Rig counts more than double in Pennsylvania, Ohio compared to a year ago

The number of natural gas drilling rigs working in Pennsylvania and Ohio has more than doubled from a year ago, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. The newspaper says Baker Hughes' weekly rig count on July 14 showed there are 34 rigs operating in Pennsylvania compared to 13 at the beginning of July 2016. There are 27 rigs working in Ohio, up from 12 last July, according to the Business Times, and 13 rigs in West Virginia compared to 10 a year ago. For more, read the full story.

Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

Appalachia looks to land petrochemical plant investments

The northern Appalachian states, already enriched by the natural gas boom, are hoping “the surge in fossil fuel production will help them feed the world's growing demand for plastics and chemicals,” CNBC reports. While Appalachia's share of the $181 billion in planned investments in petrochemical plants is relatively small at roughly $16 billion, the news network says the American Chemistry Council and regional boosters believe states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia “are positioned to capitalize on growing demand for plastics around the world.” For more, read the full story.

Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

Consol outlines plans to separate natural gas, coal operations

Consol Energy Inc., which has operations in the Utica shale play, has laid out plans for splitting the company, including separation of its natural gas business, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. Citing details from a Consol filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the newspaper says a still-to-be-named company would hold the natural gas business. In addition, a spinoff company would own Consol’s three coal mines in Greene and Washington counties in Pennsylvania, its ownership interest in CNX Coal Resources LP and other coal-related assets. For more, read the full story.

Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

Noble Energy closes sale of West Virginia, Pennsylvania assets

Houston-based Noble Energy, Inc. announced it has closed the $1.124 billion sale of upstream oil and natural gas assets in northern West Virginia and southern Pennsylvania to HG Energy II Appalachia LLC, a portfolio company of Quantum Energy Partners. Noble also said the closing of a separate midstream transaction divesting its 50% interest in Cone Gathering, LLC to a Quantum portfolio company is still expected to occur in the third quarter of this year. For more, read the full press release.

Pennsylvania, West Virginia

Investors want to block EQT, Rice Energy merger

A New York hedge fund and several individuals have joined forces to try to halt the pending $6.7 billion merger between oil and natural gas companies EQT Corp. and Rice Energy Inc., reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The newspaper says a public filing on July 3 disclosed that Jana Partners LLC, an activist investment firm, will use its 5.8% percent stake in Pittsburgh-based EQT to mount a campaign to get shareholders to vote down the acquisition of Rice Energy. Jana also wants EQT to separate its natural gas midstream assets from its exploration and production side, according to the Post-Gazette. For more, read the full story.


Pennsylvania issues wastewater permit for Shell ethane 'cracker' plant

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced it has issued a NPDES permit amendment to Shell Chemical Appalachia for the company’s planned ethane “cracker” complex in Beaver County. DEP said the permit allows for discharges of treated wastewater and stormwater into the Ohio River, Poorhouse Run and Rag Run. For more, read the full news release.


Area north of Pittsburgh shows promise for natural gas production

The core of the Marcellus shale play in southwestern Pennsylvania, long thought to lie in a belt running through counties south of Pittsburgh, actually extends beneath the city and into counties north of it, Platts reports. PennEnergy Resources executive Gregory Muse told the news site that data reported to state agencies by oil and natural gas operators supports his thesis that wells drilled north of Pittsburgh have shown results as good as those in Greene and Washington counties to the south of it. "In the area just north of Pittsburgh, back in the rural areas where we're operating, you can have very solid well results," Muse said. For more, read the full story.


FERC issues assessment of Mountain Valley Pipeline

The Mountain Valley Pipeline has received its final environmental review ahead of a vote by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on the 304-mile project that would carry natural gas from the Marcellus shale play through West Virginia and Virginia, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. The newspaper says the environmental assessment released by FERC “found little permanent adverse effects posed by the pipeline’s construction,” and mitigation plans by the pipeline builders and ones requested by FERC would cut down on many of those impacts. For more, read the full story.

Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

Duke, Piedmont seek extension of Atlantic Coast Pipeline agreements

Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas want state regulators to approve an extension of natural gas purchase agreements they made with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline that are set to expire on June 30, 2017, reports the Charlotte Business Journal. The newspaper says the agreements, signed in April 2014, can be terminated on June 30 because the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has not issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the 600-mile pipeline. The $5.1 billion pipeline is designed to transport natural gas from the Utica and Marcellus shale plays in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia to Virginia and North Carolina. For more, read the full story.

Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

Shell: Much of the utility work completed at ethane ‘cracker’ site

A Royal Dutch Shell official says most of the utilities at the site of the company’s ethane "cracker" plant in Beaver County, Pennsylvania have been installed, according to the Pittsburgh Business Times. The newspaper says Shell Chemicals Project Director Anca Rusu’s presentation at a recent petrochemical construction conference in Pittsburgh also included a video showing a rendering of the cracker complex, which will include a full train-yard to serve the plant. For more, read the full story.

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