This Week’s Market Buzz

• Data released by Lium reveals that 185 U.S. frac fleets are now active up from 95 at the bottom last May. First-quarter 2021 fleet counts are tracking slightly ahead of its base case forecast from December as the industry crews up faster than expected to start the year.

• Bennett Resources, owned by Texan company Black Mountain, wants its Valhalla gas prospect in Australia to eventually supply the export market, or the energy-hungry east coast market, potentially via the $5 billion east-west pipeline long-mooted yet still unsupported by governments, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

• Norfolk Southern (NS) CEO Jim Squires says his railroad was disproportionately affected by the pandemic. “A lot of that has to do with our energy commodity franchise and a disparate impact on our utility coal business, for example,” he told the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association earlier this month. Indeed, NS took it on the chin in several energy related traffic segments. Its petroleum products shipments were down 30% in 2020, vs. just 2% for CSX. Stone, sand and gravel – a category that includes frac sand used in natural gas drilling – was down 19% on NS and just 7% on CSX.

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