Western Pennsylvania may have potential for a second ‘cracker’ plant

The potential for another ethane “cracker” plant in western Pennsylvania beyond Royal Dutch Shell's confirmed project in Beaver County emerged during a recent forum on how that area can best prepare for a wave of manufacturing development tied to the Shell project, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. According to the newspaper, officials have said the three best available sites in Appalachia for cracker plants have been selected by Shell in Beaver County, PTT Global Chemical in Belmont County, Ohio, and Braskem near Parkersburg, West Virginia, but there are other locations in western Pennsylvania, including in Washington and Allegheny counties, that have the river and rail access needed for another cracker. For more, read the full story.


Stone Energy looks to sell assets in West Virginia and Pennsylvania

Oil and natural gas company Stone Energy said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it is in talks to sell 90,000 acres of its leasehold interests in the Marcellus shale  play in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. The newspaper says the Louisiana-based company disclosed it has started negotiations to sell its Appalachian assets to a third party amid a potential refinancing or restructuring plan outlined in the SEC filing. Stone said the assets could sell for $350 million. For more, read the full story.

Pennsylvania, West Virginia

Oil and gas group honors Tom Stewart for advocacy efforts

The Ohio Oil and Gas Association (OOGA) recently presented Tom Stewart, its former executive vice president and principal at Oilfield Policy Advisors, with the trade group’s annual Oilfield Patriot Award. The award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to protect, promote and advance the interests of Ohio’s oil and natural gas industry. OOGA says Stewart was honored for his long-time advocacy on behalf of the industry, which has included working with state and federal legislators and representing the interests of Ohio’s oil and gas producers for more than two decades. For more, read the full story.


U.S. drillers adding rigs as OPEC production freeze looms

Bloomberg reports that U.S. companies are adding the most drilling rigs since crude oil was worth $100 a barrel amid rising confidence that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) may finally agree to a production freeze. Citing Baker Hughes data released on August 19, 2016, the news service says U.S. producers had put 76 rigs back to work over the past eight weeks. That marks the biggest and longest increase since 101 rigs were added a few months before oil prices began to crash in mid-2014, according to Bloomberg. For more, read the full story.

Global, National

Report: Ohio’s Utica shale boom ‘far from over’

Ohio's oil and natural gas production will not grow that rapidly in 2016, but the Utica shale boom “is far from over because there is still a tremendous amount of oil and gas trapped within its rocks,” according to the Motley Fool investment site. It says five companies – Chesapeake Energy, Gulfport Energy, Ascent Resources, Antero Resources and Eclipse Resources—are the dominant players in the Utica, which has become America's second largest shale gas play. The Motley Fool also says the Utica “still has a tremendous amount of running room as producers unlock its vast resources.” For more, read the full story.


Consol, Cone Midstream fined for pipeline permit violations

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has found that Consol Energy Inc. and Cone Midstream Partners neglected the terms of their permits when they built 27 pipelines in southwestern Pennsylvania to carry shale gas from well sites, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The newspaper says DEP regulators found the companies had gone outside their permitted areas when building portions of the gathering lines. Consol and Cone will have to pay $139,000 and $45,000 respectively for the violations, according to the Post-Gazette. For more, read the full story.


Shell buys properties near ‘cracker’ site in Pennsylvania

Royal Dutch Shell continues to stockpile properties near the site of its planned multibillion-dollar ethane “cracker” plant in western Pennsylvania, reports the Beaver County Times. The newspaper says the company recently spent $5.5 million to buy two properties in Potter and Center townships in Beaver County and purchased two more properties on August 16 along Route 18 for $650,000. Shell announced in June 2016 that it plans to build the plant and start construction in 2017. For more, read the full story.


Energy Transfer’s Warren bullish on oil and gas development in shale plays

Energy Transfer Equity LP Chairman Kelcy Warren recently told Bloomberg news service that the continued boom in West Texas’ Permian shale basin is “mind-boggling” and said it creates opportunities for transporting more oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids. Long considered a “visionary in the energy infrastructure space,” Warren also singled out the Marcellus and Utica shale plays and North Dakota’s Bakken region as being ripe for further development. Bloomberg notes that Warren’s company is spending $13 billion on new infrastructure projects, including a natural gas pipeline in the Marcellus and Utica region. For more, read the full story.

National, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia

U.S. oil exports making their way around the world

U.S. crude oil and condensate are reaching all corners of the world after a 40-year ban on exports was lifted at the end of 2015, Bloomberg reports. More than 87 million barrels of crude and condensate have been shipped to 17 countries in the first half of 2016 based on Bloomberg’s calculations from U.S. Census Bureau data. The shipments include ones to Canada, Curacao, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Japan. For more, read the full story.

Global, National

Gulfport will step up drilling program in Utica shale play

Gulfport Energy said it is drilling more Utica shale wells in light of improved natural gas prices as the company announced the change in strategy prior to a recent earnings call with investors, according to the Canton Repository. The newspaper says Gulfport, which had planned to reduce its drilling program, said natural gas prices now will “comfortably support” a six-rig program that could be increased to eight rigs. The company expects to drill up to 46 wells and begin production from 56 wells in the Utica play before the end of 2016, the Repository says. For more, read the full story.

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