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Ohio Utica Shale

Grafton to host CORN public pipeline meeting on Sept. 10

By Bob Downing Published: September 4, 2015

From a press release:

Lorain County Pipeline Meeting Set Sept. 10 Learn How the Pipeline Affects You
To inform Lorain County residents about the dangers and costs of the proposed NEXUS pipeline, its potential environmental impact, reduction of property values and the safety factors associated with the construction and maintenance of natural gas pipelines, the Coalition to Reroute NEXUS (CORN) is holding a community meeting, Thursday Sept. 10 7-9 PM, at Grafton Town Hall, 17109 Avon Belden Rd. Grafton, OH 44044. The Town Hall is located at the corner of State Route 83 and State Route 303. The public is invited.
“We need to get the word out to the public that NEXUS is proposing a 36” diameter pipeline operating at 1440 psi that might end up 50 feet from your front porch. We need to put safety first. Residents need to realize that as property owners, we have a right to determine the use of our land.” explained CORN cofounder Paul L. Gierosky.
The US Depart of Transportation’s Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration reported that in the past ten years more than 6,000 pipeline incidents were responsible for 175 deaths and $5.2 Billion of property damage.
“The goal of the Coalition is to reroute the pipeline to a more southerly route – one that will affect 70 percent fewer residences and reduce the impact on environmentally sensitive areas by over 50 percent, “he said.
NEXUS, a Houston based company owned by Spectra Energy, is proposing a 36 inch pipeline route that will traverse 11 Ohio counties, including some of the most populated areas of the state. CORN, along with the City of Green, has offered an alternative path which would mean safer and more efficient transport methods.

The Mission of the Coalition to Reroute Nexus is to inform, educate, and persuade Nexus to choose a more southerly route largely avoiding higher density counties in the northeastern part of Ohio and the ecologically unique and environmentally sensitive Oak Openings Region in western Ohio. The Coalition’s Goal is the creation of a carefully engineered, thoughtfully located Pipeline Safety Corridor that protects the public, the pipeline itself, preserves property values and demonstrates respect for individual property rights.
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“This routing can change the face of our environment and the lives of future generations. Imagine -- an explosion of the pipeline. The damage will extend much farther than you know. Experts say pipelines need a minimum of a 1500 foot setback. For example, in Oberlin if an explosion occurred, we do not have a first response safety plan in place or the equipment needed to handle this catastrophe”, says Karen Fridenstine, a life-long Oberlin resident and land owner whose property is affected by the project.
“The pipeline now proposed to run parallel to the Oberlin’s community center, SplashZone and rec fields would be dust. The JVS School, the homes along the Reserve could be in peril. Think of your children in school, your loved one in a senior center. Oberlin would not allow a dynamite factory in your backyard, but the federal government will permit the equivalent if the current route of this pipeline is approved.” said Fridenstine
“Think of property values. The Medina County auditor has stated that this pipeline will negatively impact the value of your land,” said Gierosky.
Several Lorain County land owners are currently taking legal action against the pipeline construction route.
“Where is the USA we fight for? What about our community land owners’ property rights? The requirement for eminent domain is not being met in this circumstance. This is a foreign owned for- profit based company. This is a very complicated issue. Please join us Sept. 10 to support your community and learn the truth,” says Fridenstine.
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Announcement expected on Belmont County cracker plant

By Bob Downing Published: September 2, 2015

A major announcement is expected on Thursday by Ohio state officials and the Thai-Japanese companies behind a proposed $5.7 billion ethane cracker plant in Belmont County.

Columbus Business First reports that the parties are expected to announce that $100 million will be spent on the first phase of the plant.

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Oilfield lodging industry is adapting to tough conditions

By Bob Downing Published: September 2, 2015

From a press release received this week:

Austin, TX, August 28, 2015. A year ago, hotels, lodges, and man camps throughout the U.S. shale plays were reaping the benefits of record setting oil exploration and production. With the oil/gas industry’s rapid growth over the past few years came thousands of new jobs, many of which were in rural areas where there was a shortage of lodging options. As the U.S. oil industry embraced innovation to fuel its growth, the lodging industry adapted to meet the dynamic needs for housing workers. “It was a perfect marriage of opportunity and innovation that spurred tremendous economic growth for both the energy and lodging industry” says Angela Overstreet, Chief Operating Officer for, a full service lodging and crew logistics company out of Austin, TX. “We too embraced innovation to service the lodging needs of our clients and our facility partners. The significant drop in oil prices and the corresponding reduction of jobs, forced our company, hotels, lodges, and man camps to shift out of the comfort zone of high occupancy, impressive revenues, and endless opportunity.”

Over the past year, cities across America like Carlsbad, NM, Pecos, TX, Carrollton, OH, and Monaca, PA like so many other small towns impacted by the oil/gas renaissance, embraced the opening of new hotels to cater to the demand for lodging. Now, many of those new hotels are scrambling to reach occupancy levels to remain profitable. Most hotels, lodges, and man camps throughout the U.S shale plays have been forced to adapt to the slump in oil prices through aggressive competitive rates, expanding their free breakfast menu’s and hours, adding outdoor grill areas, weekly happy hour receptions, laundry services, relaxed reservation cancellation policies, expanded hours for housekeeping, converting single rooms to doubles, and even job site shuttle service for workers. While these changes have helped to attract and retain clients, competitive rates are the key to their survival. According to Overstreet, “In response to our oil/gas clients request for a reduction in their lodging expenses, we’ve had to reach out to our facility partners on multiple occasions and ask for rate reductions of up to 20% in order to retain their business. This is a perfect example of trickledown economics where the oil price decline hits the oil companies, their employees, their product/ service suppliers, and the entire economy. As innovation and new technologies enabled the tremendous growth in the U.S. oil/gas industry, the crude slump has forced product/service suppliers to meet the dynamic impact on their businesses. At, we cut our teeth primarily servicing the lodging and crew logistics needs of Frac Crews but in January, when the industry wide layoffs began to trickle down to our business, we adapted by offering our cost saving lodging management services to all sectors of the oil/gas industry as well as construction, transportation, environmental, and several other industries. Those efforts have paid off and we’ve been able to grow our business despite the impact the low oil prices have had on the economy. We’ve been swamped with hotels and Hospitality Management companies throughout the U.S. reaching out to us for assistance in helping them put heads on beds and those that have adapted to the dynamic needs of our clients have improved their ability to survive the economic impact of the oil slump.”

The crude realities of unpredictability in the oil/gas industry will continue to force all related industries to adapt new technologies and think outside the box in order to ride out the storm until oil prices settle at a globally accepted level. The trickle-down economic impact has resulted in a trickle-up impact as those product/service suppliers have helped the oil/gas industry lower their costs which allows them to continue operating and even remain profitable through these challenging economic times.

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Agency offering $10 million to boost crude oil safety by rail

By Bob Downing Published: September 2, 2015

A press release from the Federal Railroad Administration on Tuesday:

WASHINGTON – The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today announced that it is soliciting applications for $10 million in competitive grant funding available to states to improve highway-rail grade crossings and track along routes that transport energy products like crude oil and ethanol.  The guidelines for the grant applications set by the FRA encourage states to include innovative solutions to improve safety, especially at highway-rail grade crossings.  The funding is part of the Railroad Safety grants for the Safe Transportation of Energy Products (STEP) by Rail Program.  

“The U.S. Department of Transportation has made increasing safety at highway-rail grade crossings, especially along routes transporting energy products, one of its top priorities,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  “This money allows the Department to support innovative ideas and solutions developed at the local level, and I encourage states to apply for this funding.”

Highway-rail grade crossings collisions are the second-leading cause of all railroad-related fatalities.  Last year, 269 individuals died in these collisions.  While the number of fatalities has decreased for the last several decades, this number increased last year for the first time this decade.

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Max Minzner named FERC's general counsel

By Bob Downing Published: September 2, 2015

From the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Tuesday:

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Norman Bay has named Max Minzner as general counsel to the Commission.

Minzner, who joined Chairman Bay’s staff as an advisor in June, has taught law at the University of New Mexico School of Law and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. From 2009 to 2010, Minzner was special counsel to Bay, who at that time was director of the FERC Office of Enforcement. At UNM, he served as associate dean for Academic Affairs and was awarded the 2013-2015 University of New Mexico Presidential Teaching Fellowship, a lifetime achievement award given annually to a single professor university-wide to recognize excellence in teaching. A graduate of Brown University and Yale Law School, Minzner’s scholarship has appeared in the Harvard Law Review, the Texas Law Review, and the William & Mary Law Review, among other journals.

“I have known Max for almost 20 years, beginning when he was a law clerk at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Mexico,” Chairman Bay said. “I have full confidence that Max will bring a high level of excellence to his work in the Office of the General Counsel.”

Also today, Chairman Bay named David Morenoff, who has been serving as FERC general counsel, to the position of deputy general counsel. Morenoff has served in several capacities in the Office of the General Counsel, including acting general counsel, deputy general counsel and special counsel, and served as senior legal and policy advisor to former Chairman Jon Wellinghoff. Before joining FERC, Morenoff worked on electric industry matters in the Washington, D.C., office of Troutman Sanders, LLP, and also served as a legislative assistant on energy and other issues to U.S. Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island. He is a graduate of Brown University and Harvard Law School.

“It is a testament to the high regard in which David is held that he is one of the few general counsels who has served three different chairmen as either the acting general counsel or as general counsel,” Chairman Bay said. “I deeply appreciate his dedication, professionalism, and tireless efforts on behalf of FERC, and I look forward to continuing to work with him here.”


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Mason tapped by Kasich to serve on compact commission

By Bob Downing Published: September 2, 2015

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has named Roetzel attorney Donald L. Mason to be Ohio's representative on the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.

Mason, who began his term on Aug. 21, previously served on the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio from 1998 to 2009.

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Williams completes 100-mile Virginia-North Carolina pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: September 2, 2015

From a press release:

Williams on Tuesday announced it has placed into service a major expansion of its Transco natural gas pipeline to fuel new electric-power generation in Virginia and serve increasing local distribution demand in North Carolina.

Transco is the nation’s largest-volume and fastest-growing interstate natural gas pipeline system with enough transportation capacity to serve the equivalent of more than 50 million households each day in North America.

The approximately $300 million Virginia Southside Expansion is providing 270,000 dekatherms per day (dth/d) of incremental transportation capacity, which is enough gas to serve the equivalent of 1.6 million households.

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ConocoPhillips to cut 10 percent of workforce

By Bob Downing Published: September 2, 2015

From the Associated Press:

Energy company ConocoPhillips, which has already cut 1,000 jobs this year, says it will eliminate around 1,810 more positions following a plunge that took oil prices to their lowest levels in years.

The company said Tuesday it is eliminating 10 percent of its workforce. The biggest proportion of the job cuts will be in North America. ConocoPhillips plans to eliminate more than 500 jobs in Houston, where it is based.

In a statement, ConocoPhillips said it’s making the cuts because the energy industry is in a “dramatic downturn.”

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Effects from lifting U.S. export restrictions will vary, EIA says

By Bob Downing Published: September 2, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

A new study by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on the potential implications of allowing more crude oil exports finds that effects on domestic crude oil production are key to determining the other effects of a policy change. Gasoline prices would be either unchanged or slightly reduced. Trade in crude oil and petroleum products would also be affected.

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Tags: crude oil , exports , forecast , oil/petroleum , production

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EIA report supports lifting crude export restrictions, API says

By Bob Downing Published: September 2, 2015

From the American Petroleum Injstitute on Tuesday:

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Utica and Marcellus shale web sites

Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.