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Briefs -- NOAA, Basic Energy Services, Cenergy LLC, Magnum Hunter Resources

The El Nino event in the Pacific Ocean this year could be one of the strongest ever recorded and influence weather patterns across the United States well into 2016, according to forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center. NOAA in March declared the arrival of the El Nino, which is defined as warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific Ocean near the equator (see Daily GPIMarch 6). At that time, the forecaster expected the El Nino to remain weak and exert little influence on global weather and climate. "Since March, above-normal sea surface temperatures across the equatorial Pacific have continued to increase," Mike Halpert, deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center, said during a conference call Thursday. Temperature and precipitation impacts across the contiguous United States are expected to remain minimal this summer but increase into the late fall and winter, NOAA said. El Nino also will likely contribute to a below-normal Atlantic hurricane season.

Basic Energy Services Inc., which provides well site services across the U.S. onshore, said its rig count remained unchanged month/month in July, but well servicing rig hours declined both sequentially and from a year ago. Basic's well servicing rig count in July was 421, unchanged from June, the operator said Wednesday (see Shale DailyJune 12). Well servicing rig hours were 55,400, with a rig utilization rate of 52%, versus 55% in June and 69% in July 2014. The Fort Worth, TX-based oilfield services operator works more than 100-plus service points in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arkansas, Kansas, the Rocky Mountains and in Appalachia.

West Virginia-based Cenergy LLC, which works as a subcontractor for the Appalachian Basin's oil and natural gas industry, is adding a new assembly plant, its fourth expansion since it was founded nine years ago. Built in Cabell County in the western part of the state, the facility was constructed to manufacture measurement skids, which measure the sale of natural gas from producers to midstream companies. Cenergy was founded in 2006 and has continually grown, according to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's administration. Tomblin, who attended the facility's grand opening on Wednesday, touted the company's track record and praised the oil and gas industry's economic effects. According to the governor's office, the new plant is to employ 170 employees, mostly local workers, for three shifts to weld, fabricate and test the steel measurement skids. Cenergy provides civil, mechanical, electrical and construction services to the industry in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, including pipeline capacity upgrades, compressor station construction and the design, fabrication and assembly of measurement and regulation facilities, among other things.

Magnum Hunter Resources Corp. continues to await what could be more than $1 billion  in liquidity events so that it can resume its suspended drilling program in the Appalachian Basin. The cash-strapped company said during a second quarter earnings call that it could announce a joint venture (JV) for a portion of its 125,000 net acres in Ohio as early as this week. CEO Gary Evans said the potential JV could net it up to $450 million, mostly for drilling carry, that would help fund 50 Utica Shale wells to prove acreage in the state (see Shale DailyMay 11). A sale of the company's midstream subsidiary Eureka Hunter Holdings LLC also remains in the works, with Magnum now estimating that it could get less for its stake in the system than previously announced.

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