Study: Marcellus, Utica shale region could support four more ‘ethane’ crackers
A new study says production of natural gas liquids (NGL) in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays could support up to four additional ethane “cracker” plants in the region in addition to the one that Royal Dutch Shell is building in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. The report, released by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s office and the Team Pennsylvania Foundation, forecasts $2.7 billion to $3.7 billion in investments in NGL assets as well as the opportunity to attract additional cracker plants, petrochemical businesses and plastics manufacturing facilities. For more, read the full report.
Oil and gas rig count keeps rising including in Marcellus shale play
The U.S. oil and natural gas drilling rig count jumped 21 units to 789 during the week ending on March 17th, continuing a rally that dates to May 27, 2016, reports Oil and Gas Journal. Citing data from Baker Hughes Inc., the news site says the most recent rig count increases were concentrated in Oklahoma and North Dakota. The rig count in the Marcellus shale play increased by one unit to 42, which is double the number on August 12, 2016. For more, read the full story.
U.S. shale expansion runs counter to OPEC’s global oil strategy
Reuters reports that U.S. shale producers are plotting “ambitious production growth outside the red-hot Permian Basin in Texas, widening a resurgence that could confound” a strategy by OPEC to tighten global supplies. As U.S. shale producers rebound from a two-year price war with OPEC, many are planning to expand production in North Dakota, Oklahoma and other regions such as the Utica and Marcellus shale plays, according to the new service. Reuters notes that Hess Corp., Chesapeake Energy Corp., Continental Resources Inc. and other companies recently detailed expansion projects that would result in a “steady supply of American crude exports through the next decade.” For more, read the full story.
Microbes in Marcellus shale could boost natural gas regeneration
Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratories (NETL) have found that the Marcellus shale formation may be a rich source for microbial life that “could help refill the important domestic natural gas reservoir by producing methane,” reports Oil and Gas Journal. The news site says NETL research suggests that some species of tiny “worker microbes” known as extremophiles that live in the extreme conditions of the Marcellus shale formation may also be methanogens (meaning they produce methane). NETL said this discovery has important implications for energy production because a biogenic source of methane would mean faster regeneration of natural gas in shale and the potential for secondary gas recovery. For more, read the full story.
Canadian company plans oil and natural gas equipment facility in West Virginia
Bidell Gas Compression plans to repurpose a former machine shop in Weirton, West Virginia previously owned by ArcelorMittal Steel for use in the fabrication, sale, lease and service of natural gas compression equipment, reports the Weirton Daily Times. Bidell President Sean Ulmer said that with increasing oil and gas activity in the Marcellus and Utica shale regions, his company, a subsidiary of Calgary, Alberta-based Total Energy Services Inc., “saw a real opportunity to have a local manufacturing site in the heart of this shale play.” For more, read the full story.
Pipeline additions likely to boost profits for natural gas producers in Appalachian Basin
A surge in pipeline capacity for natural gas from the Appalachian Basin this year and in 2018 is expected to boost profits for energy producers and hold down prices for Midwest and East Coast buyers, reports Bloomberg BNA. The news service says natural gas producers in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and eastern Ohio are eager for the $13.8 billion pipeline build-out “because they have been hurt by depressed prices in pockets of inadequate pipeline infrastructure, compounded by a nationwide two-year slump in [natural] gas prices.” Gas producers in the region are likely to see substantial increases in profitability because of the pipeline additions, Andrew Weissman of EBW Analytics Group told Bloomberg. For more, read the full story.
WVU joins institute with focus on natural gas research projects
West Virginia University (WVU) has joined a national effort to turn natural gas into more valuable products and to do it at the wellhead, reports the Dominion Post in Morgantown, West Virginia. The newspaper says the university has joined the U.S. Department of Energy’s new Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment Institute that will focus on using advanced manufacturing technologies in industrial processes. As part of the effort, WVU researchers will look at ways to convert natural gas into chemicals and plastics and develop methods that will allow those processes to be conducted at well sites, says the Dominion Post. For more, read the full story.
Stone Energy emerges from bankruptcy reorganization
Louisiana-based Stone Energy, which recently sold its Appalachian Basin oil and natural gas assets to ETQ Corp. at a bankruptcy auction, reported on February 28 that it has emerged from Chapter 11 reorganization. A federal judge in Texas had earlier approved a revised, pre-packaged voluntary bankruptcy plan for the company as part of a restructured support agreement with Stone’s key noteholders, according to the Kallanish Energy news site. Stone, which had filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in December 2016, said the bankruptcy plan has eliminated about $1.2 billion in debt. For more, read the full story.
Faced with pressure from Rover Pipeline, TransCanada offers to cut tolls
TransCanada Corp. has offered to cut tolls on its “underutilized mainline pipeline system” in western Canada to thwart competition from a recently approved U.S. pipeline that would move natural gas between Pennsylvania and Ontario, reports the Financial Post in Toronto. The news site says TransCanada is offering to cut tolls by nearly half between Empress, Alberta and a natural gas pricing hub in Dawn, Ontario for shippers that commit to the line for 10 years. The company is under pressure to secure regulatory approval for a new deal with shippers before the fourth quarter of 2017, when Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners LP expects to have its $4.2 billion Rover Pipeline in service, according to the Financial Post. For more, read the full story.
Sunoco Logistics plans additional pipeline for Mariner East 2 project
Sunoco Logistics Partners has confirmed it will build two pipelines instead of one across Pennsylvania as part of its Mariner East 2 project, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The newspaper says the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s recent approval of permits for Mariner East 2 “has emboldened more [natural gas] producers to commit to the project, signaling greater interest in building an additional pipeline adjoining the one now under construction.” Sunoco said it is maintaining an open season to allow more shippers of natural-gas liquids to commit to buying capacity on the new pipelines, which will connect the Marcellus and Utica shale plays in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania with Sunoco’s terminal in Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania. For more, read the full story.