FirstEnergy to receive $14 million for site work for proposed ethane ‘cracker’ plant

FirstEnergy Corp. is in line to receive $14 million from JobsOhio for the clean-up of a former power plant site in eastern Ohio that could become home to an ethane “cracker” plant proposed by Thailand's PTT Global Chemical, reports Columbus Business First. The money will “substantially cover the costs” of FirstEnergy demolishing the former R.E. Burger power plant in Belmont County and cleaning up the site, said David Mustine, senior managing director at JobsOhio, the state's private economic development organization. Business First says JobsOhio is calling the investment a “critical step” for development of the site, most of which has already been cleared by FirstEnergy. For more, read the full story. More stories about the PTT cracker project can be found here.


Sempra Energy seeks FERC approval to build LNG plant in Texas

Sempra Energy has filed applications with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) seeking authorization to build and operate the proposed Port Arthur, Texas liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant along the Sabine-Neches waterway, report the Port Arthur News. The newspaper says Sempra’s application calls for two natural gas liquefaction trains, three LNG storage tanks, feed gas pre-treatment facilities, and marine and loading facilities. A separate application was filed with FERC seeking authorization to build pipelines to deliver natural gas to the plant. For more, read the full story.


Chesapeake continues divestment strategy with sale of Haynesville shale assets

Chesapeake Energy Corp., which recently sold some of its oil and natural gas assets in northeast Ohio, “is delivering on its divestment plans” by agreeing to sell some Haynesville shale acreage and wells in northern Louisiana for about $450 million, reports Oil and Gas Investor. The news site says the sale to an undisclosed buyer covers approximately 78,000 net acres and 250 wells producing 30 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. Chesapeake is also marketing 50,000 net acres in the northeastern part of the Haynesville shale play. For more, read the full story.

National, Ohio

Website tracks commercial activity tied to Shell’s ethane ‘cracker’ project

The Pittsburgh Business Times’ website has introduced an interactive link, "Countdown to Cracker," that tracks commercial activity associated with Royal Dutch Shell's planned ethane "cracker" complex in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. Users can click on pins on a map to find more information about cracker-related properties and projects in the region. Click here to view the map.


Price of oil could rise above $60 a barrel if OPEC deal works

Bloomberg reports that investment banking firm Goldman Sachs is saying oil prices may rise above $60 a barrel if the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia fully adhere to their promises to produce less oil. Goldman Sachs said in a note that West Texas Intermediate could rise by $6 above the bank’s current forecast of $55 a barrel and $56.50 for Brent crude in the first half of 2017. Bloomberg says banks such as Goldman Sachs and UBS Group AG “are turning more bullish on oil” after OPEC’s recent agreement to reduce output more than had been expected. For more, read the full story.

Global, National

Oilfield service companies seeing signs of a turnaround

Oilfield service companies “are seeking a new lease on life" as America’s hydraulic fracturing fortunes start to turn, Bloomberg reports. Oil and natural gas drilling companies have added 158 rigs since May 2016, according to the news service, and companies such as Chesapeake Energy Corp. and EOG Resources Inc. have been increasing their drilling efficiency by pouring more sand into wells. Bloomberg says that has boosted sand prices roughly 25% in what it calls “an early sign that oilfield services, hard hit by a two-year slump in oil prices, are seeing the first hints of a turnaround.” For more, read the full story.


FERC gives green light to Rockies Express pipeline project

The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has granted permission to Rockies Express Pipeline LLC to place in service part of its capacity enhancement project in Ohio and Indiana, according to Reuters. FERC said Rockies Express can put into service compressor stations at Washington Court House, Columbus and Chandlersville in Ohio and St. Paul, Indiana, according to the news service. A Rockies Express spokeswoman has said the capacity enhancement project is on track to enter service by the end of 2016. For more, read the full story.


New studies look at impacts of hydraulic fracturing

Gongwer News Service reports that two new "dueling studies purport to show the potential impact or lack thereof" that hydraulic fracturing can have in spurring seismic activity or affecting water resources. Gongwer says a study by University of Calgary researchers demonstrates a link between clusters of seismic events in western Canada and hydraulic fracturing in oil and natural gas drilling operations. At the same time, a study by Catalyst Environmental Solutions shows no evidence that hydraulic fracturing negatively impacts water quality. Click here for the Calgary study. The Catalyst study can be found here.

Global, National

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.


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.

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