The Marcellus Shale| July 2020
The Marcellus Shale is the largest gas play onshore in the US. Located in the Northeast, it supplies the high demand markets along the East Coast. Most of the basin’s gas is produced through unconventional methods, while the little oil produced is mostly by conventional means. Some of the top formations include Onondaga and the Huntersville.
State Drilling Statistics (End of July)
Active Drilling Rigs in Basin- 25
Total Rigs in Pennsylvania- 20
Total Rigs in United States- 251
Total U.S. Rigs down 73% YTD
Financial & Economic Updates
Millions in Tax Breaks for Refineries
As more and more producers decide it is uneconomic to bring crude to the surface in areas like Pennsylvania, the state seems to be a bit squeamish about its budget. It seems that a lot of the activity in the region has shifted from E&P to refining. In order to accommodate this business, Governor Wolf expressed his support for legislation that extends millions of dollars in tax breaks for those turning natural gas into either fertilizer or industrial chemicals. Although he vetoed a similar bill in March, he said this version will limit the scale of the subsidies available and ensure construction workers building qualifying plants are paid union-scale wages. This 25 year plan is to start in 2024 in order to give the largest 4 facilities the ability to draw a little over $6.7 million each year. In order to qualify, the facility must have a capital investment of $400 million and provide 800 jobs, including construction. While the Republicans are happy to develop the natural resources that their state gave them, the Democrats continue to cry “foul play,” citing concerns for air quality and the environment.
Range and Cabot Under Fire
In a developing story, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro plans to hold Range Resources Corp. and Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. accountability for numerous criminal charges with respect to environmental safety. Shapiro went on record saying, “You can rest assured that there will be more criminal charges. There will be more to come to protecting our environment.” As it stands, Range has pleaded guilty to all charges brought forward, but Cabot is contesting the charges in court. When the Attorney General was asked whether the state should put a moratorium on all new oil and gas permits, he directed them to the lawmakers of the state as he was only involved in law enforcement.
Good News for a Smaller Pipeline
The FERC has given the greenlight to the Leidy South Project which allows the construction of additional pipe to transport 582 million cubic feet of gas daily. The pipeline will push gas from Cabot and Seneca to the Marcellus and Utica regions of Pennsylvania. It will also service demand markets along the Atlantic Seaboard by the 2021-2022 winter heating system. The goal is to replace the dozens of coal plants to give way to cleaner and more reliable natural gas energy systems. This can be achieved by converting the existing coal infrastructure and power transmission utilities that already exist in the region.
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