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Ohio Utica Shale

Appeals court backs Beck Energy in Monroe County leasing case

By Bob Downing Published: September 30, 2014

From the Krugliak, Wilkins, Griffiths & Dougherty law firm  today:

Seventh District Court of Appeals’ Opinion Overturns Court Decision Impacting All Oil and Gas Producers

Leasing and/or Drilling in The Utica Shale

 

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Group disappointed by federal action on Cove Point LNG project

By Bob Downing Published: September 30, 2014

From Food & Water Watch today:

Washington, D.C. — "In its approval of the Dominion Cove Point LNG export facility late Monday evening despite local opposition, the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC) chose to sacrifice the well being of Maryland communities and endanger public health in favor of hefty profits for Dominion Resources. Cove Point will be one of the largest LNG export facilities in the U.S., and the first of its kind to be located so close to a community.

FERC’s authorization to render the Cove Point facility capable of processing and exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) overseas is merely one part of the oil and gas industry’s aggressive push to expand fracking in the Marcellus Shale region – an agenda actively backed by the Obama Administration. By approving Dominion Cove Point, FERC puts the interests of oil and gas companies above the health of local communities—especially the 2,500 residents of Lusby, MD who live less than one mile away from the facility.

Dominion Cove Point is designed to send fracked gas to markets in Europe and Asia where it can fetch the highest price, accelerating the pace of fracking here in the U.S., and transforming rural communities into sacrifice zones that endangering public health, natural resources and local economies.

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Ohio has 1,092 Utica wells drilled, 577 Utica wells producing

By Bob Downing Published: September 30, 2014

Ohio has approved 1,532 Utica shale permits, as of Sept. 27.

That total includes 1,092 Utica shale wells that have been drilled and 577 Utica wells that are producing.

Ohio has 43 rigs at work.

Seventeen new permits were approved last week: four in Belmont County, one in Carroll County, one in Guernsey County, nine in Monroe County and two in Noble County.

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Columbia Pipeline Partners files with SEC for IPO

By Bob Downing Published: September 30, 2014

From NiSource Inc. on Monday:

HOUSTON , Sept. 29, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Columbia Pipeline Partners LP ("CPPL") announced today that it has filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the " SEC ") for an initial public offering of CPPL's common units. CPPL intends to apply to list its common units on The New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "CPPL."

CPPL was formed by NiSource Inc. (" NiSource ") to own, operate and develop a portfolio of pipelines, storage and related midstream assets. CPPL's initial assets are expected to consist of a 14.6% interest in CPG OpCo LP , which will own substantially all of the natural gas transmission, storage and midstream assets of NiSource . CPPL expects to launch its initial public offering in the first quarter of 2015.

Barclays and Citigroup will act as the joint book-running managers of the offering. Lazard is also acting as a financial advisor to NiSource.

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Nova Chemicals to anchor Utica-to-Ontario pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: September 30, 2014

From Kinder Morgan on Monday:

HOUSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sep. 29, 2014-- Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. (NYSE: KMP) today announced it has received a long-term transportation agreement from NOVA Chemicals Corporation (NOVA Chemicals) to transport ethane and ethane-propane mixtures from the prolific Utica shale area through its previously announced Utica To Ontario Pipeline Access ( UTOPIA ) project, which is currently in a binding open season that began Sept. 5, 2014 , and will close on Oct. 6, 2014 .

As part of the UTOPIA project, Kinder Morgan Cochin will develop, construct, own and operate a 240-mile, 12-inch diameter pipeline from Harrison County, Ohio , to Kinder Morgan’s Cochin Pipeline near Riga, Michigan , where the company would then move product eastward to Windsor, Ontario, Canada . UTOPIA would have an initial 50,000 barrels per day (bpd) of capacity, which is expandable to more than 75,000 bpd. The approximately $500 million pipeline project is expected to be in service by early 2018 with the receipt of timely permitting and regulatory approvals.

“We are pleased to partner with NOVA Chemicals to provide a long-term solution for moving ethane and ethane-propane mixtures out of the Utica shale,” said Don Lindley , president of Natural Gas Liquids, Products Pipelines for KMP. “Although we will continue to solicit additional volume commitments, this transportation agreement provides the necessary commitment level required to move forward with the project, and that is exciting news for the growing Ontario market.”

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API welcomes federal approval of Cove Point LNG facility

By Bob Downing Published: September 30, 2014

From the American Petroleum Institute today:

WASHINGTON, September 30, 2014 ─ API welcomed long-awaited approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility in Cove Point, Maryland and urged the Department of Energy (DOE) to quickly issue a final permit.

“Cove Point represents an exciting opportunity to create thousands of jobs in Maryland and extend the economic benefits of America’s energy revolution,” said API Director of Upstream and Industry Operations Erik Milito. “It’s only the fourth project to receive FERC approval and the first East Coast facility primed to play a critical role in securing America’s trade advantage as the world’s top natural gas producer. Cove Point has the strong support of Maryland voters who understand that it will strengthen the state’s economy and help promote the security of America and it's allies overseas. We welcome today’s approval, and we urge the DOE to avoid any needless delay of the project’s final permit, which granted conditional approval over a year ago. It’s time to lock-in America’s position as an energy superpower by approving Cove Point and accelerating the process for dozens of other projects still facing lengthy delays.”

API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry, which supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy. API’s more than 600 members include large integrated companies, as well as exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms. They provide most of the nation’s energy and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 20 million Americans.

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Thai-Japanese consortium planning Appalachian cracker plant

By Bob Downing Published: September 30, 2014

A partnership between Thailand’s largest chemical company and a Japanese trading and investment house is seeking an Appalachian location for an ethane cracker plant.

Three locations are being evaluated by the group that joins Bangkok-based PTT Global Chemical and Tokyo-based Marubeni Corp, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

It is the fourth proposal to locate a cracker plant in Ohio, West Virginia or Pennsylvania to advantage of the liquid ethane from the Utica and Marcellus shales.

The plants, if built, would turn the ethane into ethylene, a major feedstock in the petrochemical industry.

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Dominion welcomes FERC approval of Cove Point LNG project

By Bob Downing Published: September 30, 2014

From Dominion:

Sep 29, 2014

RICHMOND, Va., Sept. 29, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Dominion (NYSE: D) today welcomed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's approval to site, construct, and operate the Cove Point LNG liquefaction and export project.

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FERC approves Cove Point LNG export facility in Maryland

By Bob Downing Published: September 30, 2014

From the Federal Energy Regultatory Commission on Monday:

FERC Authorizes Construction of Cove Point LNG Export Project

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today authorized Dominion Cove Point LNG, LP to build the Cove Point Liquefaction Project in Calvert County, Maryland, and related facilities at an existing compressor station and at metering and regulating sites in Virginia.

Today’s action came after more than two years of consideration of Dominion’s proposal during which FERC heard from more than 140 speakers at three public meetings related to the Environmental Assessment and received more than 650 comments from the public and federal, state and local agencies on the application.

The project will enable Dominion to transport up to 860,000 dekatherms per day of natural gas form existing pipeline interconnects near the west end of the Cove Point Pipeline to the Cove Point terminal for the export of up to 5.75 metric tons of liquefied natural gas per year. The Commission found that the proposal, as mitigated with 79 conditions found in Appendix B of today’s order, is in the public interest.

Dominion Cove Point proposes to complete construction of the Liquefaction Project so that facilities may start service in June 2017. Construction of the related Virginia facilities would begin in 2016 and would be placed in service by March 2017. The U.S. Department of Energy has approved Dominion Cove Point’s export of gas to both Free Trade Agreement and non-Free Trade Agreement countries.

FERC has approved three other LNG export projects, all in the Gulf of Mexico: the Sabine Pass Liquefaction Project, the Freeport LNG Project, and the Cameron LNG Project. Fourteen LNG export proposals are pending.

Under Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act FERC authorizes the siting and construction of onshore and near-shore LNG import or export facilities. Section 7 of the Natural Gas Act authorizes FERC to issue certificates of public convenience and necessity for LNG facilities engaged in interstate natural gas transportation by pipeline. As required by the National Environmental Policy Act, FERC prepares environmental assessments or impact statements for proposed LNG facilities under its jurisdiction

R-14-36

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Antero Resources using new, patented Clean Fleet Technology

By Bob Downing Published: September 30, 2014

A press release today from a Texas-based company, U.S. Well Services. It is working with Antwero Resources at that comapny's Marcellus shale wells in West Virginia.

Here is the release:

Newly Patented Technology Successfully ReDUCES EMISSIONS BY 99% at Hydraulic fracturing Sites

U.S. Well Service’s patented Clean Fleet®technology proven

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Ohio activists picket Kasich, Christie at Akron fund-raising dinner

By Bob Downing Published: September 30, 2014

Statement from protestors at Monday appearance by Ohio Gov. John Kasich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in Fairlawn, an Akron suburb:

Akron, Ohio – Governor Kasich faced protesters today as he attended today’s Summit County GOP fundraising dinner, featuring a keynote speech from Governor Chris Christie. Both Governor Kasich and Governor Christie have opposed efforts to enact a ban on toxic, radioactive fracking waste dumping in their respective states, a move that has upset many of those concerned that this puts profit motives of oil and gas interests above the health and well being of residents, drinking water and the environment. Food & Water Watch, the Network for Oil and Gas Accountability and Protection (NEOGAP) and FaCT (Faith Communities Together for fracking awareness) backed the protest.

Vanessa Pesec, President of NEOGAP said, “Governor Kasich isn’t listening to the communities directly impacted here in Ohio, so that’s why we’re here protesting the Governor’s fracking and fracking waste disposal policies today. He’s allowed our state to be used as a dumping ground for toxic and radioactive fracking waste, and it’s not okay.”

 

Injection wells used for disposal of liquid fracking waste have been at the center of much controversy since 109 earthquakes hit Mahoning County, culminating in a 4.0 earthquake on New Years’ Eve in 2011. Earlier this month, such injection wells outside of Niles, OH were temporarily closed because of their link to earthquakes in the area in late August. The state permitted the construction of these wells despite the opposition of the community and its local officials. The Kasich Administration has since allowed the Niles injection wells to resume accepting fracking waste.

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Community rights group sponsors Cleveland program on Oct. 15

By Bob Downing Published: September 30, 2014

Thomas Linzey of the Pennsylvania-based Community Legal Defense Fund will speak on Oct, 15 in Cleveland.

His topic is "Using Ohio Community Rights to Prevent Harm from Pipelines, Water Contamination and Climaet Change."

His talk wil lbe at 7:30 p.m. at the Speakeasy Lounge, 1948 W. 25th St., Cleveland. Enter through the Bier Markt.

A social hour will begin at 6 p.m.

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Utica wells taking 7 million gallons of water, threatening supply

By Bob Downing Published: September 30, 2014

From Ohio activists and Frac Tracker Alliance:

 

 

SHALE DRILLING DESTROYS REGIONAL WATER RESOURCES

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Conservancy cuts assessments in half starting in 2015

By Bob Downing Published: September 29, 2014

From the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District:

Property owners will see their assessments paid to the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) cut in half beginning next year. Official action to reduce the assessment was taken by the MWCD Board of Directors at its regularly scheduled meeting, Friday, September 26, 2014 in New Philadelphia.

 

Members of the MWCD Board of Directors have approved a plan to provide for a 50-percent reduction in all assessment payments from property owners beginning in 2015 by using funds generated from the conservancy district’s recent oil and gas leases of its property in the Utica Shale development to cover project costs normally paid for by the assessment funds. MWCD officials also have pledged that they will continue to review periodic financial reports to determine if the reductions will be warranted in succeeding years or if further reductions could be enacted due to revenues produced from the oil and gas leases. “As we become more certain of revenue projections, our goal is to use these funds to systematically reduce the collection of the assessment, and eventually, suspend collection entirely,” said Richard Pryce, President of the Board of Directors.

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New Eagle Ford wells in Texas show higher production

By Bob Downing Published: September 29, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administartion today:

 

Increased drilling and improved drilling efficiency have led to significant crude oil production increases in the Eagle Ford region in southern Texas. These increases have occurred despite the region's relatively high well decline rates. However, by offsetting the natural declines through the use of new recovery techniques, further production increases are possible.

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Tallgrass Pony Express eyes Colorado-Wyoming expansion

By Bob Downing Published: September 29, 2014

From Tallgrass Prairie late last week:

LEAWOOD, Kan.--()--Tallgrass Pony Express Pipeline, LLC ("Pony Express") announced today that it is pursuing a potential expansion of its crude oil pipeline system to transport growing production in areas around its existing system receipt points. These areas include the Denver-Julesburg Basin in northeast Colorado and the Niobrara and Codell formations located in northeast Colorado and southeast Wyoming. Pony Express is also pursuing the expansion from Guernsey, Wyoming to receive additional Bakken Shale crude oil from its existing joint tariff partners and to accommodate growing Powder River Basin production.

Discussions with prospective shippers are in progress concerning the terms of binding precedent agreements that, if executed, would result in such shippers becoming committed shippers on the expansion project. If it is able to obtain such written commitments, Pony Express would conduct a binding open season shortly thereafter (likely in November 2014) seeking shipper commitments to transport crude oil to multiple potential delivery locations in and around Cushing, Oklahoma. If it is able to obtain sufficient commitments, Pony Express would finalize its design of the expansion project to recognize scalability benefits afforded by the existing system and the open season results. Construction and operation of the expansion would leverage off of the footprint and synergies of Pony Express's existing crude oil pipeline system, including its multiline rights of way.

The proposed expansion, which would be expected to be operational in the second half of 2016, involves the construction of new pipeline facilities to increase the current capacity of the Pony Express crude oil pipeline system by up to 400,000 barrels per day. Beginning in mid-2015 and until the new facilities are placed into service, committed expansion shippers would have access to an estimated 100,000 barrels per day of interim increased capacity on the current Pony Express system in proportion to their volumetric commitment to the expansion. This short-term capacity increase is expected to be primarily achieved through the use of drag reducing agent on the existing system.

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West Virginia opens bids for Ohio River gas-oil drilling

By Bob Downing Published: September 29, 2014

From the Associated Press:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Facing another tough budget scenario, West Virginia is ready to let companies drill for oil and natural gas deep beneath 14 miles of the Ohio River.

On Friday, state commerce officials opened bids to drill under the northern West Virginia section of the river, which serves as a natural border with Ohio. Officials said other river tracts could be next, and a wildlife management area is under consideration.

Leasing state land for hydraulic fracturing operations is a new venture for West Virginia, and could produce plenty of money during uncertain budget times. A bid by Triad Hunter, for instance, would yield the state $17.8 million up front for a five-year lease, plus 18 percent in royalties from what’s extracted.

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American Energy Partners tabs Reinhart to direct two affiliates

By Bob Downing Published: September 29, 2014

From a press release today from American Energy Partners:

 

OKLAHOMA CITY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2014: American Energy Partners, LP (AELP) today announced that it has hired John K. Reinhart as the Chief Operating Officer for its affiliates American Energy – Utica, LLC (AEU) and American Energy – Marcellus, LLC (AEM). Reinhart, 45, previously worked for Chesapeake Energy Corporation for eight years in increasing roles of importance. In 2006-07, he served as a Senior Asset Manager in the Anadarko Basin region of the Southern Division; in 2007-09, he served as Manager – Engineering Technology; in 2009-13, he served as Vice President Operations – Eastern Division (where he led the start-up, growth, and development of Chesapeake’s Marcellus and Utica assets from initial gross operated production levels of 5 mmcfd in 2009 to over 2,500 mmcfd and 24,000 bopd, helping make Chesapeake the largest oil and natural gas producer in Appalachia); and in 2013-14, he served as Senior Vice President – Operations and Technical Services (where he led a team of 1,400 employees who provided technical and operational services in Land, Supply Chain, Marketing, and Operational/Technical Services that executed development strategies for the company’s asset teams).

Prior to Chesapeake, Reinhart worked for Schlumberger Limited for eleven years in various engineering and operational leadership roles. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from West Virginia University in 1994.

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Encana Corp. acquires Athlon Energy to boost Permian position

By Bob Downing Published: September 29, 2014

A press release from EncanaCorp.  today:

 

CALGARY, AB --(Marketwired - September 29, 2014 ) - Encana Corporation ( Encana ) (TSX: ECA) (NYSE: ECA) and Athlon Energy Inc. (Athlon) (NYSE: ATHL) today jointly announced that the two companies have entered into a definitive merger agreement for Encana to acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of common stock of Texas -based Athlon by means of an all-cash tender offer (the "Offer") for US$5.93 billion ( US$58.50 per share), as well as Encana assuming Athlon's US$1.15 billion of senior notes, for a total transaction value of approximately US$7.1 billion . The Athlon board of directors has unanimously recommended to its shareholders that they tender to the offer.

The acquisition will add Athlon's land position of approximately 140,000 net acres focused solely in the heart of the oil-rich Midland Basin to Encana's portfolio, giving the company a seventh growth area.

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EnLink Midstream purchases Gulf Coast pipeline systems

By Bob Downing Published: September 29, 2014

From EnLink Midstream  companies today:

ENLINK MIDSTREAM SIGNS DEFINITIVE AGREEMENT TO ACQUIRE

GULF COAST NATURAL GAS PIPELINE SYSTEMS

 

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NiSource to separate into two publicly traded companies

By Bob Downing Published: September 29, 2014

From NiSource on Sunday:

· Separation would result in two highly focused, premier energy infrastructure companies: a fully regulated natural gas and electric utilities company (NiSource), and a pure-play natural gas pipeline, midstream and storage company (Columbia Pipeline Group)

· Following the separation, both companies – NiSource and Columbia Pipeline Group – are expected to be investment grade, well-capitalized companies; with strategic clarity, robust long-term growth profiles and the ability to fund significant infrastructure project inventories

· Separation not expected to impact employment levels or commitments to communities; current headquarters and office locations to remain in place

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ProPublica: Oil, gas workers underpaid for high-risk jobs

By Bob Downing Published: September 26, 2014

From ProPublica on Thursday:

For Oil and Gas Companies, Rigging Seems to Involve Wages, Too

A ProPublica review of U.S. Department of Labor investigations has found that oil and gas workers are routinely being underpaid for their high-risk jobs and often denied benefits such as medical leave or unemployment insurance, Naveena Sadasivam writes.

The DOL investigations have centered on worker "misclassification," an accounting gambit whereby companies treat full-time employees as independent contractors paid hourly wages, and then fail to make good on their obligations. The technique has become ever more common as small companies seek to gain contracts in an intensely competitive market by holding labor costs down.
 

Sadasivam goes on to note:


Read the full story here: http://www.propublica.org/article/for-oil-and-gas-companies-rigging-seems-to-involve-wages-too.

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Mexico gambles on private money to counter oil production drop

By Bob Downing Published: September 26, 2014

From GlobalData on Thursday:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

LONDON, UK (GlobalData), 25 September 2014 - The results of Mexico’s upcoming bidding round for 109 exploration blocks and 60 producing fields could be crucial in determining the country’s future position as an oil and gas powerhouse, according to an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData.

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Ohio is cited in GAO report for fracking waste disposal

By Bob Downing Published: September 25, 2014

A press release from Ohio activists received today:

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Report looks at growing health threat from frack sand mining

By Bob Downing Published: September 25, 2014

From a press release today:

BOSTON, MA.///September 25, 2014///Frac sand mining – the extraction of the fine-particle sand needed for hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") of wells -- is expanding rapidly in the United States and poses a little-understood threat to human health, the environment, and local economies, according to a major report issued today by the Civil Society Institute’s Boston Action Research (BAR) and released in cooperation with Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Midwest Environmental Advocates (MEA).

According to the new BAR report, "Communities At Risk: Frac Sand Mining in the Upper Midwest" available online at www.bit.ly/fracsandmining, a significant portion of frac sand mining in the U.S. is concentrated today in Wisconsin and Minnesota, which have a total of 164 active frac sand facilities, and another 20 that have been proposed. Wisconsin alone is on track to extract 50 million tons of frac sand a year – the equivalent of 9,000 semi-truck loads a day and enough to fill the nation’s second tallest building, the former Sear Towers in Chicago, 21 times a year.

Drilling companies are now finding that the use of more frac sand per well increases shale gas and oil yields. As a result, analysts estimate that fracking companies will require 95 billion pounds of frac sand this year, an increase of almost 30 percent from 2013 and 50 percent above initial forecasts. Given the explosive growth in fracking nationwide, extraction could spread to several other states with untapped or largely untapped frac sand deposits, including Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia. (See the map here: www.bit.ly/fracsandmap. For a detailed map-based look at the impact of frac sand mining, see the new EWG report at http://www.ewg.org/research/danger-in-the-air.)

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Fewer U.S. homes heating with natural gas except in Northeast

By Bob Downing Published: September 25, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

 

On a national basis, natural gas has long been the dominant choice for primary heating fuel in the residential sector. Lately, electricity has been gaining market share while natural gas, distillate fuel oil, kerosene, and liquefied petroleum gas (propane) have declined.

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Record volumes in Eureka Hunter's pipelines in W. Va., Ohio

By Bob Downing Published: September 25, 2014

From Magnum Hunter Resources today:

 

~316,500 MMBTU per Day

HOUSTON, TX--(Marketwired - Sep 25, 2014) - Magnum Hunter Resources Corporation ( NYSE : MHR ) ( NYSE MKT : MHR.PRC ) ( NYSE MKT : MHR.PRD ) ( NYSE MKT : MHR.PRE ) (the "Company" or "Magnum Hunter") announced today that throughput volumes on Eureka Hunter's gas gathering pipeline system located in West Virginia and Ohio have increased to approximately 316,500 MMBtu per day. Triad Hunter, LLC ("Triad"), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, is producing approximately 35% of the volumes that are flowing through the Eureka Hunter Pipeline System. The Company anticipates Eureka Hunter to be flowing approximately 400,000 MMBtu per day of natural gas throughput volumes by year-end due to significant additional production additions from Triad and third-party producers that are tied into the system throughout this region.

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API issues practices for testing, classifying oil for rail shipment

By Bob Downing Published: September 25, 2014

From the American Petroleum Institute today:

WASHINGTON, September 25, 2014 – The American Petroleum Institute today published a new set of recommended practices for testing and classifying crude oil for rail shipment and loading it into rail tank cars.

“The development of standards is a major part of API’s ongoing work to enhance safety throughout our industry,” said API President and CEO Jack Gerard. “This particular standard is one element of a much broader approach to safety improvement. A comprehensive effort that addresses accident prevention, mitigation and response is essential to achieving our goal of zero incidents for crude by rail shipments.”

API’s Recommended Practice for Classifying and Loading of Crude Oil into Rail Tank Cars, known as RP 3000, provides guidance on many important aspects of preparing to ship crude oil by rail, including:

“Proper testing, classification and handling are important when shipping any material subject to PHMSA regulations, and crude oil is no exception,” said Gerard. “These guidelines are the product of extensive work and cooperation between the oil and natural gas industry, the freight rail industry and PHMSA to ensure crude shipments are packaged appropriately and emergency responders have the right information.”

Given the importance of this new standard, API will initially make it available at no charge to interested parties via www.api.org/rail.

API first began publishing standards in 1924 and currently has over 650 standards and technical publications. Over 100 of them have been incorporated into U.S. regulations, and they are the most widely-cited industry standards by international regulators. The program is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the same body that accredits programs at several national laboratories.

API represents all segments of America’s oil and natural gas industry. Its more than 600 members produce, process, and distribute most of the nation’s energy. The industry also supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy.

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Magnum Hunter gets record production from W. Va. Utica well

By Bob Downing Published: September 25, 2014

From Magnum Hunter Resources on Wednesday:

 

Current Peak Rate Production of 46.5 MMCF per Day

HOUSTON, TX--(Marketwired - Sep 24, 2014) - Magnum Hunter Resources Corporation ( NYSE : MHR ) ( NYSE MKT : MHR.PRC ) ( NYSE MKT : MHR.PRD ) ( NYSE MKT : MHR.PRE ) (the "Company" or "Magnum Hunter") announced today that the Company's 100% owned Stewart Winland 1300U well located in Tyler County, West Virginia was placed on production last weekend. The Company's first Utica Shale well drilled and completed in the State of West Virginia and the most southeastern well in the entire play tested at a peak rate of 46.5 MMCF of natural gas per day (~7,750 BOE per day) on an adjustable rate choke with 7,810 psi FCP and has been flowing to sales through the Company's Eureka Hunter Pipeline system. The Stewart Winland 1300U well was drilled and cased to a true vertical depth of 10,825 feet with a 5,289 foot horizontal lateral, and successfully fraced with 22 stages.

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West Virginia to award Ohio River leases on Sept. 26

By Bob Downing Published: September 25, 2014

The state of West Virginia is set to award leases that could lead to drilling under the Ohio River on Friday, Sept. 26.

The proposed leases lie in three counties: Pleasants, Wetzel and Marshall.

\West Virginia could signing bonuses plus a 20 percent royalty on whatever is produced by any wells.

The deadline to submit proposals to the Division of Natural Resources was Sept. 11.

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GAO report looks at drilling fluids going into injection wells

By Bob Downing Published: September 25, 2014

From the federal General Accounting Office on a new report characterizing injection fluids associated with oil-gas production:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) oversees the Underground Injection Control (UIC) program, including oversight and regulation of injection wells associated with oil and gas production called class II wells. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, these wells are subject to regulation to protect underground drinking water sources. EPA has approved 39 states to manage their own class II well programs and EPA regions are responsible for managing the programs in remaining states.

Information collected by EPA and select states on the characteristics of fluids injected into class II wells varies. Class II programs in seven of the eight states GAO reviewed require permit applicants to provide some information on the characteristics of fluids injected into class II wells prior to permitting, but the specificity and frequency of the information applicants are required to provide varies from state to state. Specifically, all of the states GAO selected except for Ohio require applicants to provide some information on the characteristics of fluids injected into class II wells, but the specific constituents to be reported differ by state. While Ohio's regulations do not require operators to provide information on the characteristics of fluids injected, the regulations narrowly define what fluids can be injected into class II wells. According to state officials, Ohio also conducted research on the characteristics of produced water in the state's oil and gas producing formations, and samples fluids injected into class II wells during well inspections. In addition, while all of the states GAO reviewed but Ohio require applicants to provide information on fluid characteristics when the well is permitted, five of the programs in eight states GAO reviewed require that well operators conduct additional analyses of fluids injected into class II wells after the well has been permitted.

According to EPA officials, fluid characterization requirements for class II wells are designed to ensure that no chemicals are injected that could potentially damage the wells. In addition, EPA officials told GAO that the agency does not prescribe a set list of constituents that state and EPA-managed class II programs should monitor. As a result, state programs and programs managed by EPA regions have discretion to monitor the injection fluid constituents that they deem critical to protect underground sources of drinking water in their respective states or regions.

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Collaboration, innovation to drive future oil, gas sector, study says

By Bob Downing Published: September 25, 2014

From Lyod's Register Energy this week:

 

Global research from Lloyd’s Register Energy confirms the priorities up to 2025

In the latest industry opinion survey, Lloyd’s Register Energy, the leading compliance, risk and technical consultancy services group, has today released its findings from a major oil and gas survey conducted to assess the impact of innovation and investment by operators in America, Europe and Asia.

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EnLink Midstream completes projects in Louisiana, West Texas

By Bob Downing Published: September 25, 2014

From EnLink Midstream Companies on Wednesday:

 

 

 

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Shale Exchange Workshop on Oct. 29-31 in Pittsburgh

By Bob Downing Published: September 25, 2014

From the Illinois-based Gas Technology Institute on Tuesday:

 

 

Compelling economic and environmental benefits are driving market demand for shale gas, but thought leadership is needed to ensure safe, economical, and responsible development. Energy professionals, technical experts, and potential business partners will gather at the Shale Exchange Workshop on October 29-31, 2014 in Pittsburgh, PA to share knowledge, ideas, and technologies that can drive successful shale development and optimize local and global opportunities.

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Saudi Arabia burns 900,000 barrels of oil per day for electricity

By Bob Downing Published: September 25, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Wednesday:

 

Saudi Arabia is one of a handful of countries that burn crude oil directly for power generation, according to the Joint Organizations Data Initiative (JODI). During the summer, Saudi Arabia typically experiences an increase in electricity consumption as domestic demand for air conditioning rises. Saudi Arabia burned 0.9 million barrels per day (bbl/d) of crude oil in July, the highest ever recorded in JODI data for the month of July and the highest overall since August 2010.

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Interest in Mongolian oil shale is growing, says GlobalData

By Bob Downing Published: September 25, 2014

From GlobalData this week:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

LONDON, UK (GlobalData), 24 September 2014 - The fiscal and regulatory terms governing Mongolia’s upstream oil and gas sector remain attractive, with recent clarification of the legal framework surrounding exploration and production (E&P) operations boosting investor confidence, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData.

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Rockefeller Brothers Fund moves away from fossil fuels

By Bob Downing Published: September 25, 2014

John D. Rockeller, with strong Ohio roots, made his fortune in oil.

Now his heirs are moving away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy.

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund with assets of $860 million announced earlier this week that it was making the shift.

Click  here   to read the full story.

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Hess Midstream Partners files with SEC for initial stock offering

By Bob Downing Published: September 25, 2014

From Hess Corp. on Wednesday:

 

NEW YORK --(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sep. 24, 2014-- Hess Corporation (NYSE:HES) announced today that its wholly owned subsidiary, Hess Midstream Partners LP , has filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ( SEC ) related to its proposed initial public offering of common units representing limited partner interests. The offering is expected to occur in the first quarter of 2015.

Hess Midstream Partners intends to list its common units on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “HESM.” The number of common units to be offered and the price range for the offering have not yet been determined.

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Ohio releases revised draft rules for well pad construction

By Bob Downing Published: September 24, 2014

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has released revised draft rules on well pad construction rules.

It is accepting public comment on the proposed rules through Oct,. 6, according to Vorys Legal Counsel.

Click  here  for more information.

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Drilling triggers demand for snake wranglers in Marcellus shale

By Bob Downing Published: September 24, 2014

Drilling in the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania is creating a demand for snake handlers or wranglers.

Their job is to protect drillers from timber rattlesnakes and also to protect the snakes from drillers, according to a post on the Marcellus Drilling News by friend Jim Willis.

He cited a story on Tuesday in The Patriot-News in Harrisburg.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Siemens AG expands into U.S. shale operations with purchase

By Bob Downing Published: September 24, 2014

From Bloomberg News earlier this week:

Siemens AG (SIE) agreed to buy Dresser-Rand Group Inc. (DRC) for $7.6 billion including debt as Europe’s largest engineering company expands its business with oil-and-gas equipment in the U.S.

Siemens will pay $83 a share in cash, the Munich-based company said in a statement today. That’s a premium of about 37 percent to Dresser-Rand’s share price in July before reports about a potential bid boosted the stock.

Siemens has coveted Dresser-Rand, which makes compressors and turbines for the oil and gas industry, for at least three years. Siemens Chief Executive Officer Joe Kaeser is seeking more deals in that industry after saying that the German engineering company hadn’t made the most of the boom in shale gas extracted by hydraulic fracturing.

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Industry study says shale supply chain impacts will be vast

By Bob Downing Published: September 24, 2014

From the American Petroleum Institute today:

WASHINGTON, September 24, 2014 – The U.S. energy renaissance is expected to generate vast growth in the supply chain of manufacturers, suppliers, and servicers that support America’s oil and natural gas sector, according to a new study by IHS Global.

“America’s rise as an energy superpower is creating an economic ripple effect of fast-paced growth, higher wages, and new jobs,” said API Vice President for Regulatory and Economic Policy Kyle Isakower. “Earlier this month, API released its own survey of 30,000 vendors and supporting businesses in every single state that that help deliver affordable energy to U.S. consumers. The new analysis by IHS shows how quickly these opportunities are growing and how important domestic energy production is for other sectors of the U.S. economy, from manufacturing to construction.”

The study, commissioned by the Energy Equipment & Infrastructure Alliance (EEIA), calculates the expected growth in employment, GDP, government revenue, and wages in the supply chain that supports unconventional oil and natural gas development. It estimates that employment growth in the supply chain will outpace the U.S. average over the 2012 to 2025 period by more than two to one. The total number of jobs supported by unconventional energy will grow from 1.1 million in 2012 to more than 1.8 million in 2025 – with more than 40 percent of the total representing manufacturing, construction, and other jobs in the supply chain.

“Thanks to innovations in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, America’s energy revolution is revitalizing growth far beyond oil- and natural gas-producing states, especially in areas that make capital goods like steel and machinery,” said Isakower. “We’re seeing a supply chain that extends into every region, creating opportunities for well-paying jobs and demonstrating the importance of federal policies that open access to federal lands and avoid duplicative regulations.”

The report also shows that the unconventional supply chain will create jobs that pay about $11,000 more than the national average. Supply chain industries also will contribute increasing revenues to the government, growing from $13 billion in 2012 to about $23 billion in 2025.

API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry, which supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy. API’s more than 600 members include large integrated companies, as well as exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms. They provide most of the nation’s energy and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 20 million Americans.

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Cabot announces note placement, Eagle Ford acquisition

By Bob Downing Published: September 24, 2014

From Cabot Oil & Gas today:

Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation Announces Private Placement of Senior Unsecured Notes and Eagle Ford Shale Acquisition, Provides Update on Share Repurchase Program

HOUSTON , Sept. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation (NYSE: COG) today announced the closing of a $925 million private placement of senior unsecured notes, an acquisition of approximately 30,000 net acres in the Eagle Ford Shale and an update on its share repurchase program.

Private Placement of Senior Unsecured Notes

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Drillers are fighting North Dakota safety rules on oil by rail

By Bob Downing Published: September 24, 2014

From the Associated Press:

Oil producers in North Dakota are objecting to any new state regulations that would require them to reduce the volatility of crude before it’s loaded onto rail cars.

North Dakota’s Industrial Commission is considering new rules that would require companies to remove certain liquids and gasses from crude oil train shipments, a process some say would make such transport safer. But oil industry officials told the commission Tuesday that the state already has proper regulations in place.

“To date, no evidence has been presented to suggest that measureable safety improvements would result from processes beyond current oil conditioning,” Hess Corp. spokesman Brent Lohnes said.

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GE donates $10 million to Penn State to boost natural gas

By Bob Downing Published: September 24, 2014

From Penn State University today:

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- GE announced that it will invest up to $10 million in Penn State to establish a new innovation center focused on driving cutting-edge advancements in the natural gas industry. The Center for Collaborative Research on Intelligent Natural Gas Supply Systems at Penn State (CCRINGSS) will engage Penn State researchers and students from many disciplines in collaborative work with various industry stakeholders. The center will seek to advance efficiency and environmental sustainability both through technological innovations and improved supply chain management.

“Natural gas is extremely important as a domestic energy source for the United States and continues to serve as a crucial element in revitalizing Pennsylvania’s economy,” said U.S. Congressman Glenn Thompson. “I fully support the work that Penn State and GE will be doing through CCRINGSS to support new research innovations and create real-world applications that will build upon existing partnerships led by the University to make a positive impact on the industry and the communities of Pennsylvania.”

Thompson will speak at a luncheon today, during which Penn State President Eric Barron will outline the creation of the center. GE Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Mark Little, other representatives from GE, and several members of Penn State’s academic leadership also are scheduled to attend.

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Pennsylvania fines company for pipeline violations in 2011-2012

By Bob Downing Published: September 24, 2014

From the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection today:

WILLIAMSPORT -- The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced it has fined NFG Midstream Trout Run LLC of Erie $250,000 for multiple violations of the Clean Streams Law and department regulations during construction of the Trout Run Gathering System pipeline in five Lycoming County municipalities during 2011 and 2012.

“Department staff documented continuing violations at multiple locations during a seven month period,” DEP Director of District Oil and Gas Operations John Ryder said. “NFG’s failure to implement and maintain erosion and sediment control best management practices resulted in several sediment discharges into unnamed tributaries to Mill Creek and Lycoming Creek, Lycoming Creek, and an exceptional value wetland.”

The department’s investigation began in October 2011 when inspectors discovered sediment on State Route 973, no temporary stabilization, and ineffective best management practices used to control erosion and sedimentation issues.

Periodic inspections by DEP staff during construction of the 16-mile gathering line resulted in the issuance of 13 Notices of Violation to NFG, including 12 violations for sediment discharges to waters of the commonwealth, many of which are classified as exceptional value or high quality waterways.

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Number of U.S. drilling rigs unchanged last week, report says

By Bob Downing Published: September 24, 2014

From the Associated Press late last week

Texas-based oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. was unchanged this week, holding at 1,931.

The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report that 1,601 rigs were exploring for oil and 329 for gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,761 active rigs.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, North Dakota gained four rigs, Oklahoma increased by two and California, Colorado and New Mexico each gained one.

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Replacing old pipelines could cost $11 billion in Pennsylvania

By Bob Downing Published: September 24, 2014

From the Associated Press:

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A newspaper reports Pennsylvania has more than 10,000 miles of dangerously leaky, decades-old natural gas distribution pipes and it could cost $11 billion to replace them all.

Federal records show Philadelphia has the highest concentration of leaky gas lines in the state, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (http://bit.ly/1mrstgq ) reported Tuesday on its website. In 2013, Philadelphia Gas Works reported 89 leaks per hundred miles of gas line — eight times the national average.

The distribution network to homes and businesses, not to be confused with much larger interstate transmission lines, includes nearly 1.3 million miles of pipe nationwide.

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Federal GAO issues new report of risk from rail shipments of oil

By Bob Downing Published: September 23, 2014

The federal General Accounting Office has released a new report looking at the risk from oil shipments acorss the United States.

Click to read the report: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-667

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Ohio has 1,081 drilled Utica wells, 573 Utica wells in production

By Bob Downing Published: September 23, 2014

Ohio has 1,520 permitted Utica shale wells, as of Sept. 20.

That includes 1,081 Utica wells that have been drilled and 573 Utica wells that are in production, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said.

Ohio has 44 rigs at work.

A total of 23 new permits were approved: four in Belmont County, four in Carroll County, four in Columbiana County, three in Guernsey County, three in Harrison County, four in Monroe County and one in Noble County.

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Increased production, restraints increase spread between oil hubs

By Bob Downing Published: September 23, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

 

Increasing production of crude oil in the Permian Basin in western Texas, and parts of New Mexico, has outpaced pipeline infrastructure to move the crude to refineries, causing prices for crude in the Permian Basin (at Midland, Texas) to fall below similar crudes priced at Cushing, Oklahoma. While the price difference between Midland and Cushing has been increasing for almost a year, recent refinery outages in the region caused it to widen substantially. Several infrastructure projects that will allow more crude to flow from the Permian to the U.S. Gulf Coast are expected to come online soon, which should cause this price difference to narrow.

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EV Energy Partners to divest interest in Cardinal Gas Services

By Bob Downing Published: September 23, 2014

From EV Energy Partners today:

 

HOUSTON , Sept. 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- EV Energy Partners, L.P. (NASDAQ: EVEP) today announced it has signed an agreement to divest its nine percent interest in Cardinal Gas Services, L.L.C. , (CGS) to E1 and a Korean consortium led by Samchully for $162 million , which includes estimated purchase price adjustments of approximately $18 million . This sale is being made in conjunction with TOTAL E&P USA , INC., which has also agreed to divest its 25 percent interest in CGS. The transaction is expected to close in mid-October 2014 and is subject to regulatory approval, tag-along rights and approval of the other member of CGS, as well as customary closing conditions and purchase price adjustments. Upon closing, EVEP intends to use the net proceeds of the disposition to repay amounts outstanding under its revolving credit facility. Availability under the revolving credit facility may be used to fund future activities, including acquisitions of oil and natural gas properties.

EV Energy Partners, L.P. is a master limited partnership engaged in acquiring, producing and developing oil and natural gas properties. More information about EVEP is available on the Internet at http://www.evenergypartners.com.

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American Energy-Utica signs processing, fractionation pacts

By Bob Downing Published: September 23, 2014

From MarkWest Utica EMG on Monday:

 

DENVER --(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sep. 22, 2014-- MarkWest Utica EMG, L.L.C. (“MarkWest Utica EMG”), a joint venture between MarkWest Energy Partners, L.P. (NYSE: MWE) and The Energy & Minerals Group , and Ohio Gathering Company, L.L.C. (“Ohio Gathering”), a joint venture between MarkWest Utica EMG and Summit Midstream Partners , LLC, today announced the completion of definitive agreements with American Energy Utica, LLC (“AEU”), an affiliate of American Energy Partners, LP , to provide natural gas gathering, processing, and fractionation services in the Utica Shale in Ohio .

AEU has acquired a significant acreage position in highly prolific Utica Shale and with the agreements announced today, has dedicated more than 60,000 net acres in the rich-gas and condensate windows to MarkWest Utica EMG and Ohio Gathering.

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ZaZa Energy closes East Texasdeal with Quantum Energy

By Bob Downing Published: September 22, 2014

From Texas-based ZaZa Energy Corp. today:

 

HOUSTON --(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sep. 22, 2014-- ZaZa Energy Corporation (“ZaZa” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ:ZAZA) today announced that it has closed the previously announced Purchase and Sale Agreement with an affiliate of Quantum Energy Partners (“Quantum”), which includes an East Texas Development Agreement comprising Walker , Grimes , Madison , Trinity , and Houston counties (collectively, the “Quantum Agreements”).

Pursuant to the terms of the Quantum Agreements, ZaZa will receive total consideration of approximately $17 million , which includes $11 million in cash that was paid to ZaZa on September 18 . In exchange, ZaZa has assigned to Quantum 6,000 net acres in undeveloped leases within ZaZa’s “Southern Development Area” in East Texas (see below). Quantum’s interest is an undivided one, spread evenly across all of the leases in the 144,000-acre Southern Development Area.

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Ohio Shale Country Listening Project report to be unveiled Oct. 2

By Bob Downing Published: September 22, 2014

From a press release:

A packed house is expected on Thursday, October 2, at 7:00 pm as Communities United for Responsible Energy (CURE) and the Ohio Organizing Collaborative (OOC) release the highly-anticipated Ohio Shale Country Listening Project report at Christ Church in Carrollton (353 Moody Ave SW). This public meeting is free and open to the public.

 

The listening project - a four-month campaign led by organizers and volunteers - collected the hopes, concerns, and fears of over 800 residents living in counties affected by Utica Shale play. For many communities across eastern Ohio, the explosion of the oil and gas industry is an inescapable way of life; however, the economic promises made to residents have yet to come to fruition. More often than not, an overwhelmingly large number of these residents endure skyrocketing rent, dangerous traffic, and noise and light pollution. Most have serious concerns about water pollution.

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Bad publicity hurts Marcellus shale drillers more than fines

By Bob Downing Published: September 22, 2014

Negative publicity does more than fines to keep Marcellus shale drillers in line, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Click  here  to read the full story.

 

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Trial and error leads Pennsylvania over 8 years of shale drilling

By Bob Downing Published: September 22, 2014

From state regulators’ perspective, all the spills, leaks and fires in the Marcellus shale well field the past eight years were simply part of the learning curve, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

“Sometimes you need to learn from your mistakes,” said Scott Perry, a deputy secretary with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection who oversees the oil and gas bureau, the paper said.

State Rep. Phyllis Mundy, D-Luzerne, who proposed a moratorium on Marcellus Shale drilling in 2010, sees it differently: “We were guinea pigs in certain respects, there’s no question about it.”

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Ohio's Upper Devonian shales hold promise, state geologist says

By Bob Downing Published: September 22, 2014

Ohio's Upper Devonian shales hold great potential, says Ohio state geologist Tom Serenko.

That includes the Rhinstreet and Huron shales, he told the Youngstown-based Business Journal.

Click here  to read more.

.

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Pennsylvania's Marcellus boom resulted in too many hotel rooms

By Bob Downing Published: September 22, 2014

From Penn State University last week:

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Drilling in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale region led to a rapid increase in both the number of hotels and hotel industry jobs, but Penn State researchers report that the faltering occupancy rate may signal that there are now too many hotel rooms.

"Demand is still high in many of the counties in the Marcellus Shale region, but the occupancy rate is starting to come down," said Daniel Mount, an associate professor in hospitality management. "The case could be made that this is a sign that hotels were overbuilt."

Marcellus drilling operations generated approximately $685 million in hotel revenues and added an extra 1,600 new hotel jobs since 2006, according to the researchers, who report their findings in the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education Penn State Research Reports. However, the latest figures show that demand for rooms may be decreasing. For example, in 2012, demand was flat and occupancy was down 4.1 percent.

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PDC Energy to settle securities class-action claims from 2010-2011

By Bob Downing Published: September 22, 2014

From PDC Energy on Friday:

DENVER , September 19, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PDC Energy, Inc. ("PDC," the "Company," "we" or "us") (Nasdaq:PDCE) today announced that it executed a binding agreement in principle to settle the securities class action pending against the Company and its wholly-owned merger subsidiary regarding the acquisition of certain partnerships in 2010 and 2011. This class action, which was brought on behalf of a class of certain former partnership unit holders, was filed in December 2011 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and is titled Schulein v. Petroleum Development Corp. The complaint alleged that the disclosures in the proxy statements issued in connection with the transactions were inadequate, and also alleged a state law breach of fiduciary duty.

Under the proposed settlement agreement, the class action will be dismissed with prejudice and all claims will be released. The Company's settlement obligation consists of two components: first, an up-front cash payment by PDC of approximately $11.5 million and second, a transfer of interests, primarily net profit interests, which would generate cash in future years, in a certain number of Wattenberg wells to be drilled in 2015 and 2016. Beginning in 2027, the plaintiffs have the right to require PDC to repurchase these interests. PDC currently estimates the fair value of its two combined elements of the settlement, including the repurchase option, to be in the range of $30-$35 million . The Company does not anticipate any material impact to its operations or cash flow from this settlement after 2014. The proposed settlement remains subject to the satisfaction of various conditions, including but not limited to the following: negotiation and execution of the necessary agreements, including a formal settlement agreement relating to the net profit interests; funding to plaintiffs by the Company's insurance carriers of $6 million which is in addition to the Company's cash payment; preliminary approval by the Court; and final Court approval following notice to members of the class.

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ODNR clears one Trumbull County injection well in quake probe

By Bob Downing Published: September 19, 2014

One injection well in Trumbull County has been cleared of causing earthquakes, but a second injection well remains under investigation, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Both wells were shut down in August after a 2.1 earthquake occurred.

The shallower well only goes down about a half mile and it is unlikely that it caused the quake, the state said on Thursday.

The second well is deeper. It remains shut down.

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Gastar Exploration announces pricing of stock offering

By Bob Downing Published: September 19, 2014

From Gastar Exploration on Thursday:

HOUSTON , Sept. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Gastar Exploration Inc. ("Gastar") ( NYSE MKT : GST) announced today that it has priced 17,000,000 shares of its common stock, par value $0.001 per share, at a price to the public of $6.25 per share, in a public offering pursuant to an effective shelf registration statement previously filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission . In connection with the offering, Gastar has granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 2,550,000 shares of common stock. Gastar expects to receive net proceeds of approximately $101.2 million (or approximately $116.4 million if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares), after deducting estimated fees and expenses (including underwriting discounts and commissions).

Gastar intends to use the net proceeds from the offering to repay all of the outstanding borrowings under its revolving credit facility, to fund its drilling and development program and for general corporate purposes. Gastar expects the offering to close on September 24, 2014 , subject to customary closing conditions.

Barclays Capital Inc. , Johnson Rice & Company L.L.C. and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC are acting as joint bookrunners for the offering and Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. Securities, Inc. and Imperial Capital, LLC are acting as joint lead managers for the offering.

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Bakken shale speculator charged with murder of partner

By Bob Downing Published: September 19, 2014

From Bloomberg News:

James Henrikson and Doug Carlile dreamed of getting rich off the North Dakota oil boom. Now federal prosecutors have accused Henrikson of hiring a masked gunman to kill Carlile in his kitchen in Spokane, Washington, last December.

Henrikson, 35, orchestrated the murder of Carlile, his partner in a hydraulic fracturing or fracking venture, according to an indictment unsealed Sept. 17. Henrikson, a felon with drug and weapons arrests, also is charged with arranging the murder of a trucker who vanished in 2012. He faces the death penalty or life in prison.

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Keystone XL pipeline application submitted six years ago

By Bob Downing Published: September 19, 2014

From the American Petroleum Institute today:

WASHINGTON, September 19, 2014 ─ American Petroleum Institute President & CEO Jack Gerard once again urged President Obama to finally approve the Keystone XL pipeline, noting that six years ago today the initial application for the project was submitted to the State Department.

“How many more anniversaries of KXL delays will American workers have to endure,” said Gerard. “President Obama continues to stand in the way of the tens of thousands of jobs this pipeline would create. Refining more Canadian oil at American refineries is a no brainer. Or it certainly should be, whether you look at the project’s benefits or the administration’s own studies. It will help displace oil from unstable parts of the world while enhancing our national and economic security. Americans overwhelmingly support building the Keystone XL pipeline.

“Leadership on sound energy policy is sorely needed in Washington. If after six years and five federal reviews, the White House refuses to take charge to secure our energy future, then Congress must act. Voters have embraced the North American energy boom and it’s about time their elected officials listen up.

“The KXL political gridlock will be part of the president’s legacy on how not to conduct infrastructure assessments, on how not to bring about job creation, on how not to secure ties with your top ally and trading partner, and certainly on how not to set sound foreign policy signals toward a strong and vibrant energy and national security state. Americans need to know their government can make a decision that is in the country’s best interest.”

API represents all segments of America’s oil and natural gas industry. Its more than 600 members produce, process, and distribute most of the nation’s energy. The industry also supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy.

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Russia looks beyond Wst Siberia for future oil, natural gas

By Bob Downing Published: September 19, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

 

Russia was the world's largest producer of crude oil (including lease condensate) and the world's second-largest producer of dry natural gas in 2013. In 2013, production of crude oil and lease condensate grew by 1.3%, and production of dry natural gas grew by 2.1%. Most of Russia's crude oil and natural gas production occurs in West Siberia, a part of central Russia that stretches from the northern border of Kazakhstan to the Arctic Ocean. However, new technologies, growing Asian markets, and Western sanctions have the potential to shift the regional balance of Russian oil and natural gas production in the long term.

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Pennsylvania fines Range $4.15 million for impoundment violations

By Bob Downing Published: September 19, 2014

From the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection on Thursday:

PITTSBURGH -- The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced it has signed a wide-ranging consent order and agreement with Range Resources for violations at six of its Washington County impoundments.

The consent order requires the company to pay a $4.15 million fine, the largest against an oil and gas operator in the state’s shale drilling era, close five impoundments and upgrade two other impoundments to meet heightened “next generation” standards currently under development at DEP.

“This action reaffirms the administration’s unwavering commitment to protecting Pennsylvania’s soil and water resources,” DEP Secretary E. Christopher Abruzzo said. “This landmark consent order establishes a new, higher benchmark for companies to meet when designing future impoundments, which is an environmental win for Pennsylvania.”

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Eco-groups ask Gov. Tomblin to rethink Ohio River leases

By Bob Downing Published: September 18, 2014

From the Associated Press:

Environmental and citizen groups are urging West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to rethink leasing land under the Ohio River for oil and natural gas drilling.

In a letter Wednesday, Ohio and West Virginia groups expressed concerns that the state won’t sufficiently safeguard against releases that could harm water supplies.

Groups said more than 5 million people use the Ohio for drinking water.

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U.S. oil production surges to high since 1986 thanks to shale

By Bob Downing Published: September 18, 2014

From Bloomberg News on Wednesday:

U.S. crude production climbed to the highest level in more than 28 years last week as the shale boom moved the country closer to energy independence.

Output rose 248,000 barrels a day to 8.838 million, the most since March 1986, according to Energy Information Administration data. The combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has unlocked supplies from shale formations in the central U.S., including the Bakken in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford in Texas.

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Tennessee Gas Pipeline files Maine natural gas capacity proposal

By Bob Downing Published: September 18, 2014

From Kinder Morgan on Wednesday:

 

TGP Also Filed Northeast Energy Direct Project NEPA Pre-Filing Application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

HOUSTON --(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sep. 17, 2014-- Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company (TGP), a Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. company, today filed a proposal with the Maine Public Utilities Commission offering the State of Maine a long-term contract for natural gas pipeline capacity with the goal of lowering overall energy costs for Maine consumers.

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CONSOL, Noble to benefit from CONE Midstream Partners' IPO

By Bob Downing Published: September 18, 2014

From Noble Energy:

HOUSTON and PITTSBURGH , Sept. 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- CONE Midstream Partners LP , a Delaware limited partnership (" CONE Midstream Partners ") formed by CONSOL Energy Inc. (NYSE: CNX) and Noble Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NBL), announced today that it has launched its initial public offering of 17,500,000 common units representing limited partner interests. The common units are expected to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "CNNX." The underwriters of the offering will have a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 2,625,000 common units to cover over-allotments, if any.

The common units being offered in the offering represent a 29.4% limited partner interest in CONE Midstream Partners (or a 33.8% limited partner interest if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional common units). Each of CONSOL and Noble Energy will own a 34.3% limited partner interest in CONE Midstream Partners (or a 32.1% limited partner interest if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional common units). In addition, CONSOL and Noble Energy will own, through their Marcellus Shale midstream joint venture, CONE Gathering LLC , a 2% general partner interest and the incentive distribution rights in CONE Midstream Partners .

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Chevron meets center's voluntary drilling performance standards

By Bob Downing Published: September 18, 2014

A Pittsburgh-based shale center has certified its first driller for meeting all 15 voluntary performance standards.

Chevron Appalachia completed a rigorous review to earn full certification from the Center for Sustainable Shale Development and its third-party review.

The center, controversial in some circles, made the announcement on Thursday.

It is an unusual collaboration between environmental organizations and energy companies to encourage responsible development of shale drilling in the Appalachian region including Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

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Center certifies Chevron Appalachia meets drilling criteria

By Bob Downing Published: September 18, 2014

From a press release today:

PITTSBURGH, Pa., September 18, 2014 – The Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD), a collaborative between environmental organizations and energy companies to encourage prudent and responsible development of shale gas resources in the Appalachian region, announced today that it has certified Chevron Appalachia (Chevron) as the first company to successfully complete the Center’s rigorous evaluation and verification process. Chevron has earned full CSSD certification against all 15 of the Center’s Performance Standards that serve as the foundation for CSSD’s recently-established independent third-party evaluation and verification program. These standards center on operational performance as part of the producer’s environmental stewardship and continuous improvement processes.

 

“The awarding of certification recognizes hundreds of hours of diligent and careful work on the part of many at Chevron, but also, countless others from environmental organizations, philanthropic foundations and other energy companies who dedicated so much to define a process for setting and verifying voluntary and uncompromisingly high performance expectations in shale gas development,” said Susan LeGros, CSSD President and Executive Director. “This achievement is a beginning, not only for this company, but also in the larger effort to demonstrate that through collaboration, a strong commitment to prudent and responsible practices, and a long-term view of environmental stewardship, we can build on what we have begun with the inception of CSSD.”

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Duke Energy joins gas-based Operations Technology Development

By Bob Downing Published: September 17, 2014

From  Operations Technology Development today:

Duke Energy Joins OTD

Des Plaines, IL – 9/17/14

Cooperative research in the natural gas industry is demonstrating its ability to meet the needs of energy customers, boost the benefits of natural gas as an energy source, and identify emerging needs and solutions. Operations Technology Development, NFP (OTD) is at the forefront of collaborative technology development and demonstration for natural gas distribution utilities, leveraging members’ resources and capabilities to address growing issues like aging infrastruc­ture, new pipeline integrity regulations, climate change, environmental impacts, and alternative sources of supply.

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New study spurs calls for leakproofing U.S. natural gas wells

By Bob Downing Published: September 17, 2014

From Bloomberg News today:

By Jim Snyder, Jim Polson and Bradley Olson

Sept. 17 (Bloomberg) -- A study that blamed natural gas drilling for water pollution in two states has spurred calls for stricter regulations to keep wells from leaking methane into aquifers.

The study backed the oil and gas industry in one respect: It discounted hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as the source for harmful methane in water. Some environmentalists contend that by blasting rock with a mixture of water, chemicals and sand, producers can force the gas into drinking water near the surface.

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California farm says water has been fouled by injected salt water

By Bob Downing Published: September 17, 2014

From a press release on Tuesday

BAKERSFIELD, Calif., Sept. 16, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As oil

companies inject underground massive amounts of salt water in the San

Joaquin Valley, a consortium of law firms throughout California filed a

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Magnum Hunter Resources partnering with Morgan Stanley

By Bob Downing Published: September 17, 2014

From Magnum Hunter Resources on Tuesday:

 

Agreement Relates to Two Separate Investments by Morgan Stanley Infrastructure

HOUSTON, TX--(Marketwired - Sep 16, 2014) - Magnum Hunter Resources Corporation ( NYSE : MHR ) ( NYSE MKT : MHR.PRC ) ( NYSE MKT : MHR.PRD ) ( NYSE MKT : MHR.PRE ) (the "Company" or "Magnum Hunter") announced today that it has entered into a Transaction Agreement with an affiliate of Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Inc. ("MSI") relating to a separate purchase agreement between MSI and Ridgeline Midstream Holdings, LLC, an affiliate of ArcLight Capital Partners, LLC ("ArcLight"), providing for the purchase by MSI of all convertible preferred and common equity interests in Eureka Hunter Holdings, LLC ("Eureka Hunter") owned by ArcLight. Eureka Hunter is Magnum Hunter's majority owned subsidiary through which various midstream services in West Virginia and Ohio are conducted, including the Company's Eureka Hunter Pipeline.

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Chesapeake Energy to face criminal charges, Michigan judge says

By Bob Downing Published: September 17, 2014

From last week:

Chesapeake Energy Corp. must face a felony racketeering charge plus charges of using false pretenses in its land-leasing practices in the state of Michigan in 2010.

No trial date has been set.

The ruling came Sept. 8 from a Michigan judge.

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FERC opens review of EQT's Ohio Valley Connector pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: September 16, 2014

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has opened its review of the Ohio Valley Connector Project in southern Ohio and northern West Virginia.

The pipeline project would extend from Carrington in Ohio's Monroe County to the southeast into West Virginia's Wetzel, Marshall and Marion counties.

The federal agency will prepare what's called an environmental assessment on the pipeline that is pioposed by Pittsburgh-based EQT Energy.

It had confirmed its plan for the pipeline project last July.

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Food & Water Watch calls for national ban on fracking

By Bob Downing Published: September 16, 2014

From health-eco group Food and Water Watch today:

DOWNLOAD PDF

VIEW ON SCRIBD

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Seneca Lateral flows at nearly 100 percent to Rockies Express

By Bob Downing Published: September 16, 2014

From SNL Energy:

Scheduled intraday 2 receipt capacity at the Markwest/REX Seneca Noble point on the Rockies Express Pipeline quickly ramped up to near 100% maximum capacity since flows began at the end of June, marking the beginning of westward flows on the Rockies Express Pipeline.

SNL ENERGY: GETTING ON THE ROCKIES EXPRESS: SENECA FLOWS AT NEARLY 100%

The first east-end natural gas volumes began flowing into the Rockies Express Pipeline LLC system earlier this year, and quickly ramped up and maintained flows near maximum capacity this summer, according to an analysis of operational capacity data.

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Ohio has 1,076 drilled Utica wells, 565 Utica wells producing

By Bob Downing Published: September 16, 2014

Ohio has approved 1,499 Utica shale permits, as of Sept. 13.

Of that total, 1,076 Utica wells have been drilled with 565 Utica wells in production, says the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Ohio has 41 drilling rigs at work.

Eleven new permits were approved: two in Belmont County, one in Carroll County, four in Monroe County and four in Washington County.

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New study links 2011 Colorado quake to injection wells

By Bob Downing Published: September 16, 2014

A 5.3 magnitude earthquake on the Colorado-New Mexico border in 2011 was likely triggered by injection wells for drilling wastes, says a new study released today.

The August quake near Segundo has been linked to two nearby inhection wells, said co-author Artur McGarr, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

Click  here  to read the full story from the Wall Street Journal.

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Gastar issues 2015 capital budget, full-year production guidance

By Bob Downing Published: September 16, 2014

From Gastar Exploration on Monday:

HOUSTON , Sept. 15, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Gastar Exploration Inc. ("Gastar") ( NYSE MKT : GST) today announced its 2015 capital budget and provided full-year 2015 production guidance.

2015 Capital Budget

Gastar's Board of Directors has approved a 2015 capital budget of approximately $257.3 million , comprised of $222.7 million of drilling, completion and infrastructure costs, $28.0 million of land and seismic expenditures, and other capitalized costs of approximately $6.6 million .

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Company expanding injection capacity in Ohio's Meigs County

By Bob Downing Published: September 16, 2014

From GreenHunter Resources today:

 

GRAPEVINE, Texas --(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sep. 16, 2014-- GreenHunter Resources, Inc. (NYSE MKT: GRH) (NYSE MKT: GRH.PRC), a diversified water resource, waste management, environmental services, and hydrocarbon marketing company specializing in unconventional oil and natural gas shale resource plays, announced today that it has received permits and has completed downhole performance tests on new wells at its Mills Hunter Facility, located in Meigs County, Ohio . Recent bottom hole integrity tests of these wells indicate injection volume capabilities of between 3,000 to 5,000 barrels of oilfield brine water per day per well. This increase in capacity is in line with earlier projections made by the company to double injection capacity by the end of calendar year 2014. The addition of these wells brings GreenHunter’s SWD well count up to 13 in the Appalachian Basin , with a new total daily injection capacity exceeding 31,000 bbls per day.

The majority of this new oilfield brine water injection capacity at the Mills Hunter Facility has already been committed to several large E&P companies active in the region, secured through long term take-or-pay agreements.

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Partnership unveils planned New England pipeline improvements

By Bob Downing Published: September 16, 2014

From Spectra Energy today:

HOUSTON, BOSTON and HARTFORD, Conn – Spectra Energy Corp (NYSE: SE), Spectra Energy Partners (NYSE:SEP) and Northeast Utilities (NYSE: NU) today announced details of the Access Northeast project, designed to reliably meet growing demand for natural gas in New England while providing environmental and economic benefits to the region. This project will help deliver increased, guaranteed daily supplies of natural gas to consumers, as well as enhanced service on peak days for strategic natural gas-fueled electric generation plants, to address New England’s reliability concerns and reduce costs paid by the region’s electric and gas consumers.

The gas pipeline expansion project will enhance the Algonquin and Maritimes pipeline systems, using existing routes to minimize effects on communities, landowners and the environment. The project will be scalable to meet growing needs by expanding access to clean, abundant and affordable natural gas, and will be capable of reliably delivering in excess of one billion cubic feet of natural gas per day to serve the region's most efficient power plants and meet increasing demand from heating customers.

“Spectra Energy is excited to offer this unique solution with Northeast Utilities, one that calls for collaboration and cooperation with key New England natural gas providers in order to customize a scalable project around existing assets,” said Greg Ebel, Spectra Energy’s chairman, chief executive officer and president. “We’ve had a very positive response from natural gas asset holders as the region comes together for a solution. This is another step in our commitment to improving power system reliability, reducing electric costs to make the region more economically competitive, and protecting New England’s quality of life by minimizing environmental and community impacts.”

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Statoil, partners working to reduce Bakken natural gas flaring

By Bob Downing Published: September 16, 2014

From the Energy and Minerals Group:

Statoil, GE and Ferus Natural Gas Fuels Expanding Flare Gas Solution in Bakken

NEW YORK—September 10, 2014—A joint venture of GE (NYSE: GE) and Ferus Natural Gas Fuels (Ferus NGF), along with Statoil, a leader in the oil and gas exploration and production industry, today announced the planned expansion of a pilot project to capture flare gas and use it to power up to six of Statoil’s drill rigs and one frac fleet in North Dakota. The expansion is the first step by Statoil to move into full commercial adoption of the GE and Ferus NGF joint venture’s Last Mile™ Fueling Solution (Last Mile), which is expected to reduce emissions, and provide cost-savings and logistics solutions for the company’s Bakken oilfield operations.

Statoil’s Last Mile pilot project has been in place for approximately eight months near Watford City, North Dakota. During this time, it has been capturing natural gas that would otherwise be flared, and has used it instead to assist power for its oil and gas operations. The company anticipates this new commercial expansion will increase its flare gas capture to between 3 and up to 5 million standard cubic feet per day (scfd) by the end of 2014, equating to GHG emissions reductions of between 120,000 and up to 200,000 metric tons per year, or the equivalent of removing between 25,000 up to 45,000 cars from the road.

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Fracking didn't contaminate water in two states, new study says

By Bob Downing Published: September 15, 2014

From the Associated Press:

By SETH BORENSTEIN

WASHINGTON (AP) — The drilling procedure called fracking didn’t cause much-publicized cases of tainted groundwater in areas of Pennsylvania and Texas, a new study finds. Instead, it blames the contamination on problems in pipes and seals in natural gas wells.

After looking at dozens of cases of suspected contamination, the scientists focused on eight hydraulically fractured wells in those states, where they chemically linked the tainted water to the gas wells. They then used chemical analysis to figure out when in the process of gas extraction methane leaked into groundwater.

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Medina County landowners to meet Sept. 18 on new pipelines

By Bob Downing Published: September 15, 2014

Landowners concerned about the growing number of natural gas and liquids pipelines crossing northern Ohio from the Utica shale are holding an organizational meeting in Medina County on Thursday, Sept. 18.

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at the Medina County Library’s main branch, 210 S. Broadway St., Medina.

For more information, call 330-334-8107.

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Activists want Corps of Engineers to count all anti-barge letters

By Bob Downing Published: September 15, 2014

From the Athens County Fracking Action Network today:

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New petroleum technology revitalizes Powder River Basin

By Bob Downing Published: September 15, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

 

The Powder River Basin, well known for its abundant coal supply, is experiencing a turnaround in oil production. Production has rebounded from a low of 38,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2009 to 78,000 bbl/d during first-quarter 2014. Although U.S. oil production growth is occurring primarily in the Bakken, Eagle Ford, and Permian Basins, the Powder River Basin is among other regions of the country that have also benefitted from the application of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

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Rex Energy offers updates on lateral spacing, production

By Bob Downing Published: September 15, 2014

From Rex Energy today:

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. , Sept. 15, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Rex Energy Corporation (Nasdaq:REXX) today provided an update on its Appalachian Basin operations, third quarter 2014 production guidance and borrowing base under its senior secured credit facility.

Appalachian Basin - Warrior North Prospect

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Chesapeake Energy CEO comments at Barclays event

By Bob Downing Published: September 15, 2014

From Chesapeake Energy Corp. president and CEO Doug Lawler at the Barclays CEO Energy Power Conference on Sept. 3 in comments on the Utica shale.

"That continues to be an exciting core focus area for us. It's one of our strong emerging plays. We have introduced the idea of returning to the oil window in the Utica, and that's only made possible because of the cost leadership that Chsapeake has demonstrated, the coninuous improvement that we have, we have had a few tests where we have more than 500 barrels of oil in IP, we will continue to be testing this area. It's an exciting time. We also know that applying some of the experience and expertise from other parts of our porfolio to this area, the continued improvements in cost could potentially result in another growth area for additional oil here. So I really like the Utica and this oil potential that we have..

"Looking at the wet gas area. We're seeing outstanding performance there as well. When we look at our drilling times, there is a significant improvement there, also when you look at our CapEx and our cost per foot it's basically half of what it was in 2013. And you see the rate of return with those improvements in the capital efficiency drastically improved to approximately 45 percent at present."

Later, he added:"And so in some cases here like in Utica we're actually putting money back into those programs so that we can improve the returns getting up to that 45 percent as noted in the previous slide as a result of this plugging and plowing the money back in from saving into better completion in it to accomplish better EURs."

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Academic studies clash on fracking health consequences

By Jim Mackinnon Published: September 15, 2014

The (Wall Street) Cheat Sheet news site looks at conflicting academic studies on the health consequences of fracking.

Cheat Sheet: "Two academic studies of the health dangers of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, have produced different conclusions.

"One, conducted by Yale University, said people living near fracking sites report increased health problems.

"The other, by Penn State University, says fracking water stays underground, far below the groundwater supplies that people use for drinking, and poses no threat.

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Mark Bruce moves to Ohio Oil, Gas Energy Education Program

By Bob Downing Published: September 13, 2014

Mark Bruce has a new hat to wear.

He is the new communication director for the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program based in Granville.

Previously, he was the main spokesman for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources'  Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management.

OOGEEPis a statewide oil and gas energy education and public outreach program funded completely by Ohio’s oil and gas producers through an assessment on the production of all crude oil and natural gas in Ohio.  OOGEEP provides workshops and materials to teachers, students and firefighters.

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Natural gas storage deficit to 5-year average is narrowing

By Bob Downing Published: September 13, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Friday:

Republished September 12, 2014, 10:20 a.m., the end date on the second graph was corrected.

Storage injections have continued to outpace the five-year (2009-13) average this summer, with inventories as of September 5 at 2,801 billion cubic feet (Bcf), according to data from the Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report (WNGSR). The winter of 2013-14 led to a large drawdown in inventories, with stocks ending March 2014 almost 1 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) lower than the five-year average and at their lowest end-March level since 2003. Relatively higher weekly net injections into storage reduced that deficit to 463 Bcf as of September 5.

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DOE approves two LNG export facilities under expedited process

By Bob Downing Published: September 13, 2014

From the U.S. Department of Energy earlier this week:

WASHINGTON – The Energy Department announced today that it has issued the final authorization to Cameron LNG, LLC (Cameron) and Carib Energy LLC (Carib) to export domestically produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) to countries that do not have a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States. The Cameron LNG Terminal in Cameron Parish, Louisiana is authorized to export LNG up to the equivalent of 1.7 billion standard cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas for a period of 20 years. Carib is authorized to export LNG up to the equivalent of 0.04 Bcf/d of natural gas for a period of 20 years from the proposed liquefaction facility in Martin County, Florida using approved ISO LNG containers.  Following the recent announcement of the procedural change, the Department evaluated the Carib and Cameron applications after they completed the environmental review required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). 

The development of U.S. natural gas resources is having a transformative impact on the U.S. energy landscape, helping to improve our energy security while spurring economic development and job creation around the country.  This increase in domestic natural gas production is expected to continue, with the Energy Information Administration forecasting a record production rate of 74.56 Bcf/d in 2014.

Federal law generally requires approval of natural gas exports to countries that have an FTA with the United States. For countries that do not have an FTA with the United States, the Natural Gas Act directs the Department of Energy to grant export authorizations unless the Department finds that the proposed exports “will not be consistent with the public interest.”

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Yale study reports health problems near Pa. drilling sites

By Bob Downing Published: September 13, 2014

Washington County residents living near Marcellus shale gas drilling sites reported having significantly more health problems, including upper-respiratory illnesses and skin rashes, than those living farther away, according to a study released earlier this week by Yale University researchers.

The study, which randomly surveyed 492 people in 180 households with private water wells, found 39 percent reported upper-respiratory symptoms if they lived within a kilometer, or a little more than half a mile, from a well site, compared to 18 percent who reported such symptoms and lived more than a mile away, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Click  here  to read the full story.

.

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Utica shale is beginning to look extraordinary, Motley Fool says

By Bob Downing Published: September 13, 2014

Aubrey McClendon of American Energy Partners once called the Utica shale the biggest thing to hit Ohio since the plow.

More recently, McClendon has called the Utica shale "extraordinary."

McClendon is not alone. Royal Dutch Shell is bullish on the Utica shale, too.

It is pleased with initial results from deep and more expensive Utica shale wells in north-central Pennsylvania, says the Motley Fool blog.

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EIA releases September Production Drilling Report

By Bob Downing Published: September 13, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration earlier this week:

Release Date:  September 8, 2014  |  Next Release: October 14, 2014  |  full report

 

Report data (aggregated by region)

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New Ohio Utica Shale Academy had 43 students enrolled

By Bob Downing Published: September 13, 2014

The Utica Shale Academy in Jefferson County has 43 students enrolled and more expected, according to the Morning Journal.

The charter school is operated by the Southern Local School District in Salineville.

School officials are partnering with oil-gas drillers to give students a job edge after they graduate.

Click  here  to read the latest story.

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Ohio-based FMSA Holdings files paperwork for IPO

By Bob Downing Published: September 13, 2014

Ohio-based FMSA Holdings has filed with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission for its initial public stock offering, a move that could produce $1 billion, according to some estimates.

The company, based in Chesterland east of Cleveland, specializes in fracking sands.

It was founded in 1986 and had $1.6 billion in sales for the year ending June 30, 2014.

Click  here  for more details.

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Two maps offer look at changes in Ohio Utica shale drilling

By Bob Downing Published: September 13, 2014

Friend Jim Willis of The Marcellus Drilling News (subscription required) has posted two maps of Ohio's Utica shale.

The maps came from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and show Utica shale drilling as of Sept. 6, 2014, and earlier from Dec. 6, 2013.

There appears to be more drilling activiity in the southern part of the play: Belmont, Guernsey and Monroe counties.

Click below to see the two maps:

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Enlink Midstream taps new senior vice president/general counsel

By Bob Downing Published: September 13, 2014

From Enlink Midstream, based in Dallas and a player in the Utioca shale:

DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--EnLink Midstream, LLC (NYSE: ENLC) (the General Partner) and EnLink Midstream Partners, LP (NYSE: ENLK) (the Master Limited Partnership) announced today that Alaina K. Brooks has been selected to succeed Joe A. Davis as Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary, pending approval by the boards of directors. Mr. Davis is resigning following nine years of service to EnLink Midstream (formerly known as Crosstex Energy).

“We are excited for the opportunity this role represents for both Alaina and EnLink”

Ms. Brooks has served in several legal roles within EnLink Midstream since joining the company in 2008, most recently as Deputy General Counsel. In her new role, she will serve on EnLink Midstream’s Senior Leadership Team, as well as lead the company’s legal and regulatory functions. Before joining the company in 2008, Ms. Brooks practiced law at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and Baker Botts L.L.P., where she counseled clients on matters of complex commercial litigation, risk management, and taxation. She is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a Juris Doctor degree from Duke University School of Law and Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in accounting from Oklahoma State University.

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Route of $4.3 billion Rover Pipeline is being changed

By Bob Downing Published: September 13, 2014

Energy Transfer Partners is making changes to the route of its $4.3 billion Rover Pipeline.

The 590-mile line, announced previously, must be modified because of unspecified environmental concerns, the company said.

It will carry 3.25 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas from the Utica shale in eastern Ohio to Michigan and Ontario,

The original route passed through Stark and Wayne counties.

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Esmark to convert Ohio steel mill into shale services terminal

By Bob Downing Published: September 13, 2014

From Esmark Inc. earlier this week:

Yorkville Energy Services Terminal To Provide Rail, Truck And Ohio River Barge Access To Companies Engaged in Oil & Gas Exploration and Production

PITTSBURGH--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Esmark, Inc., a diversified holding company with interests in steel manufacturing and distribution, oil and gas exploration and production and real estate services, today announced that it is converting the former Ohio Cold Rolling Company steel finishing mill in Yorkville, Ohio into a tri-modal industrial services terminal to support companies engaged in oil and gas exploration and production in the Marcellus and Utica Shale Plays.

“The significant upstream, midstream and downstream expansion, coupled with the resources required for horizontal drilling in the region, provide a strategic opportunity for the terminal and we believe our tri-modal platforms and services infrastructure will be in great demand”

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Utica shale oil and gas production growing, federal government shows

By Jim Mackinnon Published: September 12, 2014

Utica shale oil and natural gas production continues to increase, the latest Energy Information Administration report shows.

Utica shale region oil production has increased from 40,000 barrels a day to an estimated 43,000 barrels a day from September to October, according to the report.

Over that same period, natural gas production is up an estimated 77 million cubic feet per day.

EIA: "Total natural gas production in the Utica Region, which includes production from the Utica and Point Pleasant formations as well as legacy production from conventional reservoirs, has increased from 155 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) in January 2012 to an estimated 1.5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in October 2014."

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U.S. should export fracked oil, gas, Brookings report says

By Jim Mackinnon Published: September 11, 2014

The Brookings Institution favors the United States exporting fracked crude oil and natural gas.

The research group said:in a new report that "Lifting the ban on crude oil exports from the United States will boost U.S. economic growth, wages, employment, trade and overall welfare."

" ... increasing crude oil exports in any fashion will have positive economic effects both in the United States and in the world oil market. At the same time, world energy security will be enhanced by increasing the diversification of oil supply available globally, while also increasing U.S. energy security. Lifting the ban generates paramount foreign policy benefits, increases U.S. GDP and welfare and reduces unemployment."

Read the whole thing here.

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Gastar Exploration reports big Utica well in Marshall County, W. Va.

By Bob Downing Published: September 9, 2014

From Gastar Exploration on Monday:

HOUSTON, Sept. 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Gastar Exploration Inc. ("Gastar") (NYSE MKT: GST) is pleased to provide an operational update on recent well results and activity in the Utica/Point Pleasant play in West Virginia and in the Hunton Limestone play in north-central Oklahoma.

Well Results

The Simms U-5H well in Marshall County, West Virginia, Gastar's first Utica/Point Pleasant well, produced at an initial 48-hour gross sales rate of 29.4 MMcf/d of natural gas on a 30/64ths choke with approximately 6,700 psi of flowing casing pressure.  The well lateral length is 4,447 feet and was completed with 25 hydraulic fracturing stages that used approximately 10.6 million pounds of sand proppant.  Gastar has a 50% working interest ("WI") in the Simms U-5H well (43.2% net revenue interest ("NRI").

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Natural gas leads power plant capacity additions in 2014

By Bob Downing Published: September 9, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

In the first six months of 2014, 4,350 megawatts (MW) of new utility-scale generating capacity came online, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration's Electric Power Monthly. Natural gas plants, almost all combined-cycle plants, made up more than half of the additions, while solar plants contributed more than a quarter and wind plants around one-sixth.

Read More ›

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Anti-fracking Ohio billboard is coming down

By Bob Downing Published: September 9, 2014

From the Associated Press:

By JULIE CARR SMYTH,Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio  — An Ohio man who uses a biblical reference and a statement against “poisoned waters” in billboards opposing the disposal of gas-drilling wastewater says the messages will come down Tuesday.

Michael Boals, of Coshocton east of Columbus, told The Associated Press the billboards’ owners were ending his three-month verbal agreement after two months unless he agreed to change the text.

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Ohio releases 2Q 2014 Utica drilling production data from 504 wells

By Bob Downing Published: September 8, 2014

From the Ohio Department of Natural Resources today:

COLUMBUS, OH – During the second quarter of 2014, Ohio’s horizontal shale wells produced 2,467,283 barrels of oil and 88,673,741 Mcf (88 billion cubic feet) of natural gas, according to figures released today by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

The report lists 562 wells, 504 of which reported production results. Fifty-eight wells reported no production as they are waiting on pipeline infrastructure. Of the 504 wells reporting production results:

The highest producing oil well was the Antero Resources “Myron” well in Noble County at 78,309 barrels of oil in 91 days of production. The highest producing natural gas well was the Hall Drilling “Hercher North” well in Monroe County at 1.4 billion cubic feet during 91 days of production.

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ODNR orders shut down of two injection wells in Trumbull County

By Bob Downing Published: September 6, 2014

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has ordered the shut down of two injection wells in Trumbull County, in the wake of a 2.1 earthquake last Sunday.

The order affects the American Water Management Services wells off state Route 169 north of Niles.

Click  here  to read the full story.

 

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Williams opens season on Western Marcellus Pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: September 5, 2014

From Williams:

To provide from one billion to in excess of two billion cubic feet per day of Marcellus and Utica natural gas to Transco markets

Williams (NYSE: WMB) has announced that it is initiating an open season from September 3 to September 29, 2014 for the Western Marcellus Pipeline Project, an expansion of the Transco interstate pipeline to provide incremental firm natural gas transportation capacity to growing markets in the Mid-Atlantic and southeastern United States by late 2018. Transco is a wholly owned subsidiary of Williams Partners, L.P. (NYSE: WPZ), of which Williams owns controlling interests and is the general partner.

The Western Marcellus Pipeline Project is being designed to provide from one billion to in excess of two billion cubic feet per day of new natural gas transportation capacity from receipt points in the Western Marcellus and Utica supply areas to points as far south as Transco's Zone 3 compressor station 65 in Mississippi and as far north as the proposed Zone 6 River Road point in Pennsylvania. The project would connect Williams' Ohio Valley Midstream processing and gathering system in northern West Virginia with the Transco pipeline, the largest volume pipeline system in the United States.

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Kinder Morgan opens season for Utica to Ontario ethane pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: September 5, 2014

From Kinder Morgan on Thursday:

 

UTOPIA Project Would Provide Long-Term Solutions for Takeaway Capacity

HOUSTON --(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sep. 4, 2014-- Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. (NYSE: KMP) today announced the launch of a binding open season to solicit commitments for the previously announced Utica To Ontario Pipeline Access ( UTOPIA ) project, which will provide opportunities to transport ethane and ethane-propane mixtures from the prolific Utica shale area.

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Aubrey McClendon plans to take new shale companies public

By Bob Downing Published: September 5, 2014

From Bloomberg News today:

Aubrey McClendon, the U.S. shale gas pioneer fired from Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK) last year, plans to take public the exploration companies he has formed since.

McClendon, who has raised about $10 billion to acquire gas fields in the past 16 months, told a conference in Dallas yesterday that he intends to start a collection of companies that each specialize in a single U.S. shale region.

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EIA offers new overview of U.S. shale drilling

By Bob Downing Published: September 4, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration:

Last Updated: September 4, 2014

Over the past decade, the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing has provided access to large volumes of oil and natural gas that were previously uneconomic to produce from low permeability geological formations composed of shale, sandstone, and carbonate (e.g., limestone).

Shale is a fine-grained sedimentary rock that forms from the compaction of silt and clay-size mineral particles. Black shale contains organic material that can generate oil and natural gas, and that can also trap the generated oil and natural gas within its pores.

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Frackfree Mahoning Valley calls for halt to injection wells

By Bob Downing Published: September 4, 2014

From Frackfree Mahoning Valley on Wednesday:

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Douglass to head Pittsburgh-based energy foundation

By Bob Downing Published: September 4, 2014

From the Energy & Mineral law Foundation on Wednesday:

PITTSBURGH, PA, September 3, 2014 2014 – The law firm of Babst Calland is pleased to acknowledge the appointment of Kevin K. Douglass, shareholder and litigation attorney, as president of the Energy & Mineral Law Foundation (EMLF), a national nonprofit educational organization which fosters the study of the laws and regulations related to natural resource development and energy use. The appointment was effective July 1, 2014.

 

In his capacity as Board President, Douglass will work closely with the foundation’s executive committee and executive director in implementing its three-year strategic plan, as well as assisting with program planning and governance. He is a senior attorney with Babst Calland and has more than 25 years of experience litigating complex commercial matters in a variety of forums, including federal, state and bankruptcy courts. He is admitted to practice in both Pennsylvania and West Virginia, as well as in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

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More details on Shell's Utica wells in northern Pennsylvania

By Bob Downing Published: September 4, 2014

From Bloomberg News on Wednesday:

By Joe Carroll

Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s natural gas discoveries near the Pennsylvania-New York border indicate that the Utica shale formation extends hundreds of miles farther east than originally thought.

Two gas finds in Tioga County, Pennsylvania, announced today by Europe’s largest oil company are more than 300 miles (483 kilometers) away from the epicenter of Utica shale drilling in Monroe County, Ohio. Shell, which has been selling gas assets in other parts of the U.S. to focus on its highest-profit prospects, said it owns drilling rights across about 430,000 acres in the discovery zone, an area five times the size of Philadelphia.

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Eclipse offers production update on Utica wells in Monroe County

By Bob Downing Published: September 4, 2014

From Eclipse Resources on Wednesday:

STATE COLLEGE, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Eclipse Resources Corporation (“Eclipse Resources” or the “Company”) (NYSE: ECR) is pleased to announce the commencement of production at two of the Company’s pad locations consisting of a total of 7 Utica Shale wells at a total combined rate of 52.6 MMcf/d of natural gas and 1.8 MBbl/d of condensate.

The Shroyer well pad in Eastern Monroe County, Ohio is currently producing into sales at a combined rate of 42.5 MMcf/d with average casing pressure of 6,545 psi. Based on composition analysis, the gas being produced is approximately 1,034 BTU gas. The Shroyer pad consists of two Utica Shale wells in the Company’s Dry Gas type curve area with average lateral lengths of 7,819 feet. The wells have been flowing into sales for approximately 10 and 20 days. The flowing pressures on both wells to date have exhibited shallow pressure declines. The company believes this likely indicates a strong reservoir and effective completion.

The second well pad is the Company’s Mizer pad in Central Harrison County, Ohio. The Mizer pad consists of 5 Utica Shale wells, which are currently producing into sales at a combined rate of 10.1 MMcf/d of natural gas and approximately 1,800 Bbl/d of condensate (176 Bbl/MMcf of condensate yield) with average tubing pressure of 2,534 psi. The wells were put into production equipment early to minimize flow back time. As water rates continue to decline and the Mizer wells clean up, Eclipse Resources expects the production rates to further increase.

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Ohio has 1,059 drilled Utica wells, 554 producing Utica wells

By Bob Downing Published: September 3, 2014

Ohio has approved 1,474 Utica shale permits, as of Aug. 30.

Ohio has 1,059 drilled Utica wells and 554 Utica wells that are producing, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources says.

Ohio has 45 rigs at work.

A total of 17 new permits have been approved: four in Belmont County, three in Carroll County and 10 in Harrison County.

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U.S. EPA may force drillers to reduce methane leaks

By Bob Downing Published: September 3, 2014

By Mark Drajem

Sept. 2 (Bloomberg) -- The Environmental Protection Agency is considering rules that would force oil and gas producers to cut methane emissions, its chief said, stepping up efforts to curb the most potent greenhouse gas linked to climate change.

Gina McCarthy, the EPA administrator, told investors at a New York forum today the agency will decide this year whether to issue regulations mandating emission cuts, or to rely only on voluntary steps.

"We are looking at what are the most cost-effective regulatory and-or voluntary efforts that can take a chunk out of methane in the system," McCarthy said. "It’s not just for climate, but for air quality" reasons, she said.

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Shell announces Utica shale wells in north-central Pennsylvania

By Bob Downing Published: September 3, 2014

Royal Dutch Shell Plc. reports two successful Utica shale wells in north-central Pennsylvania.

The natural gas-producing wells were both in Tioga County.

That is about 100 miles northeast of the nearest Utica well in western Pennsylvania.

The Utica shale in Pennsylvania is deeper than the Marcellus shale and more costly to drill.

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George Soros bets big on Argentina shale resources

By Jim Mackinnon Published: September 3, 2014

Billionaire investor George Soros has made a huge bet on developing Argentina's shale energy resources, writes James Stafford at the RealClearEnergy web site.

RealClearEnergy: "George Soros has doubled his stake in YPF SA, the state-owned oil company in Argentina, which sits atop some of the world’s largest shale oil and gas resources, and is about to get even larger following a new discovery over the last couple of weeks of a second key shale play.

"Argentina holds an estimated 27 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil and 802 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable shale gas, much of it located in the Vaca Muerta, an enormous shale formation in the Neuquen basin -- the second-largest shale gas deposit and the fourth-largest shale oil deposit in the world.

"... Soros’ move suggests that his firm is not focusing on the short-term problems facing Argentina, but believes that the geological fundamentals are more important. By increasing his stake in YPF, he is betting that Argentina is sitting on some lucrative plays that could be bigger than the Eagleford or Bakken in the United States."

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Trans Energy to pay federal fine for W. Va. stream, wetland issues

By Bob Downing Published: September 3, 2014

From the U.S. EPA on Tuesday:

 

 

Trans Energy Inc. to Restore Streams and Wetland Damaged By Natural Gas Extraction Activities in West Virginia

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U.S. pipeline startups will ease crude prices, displace imports

By Bob Downing Published: September 3, 2014

From GlobalData on Tuesday:

 

LONDON, UK (GlobalData), 2 September 2014 - The Flanagan South and Seaway Twin Pipeline startups will begin transporting incremental volumes of heavy sour and light sweet crude oil to Gulf Coast refineries in the third quarter of 2014, putting downward pressure on US crude prices and displacing imports, says an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData.

Carmine Rositano, GlobalData’s Managing Analyst covering Downstream Oil & Gas, states that Enbridge is near completion of its $2.6 billion Flanagan South Pipeline. This project will connect to the company’s existing main Canadian export pipeline in Illinois and move approximately 600 thousand barrels per day (mbd) of Canadian and North Dakota crude oil from Illinois to Cushing, Oklahoma.

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38 percent of global shale development faces water problems

By Bob Downing Published: September 3, 2014

From Bloomberg News on Tuesday:

By Randall Hackley

A new analysis shows 38 percent of the world’s shale resources in places such as China, Mexico and South Africa face high to extremely high water stress or arid conditions, according to the World Resources Institute.

Water availability shortcomings could potentially limit shale resource development in every continent except Antarctica, the Washington-based WRI research group said today in a report released at the World Water Week event in Stockholm.

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Quake occurs in Ohio's Trumbull County close to injection wells

By Bob Downing Published: September 2, 2014

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources in investigating a small earthquake on Sunday in Trumbull County.

The quake measured a 2.1, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

No damages and no injuries were reported.

The quake occurred close to injection wells where drilling wastes are being disposed.

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Problems emerge after Monroe County well pad fire

By Bob Downing Published: September 2, 2014

Phillip Keevert is the lo0ne paid fireman in Ohio's Monroe County.

He was deeply involved in a June 28 well pad fire near Clarington.

Thyat fire and how it was handled showed some of the problems with how Ohio deals with such problems, reports the Columbus Dispatch.

Click  here  to read the story by reporter Laura Arenschield.

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Hilcorp Energy drops Pennsylvania forced pooling request

By Bob Downing Published: September 2, 2014

Texas-based Hilcorp. Energy Co. has withdrawn its request for forced pooling in western Pennsylvania.

The request had been filed and was making its way through the Pennsylvania permitting process.

Three landowners in Lawrence and Mercer counties had refused to sign leases. Drilling could have been permitted under state law, despite landowners refusing to sign leases.

Click  here  to read the full story that came out late last week from the New Castle News.

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North Dakota seeks to reduce natural gas flaring

By Bob Downing Published: September 2, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration:

For the past four years, North Dakota oil producers have flared, or burned into the atmosphere, a third of the natural gas that has come up the wellbore with the oil, as they produced increasingly large volumes of light sweet crude oil.

The huge and rising volumes of this highly desirable oil have helped change the nation's oil import balance and have become a driving force in changing domestic pipelines, oil-train operations, and refining.

Now, the state's principal energy regulator, the North Dakota Industrial Commission (NDIC), is seeking to reduce the volume of flared gas to 10% of production by 2020, even if it means cutting back oil production. The NDIC's order said it will "consider amending… field rules to restrict oil production and/or impose such provisions as deemed appropriate to reduce the amount of flared gas."

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Pennsylvania investigating drilling waste discrepancies

By Bob Downing Published: September 2, 2014

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is starting to investigate a discrepancies in how much drilling waste companies produce and how much they report to the state agency.

EQT Corp. said it produced 21 tons of drilling wastes in 2013.

Six landfills in southwest Pennsylvania said the company generated 95,000 tons of drilling wastes in that year, and that figure is correct, the staqte said.

Click  here  to read the full story from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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EQT, NextEra planning 330-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: September 2, 2014

From EQT Corp., NextEra today:

PITTSBURGH--(BUSINESS WIRE)--EQT Corporation (NYSE: EQT) and NextEra US Gas Assets, LLC, an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of NextEra Energy, Inc (NYSE: NEE) today announced the formation of a joint venture, Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC, that will construct and own the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The joint venture also announced the launch of a binding open season for the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The companies also announced EQT Corporation, through one or more of its affiliates, including EQT Midstream Partners, LP (NYSE: EQM), will operate the pipeline and own a majority interest in the joint venture.

With a vast supply of natural gas from Marcellus and Utica shale production, the Mountain Valley Pipeline is expected to provide at least two billion cubic feet per day of firm transmission capacity to demand markets in the Mid- and South Atlantic regions of the United States. Subject to FERC approval, the estimated 330-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline will connect the existing Equitrans transmission system in West Virginia, to Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Company’s (Transco) Zone 5 compressor station 165 in Virginia – a highly marketable trading area for the southeast region. To-date, the joint venture has received firm capacity commitments that total 1.5 Bcf per day. The pipeline is expected to be in-service during the fourth quarter 2018.

“As we move into a binding open season, securing the 1.5 Bcf per day of firm capacity confirms we have an economically viable project. Marcellus and Utica producers will have cost-effective access to the growing demand for natural gas for use by local distribution companies, manufacturers, and power generation facilities,” stated Randy Crawford, senior vice president, EQT Corporation; and chief operating officer, EQT Midstream Partners.

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Four companies back $5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline to N.C.

By Bob Downing Published: September 2, 2014

From Dominion, Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas, AGL Resources today:

Four comanies form joint venture to own proposed $5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline from West Virginia to North Carolina and Virginia:

It would move up to 1.5 billion cubic feet per day pipeline would bring 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day to North Carolina and Virginia

The partnership, called Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC, will own the pipeline initially proposed by Dominion as the Southeast Reliability Project. It is designed in part to meet the needs identified in requests for proposals last April by Duke Energy and Piedmont, and in June by Virginia Power Services Energy. It would deliver natural gas supplies to growing markets for additional customers in Virginia and North Carolina. The pipeline would provide a new route for direct access to the burgeoning production in the Marcellus and Utica shale basins of West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

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EnerVest drilling horizontal wells in Ohio's Clinton sandstone

By Bob Downing Published: September 2, 2014

A modern technology and a very familiar sandstone may hold new riches for Ohioans.

Horizontal drilling is being used in Stark County by one Texas-based drilling company to access natural gas and oil in the Clinton sandstone and to boost production.

EnerVest Ltd., based in Houston, has quietly drilled seven miniaturized horizontal wells in the sandstone that has been heavily drilled in the past.

Clinton sandstone is found under 25 counties in eastern Ohio including those in the Akron-Canton-Cleveland area.

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Ohio watershed district is flush with Utica shale cash

By Bob Downing Published: September 2, 2014

NEW PHILADELPHIA: Landowners in eastern Ohio have cashed in on drilling on Ohio’s Utica shale.

But no one has benefitted financially as much as the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District, Ohio’s No. 1 beneficiary of drilling.

The public agency that stretches from Akron south to the Ohio River is flush with cash after getting $171 million in bonuses from drillers for signing leases at four of its reservoirs: Clendening in Harrison County, Leesville in Carroll County, Seneca in Guernsey and Noble counties and Piedmont in Belmont and Harrison counties.

Those leases cover 23,665 acres with an additional 414 acres of leases pending.

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China, Canada are likeliest Citgo trade partner with Venezuela

By Bob Downing Published: September 2, 2014

From GlobalData last week:

China or Canada the Likeliest Trade Partner as Venezuela Seeks $10 Billion Sale of Citgo Petroleum Corporation, says GlobalData Analyst

LONDON, UK (GlobalData), 27 August 2014 - A Chinese company with both the capital and ambition to strategically expand its influence is the most likely suitor for Citgo Petroleum Corporation (CITGO), which state-owned Petróleos de Venezuela, S. A. (PDVSA) is looking to sell for at least $10 billion, with a Canadian bid also possible, says an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData.

Carmine Rositano, GlobalData’s Managing Analyst covering Downstream Oil & Gas, states that Chinese companies, such as Sinopec and China National Offshore Oil Corporation, have already invested billions of dollars in Canadian oil sands projects and could use their equity production to supply heavy sour crude oil to the CITGO refineries.

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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.