On February 3, 2015 12:17 pm
By: Kristie Kubovic, Director of Communications, Shale Media Group
Edited By: Mindy Gattner, Editor, Shale Media Group
Photos By: Shale Media Group
Shale Media Group’s first Elite Energy Event (E3) of 2015 was held on Thursday, Jan 22, at the Holiday Inn in Monroeville, PA. Now in its third year, the events have continually brought a diverse group of people from the energy sector together in a fun, networking setting to discuss energy-related topics, which have ranged from alternative fuels, to current technology, to charity events.
January’s event which focused on health and safety and included a shale oil and gas industry outlook for 2015. Tejas Gosai, CEO, Shale Media Group, emceed the event. Guest speakers included: Megan Cook, Director of Marketing, Mustang Oilfield Services; John Craynon, Director-Environmental Programs, Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research at Virginia Tech; Chris Miranda, President and Founder, MAC Safety, Inc; and Rick Stouffer, Senior Energy Editor, Shale Energy Business Briefing.
Based in St. Clairsville, Ohio, Mustang Oilfield Services is a freshwater and flowback water hauler for the shale oil and gas industry that services Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Discussing the growth of Mustang, Cook conveyed how the company grew from four (4) trucks to 25 and from four (4) employees to around 60. In addition, Mustang recently opened a yard in Waynesburg, PA, to better service Washington and Greene counties in Pennsylvania.
Earning ISNetworld® and PIX certifications, Cook commented on the importance of safety at Mustang, discussed an in-house system of checks and balances, and relayed the company will often get contracts due to its safety record and views on safety. In regards to the 2015 industry outlook and the concern of many in the industry due to the oil price drop, Cook expressed, “It hasn’t slowed down for us. Mustang is still working and hiring. We are not running for the hills.”
Craynon followed with a look at the Appalachian Research Initiative for Environmental Science (ARIES), which is under the direction of the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research at Virginia Tech. “ARIES was formed to address the environmental impacts of the discovery, development, production, and use of energy resources in Appalachia,” explained Craynon. He relayed that several years ago, coal was in a good place. Since then it has faced declines in prices and use, along with permitting challenges and a negative public image.
ARIES looks at these allegations and problems to identify the actual impacts of energy production on people and the environment. Craynon also noted that these issues are some of the same problems that other energy industries are facing today. Funding through ARIES allows researchers to look at these allegations to ensure the performance of the industry. In addition, Craynon also spoke of their work with the Department of Energy on using coal bed methane and shale gas wells for carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration and of the promising results and potential expansion to use of CO2 for hydraulic fracturing, which allows for exciting possibilities in the Utica Shale play.
Assisting companies in the shale oil and gas industry, chemical manufacturing, industrial manufacturing, power and coal fire plants, and nuclear power, MAC Safety Consultants, Inc. is a full-service safety company with over two decades of experience. The company provides onsite safety training and staffs sites in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
“With safety, our company takes a proactive approach, not a reactive one. We are family driven and value the people working,” explained Miranda, who added, “The shale oil and gas industry has helped other industries.” In terms of the 2015 outlook, Miranda relayed, “MAC Safety hasn’t slowed down. Our company is running hard in other areas, plus the shale oil and gas industry is still going strong in this region.”
Gosai and Stouffer followed with an outlook for the shale oil and gas industry for 2015. First Gosai noted that companies such as Range Resources and Rice Energy hit some of their highest stock prices in early June, shortly before the cost of a barrel of crude oil began to plummet. Since then, both companies’ stock prices have steadily dropped. “This country must think in terms of decades,” noted Gosai, who added, “Data equals information; and information equals knowledge. Range Resources, known as the Grandfather of the Marcellus Shale play, will likely slow down, but not go anywhere as the company is invested for the long haul with around 80% of their work in the Marcellus Shale.” Stouffer added, “Ninety-five percent of Range’s capital budget is spent in the Marcellus.”
Relating the current downturn of the shale oil and gas industry as a “pause period” with many upstream companies holding back on leases, Stouffer said, “Many Americans were comfortable with the high gas prices as the WTI [West Texas Intermediate] price of crude oil went about $90/barrel in December of 2012 and for the most part remained there until October of 2014.”
“When crude oil prices first started to dip, no one thought much about it. However, the Saudis are the gatekeeper and run the show. This move is also an effort to affect Libya and Russia. The Saudis have $900 billion in reserve and are pushing the rest of the world to see when certain countries crumble. As for the US, all of OPEC’s information is based on conventional drilling, not non-conventional drilling [which is what the current shale industry is in the US], so this is also an experiment on OPEC’s end,” explained Stouffer.
“With a drop from approximately $107/barrel to $47/barrel, American producers will need to live within their means. This means temporarily laying down rigs and cutting back on sweet spots. However, speculation has the crude oil price inching back up by mid-year and reaching $70-$80/barrel by the end of the year. At that price the majority of American producers can make money,” added Stouffer.
“The US is the largest producer of natural gas. It will soon be the largest producer of crude oil as well. The US is poised to become the gatekeeper. If congress rescinds our export laws that would mean great progress for the US as there is much money in Asia and Europe,” stated Stouffer, who pointed out, “We need to get the infrastructure in place. There are around 1,000 wells that are drilled, but not tapped do to the lack of infrastructure.”
The duo also noted that in Pennsylvania, the industry could be affected by newly-elected Governor Wolf’s severance tax, which hasn’t been proposed yet, but was a platform that he ran under. However, they noted that the Pennsylvania legislature is strongly republican, which could hamper Wolf’s ability to pass a harsh severance tax. The overall outcome could facilitate a move by some producers to either Ohio or West Virginia.
Gosai concluded with comparing the shale oil and gas revolution on the tri-state area to the California Gold Rush of the 1800s. Noting that in the three year Gold Rush, more folks made money from selling picks and shovels, than the actual gold. He also noted Hollywood and Silicon Valley were also built as an eventual result.
In addition, Gosai publicly announced the launch of Shale Energy Business Briefing (SEBB), an ad-free, subscription based service, where subscribers receive a real-time, daily email featuring concise, hard hitting shale news seven (7) days/week, 365 days/year. The feature is also a predictive index that applies past and current events to estimate future events of the industry. All Shale Media Group partners were given a yearly subscription.
An ice sculpture of an oil rig with a hard hat on top was skillfully created by Rich Bubin of Ice Creations and on display at the Elite Energy Event. In addition, catering was provided by the Holiday Inn Monroeville’s in-house restaurant, Madison’s Bar & Grille. Some companies represented at the event included Beemac Trucking, Catering America, Davis Law Group, DMC Design, Do It Safe Supply, Minuteman Environmental Services, ONG Marketplace, PGT Trucking, Shale Energy Institute, and Shale Markets. Themed Midstream Movement, the next Elite Energy Event will be on February 26 from 5 PM to 8 PM at the Holiday Inn in Monroeville, which will follow the Tri-State Alternative Fueling Expo & Conference, which will be held at the Monroeville Convention Center.
Shale Media Group (SMG) is the news, information, and education resource dedicated to the shale oil and gas industries by messaging across video, Internet, publications, events, and radio. For more, check out ShaleMediaGroup.com to access all platforms, including SMG’s latest news delivery system–Shale Energy Business Briefing (SEBB), an ad-free subscription based service, where subscribers receive a real-time, daily email, featuring concise, hard hitting shale news 7 days/week, 365 days/year. To sign up, go to sebb.us. Kristie Kubovic is the Director of Communications at Shale Media Group. Contact her at Kristie@ShaleMediaGroup.com.