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Ohio Utica Shale

Shale development drives Ohio gasoline prices to under $2

By Bob Downing Published: December 30, 2014

From Jackie Stewart's blog post at Energy in Depth-Ohio, a pro-drilling, industry-backed group, on Monday:

You don’t hear too much about Toledo, Ohio, when you read stories about the Utica Shale boom, but when you take a look at where to find the cheapest gasoline in Ohio, Toledo emerges as the winner with prices under $1.90 per gallon. As the Toledo Blade recently reported, “A significant drop in oil prices since summer was one factor expected to boost holiday road travel last week and this week.” Holiday travel in turn spurs retail, restaurant, hotel, and grocery store traffic, which stimulates the economy throughout Ohio, and indeed all across the country.

Utica Shale permits are being issued for work many miles away from Toledo and Lima, but motorists all over the state can thank shale development and fracking for a decrease in prices at the pump. Over the past week alone, gasoline prices in Ohio have fallen 14.4 cents per gallon, while prices nationwide fell at an average of 9.6 cents per gallon. Some say that this drop in gas prices “is set to provide the United States economy with a multibillion-dollar boost through the holiday season and beyond.”

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Ohio has 1,277 drilled Utica wells, 707 producing Utica wells

By Bob Downing Published: December 30, 2014

Ohio has now approved 1,735 Utica Shale permits, as of Dec. 27, says the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

That includes 1,277 drilled Utica wells and 707 producing Utica wells.

Fifty rigs are working in Ohio.

Five new Utica permits were approved: four in Guernsey County and one in Monroe County.;

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U.S. rig count drops by 35 to 1,840, Baker Hughes reports

By Bob Downing Published: December 30, 2014

The number of oil and gas rigs in the United States dropped 35 to 1,840, Baker Hughes said in a report released on Monday.

That total is a drop from the 1,920 rigs ending Dec, 5.

Click  here  to read more.

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Southwestern Energy plans to expand Utica, Marcellus drilling

By Bob Downing Published: December 30, 2014

Texas-based Southwestern Energy is enlarging its capital budget for 2015 to expand in Appalachia where it recently acquired land in the Utica and Marcellus shales.

Click  here  to see the company's eight-page statement released on Monday.

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Marcellus Shale triggers 72 million man-hours of economic growth

By Bob Downing Published: December 30, 2014

The Marcellus Shale boom has triggered a major boom in non-drilling work in six states including Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

It has resulted in more than 72 million man-hours since 2008, according to a new report.

That covers pipelines and processing plant construction plus other non-drilling job growth.

Click  here  to read the story on the Frack Check West Virginia blog.

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Fishing group raises concerns about drilling hurting Lake Erie

By Bob Downing Published: December 30, 2014

A press release from Trout Unlimited dated Dec. 10:

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Trout Unlimited is featuring the Lake Erie watershed in a new report highlighting outstanding public fishing and hunting areas in the Central Appalachian region that are at risk from shale gas drilling-related activities.

 

The organization’s 10 Special Places report focuses on areas that are rich in fish, game and natural beauty, and that have for generations provided abundant opportunities for hunters and anglers. It covers threats to the specific regions and offers recommendations for the best approaches sportsmen and women can use to protect these areas from potential risks.

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Gas-gathering pipelines may be exempt from federal, state rules

By Bob Downing Published: December 30, 2014

There are about 230,000 miles of natural gas-gathering pipelines in the United States that are not covered by federal or state rules, reports the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Pennsylvania has about 20,000 miles of such small lines, including 6,000 miles installoed during the Marcellus Shale drilling boom.

Things are different in Ohio.

Click  here  to read the Tribune-Review story..

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Concerns rise over drillers tapping local streams for frack water

By Bob Downing Published: December 30, 2014

Drillers in southeast Ohio can draw fresh water for drilling from local streams, and that's raising concerns in some circles.

Click  here  to read reporter Casey Junkins story on the Shale Play blog.

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Eclipse Resources to spend 94 percent of capital budget on Utica

By Bob Downing Published: December 29, 2014

Pennsylvania-based Eclipse Resources Corp., a major player in Ohio's Utica shale, will spend 94 percent of its 2015 capital budget on the Utica shale operations.

The company said today that its 2015 capital budget will decline by 20 percent from 2014.

Click  here  to read the company's statement.

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Opposition grows in Kentucky for Ohio-to-Gulf NGL pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: December 29, 2014

From the Associated Press:

DANVILLE, Ky. — Residents and local officials are seeking answers about a plan to reuse an existing Kentucky pipeline to transport highly flammable liquids to the Gulf of Mexico.

Federal regulators are considering the proposal to repurpose a 1,000-mile pipeline owned by Kinder-Morgan Energy Partners and MarkWest that runs from Ohio to the Gulf Coast. The pipeline would convert from carrying oil and natural gas to natural gas liquids.

The pipeline traverses 18 counties in Kentucky, including 20 miles in Boyle County, the Advocate-Messenger in Danville reported.

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Energy resource categories reflect varying degrees of certainty

By Bob Downing Published: December 29, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

 

For the next two weeks (Dec. 22 - Jan. 2), Today in Energy will feature a selection of our favorite articles from 2014. Today's article was originally published on July 17.

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Carroll County group to hear about drilling, quakes on Jan. 8

By Bob Downing Published: December 29, 2014

From the Carroll Concerned Citizens:

 

Shale Gas Exploration and Links to Earthquakes Carrollton Ohio: Carroll Concerned Citizens will host Ray Beiersdorfer, Ph.D at its January 8 meeting. Dr. Beiersdorfer is a professor of geology at Youngstown State University who has been studying seismic activities and the association with the hydraulic fracturing (fracking) processes used in shale gas exploration. He will review recent research from Ohio and other states and share his insight about why these seismic events matter.

Paul Feezel CCC’s chair said, "Understanding links between seismic events and their potential risks to well casing integrity is critical to landowners in shale gas country—especially here in Carroll County where we also have coal mines and nearly everyone relies on private water wells for their home and farm use."

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Quinnipiac Poll: New Yorkers support Cuomo's fracking ban

By Bob Downing Published: December 29, 2014

From the Quinnipiac Polll on Dec. 22:

 

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New York opens public comment on Constitution Pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: December 29, 2014

From the New York Department of Environmental Conservation on Dec. 24:

The public is invited to comment on permit applications the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) received for the proposed, federally regulated Constitution Pipeline and an upgrade to the Iroquois Wright Compressor station in Schoharie County that is part of the project. The Constitution Pipeline is a proposed interstate natural gas pipeline that would traverse though Broome, Chenango, Delaware and Schoharie counties.

Because the proposed pipeline and compressor station upgrade are components of an Interstate Natural Gas Transmission project, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) was responsible for conducting an environmental review of the project and has the authority to approve the pipeline route. FERC issued a final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) in October. Additional federal reviews and approvals for the project also are necessary. The FEIS can be viewed at: http://elibrary.FERC.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20141024-4001 (Leaving the DEC website).

DEC maintains the authority to review applications for specific permits and approvals. These include an Air Title V permit for the proposed compressor station upgrade, as well as a Water Quality Certification, a Protection of Waters permit, a Water Withdrawal permit and a Freshwater Wetlands permit for state-protected wetlands and adjacent areas for the pipeline installation.

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Nexus Pipeline, Youngstown dumping top Ohio 2014 energy news

By Bob Downing Published: December 29, 2014

Crain's Cleveland Business offers an energy-themed 2014 year in review article.

Topics covered include a proposed cracker plant in Parkersburg, W. Va., Ohio drillers migrating to more-southern counties, American Energy Partners CEO Aubrey McClendon, the Nexus Pipeline that intends to cross the Akron area and the illegal dumping case in Youngstown.

Click  here  to read the story.

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Dominion Resources sues Virginia landowners for survey access

By Bob Downing Published: December 29, 2014

From the Associated Press:

Dominion Resources is suing more than 40 landowners in Virginia who won’t allow the energy company to survey their properties for a proposed $5 billion natural gas pipeline

Dominion filed lawsuits earlier this week in circuit courts against 20 property owners in Nelson County and 27 in Augusta County. That number is expected to double, the company said.

Dominion spokesman Jim Norvelle said Virginia law allows the company to enter the properties to conduct the surveys. He said the surveys are needed to avoid future problems, such as family cemeteries.

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Report cites failures, lack of oversight on Ohio injection wells

By Bob Downing Published: December 29, 2014

From Ohio Citizen Action in mid-December:

COLUMBUS — Two statewide environmental groups released a report highlighting the failures of state and federal agencies to operate the state’s oil and gas waste disposal well program. Ohio Citizen Action and Ohio Citizen Action Education Fund say that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and U.S. EPA share the blame for inadequate oversight, inconsistent practice, non-enforcement and even disdain and disrespect of citizens attempting to get answers about oil and gas injection wells in their communities.

“Citizens have been locked out of anything to do with regulating the oil and gas industry by law and by the practice of these agencies,” says Ohio Citizen Action organizer Nathan Rutz. “But citizens are fighting back,” he adds.

Mr. Rutz alludes to the fact that 16 citizen investigators were trained to read thousands of pages of documents, including inspection reports, permit applications, permits, well completion reports and well histories to compile profiles of 43 injection wells that have been permitted and drilled since the last U.S. EPA audit in 2009.

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North Dakota, Montana may funnel more money to oil-patch towns

By Bob Downing Published: December 29, 2014

From the Associated Press:

Relief could be on the horizon for strapped public services in the Northern Plains’ booming oil patch, as elected leaders in Montana and North Dakota move to steer more money into the region during the states’ upcoming legislative sessions.

Tens of thousands of workers have been drawn to the region’s shale oil boom in recent years. Their arrival has brought increased demands for services ranging from roads and sewage treatment to affordable housing.

Prior efforts to put more money toward those needs came up short or got delayed by political disagreement.

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New York landowners consider 'takings' lawsuits against state

By Bob Downing Published: December 29, 2014

In the wake of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo banning fracking or hydraulic fractruring, some pro-drilling New York landowners with leased lands are considering takings lawsuits agaunst the state.

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

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Rail deliveries of crude oil continue to increase in 2014

By Bob Downing Published: December 24, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

 

The amount of crude oil and refined petroleum products moved by U.S. railroads increased 9% during the first seven months of this year compared with the same period in 2013. In July, monthly average carloadings of oil and petroleum products were near 16,000 carloads per week, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR). The increase in oil volumes transported by rail reflects rising U.S. crude oil production, which reached an estimated 8.5 million barrels per day in June for the first time since July 1986.

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Magnum Hunter reports that Monroe County well under control

By Bob Downing Published: December 24, 2014

From Magnum Hunter Resources on Monroe County well blowout:

HOUSTON, TX--(Marketwired - Dec 23, 2014) - Magnum Hunter Resources Corporation ( NYSE : MHR ) ( NYSE MKT : MHR.PRC ) ( NYSE MKT : MHR.PRD ) ( NYSE MKT : MHR.PRE ) (the "Company" or "Magnum Hunter") is reporting today that the previously announced blowout of the Company's Utica Shale well, the Stalder 3UH, located in Monroe County, Ohio which occurred on December 13, 2014, is now under control and the well has been temporarily capped. Wild Well Control has successfully replaced the Stalder 3UH's well head assembly. Due to the gas content being ~97% methane, there is currently no evidence of environmental damage to the immediate area as a result of the blowout. Additionally, no personnel have been injured in connection with the well control operations on the Stalder Pad.

Initial well control operations involved excavation around the well head to properly evaluate the condition of the well head flange and night cap. Fresh water was continually sprayed on the well head to reduce the chance of ignition of the natural gas. Initially, attempts to push the night cap back over the flange with a track hoe and a crane were unsuccessful. Wild Well Control then began the process of replacing the well head assembly. As part of this process, the individual casing strings were cut in a number of different places. The new well head was then installed and the well was shut in earlier today. The pad site will now be brought back to its original condition, and the Company anticipates that all wells on the Stalder Pad will be placed on production sometime in January 2015.

Magnum Hunter continues to believe that there has been no damage to the overall structure or integrity of the Stalder 3UH well and that the loss of control of the Stalder 3UH well has not affected Magnum Hunter's three other Utica Shale wells (the Stalder #6UH, #7UH and #8UH), and the one Marcellus Shale well (the Stalder #2MH), all located on the Company's Stalder Pad.

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Ohio has busy week with 37 new Utica Shale permits issued

By Bob Downing Published: December 24, 2014

It's been a very busy week for Utica Shale permits in Ohio.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has issued 37 permits.

That includes seven in Belmont County, three in Carroll County, four in Gurnsey County, 13 in Harrison County, four in Monroe County and six in Noble County.

Ohio has approved 1,731 Utica shale permits, of which 1,272 Utica wells have been drilled. A total of 704 Utica wells are producing.

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Contractor caps gas-leaking Monroe County well late Tuesday

By Bob Downing Published: December 24, 2014

A contractor late Tuesday capped a leaking natural gas well in Ohio's Monroe County.

The announcement came in a four-sentence statement from spokeswoman Bethany McCorkle of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Texas-based Wild Well Control re-established surface control of the Stadler well at 3:36 p.m..

That required the installation of a new wellhead and no more natural gas is being released, she said.

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Stark County resident wants two planned pipelines to share route

By Bob Downing Published: December 24, 2014

By Nancy Molnar

Special to the Beacon Journal

CANTON: A petroleum engineer asked Stark County commissioners Tuesday to consider opposing the route of a proposed natural gas pipeline that he believes will go near his property.

David Eigel of Nimishillen Church Road in Lake Township told the board his concern about the proximity of the planned Nexus pipeline is based on it being a large, high-pressure line.

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New study looks at drilling impacts in Pennsylvania, Ohio, W. Va.

By Bob Downing Published: December 24, 2014

From the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center last week:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Shale Tipping Point: The Relationship of Drilling to Crime, Traffic Fatalities, STDs and Rents in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio

 

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Colorado company drills Berea sandstone well in Ohio

By Bob Downing Published: December 24, 2014

From Colorado-based Hinto Energy on Tuesday:

DENVER, CO -- (Marketwired) -- 12/23/14 -- HINTO ENERGY, INC. (OTCQB: HENI), engaged in the exploration, acquisition, and development of oil and gas properties, with producing wells in Utah and Montana, today announced the Company has drilled a new well in Ohio, located on the Appalachian geosyncline which includes both the Berea Sands and the Ohio shale stratigraphic levels.

"We continue to look at exploration and production opportunities that deliver positive results even at current oil and gas prices. We believe this new well provides such an opportunity," stated George Harris, the Chief Executive Officer of the Company.

"While drilling the well, the well kicked off and produced 20 plus barrels of oil in approximately 15 minutes and natural gas at an estimated rate of 250,000 cubic feet per day," said the field operator. "The well should be placed on production in early January, following installation of oil tanks and pumping unit."

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Rice Midstream Partners closes first public stock offering

By Bob Downing Published: December 23, 2014

From Rice Energy on Monday:

CANONSBURG, Pa., Dec. 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Rice Energy Inc. (NYSE:RICE) ("Rice Energy") today announced the completion of the Rice Midstream Partners LP (NYSE: RMP) ("Rice Midstream") initial public offering of 28,750,000 common units representing limited partner interests at a price to the public of $16.50 per common unit, including the exercise in full by the underwriters' option to purchase an additional 3,750,000 common units. Rice Energy and the public each own an approximate 50.0% limited partner interest in Rice Midstream.

Rice Midstream intends to use the net proceeds of $441.6 million to make a $413.9 million distribution to Rice Energy, including a $195.3 million reimbursement for capital expenditures incurred on Rice Midstream's behalf, to fund $25.0 million of Rice Midstream's 2015 expansion capital expenditures, and to pay approximately $2.7 million of origination fees related to Rice Midstream's new revolving credit facility.

Barclays, Citigroup, Wells Fargo Securities, Goldman, Sachs & Co. and RBC Capital Markets acted as joint book-running managers for the offering.

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Rex Energy to spend up to $60 million in 2015 in Ohio Utica

By Bob Downing Published: December 23, 2014

From Rex Energy:

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. , Dec. 22, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Rex Energy Corporation ("Rex Energy") (Nasdaq:REXX) today announced its 2015 capital budget and production guidance and provided a financial update.

2015 Capital Budget and Production Guidance

The company expects its 2015 operational capital expenditures to be between $180 million and $220 million , a decrease of approximately 44% from the midpoint of its 2014 capital expenditure guidance and a decrease of 43% from the midpoint of its previously announced preliminary 2015 capital expenditure plans. Despite this reduced level of capital expenditures, the company anticipates that its average daily production for 2015 will be between 196 MMcfe/d and 205 MMcfe/d. The company expects production growth of approximately 33% at the midpoint of 2015 average daily production guidance as compared to the midpoint of 2014 average daily production guidance. The expected significant production growth in 2015 is due to the company focusing on its highest quality assets and locations.

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Outside Northeast, fewer homes choosing natural gas as fuel

By Bob Downing Published: December 23, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information AQdministration today:

 

For the next two weeks (Dec. 22 - Jan. 2), Today in Energy will feature a selection of our favorite articles from 2014. Today's article was originally published on September 25.

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Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. fined $800,000 by Pennsylvania

By Bob Downing Published: December 23, 2014

From the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection on Monday:

WILKES-BARRE -- The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced a settlement with Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, LLC (TGP) for multiple violations of the Clean Streams Law during the construction of a natural gas pipeline in 2011 and 2012 through four counties in northeast and north-central Pennsylvania. The violations occurred during construction of the company’s “300 Line Project.”

According to the agreement, TGP will pay a penalty of $210,000 and will fund a $540,000 clean-up program of illegal dumpsites in Pike, Potter, Susquehanna and Wayne Counties. The fund will be administered by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council over a four year period. TGP has also agreed to pay cost recovery monies to four Conservation Districts and the Department in the amount of $50,002.

“This civil penalty is two-fold in its benefit to the public,” DEP Northeast Regional Director Mike Bedrin said. “It eliminates unsightly and illegal dumpsites that are problematic for many communities across the state and it directs more money into the Pennsylvania Clean Water fund, which is designed to protect the waterways of the commonwealth.”

The Pennsylvania Clean Water Fund supports educational and environmental programs that benefit clean water efforts.
During 73 inspections of the “300 Line Project,” inspectors with the Potter, Susquehanna, Wayne and Pike County Conservation Districts discovered violations including the discharge of sediment pollution into the waters of the commonwealth, some of which are protected as “High Quality” or “Exceptional Value Waters,” and failure to implement required construction best management practices to protect water quality.

The clean-up project will provide a substantial public health, safety and environmental benefit; and outside of this agreement, the project is not something that TGP is otherwise legally required to do.

For more information, call 570-826-2511 or visit www.dep.state.pa.us.

 

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Southwestern Energy adds to Marcellus, Utica holdings

By Bob Downing Published: December 23, 2014

From Southwestern Energy:

 

SOUTHWESTERN ENERGY ACQUIRES ADDITIONAL INTEREST IN SOUTHWEST MARCELLUS AND UTICA ASSETS

Houston, Texas – December 23, 2014…Southwestern Energy Company (NYSE: SWN) today announced that it has signed a purchase and sale agreement to acquire an undivided 20% of Statoil’s (NYSE: STO) ownership in oil and gas assets in West Virginia and southwest Pennsylvania for a purchase price of approximately $394 million, subject to adjustments. Southwestern previously announced in October 2014 a purchase of Chesapeake Energy Corporation’s (NYSE: CHK) interest in these and other oil and gas properties. This purchase from Statoil equates to approximately 30,000 net acres and increases the company’s overall working interest in the assets by approximately 5.8% to approximately 73%. Statoil’s net production from these properties was approximately 29 million cubic feet of gas equivalent per day as of October 2014. When combined with the acreage acquired from Chesapeake, Southwestern is obtaining approximately 443,000 net acres. This acquisition from Statoil is expected to close in early 2015 and is intended to be financed using the company’s revolving credit facility.

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Statoil agrees to $394 million deal with Southwestern Energy

By Bob Downing Published: December 23, 2014

From Statoil:

 

Torstein Hole (left), senior vice president for US onshore in Statoil and Andy Winkle, Statoil's vice president for the Marcellus asset, at a well pad in the Marcellus area.

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Vantage Energy fined $999,900 for Greene County landslide

By Bob Downing Published: December 23, 2014

From the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection on Monday:

On January, 16, 2014, DEP learned that landslide occurred at the well pad the previous day. DEP inspectors immediately responded and noted that the slide impacted the side of the well pad and had dropped about 40 feet downslope to where it encroached upon two streams.

The slide continued to grow substantially and eventually covered the two streams. DEP threatened to order a shutdown of all activity on the well pad. In response, the company, on March 28, agreed to voluntarily stop drilling operations and to make interim action to prevent further movement of the slide. DEP cited the company for numerous violations of the state’s Oil and Gas Act and Clean Streams Law.

On July 14, Elite Well Services, a Vantage contractor, dumped two truckloads (about 200 barrels) of drilling wastewater down the side of the well pad where the interim stabilization activities were occurring. The wastewater impacted the landslide area being restored and ended up in the streams originally impacted by the slide. DEP again cited the company for further violations of various environmental statutes including the Oil and Gas Act.

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Analysts look at Chesapeake-Southwestern-Statoil deal

By Bob Downing Published: December 23, 2014

From New York analyst firm Sterne Agee today:

Exploration & Production
Analysts: Tim Rezvan/ Truman Hobbs
CHK Closes Appalachia Sale to SWN. Statoil Leverages Its Hard Consent by Selling Down Working Interest.

Our Call
Recent speculation on Chesapeake's ability to close its previously announced Appalachia sale to Southwestern, given JV partner Statoil's bargaining power, has proved unfounded. The companies announced last night the deal closed at a slightly lower price, and Statoil announced it was using its leverage in the deal to raise $394 million by selling down interests to Southwestern. The slightly reduced deal price ($4.975 billion vs. $5.375 billion price announced in October) paid to Chesapeake by Southwestern dovetails with the extra funds allocated to acquiring some of Statoil's interests. While the total price still appears rich to us, the inclusion of interests from Statoil improves deal optics.

• Not Necessarily a Win-Win, But Price Reduction Certainly Benefits Southwestern. In marketing meetings in recent weeks, conversations with Southwestern Energy (SWN, $29.31, Buy) shareholders revealed a near unanimous view that the company was overpaying for the acquisition announced in October from Chesapeake. Recall that the announced deal was a $5.375 billion price for 336 mmcfe/d of production over 413K net acres in West Virginia and southwest Pennsylvania, with some firm transportation contracts included. The deal came before the most recent sharp moves down in both oil and gas prices, and before extensive multiple compression for both oily and gassy E&Ps. While metrics still look expensive, the company is acquiring more acreage than previously announced, when you incorporate the Statoil (STO, $18.15, NR) assets. We will receive additional deal details on a conference call Southwestern is hosting on December 30 at 11 AM EST.

• Summarizing Southwestern's Acquisition. Including details provided by Statoil last night, Southwestern is acquiring a total of 443K net acres with 360 mmcfe/d of production for $5.369 billion. We estimate the price paid for current production is $1.8 billion, implying a residual acreage value of $8.1K/acre. We note that deal metrics clearly improve from the addition of 24 mmcfe/d of production and 30K net acres from Statoil.

• Chesapeake's Road to Investment Grade Credit Opens Up. Chesapeake announced a $1 billion repurchase program (8% of shares outstanding). We estimate residual net proceeds of approx. $3.9 will pay down debt, and calculate year-end 2014 net debt of $8.4 billion, (1.6x net debt/TTM EBITDA multiple). While our current commodity price deck ($81/b WTI and $4.25/mcf Henry Hub gas in '15/'16) looks aggressive, we note Chesapeake can execute a $5.5 billion capital program in '15 without stretching its debt/EBITDA multiple.

• Statoil Proves to Be Less of a Fly in the Ointment for Deal Closure Than Previously Anticipated. Deal closure extended farther into December than we anticipated. In addition to having a 30-day window to match Southwestern's offer (which expired in mid-November), Statoil had to provide a hard consent on the sale, which Chesapeake needed to deliver to Southwestern by March 15. Complicating matters was the resignation of Statoil CEO Helge Lund on October 15, the evening before deal announcement. Statoil had a bargaining chip it could leverage, and it appears this leverage was exerted in the form of a sell-down of their Appalachian interests as well to Southwestern. The sale lowers Statoil's Appalachia capital obligations in 2015 and beyond.

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Chesapeake closes on Marcellus, Utica sale to Southwestern

By Bob Downing Published: December 23, 2014

From Chesapeake Energy on Monday:

OKLAHOMA CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 22, 2014-- Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) today announced the closing of its asset sale to Southwestern Energy Company (NYSE:SWN) and initiatives to further enhance shareholder value.

Chesapeake closed the previously announced sale of its assets in the Southern Marcellus Shale and a portion of the Eastern Utica Shale to Southwestern for net proceeds of $4.975 billion. The $400 million adjustment to the previously reported $5.375 billion sale price is attributable to a settlement for various items, including Southwestern’s waiver of any future claims related to title defects and environmental liabilities. The properties sold to Southwestern consist of approximately 413,000 net acres and approximately 1,500 wells located in northern West Virginia and southern Pennsylvania, along with related property, plant and equipment. Net production of the divested properties in mid-December was approximately 57,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day. This represents approximately 7% of a new company record for total production that was achieved last week of 770,000 boe per day.

Doug Lawler, Chesapeake’s Chief Executive Officer, commented, “This transaction marks another significant event in Chesapeake’s transformation and solidifies our strong financial position. With the closing of this transaction and the available borrowing capacity under our unsecured revolving credit facility, Chesapeake now has a liquidity position of approximately $9 billion, putting Chesapeake in an advantageous position to enhance shareholder value in this volatile commodity price market. Consistent with our financial strength and our focus on enhancing shareholder value, Chesapeake’s Board of Directors has authorized a $1 billion common stock repurchase program. Further, building on our outstanding operational momentum of 2014, we will be focused on additional strategic growth opportunities to enhance our asset portfolio and continue to improve our ability to deliver top quartile growth metrics and shareholder returns.”

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XTO Energy fined $2.3 million for West Virginia water violations

By Bob Downing Published: December 23, 2014

From the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday:

XTO Energy, Inc. to Restore Areas Damaged by Natural Gas Extraction Activities

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced today that XTO Energy, Inc. (XTO), a subsidiary of ExxonMobil and the nation’s largest holder of natural gas reserves, will spend an estimated $3 million to restore eight sites damaged by unauthorized discharges of fill material into streams and wetlands in connection with hydraulic fracturing operations. XTO will also implement a comprehensive plan to comply with federal and state water protection laws at the company’s West Virginia oil and gas extraction facilities that use horizontal drilling methods.

The company will also pay a civil penalty of $2.3 million for violations of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA), which prohibits the filling or damming of wetlands, rivers, streams, and other waters of the United States without a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). The settlement resolves alleged violations of state law asserted by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP). The state of West Virginia is a co-plaintiff in the settlement and will receive half of the $2.3 million civil penalty.

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FirstEnergy companies benefitting from shale development

By Bob Downing Published: December 23, 2014

It takes a lot of electricity to run plants to process natural gas and separate liquids from the Utica shale.

And that’s good financial news for Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. and its subsidiaries.

Another utility that stands to benefit from Ohio’s Utica shale boom is Columbus-based American Electric Power.

FirstEnergy has seen its shale-related electric use jump by 70 megawatts from July 2011 to July 2014.

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Drilling dreams of New York farmers dashed by Cuomo's decision

By Bob Downing Published: December 23, 2014

From the Associated Press:

By MARY ESCH

Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — While environmental groups are doing a victory dance over New York’s decision to ban fracking, farmers such as apple grower David Johnson are grieving for dashed hopes and dreams.

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Grass-roots opposition grows in northern Ohio to Nexus Pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: December 23, 2014

From Saturday's Akron Beacon Journal:

Fighting against a giant interstate project can be frightening.

Take it from Caitlin Knop, a 32-year-old mother of three from New Franklin and a newly minted "pipeline activist." She is among the small but growing number of people in southern Summit County who are battling the $2 billion Nexus Transmission Pipeline that would move natural gas from Ohio’s Utica Shale through Ohio and Michigan and into Ontario.

It has been called a David-versus-Goliath battle, but as Knop points out: "Remember who won that one."

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Monroe County families waiting to see if they can return to houses

By Bob Downing Published: December 22, 2014

From the Associated Press

SARDIS, Ohio (AP) — Families evacuated after an eastern Ohio gas well began leaking uncontrollably are waiting to learn whether they’ll be cleared to fully return before Christmas Day.

The problem began Dec. 13 as workers tried to resume production at a well that had been temporarily plugged in Monroe County, near Sardis. About two dozen families within a 1.5-mile radius were told to leave.

The Columbus Dispatch (http://bit.ly/13qSNyo ) reports some have stayed put, and others have returned to pick things up while spending nights with relatives or friends. A former elementary school has been used as a daytime shelter.

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Oil, gas accounted for 68 percent of Russia's 2013 export revenue

By Bob Downing Published: December 22, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

 

For the next two weeks (Dec. 22 - Jan. 2), Today in Energy will feature a selection of our favorite articles from 2014. Today's article was originally published on July 23.

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Blogger calls on Ohio to follow New York's example on drilling

By Bob Downing Published: December 22, 2014

From Food and Water Watch on Friday:

By Francesca Buzzi

At the moment when Governor Cuomo revealed his decision to exercise caution and ban fracking in New York, a fracked well in Ohio was spewing natural gas into the air for the third straight day from a leak that well crews could not stop. This is the reality facing our air, water, climate, and communities as long as fracking continues in states without a ban.

Governor Cuomo’s decision was backed by the science described at length in the Health Department’s extensive study of the risks fracking poses to public health. New York Health Commissioner Howard Zucker summed up the study simply: he wouldn’t want his child to play outside in a community that allows fracking.

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Activist group unhappy with new Meigs County injection well

By Bob Downing Published: December 22, 2014

From Appalachia Resist on Saturday:

 

For
Immediate Release: New Meigs County Frack Waste Injection Well Proposed Without
Community Input or Consent.

12/15/2014
[Chester Township, Meigs County, Ohio]  J.D Drilling Company has applied for a
permit to convert an old gas well into a Class II injection well in Meigs
County, Ohio.  The injection well, located in rural farmlands and near homes,
would receive approximately 1000 barrels of fracking waste per day.  Although
frack waste is hazardous, containing undisclosed  quantities of highly toxic
chemicals, including benzene, xylene, cadmium, mercury, arsenic, and radium,
Class II injection wells are not designed to contain hazardous waste.  JD
Drilling, by law, is not required to disclose the chemical content of the frack
waste to ODNR. Should the proposed well be permitted, the community of Chester
Township will be subject to the hazards associated with an injection well. This
proposed well will not be involved with the production of any natural gas but
will deal only with accepting the fracking waste from other states and from Ohio
frack wells.  Concerned community members have very little redress, as the
permitting process does not include a public discussion or public hearing, and
the comment period has closed.

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Ryan issues statement on Monroe County well blowout

By Bob Downing Published: December 22, 2014

From U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan on Friday:

Congressman Tim Ryan issued the following statement and summary regarding this week’s natural gas leak in Monroe County:

“My thoughts and prayers go out to the families who were forced to evacuate their homes so close to the holidays as a result of the recent natural gas leak in Monroe County. I am extremely concerned with the frequency in which these accidents have occurred in Ohio this year, and even further disturbed by the slow response time in resolving these situations. It is clear that a more thorough, statewide policy needs to be put into place, along with the necessary funding, to more quickly address these kinds of accidents that are forcing Ohioans from their homes and causing potential damage to our air and water.

“Natural gas development can be a great economic driver for our State, but it must be done with the proper safety protocols, oversight, and preparation. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I welcome input from Governor Kasich if further federal funds or technical assistance are needed to bolster Ohio’s efforts in maintaining safety around the natural gas and oil development taking place throughout Ohio.”

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Cheniere Energy signs pact to ship LNG from Texas to Portugal

By Bob Downing Published: December 19, 2014

From Cheniere Energy on Thursday.

Note: Range Resources has a signed agreement to ship some natural gas from Pennsylvania's Marcellus SWhale to the Cheniere facility in Louisiana.

HOUSTON, Dec. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Cheniere Energy, Inc. ("Cheniere") (NYSE MKT: LNG) announced today that its subsidiary, Corpus Christi Liquefaction, LLC ("Corpus Christi Liquefaction"), has entered into a liquefied natural gas ("LNG") sale and purchase agreement ("SPA") with EDP Energias de Portugal S.A. ("EDP") under which EDP has agreed to purchase approximately 0.77 million tonnes per annum ("mtpa") of LNG upon the commencement of operations of Train 3 of the LNG export facility being developed near Corpus Christi, Texas (the " Corpus Christi Liquefaction Project "). The Corpus Christi Liquefaction Project is being designed and permitted for up to three trains, with aggregate design production capacity of approximately 13.5 mtpa of LNG.

Under the SPA, EDP will purchase LNG on a free on board basis (FOB) for a purchase price indexed to the monthly Henry Hub price plus a fixed component. LNG will be loaded onto EDP's vessels. The term of the SPA will extend for twenty years beyond the date of first commercial delivery of the third train of the Corpus Christi Liquefaction Project , with an extension option of up to ten years. Deliveries from Train 3 are expected to occur as early as 2019.

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New York drilling decision could impact eastern Pennsylvania

By Bob Downing Published: December 19, 2014

The decision by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to continue the state's ban on fracking could have ripple effects in eastern Pennsylvania.

That's because the two states are members of a commission that oversees the Delaware River Watershed, and New York's decision could mean no drilling in eastern Pennsylvania.

Click  here  to read the full story from NPR's StateImpact Pennsylvania.

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XTO acquires regional headquarters in Pittsburgh from Shell

By Bob Downing Published: December 19, 2014

Royal Dutch Shell affiliate SWEPI LP has sold its former Appalachian Basin headquarters in Pittsburgh to XTO Energy Inc. for about $3.7 million, the Pittsburgh Business Times reported this week.

The acquisition allows XTO to consolidate its regional headquarters into a single building at Thorn Hill Industrial Park, said XTO spokeswoman Suann Guthrie.

XTO is to move into its new digs by the end of Q1 2015, Guthrie said.

The company is a player in Ohio's Utica Shale plus in the Marcellus hale in western Pennsylvania.

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Republic Services to acquire Tervita Corp. that serves drillers

By Bob Downing Published: December 19, 2014

From Republic Services today:

PHOENIX, Dec. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Republic Services, Inc. (NYSE: RSG) and Calgary, Alberta-based Tervita Corporation announced today that the companies have entered into a definitive agreement whereby a subsidiary of Republic Services will acquire Tervita, LLC ("Tervita"), a subsidiary of Tervita Corporation. Tervita is a leading pure-play environmental waste solutions provider serving oil and natural gas producers in the United States.

 Tervita's geographic footprint spans across some of the most attractive domestic basins, including the Permian, Eagle Ford and Bakken. Tervita provides oilfield waste services to its diverse customer base and operates three types of waste management and disposal facilities: treatment, recovery and disposal (TRD) facilities; engineered landfills; and salt water disposal (SWD) injection wells. Additionally, Tervita provides closed loop solids control systems and transportation services.

"The acquisition of this vertically integrated operation allows Republic Services to establish a significant platform in the E&P waste sector and positions us well for future growth opportunities," said Donald W. Slager, president and CEO of Republic Services. "Additionally, Tervita's environmentally committed operations complement our core competency and expertise in waste handling, recovery and disposal."

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U.S. shale debt crunch could hit drillers next April

By Bob Downing Published: December 19, 2014

U.S. oil companies could see the amount of money they can borrow shrink significantly next April when banks reassess credit conditions amid falling oil prices.

That will reduce the available cash they need to drill pricey wells into shale basins, a painful prospect for firms that rely on high spending levels to maintain oil production and their income levels.

Unless crude prices climb back up by next spring, financial institutions will reset their assumptions about the value of oil reserves, which were last set in October, when oil traded above $80 a barrel. If that happens, the energy sector will experience a shortfall in borowing capacity, according to experts.

Click  here  to read the full story from Houston's Fuel Fix blog.

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Oil price crash exposes new insurance risk for U.S. shale drillers

By Bob Downing Published: December 19, 2014

Tumbling oil prices have exposed a weakness in the insurance that some U.S. shale drillers bought to protect themselves against a crash, Bloomberg reports.

At least six companies, including Pioneer Natural Resources Co. and Noble Energy Inc., used a strategy known as a three-way collar that doesn’t guarantee a minimum price if crude falls below a certain level, according to company filings. While three-ways can be cheaper than other hedges, they can leave drillers exposed to steep declines.

“Producers are inherently bullish,” said Mike Corley, the founder of Mercatus Energy Advisors, a Houston-based firm that advises companies on hedging strategies. “It’s just the nature of the business. You’re not going to go drill holes in the ground if you think prices are going down.”

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Pennylvania expanding into Utica Shale high-pressure wells

By Bob Downing Published: December 19, 2014

From Pennsylvania-based Deep Well Services on Thursday:


 

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U.S. petroleum deliveries in November hit seven-year high

By Bob Downing Published: December 19, 2014

From the American Petroleum Institute on Thursday:

WASHINGTON, December 18, 2014 ─ Total U.S. petroleum deliveries (a measure of demand) rose last month by 1.9 percent from November 2013 to average 19.9 million barrels per day, the highest level for the month in seven years.

“It has been several years since we’ve seen this level of demand in November,” said API Chief Economist John Felmy. “The economy overall appeared to be in good shape last month, and production of crude, natural gas and refined products all remained quite strong.”

Gasoline demand also grew by 1.9 percent from November 2013 to average 9.1 million barrels per day. These were the highest deliveries for the month since 2007. Distillate deliveries were the highest in eight months, increasing by 1.2 percent above the prior year to 3.9 million barrels per day. Demand also rose over the same period for jet fuel (3.8 percent) and “other oils” (7.1 percent) while residual fuel deliveries fell 26.0 percent to set a new record low for the month.

Crude production jumped 14.9 percent from last year to its highest November output since 1973. The production level of 9.1 million barrels per day marked the first time above 9.0 million barrels per day since March 1986. The Bakken, the Eagle Ford, and the Permian regions posted record levels of production last month, averaging 1.2 million barrels per day, 1.6 million barrels per day, and nearly 1.8 million barrels per day, respectively.

Natural gas liquids (NGL) production, a co-product of natural gas production, reached its highest output on record at nearly 3.2 million barrels per day, an increase of 15.3 percent from last year. Production of natural gas in the Marcellus region, the largest natural gas producing region, reached a record high of nearly 15.9 billion cubic feet per day in November, up 17.9 percent from last year and was up 74.0 percent from November 2012.

According to the latest reports from Baker-Hughes, Inc., the number of oil and gas rigs in the U.S. in November was 1,925, the same from October, but was up 169 counts from November 2013. This was the second highest count since July 2012.

Total petroleum imports last month were down by 5.2 percent from November 2013 to average just below 8.9 million barrels per day. This was the second lowest level since February 1996. Crude imports rose slightly by 0.7 percent from last year to average nearly 7.5 million barrels per day – the second lowest level for the month since 1996. Imports of refined products dropped 27.3 percent over the same period to the lowest level since May 1995 at 1.4 million barrels per day.

Production of gasoline gained 0.6 percent from the prior year to average a new high for the month of November at 9.5 million barrels per day. At nearly 4.9 million barrels per day, distillate production rose by 4.9 percent from October but was down by 3.7 percent from November 2013. Year to date production of both products was the highest on record.

November records were also set in refinery gross inputs and exports of refined products. Gross inputs grew 0.9 percent from last year to average 16.3 million barrels per day while exports were up 5.5 percent to average 4.2 million barrels per day.

With several refineries back up from their scheduled turnaround, the refinery capacity utilization rate averaged 91.4 percent in November. This was up 2.6 percentage points from October, up 0.8 percentage points from the year ago levels, and the highest November rate in 10 years. API’s latest refinery operable capacity was 17.805 million barrels per day.

Crude oil stocks ended the month at 374.9 million barrels, up 0.3 percent from the last year. These were the second highest November inventories in 84 years, since 1930. Stocks of motor gasoline fell 3.9 percent from last year to their lowest inventories in six years at 208.3 million barrels. Stocks of distillate, jet fuel and “other oils” all fell from year ago levels.

API is a national trade association that represents all segments of America’s technology-driven oil and natural gas industry. Its more than 625 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 and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 25 million Americans. The industry also supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy, delivers $84 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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Elizabeth Elmore to head Kelly Jackson law firm's oil-gas group

By Bob Downing Published: December 19, 2014

From Jackson Kelly PLLC on Thursday:

Jackson Kelly PLLC attorney Elizabeth B. Elmore was appointed as the head of the Akron law firm's Oil and Gas Industry group.

Elmore is a Member of the Firm and Co‑Leader of the Land and Natural Resource Development Practice Group. With more than 20 years of legal experience, Elmore focuses her practice on energy law, including claims of underpayment of royalties, joint ventures between producers for the acquisition and development of oil and gas leases and rights of way for pipeline systems.

Jackson Kelly was recently named the 2015 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Law Firm of the Year” for Mining Law. Jackson Kelly was the first law firm to ever receive this honor by being named “Law Firm of the Year” for Mining Law in U.S. News – Best Lawyers® 2011-2012.

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Stewart to retire, Bennett named to succeed him at OOGA

By Bob Downing Published: December 18, 2014

From the Ohio Oil and Gas Association today:

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Problems continue at blowout well in Ohio's Monroe County

By Bob Downing Published: December 18, 2014

There's been very little news available on the blowout at the out-of-control Triad Hunter natural gas well in Monroe County since the problem occurred on Saturday.

According to one report, the initial steps failed and an alternative plan is now being implemented and that may take a week to complete, says Rachael Dierker of WTRF News 7.

Click  here  to read the account at Frack Check West Virginia.

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New Franklin opposes natural gas pipeline, wants alternate route

By Bob Downing Published: December 18, 2014

 

 

NEW FRANKLIN: City Council on Wednesday voted to oppose a new natural gas pipeline that would cross southern Summit County, much to the delight of a standing-room-only crowd of 120 residents.

The vote against was 5-0, with two councilmen absent.

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New compressed natural gas station opens in Canton Township

By Bob Downing Published: December 18, 2014

From amp Trillium LLC on Wednesday:

AMP TRILLIUM Opens Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Station in Canton, Ohio

Frito-Lay North America to anchor station providing easy fueling access to CNG fleets on US 30/US 65

 

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Pennsylvania lawmaker pushes severance tax to fund schools

By Bob Downing Published: December 18, 2014

A Pennsylvania lawmaker is pushing a new severance tax plan, after the industry resisted an earlier severance tax proposal.

State Sen. Jim Brewster wants to impose a 5 percent tax on Marcellus Shale production with the proceeds going to education.

He said the plan would generate between $700 million and $1 billion for schools.

Click  here  to read the full story from NPR's StateImpact Pennsylvania.

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Groups seek long-term fracking moratorium in Maryland

By Bob Downing Published: December 18, 2014

From Food & Water Watch on Wednesday:

Annapolis, MD — Concerned by both the rapidly expanding evidence of harm and by the growing uncertainties caused by unconventional natural gas development and production, a number of health and advocacy organizations have announced support for a long-term moratorium on drilling and fracking for natural gas in Maryland.

 

Earlier today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that his administration will ban fracking in New York, heeding the strong recommendation from the public health officials in his administration that there is no scientific evidence showing that fracking can be done without risk to public health.

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Canada's Encana to focus spending on four shale plays

By Bob Downing Published: December 18, 2014

From Encana on Tuesday:

CALGARY, AB --(Marketwired - December 16, 2014 ) - Encana (TSX: ECA) (NYSE: ECA) today announced a highly focused 2015 capital program of between $2.7 billion and $2.9 billion , with approximately 80 percent directed to four of its highest margin growth plays; the Montney , Duvernay , Eagle Ford and Permian.

"Following the launch of our new strategy, we took aggressive action and transformed our portfolio, significantly reduced our cost base and built a culture that drives efficiencies throughout our business," says Doug Suttles , Encana President & CEO. "We enter 2015 focused on our long-term strategy, increasing liquids production, capturing new efficiencies throughout the business and protecting our balance sheet. We're well positioned as the steps we've taken have given us the resilient portfolio, organizational agility and operational expertise needed to thrive throughout the commodity price cycle. Built into our 2015 plan is the flexibility to respond to the challenges and act on potential opportunities presented in this volatile price environment."

Encana expects to generate approximately 75 percent of its 2015 cash flow from oil and liquids production. The company estimates total liquids production will grow approximately 70 percent compared to 2014 to between 140,000 and 160,000 barrels per day (bbls/d) and anticipates overall production of between 405,000 and 440,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d). Encana expects total cash flow between $2.5 billion and $2.7 billion , reflecting the impact of higher margin production and continued cost efficiencies, partially offset by anticipated lower commodity prices.

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ProPublica began writing about N.Y. fracking in 2008

By Bob Downing Published: December 18, 2014

From ProPublica Communications on Wednesday:

New York State Bans Fracking

Today, six and a half years after ProPublica first raised concerns that the process of "hydraulic fracturing" could threaten both New York's water supply and its residents' health, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has banned the process across the state.

The ban makes New York the largest and most significant region to bow out of the nation's energy boom because of concerns that its benefits may be outweighed by the risks, ProPublica's Abrahm Lustgarten reports.

Key takeaways from Lustgarten's story:


Read the full story here: http://www.propublica.org/article/new-york-state-bans-fracking.

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Pro-drilling groups knock Gov. Cuomo for New York decision

By Bob Downing Published: December 17, 2014

From the American Petroleum Institute today:

ALBANY, NY, December 17, 2014 ─ API New York State Petroleum Council Executive Director Karen Moreau today said Governor Cuomo acted irresponsibly by issuing a statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing, putting the state’s economy on a reckless path and ignoring the needs of New York families, economic opportunity, job creation, revenue to the government, and America’s need for energy security.

“Today’s action by Governor Cuomo shows that New York families, teachers, roads and good-paying jobs have lost out to political gamesmanship. This is the wrong direction for New York.

"Robust regulations exist at the federal and state levels nationwide for natural gas development and environmental protection. A politically motivated and equally misinformed ban on a proven technology used for over 60 years – throughout the country to great success – is short-sighted and reckless, particularly when New York depends on safely produced natural gas just over the border in Pennsylvania.

“New York is sitting on a major opportunity to help fuel America’s future. Just next door in Pennsylvania, more than $630 million has been distributed to communities since 2012 – including more than $224 million in just 2014. These once economically challenged areas are now thriving. The commonwealth has also benefited from over $2.1 billion in state and local taxes generated by the shale energy industry. Revenue from natural gas production supports road and bridge improvements, water and sewer projects, local housing initiatives, environmental programs and rehabilitation of greenways. We are resolved to continue to fight for these benefits in New York.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the landowners and our labor allies, who are focused on creating jobs. This is a missed opportunity to share in the American energy renaissance, and for New York’s future prosperity.”

The NYSPC and API represent all segments of America's technology-driven oil and natural gas industry. Its more than 625 members provide most of the nation's energy. The industry also supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs, represents 8 percent of the U.S. economy, and is backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 25 million Americans

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N.Y. to ban fracking, after N.Y. Health Department calls it unsafe

By Bob Downing Published: December 17, 2014

Here's the Bloomberg story on New York's decision to continue to ban fracing/drilling: Click  here to read the full story.

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Citizens impacted by fracking respond to New York decision

By Bob Downing Published: December 17, 2014

From Earthworks today in the wake of New York's decision:

 

***

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Sierra Club hails Cuomo for N.Y.'s anti-fracking decision

By Bob Downing Published: December 17, 2014

From the Sierra Club today:

New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced today that hydraulic fracturing will be banned in New York, following the release of a long-anticipated study that concluded fracking could pose "significant public health risks."

In response, Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune issued the following statement:

 "The Sierra Club applauds Governor Cuomo for recognizing what the science has made consistently clear: fracking is a hazard to human health that endangers communities wherever it is allowed. By banning fracking, Governor Cuomo has set himself apart as a national political leader who stands up for people, and not for the interests of the dirty fuel lobby. Today’s decision will shake the foundations of our nation’s flawed energy policy, and we can only expect that it will give strength to activists nationwide who are fighting fracking in dozens of states and hundreds of cities and counties.

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350.org calls N.Y. Gov. Cuomo's decision "a huge win"

By Bob Downing Published: December 17, 2014

From 350.org today on New York's decision to continue to ban fracking:

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NRDC pleased by Gov. Cuomo's decision to ban fracking

By Bob Downing Published: December 17, 2014

From the NRDC today, after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says no to fracking/drilling:



 

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HG Energy sells two top gas wells to American Energy Partners

By Bob Downing Published: December 17, 2014

HG Energy LLC has sold off its Ohio acreage to American Energy Partners and is leaving Ohio's Utica Shale, according to to Columbus Business First.

American Energy Partners got two of Ohio's Top 10 producing natural gas wells in the $465 million deal that was announced last summer, the publication said.

American Energy Partners' role was not disclosed at that time.

Click here to read today's story.

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Dominion Transmission fined $55,000 for W. Va. water isssues

By Bob Downing Published: December 17, 2014

Dominion Transmission has agreed to pay a $55,470 fine to West Virginia for water-pollution problems from Novemver 2012 in Marshall County.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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U.S., Canada to huddle Dec. 18 on crude oil rail safety

By Bob Downing Published: December 17, 2014

From ForestEthics today:

US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and Canadian Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt are scheduled to meet in Ottawa on Thursday, December 18, to discuss ways to harmonize safety regulations for trains hauling crude oil according to a report by Reuters newswire.

Todd Paglia, ForestEthics executive director, released the following statement:

“Canada is far ahead of the US on oil train safety. In two and half years Canada’s plan to ban DOT-111 tank cars, the most dangerous cars on the tracks, could take effect. Under the US Department of Transportation’s draft rules the rail industry won’t even have begun removing DOT-111s by then.

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Drop in oil prices could idle as many as 550 U.S. drilling rigs

By Bob Downing Published: December 17, 2014

As many as 550 U.S. drilling rigs may be idled in the coming months, due to the slide in oil prices, said the Houston-based Fuel Fix blog.

Click  here  to read the full story. 

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Michigan protestor who spent 10 hours in pipeline is guilty

By Bob Downing Published: December 17, 2014

From the Associated Press:

A 36-year-old man who spent about 10 hours inside an oil pipeline under construction in southern Michigan has been found guilty of trespassing and resisting police.

The Battle Creek Enquirer reports that Christopher Wahmhoff told a Calhoun County judge Tuesday that if he “was getting put away for 50 years it would be worth it.”

Wahmhoff, of Kalamazoo, was a Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate. He was charged with obstructing police and trespassing during the June 24, 2013, protest at an Enbridge site near Marshall.

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Exco Resources suspends dividend payments as oil prices drop

By Bob Downing Published: December 17, 2014

Dallas-based Exco Resources has suspended dividend payments, due to the drop in oil prices.

The company has operations in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale.

Click  here  to read the company's Monday statement.

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Spain's Repsol to buy Canada's Talisman Energy for $8.3 billion

By Bob Downing Published: December 17, 2014

Spanish-based Repsol SA is buying Canada's Talisman Energy Inc. for $8.3 billion.

That announcement came on Tuesday.

Talisman is the fifth largest independent energy producer in Canada. It is based in Calgary.

Click  here  to read the full story from Bloomberg.

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Access acquisition by Williams named energy Deal of the Year

By Bob Downing Published: December 17, 2014

From Williams last week:

Williams (NYSE: WMB) received the Deal of the Year award last night at the Global Energy Awards in New York for its acquisition of controlling interest in Oklahoma City-based Access Midstream Partners, L.P. on July 1, 2014.

Williams was recognized for the strategic significance and successful closure of the Access Midstream acquisition, a transaction that poises Williams to reach its goal of becoming North America's top provider of natural gas infrastructure.

"This award underscores the magnitude of the Williams-Access combination in the natural gas infrastructure space," said Williams' Chief Executive Officer Alan Armstrong. "I appreciate the recognition and most importantly want to thank employees at Williams and Access for their tremendous work integrating the organizations. What's emerging is a best-in-class energy infrastructure provider with superior assets, enhanced positions in key basins and more service and market opportunities for our customers."

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Rice Midstream sets pricing for initial stock offering

By Bob Downing Published: December 17, 2014

From Rice Energy today:

CANONSBURG, Pa., Dec. 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Rice Energy Inc. (NYSE:RICE) ("Rice Energy") today announced the pricing of the Rice Midstream Partners LP ("Rice Midstream") initial public offering of 25,000,000 common units representing limited partner interests at $16.50 per common unit. Rice Midstream has granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 3,750,000 common units. The common units are expected to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on December 17, 2014 under the symbol "RMP." The offering is expected to close on December 22, 2014, subject to customary closing conditions.

Upon conclusion of the offering, the public will own an approximate 43.5% limited partner interest in Rice Midstream (or approximately 50.0% if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional common units). Rice Energy and its affiliates will own the remaining approximately 56.5% limited partner interest in Rice Midstream (or approximately 50.0% if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional common units). Rice Energy will own the general partner of Rice Midstream and all of its incentive distribution rights.

Rice Midstream intends to use the net proceeds of approximately $383.7 million (or approximately $441.6 million if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional common units) to make a $356.0 million (or $413.9 million if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional common units) distribution to Rice Energy, including a $195.3 million reimbursement for capital expenditures incurred on Rice Midstream's behalf, to fund $25.0 million of Rice Midstream's 2015 expansion capital expenditures, and to pay approximately $2.7 million of origination fees related to Rice Midstream's new revolving credit facility.

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Ohio has 1,259 drilled Utica wells, 704 producing Utica wells

By Bob Downing Published: December 17, 2014

Ohio has permitted 1,700 Utica Shale wells, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

That total includes 1,258 Utica wells that are drilled and 704 Utica wells that are producing, as of Dec. 13, it reported.

Ohio has 59 rigs at work.

A total of 15 new permits were approved: eight in Belmont County, two in Columbiana County, three in Harrison County and two in Monroe County.

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U.S. Senate confirms Colette Honorable to FERC

By Bob Downing Published: December 17, 2014

From the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission today:

 

The U.S. Senate last night confirmed the nomination of Colette Honorable to join the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Honorable, chairman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission since 2011 and the former president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, will serve out the remainder of a term that ends in June 2017.

FERC Chairman Cheryl A. LaFleur congratulated Honorable on her confirmation:

“Colette brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the important issues we are facing. She and I worked together closely during her time as the President of NARUC, and I very much look forward to continuing that strong relationship when she joins the Commission.”
 

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OPEC export oil revenues to fall in 2014 and 2015, EIA says

By Bob Downing Published: December 17, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

 

Based on crude oil market assessments in the Short-Term Energy Outlook, EIA estimates that members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), excluding Iran, will earn about $700 billion in revenue from net oil exports in 2014, a 14% decrease from 2013 earnings and the lowest earnings for the group since 2010. OPEC earnings declined in 2014 largely for two reasons: decreases in the amount of OPEC oil exports and lower oil prices, with the 2014 average for Brent crude oil projected to be 8% below the average 2013 price.

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Open sign-up season begins for new Ohio condensate pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: December 17, 2014

From EnLink Midstream today:

DALLAS,December 17, 2014 — Ohio River Valley Pipeline, LLC, an affiliate of the EnLink Midstream companies, EnLink Midstream Partners, LP (NYSE:ENLK) (the Partnership) and EnLink Midstream, LLC(NYSE:ENLC) (the General Partner), today announced the start of a binding open season for volume commitments for interstate common carrier transportation service on a new condensate pipeline system (the “ORV Condensate Pipeline”). The ORV Condensate Pipeline will transport condensate from points in Harrison, Belmont, Guernsey, Noble, Monroe, and Washington Counties, Ohio to Bells Run Station in Washington County, Ohio, Black Run Station in Muskingum County, Ohio, and, if Ohio River Valley Pipeline, LLC elects to construct extension(s) of its system, to one or more connecting facilities in Holmes, Coshocton, and Harrison County, Ohio. The design capacity of the ORV Condensate Pipeline will be dependent upon the level of interest shown by potential committed shippers during the open season. The open season begins today at 8:00 a.m. Central Time and will close at 5:00 p.m. Central Time on January 15, 2015.

 

A complete description and additional details regarding the ORV Condensate Pipeline, including a Notice of Open Season, are available by contacting Scott Walker at 214-721-9468 or scott.walker@enlink.com.

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NWF responds to pipeline leak in Michigan's Upper Peninsula

By Bob Downing Published: December 17, 2014

From the National Wildlife Federation on Tuesday:

 

 

Pipeline Leak ‘Highlights Danger to Great Lakes’

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Wheeling Water Warrior activist releases letter to W. Va. governor

By Bob Downing Published: December 17, 2014

On Nov. 25, activist Robin Mahonen of the Wheeling Water Warriors mailed a petition with 3,820 signatures on drilling under the Ohio River to West Virginia Gov.  Earl Ray Tomblin, along with a personal letter to the governor which has been released.

Here is Robin Mahonen's open letter to Tomblin:

 

 

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Ohio-based company expands operations due to shale drilling

By Bob Downing Published: December 17, 2014

A press release on Tuesday from Ohio-based Millwood Natural:

Shale Drilling Development Leads to Millwood Natural Expansion

Local supplier provides environmental solutions to customers

 

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NRDC releases technical report on methane reductions

By Bob Downing Published: December 17, 2014

Waste Not, a new report by the NRDC from leading climate advocates, shows how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can cut climate warming methane pollution in half, while dramatically reducing harmful, wasteful air pollution from the oil and gas industry at the same time, by issuing federal standards for methane pollution based on available, low-cost technologies and practices.

The oil and gas sector is the largest U.S. industrial emitter of methane, which is the second-biggest driver of climate change after carbon dioxide. Smog-forming and toxic chemicals that leak from oil and gas sites along with methane also harm air quality, endangering the health of people in neighboring communities.

Click  here  to access the report.

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Ohio activist groups pleased by committee death of H.B. 490

By Bob Downing Published: December 16, 2014

A press release received today from a coalition of Ohio groups:

Who: 400 Ohioans, including health professionals and first responders, Buckeye Forest Council, Ohio Organizing Collaborative/Communities United for Responsible Energy, Ohio Citizen Action, Center for Health and Environmental Justice, and Ohio Environmental Council

What: Helped defeat HB 490, which would have put first responders at risk

A coalition of environmental organizations, community organizing groups and concerned citizens including health professionals and first responders mobilized to help defeat HB 490, killing it in the Ohio Senate Agriculture Committee before it could move to the floor for a vote.

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Report: Five major health threats from fracking air pollution

By Bob Downing Published: December 16, 2014

From the NRDC today:

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Pennsylvania issues desist order to XTO for Butler Co. project

By Bob Downing Published: December 16, 2014

From the Pernnsylvania Department of Environmental Protection last week:

 “XTO’s failure to obtain proper authorization before commencing earth disturbance activities at the truck area portion of the Cratty Unit Project violated state regulation and created a danger of pollution to the waters of the commonwealth,” DEP Deputy Secretary for the Office of Oil and Gas Management Scott Perry said.

 XTO requested on two separate occasions during 2014 to begin the Cratty Unit Project, which would include drilling unconventional gas wells and constructing related facilities. In both applications to DEP, the company only defined the scope of the project to include activities at the well site. XTO did not indicate within either application or any of the project’s other associated documents that it planned to conduct earth disturbance activities at the intersection of Election House Road and West Old Route 422 to create a truck access area.

 Recently, XTO informed the department that the construction of a truck area was necessary in order for large trucks to access the well site. However, DEP inspectors determined that the company had already begun earth disturbance activity at the truck area without a permit or other authorization from the department.

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Dominion Resources to acquire Carolina Gas Transmission

By Bob Downing Published: December 16, 2014

From Dominion Resources today:

 

Dec 16, 2014

RICHMOND, Va., Dec. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Dominion Resources, Inc. (NYSE: D), today announced that it has agreed to purchase Carolina Gas Transmission (CGT) from SCANA Corporation (NYSE: SCG) for approximately $492.9 million. CGT owns and operates nearly 1,500 miles of FERC-regulated interstate natural gas pipeline in South Carolina and southeastern Georgia. The company plans to close on the acquisition in January 2015.

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U.S. household gasoline costs in 2015 will be lowest in 11 years

By Bob Downing Published: December 16, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

 

The average U.S. household is expected to spend about $550 less on gasoline in 2015 compared with 2014, as annual motor fuel expenditures are on track to fall to their lowest level in 11 years. Lower fuel expenditures are attributable to a combination of falling retail gasoline prices and more fuel-efficient cars and trucks that reduce the number of gallons used to travel a given distance.

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Rover Pipeline distributes 125 maps to Ohio libraries, offices

By Bob Downing Published: December 15, 2014

From the Rover Pipeline LLC today:

ROVER PIPELINE PROJECT SENDS MORE THAN 125 MAPS TO PUBLIC OFFICES AND LIBRARIES ACROSS OHIO

 

(North Canton, Ohio) December 15, 2014– Rover Pipeline LLC (Rover) announced today updated maps for the proposed natural gas pipeline are now available in multiple locations in each of the Ohio counties through which the route currently passes. The approximately 830-mile Rover Pipeline project will primarily serve domestic consumers by transporting natural gas from multiple gas processing facilities located in Eastern Ohio, Northwest West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania to markets throughout the United States, including Ohio and Michigan. Approximately 78% of the 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas moved daily through the Rover Pipeline will be utilized by domestic consumers. The remainder of the gas not consumed in the United States will be transported to the Union Gas Hub in Canada for trade in the open market which can either be used back into the United States, in Michigan, into the Northeast such as New York and New Jersey or to customers in Canada.

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Jeff Ventura is new board chairman at Range Resources

By Bob Downing Published: December 15, 2014

From Range Resources on Monday:

FORT WORTH, TX -- (Marketwired) -- 12/15/14 -- RANGE RESOURCES CORPORATION (NYSE: RRC) announced today that its Board of Directors has appointed Jeff Ventura Chairman of the Board of Directors effective January 1, 2015.

Mr. Ventura will replace John Pinkerton, who has served as the Company's Chairman since 2008. Mr. Ventura will continue to serve as the Company's President and Chief Executive Officer.

Mr. Pinkerton will continue to serve as a director, while Mr. V. Richard Eales will continue to serve as the Company's lead independent director.

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Group alarmed by Maryland governor's actions on drilling

By Bob Downing Published: December 15, 2014

From Food and Water Watch on Friday:

Governor O'Malley Opens Maryland to Fracking

 

Statement by Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter

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Conservation groups want to strengthen Colorado drilling rules

By Bob Downing Published: December 15, 2014

A press release from Colorado eco-groups:

Conservation Groups Call on Oil and Gas Commission to Strengthen Proposed Rules

 

New COGCC Rules Need to Better Protect Public Safety, Health and Environment and Allow Public to Hold Industry Accountable

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Summit Midstream, XTO team up for Ohio Utica development

By Bob Downing Published: December 15, 2014

From Summit Midstream today:

 

 

Dallas, Texas (December 15, 2014) – Summit Midstream Partners, LLC ("Summit Investments"), the privately held company that owns and controls the general partner of Summit Midstream Partners, LP (NYSE: SMLP) and also owns a 49.5% limited partner interest in SMLP, today announced that it has reached an agreement with XTO Energy Inc. ("XTO") to develop and operate a new natural gas gathering system servicing XTO’s natural gas production from Belmont and Monroe counties in southeastern Ohio. The gathering system will be owned and developed by a new indirect subsidiary of Summit Investments, Summit Midstream Utica, LLC ("Summit Utica"). XTO will serve as the anchor shipper and has dedicated approximately 29,000 acres to Summit Utica under a long-term, fee-based gathering agreement.

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Dominion East Ohio: Shale providing ample supplies, low prices

By Bob Downing Published: December 15, 2014

From Dominion East Ohio today:

CLEVELAND, Dec. 15, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Dominion East Ohio expects increased production from the Marcellus and Utica shale formations in Ohio and nearby states to provide ample supplies of natural gas at moderate prices this winter.

"Once again, customers can set their thermostats with confidence this winter," said Jeff Murphy, General Manager – Commercial Operations.

Murphy noted that natural gas prices for the remainder of the winter heating season could be lower than those of last winter, when repeated Polar Vortex weather events drove Dominion East Ohio's Standard Service Offer (SSO) and Standard Choice Offer (SCO) rates to more than $6 per thousand cubic feet (mcf) in February.

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Triad Hunter loses control of Ohio well in Monroe County

By Bob Downing Published: December 15, 2014

From Magnum Hunter Resources on Sunday in the wake of a blowout at a well in Ohio's Monroe County on Saturday:

HOUSTON, TX--(Marketwired - Dec 14, 2014) - Magnum Hunter Resources Corporation ( NYSE : MHR ) ( NYSE MKT : MHR.PRC ) ( NYSE MKT : MHR.PRD ) ( NYSE MKT : MHR.PRE ) (the "Company" or "Magnum Hunter") is reporting today that the Company's wholly-owned subsidiary, Triad Hunter, LLC ("Triad Hunter"), has experienced a loss of control of a well, the Stalder 3UH, located in Monroe County, Ohio. Triad Hunter lost control of this well at approximately 2:00 p.m. EST on December 13, 2014. The previously drilled and completed Stalder 3UH well had been temporarily plugged and abandoned in preparation for the drilling of three additional Utica horizontal wells on the Stalder pad. However, despite numerous precautionary measures taken in connection with the temporary plugging and abandonment operation, the well began to flow uncontrollably while recommencing production operations. Triad Hunter personnel were removing the well's night cap flange when a pressure disruption occurred. They attempted to bolt back down this equipment but were not able to safely do so prior to natural gas flowback.

Triad Hunter has contacted all necessary regulatory authorities and evacuated field personnel and the residents in the immediate area. Currently, all field personnel are accounted for, and no injuries have been reported. Only critical personnel remain at a command center near the well site to mitigate the incident. Wild Well Control of Houston, Texas has been mobilized and is currently on site preparing for well control operations. Additional details will be released as they become available.

About Magnum Hunter Resources Corporation

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Range Resources hails record Utica well in Washington County, Pa.

By Bob Downing Published: December 15, 2014

From Range Resources today:

Range Announces 2015 Capital Budget and Record Utica Well ResultsFORT WORTH, TX -- (Marketwired) -- 12/15/14 -- RANGE RESOURCES CORPORATION (NYSE: RRC) announced today its 2015 capital budget and the initial results from its Utica/Point Pleasant well located in Washington County, Pennsylvania.

Range has set its 2015 capital spending budget at $1.3 billion, a decrease of 18% versus its 2014 capital budget. As a result of improving capital efficiencies from its Marcellus activities, Range expects to continue to deliver year-over-year production growth in the 20% to 25% range despite the reduction in its capital budget.

The 2015 capital budget includes approximately $1,065 million for drilling and recompletions, $155 million for leasehold and renewals, $55 million for pipeline tie-ins and facilities and $25 million for seismic and other.

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Rover Pipeline submits environmental survey data to FERC

By Bob Downing Published: December 12, 2014

Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners wants to build the Rover Pipeline, an 830-mile project that would cost $4.4 billion.

It includes a 186-mile leg from Leesville in Carroll County west to Defiance. That leg could be completed by December 2016. Part of that leg runs through Stark and Wayne counties locally. Another leg would run to Detroit and Ontario. That could be completed by mid-2017.  Other legs would extend into West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

The Rover Pipeline could expedite natural gas shipments to the Midwest, Ontario and the Gulf Coast.

Here is today's news:

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Most drillers get failing scores in investor fracking scorecard

By Bob Downing Published: December 12, 2014

A press release received on Thursday:

BOSTON, Dec. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A handful of the 30 largest oil and gas companies engaged in hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking', have improved their standing in an annual investor scorecard analyzing whether companies report their practices and progress in reducing risks of their fracking operations. However, the majority of oil and gas companies continue to receive failing scores, preventing investors from accurately assessing how, or whether, these companies manage key risks of fracking, including use of toxic chemicals, water consumption and water quality, waste management, air emissions, and community impacts

"Disclosing the Facts 2014:Transparency and Risk in Hydraulic Fracturing Operations," (DTF 2014) was released today by As You Sow, Boston Common Asset Management, Green Century Capital Management, and the Investor Environmental Health Network --- a coalition of investment advisory firms and advocacy organizations. The second annual investor scorecard is available online at www.disclosingthefacts.org.

Prompted in part by the DTF 2013 shareholder scorecard and engagements with investors, three oil and gas companies have made notable turnarounds in their 2014 disclosures. BHP Billiton emerged as the highest scoring company and the first to score points on more than half the report's indicators; it rose from near the bottom of 2013's rankings to the top this year. Hess, the second-highest scorer, more than doubled its score from 2013 and EQT, the third-highest scorer, more than tripled its score following a shareholder proposal from Green Century last fall.

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U.S. crude production to grow in 2015, despite lower prices

By Bob Downing Published: December 12, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

 

The recent decline in crude oil prices has created the potential for weaker crude oil production. EIA's Drilling Productivity Report (DPR) includes indicators that provide details on the effect low prices may have on tight oil production, which accounts for 56% of total U.S. oil production. Analyzing these indicators and the changes in oil production following the drop in crude oil prices during the 2008-09 recession may offer some insight into possible near-term oil production trends.

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Ohio, West Virginia may be added to fracking waste investigation

By Bob Downing Published: December 12, 2014

A congressional investigation in the handling of fracking wastes may be expanded to include Ohio and West Virginia, not just Pennsylvania.

U.S. Rep. Matthew Cartwright, a Democrat from eastern Pennsylvania, had announced plans last October for the investigation.

Now Cartwright wants to look at what happens with fracking wastes in Ohio and West Virginia.

Click  here  to read the latest from InsideClimate News.

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Ohio Valley activist groups working against fracking

By Bob Downing Published: December 11, 2014

From a group of Ohio Valley activist groups today:

Groups Coalesce Against Fracking Activity in Ohio River Valley

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Late in November, representatives of citizen groups from West Virginia and Ohio gathered in Huntington, W.Va., to discuss the growing threats to the Ohio River Basin, which provides drinking water for five million people.

The impetus for the meeting came from the dramatic rise in the oil and gas industry’s activities and proposals slated for the Ohio River Basin. The industry is proposing to build docks and barge toxic, radioactive waste along the Ohio River. The waste is generated by the deep shale hydraulic fracturing (fracking) method of extracting natural gas. Millions of gallons of liquid waste would be unloaded at dock sites for transport to injection wells in Southeast Ohio. The Coast Guard has yet to announce approval of barge transport for this kind of industrial waste, but such facilities are already being permitted and built along the river.

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North Dakota imposes new volatility rules on crude rail shipments

By Bob Downing Published: December 11, 2014

From the Associated Press on Tuesday:

By James MacPherson

North Dakota regulators set new rules Tuesday that will require oil companies that are sending out millions of gallons of crude a week by rail to reduce the oil's volatility before it's loaded onto train cars.

The rules, developed over several months, have been criticized by North Dakota's oil industry, which says the commodity is being unfairly singled out and warns that the new standards could slow production and increase costs.

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Drilling contractors being forced to cut prices by 20 percent

By Bob Downing Published: December 11, 2014

Oilfield contractors hired to drill wells and fracture rock to raise crude and natural gas to the surface will have to lower prices by as much as 20 percent to help keep their cash-strapped customers working.

Ultimately, that could carve out more than $3 billion from the 2015 earnings outlined by analysts for the world’s four biggest oil-service companies -- Schlumberger Ltd., Halliburton Co.;, Baker Hughes Inc. and Weatherford International Plc.

The potential losses loom just as the service providers were looking ahead to higher rates after a glut in pressure-pumping gear dragged prices down in past years. Now, crude oil prices that have fallen more than 40 percent since June are squeezing them once again.

Click   here  to read the full story from bloomberg.com. er

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CEO Richard Kinder bowing out at giant pipeline company

By Bob Downing Published: December 11, 2014

Billionaire Kinder Morgan Inc. founder Richard Kinder intends to turn over the CEO reins to his No. 2, shedding day-to-day duties at the world’s biggest pipeline company by market value.

Chief Operating Officer Steven J. Kean, 53, said he will be named chief executive officer to succeed Kinder, 70, a founding partner who has led the company 15 years.

Kinder will continue as executive chairman, Kean said at an industry conference in New York.

The board still must approve the transition, and no timeline has been set.

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Venture Global to build $4 billion LNG export complex in Louisiana

By Bob Downing Published: December 11, 2014

From the Associated Press on Wednesday:

A liquefied natural gas company plans to build a more than $4 billion processing complex and export terminal in southwestern Louisiana.

The plans were announced Wednesday by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s office and Venture Global LNG LLC. The completed project at Calcasieu Pass is expected to result in 100 new long-term jobs for the area. Construction is expected to involve 1,500 workers.

The announcement said the company is expected to take advantage of Louisiana’s property tax exemption for new investment plus a program that provides tax rebates for companies that create jobs. The Louisiana Economic Development department began formal discussions about the project with Venture Global in 2013.

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Company to pay $6.8 million for 2010 Michigan oil spill

By Bob Downing Published: December 11, 2014

From the Associated Press on Wednesday:

The Canadian company responsible for a 2010 oil spill in southwestern Michigan has agreed to pay about $6.8 million to settle a class-action lawsuit.

A federal judge must still approve the settlement reached last week by Enbridge, based in Calgary, Alberta. The company has agreed to pay about $2.2 million to residents and land owners of properties within 1,000 feet of the Kalamazoo River. Those who lived within 200 feet of the river will split a total payment of $250,000 and those who lived further away from the river, will each receive several hundred dollars, depending on the proximity.

The lawsuit was filed more than three years ago by five people seeking damages, injunctive relief and attorney fees.
Some cases filed separately against the company have been dismissed and will not be eligible for the payments, while nearly 30 have already been settled in Calhoun County Circuit Court. Four more cases are scheduled to go to trial next year.

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Texas-based Southwestern Energy names new president

By Bob Downing Published: December 11, 2014

From Southwestern Energy on Wednesday:

 

 

Houston, Texas – December 10, 2014…Southwestern Energy Company (NYSE: SWN) announced today that Bill Way has been promoted to President of the company. Mr. Way will also continue to serve in his current role as Chief Operating Officer, which he has held since joining the company in September 2011. Mr. Way earned his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University in Industrial Engineering and has an MBA from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has over 30 years of international oil and gas industry experience serving in multiple operational and technical leadership roles prior to joining Southwestern at BG Group plc and ConocoPhillips.

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Removing export barriers could boost oil production, report says

By Bob Downing Published: December 11, 2014

From the American Petroleum Institute on Wednesday:

WASHINGTON, December 10, 2014 ─ A new report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirms that removing export barriers for U.S. crude oil could incentivize higher domestic production, grow the economy, increase federal revenues, and put downward pressure on gasoline prices.

“The CBO report makes it clear that lifting America’s outdated export restrictions will help to grow the economy and save consumers money,” said API Director of Upstream and Industry Operations Erik Milito. “This is the same conclusion supported by study after study, including those from the Government Accountability Office and the Energy Information Administration. It’s time for policymakers to embrace free trade, so that we can maximize the benefits of America’s energy revolution.

“America’s growth as an energy superpower has been a game changer, creating a more competitive global market, where one group cannot easily control prices. By giving producers access to a free market for America’s crude, we can grow that momentum, create more jobs, and support our allies overseas.”

The CBO report, which examines the economic benefits of America’s shale energy revolution, concludes that exports would have “positive economic and budgetary effects” and “U.S. consumers of gasoline, diesel fuel, and other oil products would probably benefit ... because those prices depend primarily on the world price of crude oil, which would decline slightly once lower-priced U.S. crudes were available in the international market.” The CBO cited a potential decline in gasoline prices ranging from 5 to 10 cents per gallon.

API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry, which supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy. API’s more than 625 members include large integrated companies, as well as exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms. They provide most of the nation’s energy and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 25 million Americans.

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CONSOL Energy to create MLP for thermal coal operations

By Bob Downing Published: December 11, 2014

From CONSOL Energy on Wednesday:

 

PITTSBURGH , Dec. 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- CONSOL Energy Inc. (NYSE: CNX) announced today that its Board of Directors has authorized management to pursue the formation of a master limited partnership (MLP) for the company's thermal coal business. The purpose of the MLP would be to own interests in certain of CONSOL Energy's thermal coal properties and related mining operations located in Pennsylvania , including its Bailey Mine , Enlow Fork Mine , Harvey Mine and the related preparation plant. CONSOL Energy expects to commence an initial public offering of the MLP in mid-2015. Following the closing of the initial public offering by the MLP, CONSOL Energy would own the general partner of the MLP, any incentive distribution rights and a majority of the limited partner interests of the MLP.

CONSOL Energy also announced today that its Board of Directors has authorized management to separately pursue the structuring and formation of a subsidiary entity for the purpose of owning CONSOL Energy's metallurgical coal properties and related mining operations, with a view to conducting an initial public offering of up to 20% of the subsidiary's equity in the second half of 2015. The subsidiary's assets would include CONSOL Energy's Buchanan Mine and related preparation plant and its interest in its Western Allegheny Energy joint venture.

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Ohio Senate drops H.B. 490, despite strong Kasich support

By Bob Downing Published: December 11, 2014

From the Ohio Environmental Council on Wednesday:

Telecom industry had company in sinking Kasich reform bill:

Large water users and oil+gas industry had own toxic overreaches

 

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API Ohio supports passage of Ohio S.B. 378

By Bob Downing Published: December 11, 2014

From American Petroleum Institute Ohio on Wednesday:

API Ohio comments on passage of Senate Bill 378

 

COLUMBUS – (Dec. 10, 2014) API Ohio Executive Director Chris Zeigler today offered the following comments on the passage of Senate Bill 378, the 811 Call-Before-You-Dig legislation:

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3Q 2014 breakdown on Ohio Utica wells by county, companies

By Bob Downing Published: December 10, 2014

Here's the third quarter 2014 breakdown on Ohio's 717 producing Utica Shale wells by counties and by companies:

 

Company by county

 

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Ohio Utica Shale blog named of top 50 in United States

By Bob Downing Published: December 10, 2014

A industry-based blog has named this blog as being one of the 50 best in the United States dealing with the gas and oil drilling industry.

Thank you, Delphian Ballistics and its Well Perforating System blog.

To see the complete list, click here: http://blog.delphianballistics.com/50-best-oil-and-gas-blogs/

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Congressional riders will hurt efforts to save grouse species

By Bob Downing Published: December 10, 2014

From the American Bird Conservancy today:

 

 

(Washington, D.C., December 10, 2014) A leading bird conservation group, American Bird Conservancy (ABC), says that two recent Congressional actions will thwart west-wide efforts to protect iconic grouse species, the Greater and Gunnison Sage-Grouse, and may eventually doom the birds.

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Nexus Pipeline to be discussed Dec. 17 at New Franklin meeting

By Bob Downing Published: December 10, 2014

A press release from grass-roots group in Summit County opposed to the Nexus Pipeline:

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House committee dealing with propane shortages, price spikes

By Bob Downing Published: December 10, 2014

A press release on Tuesday from House committee:

 

 

 

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ExxonMobil sees plentiful natural gas, oil far into future

By Bob Downing Published: December 10, 2014

From the Associated Press on Tuesday:

And the "almost unspeakable" amount of natural gas found in recent years in the U.S. and elsewhere in North America will be enough to make the region one of the world's biggest exporters of that fuel by 2025, even as domestic demand for it increases, according to Bill Colton, Exxon's chief strategist.

"The world has such an improved outlook for supplies," Colton said in an interview. "Peak oil theorists have been run out of town by American ingenuity."

In a forecast that might make economists happy but environmentalists fret, Exxon's two chief products, oil and natural gas, will be abundant and affordable enough to meet the rising demand for energy in the developing world as the global middle class swells to 5 billion from 2 billion and buys energy-hungry conveniences such as cars and air conditioners.

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U.S. Department of Labor orders $4.5 million back pay to workers

By Bob Downing Published: December 10, 2014

The U.S. Department of Labor is cracking down on drilling companies in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and West Virginia and is ordering them to pay $4.5 million in back pay to workers.

The findings affect 5,300 workers in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Click  here  to read the full story from NPR's StateImpact Pennsylvania.

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Halcon commissions its first CNG facility in East Texas

By Bob Downing Published: December 10, 2014

From Halcon Resources on Tuesday:

This CNG facility is serving the Company's operations in its El Halcón area in East Texas and is being used to displace diesel fuel used in drilling operations. Halcón believes using CNG to displace diesel fuel used in drilling operations is not only better for the environment, but should also result in a nearly 50% savings on fuel costs. The Company expects to build similar facilities to service its operations in the Williston Basin in 2015.

Since the discovery of El Halcón two years ago, Halcón has drilled over 80 wells in the play, and believes it has de-risked its entire 101,000 net acre position. Natural gas fueling is one of many ways the Company expects reduce costs and increase efficiencies in the play as it transitions from lease capture mode to development mode.

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Ohio's county-by-county production totals for 3Q 2014

By Bob Downing Published: December 10, 2014

Here are Ohio's county-by-county production totals for third quarter 2014:

 

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Energy companies, state attorney generals in secret alliance

By Bob Downing Published: December 10, 2014

Energy companies across the United States are making politial contributions to state attorney generals and have, in numerous cases, formed little-known alliances with those state officials, the New York Times reported.

Click  here  to read the story.

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Australia struggling to tap unconventional resources, analyst says

By Bob Downing Published: December 10, 2014

From GlobalData on Tuesday:

 

LONDON, UK (GlobalData), 9 December 2014 - Following disappointing results from recent exploration and production activities, Australia needs, now more than ever, a liquids-rich play to commence widespread and commercial unconventional development in the country, says an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData.

According to Jonathan Lacouture, GlobalData’s Upstream Analyst covering Asia-Pacific, the stage seems set for commercially-viable unconventional resource development in Australia. This is due to the country’s significant technical shale and tight gas resource estimates, its well-developed onshore upstream sector and substantial capital investment in frontier basins.

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U.S. crude oil output likely to grow, despite lower prices, EIA says

By Bob Downing Published: December 9, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

U.S. Energy Information Administration Administrator Adam Sieminski issued the following comments on EIA’s December 2014 Short-Term Energy Outlook, which was released on Tuesday:

The full STEO can be downloaded at: http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/steo/

 

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Carroll County logs 24,258 days of production in 3Q 2014

By Bob Downing Published: December 9, 2014

It's no suprrise that Carroll County remains the No. 1 drilling spot in Ohio.

A total of 313 horizontal wells in Carroll County are in production, far more than any other county in Ohio.

Chesapeake Energy Co. agressively sought leases and drilled wells in Carroll County.

That means that Carroll County is also No. 1 for days of production in Ohio's third quarter 2014 production report released last week by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

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Ohio: 700 Utica Shale wells in production, 1,238 wells drilled

By Bob Downing Published: December 9, 2014

Ohio has hit a new milestone: 700 Utica Shale wells are in production.

That number came from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management.

Ohio has approved 1,685 Utica Shale permits, of which 1,238 Utica Shale wells are drilled.

A total of 54 rigs are working in Ohio.

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Benesch law firm provides quarterly look at Ohio's Utica Shale

By Bob Downing Published: December 9, 2014

The Benesch law firm with offices in Cleveland and Columbus has released its third quarter 2014 look at Ohio's Utica Shale.

The analysis looks at top issues, shale industry moves, Ohio shale infrastructure and governmental issues.

Click  here  to access the report.

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Warren Resouces' CEO steps down to pursue other opportunities

By Bob Downing Published: December 9, 2014

From Warren Resources last week:

NEW YORK , Dec. 5, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Warren Resources, Inc. ("Warren" or the "Company") (Nasdaq:WRES) today announced that, effective immediately, the Board of Directors has appointed Warren Resources Board member, Lance Peterson , as Interim Chief Executive Officer and elected Warren Resources Board member, Dominick D'Alleva, as Interim Chairman of the Board. They will succeed Philip A. Epstein , who notified the Board of his decision to resign from his positions as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in order to pursue other opportunities.

"Lance has been an active and important contributor to the Warren Board since he joined earlier this year and he is the ideal person to lead the Company forward throughout this leadership transition," said Mr. D'Alleva. "Lance has a proven track record of success as a CEO and has a deep understanding of our business, operations and strategy, and an appreciation for the hard work and dedication of our employees. He has more than 30 years of experience in the oil and gas industry and significant expertise in the acquisition, exploration, development and production of domestic onshore crude oil and gas reserves, as well as in the oil development and recovery activities. Since joining our Board upon the successful acquisition of the Marcellus assets of Citrus Energy Corporation , Lance has contributed significantly to our team, and we are confident his years of relevant industry and leadership experience will allow him to seamlessly take on the responsibilities of Interim CEO."

"I look forward to working alongside the Warren Board and management team during this period of transition, and I believe that we are well positioned to continue to execute on attractive growth opportunities to enhance value for all of our stakeholders, including our stockholders," said Mr. Peterson.

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PDC Energy to idle Utica drilling rig in 2015 due to low gas prices

By Bob Downing Published: December 9, 2014

Low natural gas prices have resulted in Colorado-based PDC Energy announcing today that it will temporarily idle its drilling rig in the Utica shale in 2015.

Click  here  to read the company's press release.

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North Dakota considering stricter rules on crude rail shipments

By Bob Downing Published: December 9, 2014

From the Associated Press:

North Dakota’s Industrial Commission is slated to vote on rules that could require oil companies to reduce the volatility of crude before it’s loaded onto rail cars.

The Department of Mineral Resources made a proposal last month that would require companies to remove certain liquids and gasses from oil train shipments, a process some say would make such transport safer.

The three-member Industrial Commission that includes Gov. Jack Dalrymple wanted more time for review and additional time for public comments.

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Methane releases less than earlier studies showed, new study says

By Bob Downing Published: December 9, 2014

From the American Petroleum Institute today:

WASHINGTON, December 9, 2014 – A major field study by the University of Texas and sponsored by the Environmental Defense Fund and natural gas producers found that methane emissions from development and production of natural gas are down from previous studies and now represent only 0.38 percent of production. The findings show the industry is leading in its efforts to reduce emissions, according to API Director of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Howard Feldman.

“Study after study shows that industry-led efforts to reduce emissions through investments in new technologies and equipment are paying off,” Feldman said. “This latest study shows that methane emissions are a fraction of estimates from just a few years ago. The industry will continue to make substantial progress to reduce emissions voluntarily and in compliance with EPA regulations that will be fully implemented by January. Methane is natural gas, so capturing more methane is helping operators deliver more natural gas to consumers.”

The study finds that methane emissions are 10 percent lower than what the same research team found in a study released in September 2013. EPA recently observed that methane emissions from hydraulic fracturing have fallen by 73 percent since 2011.

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Stone Energy pleased with Utica exploration well in Wetzel County

By Bob Downing Published: December 9, 2014

From Stone Energy on Monday:

LAFAYETTE, La., Dec. 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Stone Energy Corporation (NYSE: SGY) today provided an operational update on its Utica shale exploration well at its Pribble Pad in West Virginia. The Pribble 6HU well (90% working interest) in Wetzel County, West Virginia produced from a 3,605 foot lateral at an average gas sales rate of approximately 30 Mmcf per day for the last 24 hours of a 5-day test period on a final choke size of 28/64" with 6500 psi of flowing casing pressure.

This test flow calculates to a rate of approximately 8 Mmcf per day per thousand feet of lateral length based on the total effective lateral length of 3,605 feet for the test well, one of the highest rates per thousand feet of lateral recorded for the Utica shale in the area.

"We are very excited about our successful Utica shale exploration well. The results from the Pribble 6HU well confirm the high potential of the Utica shale underlying our current liquids-rich Marcellus acreage position," said David H. Welch , Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "The production rate of 30 Mmcf per day, and certainly 8 Mmcf per day per thousand feet of lateral, is one of the highest Utica tests announced in the area. This well, along with the numerous third party Utica tests surrounding our acreage, has significantly de-risked our Utica position. We have already invested in land and infrastructure in this area due to our Marcellus shale efforts, and this previous investment should enhance our Utica returns. We have contracted a new dual-purpose Utica /Marcellus drilling rig with delivery expected in late 2015, and our Appalachian team will be establishing a development program for this exciting new play. Our Utica acreage position of almost 30,000 acres in the Mary field should allow for a multi-year development program."

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Carroll County accounts for 44 percent of Ohio producing wells

By Bob Downing Published: December 9, 2014

Ohio has 717 Utica wells that are producing in 18 counties, according to third quarter 2014 production reports from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Here is the breakdown: Belmont, 58; Carroll, 313; Columbiana, 45; Coshocton, 1; Guernsey, 38; Harrison, 110; Jefferson, 15; Mahoning, 13; Monroe, 38; Morgan, 2; Muskingum, 1; Noble, 55; Portage, 4; Stark, 2; Trumbull, 10; Tuscarawas, 4; Washington, 7; and Wayne, 1.

Here are the companies with the most wells in production in Ohio: Chesapeake Energy, 397; Gulfport Energy, 79; Antero Resources, 37; CNX, 26; Rex Energy, 25; Hess Ohio Development, 19; American Energy Utica, 19; Eclipse Resources, 18; and PDC Energy, 15..

A total of 28 drilling companies are listed in the reports.

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Group renounces Maryland's proposed fracking regulations

By Bob Downing Published: December 8, 2014

From Americans Against Fracking today:

Americans Against Fracking Denounces Maryland’s “Gold Standard” Fracking Regulations

More Than 40 National, State and Local Organizations Delivers Letter to Governor O’Malley

Washington, D.C. – Today, Americans Against Fracking, along with over 40 leading national, state, and grassroots organizations, delivered a letter to Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s office condemning his decision to lift the moratorium on fracking in Maryland. The signatories include Progressive Democrats of America, Democracy for America, DailyKos, Food & Water Watch, MoveOn.Org Civic Action, Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth, Public Citizen, and Environmental Action, and Environment America. On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Governor O’Malley announced that his administration would release regulations on fracking, pronouncing that he believes fracking can be done safely, as outlined in a report, which the organizations argue is extremely flawed.

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EQT Corp. files paperwork to proceed with midstream IPO in 2015

By Bob Downing Published: December 8, 2014

Pittsburgh-based EQT Corp. announced today that it is submitting paperwork to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to proceed with an initial public stock offering for a midstream company in mid-2015.

Click  here  to read the company's press release.

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EQT to drill 181 Marcellus wells in 2015, plus first five Utica wells

By Bob Downing Published: December 8, 2014

From Pittsburgh-based EQT Corp. today in announcing 2015 corporate plans including $2.3 billion in CAPEX:

Marcellus Development

In 2015, the Company plans to drill 181 Marcellus wells with an average lateral length of 5,500 feet – all of which will be on multi-well pads to maximize operational efficiency and well economics. More than 75% of the Marcellus drilling program will focus on the Company’s core development areas in southwestern Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia. EQT Production owns approximately 580,000 net Marcellus acres.

Upper Devonian Development

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Four companies form alliance for New England gas pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: December 8, 2014

From Spectra Energy today:

Spectra Energy Corp., Spectra Energy Partners and Northeast Utilities today announced their Access Northeast Project has formed an alliance with Iroquois Gas Transmission System LP to provide New England with additional access to abundant, low-cost natural gas supplies.

Collaboration with regional natural gas asset owners is a key objective for Access Northeast, which was announced in September to help address New England’s growing concerns about energy reliability and rising electric and natural gas prices. Access Northeast will move natural gas sourced from the Appalachian basin into New England by maximizing the use of existing infrastructure on existing footprints while minimizing impacts to homes, communities and the environment.

“With FERC’s recent issuance of a certificate approving the Constitution Pipeline Project and Iroquois’ companion Wright Interconnect Project, another major milestone in establishing a direct link to the Marcellus supply basin has been achieved,” states Jeff Bruner, President of Iroquois. “Considering the fact that the Wright Hub will become a very significant physical source of Marcellus gas supply to New England and New York over the next several years, the opportunity to collaborate with Spectra Energy and Northeast Utilities by leveraging Iroquois’ existing pipeline footprint should result in significant environmental and cost benefits to the consumers in this region.”

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Rice Midstream launches initial public stock offering

By Bob Downing Published: December 8, 2014

From Rice Energy today:

CANONSBURG, Pa., Dec. 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Rice Energy Inc. (NYSE:RICE) ("Rice Energy") today announced the commencement of the Rice Midstream Partners LP ("Rice Midstream") initial public offering of 25,000,000 common units representing limited partner interests, at an anticipated initial public offering price between $19.00 and $21.00 per common unit, pursuant to a registration statement on Form S-1 previously filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"). Rice Midstream also expects to grant the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 3,750,000 common units. Rice Midstream has been approved to list its common units on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "RMP," subject to official notice of issuance.

The common units being offered represent an approximate 43.5% limited partner interest in Rice Midstream (or approximately 50.0% if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional common units). Rice Energy and its affiliates will own the remaining approximately 56.5% limited partner interest in Rice Midstream (or approximately 50.0% if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional common units). Rice Energy will own the general partner of Rice Midstream and all of its incentive distribution rights.

Barclays, Citigroup, Wells Fargo Securities, Goldman, Sachs & Co. and RBC Capital Markets are acting as joint book-running managers for the offering.

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Chesapeake, Chevron have biggest Utica footprints in Ohio

By Bob Downing Published: December 8, 2014

From energy analyst Irene Haas of Wunderlich Securities in a speech at the Ohio Oil and Gas Association's 2104 Oilfield Expo and Technical Conference in Cleveland last week:

Who has the largest footprint in Ohio?

1. Chesapeake Energy, 925,000 acres.

2. Chevron Corp., 332,000 acres.

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Rover Pipeline to produce $134 million a year in Ohio property taxes

By Bob Downing Published: December 8, 2014

The planned Rover Pipeline across northern Ohio will have big financial impacts.

Energy Transfer Partners of Dallas will pay $100 million to 3,000 landowners to cross their properties.

The $4.4 billion pipeline will also provide $134 million a year in property taxes in Ohio alone, says The Courier, the paper in Findlay.

The project will require 10,000 construction workers.

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Shale drilling is producing 40 percent of America's natural gas

By Bob Downing Published: December 8, 2014

Shale gas wells for the first time produced more natural gas than other wells, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

It said shale wells are producing 40 percent of the natural gas in the United States in 2013.

Click  here  to read more from the Pittsburgh Business Times.

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Plan developed for sales of LNG from Maryland facility to India

By Bob Downing Published: December 8, 2014

Last September, Virginia-based Dominion won federal approval to proceed with the LNG export facility at Cove Point, Maryland.

Dominion has commitments to sell that LNG to Japan and India.

Cabot Oil and Gas has agreed to sell its product to Japan.

Last week, WGL Holdings said it would sell product from Antero Resources' Marcellus Shale operations to India.

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Paper says fracking chemicals linked to serious health risks

By Bob Downing Published: December 8, 2014

From Reviews on Environmental Health on Friday:

Fracking Chemicals Linked to Serious Reproductive, Developmental Health Risks

A new paper released online today in the peer-reviewed journal Reviews on Environmental Health finds that chemicals from unconventional oil and gas (UOG) operations, including from fracking, pose serious health risks, in particular to women and young children. The review finds that fracking operations use and/or create chemicals linked to birth defects, infertility, miscarriage, impaired fetal growth, low birth weight, preterm birth, and premature or delayed sexual development, among other health problems. Following a recent air monitoring study documenting pollution risks from fracking, this comprehensive literature review adds to the growing scientific concern that fracking poses unacceptable health risks to nearby communities.

The paper, “Reproductive and Developmental Effects of Chemicals Associated with Unconventional Oil and Natural Gas Operations,” reviews the literature around chemicals associated with fracking and other UOG methods. “Scientific evidence is rapidly emerging on the health effects  from fracking,” said Sheila Bushkin-Bedient, MD, MPH, one of the co-authors of the review and a member of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the  State University at Albany, and of Concerned Health Professionals of New York. “This article focuses on the adverse effects of fracking operations on the reproductive health of men and women, and on fetuses and children during their most fragile, vulnerable stages of early development.”

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EID comments on 3Q 2014 Ohio production numbers

By Bob Downing Published: December 8, 2014

From Energy in Depth-Ohio:

by Jackie Stewart
 

 The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has released its 2014 third quarter Utica well production numbers, showing that production is up 49 percent compared to the second quarter.

The report announced that oil production increased by more than 546,000 barrels during the third quarter, and natural gas production rose by 43 billion cubic feet.

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Monroe, Belmont are Ohio's top gas-producing counties in 3Q 2014

By Bob Downing Published: December 6, 2014

Here are the top 10 natural gas-producing wells in Ohio in the third-quarter 2014, according to data released on Friday by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

1. Antero Resources, Monroe County, Seneca Township, Gary well, 1.69 billion cubic feet in 90 days of production.

2. Rice Drilling, Belmont County, Smith Township, Bigfoot well, 1.29 billion cubic feet,

3. Antero Resources, Monroe County, Seneca Township, Gary well, 1.28 billion cubic feet.

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Noble County's Seneca Township emerges as Ohio oil hot spot

By Bob Downing Published: December 6, 2014

Here are the top five oil-producing wells in Ohio, according to third quarter 2014 data released on Friday by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

1. CNX Gas Co., Noble County, Seneca Township, Reserve Coal well, 50,159 42-gallon barrels in 86 days of production.

2. CNX Gas Co., Noble County, Seneca Township, Reserve Coal well, 47,326 barrels.

3. CNX Gas Co., Noble County, Seneca Township, Reserve Coal well, 43,341 barrels.

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Ohio oil, natural gas production jumps 49 percent in 3Q 2014

By Bob Downing Published: December 5, 2014

Oil and natural gas production from Ohio’s Utica Shale wells increased by 49 percent in the third quarter 2014, according to a new report from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Oil production reached 3,013,667 barrels and gas production was 132 billion cubic feet from July 1 through Sept. 30, said the state report released on Friday.

The oil volume jumped by 546,000 barrels and the gas production increased by more than 43 billion cubic feet from the second quarter 2014, said the Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management.

The oil and gas together increased by 49 percent from the second quarter 2014, it said.

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Halliburton names executive to head Baker Hughes integration

By Bob Downing Published: December 5, 2014

From Halliburton Co. on Thursday:

HOUSTON Dec. 4, 2014 – Halliburton Company (NYSE: HAL) today announced its Board of Directors has appointed Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Mark McCollum to the new role of Executive Vice President and Chief Integration Officer. In this capacity, he will serve as head of the Joint Integration Team that Halliburton and Baker Hughes Incorporated (NYSE: BHI) are assembling in connection with Halliburton’s pending acquisition of Baker Hughes. Mr. McCollum will continue reporting to Dave Lesar, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Halliburton, and will remain a member of the company’s Executive Committee.

Christian Garcia, Senior Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer, will become Senior Vice President of Finance and assume Mr. McCollum’s CFO responsibilities on an interim basis. It is anticipated that Mr. McCollum will resume his CFO duties at the conclusion of the two companies’ integration. Mr. Garcia will report to Mr. Lesar and will join Halliburton’s Executive Committee. Charlie Geer, currently Vice President of Finance, will become Vice President and Corporate Controller and will take over Mr. Garcia’s accounting responsibilities on an interim basis as well. He will continue reporting to Mr. Garcia. The new roles are effective January 1, 2015.

Belgacem Chariag, President of Global Products and Services for Baker Hughes, will serve as lead for Baker Hughes on the Joint Integration Team.

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FERC approves 76-mile, $468 million pipeline in eastern Ohio

By Bob Downing Published: December 5, 2014

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Tuesday approved a new 76-mile pipeline in eastern Ohio.

The Ohio Pipeline Energy Network will run from Columbiana County south through Jefferson, Belmont and Monroe counties to connect with an existing pipeline to carry Ohio natural gas to Lousiana.

The project will cost $468 million and could be operating in late 2015.

The pipeline is being developed by Texas Eastern, a subsidiary of Spectra.

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Oil producers working to avoid broad federal methane leak rules

By Bob Downing Published: December 5, 2014

A lobbying group for oil producers including Exxon Mobil Corp. and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. said it would accept proposed rules on pollution from oil wells in order to head-off a broad federal standard for methane leaks.

Click  here  to read the Bloomberg story.

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U.S. oil reserves rising, top 36 billion barrels for first time since 1975

By Bob Downing Published: December 5, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

 

U.S. crude oil and lease condensate proved reserves rose for the fifth consecutive year in 2013, increasing by 9% from the 2012 level to 36.5 billion barrels, according to the U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Proved Reserves, 2013 report released yesterday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). U.S. crude oil and lease condensate proved reserves surpassed 36 billion barrels for the first time since 1975.

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API supports House passage of pilot permitting plan by BLM

By Bob Downing Published: December 5, 2014

From the American Petroleum Institute on Thuirsday:

WASHINGTON, December 4, 2014 – API welcomed House passage of legislation to extend a successful pilot program at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that allows field offices to more efficiently process applications for permits to develop oil and natural gas on federal lands.

“A more efficient permitting process is crucial to America’s all-of-the-above energy strategy,” said API Director of Upstream and Industry Operations Erik Milito. “This legislation will help to address well-documented regulatory delays that have held up energy production on federal lands and slowed the growth of jobs. It’s a great example of the kind of bipartisan effort that will be needed in the next Congress to ensure that America can continue to grow as an energy superpower.”

Passed by the Senate in September, the BLM Permit Processing Improvement Act (S. 2440) was added to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and approved today by the House. The NDAA will now go to the Senate, which is expected to send it to the president’s desk.

API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry, which supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy. API’s more than 625 members include large integrated companies, as well as exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms. They provide most of the nation’s energy and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 25 million Americans.

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Eclipse Resources adds six on-line wells, offers Utica update

By Bob Downing Published: December 5, 2014

From an update released today by Pennsylvania-based Eclipse Resources:

Since the end of the third quarter 2014 through November 30th, the Company brought 6 new operated wells online in the Condensate type curve area of its Utica Shale acreage using the Company’s restricted choke methodology. Initial results from the wells have been very encouraging and appear to be in-line with the Company’s type curve expectations. Eclipse Resources’ initial estimate of production for the month of November 2014, was approximately 130 MMcfe per day, representing a 52% increase over its average daily production in the third quarter of 2014. The Company also provided an initial estimate of its current production of approximately 148 MMcfe per day, representing a 72% increase from its average daily production in the third quarter of 2014.

Commenting on the update, Benjamin Hulburt, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, “Eclipse is continuing to methodically execute on our plan. Our team is efficiently developing our acreage and meeting our timeline, cost and production objectives. We continue to be pleased with the initial performance of our liquids/condensate type area wells using our restricted choke production method, and we are very encouraged with our Utica dry gas acreage where we are continuing to monitor the long term performance of our two Shroyer wells that continue to produce at a combined rate of approximately 41 MMcf per day after 100 days online. During the month of December, we expect to bring an additional 5 net wells online and continue to believe our average daily production in the fourth quarter will trend towards the high end of our previously issued guidance. As we look forward to 2015, given our acreage position spanning across both the core liquids and core dry gas areas of the Utica play, I believe we are in a unique position to adjust our drilling plans to maximize returns in this volatile commodity price environment.”

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New report says Marcellus Shale could peak in five years

By Bob Downing Published: December 5, 2014

Could Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale's production peak in five years, plateau and then tail off?

That assessment was inclouded in a new report released this week by researchers at the University of Texas.

That report is less rosy than federal govrnment projections.

Click  here  to read the full story from NPR's StateImpact Pennsylvania.\

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State inspector had dealings with father's company, Ohio IG says

By Bob Downing Published: December 5, 2014

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources created the appearance of impropriety when a state drilling inspector had dealings with his father's oil business, says a report from the Ohio Inspector General's office that was released on Thursday.

There was no wrongdoing and no discipline will be meted out to state inpsector Benjamin Harpster.

The company involved is Bradner Oil of Wayne, operated by Bob Harpster.

To read the Columbus Dispatch story, click  here.

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Broadview Heights residents file suit to defend fracking ban

By Bob Downing Published: December 5, 2014

From the Pennsylvania-based Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund on Thursday on case from Braodview Heights, Ohio:

BROADVIEW HEIGHTS, OH: Today, residents of Broadview Heights, Ohio, filed a first-in-the-state class action lawsuit against the State of Ohio, Governor John R. Kasich, and Bass Energy, Inc. and Ohio Valley Energy Systems Corp. The lawsuit was filed to protect the rights of the people of Broadview Heights to self-governance, including their right to ban fracking.

In November 2012, residents of Broadview Heights overwhelmingly adopted a Home Rule Charter Amendment – proposed by residents – banning all new commercial extraction of gas and oil within the City limits. The Amendment establishes a Community Bill of Rights – which secures the rights of human and natural communities to water and a healthy environment. The Bill of Rights bans fracking and frack waste disposal as a violation of those rights.

In June 2014, Bass Energy and Ohio Valley Energy filed a lawsuit against the City of Broadview Heights to overturn the Community Bill of Rights. The corporations are contending that the community does not have the legal authority to protect itself from fracking, and that corporations have the constitutional “right” to frack.

 

Residents involved in drafting and proposing the Community Bill of Rights attempted to intervene in the lawsuit, to defend the community’s right to self-governance, including the right to say “no” to fracking and other threats. However, in September, the Court of Common Pleas of Cuyahoga County denied the motion to intervene, ruling that the residents did not have a direct “interest” in this case.

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Eagle Ford in Texas yields billionth barrel of oil, gas, condensate

By Bob Downing Published: December 5, 2014

From the Associated Press today:

The Eagle Ford Shale oil and gas field in South Texas yielded its billionth barrel of crude oil, natural gas and condensate last month, a Houston-based energy consulting firm estimated Thursday.

Analysts at the firm Wood Mackenzie estimated the field produced more than 70 percent of the billion barrels over the past two years. According to its website, the field now accounts for about 16 percent of the oil produced daily in the United States.

More than half of the field’s production comes from 10 percent of its 20,000 square miles, the firm said.

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Two groups seek to defend fracking ban in Texas city

By Bob Downing Published: December 5, 2014

From two groups on Thursday:

Groups Move to Intervene in Defense of Denton’s Fracking Ban

Denton Drilling Awareness Group & Earthworks act to counter lawsuits challenging local law

 Denton, TX, Dec. 4 -- The Denton Drilling Awareness Group (DAG) and Earthworks today filed intervention papers in two lawsuits seeking to overturn the Denton, Texas ban on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) that went into effect on Tuesday, December 2. DAG’s Frack Free Denton campaign, with Earthworks’ help, successfully secured passage of a ballot initiative making Denton the first Texas city to ban fracking. The groups are represented by the Texas local government law firm Brown & Hofmeister, and attorneys from national environmental organizations, Earthjustice and the Natural Resources Defense Council, are seeking court permission to participate as co-counsel.

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Ohio has drilled 1,200 Utica wells, 1,228 conventional wells

By Bob Downing Published: December 3, 2014

Since late 2010, Ohio has seen 1,200 Utica Shale wells drilled and 1,228 conventional wells drilled.

That data, through Nov. 22, comes from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

The data began Sept. 27, 2010.

Ohio has approved 1,638 Utica Shale permits. The state has 52 rigs at work.

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Groups to rally in Phladelphia against 'dirty' energy firms

By Bob Downing Published: December 4, 2014

A press release from a coalition of grass-roots groups in Philadelphia:

Rally to Show Dirty Energy Corporations “Philadelphia Is Not For Sale!”

 

The people of Philadelphia, represented by neighborhood groups, local green energy businesses, and community leaders, will be at Drexel University to protest the dirty energy funders’ conference being held by industry and lobbyists on Dec. 5. We call for a clean and green energy economy, not a dirty fossil fuel energy hub.

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Pennsylvania fines Cabot $120,000 for January explosion-spill

By Bob Downing Published: December 4, 2014

From the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection this week:

“This was a serious incident that injured an employee and resulted in a spill of approximately 2,835 gallons of production fluid from a 21,000-gallon storage tank,” DEP Director of District Oil and Gas Operations John Ryder said. “Some of this fluid escaped containment and impacted soil off the well pad.”

Ignited vapors in the headspace of the tank caused the Jan. 11 explosion and subsequent rupture of the tank.

DEP Emergency Response staff responded immediately, and follow-up inspections and sampling were conducted. Samples from an interception trench off the well pad showed high levels of constituents associated with produced water.

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U.S. natural gas reserves grew by 10 percent to record 354 Tcf

By Bob Downing Published: December 4, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

 

U.S. total natural gas proved reserves increased 10% (31 trillion cubic feet (Tcf)) in 2013 and reached a new U.S. record of 354 Tcf, according to newly published data in EIA's U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Proved Reserves, 2013.

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Florida LNG facility files pre-filing review paperwork with FERC

By Bob Downing Published: December 4, 2014

From Eagle LNG Partners on Wednesday:

Jacksonville, Florida (December 3, 2014) – Eagle LNG Partners (Eagle LNG) is pleased to announce their request to commence the pre-filing review process for the Jacksonville LNG project has been approved by the United States Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The approval from FERC follows Eagle LNG’s request filed on November 26, 2014.

 FERC is the lead federal agency that reviews proposals for the development of liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities. The review process ensures that approved LNG projects, associated gas pipelines and LNG transportation efforts meet safety and environmental requirements during construction and operation.

The FERC pre-filing process involves FERC, other federal agencies, state and local agencies, stakeholders, and community groups. Following the pre-filing process, Eagle LNG may submit a formal approval application to FERC.

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Maryland is considering some of tough fracking rules in U.S.

By Bob Downing Published: December 4, 2014

Maryland may soon join neighboring West Virginia and Pennsylvania by allowing fracking in the state.

 

Outgoing Governor Martin O’Malley announced that he will open the doors to drilling companies as long as they follow strict safeguards for protecting public health and the environment.

 

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Eco-group sues Interior Department for off-shore fracking

By Bob Downing Published: December 4, 2014

From the Associated Press today:

An environmental group sued the federal government on Wednesday for approving the use of hydraulic fracturing — fracking — on oil platforms off the Southern California coast.

The federal lawsuit by the Environmental Defense Center alleges the U.S. Department of the Interior and two of its subsidiary agencies approved 51 permits to drill from oil and gas platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel without properly conducting environmental studies or permitting public comment.

The permits, issued mainly within the past two years, allow the use of fracking or acid well stimulation at six platforms off the coasts of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

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Richels to retire as CEO of Devon Energy, Hagar will replace him

By Bob Downing Published: December 4, 2014

John Richels, the chief executive officer of Devon Energy Corp, will step down at the end of July and the Oklahoma oil and gas company's board plans to name Chief Operating Officer Dave Hagar as his replacement, the company said on Wednesday.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Post-separation leaders named at NiSource, Columbia Pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: December 3, 2014

From NiSource:

 

MERRILLVILLE, Ind. and HOUSTON , Dec. 3, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI) today named key leaders expected to guide Columbia Pipeline Group Inc. (CPG) and NiSource following the planned separation of the two energy companies in mid-2015.

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FERC approves Constitution Pipeline in New York, New England

By Bob Downing Published: December 3, 2014

From Williams Partners:

Pipeline to Help Meet Growing Natural Gas Demand in New York, New England by Winter 2015 or 2016

Constitution Pipeline Company, LLC announced today that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued an order approving construction of its proposed pipeline to increase natural gas supply to New York and New England markets, subject to certain conditions that will ensure the protection of natural resources.

FERC on Dec. 2, 2014 issued its certificate of public convenience and necessity for the 124-mile Constitution Pipeline. Assuming timely receipt of all remaining necessary regulatory approvals, Constitution Pipeline would begin construction as early as the first-quarter next year in order to help meet growing natural gas demand in New York and New England by the winter of 2015 or 2016.

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WPX Energy sells northeast Pennsylvania operations for $300 million

By Bob Downing Published: December 3, 2014

From WPX Energy today:

WPX Energy (NYSE: WPX) announced today it signed an agreement to sell its operations in northeast Pennsylvania and release certain firm transportation capacity to Southwestern Energy Company (NYSE:SWN) for approximately $300 million cash.

 

“The transformation of our company continues as we execute our strategy,” said Rick Muncrief , WPX president and chief executive officer.

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Utica Shale likely to be productive for 50 years, analyst says

By Bob Downing Published: December 3, 2014

CLEVELAND: Ohio’s Utica Shale will likely be producing natural gas and liquids for decades, according to a Texas-based energy analyst.

Irene Haas of Wunderlich Securities in Houston said the shale under eastern Ohio will likely produce big quantities for the next 50 years.

"Ohio is going to be very, very busy for a very long time," she said. "It’s very prolific."

Her comments came in a talk on Wednesday at the Ohio Oil and Gas Association’s Oilfield Expo 2014 and Safety Congress at the I-X Center near Cleveland Hopkins Airport. The event continues on Thursday.

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Oil-price drop may have energy companies seeking GOP help

By Bob Downing Published: December 2, 2014

After years of boom times, American oil producers could soon find themselves in a financial crunch and looking to a friendly GOP Congress for help.

OPEC decided to test U.S. drillers’ mettle on Thanksgiving by leaving its production target unchanged at 30 million barrels per day and deepening the oil price swoon that began in July. Signs of a slowdown in domestic drilling are already emerging but so are omens that oil producers plan to seize on a looming downturn in the shale patch to press Washington to pass more of their policy goals.

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Groups file legal action for federal ban of crude oil rail cars

By Bob Downing Published: December 2, 2014

A press release received today from several activist groups:

 

Washington, D.C. — Today, Earthjustice on behalf of Sierra Club and ForestEthics challenged the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) denial in November of the groups’ petition for an immediate ban on the most hazardous DOT-111 rail tank cars carrying explosive Bakken crude oil. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in 2012 called for an immediate ban on using these tank cars to ship crude oil because they are prone to puncture, spills, and fires in train accidents. Two in three tank cars used to transport crude oil in the US are DOT-111s, yet the DOT has taken no action beyond issuing a safety advisory urging shippers to use the safest tank cars in their fleets to the extent feasible. The legal action today challenges the DOT’s assertion that they have done enough to respond to the imminent hazards posed by oil trains.

The groups issued the following statements:

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Only 500 inspectors to check on 1.3 million miles of gas pipelines

By Bob Downing Published: December 2, 2014

The United States has about 500 inspectors to check on leaks from natural gas pipelines, says the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

There were about 500,000 leaks reported last year in the country's 1.3 million miles of pipelines, the paper said.

It said the lack of federal and state inspectors leaves public safety in the hands of tranmission companies and their crews.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Philadelphia is poised to become new U.S. energy hub

By Bob Downing Published: December 2, 2014

Philadelphia is quietly positioning itself to become a major energy hub, perhaps to challenge Houston, according to some.

Philadelphia is close to the natural gas-rich Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and its rail system is being used to haul Bakken Shale oil to refineries on the East Coast.

Click  here  to see the full story from CNBC.

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Expanded Louisiana ethylene plant to begin sales in December

By Bob Downing Published: December 2, 2014

From Williams Partenrs today:

 

Williams Partners L.P. (NYSE: WPZ) today announced its expanded Geismar plant in Geismar, La., is in the final stages of commissioning and now expects ethylene production for sale to begin in December.

"Some of these commissioning activities have taken longer than originally planned, but as we have stated throughout this process, safety is our number one priority," said John Dearborn, senior vice president of NGL & Petchem Services. "And I want to thank our Geismar team for its focus on safety throughout this complex expansion and rebuild effort."

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Australia should not overcommit to floating LNG, analyst says

By Bob Downing Published: December 2, 2014

From GlobalData today:

 

LONDON, UK (GlobalData), 2 December 2014 - While high development costs are deeming many Australian Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) projects economically unfeasible, the country should stay focused on these rather than gambling on Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) technology too soon, says an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData.

Rebecca Wilson, GlobalData’s Upstream Analyst covering Asia-Pacific, says that in addition to unattractively high capital expenditure (capex) investments, the Australian LNG industry is threatened by increasing market competition and production from both North America’s shale gas revolution and new international contracts.

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Atlantic Coast Pipeline to produce $25 million a year in taxes

By Bob Downing Published: December 2, 2014

From Dominion on Monday:

Dec 1, 2014

RICHMOND, Va., Dec. 1, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Property taxes paid to counties and municipalities by the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline would ultimately exceed $25 million a year, according to estimates provided to the local governments.

The estimates were developed by Dominion (NYSE: D), which will build and operate the natural gas pipeline pending regulatory approval for a four-member joint venture that includes Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), Piedmont Natural Gas (NYSE: PNY) and AGL Resources (NYSE: GAS). The pipeline is to extend approximately 550 miles in West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina to bring much-needed natural gas for power generation, homes and businesses.

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Ohio has 1,204 drilled Utica wells, 698 producing Utica wells

By Bob Downing Published: December 2, 2014

Ohio has approved 1,652 Utica Shale permits, as of Nov. 29.

That total includes 1,204 Utica wells that have been drilled and 698 Utica wells that are producing, says the Ohio Department of Natural Resources..

Ohio has 53 drilling rigs at work.

Fifteen new permits were approved: three in Belmont County, four in Carroll County, two in Jefferson County and six in Monroe County.

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One third of Northeast pipeline capacity may be bidirectional by 2017

By Bob Downing Published: December 2, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

 

Republished December 2, 2014, 8:40 a.m. to update text.

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City of Denton to defend its fracking ban approved by voters

By Bob Downing Published: December 2, 2014

From Earthworks and Frack Free Denton on Monday:

 

PRES STATEMENT: December 1, 2014

CONTACTS:
Alan Septoff, (202) 271-2355, aseptoff@earthworksaction.org
Cathy McMullen, (214) 632-3735, cathymcmullen@live.com

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Range Resources to flare gas from Washington County well

By Bob Downing Published: December 1, 2014

Range Resources Inc. will temporarily flare off or burn natural gas from a Utica Shale well in Washington County in southwest Pennsylvania.

The flaring is set to begin on Dec. 7 and could last for about a week.

The site is in Donegal Township and just north of Interstate 70 in western Washington County.

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

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Ohio EPA fines MarkWest $320,000 for repeated pipeline spills

By Bob Downing Published: December 1, 2014

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has fined MarkWest Energy Partners $320,000 for repeated pipeline spills in 2012 and 2013.

The fines covered 19 spills of drilling muds.

Click  here  to read the full story from the Columbus Dispatch.

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UGI links Pennsylvania Utica Shale well to gas distribution system

By Bob Downing Published: December 1, 2014

From UGI Utilities last month:

UGI Utilities, Inc. has become the first natural gas utility in Pennsylvania to directly connect its natural gas distribution system with a Utica Shale well.

This historic direct interconnection of a Utica Shale well with a utility system is the result of a partnership between UGI and Shell Western Exploration & Production, Inc., a division of Shell Oil. The interconnection links a Utica Shale well and two Marcellus Shale wells located in northern Tioga County to a UGI high pressure pipeline.

The UGI Utica Shale connection project also included construction of a new meter / regulator station. The project will increase available supply of natural gas for UGI customers in Tioga and Potter Counties.

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West Virginia gets two offers to drill at Tyler County wildlife area

By Bob Downing Published: December 1, 2014

Two companies have submitted bids to drill under West Virginia's 518-acre Conaway Run Wildlife Management Area in Tyler Co.

The bids came from Antero Resources and Noble Energy.

Click  here  to read the full story from last week's State Journal.

 

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OPEC, U.S. oil shale are battling as crude prices slide toward $70

By Bob Downing Published: December 1, 2014

Late last week, Bloomberg News took a look at the battle between OPEC and U.S. shale oil.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Oil transit chokepoints critical to global energy security, EIA says

By Bob Downing Published: December 1, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

 

International energy markets depend on reliable transport routes. About 63% (56.5 million barrels per day) of the world's oil production in 2013 moved on maritime routes. World chokepoints for maritime transit of oil are a critical part of global energy security because of the high volume of petroleum and other liquids transported by these routes.

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Company raises $500 million to pursue minerals, royalty interests

By Bob Downing Published: December 1, 2014

From American Energy Partners today:

 

AMERICAN ENERGY MINERALS HOLDINGS, LLC (AEMN) RAISES $500 MILLION OF EQUITY COMMITMENTS TO ACQUIRE MINERALS AND OVERRIDING

ROYALTY INTERESTS IN VARIOUS ONSHORE U.S. BASINS

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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.