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Ohio Utica Shale

Report: Efforts under way for safer, more transparent shale fracking

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 31, 2012

There are developments going  on "behind the scenes" to develop safer hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, processes and help win over public acceptance of the technology, The Energy Collective writes.

A new "Institute for Gas Drilling Excellence" or something similarly named, for the Marcellus Shale, apparently is in the works, The Energy Collective says:

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Grass-roots groups want Ohio to return local control

By Bob Downing Published: August 31, 2012

A coalition of 16 Ohio grass-roots groups is seeking local communities to pass resolutions to convince the state of Ohio to return control over natural gas-oil drilling back to local communities.

The state took control from local communities in 2004 with passage of House Bill 278.

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New Ohio Utica shale map due out soon

By Bob Downing Published: August 31, 2012

The Marcellus Shale News and a newspaper in Coshocton report that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Geological Survey intends to release a new map of Utica shale potential in Ohio.

That map is due to be released in September.

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Statement against drilling in Ohio's Wayne National Forest

By Bob Downing Published: August 31, 2012

Activists in southern Ohio were not pleased to hear that the U.S. Forest Service intends to allow drilling for natural gas in the Wayne National Forest in southern Ohio.

Here is the statement of Heather Cantino of the Athens County Fracking Action Network and a board member of the Buckeye Forest Council:

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More opposition to drilling in the Wayne National Forest

By Bob Downing Published: August 31, 2012

The Ohio Environmental Council is opposed to a  plan by the U.S. Forest Service to allow limited drilling for natural gas-oil in the Wayne National Forest in southern Ohio.

The comments were posted on the Ohio Environmental Law Center site by OEC staffer Melanie Houston earlier this week.

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Bakken, Canadian oil battle for pipeline space

By Bob Downing Published: August 31, 2012

Inside Climate News reports that Bakken shale oil from North Dakota and Canadian oil are competing for limited pipeline space.

Click here  to read the full story.

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Some unhappy with Environmental Defense Fund

By Bob Downing Published: August 30, 2012

Attached is the statement released by Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, a national environmental group:

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More than 1,000 marched in Monday's Albany protest

By Bob Downing Published: August 30, 2012

When more than 1,000 people marched in the streets of downtown Albany to protest hydraulic fracturing on Monday, they left little doubt whom they were targeting: Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The governor is expected to soon lift a moratorium and permit limited drilling in the Marcellus shale, if local communities agree.

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Two families' water wells contaminated with methane

By Bob Downing Published: August 30, 2012

Methane has leaked from a natural gas well and contaminated two families' drinking-water wells, according to NPR.

The problem occurred in Leroy Township in Pennsylvania.

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Stark State holding class for drilling workers

By Bob Downing Published: August 30, 2012

NORTH CANTON: Stark State College will be holding a training program for natural gas workers from Oct. 8-26.

There will be a public meeting on the so-called floor hand training from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 6 at the college’s Corporate Services and Continuing Education Center, 265 E. Maple St., North Canton. Meet in room N102.

Interested persons are directed to go to www.shalenet.org and register with Talent Match to begin the process.

Individuals may qualify for free tuition.

The training is limted to 15 to 18 students.

For more information, contact Barbara Milliken at 330-494-6170, Ext. 4289, or Martha Doerr, 330-494-6170, Ext. 4438. You can also call 330-966-5455.

NORTH CANTON: Stark State College will be holding a training program for natural gas workers from Oct. 8-26.

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Musicians band together in anti-fracking campaign

By Bob Downing Published: August 30, 2012

Yoko Ono said it was not hard to recruit more than 180 artists to help convince Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York not to allow natural gas drilling in the macrellus shale through the hydraulic fracturing process known as fracking.

She reached out to some friends and soon, dozens of artists, many of them with homes in New York, agreed to publicly join the campaign.

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Weekly rig counts may be less than accurate

By Bob Downing Published: August 30, 2012

From Reuters:

By Edward McAllister

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Ohio says 80,000 wells have been fracked

By Bob Downing Published: August 30, 2012

Interesting factoid: The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is estimating that 80,000 wells have been hydraulically fractured or fracked in Ohio.

Those wells have been fracked since the 1950s, the state says in a new fact sheet.

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Ohio energy scholarship winners

By Bob Downing Published: August 29, 2012

From the Granville-based Ohio Oil and gas Energy Education Program:

Granville, Ohio. As growth continues in the exploration, drilling and production of Ohio’s natural gas and crude oil industry, so does the need to provide scholarship opportunities to students who are seeking energy careers. The Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP) and the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Foundation (Foundation) has awarded thirty-five scholarships to well qualified and highly motivated students.

The members of the OOGEEP and Foundation’s Scholarship Committee consists of industry leaders, and judge the students on career goals, an essay, letters of recommendation, academic achievement, awards or special recognitions, community service and other outside activities. The applicants must also be an Ohio resident or planning to attend an Ohio college, university or vocational school.

The Petroleum Engineering Program at Marietta College, one of the oldest in the country, continues to lead in scholarship recipients with awards to the following Ohio students: Chelsea Almady, North Olmsted; Matt Boothe, Dublin; Jacob Double, Marietta; Hannah Duncan, Norwalk; John Fryman, Little Hocking; Sarah Gallahan, Peru; Aleisha Guiler, Lower Salem; Matthew Johnson, Cambridge; Darin Morgenstern, Whipple; Ellen Schott, Caldwell; Mark Torres, North Aurora; Joel Anderson, Dayton; Kelsey Kallenborn, Marshallville; Jeffrey Lucas, Ironton; Jacob Markiewicz, Marietta; John Moore, Fleming; Trever Pontius, Salesville; Kaitlin Pottmeyer, Fleming; Taylor Pottmeyer, Marietta; Simon Sanders, Cleveland; Nicole Schaly, Ashland; Dakota West, Dennison; and Zachary Zody, Wooster.

Kent State University had several recipients including: Brianna Vayner, Lake Milton, (Geoscience); Nathan Haas, Alliance, (Geology); and Erica Schubert, New Philadelphia, (Geology). Other new scholarship winners included: Marcy Angelo, Hubbard, (Geology), Youngstown State University; Derek Craig, Fairfield, (Petroleum Engineering), West Virginia University; Phillip Dunning, Westerville, (Civil Engineering/ Geology), The Ohio State University; Kimberly Landreth, Brunswick, (Geology), University of Akron; Jeffery Schallick, Columbiana, (Chemical Engineering), University of Pittsburgh; Emily Zabasnik, Minerva, (Environmental Science), University of Mount Union; and Joseph Zollars, Killbuck, (Natural Gas Technology), Zane State College.

For the first time in the scholarship program’s history, the Committee also awarded scholarships at the technical level and awarded welding scholarships to: Joshua Honaker, Lewisburg, and Cory Sestak, Perrysburg, to attend the Hobart Institute of Welding Technology.

“Advances in technology and energy demand drive our need to encourage more students to pursue careers in Ohio’s natural gas and crude oil industry,” states Scholarship Committee Chairman Frank Gonzalez.

OOGEEP Executive Director, Rhonda Reda, adds “OOGEEP’s economic impact study, released last fall, estimates that over 200,000 jobs will be needed in this local industry by 2015. Now is the time to train and prepare our workforce to help develop, produce and supply Ohio’s future energy resources. Supporting and rewarding these outstanding students is a great start.”

The 2012 Scholarships were primarily funded through special industry training proceeds, memorial contributions and general donations from Ohio’s natural gas and crude oil industry.
 

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French group lobbies to allow fracking

By Bob Downing Published: August 29, 2012

Bloomberg News reports that a French group is aggressively lobbying to allow the drilling technique.

Friends of Drillers has posted a new letter on its website and blasted French environmentalists in the latest salvo in a  war of words.

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Ohio State professor to speak on drilling on Sept. 19

By Bob Downing Published: August 29, 2012

Dr. Douglas Southgate of Ohio State University's Subsurface Energy Resource Center is the keynote speaker on Sept. 19  when the Akron and Cleveland chapters of the American Chemical Society meet.

The program will begin with cocktails at 5:30 p.m, dinner at 6:30 p.m. and the talk at 7 p.m. at the Yellow Tail restuarant, 4054 Medina Road, Montrose.

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Pennsylvania looking at toughening drilling rules

By Bob Downing Published: August 29, 2012

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

A state proposal to make far-reaching amendments to oil and gas regulations governing Marcellus Shale gas development indicates stronger rules are needed to protect Pennsylvania's surface and groundwater resources.

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Group releases plans for pre-drilling water tests

By Bob Downing Published: August 29, 2012

The Marcellus Shale Coalition, a pro-drilling group based in Pennsylvania, on Tuesday released its recommended practice for pre-drilling water tests.

Here is the news reelase that the outfit put out:

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How to stop natural gas exports

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 28, 2012

Michael Levi at the Council on Foreign Relations has some thoughts on what the U.S. should do with a surplus of natural gas.

Levi writes: "The ongoing debate over whether to allow liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports has featured a recurrent theme: people insist that the gas would be better used within the United States. 'We will go down,' T. Boone Pickens has written, 'as the dumbest generation ever if we export our clean, cheap, abundant supplies of natural gas in favor of dirtier, more expensive OPEC oil.' In a letter to the editor today responding to my op-ed on the subject a couple of weeks ago, Bob Bailey writes, 'We finally have an alternative to foreign oil in the form of natural gas, and Mr. Levi wants to ship it overseas. I’m confused. Why don’t we keep this resource here? Use it here?'”

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Energy in Depth sends letter to filmmaker Josh Fox

By Bob Downing Published: August 27, 2012

EID to Fox: How about Including Some Facts in Gasland 2?

EID sent a letter to New York filmmaker Josh Fox with a humble request: include facts and context in the forthcomingGasland 2. We believe that Mr. Fox, as a self-described “journalist,” should welcome these recommendations, considering that journalism is a relentless pursuit of the truth and should not be a conduit for advancing an ideological agenda.

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Pennsylvania town still divided over drilling

By Bob Downing Published: August 27, 2012

The town of Dimock in Pennsylvania's Susquehanna County has been at the center of a bitter battle over water and drilling.

It's been a fight that began three years ago, and divided the community.

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Demand for industrial water grows in North Dakota

By Bob Downing Published: August 27, 2012

The Jamestown Sun in North Dakota reports that demand for what's called industrial water for drilling is growing in the Bakken shale in North Dakota.

The demand for water is expected to develop into a water-producing industry that could generate as much as $120 million a year in sales.

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Magazine looks at fracking issue

By Bob Downing Published: August 27, 2012

ScienceNews, the magazine for science and the public, offers its look at hydraulic fracturing or fracking and the debate that the topic generates.

Click here  to read the story.

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Article calls shale "a job creation machine"

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 24, 2012

People are willing to travel a long distance to seek shale-related work..

Fuel Fix has this story out of San Antonio on the Eagle Ford Shale:

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Is fracking destroying Michigan's environment? A Q&A

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 24, 2012

Is hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, damaging the environment in Michigan? The Energy Collective has excerpts from a Michigan Q&A on the subject:

"'We will never have bipartisan support for a sensible, comprehensive domestic energy policy until realism and fact can supersede ideology and fiction.'

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Pennsylvania drilling totals increase again

By Bob Downing Published: August 24, 2012

Natural gas totals from the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania grew by 42 percent from the second half of 2011 and are up 107 percent from the first six months of 2011.

The production numbers were released ny the state after Chsapeake Energy's totals were added into the state numbers.

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Drillers interested in Ohio's Ross County

By Bob Downing Published: August 24, 2012

The Chillicothe Gazette reported on Wednesday that interest in Ross County in southern Ohio  is growing among drillers.

Rhonda Reda of the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education program spoke in Ross County and said drilling will likely spread to the south and the west.

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Local groups concerned with conservancy district

By Bob Downing Published: August 23, 2012

The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District's governing board is scheduled to meet on Friday, and grass-roots groups in southeastern Ohio are concerned.

Here is the statement issued today by Lea Harper of the Southeast Ohio Alliance to Save Our Water:

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MarkWest begins its gas processing in eastern Ohio

By Bob Downing Published: August 23, 2012

From Linda Harris of the Steubenville Herald-Star on Aug. 16:

MarkWest Energy Partners is operating a small temporary natural gas processing plant it built in Harrison County to accommodate one of its gas producers.

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Chevron set to drill first Ohio Utica well

By Bob Downing Published: August 23, 2012

The Marcellus Drilling News reports that Chevron intends to begin drilling its first Ohio Utica shale well in September.

The Kinsey well is off state Route 800 near Tippecanoe in Washington Township in northern Harrison County.

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Two health-care systems to study Marcellus health risk

By Bob Downing Published: August 23, 2012

Two Pennsylvania-based health-care systems intend to study the health threat from developing the Marcellus shale.

The study will be done by Guthrie Health in Sayre, Pa., and the Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pa.

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Questions surround Ohio natural gas storage fields

By Bob Downing Published: August 23, 2012

The Youngstown-based Business Journal Daily recently took a  look at how Ohio's 16 natural gas storage fields are causing confusion regarding ownership of mineral rights beneath them.

Landowners in Columbiana County last May filed lawsuits over the Brinker Storage Field.

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Group calls for N.Y. ban on fracking to continue

By Bob Downing Published: August 21, 2012

HydroQuest, a water company in New York state, says the hydraulic fracturing or fracking poses a threat to ground water near wells and downstream from such wells and should be banned.

You can review the report that HydroQuest has submitted to New York state agencies by clicking here.

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CWRU to open new shale center

By Bob Downing Published: August 21, 2012

Crain's Cleveland Business reports that Case Western Reserve Universityin Cleveland  intends to open a new shale research center.

Click here  to read the story.

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Water problems persist in the Woodlands

By Bob Downing Published: August 21, 2012

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Water problems continue to plague residents of the Woodlands neighborhood about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh in Butler County.

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Law firm offers look at antitrust actions

By Bob Downing Published: August 21, 2012

The Texas-based law firm of Baker Botts LLP offers a look at two anti-trust cases involving energy companies and leasing including Chesapeake Energy Corp. in Michigan

The firm with main offices in Houston has 750 attorneys in 13 offices around the globe.

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Things the industry might do to boost image

By Bob Downing Published: August 20, 2012

From Platts, Aug. 16:

The US shale revolution, which flooded the domestic market with both natural gas and opposition to the hydraulic fracturing drilling technique, now needs to stage its own public relations uprising, speakers said this week at an industry event in Denver.

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New tests show potential in north-central Ohio counties

By Bob Downing Published: August 20, 2012

From the Newark Advocate and reporter Russ Zimmer:

Newly released test results continue to show at least minimal potential for productive oil and gas shale under north Central Ohio.

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Federal trucking rule change targets shale drilling

By Bob Downing Published: August 20, 2012

The Marcellus Drilling News last week reported that a federal rule change by the U.S. Department of Transporationcould slow down the shale drilling industry.

In June, the federal agency approved a new “rule clarification” that disallows truckers from subtracting down time as they wait for trucks to be loaded or unloaded when it comes to hauling water and sand for hydraulically fracturing or fracking oil and gas wells.

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Is fracking a health threat to children?

By Bob Downing Published: August 20, 2012

Canadian writer, researcher and author Barb Harris is convinced that children are at at risk from air exposure to toxic chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing or fracking processs.

You can read her account by clicking  here.

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Pa. legal fight over Act 13 zoning continues

By Bob Downing Published: August 19, 2012

Last Wednesday, a Pennsylvania judge rules that the Act 13 zoning provisions were unconstitutional, in the middle of a legal appeal.

Judge Pelligrini ruled that  the original July 28 order stating that the zoning parts of Act 13 are unconstitutional will stand until the case is heard by the state Supreme Court. That provides clarity for townships during the appeal.

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Study: Diesel fuel still used by drillers in fracking

By Bob Downing Published: August 19, 2012

EnergyWire on Friday reported that a new analysis of drilling data shows that some drillers are still using diesel fuel in the fracking process.

The report by Texas-based PIVOT Upstream Group shows that 138 wells were hydraulically fractured or fracked in the last 18 months with diesel.

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Chesapeake Energy misses Pa. reporting deadline

By Bob Downing Published: August 19, 2012

From Saturday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a story by Laura Olson of the paper's Harrisburg Bureau:

HARRISBURG -- Several days after the biannual reporting deadline, it's unclear how much shale gas was produced in Pennsylvania during the first six months of 2012 because the state's largest producer did not properly submit its data.

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A look at who will profit from gas changeover

By Bob Downing Published: August 19, 2012

Saul Rosenthal of the Motley Fool Blog Network looks at the changeover to natural gas that appears to happening in the United States and questions who will benefit the most.

You can read his account by clicking here.

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Ohio shale permits continue to climb to 335

By Bob Downing Published: August 18, 2012

The number of Utica shale permits in Ohio has climbed to 335.

That's based on the latest data from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management.

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Ohio Black Gold conference slated in Columbus

By Bob Downing Published: August 18, 2012

Black Gold Ohio, a conference focused on shale gas development in Ohio's Utica shale, will be held Sept. 12-13 in Columbus.

It will be held at the Westin Columbus Hotel.

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Natural gas production doubles in Pa.'s Allegheny County

By Bob Downing Published: August 18, 2012

From the Pipeline blog by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

The amount of Marcellus shale gas produced in Allegheny County more than doubled in the first half of 2012, with nine online wells concentrated in Frazer and Fawn producing more than 3.6 billion cubic feet of gas, according to new data released by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

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Academic freedom under fracking fire?

By Bob Downing Published: August 18, 2012

A former researcher at the Colorado School of Mines who left after coming under fire from drilling interests after he made critical comments about hydraulic fracturing or fracking has lost his job at the University of Wyoming.

Geoffrey Thyne lost his Wyoming job after an energy-drilling association expressed unhappiness with recent  critical comments made by Thyne.

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Three hurt in West Virginia well explosion

By Bob Downing Published: August 17, 2012

From the Associated Press today:

A spark from a natural gas drilling operation in north-central West Virginia ignited methane gas several hundred feet underground early Friday, sending up a fireball and triggering a blaze that officials said burned for about an hour on the floor of the rig.

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Company successfully fracks shale in Australia

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 17, 2012

Australia is at the early stages of successfully fracking shale for natural gas, Dow Jones Newswires says via the website Rigzone.

"SYDNEY - Santos Ltd. Friday said Australia is poised to join the ranks of global shale gas producers, targeting first sales of the unconventional fuel in October following encouraging drilling results in the Australian Outback."

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Five states produce more than half of crude oil in the United States

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 17, 2012

So, where does the United States produce its own oil?

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has the answer: "Crude oil is produced in 31 states and U.S. coastal waters. In 2011, 56% of U.S. crude oil production came from five states."

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Wired: Abundant natural gas and oil are putting the kabosh on clean energy

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 17, 2012

Peter Schwartz at Wired magazine takes a look at how an abundance of hydrocarbons from shale and other sources is changing the global energy picture.

He writes in part: "... as fossil fuels become more abundant—and we consume less of them—the incentives to develop clean, renewable energy drop dramatically. As a result, we may no longer be looking at an age of increasing solar, wind, and nuclear power. Instead we are likely moving into a new hydrocarbon era."

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What we learned about Utica shale during earnings season

By Bob Downing Published: August 17, 2012

Blogger Eric Fox paid attention to what energy companies were reporting in the last few weeks about second quarter 2012 earnings and company calls with analysts.

He offered his own brief summaries on Chesapeake Energy Corp, plus three other drillers active in Ohio's Utica shale.

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Strange tale of drilling leases in North Carolina

By Bob Downing Published: August 17, 2012

From the Raleigh News Observer and reporter John Murawski:

State authorities are stepping up their campaign against home builder D.R. Horton in a bid to pressure the Texas company to return underground fracking rights to hundreds of homeowners in North Carolina.

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PBS reports natural gas debate growing in Utah

By Bob Downing Published: August 17, 2012

Drilling on public lands is becoming a hot issue in Utah, according to PBS.

The state is home to five national parks, several holistic American Indian reservations and potential large volumes of natural gas.

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Company fined for unpermitted transfer stations

By Bob Downing Published: August 17, 2012

From last week's Daily Review in Pennsylvania:

The Department of Environmental Protection has fined EXCO Resources LLC of Warrendale $47,500 for operating unpermitted residual waste transfer stations in Lycoming and Sullivan counties in 2011 and 2012.

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CEA to hold Pennsylvania energy summit

By Bob Downing Published: August 17, 2012

The Consumer Energy Alliance will hold the 2012 Pennsylvania Energy and Manufacturing Summit on Sept. 10 in Pittsburgh.

The event will run from 8:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Circuit Center, 5 Hot Metal St.

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NRDC blogger: Ohio injection rules still second rate

By Bob Downing Published: August 16, 2012

Attorney Thom Cmar of the Natural Resources Defense Council is  not satisfied with what Ohio plans to do to tighten up its rules on injection wells that handle the briny waste from hydraulic fracturing or fracking of natural gas-oil wells.

On Wednesday,the NRDC submitted a letter with suggestions to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

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Green River shale's trillions of barrels of oil disproves peak oil, author says

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 16, 2012

"What peak oil?" asks Peter Glover, in a column at canadafreepress.com.

Glover notes that the Green River shale in Utah, Wyoming and Colorado has about 1.5 trillion barrels of recoverable oil, which matches the total worldwide proven reserves.

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Crosstex Energy expecting Utica shale growth

By Bob Downing Published: August 16, 2012

In its second quarter 2012 financial report, Texas-based Crosstex Energy says it is focusing on growth in the Utica and Marcellus shales in 2013.

Crosstex Energy last May agreed to purchase Clearfield Energy Inc. with operations in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia. It is a crude oil, condensate and water-services midstream service company.

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Reda wins top Ohio Oilfield Patriot award

By Bob Downing Published: August 16, 2012

Rhonda Reda, executive director of the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program, is the winner of the 2012 Ohio Oilfield Patriot Award.

She got the award last week at the Ohio Oil & Gas Association's annual meeting before 600 people.

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More Ohio Utica shale tidbits

By Bob Downing Published: August 16, 2012

Here some additional facts on Ohio's Utica shale offered this week at the Northeast Ohio Logistics Conference in Akron by Cleveland attorneys Chip Collier and Rich Plewacki of Benesch Attorneys at Law.

1. The Ohio Oil & Gas Association estimates that the Utica shale will generate $23 bilion in total output and sales and 204,000 new jobs by 2015.

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Athens County protestor in court

By Bob Downing Published: August 16, 2012

An Athens County woman pleaded not guilty in an appearance on Wednesday at the Athens County Courthouse.

Madeline ffitch, 31, is scheduled to be tried on Nov. 8 on a charge of inducting panic at a June 26 protest at an injection well outside Athens.

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Threats to Mohican, Malabar state parks

By Bob Downing Published: August 16, 2012

Trent Dougherty of the Ohio Environmental Law Center has blogged about the growing threat to Ohio's Mohican and Malabar Farm state parks.

Drilling for natural gas-oil and logging could impact the parks near Mansfield.

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EV Energy Partners: The rest of the story

By Bob Downing Published: August 16, 2012

Midwest drought, fracking causing water concerns

By Bob Downing Published: August 16, 2012

A new study in the journal Nature indicates that the drought and hydraulic fracturing or fracking is creating additional stress on water supplies, particularly in agricultural zones.

"Groundwater demand is exceeding supply and is turning our rural areas into sacrifice zones," said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of the group Food & Water Watch.

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Bakken shale oil production growing

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 15, 2012

There is a lot of oil coming out of the Bakken shale in North Dakota, the federal government reports today.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration:

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USGS releases oil, gas reserve growth estimates

By Bob Downing Published: August 15, 2012

From the U.S. Geological Survey in a release today:

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Pickens sells off remaining Chesapeake Energy shares

By Bob Downing Published: August 15, 2012

Bloomberg News on Tueday reported that billionaire investor T. Boone Pickens sold his remaining shares in Chesapeake Energy Corp. during the second quarter.

Pickens said in May that his Capital Management LP fund was existing its stake in the financially troubled Okalohoma-based natural gas producer.

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How many homes in U.S. use natural gas?

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 15, 2012

The U.S. Energy Information Agency answers the question, what percentage of homes in the United States uses natural gas?

The answer can quickly be found here.

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Shale tidbits from EV Energy Partners

By Bob Downing Published: August 15, 2012

Here are some interesting items found in EV Energy Partners second quarter 2012 financial report and from the transcript of an Aug. 10 earnings call with analysts.

A. The company has entered into an $83 million agreement this month to purchase assets. The company cannot disclose the location of those assets being purchased. Details will be released later.

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Plumbers, pipefitters get $130,530 federal grant

By Bob Downing Published: August 15, 2012

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Niles, announced this week a $130,530 federal grant to Plumbers & Pipefiters Local No. 396.

The grant from the Appalachian Rgional Commission will provide training for up to 60 welders in techniques used in oil and gas pipelines.

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Indiana company opening new lab in Guernsey County

By Bob Downing Published: August 15, 2012

Sherry Laboratories is opening a new natural gas analysis laboratory in Ohio's Guernsey County.

"Sherry Laboratories is excited to be involved in the Utica and Marcellus shale boom happening in Cambridge and eastern Ohio," said Ben James, president of Sherry Petrochemic al Services.

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OEC sponsoring Sept. 5 fracking forum in Newark

By Bob Downing Published: August 15, 2012

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide umbrella organization of local grass-roots groups, is sponsoring an educational forum on hydraulic fracturing or fracking on Sept. 5 in Newark.

The program will run from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Newark Public Library.

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Ohio's Utica shale may be next big oil play, new analysis suggests

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 14, 2012

Ohio’s Utica Shale is gonna be big, Energy Analysts International in Colorado says in a report given Monday in the Akron area.

“The Utica is on the tipping point of becoming the ‘next big play’ in onshore development,” the report says. EAI calls its forecasts “conservative.”

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Nearly 36,000 shale wells across U.S.

By Bob Downing Published: August 14, 2012

Texas-based Powell Shale Digest offers a new one-page summary of production and well data for nine major United States natural gas and crude oil regions.

The summary does not include Ohio's Utica shale.

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Marathon Oil video animation shows basics of drilling into and fracking shale

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 14, 2012

Marathon Oil has a YouTube video that demonstrates, via animation, the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and horizontal drilling in oil shale formations.

The video is intended for the general public. It does not touch on the controversies surrounding drilling into and tapping shale for oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids.

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Utica shale proponents predict major growth, including lots of oil

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 14, 2012

 

By Jim Mackinnon
Beacon Journal business writer

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Fracking hazards obscured by drillers' failure to report

By Bob Downing Published: August 14, 2012

Energy companies failed to list more than two out of every five fracked wells in eight U.S. states from April 11, 2011, when FracFocus began operating, through the end of last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Click  here  to read the Bloomberg story.

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Anadarko expanding Utica drilling

By Bob Downing Published: August 14, 2012

Colorado-based Anadarko Petroleum said it has completed three Utica wells, is completing three more and is drilling one.

It said it would provide a better picture of its Ohio activities in 2013, said senior vice president Charles Meloy in a July 31 earnings call.

Colorado-based Anadarko Petroleum said it has completed three Utica wells, is completing three more and is drilling one.

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Fracking materials involved in Oklahoma explosion, fire

By Bob Downing Published: August 13, 2012

From Okalohoma media reports:

ELK CITY, Okla. -- An explosion at a trucking company involved materials used in hydraulic fracturing, a fire official in Elk City said Sunday.

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Athens County protestor due in court

By Bob Downing Published: August 13, 2012

Madeline ffitch is scheduled to appear in court at the Athens County Courthouse at 8:50 a.m. Wednesday.

She is charged with inducing panic, a fifth-degree felony.

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Antero Resources reports 'encouraging' Utica results

By Bob Downing Published: August 13, 2012

Colorado-based Antero Resources reports "encouraging" results from its two completed horizontal wells in Ohio's Utica shale.

The wells are in Noble and Monroe counties. The two wells are temporarily shut down until pipelines and processing facilities are completed.

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Ohio University developing supply chain database

By Bob Downing Published: August 13, 2012

From Ohio University:

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Ohio conducts June spot checks on injection wells

By Bob Downing Published: August 13, 2012

From today's Columbus Dispatch:

By Spencer Hunt

Environmental advocates say the state’s refusal to conduct regular, comprehensive tests for toxic chemicals in the millions of gallons of ’fracking’ wastes sent down Ohio disposal wells puts the public in jeopardy.

’Folks have a right to know what’s being injected into the ground, both during the fracking process and during disposal,’ said Cheryl Johncox, the director of the Buckeye Forest Council.

State and federal officials say that the 171 privately operated disposal wells are safe, but environmental advocates call fracking waste a threat to public health.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources does conduct spot checks, officials there say, to look for many of the toxic chemicals environmental advocates say they are concerned about. Two spot checks were done in late June, a few days after protesters demonstrated at an Athens County disposal well. No problems were found, said Carlo LoParo, an agency spokesman.

The two June tests were the first random checks the state has performed.

Regular tests aren’t necessary, said Rick Simmers, chief of the agency’s oil and gas division, because the wells permanently trap wastes deep underground.

’It’s the safest way overall to get rid of these wastes,’ Simmers said.

Pennsylvania and West Virginia do test disposal wells regularly, but they do not look for fracking chemicals. Instead, the tests measure salt content, iron and other common ingredients of oil- and gas-well wastes.

’It’s really to protect the (disposal well) operator,’ said James Peterson, a West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection program manager. ’You want to make sure you are not getting something that will clog the well or ruin the filters.’

The fracking process injects millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals underground to shatter the shale and to free trapped oil and gas. Disposal wells are the state’s preferred method to deal with the fluid that bubbles back up from recently fracked wells. Shale wells also can keep producing ’brine’ — salt water tainted with toxic metals and radioactive elements — for years.

Last year, Ohio disposal wells injected about 12.2 million barrels of fracking wastes and brine into disposal wells. Fifty-three percent came from shale wells in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. More brine is expected as oil and gas companies frack the Utica shale in eastern Ohio.

Ohio requires disposal-well operators to send analyses of brine from new wells before they are injected, Simmers said. As in other states, the tests measure how much salt, dissolved solids and metals are present in the water.

None of the tests looks for commonly used fracking compounds, including ethylene glycol, which can damage the kidneys, nervous system, lungs and heart.

Though oil and gas companies disclose most of the fracking compounds they use, several are kept confidential. They are listed as trade secrets in state and federal reports.

Teresa Mills, Ohio organizer for the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, said state and federal rules governing disposal wells must be updated so that tests cover all chemicals and compounds.

’Those are tests that were done on your grandfather’s oil and gas well,’ Mills said. ’This is a totally different waste now.’

The state ran more-comprehensive tests that covered a longer list of chemicals and metals on June 28 and June 29 at two injection wells in Athens and Portage counties. LoParo said state officials decided to test the Athens well after environmental advocates protested about it on June 26. He said the Portage County well was a random test.

Tests found barium, strontium, benzene and toluene in brine planned for injection at both wells. Simmers said the compounds are common in oil and gas well wastes and disposal wells are meant to safely contain them.

Aside from spot checks, Simmers said more tests aren’t necessary. He said quarterly inspections and annual integrity tests are more important to determine if wells are leak-free.

Such assurances are unlikely to calm protesters concerned about disposal wells. Two protesters tried to block entrances to Ohio disposal sites this summer.

shunt@dispatch.com

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Is Ohio's Beaver Creek State Park at risk?

By Bob Downing Published: August 12, 2012

Not so fast is strategy of one Pa. state agency

By Bob Downing Published: August 11, 2012

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission was torn.

It needed the funds that could be derived from natural gas leases for improvements, but the head of the agency had his own concerns and his own strategy: not so fast.

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Drought is impacting drilling in Kansas

By Bob Downing Published: August 11, 2012

CNNMoney reports that drillers in the Midwest are struggling to find enough water to hydraulically fracture or frack wells.

That's become a problem in Kansas because of the continuing drought.

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Water is hot commodity in North Dakota drilling

By Bob Downing Published: August 11, 2012

The High Country News reports that water is much in demand in North Dakota's Bakken shale drilling.

In fact, water is becoming a big business in North Dakota.

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PBS examines tradeoffs in developing North Dakota's Bakken shale

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 10, 2012

PBS is looking at the impact of the Bakken shale development in North Dakota, focusing on the tradeoffs involved.

Murrey Jacobson talks with former National Public Radio reporter John McChesney, who has an online documentary, "An Unquiet Landscape: The American West's New Energy Frontier."

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Columnist: The coming glut in oil and its impact

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 10, 2012

Chrystia Freeland, editor of Thomson Reuters Digital, says it is likely the world faces an oil glut, not peak oil.

She writes in part: "Forget America’s fiscal cliff, Europe’s currency troubles or the emerging-markets slowdown. The most important story in the global economy today may well be some good news that isn’t yet making as many headlines – the coming surge in oil production around the world.

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FracFocus reports growing in number in Ohio

By Bob Downing Published: August 10, 2012

A recent check reveals that Ohio now has information posted on a web site on 67 horizontal natural gas wells.

That's up from only 12 reports that had been filed earlier on www.fracfocus.org.

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Pittsburgh is rebounding, thanks to Marcellus shale

By Bob Downing Published: August 10, 2012

According to Businessweek, Pittsburgh is rebounding economically because of Marcellus shale and natural gas drilling.

That's even though Pittsburgh has banned hydraulic fracturing or fracking within the city limits.

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OSHA memo on fire retardant suits struck down

By Bob Downing Published: August 10, 2012

On June 6, Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission Administrative Law Review Patrick Augustine vacated a citation the federal Occupational and Health Administartion had issued to drilling company Petro-Hunt LLC for failure to have employees wear flame-resistant clothing.

The case involved a fire at the company's well in North Dakota  in October 2010.

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Charleston paper hails Marcellus shale boom

By Bob Downing Published: August 10, 2012

The Pennsylvania-based Marcellus Shale Coalition was obviously thrilled with the editorial that ran in the Charleston, W. Va., Daily Mail.

It hailed the news that the Marcellus shale in West Virginia and Pennsylvania is the No. 1 shale drilling area for natural gas in the United States,

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Marcellus shale reserves may be underreported

By Bob Downing Published: August 10, 2012

On Aug. 2, Adam Sieminski, the administrator of the U.S. Energy Information Administration, testified that the Marcellus shale reserves may be larger than has been reported.

He told Congress: "I think it's possible we'll find, as production data begins to come in -- Pennsylvania is a state that has significant lags in reporting of production data -- we will begin to see those numbers inching up."

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Eagle Ford shale in Texas may outperform Bakken shale, analyst report suggests

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 9, 2012

A new report from IHS Global Insight suggests that the Eagle Ford shale in Texas may surpass the oil output from the Bakken shale in North Dakota.

"Strong drilling results, coupled with the large prospective area, and magnitude of the resource potential, combine to make the Eagle Ford Shale play in South Texas a contender for the best tight oil play in the U.S., according to a new report from IHS (NYSE: IHS), the leading global source of information and analytics.

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More details emerging on New York fracking plan

By Bob Downing Published: August 9, 2012

Author-blogger Tim Wilber has outlined key details of New York's emerging plan to allow limited hydraulic fracturing or fracking in New York state.

Wilber is a former environmental reporter with a Binghampton newspaper.

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Council seeking Fracking Heroes, Fracking Zeroes

By Bob Downing Published: August 9, 2012

The Buckeye Forest Council wants to honor local Fracking Heroes and Fracking Zeroes.

The statewide group is seeking nominations from individuals and grass-roots groups across Ohio.

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Rhino Resource increases Utica shale investment

By Bob Downing Published: August 9, 2012

From Kentucky-based Rhino Resource Partners LP:

LEXINGTON, Ky., Aug. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Rhino Resource Partners LP (NYSE: RNO) ("Rhino") today is providing an update on its investment in the Utica Shale region of eastern Ohio.

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Union rallying today against Chesapeake Energy

By Bob Downing Published: August 9, 2012

Two locals of the Laborers' International Union of North America are rallying today in Carroll County against Chesapeake Energy Corp.'s use of out-of-statepipeline-construction companies.

The union locals from Canton (No. 1015) and Steubenville (No. 809) are scheduled to rally at a Chesapeake Energy well site near Carrollton from 8 a.m. to noon. About 50 union workers are slated to be on hand.

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A grass-roots account from West Virginia

By Bob Downing Published: August 9, 2012

Marilyn and Robert Hunt of Wetzel County, W. Va., appeared at a public hearing in Stark County several years ago.

They told the Plain Township audience of the horrors of hydraulic fracturing or fracking in the early days of drilling.

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New York may unveil plan before Labor Day

By Bob Downing Published: August 8, 2012

Reports from New York indicate that Gov. Andrew Cuomo will unveil a plan before Labor Day  to allow limited horizontal drilling in southern New York.

That action would end a four-year moratorium on horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing or fracking in New York state.

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Study: Shale development to lead to ethylene exports

By Bob Downing Published: August 8, 2012

From the Oil and Gas Journal:

A natural gas liquids boom stemming from development of U.S. shale plays will result in the bulk of petrochemical products from natural gas liquids being exported with most going to Latin American, Energy Security Analysis Inc. says in recent report.

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Devon Energy disappointed by Medina, Ashland wells

By Bob Downing Published: August 8, 2012

Oklahoma-based Devon Energy Corp. says it is disppointed by initial drilling results from two wells in Medina and Ashland counties.

In an Aug. 1 earnings call, company spokesman David A. Hager told analysts that the results from the two wells "were not encouraging."

One well is in Medina County’s Harrisville Township. The other is in Ashland County’s Clear Creek Township.

It appears that the geology failed to produce the expected results, he said.

The Oklahoma-based company is continuing to drill a third well in Knox County’s Morgan Township and is optimistic that the results will be different, said spokesman Chip Minty in a telephone call.

It is too early to say what Devon Energy might do in the Medina-Ashland-Knox area, he said.

"It’s very early on and we’re moving slowly and methodically," he said. "There’s not a lot of information and we’re learning a lot as we go."

But the two wells "did not produce the results we were hoping for," Minty said.

The three wells are farther to the west than most wells being drilled in Ohio’s Utica shale and are on the northwest edge of its lease holdings, the company said.

Devon Energy had staked out leases farther west than other drilling companies and was focusing on oil, not natural gas or natural gas liquids.

Most of the Utica drilling has been in Carroll, Harrison, Columbiana, Jefferson, Mahoning, Stark, Portage and Belmont counties. That area has been especially attractive because the prices paid for natural gas have dropped and drillers can get gas liquids like ethane, butane and propane that are lucrative.

Hager, Devon Energy’s executive vice president of exploration and production, said his company intends to continue drilling in Ohio’s Utica shale but is now looking farther to the east.

"We will continue drilling in a liquids-rich window to the east" where other companies are drilling, he said.

The energy company said it expects to drill five new wells to the east in 2012, he said.

To date, Devon Energy has gotten seven permits from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. That includes one for Wayne County’s East Union Township.

Such disappointing results should not be surprising, said Tom Stewart, executive vice preseident of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association. "This is a difficult play and not everyone is going to succeed," he said.

Drillers, he added, are trying to determine "where it works and where it doesn’t. What’s going on right now in Ohio is a great big experiment and we need to let the experiment happen.…We’re still in a shakedown mode. Companies are still trying to identify core areas. When those areas are finally determined, some companies will be successful and some won’t."

Oklahoma-based Devon Energy Corp. says it is disppointed by initial drilling results from two wells in Medina and Ashland counties.

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Rex Energy completes first Ohio well

By Bob Downing Published: August 8, 2012

Pennsylvania-based Rex Energy said on Tuesday that it has completed its first Utica well in Ohio.

The well in Carroll County will likely go into production in September.

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Companies go bankrupt, pay $4.5 million federal fine

By Bob Downing Published: August 8, 2012

From the shale drilling blog distributed by Bricker & Eckler law firmin Columbus:

After raising nearly $10 million from investors, a Cuyahoga County group of oil and gas companies collectively known as Preferred Financial Holdings Co. has filed for bankruptcy and agreed to pay $4.5 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Crain's Cleveland Business reports.

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New York study cites fracking threat to water

By Bob Downing Published: August 7, 2012

From Platts:

Stony Brook University researchers asserted massive hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus shale poses "substantial potential risk" to waterways, but a drilling industry spokesman asserted the claims are based on faulty data.

"Even in a best case scenario, an individual well would potentially release at least 200 cubic meters of contaminated fluids," researchers Daniel Rozell and Sheldon Reaven said.

Regulators should consider additional mandatory steps to reduce the potential of drinking water contamination from salts and naturally occurring radioactive materials, such as uranium, radium and radon from the rapidly expanding fracking industry, the researchers said.

Many treatment facilities "are not designed to handle hydraulic fracturing wastewater," the researchers said.

Rozell and Reaven estimated that 40,000 wells would be drilled if only 10% of the Marcellus shale region is developed.

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Prices dropping for Columbia Gas customers

By Bob Downing Published: August 7, 2012

From the Columbus Dispatch

Columbia Gas announced rates for its budget-billing customers.

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Texas injection wells may trigger quakes, too

By Bob Downing Published: August 7, 2012

From the Houston Chronicle:

Most recent earthquakes in North Texas happened close to injection wells used to dispose of wastewater from oil and gas drilling in the region, according to new research.

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Ohio is still big in Chesapeake Energy's plans

By Bob Downing Published: August 7, 2012

Chesapeake Energy Corp. still intends to aggressively develop wells in the Utica shale in eastern Ohio.

Ohio is still very attractive because it is producing oil and natural gas liquids, not just natural gas, it said.

Chesapeake provided more specific information on its Ohio operations as part of its second quarter earnings release on Monday and Tuesday.

The cash-strapped company said it has completed $4.7 billion in asset sale in the first half of 2012 and expects to announce deals for another $7 billion in assets in the third quarter to reduce its debts.

Chesapeake reported a second quarter net profit of $929 million or $1.29 a share, up from $467 million or 68 cents a share in the same period of a year ago. All but $3 million came from the sale of its pipeline assets and non-cash gains. Revenue rose 2 percent to $3.4 billion and earnings were 6 cents a share.

It also raised its 2012 production estimates, due to discoveries in Ohio and Texas.

The company said it is on track to close a land deal in West Texas with EnerVest Ltd. The sale price was not disclosed. Two other Texas sales are pending.

Chesapeake has been battered by low natural gas prices and the No. 2 natural gas producer has been shifting away from natural gas to oil and natural gas liquids.

Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon, in a company-issued statement, said, "We are taking aggressive and focused actions to increase cash flow and net asset value per share, while also reducing long-term debt as we continue on ongoing transformation to a more-balanced asset base between higher-margin liquids and lower-margin natural gas."

The energy giant said its production of liquids rose 65 percent and liquids now account for 21 percent of total production with more than 130,000 barrels per day.

It said liquids are projected to be 25 percent of total production in 2013 and 55 percent of revenue in 2013.

The company is projecting that liquid production will increase 32 percent in 2013 while natural gas production will drop 7 percent.

Oklahoma-based Chesapeake said it has drilled 87 wells in eastern Ohio but not all are operational.

Its 28 completed wells are averaging about 1,000 42-gallon barrels of oil equivalents per day, the company said.

Each well is daily averaging about 205 barrels of oil, 150 barrels of natural gas liquids like ethane, butane and propane and 3.8 million cubic feet of natural gas, the company said.

A volume of 6,000 cubic feet of natural gas is equal to one barrel.

The company released specific data on three wells: two in Carroll County and one in Jefferson County.

The Bailey well in Lee Township in Carroll County is producing 205 barrels of oil per day, along with 270 barrels of natural gas liquids and 5.7 million cubic feet of natural gas, the company said. That is equal to 1,420 barrels of oil equivalents.

It said the Snoddy well in Lee Township in Carroll County in daily producing 320 barrels of oil, 250 barrels of gas liquids and 4.2 million cubic feet of natural gas. That is equal to 1,260 barrels of oil equivalents per day.

The Brown well in Jefferson County’s Brush Creek Township is producing 8.7 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, an amount equal to 1.445 barrels of oil equivalents. No liquids are produced at that well.

The company called those three wells and their initial production numbers to be "notable." But the totals are about one third of Chesapeake’s much-publicized Buell well in Harrison County. It is the state’s most productive horizontal well.

The average non-horizontal well in Ohio produces less than 1 barrel of oil per day and about 50,000 cubic feet of natural gas per day or 100 to 150 barrels of oil equivalents.

To date, production numbers from only a dozen Ohio wells have been released.

Another 28 completed Chesapeake wells in Ohio are awaiting installation of pipelines.

Chesapeake has 11 drilling rigs operating in Ohio and expects to have 16 rigs in Ohio before Dec. 31, it said.

The company has 1.3 million acres leased in eastern Ohio and is focusing on Carroll, Harrison, Columbiana and surrounding counties.

Chesapeake said earlier it was trying to sell off about 337,481 acres in Ohio outside of its main core area, as part of the debt-reduction strategy.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. still intends to aggressively develop wells in the Utica shale in eastern Ohio.

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Akron conference to discuss shale energy supply chain

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 7, 2012

Tapping the Utica shale deep under the ground for its projected vast supplies of natural gas and liquids is still in the early stages in Ohio.

Businesses seeking to capitalize on the burgeoning shale industry can go to a conference Monday at Firestone Country Club in Akron to learn how to become part of the supply chain.

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'Truthland' screenings in Youngstown, Cleveland

By Bob Downing Published: August 6, 2012

The film "Truthland" will be screened next week in Youngstown and Cleveland.

It will be shown at 7 p.m. Aug. 14 at the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor, 151 W. Wood St., 330-941-1314. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

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Canton may hire consultant to look at city drilling leases

By Bob Downing Published: August 6, 2012

The city of Canton is planning to hire a consultant to look into leasing city-owned property for gas and oil drilling, the Associated Press reports.

The Canton city law director said the mayor can hire a consultant for up to $15,000 without city council approval.

However, the mayor cannot lease mineral rights without council approval.

Consultants will be hired to research deeds and compile information on city properties, including how close they are to underground water sources.

Opponents of gas and oil drilling have told the council they are concerned about water contamination and health problems from drilling.

The city of Canton is planning to hire a consultant to look into leasing city-owned property for gas and oil drilling, the Associated Press reports.

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South Africa involved in fracking fight

By Bob Downing Published: August 6, 2012

Multi-national corporations want to hydrauliuc fracture or frack shales in South Africa, but environmentalists are opposed to such plans, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The corporations are eying South Africa's Karoo region.

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New natural gas, oil website for job seekers

By Bob Downing Published: August 6, 2012

Home rule battle moves into Mahoning County

By Bob Downing Published: August 6, 2012

The home rule fight over natural gas drilling has come to Ohio.

On July 31, two Mahoning County residents filed a petition for a writ of mandamus in the Ohio Supreme Court to compel the Beaver Township trustees to accept their petitions to place home rule for the township on the Nov. 6 ballot.

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Ohio activists target injection wells on Sept. 12

By Bob Downing Published: August 6, 2012

Ohio anti-fracking activists are planning a day of rallies against injection wells on Sept. 12.

No one wants toxic fracking waste or injection wells, organizers say.

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Chesapeake continues transition; quarterly financials on Tuesday

By Bob Downing Published: August 6, 2012

Cheaspeake Energy Corp.  is continuing to concentrate on oil and wet gas development, as the price of natural gas remains low.

The Oklahoma-based energy company will release its second quarter 2012  financial reports on Tuesday.

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Opposition to MCWD water sales continuing

By Bob Downing Published: August 5, 2012

This is a statement from Lea Harper who had led the Ohio grass-roots fight against water sales to drillers by the Muskingum Conservancy Watershed District.

 

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Study looks at shale drilling rules in 31 states

By Bob Downing Published: August 5, 2012

The Resources for the Future's Center for Energy Economics and Policy has released a 34-page review of state drilling rules in 31 state with shale drilling.

The center has identified what it calls 20 important regulatory elements that it would like to see in state rules.

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Gov. Corbett still pushing for Shell cracker plant

By Bob Downing Published: August 5, 2012

From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

Beaver County has better than a 50 percent shot of getting Shell’s gas-fed petrochemical facility built, Gov. Tom Corbett said during a stop at the proposed site on Thursday.

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Pennsylvania eco-group fighting compressor station

By Bob Downing Published: August 5, 2012

From Susan Phillips of Pennsylvania NPR's StateImpact:

The Clean Air Coun­cil has appealed a per­mit issued by the Penn­syl­va­nia Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion to Angelina Gath­er­ing Com­pany for a com­pres­sor sta­tion expan­sion in Her­rick Town­ship, Brad­ford County.

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First Ohio county with 100 horizontal well permits

By Bob Downing Published: August 3, 2012

Carroll County is the first Ohio county to hit 100 permits for horizontal wells in the Utica shale.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Managament has approved 100 permits for Carroll County.

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Halcon Resources acquires leases in Northeast Ohio

By Bob Downing Published: August 3, 2012

Halcon Resources Corp. has acquired leases on 34,000 acres in Trumbull and Mahoning counties in Northeast Ohio.

The Texas-based company paid $194 million to NCL Appalachian Partners that held the leases. according to the Marcellus Drilling News.

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Studying health impacts suffers from lack of funds

By Bob Downing Published: August 3, 2012

The Associated Press reported on Thursday that studying the health impacts of natural gas drilling suffers from a lack of funds.

You can read reporter Kevin Begos' story by clicking here.

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Railroads going after more drilling business

By Bob Downing Published: August 3, 2012

Bloomberg News reports that Warren Buffett's Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad and Union Pacific Corp. are fighting a drop in coal prices by catering to drillers in shale regions.

The railroads are increasingly hauling drilling equipment.

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Devon Energy sells interest in West Texas acreage

By Bob Downing Published: August 3, 2012

Oklahoma-based Devon Energy Corp. has agreed to sell 30 percent of its interest in the oil-rich Cline and Midland-Wolfcamp shales in West Texas.

The buyer is Japan's Sumitoma Corp. in a deal that is valued at $1.4 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

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Cincinnati bans injection wells, an Ohio first

By Bob Downing Published: August 2, 2012

Here is the press release from the Southwest Ohio No Frack Forum, a coalition of grass-root groups, after Cincinnati City Council voted to ban injection wells.

Cincinnati Becomes First Ohio City to Ban Injection Wells

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Another look at Youngstown injection well quakes

By Bob Downing Published: August 2, 2012

Truthout is taking a new look at the injection well in Mahoning County that triggered 13 small earthquakes in 2010-2011.

The injection well was shut down last December by the Ohio Department of Natural Rersources.

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Second New York municipality bans fracking for a year

By Bob Downing Published: August 2, 2012

The village of Owego in New York's Tioga County has voted to ban hydraulic fracturing or fracking for one year.

It is expected that New York will permit fracking in the Marcellus shale in five counties in the so-called Southern Tier near the New York-Pennsylvania border when local municipalities agree.

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Federal government diagrams how natural gas goes from well to home

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 1, 2012

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has published an article and diagram showing how natural gas moves from wells to homes and businesses.

The article and diagram can be seen here.

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MarkWest, XTO sign agreement

By Bob Downing Published: August 1, 2012

The Marcellus Drilling News reports that MarkWest has signed a deal with XTO Energy to extend MarkWest's natural gas liquids-gathering pipeline in Butler County, Pa., to XTO's processing plant.

XTO is a wholly owned subsidiary of Exxon Mobil.

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Roll Call: Shale revolution more than hyperbole for Capitol Hill

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 1, 2012

Roll Call, a long-established specialized publication that covers Washington, D.C., politics, has a column saying that new "shale" kings will replace aging "coal" kings in the U.S. capital.

Peter Gardett, managing editor of AOL Energy, writes:

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Survey: 63 percent of Ohioans heard little/nothing on fracking

By Bob Downing Published: August 1, 2012

A new survey from the University of Cincinnati indicates that 63 percent of Ohioans have heard little or nothing about hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

The respondents were equally divided on whether fracking poses a health threat.

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Chesapeake acquires Everflow leases

By Bob Downing Published: August 1, 2012

Chesapeake Energy Corp. has acquired 28,000 acres of leases in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties from Everflow Eastern.

The price is about $35 million, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Youngstown Vindicator reports.

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Driller threatens lawsuits if prohibitions continue

By Bob Downing Published: August 1, 2012

From the Associated Press:

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A natural gas drilling company is taking a new tack in the industry’s fight against local drilling bans: It’s threatening to sue if New York regulators don’t step in and extinguish the prohibitions.

John Holko, president of Lenape Resources, sent a letter  to state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens saying a moratorium prohibiting natural gas development in the Livingston County town of Avon forced his company to shut down its wells there.

The state enacted a drilling moratorium in 2008 when DEC began an environmental review of horizontal drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." Lenape’s wells in Avon, however, are vertical wells that were not subject to that moratorium. The town law doesn’t distinguish between types of wells, but Town Supervisor David LeFeber said it was worded to protect Lenape’s existing wells.

Regardless, Holko said Avon’s moratorium and others like it violate a 1981 law that says state rules supersede local ordinances in the regulation of gas development.

"Lenape is trying to make it clear to DEC that the agency has a legal duty to carry out state law," Michael Joy, Lenape’s lawyer, said on Monday. "That duty includes informing local municipal governments that they don’t have the authority to regulate the oil and gas industry."

In the past, DEC has sent letters to towns that enacted laws regulating oil and gas development, telling them they didn’t have the authority to do so. In its letter to Martens, Lenape attached one such correspondence, sent to the city of Olean in 1984.

David Slottje, an Ithaca lawyer who helps towns draft moratoriums or bans on gas drilling, said in a letter to Martens on Tuesday that since two courts have upheld local bans, DEC doesn’t have to tell the towns to repeal them.

More than 30 municipalities in upstate New York have passed bans on gas drilling and more than 80 have enacted moratoriums in anticipation of DEC completing its environmental review and lifting the 4-year-old state moratorium. The actions are in response to fears that fracking, which frees gas by injecting a well with chemically treated water at high pressure to crack rock deep underground, could contaminate water supplies or cause other harm. Drillers and DEC say state regulations and standard industry safeguards protect against harm from drilling and fracking.

Martens has said that local ordinances will be taken into consideration when the agency approves permits for shale gas wells.

Denver-based Anschutz Resources took the town of Dryden to court over its ban and a Middlefield landowner sued over that town’s ban. Both laws were upheld by judges who said bans are not regulation, so the state law against local regulation of gas development didn’t apply. Albany lawyer Tom West has said the decisions will be appealed.

Local control over gas drilling has also been an issue in other states in the Marcellus Shale region, which includes southern New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. The gas industry says local laws create a patchwork of regulation that thwarts development.

A Pennsylvania court last week ruled that the state can’t restrict localities from using zoning laws to regulate oil and gas drilling within their borders. Ohio townships were stripped of regulatory authority over gas drilling under a law passed in 2004. Ordinances enacted by a handful of West Virginia communities to ban gas drilling were overturned last year by a judge who said the state has sole authority to regulate the industry. Morgantown, W. Va., enacted new zoning ordinances recently that restrict drilling to designated industrial zones; an industry group has said it may challenge that in court.

Deborah Goldberg, an attorney for the environmental group Earthjustice who represents Dryden, said Lenape is wrong in saying DEC has an obligation to take enforcement action against towns that ban drilling.

"To the contrary, the statute plainly gives the agency discretion over enforcement," Goldberg said via email. "Under the circumstances, it would be a waste of scarce resources if DEC were to take action before the appellate courts resolve the pre-emption claims."

DEC apparently agrees.

"The scope of the pre-emption must be left to the courts," DEC spokeswoman Emily DeSantis said by email.

Lenape said if DEC doesn’t take action against the town of Avon, the company will do so and will name DEC as a party in the lawsuit.

Lenape’s broader goal is to send a message to other municipalities that they don’t have the authority to enact gas development bans or moratoriums, Joy said.

From the Associated Press:

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