Pennsylvania oil and gas program faces dire financial situation

The director of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) says large fines paid by drilling companies kept the agency's oil and natural gas regulatory program afloat in 2017, “as program costs surpass dwindling revenue from well permits by nearly $700,000 a month,” reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The newspaper says DEP’s Scott Perry laid out what he called the dire condition of the program’s finances to justify a DEP proposal to more than double the cost of a permit to drill a shale gas well from $5,000 to $12,500. Permit fees were last raised in 2014 with the expectation that companies would apply for 2,600 shale well permits a year, but they are on track to apply for just 1,500 permits in 2018, according to the Post-Gazette. For more, read the full story.


Exxon Mobil prepares to open ethane ‘cracker’ at Texas complex

Exxon Mobil Corp. is almost ready to start up its new ethane “cracker” plant at the company’s Baytown, Texas complex, reports the Houston Business Journal. The newspaper says the plant is mechanically complete, the commissioning process is under way, and production is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2018. The cracker, which is part of Exxon Mobile's multibillion-dollar expansion at the Baytown complex, will increase the company's ethylene capacity by 1.5 million tons per year, according to the Business Journal. For more, read the full story.


FERC allows construction to start on Mountain Valley Pipeline

New orders from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) grant permission for developers of the Mountain Valley Pipeline to continue tree-clearing and road construction and also begin construction of the actual pipeline along the route in West Virginia and Virginia, reports Marcellus Drilling News. The news site says construction is now under way in multiple counties in both states on the $3.5 billion, 301-mile natural gas pipeline that will run from Wetzel County, West Virginia to the Transco Pipeline in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. Click here to read more.

West Virginia

Diversified Gas & Oil to acquire Appalachia assets for $180 million

Diversified Gas & Oil PLC has agreed to acquire Alliance Petroleum Corp. and the conventional Appalachian oil and natural gas assets of CNX Resources Corp. for a combined price of $180 million, reports Oil & Gas Journal. The news site says the Alliance and CNX assets are in Diversified's existing Appalachian basin footprint in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. For more, read the full story.

Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

EQT Corp. expected to separate drilling, midstream businesses

Pittsburgh-based EQT Corp. is expected to announce by the end of February 2018 a plan that will likely separate its oil and natural gas drilling business from the company's midstream arm, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The newspaper says the separation plan “has been months in the making and nudged along by an activist shareholder campaign [in 2017] that tried to use EQT’s acquisition  of Rice Energy Inc. as leverage to force the split.” For more, read the full story.


Southwestern to sell Fayetteville shale assets, focus on Appalachia

Southwestern Energy plans to sell its legacy Fayetteville shale assets in Arkansas and focus on development of its oil and natural gas holdings in the Appalachian basin, according to Platts. The news site says the company’s upstream and midstream assets in the Fayetteville shale play could be sold for nearly $2 billion, with Southwestern using the proceeds to supplement Appalachia development capital, reduce debt and potentially return capital to shareholders. Platts says the Fayetteville play in recent years “has taken a back seat to the company's development of its Appalachian basin assets in northeastern Pennsylvania and West Virginia.” For more, read the full story.

National, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

Energy Alliance: Ohio in ‘prime position’ because of Utica shale play

An energy advocacy group says Ohio is “in a prime position to lure extensive manufacturing interests because of its assets such as the Utica shale [play], which has helped drive down natural gas prices and reduced the cost of doing business in the state,” reports the Youngstown Business Journal. The newspaper says the Consumer Energy Alliance, a trade organization with nearly 300 members nationwide, recently launched its “Campaign for America’s Energy” that is designed to bring attention to the benefits of energy delivery and development across Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. For more, read the full story.

Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

Columbia Gas to utilize natural gas from Utica, Marcellus shale plays

The Columbus Dispatch reports that much of the natural gas provided by Columbia Gas of Ohio to its customers will start coming from the Utica and Marcellus shale plays starting in April 2018. The newspaper says Columbia will begin using several pipelines that can ship natural gas from shale formations in Ohio and neighboring states while ending a long-term contract in which the company received gas from the Gulf Coast. A company spokesman estimated that at least 40 percent of Columbia's gas will come from pipelines that get their supply within the Utica and Marcellus region. For more, read the full story.

Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

Pin Oak Energy closes on shale deals in Ohio, Pennsylvania

Akron-based oil and natural gas production company Pin Oak Energy Partners LLC has closed on a series of transactions with multiple sellers to acquire more shale assets in Ohio and Pennsylvania, reports Crain’s Akron Business. The news site says the acquisitions, whose financial terms were not disclosed, include nearly 70,000 acres for Utica/Point Pleasant shale development across both states and 33 conventional wells in Ohio. The transactions include leasehold acreage in Ohio's Mahoning, Trumbull and Guernsey counties, and Mercer County in Pennsylvania, according to Crain’s. For more, read the full story.

Ohio, Pennsylvania

Agency says U.S. natural gas production to exceed domestic consumption

The U.S. Department of Energy says natural gas production is expected to exceed domestic consumption over the next two years, “something that has not happened in more than half a century,” according to the Houston Chronicle. The agency says West Texas' Permian basin will help drive natural gas production increases in 2018 and 2019, along with production in Appalachia's Marcellus and Utica shale plays. The Chronicle also notes the Energy Department expects high production and low consumption to drive down natural gas spot prices to below their 2017 average of $2.99. For more, read the full story.

National, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia
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