Shale Gas News – December 26, 2020

Shale Gas NewsBill desRosiers
External Affairs Coordinator, Cabot Oil & Gas

The Shale Gas News, heard every Saturday at 10 AM on 94.3 FM, 1510 AM, 1600 AM, 104.1 FM and Sundays on YesFM, talked about Diamondback Energy, rig counts, Mountain Valley Pipelineand much more last week.

The Shale Gas News has grown again to the Williamsport area on stations WEJS 1600 AM & 104.1 FM. The Shale Gas News is now broadcasting in Bradford, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Luzerne, Lycoming, Pike, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga and Wayne Counties, as well as in greater central PA and now the Williamsport area. The Shale Gas News is aired on Saturday or Sunday depending on the station.

Every Saturday Rusty Fender, Matt Henderson and I host a morning radio show to discuss all things natural gas. This week, as guests, we had George Stark, Director, External Affairs at Cabot Oil & Gas and Congressman Fred Keller, U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district.

Shale Gas News

The Shale Gas News, typically, is broadcast live. On the December 26th show (click above), we covered the following new territory (see news excerpts below):

  • Diamondback Energy spurs new U.S. shale consolidation with two deals. U.S. oil producer Diamondback Energy Inc on Monday agreed to buy two rivals for a combined $3.2 billion including debt, continuing a consolidation spurred by the coronavirus pandemic-induced oil downturn. Facing heavy debt burdens and weak oil prices, shale oil producers have been selling at low- to no premiums to market value. Investors, unlike during the 2016 oil slump, have not shown a willingness to put new money into struggling firms.
  • Year-end deal includes major energy, environment wins. While negotiators largely sidelined energy issues during months of stalled talks on COVID-19 relief, a number of energy and environmental wins will hitch a ride on the year-end agreement.
  • Biggest Rig Count Drop in 4 Years – Who’s Still Drilling? Some 47 drilling rigs were idled last week according to data provided by Enverus Drillinginfo. That’s the biggest single-week drop since the final week of December 2015–more than four years ago. The rig count stands at 766. Of the rigs idled last week, 40 of the 47 were oil drilling rigs. Of the 40 oil rigs idled, half (20) were idled in the Permian Basin. The good news is that the Marcellus Shale and the Utica Shale remain unchanged at 38 and 10 rigs, respectively.
  • EQT Stops Fracking After Worker Gets COVID-19; Suspends Dividends. The Pittsburgh Business Times is reporting that a contractor working in EQT’s hydraulic fracturing (“completions”) operation who last worked at a site in Belmont County, OH has tested positive for COVID-19 coronavirus. Because that worker has been in contact with a number of other workers in EQT’s completions unit, the company has temporarily shut down all completions (fracking) operations.
  • Kentucky Launches New Study of Rogersville Shale Potential. The State of Kentucky is spending $7.4 million ($5.9 million coming from the U.S. Dept. of Energy) to study the oil and gas potential of the Rogersville Shale (and other formations) located in eastern Kentucky. Which is big news for us in light of previous failed attempts to drill in the Rogersville.
  • Bankrupt EdgeMarc Sells Butler, PA Assets to KeyBank for $70M. EdgeMarc Energy, headquartered in Canonsburg, PA (once with 50,000 acres of Marcellus/Utica leases), filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last May, looking to sell all of the company’s assets. Diversified Gas & Oil picked up EdgeMarc’s Ohio Utica assets for $50 million in August. And now, the balance of EdgeMarc’s assets–located in Butler County, PA– is slated to be sold too.
  • 4th Circuit Clown Judges Signal They’ll Overturn MVP Permit, Again. The clown judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (one of whom quotes from children’s books in her opinions) have signaled they will overturn, again (for the second or third time) a permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that allows the 92% completed Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) from finishing its work by installing pipe under or through creeks and rivers. We have the Sierra Club to thank for the lawsuit, and colluding liberal Democrat judges to thank for continued obstruction of this legally-permitted project from finishing.

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