Company acquires Pennsylvania plant to make tubular steel for pipelines

Dura-Bond Industries has acquired the manufacturing assets of an idled U.S. Steel Corp. plant in McKeesport, Pennsylvania and will lease the building and rail lines with plans to resume tubular steelmaking there later this year, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. The newspaper says the oil and gas industry is a major part of Dura-Bond's steel-pipe business, with the 550-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Virginia and North Carolina to be built with Dura-Bond products. Company President Jason Norris said pipelines being built in Pennsylvania, including larger transmission lines and gathering and midstream lines, should also be using Pennsylvania-made steel. For more, read the full story.

Pennsylvania

Hess, Exxon probing major oil and gas field off Guyana’s coast

Guyana, a tiny English-speaking South American country, is poised to become the next big oil and natural gas producer in the Western Hemisphere, “attracting the attention and investment dollars of some of the biggest oil companies in the world,” reports the New York Times. The newspaper says Exxon Mobil and Hess Corp. recently announced the successful drilling of a deep-water exploration well that may confirm the seafloor beneath Guyana’s coastal waters contains one of the richest oil and natural gas discoveries in decades. Experts estimate that one of Guyana’s offshore fields alone could contain 1.4 billion barrels of oil mixed with natural gas, comparable to some of the larger fields drilled in South America, according to the Times. For more, read the full story.

Global

Antero boosts capital budget for Utica, Marcellus shale activity

Utica and Marcellus shale oil and natural gas developer Antero Resources Corp. has set its 2017 capital budget at $1.5 billion, an increase of 7% from 2016, reports Oil & Gas Journal. The news site says the total for the Denver-based company includes $1.3 billion for drilling and completions and $200 million for core leasehold additions and extensions. About 70% of Antero’s drilling and completion budget is allocated for the Marcellus shale play, and the remaining 30% is for Utica shale development in Ohio. For more, read the full story.

Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

Report: U.S. oil production rises for first time since early 2015

The decline in U.S. oil production during the two-year energy bust is over, according to a recent Department of Energy outlook. FuelFix.com says U.S. Energy Information Administrator Adam Sieminski noted in the report that American oil production increased in the last three months of 2016, marking the first quarterly increase since early 2015 when the two-year oil decline was beginning. The report also said U.S. natural gas production is expected to rise over the next two years, reversing the first annual decline in more than a decade. For more, read the full story.

National

Township supervisors approve permit for Shell's ethane ‘cracker’ plant

Supervisors of a western Pennsylvania township have granted a conditional use permit for a $6 billion ethane “cracker” plant proposed by Royal Dutch Shell, reports the Associated Press (AP). The news service says Potter Township supervisors in Beaver County imposed noise limits on the plant and pledged to investigate any complaints of light pollution or traffic disruptions that may occur once construction begins in the next two years. Shell still needs Pennsylvania environmental regulators to modify two pollution permits held by the property's former owner and to get federal permits before construction begins, according to AP. For more, read the full story.

Pennsylvania

More Columbiana County drilling leases released than extended in 2016

A survey of oil and natural gas leases up for renewal in 2016 across Columbiana County, Ohio shows energy companies remain interested in developing that portion of the Utica shale play, “but not quite as enthusiastically as they were five years ago when the leases were first signed,” reports the Youngstown Business Journal. Citing data from the Columbiana County Recorder’s Office, the newspaper says 535 oil and gas leases were listed as “extended” during 2016, most of them with Chesapeake Exploration LLC. During the same period, 612 leases in the county were released and allowed to expire, according to the Business Journal. For more, read the full story.

Ohio

Chesapeake CEO says company considers additional sales of oil and gas assets

Chesapeake Energy CEO Doug Lawler recently said his company will likely sell off more oil and natural gas assets as it continues to reduce its debt load, according to CNBC. Chesapeake, which remains active in Ohio’s Utica shale play, has been moving aggressively to reduce its debt since Lawler became CEO in 2013. “We are going to be continuing to look at additional asset sales," Lawler told CNBC, noting it is going to be difficult for his company to drill and complete the 11.3 billion barrels of net recoverable oil and gas resources it has as fast as it would like. For more, read the full story.

National, Ohio

Study: Laid-off oil workers may never return even when drilling rebounds

FuelFix.com reports an ongoing study by University of Houston researchers found nearly 90 percent of workers who lost their jobs during the oil bust remain unemployed or have opted to leave the oil and natural gas sector entirely. The two-year oil bust resulted in more than 215,000 U.S. job losses, and many of those workers may never return to the industry, according to the news site. That could make it harder to find good job candidates as hiring picks up with rebounding oil prices, University of Houston researcher Christiane Spitzmuller told FuelFix. For more, read the full story.

National

Rising prices could fuel IPOs by oil companies in next two years

The chief executive of a Houston-based investment bank predicts that rising crude oil prices and a deregulatory push at the federal level may spur as many as 40 energy companies to hold initial public offerings (IPOs) over the next two years, potentially tripling 2016’s activity, according to Bloomberg. Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. CEO Maynard Holt told the news service that interest in new oil-industry offerings is likely to spread beyond the Permian shale basin in Texas and New Mexico and could include pipeline operators and companies active in regions such as the Bakken shale play in North Dakota and Wyoming’s Powder River basin. Mergers and acquisitions should pick up as well, he said. For more, read the full story.

National

Mergers & acquisitions bounce back in oil and natural gas sector

Dealmaking in the U.S. oil and natural gas sector rebounded strongly in 2016, according to CNBC, as buyers “scooped up prime acreage that can produce at a profit while crude prices are low.” The television network says a new report from Houston-based oil and gas research firm PLS said mergers and acquisitions in the oil and gas industry reached $69 billion last year, more than doubling the total in 2015. Among PLS’s findings are that Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio generated $6.7 billion in deals in 2016 after a moribund year in 2015. For more, read the full story.

National, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia
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