Donation will help fund training for potential ethane ‘cracker’ workers in Pennsylvania

The Community College of Beaver County has received a $100,000 donation from developer Chuck Betters to buy equipment that will be used to train potential workers for Royal Dutch Shell’s planned ethane “cracker” plant near Monaca, Pennsylvania, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. The newspaper says the donation by Betters, CEO of CJ Betters Enterprises Inc., will go to the college’s Process Technology program and be used to buy simulation software, pilot plants and benchtop trainers. For more, read the full story.

Pennsylvania

OPEC agrees to first oil production cut in eight years

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has reached an agreement among all 14 member nations to curtail oil production for the first time since 2008, reports CNBC. The network says OPEC ministers confirmed the organization has secured a cut in oil production from 33.8 million barrels a day (b/d) to 32.5 million b/d in an effort to prop up prices. Oil prices have fallen by more than half since mid-2014 due to global oversupply and U.S. shale production, according to CNBC. For more, read the full story.

Global

Experts: Wolfcamp shale discovery unlikely to hurt Appalachian basin production

The U.S. Geological Survey's new estimate that the Wolfcamp shale formation in west Texas contains large amounts of oil, natural gas and natural-gas liquids is unlikely to affect gas and petroleum production in Ohio or the Appalachia region as a whole, reports the Columbus Dispatch. Ben Ebenhack, a petroleum-engineering professor at Marietta College, told the newspaper the Wolfcamp estimates may not turn out to be as bountiful as projected and "only drilling will or won't confirm that." In addition, Penn State University Geoscience Professor Terry Engelder said the combined energy in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays is comparable to that in the Wolfcamp formation with the difference being the Appalachian basin is rich in natural gas while the Wolfcamp "is mostly tied up in petroleum." For more, read the full story.

National, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

Blue Racer Midstream starts barge shipments from West Virginia facility

Blue Racer Midstream, which operates a natural gas and natural gas liquids processing facility in northern West Virginia, has started shipping its products by barge to Gulf Coast ports, reports the State Journal in Charleston, West Virginia. The newspaper says the shipments on the Ohio River make Blue Racer’s Natrium complex the first fractionation facility to offer barge service to Utica shale producers. Before the river shipments began, natural gas liquids had been transported from the Natrium complex to downstream markets via rail, truck and pipeline. For more, read the full story.

West Virginia

West Virginia Supreme Court: Only ‘public use’ pipelines have eminent domain power

In a case that may affect the path of natural gas pipeline development in West Virginia, the state’s Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a Monroe County couple who objected to Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC (MVP) seeking access to their property for survey work, reports the West Virginia MetroNews network. MetroNews says the Supreme Court ruled in Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC v. McCurdy that West Virginia’s eminent domain laws “apply to projects that have a public use, but the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline doesn’t specifically have a benefit for West Virginia because the natural gas isn’t necessarily going to be used here.” Monroe County residents Bryan and Doris McCurdy had objected to requests by an MVP agent to conduct surveys on their property. In a two-part analysis, the Court held that the state survey-access statute requires a finding of “public use,” and the MVP pipeline will not benefit West Virginia consumers—thus, the MVP pipeline is “not for a public use.” The Court affirmed the lower court’s holding that state law did not authorize MVP to enter the McCurdys’ property. For more, read the full story.

Oil & Gas Litigation, West Virginia

West Virginia oil and gas group hires new executive director

The West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association has hired attorney Anne Blankenship to serve as its new executive director, reports the Charleston Gazette-Mail. The newspaper says Blankenship is a lawyer at Babst Calland in Charleston, where she focuses on environmental and natural resources law. She will replace Steve Perdue, who took over on an interim basis after the association’s former director, Corky Demarco, died in July 2016. For more, read the full story.

West Virginia

Ohio official calls for collaboration on proposed ‘cracker’ plant

A county commissioner in eastern Ohio is calling for regional collaboration to ensure the Ohio Valley captures as many benefits as possible from the proposed PTT Global Chemical ethane “cracker” plant in Dilles Bottom, Ohio, reports the Intelligencer/News-Register in Wheeling, West Virginia. At a meeting with Wheeling’s ad hoc committee on regional industrial development related to the project, Belmont County Commissioner Mark Thomas said he expects 500 to 700 permanent jobs at the cracker plant after the peak of construction employment, which is estimated at 5,000 jobs. The newspaper says Thomas also thinks spinoff industries, such as plastics manufacturing, “could significantly jump-start the valley’s economic pulse.” For more, read the full story.

Ohio, West Virginia

U.S. rig count shows biggest increase in two years

The number of oil and natural gas rigs in the U.S. rose by 20 during the week of November 14, the largest jump since the peak of the shale oil boom in 2014, according to FuelFix.com. Citing data from oilfield services company Baker Hughes, the energy news site says the total rig count rose to 588, the most since May 2014. Rig counts increased in Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio and Colorado, but fell in North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Wyoming. For more, read the full story.

National, Ohio, Pennsylvania

Sunoco Logistics to acquire Energy Transfer Partners in $20 billion deal

Pennsylvania-based Sunoco Logistics Partners LP has agreed to acquire Energy Transfer Partners LP in deal valued at $20 billion, reports the Oil & Gas Journal. The companies have oil and natural gas pipeline operations in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays. Sunoco Logistics said the combined partnership will have “increased scale and diversification across multiple producing (oil and gas) basins” and more opportunities to integrate Sunoco’s natural gas liquids business with Energy Transfer’s natural gas gathering, processing and transportation operations. For more, read the full story.

National, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

Activists submit petition opposing oil and gas drilling in Wayne National Forest

Environmental activists recently delivered a petition signed by more than 92,000 people asking the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to stop its lease auction of 1,600 acres in southeast Ohio's Wayne National Forest for oil and natural gas development, reports the  Athens News. The newspaper says the federal government announced in October 2016 it has scheduled the auction to start on December 13, 2016. That followed a finding by the BLM of “no significant impact” for drilling on 40,000 acres in the Marietta unit of the forest, which covers parts of Washington, Noble and Monroe counties. For more, read the full story.

Ohio
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