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Crew Change: Millennials Hit the Oil Patch

oil drilling rig on oilfieldMark Hiduke recently raised $100 million to build his three-week-old company. The 27-year-old isn’t a Silicon Valley technology entrepreneur. He’s a Texas oilman.

Now that a breakthrough in shale drilling technology has U.S. oil and gas production booming, an aging workforce is welcoming a new generation of wildcatters, engineers, and aspiring oil barons. After years of failing to attract and retain young talent, the industry is suddenly brimming with upstart millennials such as Hiduke—oil and gas veterans call it “the great crew change.” “I’ve never seen an industry do what the oil and gas industry has done in the last 10 years,” says T. Boone Pickens, the 86-year-old oilman. “Ten years ago I could not have made this statement that you have picked the right career.”

Hiduke’s company, Dallas-based PetroCore, received the $100 million commitment from a local private equity firm in May. Hiduke and three partners plan to buy underdeveloped land and drill shale wells, he says. The shale boom has “created a lot of opportunity for young professionals to jump in and be given enormous responsibility.”

The ease with which newcomers such as Hiduke raise money could turn out to be a blessing or a curse, according to Nathen McEown, a 33-year-old accountant at Whitley Penn who organizes networking dinners. “These guys are going to be the poster children of self-made oil and gas tycoons,” he says. “Or they could be the poster children of how too much money is chasing deals.”

Read more: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-05-22/millennials-look-to-cash-in-on-shale-energy-boom

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Developer plans $500 million North Dakota housing project

160_F_35233093_nHywTJfjoYp6EjDvSeDuk7QVblDZYglCBy Brian Louis

A Swiss developer is planning to build a $500 million real estate project in Williston, North Dakota, where a surging energy industry is leading to a population boom and rising property demand.

The two principals of developer Stropiq Inc. are at the International Council of Shopping Centers conference in Las Vegas this week trying to lure retailers to the 219-acre (89-hectare) Williston Crossing project, scheduled to break ground in March. The 1 million-square-foot (93,000-square-meter) project will include retail, entertainment, hotel, office and multifamily buildings.

Stropiq and investors such as KKR & Co. are rushing to accommodate a ballooning population of energy workers in Williston, located in the oil-rich Bakken Shale formation. The average rent for a small apartment in the western North Dakota town is higher than in New York or San Francisco, according to Apartment Guide. Along with housing, retail offerings in the city are in short supply, Stropiq executives said.

“If you want anything that doesn’t exist in a grocery store or Wal-Mart, you have to drive two hours,” said Terry Olin, a Stropiq principal and graduate of North Dakota State University in Fargo. “We’d like to change that as fast as we can.”

Read more: http://www.ohio.com/blogs/drilling/ohio-utica-shale-1.291290/developer-plans-500-million-north-dakota-housing-project-1.489635

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Drones give energy companies high hopes for safer work

pipe-workHOUSTON — In the Alaskan tundra, inspecting a pipeline isn’t easy. Most pipelines don’t follow what few roads are there, so trucks often aren’t an option. And using low-flying airplanes can be unsafe to pilots in snowy, windy weather.

Now, though, the emergence of sophisticated, pilotless aircraft is presenting energy companies with another possibility for keeping an eye on operations in the Arctic and other harsh environments where they often work.

Unmanned aerial vehicles flying over pipelines while outfitted with special sensors could detect leaks quickly. And that’s not the only potential application.

Energy companies are testing drones to inspect hard-to-reach spaces like refinery flare stacks, offshore platforms and even wind turbine blades in an effort to save time and boost worker safety.

As the Federal Aviation Administration develops rules that will govern the devices, oil and gas companies around the world are on the forefront, working closely with the drone industry to test the unmanned aircraft.

Some in the energy sector say it’s only a matter of time before unmanned aerial vehicles become a common — and even integral — part of their business.

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Growing Marcellus production shifts pipeline activity

Alaskan PipelineBy Stephanie Ritenbaugh

Oil and gas pipelines across the country are being expanded to handle increased production from shale plays, but those in the eastern part of the country are seeing the most changes — changes driven by growing importance of the Marcellus and Utica shale plays, according to investment firm Moody’s.

Work being done includes building new pipelines from scratch, expanding existing pipelines and even reversals of lines that once took natural gas from the Gulf Coast to Pennsylvania and beyond.

“The Marcellus is at the epicenter of the change in gas flows across North America,” stated Moody’s in a report released last week. The firm’s data shows that, of the advanced projects nationally meant to increase pipeline capacity by 20 percent by 2017–2018, 88 percent are in the East.

Mihoko Manabe, senior vice president at Moody’s and the report’s author, said those pipelines are transporting Marcellus and Utica gas to a variety of regions.

“The industry wants options,” Ms. Manabe said. “They want to be able to send it to Canada and the Northeast — we all saw the impact of the polar vortex — as well as to the Southeast’s growing power generation market, to hubs around Chicago and to LNG export terminals on the Gulf Coast.” LNG refers to liquefied natural gas.

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Construction Commences On Marcellus Shale Power Plant


Construction for the first power plant deliberately located on the Marcellus Shale formation began Thursday.

“Panda Power Funds Liberty Energy Center is the first power plant in Pennsylvania specifically developed to harness potential Marcellus Shale gas formation,” Gov. Tom Corbett said at the groundbreaking.

The 829-megawatt natural gas-fueled power plant will be located in Asylum Township in Bradford County.

Corbett said the facility is creating approximately 560 jobs: 500 to construct it, about 27 to operate it and 45 indirect jobs to support it.

“It equals jobs in the field, it equals jobs in building manufacturing plants or power plants like this one, it equals jobs in the waitress working at the lunch counter that probably didn’t have that job before,” Corbett said.

He said the plant will help revive and reinvigorate communities from Towanda to Williamsport.

“It means up to $5.7 billion in the local economy, and it means progress and prosperity for the entire northern tier of Pennsylvania,” Corbett said.

Read more:   http://wesa.fm/post/construction-commences-marcellus-shale-power-plant

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