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Ohio Utica Shale

Bakken shale holds twice the oil reserves that had been projected

By Bob Downing Published: April 30, 2013

The Bakken shale in North Dakota, Montana and nearby states holds twice as much oil as was projected five years ago.

That new assessment was released today by the U.S. Geological Survey.

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Natural gas is cheap energy but at what cost?

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 30, 2013

A recent energy forum at the University of Pennsylvania's famed Wharton School focused a lot on the shale revolution.

Wharton wrote: "Participants on the energy panel at the recent Wharton's Economic Summit 2013 in New York City agreed that the industry needs to strike a delicate balance between reaping the benefits of fracking while safeguarding the environment and addressing the needs and concerns of the communities affected by fracking.

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Fracked natural gas is green energy

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 30, 2013

Fracking shale appears to be greener than greens would like, opines professor Walter Russell Mead at  Via Meadia, his blog at The American Interest web site.

Mead: "A new EPA report punches all kinds of holes in one of greens’ chief concerns about the American shale boom: methane gas leaks.

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Cabot Oil & Gas finds gold mine in Susquehanna County

By Bob Downing Published: April 30, 2013

From the Marcellus Drilling News:

Energy analyst and Seeking Alpha blogger Richard Zeits listened in to the recent Cabot Oil & Gas investor’s conference call and came away with some mind-blowing numbers. The bottom line from the call and from Zeits’ analysis is that Cabot has indeed found a “super-productive” location in Susquehanna County, PA where they own leases on about 200,000 acres. New wells they’ve recently drilled prove that all of their acreage is in this sweet spot.

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Pittsburgh-based EQT Corp. reports big Marcellus numbers

By Bob Downing Published: April 30, 2013

From the Marcellus Drilling News:

EQT has turned in a report on the first quarter of 2013 and the numbers are excellent. Marcellus Shale production for the company rose 103% over the same period last year. Midstream volumes are up, revenue is up, profits are up. Hey, it’s all looking up for EQT!

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GreenHunter Water sells above-ground tank to Utica driller

By Bob Downing Published: April 30, 2013

From GreenHunter Water LLC in a Monday news release:

GreenHunter Water Begins Sales of MAG Tank

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Pennsylvania universities setting up shale drilling centers

By Bob Downing Published: April 30, 2013

Pennsylvania's colleges and universities are scrambling to establish shale gas research centers.

They are also working to find the money to fund such operations, according to NPR's Allegheny Front.

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Consol Energy adds 14 Marcellus, Utica wells in first quarter

By Bob Downing Published: April 30, 2013

From Consol Energy in its April 12 report of first quarter earnings:

During the first quarter, CONSOL Energy had a strong start to its 2013 drilling program by drilling 14 horizontal Shale wells: 12 Marcellus Shale and 2 Utica Shale wells. The average drilled lateral length for the Marcellus Shale wells and the Utica Shale wells was 5,838 feet and 6,111 feet, respectively. CONSOL initiated completion operations on 17 wells consisting of 274 frac stages during the quarter. In the Marcellus Shale, 13 wells, consisting of 207 frac stages on two separate well pads, were completed, or are currently underway. In the Utica Shale, four wells, consisting of 67 frac stages, were completed on three separate pads in the first quarter. Production results for the new drilling and completion activity is just getting underway. CONSOL expects to report results in subsequent quarterly releases.

The following significant events are expected to take place in the second quarter: completion activities on CONSOL's first horizontal Upper Devonian well, the NV 39F; multiple productive wells turned-into-line at North Nineveh in Southwest Pa.; the completion of an additional multi-well pad in Central Pa.; drilling a six-well pad in the Philippi Field in West Virginia; and CONSOL's first Utica Shale multi-well pad that is located in Mahoning County, OH.

Marcellus Shale Dry Gas (CONSOL Energy-operated):

Southwest Pa.: During the first quarter, CONSOL drilled seven wells: the fourth and final well on the MOR 20 pad in the Morris Field in Greene County and the final six wells on the NV 36 pad in Washington County. The seven wells ranged in lateral lengths from 2,843 feet to 8,006 feet. Of particular note, 99.97% of the combined lateral lengths of the seven wells were drilled within a 10 foot target zone, within the lower Marcellus Shale. Completion and flowback results from the North Nineveh Field, which extends the successful Nineveh Field northward into Washington County, Pa., have started to come in at the end of the first quarter. Early results indicate that the North Nineveh wells will be as productive, if not more productive, per foot of lateral compared to the original Nineveh wells, which average 1.1 MMcf/d per 1000 feet of lateral during their first 60 days of production and 1.7 Bcfe expected ultimate recovery per 1000 feet of lateral. Also, some of the North Nineveh wells have the added advantage of minor condensate production. During the first quarter, five wells and 61 stages were completed on the NV 41 pad, and the eight-well NV 42 pad with 146 stages is currently underway. All of the North Nineveh Field wells will be immediately turned into the sales pipeline upon completion of flowback. Also, at least one frac crew will be continuously working in North Nineveh during the first three quarters of 2013 to complete the backlog of 5 pads from 2012, which were delayed due to obtaining centralized impoundment permits during the second half of 2012.

In Southwest Pa., CONSOL has one horizontal rig operating and plans to drill an additional 16 wells throughout the remainder of 2013.

Central Pa.: Within the Central Pa. district, CONSOL drilled all five wells during the first quarter at the Kuhns 3 pad in the Mamont Field, located in Westmoreland County. The lateral lengths ranged from 4,768 feet to 10,684 feet. No wells were completed in Central Pa. during the first quarter. Completion work is expected to begin late in the second quarter on the five Kuhns wells and on the four-well Bowers pad located in southern Jefferson County, which is located at the northern end of CONSOL's Central Pa. leasehold.

CONSOL Energy does not currently have any horizontal rigs drilling in Central Pa.

Northern W.Va.: CONSOL did not drill any wells in West Virginia during the first quarter. One horizontal rig is currently mobilizing from Mamont Field to drill the six-well Philippi 13 pad in Barbour County. The Philippi 13 wells are expected to have an average lateral length of approximately 8,200 feet. After drilling the Philippi 13 pad, the company plans to drill a single well at the delineation pads in the Audra Field in southern Barbour County and the Century Field in northern Upshur County to test the productivity of CONSOL's extensive leasehold between the Philippi Field and the Alton Field in southern Upshur County. CONSOL expects to begin the completion work for all eight wells in the third quarter.

Marcellus Shale Wet Gas (Noble Energy-operated):

In the wet gas portion of the Marcellus Shale, Noble Energy (NYSE: NBL) drilled thirteen wells during the first quarter. Twelve of the thirteen wells were drilled in Marshall County, W.Va.: the final well of the eleven-well WEB 4 pad; seven wells on the eleven-well SHL 8 pad; and four of the seven wells on the WFN 1 pad. Also, Noble Energy drilled one of the six wells on the NORM 1 pad located in Gilmer County.

Completion operations have commenced on the eleven-well WEB 4 pad where 106 of 228 frac stages, and five of the eleven wells, have been completed. Noble Energy expects the WEB 4 wells to be on-line by the end of the second quarter.

Noble Energy is currently operating three horizontal rigs and expects to add a fourth rig during the second quarter. Noble Energy expects to add two more rigs later in the year to support drilling a total of 85 wells in the Marcellus Shale wet gas area in 2013.

Ohio Utica Shale (CONSOL-operated):

In the Utica Shale joint venture with Hess Corporation, CONSOL Energy drilled the first two of three wells on the NBL 11 pad in Noble County: The Noble 11A and 11B with a lateral length of 6,236 feet and 5,986 feet, respectively. Drilling is ongoing at the Noble 11C well.

During the first quarter, completion work was finished at the MAH 2A well, located in Mahoning County, where the 2,785 foot lateral, with nine frac stages, tested at a 24-hour flow rate of 1.4 MMcf/d and 240 barrels of oil/day after a 60-day shut-in period. Also, the 7,568 foot TUSC 8A well in Tuscarawas County was stimulated with 24 stages and shut-in for 60-days for frac water dissipation. Flowback operations are expected to begin in late April and results will be reported at the end of the second quarter. CONSOL's first multi-well pad in the Utica Shale was recently completed at the two-well MAH 7 pad where the 5,411 foot lateral MAH 7A well and 5,290 foot MAH 7C well were stimulated in 18 and 16 frac stages, respectively. Both wells are currently shut-in for frac water dissipation and flowback is expected to begin late in the second quarter.

CONSOL currently has two horizontal rigs drilling in the Utica; however, one rig will be released after drilling the third and final well at NBL 11, which is expected to take place within the month. Thereafter, CONSOL will operate one rig in the Utica to drill the three-well NBL 33 pad, followed by the three-well NBL 19 pad, and then the five-well NBL 18 pad, of which the first two wells are expected to be drilled in 2013. CONSOL expects to drill eleven wells, all in Noble County, during 2013.

Ohio Utica Shale (Hess-operated):

Our joint venture partner, Hess Corporation (NYSE: HES), drilled one well during the first quarter, the Cadiz A 1H-23 in Harrison County and is currently drilling JV wells at the Oxford A 2H-8 in Guernsey County and the Athens A 2H-24 in Harrison County.

Stimulation operations were completed at the 15 stage Jeffco 1H-6 well in Harrison County, which tested at 7.4 MMcf/d with flowing tubing pressure of 3,882 psi. The Cadiz A 1H-23 well was completed with 22 stages. Drillout and flowback operations are currently underway prior to a planned 90-day shut-in period for frac water dissipation.

In the Utica Shale, Hess finished the first quarter with two horizontal rigs operating on JV acreage and plans to drill 16 joint wells during 2013.

 

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Ohio company investigated for handling drilling wastes

By Bob Downing Published: April 30, 2013

A Mahoning County company is under investigation for illegally accepting drilling wastes.

The company is Soil Remediation of Lowellville.

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Hess Corp. offers details on Utica shale drilling

By Bob Downing Published: April 30, 2013

Here is what New York-based Hess Corp. had to say last week in its first quarter financial report on Ohio's Utica shale:

Utica:

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Pipeline slurry spills causing problems in eastern Ohio

By Bob Downing Published: April 30, 2013

The Ohio Environmental Protection is looking at four pipeline-construction accidents in eastern Ohio.

Colorado-based MarkWest Energy is involved in four spills of a lubricant made of clay and water in Harrison and Belmont counties.

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Unit operations likely to become more common in Ohio

By Bob Downing Published: April 30, 2013

To date, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has gotten 11 requests drom drillers for unit operation of leases, a little-known manuever permitted under state law.

Four of the requests have been granted, five are pending and two have been resolved outside the agency.

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Grass-roots group begins anti-fracking New York mailing

By Bob Downing Published: April 30, 2013

From the Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, a New York-based grass-roots group:

The Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy ha started mailing an informational brochure, ARE YOU READY TO BE PART OF GOVERNOR CUOMO’S EXPERIMENT?, to more than 84,000 households in the Southern Tier and municipalities where Town Boards have taken actions to encourage fracking, usually without public notice, and often despite clearly expressed opposition from town residents. Actor Debra Winger lives in the Sullivan County Town of Fremont. Its Board refused to let the public read, or comment upon, a pro-fracking resolution before adopting it last summer. “It’s sad that people who have been my neighbors for twenty-two years, people I've shared meals with, whose businesses I've supported, are now falling prey to a divisive approach to government” said Ms. Winger. She blames the corrosive influence of industry lobbyists. “Members of my Town Board are following the lead of others and adopting furtive methods to get what they think is being denied to them, instead of entering into public discourse.”

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Ohio school district gets $400,000 from drilling company

By Bob Downing Published: April 30, 2013

An Ohio school district is getting in excess of $400,000 from a Colorado-based drilling company.

The Barnesville Exempt Village School District in Belmont County has signed a lease on about 63 acres with Antero Resources.

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Ohio has issued 627 Utica permits, 310 wells are drilled

By Bob Downing Published: April 30, 2013

Ohio has now approved 627 Utica shale permits, of which 310 wells have been drilled, reports the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Those totals are through April 27.

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35 arrested at frack-sand protest in Minnesota

By Bob Downing Published: April 30, 2013

Ffrom the Associated Press:

Police arrested 35 people for trespassing during a protest of frack sand mining in Winona.

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$65.5 billion invested in drilling U.S. shale wells in 2011, API says

By Bob Downing Published: April 30, 2013

From the American Petroleum Institute:

WASHINGTON, April 29, 2013 – An estimated $65.5 billion was invested drilling an estimated 10,173 U.S. shale oil and natural gas wells in 2011, according to API’s 2011 Joint Association Survey on Drilling Costs. The investment number represents an 87.6 percent increase in shale drilling expenditures from 2010 levels and more than half of an estimated $124.8 billion spent on all new wells drilled in 2011. The number of estimated shale wells drilled in 2011 is 43.8 percent more than in 2010.

“The rising numbers illustrate the growing importance of shale drilling in U.S. oil and natural gas development,” said API Statistics Director Hazem Arafa. “Shale drilling drove most of the overall increase in drilling and now accounts for an estimated 23 percent of all wells drilled in the United States.”

The report shows that while expenditures on shale drilling were barely more than one-fourth of expenditures for drilling all wells in 2009, they accounted for more than half of total well drilling expenditures in 2011.

Estimated expenditures for offshore drilling dipped precipitously from 2009 to 2010, from an estimated $24.9 billion to $4.0 billion, a reflection at least in part of the drilling moratorium put in place by the administration following the Deepwater Horizon accident. Expenditures increased to an estimated $8.1 billion in 2011.
The number of estimated shale wells has risen rapidly, from 5,531 in 2009 to 7,077 in 2010 to 10,173 in 2011. Almost twice as many shale gas as shale oil wells were drilled in 2011, the report estimates, 6,759 versus 3,414.

Wells drilled of all kinds totaled 44,160 in 2011 with a total expenditure of $124,794,493,000 the report estimates.

 

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Drilling triggers air warnings in Wyoming county

By Bob Downing Published: April 29, 2013

From the Environmental Defense Fund and the Wyoming Outdoor Council:

Pinedale, Wyo. — The American Lung Association’s “State of the Air 2013” report, released last week, finds that while air quality might be improving nationwide the opposite was seen in Wyoming.

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Higher natural gas prices mean less use of gas-fired boilers

By Bob Downing Published: April 29, 2013

From SNL Energy:

SNL ENERGY REPORT: DATA SHOW HIGHER GAS PRICES RESULT IN LESS USAGE OF PJM GAS-FIRED UNITS

SNL Energy looks at utilization rates for a subset of natural gas-fired power plants in the PJM region, finding an overall reduction in usage over a 12-month period ending March 31.

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New York eco-groups want state review to be scrapped

By Bob Downing Published: April 29, 2013

From New York eco-groups late last week:

 

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Southwestern Energy buying Marcellus leases from Chesapeake

By Bob Downing Published: April 29, 2013

From Seeking Alpha blog:

HOUSTON, April 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Southwestern Energy Company (NYSE: SWN) today announced that it has signed a definitive purchase agreement to acquire natural gas properties located in Pennsylvania prospective for the Marcellus Shale from Chesapeake Energy Corporation (CHK) and its partners for approximately $93 million, subject to closing conditions. Upon closing, Southwestern intends to use its revolving credit facility to finance the acquisition. The company anticipates the acquisition to close on or around May 15, 2013.

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Is Medina County on route of new natural gas pipeline?

By Bob Downing Published: April 29, 2013

From Medina County Concerned Citizens, a grassroots group concerned by shale drilling, late last week:

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Eco-group is opposing proposed Ohio gas pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: April 29, 2013

From Food & Water Watch late last week:

 

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Plans continuing for Tuscarawas County processing facilities

By Bob Downing Published: April 29, 2013

Plans are continuing for a new gas processing and fractionation plant in southern Tuscarawas County.

The facility is expected to cost $575 million to $750 million and create 25 to 30 permanent jobs.

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Film 'Carbon Nation' to be screened tonight in Ravenna

By Bob Downing Published: April 29, 2013

The documentary film Carbon Nation will be shown tonight in Portage County.

It will be screened from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Maplewood Career Center, 7075 State Route 44, Ravenna.

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U.S. EPA says methane releases are lower, new debate likely

By Bob Downing Published: April 29, 2013

From the Associated Press:

 

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Clean tech looks to cash in on fracking

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 26, 2013

Lots of clean technology companies are looking to move into the oil and gas industry because of the boom in fracking shale energy, reports Todd Woody at the online news site Quartz.

Woody writes: "A Los Angeles company called OriginOil has developed a technology to help boost production of algae biofuels, one of the great green hopes for displacing fossil fuels and cutting planet-warming carbon emissions. Now OriginOil is repurposing its technology to serve the oil and gas industries as the fracking boom booms.

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Pressure on to export fracked natural gas

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 26, 2013

The squeeze is on the United States to decide soon what to do with the nation's abundance of fracked natural gas, writes Javier David at CNBC.

CNBC: "As the U.S. produces more of its own energy, pressure is mounting on the federal government to move quickly to export its natural gas bounty—a move that has encountered stiff resistance from some energy market players.

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Don't let America get fracked

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 26, 2013

Fracking for natural gas is not clean, green energy, say Greenpeace director Phil Radford and actor Mark Ruffalo at CNN.

The two write: "Even the heads of fossil fuel companies read the polls. They know the majority of Americans see global warming as an imminent threat and a clear sign that the way we use energy must change. But instead of offering the solar and wind choices America wants, fossil fuel companies like Shell, Exxon and Duke are offering what might be their most disastrous bait and switch yet: natural gas.

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The Fractured Left

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 26, 2013

Good news on fracking for natural gas in the United States is bad news for a Democratic party full of environmental true-believes, writes the right-leaning Weekly Standard.

The Weekly Standard writes: "Much has been said recently about the deep tensions within the Republican party. Far less has been said about a sharp division arising inside the Democratic party.

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Fracking's coming boom

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 26, 2013

Get ready for a boom in U.S. fracking and a big boost in natural gas prices, reports Salon via AlterNet.

Salon: "Unlimited export of U.S. natural gas would have enormous implications on the future of the nation’s economy, environment and domestic energy choices. Yet a burgeoning chorus in Congress, on both sides of the aisle, is calling for the swift approval of 19 liquid natural gas (LNG) export permits.

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Fracking is safe, scientists at forum say

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 25, 2013

Fracking shale is safe, scientists at an energy forum in Vail, Colo., said.

The Greeley Tribune newspaper writes: "

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Natural gas is a good fit for trucks

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 25, 2013

The Christian Science Monitor reports on why natural gas makes for a better fuel for large trucks and not passenger vehicles in the United States.

The Monitor: "Natural gas passenger cars have never really taken off in the U.S. like some thought they might.

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UPS adds 700 natural gas vehicles

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 25, 2013

United Parcel Service is expanding its fleet of natural gas-powered vehicles.

Sustainable Brands writes: "UPS ... announced an expansion to its alternative vehicle fleet with plans to purchase some 700 liquefied natural gas (LNG) vehicles and to build four refueling stations by the end of 2014.

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Natural gas-powered truck engines enter market

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 25, 2013

The trucking industry will increasingly be using fracked natural gas to power vehicles.

The New York Times, via bendbulletin.com: "This month, Cummins, a leading engine manufacturer, began shipping big, new engines that make long runs on natural gas possible. A skeletal network of refueling stations at dozens of truck stops stands ready. Major shippers like Procter & Gamble, mindful of both fuel costs and green credentials, are turning to companies with natural gas trucks in their fleets."

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Germany looks to frack shale gas

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 25, 2013

Germany may embrace fracking after all, writes The Washington Post.

The Post writes: "Germany has one of the most robust green movements in the world, but economic pressures are tempting it to try something that critics say would harm the Earth: shale gas drilling.

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We may never run out of fossil fuel

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 25, 2013

The heck with fracking shale. The real money might best be spent on ice you can set on fire.

The Atlantic magazine seriously wonders if the world may never -- yes, never -- run out of fossil fuel in large part because of progress Japan is making in tapping immense amounts of frozen methane trapped deep under the ocean. Yes, it's ice that you can set on fire.

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New campaign under way to boost truck safety in drilling regions

By Bob Downing Published: April 24, 2013

From the Consumer Energy Alliance:

HOUSTON, April 23, 2013 – Oil and gas companies have joined forces with the trucking industry to promote improved road safety and traffic management in heavily travelled producing areas like the Eagle Ford in south central Texas, the Marcellus region in the Northeast and the Bakken in the upper Midwest.

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New York eco-group rallies against LNG exports

By Bob Downing Published: April 24, 2013

From the Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy:

 

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Ohio approves two forced pooling requests in Trumbull County

By Bob Downing Published: April 24, 2013

From the Marcellus Drilling News:

The Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) recently issued two new “unitization” (or forced pooling) orders, bringing the total number of unitizations to four that they’ve issued in the Utica Shale. Both of the new orders were issued on behalf of BP and both were in Trumbull County. Here’s the details of the two orders, including how much the reluctant landowners were awarded as a bonus and how much they’ll make in royalties:

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Radiation problem detected with truck at Pennsylvania landfill

By Bob Downing Published: April 24, 2013

From the Marcellus Drilling News:

A truck with Marcellus Shale drill cuttings entering a landfill in Westmoreland County, PA triggered a radiation alarm last Friday. The truck was quarantined and after finding that yes indeed, the cuttings were a tad too radioactive for disposal at the landfill, the truck was sent back to the drilling site in Greene County.

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Utica, Marcellus involved in mergers, acquisitions in early 2013

By Bob Downing Published: April 24, 2013

From the Marcellus Drilling News:

A quarterly mergers & acquisitions report by PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP) shows the Marcellus and Utica Shale regions were respectively the second and third most popular locations for big M&A deals for the first quarter of 2013. Just three deals totaling $882 million happened in the Marcellus alone…

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Ohioans support drilling 2-1, according to Quinnpiac survey

By Bob Downing Published: April 24, 2013

A new Quinnipiac University survey strongs strong support for natural gas drilling and fracking in Ohio.

A total of 63 percent of those surveysupport drilling in Ohio's Utica shale.

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MSC's Klaber says natural gas development is key

By Bob Downing Published: April 24, 2013

A statement from Kathryn Klaber of the Pittsburgh-based Marcellus Shale Coalition, a pro-drilling group in Pennsylvania:

LAND. Did you know that horizontal drilling significantly reduces the amount of surface space required to tap the Marcellus formation? And that natural gas producers are working with conservation and sportsmen’s groups when reclaiming well sites? To learn more about the steps Marcellus Shale Coalition member companies take when constructing, maintaining and reclaiming well sites and pipeline right of ways, visit our Recommended Practices for Site Planning, Development and Restoration.

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Harvard study takes issue with FracFocus disclosure practices

By Bob Downing Published: April 24, 2013

Press release from From Harvard Law School:

 

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Friday anti-fracking program in Geauga County

By Bob Downing Published: April 24, 2013

From Frack Free Geauga:

Ohio Doctor to Speak in Geauga on Frackings Health Impacts

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UPS to accelerate its switch to LNG vehicles

By Bob Downing Published: April 24, 2013

From CSRwire:

ATLANTA, Apr. 23 /CSRwire/ - UPS (NYSE:UPS) today announced the accelerated growth of its alternative vehicle fleet with plans to purchase approximately 700 liquefied natural gas (LNG) vehicles and to build four refueling stations by the end of 2014. Once completed, the LNG private fleet will be one of the most extensive in the U.S.

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Group unhappy with coal-mining plan in Carroll County

By Bob Downing Published: April 24, 2013

From Carroll Concerned Citizens:

 

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Polymers may help fracking get greener

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 23, 2013

Biodegradable polymers may help hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, be more environmentally friendly in developing shale resources.

"Biodegradable polymers have the potential to help mitigate environmental concerns associated with hydraulic fracturing by offering an environmentally preferable alternative to materials currently used to suspend proppants, according to principal analyst of specialty chemicals at consultancy IHS Michael Malveda," writes Conway Irwin at AolEnergy.

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The shale boom is real

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 23, 2013

Don't believe the shale energy naysayers, writes Karl Smith at Forbes.

"A number of prominent economists have poured cold water on the notion that the boom in shale oil and gas is a significant boost to the US economy," Smith writes.

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Foreign investors fuel U.S. shale boom

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 23, 2013

China is the largest foreign investor in U.S. shale energy development, reports Bloomberg Businessweek.

Christina Larson writes: "China has about twice the estimated shale gas reserves as the U.S., but commercial production has been slow to ramp up on the mainland—because of a combination of challenging geology and an inflexible industry structure. Analysts predict it will be anywhere from three years to two decades before China’s commercial shale gas boom arrives.

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The U.S. should donate fracking tech to China

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 22, 2013

The United States can help China clean up its environment by donating fracking technology to the country, writes Steve LeVine at the online news site Quartz.

LeVine writes: "Elizabeth Muller, who runs a California-based climate change monitoring group called Berkeley Earth, is urging environmentalists to help China help itself by developing its shale gas resources. Because China accounts for much of the world’s future atmospheric increase in heat-trapping gases, Muller argues that it is in everyone’s interests to help wean the country off of coal. And one of the best bets for doing that is the controversial technique of hydraulic fracturing (better known as 'fracking'), says Muller."

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Half the public doesn't know what the frack is going on

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 22, 2013

You'd think that with all of the publicity involving hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, most of the U.S. public would know what the process involves and why it is important.

You would be wrong.

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Fracking a watershed moment for California Gov. Jerry Brown

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 22, 2013

California may turn to fracking its vast shale reserves to rescue the troubled state, says Joel Kotkin at the website Newgeography.

Kotkin: "The recent announcement that Jerry Brown is studying "fracking" in California, suggests that our governor may be waking up to the long-term reality facing our state. It demonstrates that, despite the almost embarrassing praise from East Coast media about his energy and green policies, Brown likely knows full well that the state's current course, to use the most overused term, is simply not politically and economically sustainable.

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Natural gas prices are inching upward

By Bob Downing Published: April 19, 2013

From the Associated Press:

By KEVIN BEGOS

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District approves two deals for Ohio lake water for drillers

By Bob Downing Published: April 19, 2013

The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District today approved two deals with Utica shale drillers for water from Seneca Lake and Clendening Reservoir, despite continuing objections from a grass-roots group.

The first deal calls for the district to provide up to 184 million gallons of water from Seneca Lake in Guernsey and Noble counties to Colorado-based Antero Resources.

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West Virginia cuts time needed to get shale permits

By Bob Downing Published: April 19, 2013

West Virginia has cut the time to get a natural gas drilling permit from 110 to 130 days to about 75 days.

This year, the state has gotten 194 requests, of which 168 have been approved.

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Utica shale offers great promise, despite lack of production data

By Bob Downing Published: April 19, 2013

Analysts and midstream developers are convinced that Ohio's Utica shale offers great promise, according to Crain's Cleveland Business.

Click   here  to read the full story.

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Ohio tops 600 Utica shale permits with 297 wells drilled

By Bob Downing Published: April 19, 2013

Ohio has topped 600 Utica shale permits, according to latest update from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Ohio now has 605 permits, of which 297 wells have been drilled.

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Attorney, grass-roots group fight new Ohio water sales

By Bob Downing Published: April 19, 2013

Attached are the objections presented today, April 19, by Toledo attorney Terry J.  Lodge to the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District over two new water sales from district lakes in eastern Ohio:

           April 18, 2013


Hon. Edward E. O’Farrell
Tuscarawas County Court of Common Pleas
Chief Judge, MWCD Conservancy Court
Via email to bragg@co.tuscarawas.oh.us and
stephenson@co.tuscarawas.oh.us

William P. Boyle, President, David L. Parham, Vice-President,
Harry C. Horstman, Steve Kokovich, Richard J. Price
All c/o Darrin Lautenschleger
Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District
1319 3rd St., NW
P.O. Box 349
New Philadelphia, OH 44663
Via fax to (330) 364-4161 (letter only) and email
(with attachments) to Darrin@mwcd.org

Re: Public comment objections to MWCD water sales to Gulfport and Antero Resources (On MWCD Board agenda for April 19, 2013)

To Judge O’Farrell and the Executive Board of the Muskingum Watershed Conservation District:

I write as counsel for Mr. and Mrs. Steven Jansto (Ms. Leatra Harper) who are property owners at 16555 Heron Rd., Senecaville, OH 43780 and the grassroots citizen organization, Southeast Ohio Alliance to Save Our Water, which is comprised of the Janstos’ fellow property owners within the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District. On behalf of the Janstos and SOASOW, we respectfully demand that the Board decline to approve the gross sales of millions of gallons of water to oil and gas drilling firms which are proposed for vote on the monthly meeting agenda for April 19, 2013. Further, we respectfully ask that the Conservancy Court, which has been placed in an essential oversight role, please initiate an immediate investigation of Staff and Board practices which violate Ohio Administrative Procedure Act requirements by unilaterally foisting a secretive water sales policy upon precious public resources. This comprises a special subsidy to a single industry and destroys public water resources permanently. Secret decisions based on secret evidence are anathema to Ohio’s courts and should not be tolerated by the Conservancy Court. Not only will the water be taken and destroyed for singular profit by the MWCD and afford a singular benefit to the temporary unconventional shale drilling industry, it will remove water permanently from use for other, permanent industries in the district, including agriculture and recreation, and as well from public drinking water use. The use of water for fracking will further create a toxic and radioactive waste disposal problem for all of Ohio.

We view any formal policy votes and decisions taken by the Board on April 19 to comprise administrative licensing proceedings and related rulings under O.R.C. Chapter 119 which are being made on behalf of hydraulic fracturing gas (“fracking”) drilling firms. These private companies will be beneficiaries of advantageous water takings licenses from the Board’s votes and decisions. Respectfully, the administrative record does not support any decisions which the Board may make to grant these large-volume water licenses, because there has been a complete lack of public notice and opportunity for public objection, nor are there any local, state or federal environmental impact studies, apart from the hydro-geological report provided by my clients. There continue to be no administrative rules or standards promulgated to govern the discretion exercised in water sales. While my clients have registered scientific reports and provided government agencies, including MWCD, with testimony warning of water shortages in Ohio due to impending droughts, there still are no scientifically peer-reviewed analyses which address the question of whether the water resources within the District will be protected.

We do not believe that the MWCD has the legal authority to undertake these sales. They constitute an abuse of the District’s statutorily-enumerated powers.

I. Prospective Board actions would violate its own policies and Ohio law

The Board’s vote on proposed water sales to Gulfport and Antero Resources will simultaneously violate the Board’s June 7, 2012 moratorium on such sales, and will further breach the Ohio Open Records Act, the Open Meetings Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act by adjudicating water sales based upon concealed, undisclosed "secret records" information.

II. A Board vote would break its 2012 public pledge
imposing a moratorium on bulk water sales pending scientific reports
from the USGS which are presently being withheld from the public


The Board instituted a moratorium on water sales following the June 1, 2012 Conservancy Court meeting. The public was notified via official MWCD release dated June 7, 2012 (copy attached to electronic version of this letter) that:

There will be no further sales of water from the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) reservoirs to the oil and gas industry until the MWCD can update its water supply policy that will take into account the information reported from an independent water availability study presently under way.
The MWCD announced today (June 7) that based on concerns expressed by environmental organizations and groups, the general public and the MWCD staff, the conservancy district must “slow down the process of managing water sales requests,” said John M. Hoopingarner, MWCD executive director/secretary.

(Emphasis supplied). The moratorium on sales was imposed pending completion of a contracted-for study by the U.S. Geological Survey (“USGS”) of the effects of prospective water withdrawals from Tappan, Leesville and Seneca reservoirs. According to MWCD staff, as of April 18, 2013 the study is not completed; it is now being reviewed within the USGS according to that agency’s peer review process; and it will be some months before the report is final. See April 16, 2013 Lautenschleger email (copy attached to electronic version). There is no official USGS set of findings respecting the viability of gross water sales at this time, nor has the Board terminated the moratorium.

On September 24, 2012, contradicting Board policy, the MWCD Staff announced via press release (copy attached to electronic version) that “The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) will consider short-term sales of water from Clendening and Piedmont lakes to the oil and gas industry to reduce the pounding of tanker trucks on rural roads during the upcoming lake ‘drawdown’ period when billions of gallons of water are released downstream as part of routine flood reduction operations.” The drawdown period coincides with the winter season and ends by mid-April. Moreover, neither lake was included in the USGS study.

III. Proposed water sales from Clendening and Seneca Lakes

At the April 19, 2013 Board meeting, the Staff is asking the Board to approve a May 2013 sale of 22,000,000 gallons of water to Gulfport Energy from Clendening reservoir, which would occur outside the lengthy winter drawdown period from a lake not subjected to USGS analysis.

Staff further proposes Board approval of the sale of up to 2,000,000 gallons per day of water from Seneca reservoir from May 1 - July 31, 2013 to Antero Resources. This timing, too, is outside the drawdown window.

IV. By voting for the water sales, the Board will be ending
its moratorium and improperly relying on the nonpublic USGS report


The MWCD has been given a courtesy draft of the USGS report by the USGS for review. This report is being kept away from the public while the USGS supposedly is subjecting it to peer review. The USGS maintains that in its current state, the report may not be relied on as offering official agency findings. Section 502.4(5)(4) of the “U.S. Geological Survey Manual” (copy attached to electronic version) describes the courtesy review process:

In being afforded this courtesy review, such parties are bound by the Bureau’s nondisclosure policy to uphold the strictest scientific ethics in ensuring confidentiality of the science that is being reviewed and not disclosing or divulging any results or conclusions or making any public statements regarding the science before it is published and released. Information products distributed for courtesy review must carry the following statement: “This draft manuscript is distributed solely for the purpose of courtesy review. The comments received will be addressed and treated as appropriate to ensure there is no conflict of interest. Its content is deliberative and predecisional, so it must not be disclosed or released by reviewers. Because the manuscript has not yet been approved for publication by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), it does not represent any official USGS finding or policy.”

(Emphasis added). Furthermore, the fact that the MWCD would consider using information from the USGS draft report, which by the declaration of its authors may be incomplete and contain inaccurate, imprecise and incomplete conclusions, reflects a sneering disregard for rigorous science. Such indifference risks biasing and misinforming the MWCD decision-making process. In light of the Conservancy Watershed District’s statutory mandate of conservation, we believe invocation of the Precautionary Principle is warranted here. But at a minimum, public examination of the USGS report and opportunity for democratic debate must occur before any decision is taken on water sales.

The MWCD Board vote on water sales will be seen as making water sales policy predica-ted on nonpublic USGS “insider” information. By prohibiting the public, which does not know the conclusion reached by USGS, from having access to the study, the MWCD Board will be giving “unfair advantage or the perception of unfair advantage” to the oil and gas drilling industry, precisely what USGS policy tries to avoid.<1> Whether it goes into executive session to discuss matters related to the water sales, or not, the Board will be relying on its confidential access to USGS information in taking a vote to sell. This violates Ohio’s Sunshine Act. There is no genuine emergency requiring a vote on this sale before the public can have access to the USGS report. To hold the vote now, before the public can participate, breaches the state open meetings law. To hold the vote without disclosing the USGS report’s findings, which have repeatedly been requested by Leatra Harper, also violates Ohio’s public records act. The MWCD cannot invoke a cloak of secrecy to keep the true basis for its decision from the public when there is no emergency and when that basis (the USGS report) is destined ultimately to be made public by the USGS.

IV. The proposed sale of Seneca reservoir water ignores explicit consultant advice

The MWCD Board contracted in 2012 with CH2M Hill Engineering to prepare a “Safe Yield and Diversion Capacity for Water Supply” for Seneca Lake. Included in the consultant’s recommendations was this advice:

The results in Table 4 suggest that withdrawals of up to 5 MGD can be diverted during the months of November through February, based on meeting 98% of that amount in all days simulated from 1937 to the present. However, that amount cannot be reliably met during other months, particularly during the refill months of March and April, and during the peak summer months.
During the months of May, June, July and September, withdrawals of up to 1 MGD can be taken about 70 percent of the time.
Additional flows could be reliably taken if more fluctuation in summer target water levels were allowed, but that would likely require significant stakeholder dialogue to understand impacts on recreational activities
.

(Emphasis supplied).

Despite MWCD’s consultant having limited withdrawals to 1,000,000 gallons per day (a volume deemed available only 70% of the time), the Staff nonetheless recommends twice that amount - 2,000,000 gpd - can be sold from May through July. Without the USGS study, there is no technical basis to counter the CH2M memorandum; there is only the Staff’s faith-based override of science. The Staff has pointedly ignored CH2M’s strong suggestion that “significant stakeholder dialogue to understand impacts on recreational activities” must be considered if the inclination is to sell more than 1,000,000 gpd in the summer season. Those stakeholders include other businesses not so favored by the MWCD, which have pre-existing water needs that may be threatened by drought-inspired shortages.

The water sales policy, like the decision to allow mineral extraction in the Seneca Lake basin, is not based upon competitive bidding and appears not to price water for its scarcity, but only for its availability. Commerce other than fracking, as well as the general public, are being entirely excluded from these decisions.

V. Conclusion

“The Muskingum Conservancy District is a state corporation. The novelty of the Muskingum project lies in the fact that it is the first instance of cooperation between the United States Government and a local subdivision of a state government in such work . . . . If it works well, it will serve as a model for further cooperative effort between the national and local governments for flood control, water conservation, and social and economic improvement. In the Muskingum Valley, the Conservancy District takes the lead and receives cooperation from the Federal Government. But both projects develop a partnership or cooperative effort between federal and state governments for the conservation of natural resources and the general social and economic welfare of the nation.”<2>

We request the Conservancy Court protect Ohio Administrative Procedure Act rights of those ratepayers who are harmed by secret decisions made upon secret “evidence.” By acting on these water sales, the MWCD Board will have abandoned its moratorium on water sales. The Board will be relying on nonpublic, incomplete peer-reviewed scientific information in non- emergency circumstances, where the public should be allowed access to ensure that there is an informed vote. A vote to allow sales now ignores taxpayer-financed consultant advice and signals the oil and gas drilling industry that there are no democratic impediments to unregulated sales. The MWCD will be affirming that ad hoc water sales are the only sales policy, even as the District arranges ad hoc sales which violate MWCD’s statutory responsibility to conserve water.

The Conservancy Court is empowered to assure that the District Staff and Board follow the law, not flout it for financial gain. We urge the Court to inquire before the Board is permitted to take final action to alienate these assets. In the meantime, we urge the Board to decline to act on the Gulfport and Antero Resources water sales agreements.

Please add this letter to the public comment file in accordance with the MWCD’s public participation policy.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

/s/ Terry J. Lodge

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
<1> Section 502.5(3)( C) of the Survey Manual says: “Particularly sensitive results, however, such as energy and mineral resource assessments and mineral commodity reports that typically have significant economic implications are not disclosed or shared in advance of public release because pre-release in these cases could result in unfair advantage or the perception of unfair advantage.”
<2> From an address by Robert N. Wilkin, The Muskingum Watershed Project, delivered at the Annual Citizenship luncheon, Lakewood, Ohio, March 6, 1934. Judge Wilkin, a former member of the Ohio Supreme Court, was an early leader in the formation of the MWCD and served as its first general counsel and later as a U.S. District Judge in Washington, D. C.
 

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Cleveland law firm unveils white paper on trucking, drilling

By Bob Downing Published: April 19, 2013

Earlier this year, Benesch, a Cleveland-based full-service business law firm, announced the preliminary results of a research project which explored the impact of the shale oiland gas industry in Ohio and nationally on trucking.

The firm partnered with the National Tank Truck Carriers in Washington, DC and the Ohio Trucking Association in Columbus, OH and, through these partnerships, was able to reach out to hundreds of trucking companies for data collection.

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Tioga County gets new drilling wasterwater recycling plant

By Bob Downing Published: April 19, 2013

From the Associated Press:

A Pennsylvania firm has opened a new plant to treat and recycle wastewater generated by Marcellus shale natural gas drilling.

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Steingraber sentenced to 15 days in jail after N.Y. protest

By Bob Downing Published: April 19, 2013

Author-activist Sandra Steingraber was sentenced to 15 days in jail for a New York protest.

She and two other members of a group called the “Seneca Lake 12” pleaded guilty to trespassing.

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Steingraber releases statement before being jailed

By Bob Downing Published: April 19, 2013

Here is the statement that author-activist Sandra Steingraber read in court in upstate New York before being jailed:

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Seeger to perform at benefit for Pa. grass-roots group

By Bob Downing Published: April 19, 2013

Folk singer Pete Seeger is scheduled to appear this summer in northeast Pennsylvania to support a grass-roots group fighting the proposed Tennessee Gas Pipeline, says reporter Susan Phillips of NPR's StateImpact.

To read the full story, click  here.

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Pennsylvania's Commonwealth Pipeline is suspended

By Bob Downing Published: April 19, 2013

From the Associated Press:

The developers of a planned 120-mile natural gas pipeline in eastern Pennsylvania say the project is being suspended indefinitely.

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Eco-groups appealing judge's fracking secrecy ruling

By Bob Downing Published: April 19, 2013

From the Associated Press:

Wyoming environmental groups are appealing a district judge's decision that ingredients used in fracking can be protected under the state's trade secrets law.

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Benzene detected in Colorado's Parachute Creek

By Bob Downing Published: April 19, 2013

From the Associated Press:

The Williams Co. has detected benzene in Colorado's Parachute Creek, close to where it reported finding natural gas liquids near its natural gas processing plant in Parachute last month.

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Explosives found at two Pennsylvania drilling sites

By Bob Downing Published: April 19, 2013

From the Associated Press:

Police say they're investigating reports remains of small explosive devices were found at two natural gas drilling sites in northeastern Pennsylvania.

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Two eco-groups challenge federal auction of drilling lands

By Bob Downing Published: April 18, 2013

A press release from California's Center for Bi9ological Diversity and the Sierra Club:

SAN FRANCISCO— In the wake of a landmark legal victory against fracking on public lands, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club are filing a new lawsuit today challenging the Obama administration’s auction of an additional 17,000 acres in Monterey, San Benito, and Fresno counties for drilling and fracking.

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API: State Department supports Keystone XL pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: April 18, 2013

From the American Petroleum Institute:

WASHINGTON, April 18, 2013 – The Keystone XL pipeline is in America’s national interest and would be safe, according to the State Department’s latest review, API Senior Downstream Manager Cindy Schild told reporters this morning in calling for approval of the project:

“No pipeline project has been analyzed as long and as thoroughly as the Keystone XL pipeline – it’s been under review for more than twice as long as it will take to build the entire project. While the delays have been frustrating, the State Department should be commended for the comprehensive nature of its analysis, and it should come as no surprise that they have reached the same conclusion in this review that they did in their previous three reviews: the Keystone XL pipeline is safe and will create tens of thousands of well-paying jobs.

“The science supports it. The people support it. A bi-partisan Congressional majority supports it. Organized labor is anxiously awaiting its approval. The environmental assessment is complete. Its contribution to our economy, to our long-term energy security and to our national security is clear. There is no question it is in our national interest, and it is time to approve this project.”

API is a national trade association that represents all segments of America’s technology-driven oil and natural gas industry. Its more than 500 members – including large integrated companies, exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms – provide most of the nation’s energy. The industry also supports 9.2 million U.S. jobs and 7.7 percent of the U.S. economy, delivers $85 million a day in revenue to our government, and, since 2000, has invested over $2 trillion in U.S. capital projects to advance all forms of energy, including alternatives.

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EQT intends to become a player in the Marcellus shale

By Bob Downing Published: April 18, 2013

Pittsburgh-based EQT Corp. intends to focus its efforts on Pennsylvania's Marcellus shale.

The company said it intends to sell off other assets to provide the needed capital to become a bigger player in shale drilling.

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Eco-groups want drilling money kept out of elections

By Bob Downing Published: April 18, 2013

A Wednesday press release from Pennsylvania eco-groups:

April 17, 2013

Pittsburgh – PennPIRG, PennEnvironment, Public Citizen, Keystone Progress, One Pittsburgh, Common Cause PA, University of Pittsburgh students and others held a press conference outside gas drilling company EQT’s annual shareholder meeting today to call on it to end the practice of spending corporate money in elections.

Clean Yield Asset Management has filed a resolution asking the corporation to assess the financial impact of refraining from political spending. The resolution will be voted on inside the meeting.

“It is all too easy for companies to be perceived as attempting to buy the influence of elected officials and other public policymakers,” said Leslie Samuelrich, senior vice president of Green Century Capital Management, an investment firm that supported the resolution. "As shareholders, we are concerned about the business and reputational risks EQT is exposed to by using company funds in an attempt to influence electoral campaigns in Pennsylvania, particularly given the already contentious nature of hydraulic fracturing in the state,” added Samuelrich.

The groups outside the meeting said they did not expect Clean Yield’s resolution to win a majority vote, primarily because large institutional investors will not vote on the issue, but they emphasized that the resolution is an important tool for highlighting the problem of corporate political spending.

“Big money contributions and corporate political spending distort our democracy by drowning out the voices of ordinary Pennsylvanians,” said Blair Bowie, democracy advocate for the Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group (PennPIRG). “In the case of EQT, this political spending is particularly troubling since they actually spent more money on elections than they pay in taxes. We call that representation without taxation.”

EQT, like many companies, exploits loopholes to avoid paying taxes. Between 2008 and 2012, EQT had an effective federal tax rate of -1 percent—it netted $20 million in refunds and subsidies while earning more than $2 billion in profits. In 2009, the corporation’s effective federal tax rate was -52.6 percent as it received $134.76 million back from the federal government while it made $256.31 million in pre-tax profit, according to Citizens for Tax Justice.

Meanwhile, EQT has poured nearly $328,000 into Pennsylvania elections since 2001 and $281,000 on statewide races across the country since 2003. On the whole, the fracking industry has spent $23 million to influence Pennsylvania politics since 2003, according to Common Cause PA.

“Shareholder efforts to prohibit EQT management’s abuse of corporate funds, and our efforts to protect the integrity of our government and elections demonstrate that that not only is the convergence of shareholder financial interests and government integrity possible—it is essential,” said Barry Kauffman, Executive Director of Common Cause PA. “Open, honest and accountable government coupled with free and fair election is an investment we all depend on.”

“The public is sick of corporate money buying corporate bias in both Harrisburg and Washington, D.C.,” added Rick Claypool, online director for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division and a Pittsburgh native. “We’re sending EQT an unmistakable message: Keep your corporate money out of the people’s democracy.”

The call to action, organized in conjunction with the Corporate Reform Coalition, a group of investors, good governance watchdogs, academics, and more, comes in the wake of the first presidential election cycle after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which said corporations could spend unlimited sums to influence elections. In the 2012 cycle, an estimated $138 million to $405 million in campaign contributions came from for-profit corporations.

"As an energy industry professional and an EQT stockholder, I am disturbed by these attempts to influence policy. I have spent many years working in the energy industry in developing countries, and have witnessed the destruction of communities and the environment by unregulated exploitation of natural resources. This destruction was allowed to happen because of the corrupting effects of corporate money on politicians,” said Ritchie Tabachnick, a board member of Keystone Progress.

The relationship between the fracking industry and the state and federal governments is of great concern to environmental groups in particular.

“Since gas drilling began in Pennsylvania, we’ve seen residents have to cope with poisoned drinking water, destruction of our state forests and health problems popping up in drilling-heavy parts of the state,” said Erika Staaf, clean water advocate for PennEnvironment. “Thanks in part to the huge political spending and fierce lobbying by the likes of EQT, we’ve seen new environmental protections blocked at every turn on the state and federal level, despite public support for such reforms.”

“EQT has proven itself as a subtractive and extractive industry - pulling resources away from the state. Meanwhile, students at public universities are stuck footing the bill with higher tuition rates and health costs,” said Eva Resnick-Day, a recent graduate from the University of Pittsburgh, referring both to the public health impacts of drilling and to EQT’s effective tax rate at a time when higher education is being hit by budget cuts in the state.

For 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012 EQT’s effective state tax rate was negative, meaning it received more money back from state governments, including Pennsylvania, than it paid in taxes.

View more facts on EQT’s record here: http://uspirg.org/reports/usp/elections-shale
 

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Pennsylvania approves tax credits for natural gas vehicles

By Bob Downing Published: April 18, 2013

From the Associated Press:

Pennsylvania House Republicans pushed through three tax credit programs Wednesday that are designed to capitalize on the Marcellus shale drilling boom.

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BLM nets $20 million in quarterly natural gas leases

By Bob Downing Published: April 18, 2013

From the Associated Press:

The Bureau of Land Management has netted more than $20 million in revenues from its quarterly oil and natural gas lease sale.

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Fracking gag order dropped; federal lawsuit dropped, too

By Bob Downing Published: April 18, 2013

From the Associated Press:

Environmental groups have filed to dismiss a federal free speech lawsuit against an upstate New York town.

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Ohio doesn't want federal oversight of fracking

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 18, 2013

Shalereporter.com says Ohio is pushing back against federal oversight of fracking.

Rachel Morgan writes: "Despite a history marked with fracking catastrophes, Ohio still wants to retain oversight of its hydraulic fracturing and wastewater disposal industry.

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Shale energy isn't helping U.S. manufacturing

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 17, 2013

Shale energy is not leading to a renaissance in manufacturing in the United States, argues Sam Ro at Business Insider.

Ro writes: "There are two big emerging economic stories coming out of the U.S.

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Halcon Resources drilling in Utica shale in two states

By Bob Downing Published: April 17, 2013

Texas-based Halcon Resources is getting involved in the Utica shale in eatsern Ohio and northwest Pennsylvania.

The Phillips well in Mercer County, Pa., is on the verge of beginning production in the next week or so, said Floyd C. Wilson, chairman and CEO of the company.

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Tuscarawas County well may be Ohio Utica oil key

By Bob Downing Published: April 17, 2013

Drillers are keeping a close eye on how much oil might be recovered from a well in Ohio's Tuscarawas County.

That well has produced "a good pressure test" but additional tests are still needed, said John Walker, executive chairman of EV Energy Partners, in a teleconference on Tuesday from New York.

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Devon Energy says nothing on Utica shale at investment meeting

By Bob Downing Published: April 17, 2013

Devon Energy Corp.'s top man, John Richels, said nothing about Ohio's Utica shale in a presentation on Tuesday at the IPAA Oil and Gas Investment Symposium in New York.

Richels spoke highly of the Permian and Mississippian formations where Devon is actively drilling, plus the oil sads in Alebrta that the company is pursuing.

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BP facing $1 billion in claims in Texas refinery lawsuit

By Bob Downing Published: April 17, 2013

From the Associated Press:

More than 470 people are suing BP for $1 billion, saying they became sick due to a 15-day gas leak at its refinery in Texas City.

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Contamination in Colorado creek may be from pumper truck hoses

By Bob Downing Published: April 17, 2013

From the Associated Press:

 Officials in Parachute, Colo., say pumper trucks leaving their hoses in Parachute Creek probably are responsible for diesel-like organics found near the town's irrigation water.

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U.S., EPA, two natural gas companies settle clean-air problems

By Bob Downing Published: April 17, 2013

From the Associated Press:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says two natural gas companies have agreed to improve their operations in western Pennsylvania.

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Pennsylvania looking at water-use fee for drilling

By Bob Downing Published: April 17, 2013

From StateImpact Pennsylvania:

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports on an effort in Harrisburg to impose a new fee for the "consumptive use"  of water. It would impact industries like gas drillers and bottled water companies.

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EV Energy Partners seeking new partners for Ohio Utica deals

By Bob Downing Published: April 16, 2013

A Texas-based energy company has scrapped a proposed deal to sell nearly 104,000 acres in Ohio’s Utica shale.

EV Energy Partners Executive Chairman John B. Walker, in a teleconference from New Yorkk today, said efforts to put together a Utica sale with an unnamed buyer have failed.

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Magnum Hunter Resources offers 2013 update

By Bob Downing Published: April 16, 2013

From Texas-based Magnum Hunter Resources:

 

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Bloomberg: Drillers unhappy with Utica shale because it is too gassy

By Bob Downing Published: April 16, 2013

Bloomberg News reports that some drillers aren't finding enough oil in the Utica shale.

Here's the story:

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Ohio has approved 596 Utica wells, 293 have been drilled

By Bob Downing Published: April 16, 2013

Ohio has now approved 596 Utica shale permits, of which 293 wells have been drilled.

Those totals, released by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, are through April 6.

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Urban drilling is topic of April 27 program in Portage County

By Bob Downing Published: April 16, 2013

Two anti-fracking activists will speak on urban drilling in Ohio on April 27 at a public meeting in Streetsboro.

Vanessa Pesec of the Network for Oil and Gas Accountability and Broadview Heights' Tish O'Dell of Mothers Against Drilling in Our Neighborhoods will speak at 7:30 p.m. at King of Glory Church, 1667 Streetsboro Plaza (next to the post office off state Route 303).

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Pennsylvania man dies of injuries from W. Va. gas explosion

By Bob Downing Published: April 16, 2013

A Westmoreland County man is the second worker to die from injuries suffered in an accident at a natural-gas operation in West Virginia, says the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Raymond Miller, 43, of Jeannette died Monday afternoon in West Penn Hospital in Bloomfield, where he was flown after being burned on Thursday at the Eureka Hunter Pipeline operations near Wick, W.Va., about 60 miles south of Wheeling, a spokesman for the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office said.

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Oil drilling expands in first quarter of 2013, API says

By Bob Downing Published: April 16, 2013

From the American Petroleum Institute:

WASHINGTON, April 15, 2013 – Oil well drilling trends continue to rise in the first quarter of 2013 with total oil well completions up 20 percent (to 8,705 wells) from 2012 first quarter figures, according to API's 2013 Quarterly Well Completion Report: First Quarter.

“The oil and natural gas industry expanded oil drilling in the first quarter of 2013 thanks in large part to access on private and state lands,” said Hazem Arafa, director of API's statistics department. “Additional access to our own vast energy resources and streamlined federal permitting would allow for more opportunities to produce U.S. energy while creating more American jobs and generating more revenue for our government."

Natural gas well completions continued to decline with 26 percent fewer wells (to 2,175 wells) from year ago levels, according to the report. Total number of wells completed in first quarter 2013 increased by 6 percent (to 12,381 wells) from year ago levels, while total footage drilled increased 12 percent (to 104 million feet).

API represents more than 500 oil and natural gas companies, leaders of a technology-driven industry that supplies most of America's energy, supports 9.2 million U.S. jobs and 7.7 percent of the U.S. economy, delivers more than $85 million a day in revenue to our government, and, since 2000, has invested more than $2 trillion in U.S. capital projects to advance all forms of energy, including alternatives.

# # #
 

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BLM releases Colorado fracking nominator after court ruling

By Bob Downing Published: April 16, 2013

From two Colorado-based groups:
 

Citizens for a Healthy Community | Western Environmental Law Center

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Marcellus shale gas helps fuel transportation sector

By Bob Downing Published: April 16, 2013

From the Pennsylvania-based Marcellus Shale Coalition, a pro-drilling group:

 

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Protest in Pittsburgh today against new shale center

By Bob Downing Published: April 15, 2013

From the organizers of the protest:

For
Immediate Release

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The U.S. can win at fracking if it does 5 things

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 15, 2013

There are five things the United States must do to win at fracking, writes Jeff McMahon at Forbes magazine.

McMahon: "The United States can use fracking as a bridge to a cleaner  future, or it can damage land, pollute water, and spew even more greenhouse gases, an energy advisor to two presidents said at the University of Chicago Thursday night.

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Transportation ideal for fracked natural gas, T.Boone Pickens says

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 15, 2013

T. Boone Pickens says in Bloomberg Businessweek the U.S. needs to convert the national heavy truck fleet to natural gas.

Pickens: "You don’t put natural gas in your corner gasoline station. You put natural gas in a truck stop. It’s a fuel that competes against diesel. There are about 8 million heavy-duty trucks in the U.S. If you convert them to natural gas, that boosts consumption by about 15 billion to 20 billion cubic feet a day. Right now we do about 70 billion cubic feet a day. So that extra demand would immediately boost the price and get drills moving again. Today natural gas is about $2.79 a gallon, compared with about $4.79 for diesel. That’s a huge advantage."

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Fracking won, green energy failed

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 15, 2013

The private sector, not environmentalists or government central planning, led to the fracking energy revolution in the United States, a columnist at the Washington Examiner writes.

Conn Carroll: "No union/environmentalist central planner set out to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs by perfecting new methods of extracting shale oil and gas from rocks thousands of feet beneath the surface. But that is exactly what the private sector has done. A recent IHS Global Insight report found the fracking industry supported 1.7 million jobs in 2012 alone."

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Committee reports increase in magnitude of U.S. natural gas

By Bob Downing Published: April 15, 2013

From the Potential Gas Committee on April 9:

 

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Foreign investors playing big role in U.S. shale drilling

By Bob Downing Published: April 15, 2013

From the U.S, Energy Information Administration:

April 8, 2013

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Magnum Hunter Resources starts well in Ohio's Washington County

By Bob Downing Published: April 15, 2013

Magnum Hunter Resources Corp. announced Friday that it has started drilling its first horizontal well in Ohio's Utica shale.

The well is on the Farley pad in northern Washingfton County. It will be one of four wells at that site.

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Consol Energy to drill 11 wells in 2013 in Ohio's Noble County

By Bob Downing Published: April 15, 2013

Consol Energy drilled 14 wells in the Marcellus and Utica shales and it plans to drill 11 new wells in 2013 in Ohio's Noble County, the company said on Friday.

Of the 14 swells, two are in the Utica shale and 12 are in the Marcellus shale.

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Urban drilling in Ohio is subject of April 27 program

By Bob Downing Published: April 16, 2013

Two anti-fracking activists will speak onurban drilling in Ohio on  April 27 at a public meeting in Streetsboro.

Vanessa Pesec of the Network for Oil and Gas Accountability and Broadview Heights' Tish O'Dell of Mothers Against Drilling in Our Neighborhoods will speak at 7:30 p.m. at King of Glory Church, 1667 Streetsboro Plaza (next to the post office off state Route 303).

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Chesapeake Energy may benefit from Utica lease sales

By Bob Downing Published: April 15, 2013

From Heather Ingrassia of the Seeking Alpha blog:

On Friday, April 12, Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK) avoided being hit with what had the potential to be some very heavy fines related to a drilling accident that occurred in Wyoming last year. In my opinion, and although the state agency responsible for overseeing oil and gas drilling noted "accidents will happen", this incident saved Chesapeake substantial amounts of money, which essentially brings me to the gist of this article.

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Williams Partners, Shell announce joint venture in NW Pa.

By Bob Downing Published: April 15, 2013

From the Marecellus Drilling News:

More pipelines for both dry and wet gas, and perhaps just as important, a new cryogenic gas processing plant is coming to northwestern PA courtesy of a brand new joint venture partnership between midstream giant Williams and exploration & production giant Shell.

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Eclipse Resources gets new executive

By Bob Downing Published: April 15, 2013

From the PR Newswire:

STATE COLLEGE, Pa., April 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Eclipse Resources Operating, LLC ("Eclipse Resources") is pleased to welcome Matthew DeNezza as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

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Chesapeake's McClendon is back in the energy business

By Bob Downing Published: April 15, 2013

From the Power Play blog by the Oklahoman, the newspaper in Oklahoma City:

Former Chesapeake Energy Corp. CEP Aubrey McClendon is back in the energy business.

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New $7.6 million drilling rig is heading to Ohio shales

By Bob Downing Published: April 14, 2013

From philly.com:

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Worker from Ohio killed in West Virginia accident

By Bob Downing Published: April 14, 2013

From the Associated Press:

A worker has died from injuries suffered in an accident at a natural gas operation in Tyler County.

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Oil, gas jobs forum scheduled April 15 in Canton

By Bob Downing Published: April 14, 2013

From the Stark County Oil and Gas Partnership:


What: Investing In America: Building Ohio Jobs forum hosted by the Stark County Oil and Gas Partnership and the Ohio Chamber Commerce.

When: Monday, April 15, 2013, doors open at 4:30 p.m. and presentations begin at 5:15 p.m.

Where: Canton Civic Center, 1101 Market Ave N Canton, OH 44702

Topics:

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Obama White House met with drillers before new rules adopted

By Bob Downing Published: April 14, 2013

According to EnergyWire, President Obama's top energy adviser huddled repeatedly with drilling company executives, at a time when the federal Bureau of Land Management was wrestling with new federal rules on drilling.

Click  here  to erad more.

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Eco-group blames partial win after radiation provisions cut from Ohio budget bill

By Bob Downing Published: April 14, 2013

From Food & Water Watch, a national eco-group:

Columbus, Ohio “Governor Kasich’s proposed budget would have allowed the oil and gas industry to dispose of more radioactive waste from hydraulic fracturing operations in solid waste landfills. The fact that these so-called regulations were stripped from the budget is a victory for Ohioans and their essential resources, particularly because none of Ohio’s landfills are equipped to handle low-level radioactive waste.

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Shale boom is bearish for crude oil prices

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 12, 2013

Bloomberg Businessweek reports that crude oil prices appear headed downward for at least the first half of this year in part because of the shale boom.

The magazine also reports: "U.S. output of oil and natural gas from shale deposits may rise at a slower rate through 2014 because the developments will require almost 3,000 rigs to drill as many as 65,000 wells, in order to keep up the current pace of expansion, according to an estimate from Sadad al-Husseini, founder of Husseini Energy, an independent consultant based in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. That’s up from 1,874 rigs last year.

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New draft federal fracking rules are imminent

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 12, 2013

The Interior Department is on the verge of publishing new draft rules for fracking on public lands, reports The Hill publication, which covers Congress.

The Hill: "The measure will require disclosure of chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process, and also includes provisions on well integrity and management of 'flowback' water."

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1st U.S. refinery in 40 years shows shale energy impact

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 12, 2013

The first new U.S. oil refinery to be built in nearly 4 decades is going up in North Dakota, the center of Bakken shale production, the online news site Quartz says.

But the small refinery is going to be used for something unique to the area: To make diesel fuel for all of the trucks needed to transport the shale liquids pulled from deep underground, Quartz reports.

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Ohio: No. 2 most-attractive state for drilling investment, study says

By Bob Downing Published: April 11, 2013

The information is slightly dated, but the data is very interesting for anyone involved in Ohio's Utica shale.

A Canadian think tank, the Fraser Institute in Vancouver, B.C.,, in June 2011 ranked Ohio as the second most attractive jurisdiction for drilling investment.

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Shale drilling by the numbers from Marcellus Shale Coalition

By Bob Downing Published: April 11, 2013

From the Pittsburgh-based Marcellus Shale Coalition:

 

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Catskill Citizens support New York moratorium proposal

By Bob Downing Published: April 11, 2013

From the New York-based Catskill Citizens, a grass-roots group:


 

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Ohio grass-root group pushes drillers to hire Ohio residents

By Bob Downing Published: April 11, 2013

From the Westerville-based grass-roots group, Proptecting Ohio Workers, Emplying Residents:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

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API not happy with Obama's 2014 budget proposal

By Bob Downing Published: April 11, 2013

From the American Petroleum Institute, the national oil trade group:

Editors Note: For the fifth year in a row, the president's budget singles out the leading source of American energy and jobs. Even the president's own allies in the Senate have moved away from this kind of punitive tax directed at one industry. It’s bad public policy.

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BHP: Shale boom likely to be used in the U.S., not overseas

By Bob Downing Published: April 11, 2013

From Bloomberg News:

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), the biggest mining company, said the shale boom in the U.S. will spur an industrial revival and transform the world’s largest economy.

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Photographing fracking would be illegal under Indiana proposal

By Bob Downing Published: April 11, 2013

Indiana lawmakers are considering a bill that would make it illegal to photograph or videotape fracking, mining, clear-cutting forests or factory farming.

Under Senate Bill 0373, anyone who sets foot on corporate property in order to document envionmental, animal welfare and health violations of the industries would face criminal penalties.

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Obama's proposed 2014 budget impacts oil-gas industries

By Bob Downing Published: April 11, 2013

From Bloomberg News:

By Richard Rubin

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Chesapeake Energy in court against bank in bond redemption case

By Bob Downing Published: April 11, 2013

From Bloomberg News:

By Erik Larson

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U.S. oil production is likely to slow because it is unrepeatable

By Bob Downing Published: April 11, 2013

From the Seeking Alpha blog:

By Devon Shire

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Doctor to speak on fracking threat on April 26 in Geauga County

By Bob Downing Published: April 11, 2013

Dr. Deborah Cowden will speak on the health threat from drilling on April 26 in Geauga County.

Her talk will be at 6:30 p;.m. in the Huntsburg Town Hall, 16534 Mayfield Road.

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OEC to offer free webinar on fracking facts

By Bob Downing Published: April 11, 2013

The Columbus-based Ohio Environmental Council is offering an April 18 webinar on fracking.

"The Facts on Fracking" will be offered from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

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California Senate committee approves fracking rules

By Bob Downing Published: April 11, 2013

A bill to more tightly regulate the drilling process called hydraulic fracturing passed the California Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee on a 6-2 vote Tuesday.

California is in the beginning stages of regulating fracking.

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College professors turn to crowdfunding for research money

By Bob Downing Published: April 11, 2013

Susan Phillips of NPR reports that two Pennsylvania college professor at Junita College have turned to crowdfunding website to raise $10,000 by May 1 for their research on how fracking has impacted streams in north-central  Pennsylvania.

They have posted information on their project at iamscientist.com.

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President Obama's 2014 budget strengthens USGS science

By Bob Downing Published: April 10, 2013

From the U.S. Geological Survey on upcoming federal budget:

President’s 2014 USGS Budget Proposal Strengthens Science

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PJM electric power plants burning more natural gas, study says

By Bob Downing Published: April 10, 2013

From SNL Energy:

Natural gas-fired power generation has become increasingly economical over the last five years. This has created a boom in gas deliveries to power plants in the PJM Interconnection LLC market, which sits atop prolific shale gas formations.

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Ohio's new severance tax on drilling would still be low

By Bob Downing Published: April 10, 2013

The Cleveland Plain Dealer took a PolitiFact Ohio review of Ohio Gov. John Kasich and his proposed severance hike on the gas-oikl industry.

The conclusion: Ohio's proposal for a new severance tax is still lower than many states.

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California's Monterey shale is getting mixed reviews

By Bob Downing Published: April 10, 2013

From Bloomberg News:

By Alison Vekshin - Apr 9, 2013 10:11 PM ET

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Fracking in England has not caused 'significant' quakes, study says

By Bob Downing Published: April 10, 2013

From Bloomberg News:

By Nidaa Bakhsh - Apr 9, 2013 7:01 PM ET

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Chesapeake is selling Ohio assets to pump up its balance sheet

By Bob Downing Published: April 10, 2013

From the Seeking Alpha blog:

The U.S natural gas giant Chesapeake Energy (CHK) has been offloading its assets to pump up its balance sheet. The company has been struggling due to the weak natural gas pricing environment, a mounting pile of debt -- which stood at $12 billion by the end of last year -- and some serious management problems, coming largely from the former CEO Aubrey McClendon. The business's current goals are to sell assets, cut spending, reduce debt and focus on increasing production of higher margin liquids. However, the WSJ has recently reported that Chesapeake has no plans to sell its much hyped $2 billion stake in FTS International due to a fall in its value, according to one estimate, to less than $1 billion.

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Chesapeake wants to sell off 94,000 acres in Portage, Stark counties

By Bob Downing Published: April 10, 2013

Chesapeake Energy Corp. is trying to sell off its leased land covering 94,000 acres in Portage and Stark counties.

That includes three Utica shale wells, two of which are are producing.

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GE's purchase makes drilling equipment makers the next targets

By Bob Downing Published: April 9, 2013

From Bloomberg News:

April 9 (Bloomberg) -- General Electric Co.’s planned purchase of pump maker Lufkin Industries Inc. at the industry’s most expensive price tag is highlighting demand for oilfield equipment that may make Weatherford International Ltd. and Tesco Corp. the next targets.

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Moniz says he will push to increase natural gas use

By Bob Downing Published: April 9, 2013

From the Associated Press:

By MATTHEW DALY

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Americans Against Fracking against Moniz for Energy secretary

By Bob Downing Published: April 9, 2013

From Food & Water Watch:

Washington, D.C.— As the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee conducts confirmation hearings to fill the position of Secretary of Energy, Americans Against Fracking, a broad-based coalition of public health, consumer, labor and environmental groups, today sent the committee a letter urging it to reject Dr. Ernest Moniz’s nomination. Opposition to Dr. Moniz has escalated over recent months as his deep ties to the oil and gas industry have come to light. Over 100 groups including Progressive Democrats of America, Democracy for America, 350.org, Breast Cancer Action and Food & Water Watch signed on to the letter to voice their concern about Dr. Moniz’s nomination.

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6 reasons fracking has flopped overseas

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 9, 2013

The rest of the world lags the United States in fracking for a number of reasons, writes Jeff McMahon at Forbes magazine.

McMahon: "Shale gas deposits have been found in Poland, Argentina, China, Great Britain and other countries, but only the United States has fracked its shale gas into a national energy boom.

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Do you want to frack or not?

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 9, 2013

The energy industry and environmentalists are failing shale energy and don't grasp the implications of the stakes of that failure, reports the web news site Quartz. A newly created coalition of industry and greens isn't the solution, Quartz says.

Steve LeVine writes, in part: "The first thing to do is to disregard ideologically driven extremists on both sides. That would include, for the environmentalists, the Sierra Club, which after the coalition announcement railed yet again against 'our continued reliance on dirty, dangerous fossil fuels.' For the industry, it would be the American Petroleum Institute, the industry’s leading lobbying group, which suggested that it can take care of standards-setting, and does not require outsiders’ help.

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Fracking is topic of workshop by Environmental Law Institute

By Bob Downing Published: April 9, 2013

From the Environmental Law Institute:

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Trucks damaged in West Virginia well fire

By Bob Downing Published: April 9, 2013

From the Associated Press:

Authorities are investigating a fire that damaged several trucks at a natural gas well site in West Virginia's Northern Panhandle.

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GreenHunter Energy offers 2012 financial report

By Bob Downing Published: April 9, 2013

From GreenHunter Energy:

 

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Rhino Resource Partners closes Utica deal for $10.5 million

By Bob Downing Published: April 9, 2013

From Rhino Resource Partners:

 

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Foreign investors back U.S. shale, ignore Mexico

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 8, 2013

The Via Meadia blog notes that the U.S. shale energy revolution is getting financing from international sources.

Via Meadia writes: "America’s shale revolution is more global than you think. Twenty percent of investments in American shale energy, totaling more than $26 billion, came from joint ventures with foreign companies. As the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports:

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ProPublica looking at Rendell's ties to drilling industry

By Bob Downing Published: April 8, 2013

From ProPublica:

Greetings -

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Judge rules that BLM violated law on California drilling leases

By Bob Downing Published: April 8, 2013

From Bloomberg News:

By Karen Gullo

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Here's how to fix methane leaks at fracking sites

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 8, 2013

Methane leaks threaten to undermine the environmental benefits of fracking natural gas, reports Brad Plumer at The Washington Post's WonkBlog.

Plumer offers suggestions on how to fix the leaks: "Notice that there’s no definitive number for how much methane is actually leaking. 'There’s a lot of variability in these studies,' explains James Bradbury, one of the co-authors of the WRI paper, in an interview. 'It can vary from region to region, from basin to basin. It often depends on the operators involved.'

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Sorting through the claims, counterclaims of fracking

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 8, 2013

Are environmentalists telling the truth about fracking? Is the energy industry telling the truth? NBC attempts to sort through the claims and counterclaims.

Bill Dedman and Karen Weintraub write: "It's difficult to find scientists who have not lined up on one side or another on hydraulic fracking for oil and natural gas. The anti-fracking groups have their scientific talking points, and the pro-fracking groups have their counterclaims. Some of the scientists who have put out pro-fracking reports have turned out to be tied to the industry. When even the federal panel formed to study the issue is stacked with industry supporters, it’s hard for environmentalists and health advocates to believe its conclusions.

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Ohio Utica shale roustabouts work long, hard hours

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 8, 2013

Ohio's Utica shale is generating jobs.

And many jobs, particularly that of roustabout, involve long hours of hard, grueling work, writes Christopher Kochera of TheNewsOutlet.org, a collaborative news organization. Kochera profiles roustabout Brian Rose in a story that appears in the Youngstown Vindicator.

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Fracking getting bipartisan support

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 8, 2013

Support for the fracking of shale is coming from prominent members of both major U.S. political parties, writes The Washington Times.

Ben Wolfgang writes: "Fracking’s loudest and most effective cheerleaders aren’t just from inside the industry or from the Republican Party. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, also has become a champion of the process, as have Democratic members of Congress from oil- and gas-producing states. Leading Democrats who have offered kind words for fracking include California Gov. Jerry Brown and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, whose state is one of the nation’s prime beneficiaries of the revolutionary drilling technique.

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Ohio medical group approves fracking resolution

By Bob Downing Published: April 8, 2013

The Ohio State Medical Association on Sunday approved a resolution on hydrolic fracturing or fracking.

The resolution, introduced by Dr. Deborah Cowden of Loudonville, calls for support of provisions in state law that would allow doctors, first responders, emergency agencies, and the Local Emergency Planning Commissions in each county to obtain the needed information on all chemicals located at an oil or gas exploration well pad, including hydraulic fracturing.

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Industry, eco-groups still unhappy with new Pittsburgh center

By Bob Downing Published: April 8, 2013

From the Associated Press:

By KEVIN BEGOS

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GE purchases Lufkin Industries for $3.3 billion

By Bob Downing Published: April 8, 2013

From Bloomberg News:

By Jim Polson and Mary Jane Credeur

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Ohio company offering new pipeline technology

By Bob Downing Published: April 8, 2013

An Ohio company is offering a new pipeline technology, reports Inside Climate News.

MesoCoat Inc. with operations in Eastlake and Euclid is promoting a technology that resists corrosion far more effectively than conventional pipe.

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Analyst says Ohio's Utica production data may not be overly helpful

By Bob Downing Published: April 8, 2013

From Sterne Agee analysts:

 

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Ohio's Utica shale permits hit 588 with 282 wells drilled

By Bob Downing Published: April 8, 2013

Oho has issued 588 drilling permits for the Utica shale through March 30.

A total of 282 wells have been drilled, of which 81 are in production, says the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

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French wrestle with fracking vs. non-fracking

By Bob Downing Published: April 8, 2013

From Bloomberg News:

By Tara Patel - Apr 5, 2013 10:11 AM ET

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India ready to begin fracking for natural gas to cut imports

By Bob Downing Published: April 8, 2013

From Bloomberg News:

India will allow explorers including Oil & Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC) and Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) to produce shale oil and gas for the first time as Asia’s second-biggest energy consumer seeks to cut reliance on imports.

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Drilling resumes at Wyoming County spill site

By Bob Downing Published: April 8, 2013

From the Associated Press:

State environmental officials say gas drilling can resume at a northeastern Pennsylvania site where thousands of gallons of fracking fluid spilled.

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Leaking methane emissions top $1.5 billion a year

By Bob Downing Published: April 8, 2013

The Climate Desk reports that drillers lose $1.5 billion a year in leaking methane, the main ingredient in natural gas.

Such fugutive emissions are a big deal.

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Shale drilling, fracking are big business in Oklahoma

By Bob Downing Published: April 8, 2013

The Cleveland Plain Dealer went to Oklahoma, the home of Chesapeake Energy Corp., to look at shale drilling there and in Ohio.

Fracking is not a dirty word in Oklahoma.

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New pro-drilling group surfaces in Mahoning County

By Bob Downing Published: April 6, 2013

A new pro-drilling group came forward on Friday in Mahoning County.

It intends to try to derail a May 7 ballot issue that could stymie natural gas drilling in Youngstown.

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Pennsylvania impact fees total $198 million in 2012

By Bob Downing Published: April 6, 2013

From the Associated Press:

An impact fee from drilling for natural gas in Pennsylvania generated $198 million in 2012, about the same it raised the prior year.

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Pennsylvania impact fees are having big impact, MSC says

By Bob Downing Published: April 6, 2013

From the Marcellus Shale Coalition, a pro-drilling group in Pennsylvania:

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Southetrn California begins drafting own air rules for fracking

By Bob Downing Published: April 6, 2013

From the L.A. Times:

In the absence of statewide regulations for hydraulic fracturing, Southern California air-quality officials have enacted their own reporting rules for the controversial extraction process driving the country's oil and gas boom.

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Sierra Club: Oil companies with spills are irreponsible

By Bob Downing Published: April 6, 2013

From the Sierra Club:

Three Major Spills in One Week -- Arkansas, Ontario, and now, Texas.

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Fracking rush starting in southern Illinois

By Bob Downing Published: April 6, 2013

From the Associated Press:

Blessed with natural resources but never enough jobs, southern Illinois counties have begun sampling the fruits of a land rush linked to a debated drilling practice that speculators believe can tap elusive oil and natural gas thousands of feet underground.

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The death of peak oil

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 5, 2013

In 2005, many energy experts thought peak oil was upon us.

Shale energy has changed that and now the peak oil theory is dead, writes the Econbrowser blog.

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A tale of three shale states: Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 5, 2013

The Utica shale in Ohio is just starting to get developed and holds great economic promise, writes Mark Green at the Energy Tomorrow blog. Pennsylvania is doing well with an economy boosted by shale.

New York state, meanwhile, is dithering on developing its shale resources, he says.

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How U.S. shale blew up the global energy market

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 5, 2013

The Fiscal Times reports that U.S. shale gas and oil is disrupting the global energy market and Russia's economy.

David Francis writes: "Russia had the United States on its heels during the Bush administration. Now, Russia is concerned about how much the U.S. shale gas explosion will hit Russia’s energy industry, the single source of the country’s economic strength.

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Greens don't understand that shale is needed to get to renewable energy

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 4, 2013

Financial industry giant Citigroup expects renewable energy ultimately will be triumphant but it needs fracked shale to get there.

David Roberts at the web site Grist writes: "The good news is that Citi expects renewable energy to triumph; it believes that typical forecasts like those from the International Energy Agency are too pessimistic. Contrary to a certain strain of conventional wisdom, it says, shale gas will not crowd out renewable energy. Quite the opposite.

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Shipping fracking wastes by barge inching forward

By Bob Downing Published: April 4, 2013

According to Reuters, the Obama Administration is inching forward on a proposal that would permit fracking wastewater to be transported on barges on the Ohio River.

That possibility has raised concerns among environmental groups.

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Analyst likes Gulfport Energy, a key player in Utica shale

By Bob Downing Published: April 4, 2013

From Sterne Agee and analys Tim Rezvan on Gulfport Energy, a key player in Ohio's Utica shale:

 

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Lupo transfers titles with D&L Energy to his wife

By Bob Downing Published: April 4, 2013

Ben Lupo, one of two men charged with iillegal wastewater dumping in Youngstown, has resigned as a trustee and director of D & L Energy.

Those posts were transferred on Feb. 15 to his wife, Holly Serensky Lupo, according to the Warren Tribune.

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BP to sell off wind assets to concentrate on oil, gas

By Bob Downing Published: April 4, 2013

From Bloomberg News:

BP Plc (BP/), attempting to recover from an oil spill that may cost it $42 billion, said it will sell shares in wind assets worth as much as $3.1 billion in the U.S. in another step to focus on its main oil and gas business.

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Americans have mixed views on fracking, survey shows

By Bob Downing Published: April 4, 2013

Support for fracking is strongest in the Midwest (55 percent) and South (52 percent) and weakest in the West (43 percent) and the Northeast (37 percent), according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center.

Twice as many Republicans (66 percent) as Democrats (33 percent) favor the use of fracking.

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Moundsville limiting campers, trailers from drilling boom

By Bob Downing Published: April 4, 2013

From the Associated Press:

A proliferation of campers and trailers resulting from a drilling boom has prompted Moundsville to impose limits on these sites.

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Chesapeake fined $765,000 over federal royalty reports

By Bob Downing Published: April 4, 2013

From the Associated Press:

 A federal agency has fined Chesapeake Energy Corp. $765,000 over accusations that it knowingly misstated sales volumes on its oil and gas royalty reports.

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West Virginia Supreme Court asked to rule on horizontal drilling

By Bob Downing Published: April 4, 2013

From the Associated Press:

A federal judge has asked the West Virginia Supreme Court to rule conclusively on horizontal well drilling.

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Survey says Ohioans against new severance tax on drilling

By Bob Downing Published: April 4, 2013

From the American Petroleum Institute:

COLUMBUS, OHIO, April 3, 2013 – Seventy-six percent of Ohio voters believe increasing state severance taxes on the oil and natural gas industry could harm the state’s economy and drive away energy development, according to a new poll of registered Ohio voters released today. Seventy-seven percent believe increasing severance taxes could hurt consumers of gasoline and home heating fuels.

“Ohio voters understand that increased taxes on energy development could have a direct negative impact them,” said Ohio Petroleum Council Executive Director Chris Zeigler. “This survey tells us Ohioans are leery of anything that hinders the promise of high paying jobs and a better quality of life associated with shale energy development. Ohioans worry that any tax increase could lead to higher costs.”

The proposed state budget currently being considered in the Ohio House calls for increasing severance taxes on oil and natural gas produced in Ohio.

The telephone poll of 605 registered Ohio voters found that a 69 percent majority agree that increasing the severance tax could eliminate jobs in the oil and gas industry and other economic sectors. Sixty-eight percent of registered voters surveyed also believe an increased severance tax could slow oil and natural gas development.

“The governor and legislature have done an excellent job in providing the industry with a strong regulatory framework that encourages environmentally responsible development and bolsters citizens’ confidence,” said Zeigler. “We urge them to combine these smart regulatory advances with sound fiscal policies.”

OPC is a division of API, which represents all segments of America's technology-driven oil and natural gas industry. Its 500-plus members provide most of the nation's energy. The industry also supports 9.2 million U.S. jobs and 7.7 percent of the U.S. economy, delivers $85 million a day in revenue to our government, and since 2000, has invested over $2 trillion in U.S. capital projects to advance all forms of energy, including alternatives.

Methodology

The telephone study was conducted on March 25-31, 2013 by Harris Interactive on behalf of the American Petroleum Institute (API) among 605 registered voters in Ohio, with a sampling error of +/- 4.0%. A full methodology is available upon request. Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, known widely for the Harris Poll. For more information, visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

"What America is Thinking on Energy Issues" is a public opinion series provided by API, offering data to inform policy discussions and ensure policymakers and others know Americans' perspectives on key energy issues.

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GE to spend $110 million on drilling research lab in Oklahoma

By Bob Downing Published: April 4, 2013

From Bloomberg News:

General Electric Co. (GE) will spend $110 million on a research lab in Oklahoma City to study ways to improve extraction of hard-to-reach oil and gas deposits, including hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.

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Magnum Hunter selling Eagle Ford shale to Penn Virginia

By Bob Downing Published: April 4, 2013

From Texas-based Magnum Hunter:

HOUSTON, TX -- (Marketwired) -- 04/03/13 -- Magnum Hunter Resources Corporation (NYSE: MHR) (NYSE MKT: MHR.PRC) (NYSE MKT: MHR.PRD) (NYSE MKT: MHR.PRE) (the "Company" or "Magnum Hunter"), on Wednesday announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell all of its ownership interests in the Company's Eagle Ford Shale oil and gas properties in Gonzales and Lavaca Counties of South Texas to a wholly-owned subsidiary of Penn Virginia Corporation (NYSE: PVA) ("Penn Virginia") for a total purchase price of $401 million. The effective date of the sale will be January 1, 2013.

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The Golden State's shale pot of gold?

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 3, 2013

Fracking the vast Monterey shale formation underneath California could start the equivalent of a new gold rush in the state, reports Fox Business Network.

"A new report now says fracking could create anywhere from half a million new jobs in California by 2015, even 2.5 million jobs by 2020, plus a bundle in the way of state tax revenue. That would help lower the unemployment rate, now trending at 10%, worse than Rhode Island and right up there with Nevada," Fox reports.

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Big companies fracking shale more safely than smaller ones

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 3, 2013

When it comes to safely fracking shale, bigger is better, the Via Meadia blog notes.

"Drilling giants like Exxon and Shell are safer and more ecologically responsible than their smaller competition," Via Meadia writes at The American Interest web site.

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U.S. poaches industries from Europe with cheap shale gas

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 3, 2013

The Via Meadia blog at The American Interest web site keeps taking note of how fracking shale is affecting the United States and rest of the world.

Via Meadia notes news reports showing companies are now moving operations from high energy cost nations, as in Europe, to the United States to take advantage of cheap shale-derived natural gas prices.

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Beavers stem diesel spill in Utah state park

By Bob Downing Published: April 2, 2013

A family of six beaver is credited with helping save Utah's Willard Bay State Park, after a Chevron diesel spill, says E, the environment magazine.

Click  here  to read more.

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Wyoming is very unhappy with federal sequester budget cuts

By Bob Downing Published: April 2, 2013

From Environmental Defense Fund's Energy Exchange Blog:

A Silk Purse From A Sow’s Ear: Federal Cuts May Spur Environmental And Energy Savings

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Faith group calls fracking morally wrong in opposing new center for shale development

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 2, 2013

Faith Communities for Frack Awareness issued the following press release today questioning the creation of a Center for Sustainable Shale Development:

Faith Communities Together for Frack Awareness [FaCT] is profoundly concerned about the recent “agreement” between frackers and so-called “environmentalists” to establish a "Center for Sustainable Shale Development/CSSD,” which is to develop voluntary standards for the fracking industry to follow. We believe that this “agreement” will mislead the public into thinking that everything is all right with fracking. The public may incorrectly believe that since fracking corporations have entered into this agreement, that environmentalists now accept and approve of fracking. Nothing could be further from the truth. Virtually all environmental groups in Ohio and elsewhere are NOT represented by this “agreement,” nor were they even consulted during its development.

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U.S. chemical industry supports LNG exports

By Bob Downing Published: April 2, 2013

From the Center for Liquified Natural Gas:

Newfound access to vast supplies of American natural gas from shale deposits is one of the most exciting domestic energy developments in decades, particularly for those in the U.S. chemical industry. Chemical manufacturers rely on natural gas as a source of energy and as a raw material, or “feedstock,” for countless chemical products. Numerous experts estimate that U.S. shale deposits contain 100 years of natural gas supply. This shale gas is a “game changer” that is helping to rejuvenate U.S. chemical production.

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Ohio group launches online video series against Kasich's drilling tax

By Bob Downing Published: April 2, 2013

From the Associated Press:

A conservative nonprofit has launched an online video series opposing Republican Gov. John Kasich’s proposed tax hike on oil and gas production.

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Violations drop as big drilling companies tap into Marcellus shale

By Bob Downing Published: April 2, 2013

The Wall Street Journal reported today that the influx of big drillers is resulting in fewer drilling violations.

Large drillers in Pennsylvania were responsible for 38 regulatory violations per 100 wells drilled, according to state records.

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Innovation in oil, gas drilling is having big impacts, study says

By Bob Downing Published: April 2, 2013

From the Manhattan Institute's Center for Energy Policy and the Environment:

New York, NY: Advocates for renewable energy claim that the innovation occurring in that sector will transform the U.S. energy landscape. However, innovation in the oil and gas industry is producing staggering quantities of energy. In 2013, the Energy Information Administration expects U.S. oil production to rise yet again, by 815,000 barrels per day.

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U.S. oil, gas professionals among the best paid in world

By Bob Downing Published: April 2, 2013

A press release from the Oil and Gas Job Search:

 

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Colorado governor, county commissioner in fracking debate

By Bob Downing Published: April 2, 2013

From the Associated Press:

 Boulder County Commissioner Elise Jones says communities should be able to enact local rules for oil and gas drilling, on top of state rules.

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API releases two new industry standards for drilling

By Bob Downing Published: April 2, 2013

From the American Petroleum Institute:

WASHINGTON, April 1, 2013 ─ API Director of Standards David Miller announced today the publication of two new oil and natural gas industry standards for well design and drilling operations.

“Every industry standard we develop shares the goal of safely and responsibly producing more of the energy America needs,” said Miller. “These new guidelines will help the industry to continue operating safely in deeper, higher pressure, and higher temperature environments. As changing technologies provide better opportunities to develop the energy that fuels America, industry standards must adapt as well.”

Deepwater Well Design and Construction, API Recommended Practice (RP) 96, provides engineers a system-wide reference for offshore well design, drilling and completion operations in deep water. It covers the range of considerations that must be taken into account when planning for and undertaking deepwater drilling operations.

Protocol for Verification and Validation of High-Pressure High-Temperature Equipment, API Technical Report 1PER15K-1, establishes a process for evaluating equipment used in high-pressure and/or high-temperature (HPHT) environments both on and offshore. This new standard provides industry with a consistent approach to designing up-to-date drilling and completion equipment that is fit-for-service in deeper, HPHT wells.

The HPHT and deepwater well standards follow the November publication of a related document, API Standard 53, Blowout Prevention Equipment Systems for Drilling Wells. This document updated and strengthened an existing standard for blowout preventers with a focus on standardizing operating requirements and prioritizing preventive maintenance, inspections and testing.

The API Standards Program is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the authority on U.S. standards. Every API standard is developed in an open process with public comment period by joint committees of representatives from government regulators, engineering companies, contractors, equipment manufacturers, and the oil and natural gas industry. More than 100 API standards have been incorporated in government regulations, and API undergoes regular third-party audits to ensure its program meets ANSI’s Essential Requirements for openness, balance, consensus and due process. Government-referenced and safety-related standards are freely available online at www.api.org.

“We are the global leaders on setting the industry’s standards, which are developed in accordance with ANSI-approved procedures in a rigorous and open review process,” Miller said. “Every one of our standards is built on expert input from industry and the regulatory agencies.”

API is a national trade association that represents all segments of America’s technology-driven oil and natural gas industry. Its more than 500 members – including large integrated companies, exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms – provide most of the nation’s energy. The industry also supports 9.2 million U.S. jobs and 7.7 percent of the U.S. economy, delivers $85 million a day in revenue to our government, and, since 2000, has invested over $2 trillion in U.S. capital projects to advance all forms of energy, including alternatives.

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Rex Energy Corp. expands borrowing base to $325 million

By Bob Downing Published: April 2, 2013

From Pennsylvania-based Rex Energy Corp:

Rex Energy Corporation has entered into an amended and restated credit agreement to expand its borrowing base under the company's senior secured credit facility from $240 million to $325 million.

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Federal officials want monthly production reports on drilling

By Bob Downing Published: April 2, 2013

From the Associated Press:

By KEVIN BEGOS

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Analysts muse: Could Hess Corp. be acquired?

By Bob Downing Published: April 2, 2013

From Bloomberg News:

By Inyoung Hwang

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Shale-derived natural gas liquids are essential but overlooked

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 1, 2013

The nonprofit Brookings Institution has a new report out that focuses on the importance to U.S. industry and the nation of the often over-looked natural gas liquids that are found in shale formations.

The report says in part: "[Natural Gas Liquids] comprise a number of hydrocarbon products that are produced in conjunction with methane (also known as 'dry' natural gas), or as a byproduct of crude oil refining, and which are liquid at room temperature. NGLs include ethane, propane, butane, isobutane, and natural gasoline.

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Ohio's Utica shale is still growing in first quarter 2013

By Bob Downing Published: April 1, 2013

From Mike Chadsey of Energy in Depth-Ohio, a pro-drilling industry group:

Posted Mar 29, 2013 0 Comments

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Dominion Resources wants to export LNG from Maryland port

By Bob Downing Published: April 1, 2013

From the Associated Press:

A Virginia-based energy company is submitting a 12,000-page application to federal regulators to build a $3.4 billion plant in southern Maryland to export liquefied natural gas.

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GMX Resources seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

By Bob Downing Published: April 1, 2013

From the Associated Press:

Oklahoma-based GMX Resources Inc. filed today for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, blaming the low price of natural gas.

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April 1 report: Swimming meet in fracking liquids

By Bob Downing Published: April 1, 2013

From the Equation blog from the Union of Concerned Scientists:

April 1, 2013

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Sierra Club is seeking water watchers in eastern Ohio

By Bob Downing Published: April 1, 2013

From the Ohio Sierra Club:


 

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Youngstown mayor wants Meander Reservoir protected

By Bob Downing Published: April 1, 2013

Youngstown Mayor Charles Sammarone is urging the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Mahoning Valley Sanitary District to protect Meander Reservoir from gas-oil drilling.

Click  here  to read more from the Youngstown Vindicator.

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Chesapeake expects Utica production to quadruple by year's end

By Bob Downing Published: April 1, 2013

REMARKS OF CHESAPEAKE ENERGY ACTING CEO STEVE DIXON

 

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Australian energy company has plans to frack in Scotland

By Bob Downing Published: April 1, 2013

An Australian energy firm has reportedly developed secret plans to frack in central Scotland.

Click  here  to read more.

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No argument against raising Ohio's severance tax on drilling

By Bob Downing Published: April 1, 2013

Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Brent Larkin writes on Sunday that there is no logical argument against a higher severance tax in the state of Ohio.

Larkin was the paper's editorial director from 1991 to his retirement in 2009.

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OHIO.COM VIDEOS

See the most recent drilling report and an injection wells map From NewsOutlet.org

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.