Oilfield services company secures $90 million to build water and salt processing facility

Oilfield services firm Fairmont Brine Processing LLC has closed on a $90 million secured credit facility that will allow the company to build a water processing and salt production operation in southwestern Pennsylvania, reports the Pittsburgh Business Times. The newspaper says Fairmont's existing water processing and salt production facility is in Fairmont, West Virginia, serving oil and natural gas companies in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays. Fairmont President Brian Kalt told the Business Times the new credit line will allow the company to build at least one more processing and production facility. For more, read the full story.


Pennsylvania commission OKs update of oil and gas drilling rules

Pennsylvania’s Independent Regulatory Review Commission has approved a wide-ranging update of the state’s oil and natural gas drilling rules, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In a 3-2 vote, commission members decided that changes proposed by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection are in the public interest, according to the newspaper. The rules, which have been in development since 2011, include separate chapters for Marcellus shale operators and smaller, conventional oil and gas companies. The Post-Gazette also notes the state’s regulatory process allows legislators to try to override the commission's decision.For more, read the full story.


PTT expects to finalize Ohio ethane ‘cracker’ plans by early 2017

Thai company PTT Global Chemical Plc is expected to finalize plans to develop an ethane “cracker” complex in eastern Ohio by 2017 after a delay caused by falling global oil prices, reports the Bangkok Post. PTT Chairman Prasert Bunsumpun said the partnership, finance and design for the project is to be completed early next year, according to the newspaper. He also said completion of the petrochemical complex in Belmont County would take two years by which time low oil prices should help reduce energy, feedstock and development costs. For more, read the full story. More stories about PTT’s cracker project can be found here.


Pennsylvania officials investigate seismic activity near natural gas well

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Pennsylvania officials are investigating the cause of seismic activity in Lawrence County that occurred April 25, 2016 close to the site of natural gas wells where hydraulic fracturing was taking place. A Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) spokeswoman told the newspaper that Hilcorp Energy Co. was hydraulically fracturing two wells on a four-well pad at the Lawrence County site when seismic monitors detected a magnitude 1.9 tremor at 12:05 a.m. on April 25. A magnitude 1.9 quake was also reported about a mile away at 10 p.m. that night. DEP said Hilcorp has stopped hydraulic fracturing operations at the site.  For more, read the full story.


NTE Energy considers Ohio site for gas-fired power plant

NTE Energy is ready to move forward with plans for a natural gas-fired electric power plant in Pickaway County, Ohio, reports the Circleville Herald. Tim Eves, NTE’s senior vice president of development, told the newspaper the company is considering property on U.S. 23 across from a DuPont plant for its Pickaway Energy Center and could begin construction in 2018. The Herald says the proposed power plant would represent a $1 billion capital investment by NTE and generate 1,000 megawatts of power. For more, read the full story.


Columbus steel plant closing linked to oil and gas downturn

The downturn in the oil and natural gas industry has played a role in the impending closure of the Columbus Castings’ steel plant in Columbus, Ohio, reports Business First. The Columbus newspaper says a resurgence at the plant had been tied to a rise in the rail industry driven by increased oil shipments. That increase boosted demand for the rail-car undercarriages made at the steel foundry. But, with oil prices down and shipments by rail in decline, Columbus Castings is being impacted by macro-level economics and faces the prospect of closing this summer unless it finds a buyer, according to Business First. For more, read the full story.


Bankruptcy court confirms Magnum Hunter’s Chapter 11 reorganization plan

Texas-based Magnum Hunter Resources Corp. and certain of its wholly-owned subsidiaries have announced that the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware has confirmed the companies’ Chapter 11 plan of reorganization, according to MarketWatch. The financial news site says confirmation of the plan is “a critical and near-final step” toward Magnum Hunter emerging from Chapter 11 protection. The company, which has been active in Ohio’s Utica shale play, filed for bankruptcy protection on December 15, 2015. For more, read the full story.

National, Ohio

First tanker of North Dakota crude oil arrives in Europe

A tanker carrying 175,000 barrels of North Dakota crude oil recently arrived in the Netherlands, marking the first overseas shipment of the state's oil since Congress lifted a 40-year ban on crude exports in December 2015, reports the Associated Press. The news service says North Dakota's congressional delegation and industry officials hailed Hess Corp.'s shipment “as a milestone that could open more markets in faraway refineries where premium prices are typically fetched." A Hess spokesman said the oil was shipped by rail from North Dakota to St. James, Louisiana, where it was loaded on a tanker with ExxonMobil Corp.'s oil from the Gulf of Mexico. For more, read the full story.

Global, National

Rice Energy bids for Marcellus and Utica assets from Alpha

Rice Energy Inc. has entered into a $200 million stalking horse asset purchase agreement with a subsidiary of Alpha Natural Resources Inc. to acquire 27,400 acres of undeveloped Marcellus and Utica shale assets in Greene County, Pennsylvania, reports the Observer-Reporter. The newspaper says the agreement also includes an additional 3,200 gross acres to be leased to Rice Energy and rights to deep Utica shale assets on 23,500 net acres. The agreement is part of a restructuring plan by Alpha, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in August 2015. For more, read the full story.


Oil-producing countries strike out on production freeze

Officials from 18 countries recently failed to reach a deal to freeze oil production at current levels, reports the New York Times. The newspaper says the meeting of representatives from most of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as well as Russia had been intended to calm oil markets and demonstrate that the two leading oil exporters, Russia and Saudi Arabia, were cooperating. A major stumbling block in the talks, according to the Times, appears to have been pressure from Saudi Arabia for Iran to participate in the freeze. For more, read the full story.

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