeking additional days to collect signatures on its petition.  Sargus

Sanders & Ocasio-Cortez Introduce Bill Completely Banning Fracking Nationwide Within 5 Years

From Law 360: Leading progressive Democrats have introduced what they say is Congress’ first-ever proposal to ban fracking across the United States, with immediate limits ramping up to total prohibition by 2025.  The Fracking Ban Act was introduced Friday by Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent among the top Democratic presidential contenders, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the first-term New York liberal with a focus on climate change. Although unlikely to become law this year, with Republicans controlling the Senate and the White House, the measure may forecast how a progressive Democratic administration would approach energy policy.  “If we are serious about clean air and drinking water, if we are serious about combating climate change, the only safe and sane way to move forward is to ban fracking nationwide,” Sanders said in a statement Friday.  Fracking is an abbreviated term for hydraulic fracturing, which is a production technique that typically uses a high-p

Still No Final Decision on Belmont County Cracker Plant as PTT Pushes Back Against Activists

There continues to be no end in sight for the ongoing will-they or won't-they drama over the possible construction of a cracker plant in Belmont County. Over the past couple of weeks the proposed cracker plant has remained in the news, but the latest comments from PTT Global Chemical reveal that there is still no final decision made as to whether the plant will actually be built.  So in the meantime, the possibility continues to exist that the money that has been spent preparing the site, grants that have been awarded, wooing by local officials, and hand-wringing by anti-oil and gas activists is all much ado about nothing.  It is hard to imagine that PTT would come this far and have invested this much money without actually building the plant, but with nearly 5 years expired since they first announced that this project was a possibility, it's anybody's guess at this point what will actually happen. Here is the latest news.  First, from The Intelligencer: Some concerne

Permitting Slows in Utica Shale During Last Two Weeks

WEEK ENDING 02/01/20 New permits issued last week:   6  (Previous week:  11 )   -5 Total horizontal permits issued:  3190  (Previous week:  3184 )    +6 Total horizontal wells drilled:  2712  (Previous week:  2711 )   +1 Total horizontal wells producing:  2434  (Previous week:  2434 )   +-0 Utica rig count:  12  (Previous week:  11 )   +1 WEEK ENDING 02/08/20 New permits issued last week:   2  (Previous week:  6 )   -4 Total horizontal permits issued:  3192  (Previous week:  3190 )    +2 Total horizontal wells drilled:  2713  (Previous week:  2712 )   +1 Total horizontal wells producing:  2443  (Previous week:  2434 )   +9 Utica rig count:  12  (Previous week:  12 )   +-0

February 2020 Well Activity Maps Published by ODNR

Encino Energy Releases Announcement for Landowners

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