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Ohio Utica Shale

No seismic monitoring plan from Hilcorp Energy to ODNR

By Bob Downing Published: May 30, 2014

There's little new to report on what's happening in Ohio's Mahoning County in the wake of earthquakes linked to hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has not yet received a seismic monitoring plan from the Texas-based Hilcorp Energy Corp., so the wells remain in an idle state in Poland Township, said state spokesman Mark Bruce this week.

Last March, Houston-based Hilcorp Energy suspended drilling horizontal wells in the Utica shale in Mahoning County's Poland Township.

The area was hit by up to four small quakes on March 10-11. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources said no injection wells were nearby and ordered Hilcorp to stop drilling its horizontal wells.

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Eco-group fights Pennsylvania on state park, forest drilling

By Bob Downing Published: May 30, 2014

A Pennsylvania eco-group is seeking an injunction to keep Pennsylvania from expanding drilling under state parks and state forests.

The group leading the fight is the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation.

Click  here  to read the latest story.

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West Virginia bars shipments of Pa. drilling sludge to landfills

By Bob Downing Published: May 30, 2014

Radioactive drilling sludge couldn't go into a Pennsylvania landfill.

It was shipped to a West Virginia landfill.

Now West Virginia has barred more shipments of such sludge until the issue can be investigated.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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NIOSH says workers died from chemical exposure during flowback

By Bob Downing Published: May 30, 2014

At least four drilling workers since 2010 have died as a result of exposure to volatile hydrocarbons in used flowback water after hydraulic fracturing or fracking, a federal agency reports.

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health Administartion said the workers died from acute chemical expoure during flowback operations, Bloomberg Bureau of National Affairs reports.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Cow blamed for oil spill in North Dakota's Bakken shale

By Bob Downing Published: May 30, 2014

A cow is being blamed for an oil spill from a North Dakota drilling site.

And drillers have been told to make sure that cows cannot trigger future spills.

Click  here  to read the Associated Press story.

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Range shuts in wells, plans diversion, after Houston incident

By Bob Downing Published: May 30, 2014

From Range Resources on Thursday:

 

FORT WORTH, TX -- ( Marketwired ) -- 05/29/14 -- RANGE RESOURCES CORPORATION (NYSE: RRC) issued the following statement.

Last night MarkWest reported an incident at its Houston, Pennsylvania complex which damaged a portion of its gas processing facilities. As a result, some Range wells are shut in while the plant is down to assess the damage.

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MarkWest offers update on incident at Houston, Pa., plant

By Bob Downing Published: May 30, 2014

From MarkWest Energy Partners on Thursday:

DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 29, 2014-- MarkWest Energy Partners, L.P. (NYSE: MWE) (“MarkWest” or “the Partnership”) reported an incident at its Houston processing and fractionation complex in Houston, Pennsylvania at approximately 6:00 p.m. (EDT) yesterday. The Houston complex consists of processing plants I, II and III totaling 355 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of capacity and 98,000 barrels per day of ethane and heavier fractionation capacity with associated storage facilities and other related infrastructure. There were no reported injuries and as a precaution, the area was safely and temporarily evacuated.

Although MarkWest has not completed a full assessment of all plant equipment, an initial visual assessment of damage indicates that the impact was limited to one component of the plant III facility. The entire complex remains shut down until the assessment is completed. At this time, it appears that no other equipment at the facility was affected. Additionally, there are no apparent signs or evidence of a fire. The complex’s safety control system worked as designed and the two flares at the facility remained in operation throughout the course of this event.

MarkWest is working closely with its producer customers and is currently routing some gas through its rich-gas header system to the Majorsville complex in Marshall County, West Virginia . The Majorsville complex currently consists of 870 MMcf/d of processing capacity.

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Group to submit 20,000 letters on New York energy plan

By Bob Downing Published: May 30, 2014

From the Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, a New York-based eco-group, today:

Fremont Center, NY—On Friday May 30, members of Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy will travel to Albany to submit over 20,000 letters to NYSERDA commenting on New York State’s draft Energy Plan. In all, concerned organizations will submit about 50,000 letters and petition signatures, all sharply critical of a plan that relies heavily on fossil fuels (including fracked gas) and that fails to recognize the urgent need to develop renewable energy.

 

Catskill Citizens member Jill Wiener said, “Instead of leading us to a sustainable future, this business-as-usual Energy Plan encourages the consumption of dirty fossil fuels that will harm our health, degrade our air and water, and exacerbate climate change.”

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Group has concerns about new Youngstown waste plant

By Bob Downing Published: May 30, 2014

From Frack Free Mahoning Valley on Thursday:

FRACKFREE MAHONING VALLEY (FFM) RECEIVES NEW DOCUMENTS. FFM STILL HAS QUESTIONS AND SERIOUS CONCERNS ABOUT THE NEW RADIOACTIVE WASTE PLANT THAT PLANS TO STORE AND TREAT FRACKING WASTE IN THE HEART OF YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO: FRACKFREE MAHONING VALLEY WILL HOLD A PUBLIC EDUCATIONAL TOWNHALL - STYLE MEETING REGARDING THE NEWLY “PERMITTED” RADIOACTIVE WASTE FACILITY ON THURSDAY, JUNE 5, 2014 AT THE FIRST UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST CHURCH OF YOUNGSTOWN AT 1105 ELM STREET, YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO 44505 AT 7:00 PM TO 9:00PM.

SUMMARY: FRACKFREE MAHONING VALLEY (FFM) CALLS FOR THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES (ODNR) TO REVOKE THE MARCH 6, 2014 240 SINTER COURT – RELATED “PERMIT” (ORDER NO. 2014-52) THEREBY STOPPING OPERATIONS WHILE INFORMATION IS GATHERED REGARDING THE ALLEGED SAFETY OF SUCH OPERATIONS.

 

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Sierra Club back closer federal review of LNG export plans

By Bob Downing Published: May 30, 2014

From the Sierra Club om Thursday:

Sierra Club statement: New rules at Department of Energy for LNG export applications

 

The Department of Energy today proposed significant changes in the way it will handle liquefied natural gas export applications, including no longer issuing conditional approvals prior to environmental review, and taking into account the increased climate pollution associated with drilling and fracking for gas. The Sierra Club has been requesting these changes for over two years.

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Center supports steps to speed up federal LNG permitting

By Bob Downing Published: May 30, 2014

From the Centerr for Liquified Natural Gas today:

CLNG President Responds to Proposed Changes to LNG Export Decision Process

 

Washington, D.C.: Today the Department of Energy (DOE) announced proposed changes in its process for evaluating liquefied natural gas (LNG) export applications. In addition to several new studies, under the proposed changes DOE would issue a final public interest determinations only after environmental reviews from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) are complete, instead of the current procedure of issuing conditional orders before FERC review is finished.

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Fracking patents increase by 28 percent from 2012 to 2013

By Bob Downing Published: May 30, 2014

According to Thomson Reuters, 706 patents for fracking technology were filed in 2013.

That is up 28 percent from the 550 fracking technology patents filed in 2012.

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Proposed change to DOE's LNG export decision-making steps

By Bob Downing Published: May 29, 2014

From a blog post today by Christopher A. Smith, principal deputy assistant secretary for fossil fuels in the U.S. Department of Energy:

A tanker carries liquified natural gas (LNG) off the coast of Homer, Alaska. | Photo courtesy of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The development of U.S. natural gas resources is having a transformative impact on the U.S. energy landscape, helping to improve our energy security while spurring economic development and job creation around the country. The Administration continues to take steps to ensure the safe and environmentally sustainable supply of natural gas. The Natural Gas Act directs the Department of Energy (DOE) to grant Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) export authorizations to non-Free Trade Agreement (FTA) countries unless the Department finds that the proposed exports “will not be consistent with the public interest.”

Since receiving the first long-term application in 2010 to export LNG to non-FTA countries from the lower 48 states, the Department of Energy has been -- and remains -- committed to conducting a public interest determination process as required by the Natural Gas Act that is expeditious, judicious and fair. Throughout this time, the Department has consistently made clear that a close monitoring of market developments plays a critical role in the Department’s decision-making process.

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Ohio to benefit financially if crude oil exports are permitted

By Bob Downing Published: May 29, 2014

From the American Petroleum Institute and API-Ohio today:

Columbus, Ohio, May 29, 2014 ─ A new state-by-state analysis shows that Ohio could add up to 15,948 jobs and $2.68 billion to the state economy in 2020 if federal restrictions on U.S. crude exports were lifted, said Executive Director of the API-Ohio Chris Zeigler.

“The U.S. is poised to become the world’s largest oil producer, and access to foreign customers will drive job creation here in Ohio and around the country,” said Zeigler. “When it comes to crude oil, the rewards of free trade are amplified wherever energy, manufacturing, and consumer spending drive growth. American energy exports mean new jobs, higher investment, and greater energy security.”

The new report was conducted by ICF International and EnSys Energy. It provides a state-by-state analysis of economic benefits first outlined this March in a national report, which showed that lifting export restrictions could save consumers up to $5.8 billion per year, on average, between 2015 and 2035, as higher production and efficient markets help boost supplies and lower costs.

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Is Ohio's Utica shale really a world-class asset?

By Bob Downing Published: May 29, 2014

Blogger Matt DiLallo of the Motley Fool takes a look at why Chesapeake Energy is still bullish on the Utica shale, while Halcon Resources is far less eager to proceed with drilling.

It is an interesting take.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Mexico expecting rapid growth in natural gas imports from U.S.

By Bob Downing Published: May 29, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

 

A combination of higher natural gas demand from Mexico's industrial and electric power sectors and increased U.S. natural gas production has resulted in a doubling of U.S. pipeline exports of natural gas to Mexico between 2009 and 2013. Mexico's national energy ministry, SENER, projects that U.S. pipeline exports to Mexico will reach 3.8 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2018. This would be more than double U.S. pipeline exports to Mexico in 2013, which averaged 1.8 Bcf/d. This projected growth is driven mainly by higher demand from Mexico's electric power sector in both the north and interior of the country.

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Methane levels up, Texas agency says no link to drilling

By Bob Downing Published: May 29, 2014

From the Associated Press:

By Ramit Plushnick-Masti and Emily Schmall
 

The amount of explosive gas tainting a North Texas neighborhood’s water supply has increased in recent years, but the state’s oil and gas regulator says it can’t link the methane to drilling activity nearby, according to a report it released Wednesday.

The state Railroad Commission has found that the contamination has gotten worse in most of the private water wells it tested in September 2013 compared with what was measured in 2010 and in 2011.

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North Carolina approves fracking for natural gas in 2015

By Bob Downing Published: May 29, 2014

From the Associated Press:

By Michael Biesecker
 

 North Carolina lawmakers have given preliminary approval to a measure that would allow fracking for natural gas to begin in the state next year.

The Republican-controlled state House approved the bill Wednesday, 63-52, with a dozen members of the GOP caucus and all but one of the Democrats voting no.

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California rejects fracking moratorium, crude spills are concern

By Bob Downing Published: May 29, 2014

From the Associated Press:

The state Senate is moving to prepare for accidental spills and explosions as more oil is shipped into California by rail but has rejected a moratorium on fracking, the contentious method for extracting oil.

Lawmakers on Wednesday approved SB1319 in response to a series of damaging oil spills from rail cars in other states and Canada.

The bill would expand the state’s existing oil spill prevention program, traditionally aimed at oil tanker ships and pipeline spills, to include rail disasters. The state Office of Spill Prevention and Response would handle all types of spills under the bill.

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Deal will allow Magnum Hunter to expand Appalachian drilling

By Bob Downing Published: May 29, 2014

From Bloomberg News:

By Beth Jinks and Asjylyn Loder

May 28 (Bloomberg) -- Relational Investors LLC, the activist fund co-founded by Ralph Whitworth and David Batchelder, agreed to boost its Magnum Hunter Resources Corp. stake to about 15 percent in a deal backing management at the oil and natural gas explorer.

The firm will buy 21.4 million shares at $7 apiece in a private placement, according to a statement. Net proceeds of about $150 million will allow the Houston, Texas-based company to expand drilling at its Marcellus and Utica shale projects in the U.S. Appalachian basin and repay some debt.

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Ohio has 869 Utica wells drilled, 399 wells in production

By Bob Downing Published: May 28, 2014

Ohio has approved 1,283 Utica shale permits, as of May 24.

That includes 869 Utica wells that have been drilled and 399 wells that are in production, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil & Gas Resources Management.

It says 41 rigs are working in Ohio.

The 19 new permits are: Belmont County, two; Carroll County, two; Guernsey County, four; Harrison County, one; Monroe County, two; and Noble County, eight.

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Canada infrastructure gains advantage for crude exports

By Bob Downing Published: May 28, 2014

From GlobalData on Tuesday:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Infrastructure Projects in Canada to Gain First-mover Advantage for North American Crude Exports, says GlobalData Analyst

LONDON, UK (GlobalData), 27 May 2014 - While the US ‘procrastinates’, Canada is taking concrete action to ensure its ability to increase crude exports into both the Atlantic and Pacific basins with the development of new pipelines, says an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData.

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Storm washes oil into Colorado River's biggest tributary

By Bob Downing Published: May 28, 2014

From the Utah Rivers Council on Tuesday:

A weekend storm washed oil pollution that started two days earlier into the Green River, which

provides 40 percent of the Colorado River’s flows at Lake Powell. The total quantity of oil spilled into

the Green River is unknown, although the BLM indicated the leaking well gushed 80 to 100 barrels of

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U.S. shale development will affect crude oil imports

By Bob Downing Published: May 28, 2014

From GlobalData:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Increasing Infrastructure Development for US Shale Oil Production Will Destroy Import and Lightering Operations in Gulf and East Coast Areas, says GlobalData Analyst

LONDON, UK (GlobalData), 28 May 2014 - The completion of new US pipeline and rail projects will enable higher volumes of oil shale crude to be transported to the East and Gulf Coast areas and, with the country’s ever-increasing oil production, will further reduce the need for imports. As a result, this infrastructure will also help to eliminate lightering operations in the near future, says an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData.

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Dominion Resources looking at new gas pipeline to Va., N.C.

By Bob Downing Published: May 28, 2014

From the Associated Press:

Dominion Resources Inc. has proposed building a 450-mile pipeline to bring natural gas from the Appalachian Basin to markets in Virginia and North Carolina.

The proposed Dominion Southeast Reliability Project would run from a Dominion Transmission pipeline in Harrison County, West Virginia, through Virginia to Lumberton, North Carolina.

Dominion spokesman Jim Norvelle tells the Richmond Times-Dispatch that the company hasn’t decided whether to build the pipeline.

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Bakken shale strippers make up to $2,500 a night, BBC reports

By Jim Mackinnon Published: May 27, 2014

At least for a moment, now, this blog perhaps should have a new motto: All the nudes that're fit to print. (Yes, this post is safe for work.)

The BBC reports there are downsides to the shale and fracking boom in North Dakota, ground zero for tapping the Bakken shale. But among the upsides, strippers report making as much as $2,500 a night in the male-dominated fracking industry there.

Zero Hedge, via the BBC, reports: " Exotic dancers are flocking here from as far away as Russia for the same reason as everyone else - to make their fortune in a place known as Kuwait on the Prairie.

"Williston was once a humble ranching community tucked away near the Canadian border in one of the remotest US states.

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U.S. shale drillers facing growing debts, financial shakeout

By Bob Downing Published: May 27, 2014

From Bloomberg News today:

By Asjylyn Loder

May 27 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. shale patch is facing a shakeout as drillers struggle to keep pace with the relentless spending needed to get oil and gas out of the ground.

Shale debt has almost doubled over the last four years while revenue has gained just 5.6 percent, according to a Bloomberg News analysis of 61 shale drillers. A dozen of those wildcatters are spending at least 10 percent of their sales on interest compared with Exxon Mobil Corp.’s 0.1 percent.

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Safety missteps threaten North Dakota's Bakken oil bonanza

By Bob Downing Published: May 27, 2014

From the Associated Press last week:

The godfather of North Dakota’s present oil bonanza predicted the state’s crude production will double to 2 million barrels daily by decade’s end but warned industry officials Thursday that future safety missteps would threaten that.

“We can’t have any more issues,” Harold Hamm, the chairman of Oklahoma City-based Continental Resources, told expo-goers at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck. “It has to be done in an absolute safe manner. It’s going to take all of us.”

Hamm’s company is the biggest producer and largest leaseholder in the Bakken shale formation, with more than 1 million acres in North Dakota and Montana. The company, which has been drilling in North Dakota for almost 25 years, was among the first to tap a Bakken well in 2004 using horizontal drilling technology. The company was the first to drill a horizontal well in the underlying Three Forks formation in 2008.

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100 California groups seek support for fracking moratorium

By Bob Downing Published: May 27, 2014

From a California-based eco-group last week:

New Letter to California Lawmakers Shows Broad Support for Fracking Moratorium

Coalition of more than 100 Groups Urges CA Legislature to Protect Californians from Fracking

 

Los Angeles – A coalition of more than 100 environmental, progressive and community groups joined together today to urge members of the California Legislature to support a bill that would impose a moratorium on fracking across the state. The letter comes just one day after the news broke that the U.S. Energy Information Administration's estimate of recoverable oil in the Monterey Shale was reduced by 96 percent -- undercutting the misguided rationale for allowing fracking to take place prior to the completion of SB 1132's mandated study.

Led by the national progressive group CREDO, the coalition asked lawmakers to do everything in their power to pass SB 1132, authored by Sens. Holly J. Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), which would expand studies of fracking and well stimulation and impose a moratorium until research determines whether the practice can be conducted without harming the health and safety of Californians.

Click here to view a copy of the letter.

“This bill presents lawmakers with a clear-cut choice that will show whether they are on the side of oil industry lobbyists or Californians concerned about public health and safety,” said CREDO’s campaign manager, Zack Malitz. “It’s clear from the broad support across California that residents know a moratorium is the right path to protect our communities from the well-documented dangers of tracking.”

The letter reminds lawmakers that the “extreme extraction techniques of fracking, acidizing, and other well stimulation methods, and their associated activities, which are taking place both onshore and offshore, have been linked to groundwater and surface water contamination, air pollution, increased greenhouse gas emissions, loss of farmland and open space and earthquakes around the country.”

The release of the letter comes on the heels of a rally earlier this week where activists urged State Senator Kevin de León, who chairs the powerful Appropriations Committee, to support the bill. The Appropriations Committee plans to decide later this week whether the bill will move through the committee to a vote by the full Senate.


To date, CREDO activists have submitted more than 21,000 letters and reported making nearly 1,000 phone calls to the California State Senate in support of bill. See CREDO’s action page for members submitting letters of support for SB 1132: http://act.credoaction.com/sign/sb1132_comments

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English shale could be big oil producer, new report says

By Bob Downing Published: May 27, 2014

From Bloomberg News last week:

By Nidaa Bakhsh

May 23 (Bloomberg) -- Shale rock underneath some of the wealthiest counties in southern England may contain billions of barrels of oil, a government report said.

The Weald basin, covering counties south of London including Surrey, Sussex and Kent, may have oil in place of as much as 8.6 billion barrels, according to a report published today by the British Geological Survey. It didn’t say how much could be extracted profitably. The U.K.’s current extractable oil reserves are 3.1 billion barrels, data by BP Plc show.

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Chesapeake says Michigan is being selective in legal case

By Bob Downing Published: May 27, 2014

From Bloomberg News on Saturday:

By Erik Larson

Chesapeake Energy Corp.,  the second-biggest U.S. natural-gas producer, said Michigan is cherry picking the company’s internal e-mails to suggest its former chief executive officer invited Canadian rival Encana Corp. to join in dividing the state’s oil and gas lease bids.

The competitors in March were charged by the state with conspiring to divvy up the counties in which each would seek resource exploration rights before a May 2010 auction, driving bid prices down to $40 per acre from $1,510.

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Corbett allows drilling under Pennsylvania parks, forests

By Bob Downing Published: May 24, 2014

From the Associated Press on Friday:

By PETER JACKSON, Associated Press

Posted: |

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Gov. Tom Corbett issued an executive order Friday that allows drillers to extract natural gas from rock buried deep below Pennsylvania’s state forests and parks, while barring drilling-related construction that would disturb the surface of the nearly 2.5 million acres of public lands.

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Harrison Hub plant for Utica liquids at Scio is still growing

By Bob Downing Published: May 24, 2014

SCIO: The Beast is getting bigger.

The Beast is the term that Texas-based Momentum Midstream spokesman Eric Mize lovingly uses to describe the new and growing liquids-separating complex in northern Harrison County.

He also refers to the sprawling facility as the Big Boy. "It is a big plant, a very big plant and far bigger than other plants around here.…What’s really amazing that we got it up and running in six months. No one believed that we could do that."

The facility, part of $1.6 billion three-plant processing complex, sits at the edge of tiny Scio with its 760 residents and one traffic signal.

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Utica shale production boosts Ohio's injection totals for 2013

By Bob Downing Published: May 24, 2014

The 2013 volume of drilling wastes injected in Ohio grew by nearly 15 percent, mostly due to increasing in-state Utica shale production.

That injection total grew from 14.2 million barrels in 2012 to more than 16.3 million barrels in 2013, according to data from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

The increase in overall injection volumes is 14.7 percent. That’s enough liquid waste to fill a train of tank cars nearly 242 miles long. That train would stretch nearly from Akron to Columbus and back. That train would be about 20 miles longer than the 2012 train.

The out-of-state volume remained basically the same as 2012, but the Ohio liquids production grew from 5.9 million barrels in 2012 to nearly 8.1 million barrels in 2013, an increase of 36.7 percent in 2013.

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Sanchez Energy buys Eagle Ford land from Royal Dutch Shell

By Bob Downing Published: May 22, 2014

From Sanchez Energy on Wednesday:

 

HOUSTON , May 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Sanchez Energy Corporation (NYSE: SN), today announced a definitive agreement with an effective date of January 1, 2014 to purchase operated assets to be named Catarina in the Eagle Ford trend of South Texas from wholly-owned subsidiaries of Royal Dutch Shell plc for approximately $639 million in cash, subject to usual and customary closing adjustments. The assets, consisting of 60 MMBOE of proved reserves and 24,000 BOE/D of average first quarter 2014 production (60% liquids), are located on approximately 106,000 net acres in Dimmit , LaSalle, and Webb Counties, Texas . This additional acreage is expected to bring the total Company position in the Eagle Ford to approximately 226,000 acres with up to 3,000 potential drilling locations and average first quarter 2014 pro forma production of approximately 42,800 BOE/D.

TRANSACTION HIGHLIGHTS

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Marathon Petroleum buys Hess Retail for $2.87 billion

By Bob Downing Published: May 22, 2014

From Marathon Petroleum today:

 

FINDLAY, Ohio, May 22, 2014 - Marathon Petroleum Corporation (NYSE: MPC) today announced its subsidiary, Speedway LLC, has signed a definitive agreement with Hess Corporation to acquire Hess Retail Holdings LLC. This transaction incorporates all of Hess' retail locations, transport operations and shipper history on various pipelines, including approximately 40,000 barrels per day (bpd) on Colonial Pipeline. The total consideration is $2.874 billion comprised of a cash purchase price of $2.37 billion, an estimated $230 million of working capital and $274 million of capital leases. The acquisition is expected to be funded with a combination of debt and available cash and is anticipated to close late in the third quarter of 2014, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

"This acquisition will be transformative for MPC and Speedway as it will significantly expand our retail presence from nine to 23 states through these premier Hess locations throughout the East Coast and Southeast," said MPC President and Chief Executive Officer Gary R. Heminger. "Our strategy is focused on growing higher-valued, stable cash flow businesses, and this transaction fully supports that objective. With this significant geographic expansion, we will be able to further leverage our integrated refining and transportation logistics operations, providing an outlet for an incremental 200,000 bpd of assured sales from our refining system."

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McClendon has raised $8.5 billion in new drilling ventures

By Bob Downing Published: May 22, 2014

American Energy Partners' CEO Aubrey McClendon has raised $8.5 billion from investors, started five companies, leased 600,00 net acres in Ohio and other states, watched his employees grow from 16 to 325 and produced 25,000 barrels of oil equivalents per day.

McClendon is the founder and former CEO of Chesapeake Energy.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Group responds to downsized California shale deposits

By Bob Downing Published: May 22, 2014

From a California-based CREDO on Wednesday:

Statement: CREDO Response to Downgraded Estimates of Recoverable Monterey Shale Oil

Following the news that the U.S. Energy Information Administration has cut its estimate of recoverable oil in the Monterey shale by 96 percent, CREDO, a progressive group working to ban fracking, released the following statement:

"There is only one reason that Governor Brown would put his climate legacy at risk by allowing fracking in California -- as a desperate and misguided gamble on a short-term economic gain," said Zack Malitz, campaign manager for CREDO. "But this report hammers the final nail in the coffin for oil companies' ludicrous claims that fracking is the key to California's prosperity. There is now no longer any political gain to be had for the governor in supporting fracking and putting our state at risk from water contamination, earthquakes and climate change. He must enact a moratorium."

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Group mails fracking brochure to N.Y.'s Westchester County

By Bob Downing Published: May 22, 2014

From a grass-roots group in New York state:

 

Catskill Citizens member Bruce Ferguson said the brochure was developed in response to statewide polling that consistently shows that suburban residents are now the only group in the state that is not yet firmly opposed to fracking. “Upstate New Yorkers, particularly those who live atop the Marcellus Shale, have had the opportunity to learn a lot about fracking and they’ve decisively rejected it, and New York City residents oppose fracking because they understand that it threatens drinking water supplies and will exacerbate climate change. We think that once suburban residents find out that fracking will expose them to enormous financial risks, they will also reject this dangerous industrial practice.”

 

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U.S. EPA revokes approval of Pennsylvania injection well

By Bob Downing Published: May 22, 2014

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has taken the unusual step of revoking approval for a new injection well in north-central Pennsylvania.

The agency had approved the 7,300-foot-deep well near DuBois in Clearfield County in February.

The agency asked its appeals board to grant a "voluntary remand" of the five-year permit.

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

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Leases on rail tank cars projected to climb 13 percent, study says

By Bob Downing Published: May 22, 2014

From IBISWorld Inc.:

Rail tank car safety issues have recently received widespread media attention starting with the derailments in Quebec, North Dakota, Virginia and elsewhere.

The US government has urged companies to use safer, newer tank car models.

Tank car manufacturers have complied with AAR standards since October 2011 for all new cars that hold flammable liquids. The AAR has urged the federal government to mandate a phase out or retrofit of the roughly 78,000 tank cars that move flammable liquids that do not meet the standards. These cars constitute roughly 85% of the nation's fleet of tank cars that move flammable liquids, and most of them are leased.

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Federal BLM acknowledges it must improve drilling oversight

By Bob Downing Published: May 21, 2014

From the Associated Press today:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal agency tasked with managing oil and gas development on Wednesday acknowledged it needed to do more to improve oversight of drilling, pointing to a lack of funding as reasons it failed to inspect oil and gas wells it considers potentially high risks for water contamination.

Jeff Krauss, a spokesman with the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management, noted that his agency has worked hard to keep up with the nation’s energy boom, which has included the increased use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a drilling technique that environmentalists fear could spread chemicals to water supplies.

He said BLM is counting on Congress to approve a budget request that would allow it to use $10 million raised from fees charged to oil and gas companies to pay for the high-priority inspections.

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No seismic monitoring plan from Hilcorp Energy to ODNR

By Bob Downing Published: May 30, 2014

There's little new to report on what's happening in Ohio's Mahoning County in the wake of earthquakes linked to hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has not yet received a seismic monitoring plan from the Texas-based Hilcorp Energy Corp., so the wells remain in an idle state in Poland Township, said state spokesman Mark Bruce this week.

Last March, Houston-based Hilcorp Energy suspended drilling horizontal wells in the Utica shale in Mahoning County's Poland Township.

The area was hit by up to four small quakes on March 10-11. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources said no injection wells were nearby and ordered Hilcorp to stop drilling its horizontal wells.

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Consumer spending for energy rose this winter, EIA says

By Bob Downing Published: May 21, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administartion today:

 

Republished May 21, 2014, 1:25 pm, text was added to clarify content.

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A second look at Chesapeake and its Utica shale interests

By Bob Downing Published: May 21, 2014

Collin Eaton of the Houston Chronicle's FuelFix takes another look at Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy and the Utica shale in eastern Ohio.

Chesapeake, he says, says it is very interested in the Utica shale shortly after BP bailed on the northern part of the Utcia shale.

Click  here  to read the full story from Monday.

 

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Developer plans $500 million North Dakota housing project

By Bob Downing Published: May 21, 2014

From Bloomberg News:

By Brian Louis
 

A Swiss developer is planning to build a $500 million real estate project in Williston, North Dakota, where a surging energy industry is leading to a population boom and rising property demand.

The two principals of developer Stropiq Inc. are at the International Council of Shopping Centers conference in Las Vegas this week trying to lure retailers to the 219-acre (89-hectare) Williston Crossing project, scheduled to break ground in March. The 1 million-square-foot (93,000-square-meter) project will include retail, entertainment, hotel, office and multifamily buildings.

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Industry-backed study says Bakken oil is safe, meets guidelines

By Bob Downing Published: May 21, 2014

From the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday:

WASHINGTON, May 20, 2014 – A comprehensive third-party study released today by the North Dakota Petroleum Council (NDPC) shows that Bakken crude oil is very similar to other light crudes and meets all federal regulations and tank car design standards for shipping flammable liquids by rail.

“It is essential to separate fact from fiction as we work to enhance the safe transportation of crude oil,” said API President and CEO Jack Gerard. “Multiple studies have now debunked the idea that Bakken crude is meaningfully different than other crudes. This data will allow industry and regulators to base actions on science rather than speculation as part of our comprehensive approach to addressing concerns regarding the transportation of crude by rail, which includes prevention, mitigation and response.”

Independent third-party contractors performed the NDPC study by collecting and analyzing more than 150 samples of crude from wells and rail terminals in the Bakken. Characteristics measured include API gravity, vapor pressure, initial boiling point, flash point, and light ends content. Tested sample results were typical of light crude oil and classified as flammable liquids according to federal regulations. The study found no meaningful change in transit, little geographical variation, and no evidence of corrosiveness.

These findings are consistent with test results from nearly 250 samples of crude oil that API members have already shared with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

The NDPC study found that the test DOT requires for measuring crude oil’s initial boiling point can lead to varying packing group determinations for the same sample of crude. These limitations have no practical impact on the rail transport of Bakken crude oil because regulators authorize the same tank cars and emergency response methods for all crude oil and hydrocarbon transportation fuels.

A separate effort has found that vapor pressure alone is not a good indicator of crude oil flammability, according to the preliminary analysis by industry experts working with DOT and Transport Canada. Both newer and legacy DOT-111 tank cars are designed to withstand vapor pressures of at least 100 psi, nearly 700 percent greater than the highest level measured in the NDPC study of 14.4 psi.

API continues to work with regulators and the railroad industry to develop a new standard for classifying, handling, and transporting crude oil by rail. The working group developing it expects to have a draft standard in June. API’s standards are accredited by the American National Standards Institute, which accredits similar programs at U.S. national laboratories.

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

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Federal agency reduces recoverable oil from Monterey shale

By Bob Downing Published: May 21, 2014

Federal energy authorities have slashed by 96% the estimated amount of recoverable oil buried in California's vast Monterey Shale deposits, deflating its potential as a national "black gold mine" of petroleum, the Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday..

Just 600 million barrels of oil can be extracted with existing technology, far below the 13.7 billion barrels once thought recoverable, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said.

The new estimate, expected to be released publicly next month, is a blow to the nation's oil future and to projections that an oil boom would bring bring benefits to California.

Click  here   to read the full story.

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EIA downgrades California's Monterey shale by 96 percent

By Bob Downing Published: May 21, 2014

From Clean Water Action and Earthworks:

Statement of Clean Water Action California Director Miriam Gordon:

"The downgrade of production ability of the Monterey Shale really negates the Governor's claim that we need to develop Monterey Shale resources to transition California away from foreign oil. Now it's even more imperative for the state to press pause on the fracking button and support a moraotrium as proposed by SB 1132 (Mitchell), especially since fracking causes huge methane releases and uses significant quantities of freshwater. "

Statement of Earthworks Executive Director Jennifer Krill:

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China, Australia likely to be major shale players, study says

By Bob Downing Published: May 20, 2014

From GlobatData on Tuesday:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

China and Australia Emerge as Major Upcoming Markets for Shale Developments, says GlobalData

LONDON, UK (GlobalData), 20 May 2014 - The development of unconventional oil and gas resources is gaining momentum across the world, with China and Australia becoming two of the most important emerging markets for shale and Coal Bed Methane (CBM) exploration, says research and consulting firm GlobalData.

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Ohio has 865 Utica wells drilled, 401 producing wells

By Bob Downing Published: May 20, 2014

Ohio has approved 1,272 Utica shale permits, as of May 17.

That includes 865 Utica wells that have been drilled and 401 Utica wells that are producing, reports the Ohio Department of Natural Resource' Division of Oil & Gas Resources Management.

The 20 new wells are: two, Belmont County; four, Carroll County; five, Harrison County; and nine, Noble County

.

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Portage County group holding water testing on June 1

By Bob Downing Published: May 20, 2014

A press release:

Free Quarterly Water Monitoring Conducted by Concerned Citizens Ohio/Shalersville Group

New Location: 4311 State Route 303, Sand Hill Stable, (just west of 44 on 303), Shalersville/Ravenna

Time: 3:15 June 1

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Shale development aids public finances, Duke researcher says

By Bob Downing Published: May 20, 2014

From Duke University today:

SHALE DEVELOPMENT GENERALLY HELPS LOCAL GOVERNMENT COFFERS

DURHAM, N.C. -- Oil and gas development from shale fields has generally helped the public finances of local communities, providing new revenues and resources that usually -- but not always -- outweigh the increased demand for public services and other costs, according to a new analysis from two Duke University researchers.

Daniel Raimi and Richard Newell gathered data from communities surrounding 10 oil and gas “plays” from September 2013 through February 2014, traveling to Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Montana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming to interview local officials and collect information firsthand.

The report, which appears online (http://energy.duke.edu/shalepublicfinance), describes major revenue sources for local governments, which can include property taxes, sales taxes and state-collected severance taxes or fees that are sent back to the local level. Some local governments also partner with oil and gas companies to help maintain roads, an approach that helped reduce expenses associated with heavy truck traffic in states including Arkansas, Colorado and Pennsylvania.

New costs for local governments associated with oil and gas development, include damage to roads from heavy truck traffic, water and sewer service expansion, government staffing and other needs brought on by rapid population growth.

The researchers found that the net impact of recent oil and gas development has generally been positive for local public finances. However, many local governments in western North Dakota and eastern Montana, near the Bakken shale formation, have thus far experienced net negative fiscal effects. Also, some municipalities in rural parts of Colorado and Wyoming struggled to manage rapid population growth as natural gas production accelerated in the mid-to-late 2000s.

“The fiscal effects for local governments tend to vary from state to state, but we found that for most of them new revenues were outweighing new demand for services,” said Newell, director of the Duke University Energy Initiative and Gendell Professor of Energy and Environmental Economics at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

The research is a snapshot of the fiscal impact to date in the eight states and does not examine the long-term economic impact to governments and the communities they serve, a question the authors say is important and needs additional study.

Newell and Raimi found net positive fiscal effects in regions where oil and gas booms were ongoing or had slowed in recent years, as well as in regions that experienced different scales of activity. This includes local governments in diverse regions where population density and government capacity vary substantially.

“One of the key questions is how these fiscal effects change over time," said Raimi, an associate in research with Duke’s Energy Initiative. "In very rural areas, some local governments have faced challenges when development first surges. In many cases, those challenges faded over time. In most other areas, we found net positive or at least roughly neutral financial effects on local government.”

“In some parts of North Dakota, populations have doubled, tripled or even quadrupled just in the past few years," Raimi said. "For local governments in these areas, it’s hard to keep up with the demand for services, especially costly infrastructure projects such as sewer and water treatment plants.”
The report is the first of a series of publications to be produced by the Shale Public Finance Project, an effort led by Newell with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The project’s website (http://energy.duke.edu/shalepublicfinance) provides additional information, including interactive maps and a blog about sites visited during the research.

# # #

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Hess Corp. unveils expanded natural gas plant in North Dakota

By Bob Downing Published: May 20, 2014

From the Associated Press:

By Josh Wood


 Oil conglomerate Hess Corp. on Monday showed off its upgraded gas plant in Tioga to North Dakota officials.

Hess Chief Operating Officer Greg Hill said the upgrades have allowed it to increase how much natural gas it captures, rather than flaring it. Oil companies sometimes burn off natural gas where it’s found, rather than gathering it and processing it for the market, because they lack the infrastructure to handle it.

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Federal agency looking at health of workers involved in fracking

By Bob Downing Published: May 19, 2014

From Bloomberg News today:

By Jim Efstathiou Jr.

The Obama administration is investigating the health risks of hydraulic fracturing after at least four deaths among oilfield workers since 2010 in North Dakota and Montana.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health said the workers were exposed to high levels of volatile hydrocarbons during the drilling process known as fracking.

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Frackfree Mahoning Valley to address Youngstown City Council

By Bob Downing Published: May 19, 2014

From Frackfree Mahoning Valley today:

Youngstown, Ohio, May 19, 2014 – Calling attention to a new radioactive waste facility in the heart of Youngstown and a new fracking waste injection well operation in Weathersfield Township, near Youngstown, concerned citizens of Frackfree Mahoning Valley (FFM) and supporters have signed up to speak at the Youngstown City Council, on Wednesday, May 21, 2014, during the public input part of the Youngstown City Council meeting.The meeting is scheduled to start at 5:30 PM at the Youngstown City Hall, 26 S. Phelps St., according to the Youngstown city website.

Frackfree Mahoning Valley says that the issue of toxic, radioactive fracking waste is not only a local issue, it is a national issue that is resonating more and more every day, and rightly so. FFM asks: Where are all of the millions of gallons of toxic fracking waste and solid waste that fracking is generating going to go? Much of it is coming to Ohio while other states are banning it, or trying to ban it, such as Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York.Why is it coming to Ohio? There is no good, workable solution for handling this toxic, often radioactive fracking waste. Ohio is not a waste dump. Ohioans are not expendable; no one is expendable. The only moral solution is to stop generating fracking waste since there is no good or safe way to contain it or to dispose of it. Public health, safety and the public interest must come first, according to Frackfree Mahoning Valley.

Frackfree Mahoning Valley hopes that numerous Youngstown and surrounding community concerned citizens attend this very important May 21 City Council meeting to hear about the radioactive waste facility that has recently been allowed in the heart of Youngstown.This development has enormous implications not only for Youngstown, but also for the surrounding area, says FFM.

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New Pittsburgh center gets first applicant for drilling review

By Bob Downing Published: May 19, 2014

The new Pittsburgh-based Center for Sustainable Shale Development has its first applicant seeking certification for using acceptable drilling methods.

The center, citing its policy, will not identify the driller until the review process has been completed, officials said.

The center has come under fire from some industry and some environmental groups.

Click  here  to read the latest story.

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Chart Industries, Shell opening 20 LNG fueling stations

By Bob Downing Published: May 19, 2014

From a recently discovered email from Cleveland's Chart Industries:

 Shell Opens First of 20 Liquefied Natural Gas(LNG) Fueling
Stations With Chart Industries Equipment

CLEVELAND, May 5, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Chart Industries, Inc.
(Nasdaq:GTLS), a leading independent global manufacturer of highly
engineered equipment used in the production, storage and end-use of
hydrocarbon and industrial gases, announced today the opening of the
first of 20 retail liquefied natural gas (LNG) fueling stations it has
been selected by Shell to design, manufacture and commission.

The Ontario, Calif. station will be open to the public and features two
fueling lanes that will sell LNG to heavy-duty road transport
customers. The remaining contracted LNG fueling stations will be built
across North America in a phased approach, based on customer demand at
existing truck stop sites with the intention of adding dispensers
alongside existing diesel fueling lanes.

"Our strategic partnership with Shell to expand the nationwide LNG
fueling network is evidence of the demand for alternative fuels from
commercial customers," said Bill Haukoos, President of Chart
Distribution & Storage Americas. "Chart has a strong reputation for
innovative, customer-focused solutions and we've worked extensively to
design and build a station to meet Shell's request for a new global
standard in LNG fueling."

The LNG fueling stations will be fully automatic, have a low working
pressure and be sized to fill 100 to 150 trucks per day with two LNG
dispensers. The 20 fueling stations were ordered in 2013.

Chart Industries is a worldwide leader in LNG equipment, positioned to
address the entire LNG equipment supply chain including small-, mid-,
and global-scale LNG liquefaction plants, complete LNG fueling
stations, LNG transport equipment, and on-board LNG vehicle fuel
systems. Chart's equipment is used in hundreds of LNG fueling systems
and is branded with decades of global experience, quality workmanship
and reliable customer service. To learn more, visit www.ChartLNG.com.

Chart is a leading independent global manufacturer of highly engineered
equipment used in the production, storage and end-use of hydrocarbon
and industrial gases. The majority of Chart's products are used
throughout the liquid gas supply chain for purification, liquefaction,
distribution, storage and end-use applications, the largest portion of
which are energy-related. Chart has domestic operations located across
the United States and an international presence in Asia, Australia and
Europe. For more information, visit: http://www.chartindustries.com.

 

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API pleased by progress on permitting Cove Point LNG facility

By Bob Downing Published: May 19, 2014

From the American Petroleum Institute last week:

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2014 ─ API Director of Upstream and Industry Operations Erik Milito underscored the strategic and economic value of American energy exports after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today issued an Environmental Assessment for the liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility in Cove Point, Maryland.

“The technology-driven revolution in U.S. oil and natural gas production has opened the door to export opportunities that could create thousands of jobs in Maryland and around the country,” said Milito. “The Cove Point project has been under review for nearly two years, and it has the strong support of Maryland voters who understand that it will strengthen the state’s economy, as well as America’s position as a major energy supplier to our allies around the world. After the 30-day comment period, we urge federal regulators to quickly approve the facility, making it only the second LNG export project to have both Department of Energy and FERC authorization. With over 60 foreign projects already planned or under construction, there is a global race to build this infrastructure, and Cove Point could play an important role in securing America’s trade advantage as the world’s top natural gas producer.”

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

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Devon Energy vice president Vince White set to retire Aug. 8

By Bob Downing Published: May 19, 2014

From Oklahoma-based Devon Energy last week:

OKLAHOMA CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 16, 2014-- Devon Energy Corporation (NYSE: DVN) today announced the retirement of Vince White , senior vice president, communications and investor relations. White is scheduled to retire August 8, 2014 .

Since joining Devon in 1993, White has directed the company’s investor relations programs as the company has grown from a small independent exploration and production company to a member of the Fortune 500. During that period, White managed the company’s relationships with key stakeholder groups through numerous mergers and acquisitions, divestitures and corporate financing activities.

“We thank Vince for his dedication to our mission and his many contributions to our success,” said John Richels , Devon’s president and chief executive officer. “Vince’s leadership of our investor relations and communications programs has been outstanding in every respect, with an uncompromised commitment to integrity.”

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1st NRG is still planning with partner for first Utica well

By Bob Downing Published: May 19, 2014

From Colorado-based 1st NRG Corp. last week:

DENVER, CO--(Marketwired - May 15, 2014) - 1st NRG Corp. (OTC Pink: FNRC) ( PINKSHEETS : FNRC ) is an exploration and production company currently engaged in the development of natural gas producing properties in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming. Headquartered in Denver Colorado, our focus has been centered on our coal bed methane reserves where we hold a working interest in 42 producing wells, 8 permitted locations and 3,300 undeveloped acres. The Company is expanding its activities into one of North America's most exciting shale plays participating in a development of prospective acreage in SE Ohio encompassing approximately 7,000 acres.

The United States natural gas stocks are currently 982 BCF behind the historical five year average for storage levels and according to the EIA figures, in 2013 the United States averaged a withdrawal of 1.5 bcf/d for the year. Also in 2013, seasonal injections averaged approximately 9.5 bcf/d. So, in order to return to the five year average storage levels during this injection season, the United States needs to inject an additional 4.5 bcf/d for an average total injection rate of 15 bcf/. Currently the United States produces approximately 67.7 bcf/d and according to the EIA, natural gas consumption averaged 71.3 bcf/d in 2013. The shortfall between produced natural gas and consumption has been met historically by imports which averaged 8.5 bcf/d in 2013. What appears to be a tightening gas market is reflected in the overall price for natural gas, and more specifically in the Powder River Basin where we saw an average $1.67/mcf higher in the quarter ended March 31, 2014 when compared to the quarter one year earlier ended March 31, 2013.

At Clabaugh Ranch we have been slowing advancing toward the highly anticipated initial production from the 42-15 well drilled in December 2013. Infrastructure access issues have hampered our progress and the current operator of the field has been unresponsive to our requests and proposals. This lack of cooperation has pushed the Company to pursue other gathering, water disposal and electricity solutions. We are awaiting approval for our pending applications to use the ARID tool for water disposal, we have made arrangements for power and we are discussing our options to transport our natural gas production with three different gathering companies. The delay, while frustrating, will benefit the Company in the longer term as we will be in complete control of our expenses and operations.

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Chesapeake Energy still loves Ohio's Utica shale

By Bob Downing Published: May 16, 2014

Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy Corp, really likes Ohio’s Utica shale.

That message was repeated several times by vice president Chris Doyle at the company’s Analyst Day 2014 on Friday in Oklahoma City.

Analysts may have had a difficult time gauging the Utica shale because of the lack of data and production delays, and Chesapeake has said little about the shale in eastern Ohio, he said. But Chesapeake is very pleased by what it is seeing, Doyle said on a teleconference.

He called the Utica shale "the newest world-class asset in the portfolio of Chesapeake."

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Norway supplies 20 percent of Europe's natural gas needs

By Bob Downing Published: May 16, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

 

Norway is the world's third-largest natural gas exporter, after Russia and Qatar. In 2013, Norway supplied 21% of total European natural gas needs. Norway's natural gas reaches the Continent mainly via its extensive export pipeline infrastructure (see map below), while a small fraction is exported as liquefied natural gas (LNG) by tanker. The largest recipients of Norway's natural gas exports in 2013 were the United Kingdom, Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Belgium.

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Chesapeake Energy to spin off oilfield services business

By Bob Downing Published: May 16, 2014

From Chesapeake Energy Corp. today:

OKLAHOMA CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 16, 2014-- Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) today updated its currently anticipated 2014 asset sales and divestitures and the projected impact of such transactions on its 2014 Outlook. The company also introduced preliminary estimated ranges for its 2015 adjusted production growth and total capital expenditures. These items will be discussed in more detail at the company's 2014 Analyst Day event, to be held in Oklahoma City this morning.

Chesapeake continues to divest of noncore assets in order to focus its resources on its highest rate of return opportunities and reduce balance sheet leverage and complexity. The company currently anticipates the following transactions will be completed during the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2014.

Chesapeake to Proceed with the Spin-off of its Oilfield Services Business

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AEP: Industrial sales climbing due to Ohio shale drilling

By Bob Downing Published: May 16, 2014

American Electric Power, the Columbus-based energy giant, is doing well in the Utica shale drilling area of eastern Ohio.

It reported that sales of gigawatt hours increased 29 percent in first quarter 2014 from first quarter 2013, Columbus Business First reported.

That, the utility said, was due to shale drilling activities.

Industrial sales in nonshale counties fell by 0.4 percent.

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Heinz Foundation drops funds for Pittsburgh shale center

By Bob Downing Published: May 16, 2014

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on Wednesday that the Heinz Endowments are no longer funding the Pittsburgh-based Center for Sustainable Shale Development.

The Heinz Endowments had provided a start-up grant for the controversial center that has come under fire from some industry and some environmental folks.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Bakken oil doesn't need special treatment, industry study says

By Bob Downing Published: May 16, 2014

 Despite several fiery mishaps involving fuel produced in North Dakota's Bakken energy patch, cargo from the region does not need special handling when it moves on the tracks, the leading voice for U.S. refiners said on Wednesday.

The American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), the trade group for the country's refiners, funded a third-party study of Bakken fuel that concluded the product is being handled properly, Reuters reported.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Senate backs N.J. ban on drilling wastes from other states

By Bob Downing Published: May 16, 2014

From the Associated Press this week:

The New Jersey Senate has voted to ban treating or storing waste products created by natural gas drillers.

The legislation approved Monday also stops the use of waste water from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for deicing or suppressing dust.

The Senate passed the bill by a 33-4 vote. It has not yet been considered by the Assembly.

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High Asian LNG prices to drop as production there grows

By Bob Downing Published: May 16, 2014

From GlobalData this week:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Asia-Pacific LNG Prices to Erode in the Near Future, as Production Increases in the Region, says GlobalData Analyst

LONDON, UK (GlobalData), 15 May 2014 - High Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) prices across Asia-Pacific (APAC) are expected to continue in the near term; however, there are increasing signs that they will erode as a result of rising APAC LNG production, US exports and the region’s diversification of energy supplies, says an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData.

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Oklahoma confers with California on earthquake threats

By Bob Downing Published: May 16, 2014

The number of small earthquakes in Oklahoma is on the increase, and concern is also rising.

Agencies have predicted that Oklahoma is likely to soon encounter a bigger quake.

Oklahoma officials are especially concerned about its bridges and quakes and has been conferring with California state officials who are more familiar with earthquakes impacting infrastructure.

Click  here  to read more.

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Dominion welcomes favorable FERC ruling on Cove Point

By Bob Downing Published: May 15, 2014

From Dominion in response to critics of the plan to build an LNG export facility at Cove Point, Maryland:

“Many of these arguments have been dismissed in previous cases by the courts. There is nothing new here," the company said of today's criticism.

Here is the company's statement:

 

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Groups knock FERC review of Cove Point LNG export facility

By Bob Downing Published: May 15, 2014

From Earthjustice and a coalition of other environmental, public interest and community groups today:

Groups Slam Federal Regulators over Flawed Environmental Review of Cove Point LNG Export Facility

 

Controversial project would hike energy costs, threaten public safety, speed fracking and climate change, harm Chesapeake Bay

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Shale boom triggers 28-year high in U.S. crude production

By Bob Downing Published: May 15, 2014

From Bloomberg News on Wednesday:

By Mark Shenk

U.S. crude production climbed to a 28-year high last week as the shale boom moved the world’s biggest oil-consuming country closer to energy independence.

Output rose 78,000 barrels a day to 8.428 million, the most since October 1986, according to Energy Information Administration data. The combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has unlocked supplies from shale formations in the central U.S., including the Bakken in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford in Texas.

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Permian Basin tops for oil-directed horizontal rigs in quarter

By Bob Downing Published: May 15, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

 

The Permian Basin, a long time oil- and natural gas-producing region in West Texas and southeastern New Mexico, has seen a significant increase in horizontal oil-directed drilling activity over the past five months. This trend began at the start of 2013, and accelerated from the week ending on December 27, 2013, to the week ending on May 9, 2014. During this time, the number of horizontal, oil-directed rigs in the Permian Basin rose by 63 rigs, 50% of the total increase in the United States. This growth was heavily concentrated in counties in the Permian Basin containing formations with high production potential.

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Hagan votes against Ohio severance tax proposal

By Bob Downing Published: May 15, 2014

From Ohio state Rep. Robert Hagan, D-Youngstown, on Wednesday:

COLUMBUS –State Rep. Robert F. Hagan (D-Youngstown) today voted against House Bill 375, legislation that the tax rate on oil and gas drilling to largely pay for an income tax cut in Ohio.

 

“Instead of investing in infrastructure, public safety and education in the communities adversely affected by the oil and gas industry, the Republican legislature has decided to gift the wealthiest Ohioans with an income tax cut,” said Rep. Hagan. “The severance tax rate in HB 375 is puny compared to other major shale states and wildly misguided in how it allocates the revenue raised from fracking.”

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OOGA urges Ohio Senate to approve severance tax

By Bob Downing Published: May 15, 2014

From the Ohio Oil and Gas Association on Wednesday:


 


From Thomas E. Stewart, executive vice president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association:

Today’s approval of House Bill 375 demonstrates that compromise remains an important part of the legislative process. We appreciate the efforts of the bill’s sponsors and managers for tackling a difficult issue and bringing all parties together to reach reasonable solutions.

While we have concerns about aspects of the bill, which will increase the severance tax to 2.5 percent, we remain supportive of the legislation and urge swift approval by the Ohio Senate.

The ultimate passage of HB 375 will provide oil and gas producers the necessary clarity and certainty to continue investing billions into developing the state’s Utica Shale for the benefit of all Ohioans.

About the Ohio Oil and Gas Association
The Ohio Oil and Gas Association is a trade association with more than 3,200 members who are actively engaged in the exploration, development and production of crude oil and natural gas within the state of Ohio. For more information, visit www.ooga.org.

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Ohio House approves severance tax, Senate vote next

By Bob Downing Published: May 15, 2014

From the Associated Press on Wednesday:

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — After years of debate, a tax compromise backed by the oil and gas industry cleared the Republican-led state House on Wednesday amid criticism from Democrats who said it failed to adequately protect local communities and the environment and from Gov. John Kasich, who wanted a bigger tax hike.

Kasich, a Republican who has tried previously to raise taxes on the industry, said the compromise doesn’t raise enough revenue to cover a statewide income tax break.

The legislation passed the House, 55-35, one day after it cleared a committee by one vote. It goes next to the Senate.

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Utica shale drilling slowly moving into northern West Virginia

By Bob Downing Published: May 15, 2014

Utica shale drilling is slowly moving into northern West Virginia.

The shale there is deeper than in Ohio and that makes it more expensive and frisky for drillers.

Click  here  to read the latest story by Casey Junkins of the Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register.

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Attorney to address landowner issues in June 5 talk

By Bob Downing Published: May 15, 2014

From the Carroll Concerned Citizens:

 

CARROLLTON, OHIO: As the shale gas boom in the Utica moves through other phases, many landowners have questions and/or concerns about what comes next and how to best protect their rights. Attorney Alan Wenger will speak at the Thursday June 5 Carroll Concerned Citizens (CCC) meeting about what his firm, Harrington, Hoppe & Mitchel, LTD, is now seeing in the shale gas legal arena.

Attorney Wenger has substantial experience in shale gas leasing and working for landowner rights specifically in Carroll and surrounding counties. He has been credited with crafting some of the group leases that provided greater landowner protections and better business terms. His firm is now helping landowners with other aspects of living on the Utica.

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Institute to look into health impacts of shale drilling

By Bob Downing Published: May 15, 2014

From the Boston-based Health Effects Institute today:

HEI Special Committee to Develop a Scientific Research Plan on Potential Impacts of Unconventional Oil and Gas Development

(BOSTON, MA) In response to a growing need to improve the understanding of potential impacts of recent increases in gas and oil development, the Health Effects Institute (HEI)[1] has convened a special committee of experts to develop a strategic plan to guide future research on the potential health and environmental impacts of unconventional oil and gas development in the Appalachian Basin. This initiative, supported by a number of foundations[2] in the region, aims to produce a summary appraisal of what we know today by late 2014, and a strategic plan to answer key questions by the middle of 2015.

 With the expansion of shale gas development in the Appalachian region and across the nation has come controversy over possible effects on people and the environment. In response to concerns about natural gas and oil extraction in the region, 26 leaders from government, industry, academia, environmental groups, and civil society established the Pennsylvania-based Shale Gas Roundtable (http://iop.pitt.edu/shalegas/). In 2013, this group emphasized the need for “efforts to increase balanced research and rigorous monitoring of the possible impacts of unconventional oil and gas development” and sought HEI’s advice, identifying it as “uniquely well suited” to engage in the shale oil and gas area. In agreeing to pursue this important area, HEI Board Chair Richard Celeste noted that “the HEI model of providing independent, high-quality research in controversial circumstances is ideal for work in the complex and challenging arena of shale oil and gas extraction.”

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Shale gas won't reduce greenhouse emissions, researchers say

By Bob Downing Published: May 14, 2014

From Duke University:

DURHAM, N.C. -- While natural gas can reduce greenhouse emissions when it is substituted for higher-emission energy sources, abundant shale gas is not likely to substantially alter total emissions without policies targeted at greenhouse gas reduction, a pair of Duke researchers find.

If natural gas is abundant and less expensive, it will encourage greater natural gas consumption and less of fuels such as coal, renewables and nuclear power. The net effect on the climate will depend on whether the greenhouse emissions from natural gas -- including carbon dioxide and methane -- are lower or higher than emissions avoided by reducing the use of those other energy sources.

Most evidence indicates that natural gas as a substitute for coal in electricity production, gasoline in transport, and electricity in buildings decreases greenhouse gases. But natural gas production and consumption has higher emissions than renewables and nuclear power.

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Foundation gives grant to Pittsburgh sustainable shale center

By Bob Downing Published: May 14, 2014

From a press release today:

PITTSBURGH, Pa., May 14, 2014 – The Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD) announced the Richard King Mellon Foundation has awarded the Center a two-year grant in support of its certification program and public engagement initiatives. CSSD was formed by a group of leading environmental organizations, philanthropic foundations and energy companies, which have partnered to provide natural gas producers in the Appalachian Basin with certification to a set of collaboratively developed, leading-edge performance standards for shale development.

 

“The support we have received from the Richard King Mellon Foundation will be leveraged to help CSSD fulfill its mission to advance transparent and prudent shale development,” said Susan LeGros, Executive Director of CSSD. “We are honored and encouraged that one of the country’s leading philanthropic organizations with such a strong heritage in investing in this region has joined us in support of implementing our third-party certification program and our efforts to inform the public about ways to address risk.”

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North Dakota hits all-time record for daily oil production

By Bob Downing Published: May 14, 2014

North Dakota's oil production from the Bakken shale hit an all-time high in March, the state reported.

The total was 977,051 42-gallons per day.

That is a 2.6 percent increase from February.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Ohio House to vote on 2.5-percent severance tax on drillers

By Bob Downing Published: May 14, 2014

From the Associated Press today:

The Ohio House is preparing to vote on legislation raising Ohio’s tax on oil and gas drilling.

The measure cleared a committee by a single vote despite objections from Democrats and anti-tax Republicans. The full House is expected to vote Wednesday.

The bill imposes a 2.5-percent severance tax on horizontal wells, including those extracting resources through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. That tax is less than the 4 percent Republican Gov. John Kasich (KAY’-sik) wanted but more than the industry would’ve liked.

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ProPublica: Ohio takes a muted approach to drilling rules

By Bob Downing Published: May 13, 2014

From ProPublica today:

In Fracking Hotbed, a Muted Approach to Regulation

Last year, Ohio legislators had an opportunity to better monitor the state's vast amounts of toxic fracking material, much of it brought into Ohio from neighboring states. However, despite calls to require rigorous testing for contamination, Gov. John Kasich and the state legislature signed off on measures that require just a fraction of the waste to be subjected to such oversight,
ProPublica's Naveena Sadasivam reports.

Environmentalists claim the modest move is colored by the state's interest in promoting fracking. Oil and gas drilling is big business in Ohio, responsible for tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in investments, Sadasivam writes. And being able to easily dump fracking waste within Ohio spares drilling operators one of their greatest expenses -- trucking the waste elsewhere.

Key takeaways from Sadasivam's report:

Read her full report here - http://www.propublica.org/article/in-fracking-hotbed-a-muted-approach-to-regulation. It's free to reprint under ProPublica's Creative Commons license.
 

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64 eco-groups ask EPA to set pollution limits on oil, gas wells

By Bob Downing Published: May 13, 2014

From Earthjustice today:

WASHINGTON, DC – A large coalition of 64 local, state and national groups filed a petition today urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect public health by setting pollution limits on oil and gas wells and associated equipment in population centers around the U.S.

 

The public interest law organization Earthjustice filed the petition on behalf of local and national groups with members and constituents across the U.S., including Clean Air Council, Clean Air Taskforce, Downwinders at Risk, Environmental Defense Fund, Global Community Monitor, Natural Resources Defense Council, Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles, Sierra Club, and WildEarth Guardians. The petition explains why the EPA should issue rules that would require oil and gas companies to limit toxic air pollution from oil and gas wells in urban, suburban and other populated areas as the Clean Air Act expressly provides.

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Gastar Exploration working on first Utica well in W. Va.

By Bob Downing Published: May 13, 2014

From Gastar Exploration last week:

HOUSTON , May 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Gastar Exploration Inc. (NYSE MKT: GST) (" Gastar ") today reported financial and operating results for the three months ended March 31, 2014 .

Net loss attributable to Gastar's common stockholders for the first quarter of 2014 was $2.0 million , or a loss of $0.03 per share. Excluding the impact of a $3.2 million loss resulting from the mark-to-market of outstanding hedge positions and non-recurring corporate restructuring charges of $235,000 , adjusted net income attributable to common stockholders was $1.4 million , or $0.02 per diluted share. This compares to a first quarter 2013 net loss of $4.6 million , or a loss of $0.07 per share, and adjusted net income of $6.1 million , or $0.10 per diluted share, excluding the impact of a $9.6 million loss resulting from the mark-to-market of outstanding hedge positions and litigation settlement expense and non-recurring corporate restructuring charges of $1.0 million . (See the accompanying reconciliation of net income (loss) to net income (loss) excluding special items at the end of this news release.)

Adjusted earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation, depletion and amortization ("adjusted EBITDA") for the first quarter of 2014 was $25.9 million , an increase of 71% compared to adjusted EBITDA of $15.1 million for the first quarter of 2013 and a 22% increase over adjusted fourth quarter 2013 results. (See the accompanying reconciliation of net income (loss) to adjusted EBITDA at the end of this news release.)

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Romania to strengthen royalty payments for oil, gas operations

By Bob Downing Published: May 13, 2014

From GlobalData today:

Romania to Strengthen Royalties Payments for Oil and Gas Operations, But Fiscal Regime Expected to Remain Attractive, says GlobalData

LONDON, UK (GlobalData), 13 May 2014 - Romania’s upstream oil and gas industry currently benefits from an attractive fiscal regime; however, significant changes are expected in the medium term as royalty-stability agreements and temporary taxes expire, says a new report from research and consulting firm GlobalData.

The company’s report* states that one important change due to occur in Romania’s fiscal regime is an increase in royalties. The country’s current royalty rates of between 3.5% and 13% were introduced in 2004 and were covered by a 10-year stability agreement. Since this agreement ends at the end of 2014, the Romanian government is seeking to raise the royalties received from oil and gas production.

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Ohio has drilled 849 Utica wells with 399 wells in production

By Bob Downing Published: May 13, 2014

Ohio has approved 1,262 Utica shale permits, as of May 10.

That includes 849 Utica wells that have been drilled and 399 that are in production, says the Ohio Department of Natural resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management.

Ohio has 39 rigs at work.

The 19 new permits include one in Belmont County, three in Carroll County, one in Columbiana County, five in Guernsey County, five in Harrison County, one in Jefferson County and three in Noble County.

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Texas commission doubts link between fracking, quakes

By Bob Downing Published: May 13, 2014

From the Associated Press:

The panel that regulates the Texas oil and gas industry is waiting for more information before will accept that there are any links between increased seismic activity and drilling activity — especially hydraulic fracturing, its executive director told lawmakers on Monday.

The Texas Railroad Commission was reviewing how it regulates wells used for storing wastewater from drilling, Milton Rister, the commission’s executive director, told the Texas House Subcommittee on Seismic Activity.

Rister declined to offer specifics and gave a warning to the lawmakers.

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Rice Energy offers look at Marcellus, Utica wells

By Bob Downing Published: May 13, 2014

From Rice Energy today:

CANONSBURG, Pa., May 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Rice Energy Inc. (NYSE: RICE) today announced financial and operational results for the quarter ended March 31, 2014.

Unless otherwise indicated, information presented in this release gives pro forma effect to (i) our initial public offering and the completion of the corporate reorganization in connection with our initial public offering and (ii) the consummation of our acquisition of the remaining 50% interest in our Marcellus joint venture from Alpha Natural Resources, Inc., each of which was completed on January 29, 2014, as if such transactions had been completed on the first day of the period presented.

Highlights

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Charges of criminal negligence filed on Quebec rail accident

By Bob Downing Published: May 13, 2014

From the Associated Press:

By Rob Gillies
Three employees of the railway company involved in last summer's runaway oil train disaster that killed 47 people are due to appear in court Tuesday to face criminal negligence charges in the small Quebec town that was partially incinerated by exploding tanker cars.

The charges come about 10 months after more than 60 of the tankers carrying oil from North Dakota came loose in the middle of the night, sped downhill for nearly seven miles (11 kilometers) and derailed in the town of Lac-Megantic in eastern Quebec. At least five of the tankers exploded, leveling about 30 buildings, including a popular bar that was filled with revelers last July 6.

The Quebec provincial prosecutor’s office said 47 counts of criminal negligence have been filed against engineer Thomas Harding, manager of train operations Jean Demaitre, and Richard Labrie, the railway’s traffic controller, as well as against the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway Ltd., the defunct railway at the heart of the disaster. The charges represent one count for each person killed and are the first criminal charges brought in the disaster. Criminal negligence that causes death can result in a jail sentence of up to life imprisonment in Canada.

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Brown letter to Obama: LNG exports could hurt consumers

By Bob Downing Published: May 13, 2014

A press release/letter from U.s. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, on Monday:

IN LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA, BROWN JOINS GROUP OF 22 SENATORS URGING ENERGY DEPARTMENT TO TAKE STEPS TO PROTECT AMERICAN MANUFACTURERS AND CONSUMERS FROM DRASTIC INCREASE IN NATURAL GAS PRICES

Nearly 70 Percent of Domestic Liquefied Natural Gas is Shipped to Countries like China, India, Japan, and South Korea, Potentially Undermining Growth In American Manufacturing, Raising Rates On American Consumers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — With American consumers and businesses depending on affordable and reliable natural gas to power their companies and heat their homes, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today joined a group of 22 Senators calling on President Obama to take steps to ensure the price of domestic natural gas is not impacted by increased exports. With nearly 70 percent of global liquefied natural gas being shipped to Asian counties where natural gas prices are three to four times higher than domestic prices, the growth of American manufacturing and affordable home heating supplies could be drastically impacted if large-scale exports continue to rapidly increase.

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Utica East Ohio growing to handle McClendon's company

By Bob Downing Published: May 12, 2014

A gas-processing plant under construction in southwest Carroll County will soon be expanded.

That announcement came on Monday from Texas-based EV Energy Partners LP in a press release and an earnings call with analysts and the media.

The new plan calls for Utica East Ohio to expand the Leesville natural gas-processing plant with the addition of a second train or unit to process the natural gas from Ohio’s Utica shale.

That would double the plant’s capacity from 200 million to 400 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.

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EV Energy Partners announces Ohio midstream expansion

By Bob Downing Published: May 12, 2014

From EV Energy Partners today:

HOUSTON , May 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- EV Energy Partners, L.P. (NASDAQ: EVEP) today announced results for the first quarter of 2014 and the filing of its Form 10-Q with the Securities and Exchange Commission . In addition, EVEP announced an expansion of the Utica East Ohio ("UEO") midstream services complex in Ohio and provided an update of EVEP's commodity hedge positions, which includes additional crude oil hedges entered into in March 2014 , as presented at the end of this release.

Utica Midstream Expansion

UEO announced plans to increase its nameplate processing capacity to 1.0 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), up from its current nameplate capacity of 800 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d). UEO is a joint venture owned 49 percent by Access Midstream Partners, L.P., 30 percent by M3 Midstream LLC and 21 percent by EVEP.

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Ohio's short-haul rail lines benefitting from shale boom

By Bob Downing Published: May 12, 2014

The Utica shale boom is having a big impact on Ohio's short-haul rail lines in eastern Ohio.

They are benefitting in a big way  by hauling materials and products, says WKSU-FM.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Group reports that drilling has heavy impact on U.S. soils

By Bob Downing Published: May 12, 2014

Amy Mall of the Natural Resources Defense Council blogs about a May 4 Denver Post report from the Soil Science Society of America and its conclusion that drilling heavily impacts American soils.

Click  here  to read her post.

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North Dakota has highest rate of worker deaths, study says

By Bob Downing Published: May 12, 2014

From the Associated Press on Friday:

North Dakota has the highest rate of worker deaths in the nation, due in large part to the oil boom in the western part of the state in recent years, according to a new report from the AFL-CIO.

There were 44 worker deaths in North Dakota in 2011, for a rate of 12.4 deaths per 100,000 workers.

That was well above the national rate of 3.5 fatalities per 100,000 workers, the report said.

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Canadian science panel looks at risks posed by shale drilling

By Bob Downing Published: May 12, 2014

From the Council of Canadian Academies on April 30:

A new expert panel report, Environmental Impacts of Shale Gas Extraction in Canada, concludes that shale gas development must be supported by well-targeted science and management strategies to understand and mitigate potential impacts. The report, released today by the Council of Canadian Academies, addresses environmental and associated health impacts and offers insights regarding public engagement and trust.

Shale gas is leading an energy boom which is having profound economic, environmental, and social impacts across much of North America. Shale gas has been characterized as an energy “game changer” because it is abundant, often close to major markets, and relatively inexpensive to produce. As the world’s third-largest natural gas producer, fourth-largest exporter, and possessing vast shale gas resources of its own, Canada has a major stake in this new source of energy.

“For Canada, regional context matters. A one-size-fits-all approach will not work to address the various potential environmental impacts that may exist across Canada’s diverse regions,” said Elizabeth Dowdeswell, President of the Council of Canadian Academies. “As such, communities and decision-makers will need to consider potential environmental impacts within their own contexts and decision-making processes.”

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Spectra Energy proceeding with gas pipeline to Gulf Coast

By Bob Downing Published: May 12, 2014

Houston-based Spectra Energy Corp. is still on track for its $468 million Open Project pipeline from Ohio to the Gulf Coast.

“Marcellus and Utica have been a tremendous opportunity for Spectra,” said Bob Riga,  Spectra’s general manager of business development. “We have a number of different projects being driven by shale supplies.”

Spectra’s pipeline will carry dry natural gas – the light portion of natural gas that is mostly methane.

 Click  here  to read the full story by reporter Tom Knox of Columbus Business First.

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Eclipse Resources hopes to raise $100 million with IPO

By Bob Downing Published: May 12, 2014

Pennsylvania-based Eclipse Rsources is planning its initial public stock offering.

The company, one of the few private drillers in the Utica shale in eastern Ohio, says it hopes to raise $100 million.

It filed notice last week with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Eclipse operates in the Utica and Marcellus shales, holding 227,230 acres.

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Connecticut adopts compromise on handling drilling wastes

By Bob Downing Published: May 12, 2014

From the Associated Press last week:

Connecticut's Senate has endorsed a bipartisan compromise on how to handle the possibility of waste coming to Connecticut from hydraulic fracturing operations in other states.

 The legislation creates a moratorium on the waste being stored or disposed in the state until the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection adopts regulations on the matter. Under the bill, DEEP would have until July 1, 2017, to submit its proposed regulations to the General Assembly's Regulations Review Committee.

 Initially, lawmakers had considered an outright ban on drilling fluid and other waste generated as a byproduct of gas exploration, commonly known as fracking, in Connecticut. However, that proposal drew criticism from some lawmakers who considered the move premature and possibly unfair because the state is expanding a network of natural gas pipes and equipment while wanting to leave other states to clean up the waste.

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Additional details from Antero Resources' earnings call

By Bob Downing Published: May 10, 2014

Here are some interesting Utica shale tidbits from Colorado-based Antero Resources from this week’s earnings calls between energy companies and analysts:

Its Utica shale net production in the first quarter 2014 was 79 million cubic feet of natural gas equivalents per day, plus 5,200 barrels per day of liquids.

The company expects a 50 percent increase in the Utica to 120 million cubic feet of equivalents in the second quarter 2014.

Antero has five of the top 10 natural gas wells in Ohio including the most-productive gas well, the Gary 1-H in Monroe County.

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PDC Energy cleaning up oily fluid spill at Morgan County well

By Bob Downing Published: May 9, 2014

From the Associated Press:

A Colorado-based energy company was cleaning up hundreds of gallons of oily fluid that leaked into a nearby creek while it was drilling an oil and gas well in southeast Ohio.

An oil-based lubricant known as "mud" spewed from a well head Sunday during drilling for a hydraulic-fracturing well near Beverly, Ohio, just west of Marietta. About 1,600 gallons leaked from the drill site into a creek that is a tributary of the Muskingum River, said Heather Lauer, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

The spill thus far has been confined to that creek, Lauer said. The agency is overseeing the cleanup work, which is being performed by a contractor for Denver-based PDC Energy Inc., the site’s owner.

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Blue Racer moving forward on Monroe County gas plant

By Bob Downing Published: May 9, 2014

Blue Racer Midstream is seeking expedited Ohio approval at its proposed natural gas-processing plant in Monroe County.

The company is seeking approval to install electric lines from the Ohio Power Siting Board.

The plans call for work to begin in early June and be completed by August at Berne for the mew processing plant.

It would initially handle 200 million cubic feet of natural gas. Two additional units are planned, each handling an additiional 200 million cubic feet.

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CONSOL Energy names new president, CEO

By Bob Downing Published: May 9, 2014

From CONSOL Energy earlier this week:

PITTSBURGH , May 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- CONSOL Energy Inc. (NYSE: CNX) announced today that Nicholas J. DeIuliis has assumed the position of President and Chief Executive Officer. Former Chief Executive Officer, J. Brett Harvey , took the new position of Executive Chairman. In addition, Mr. DeIuliis was elected to CONSOL Energy's Board of Directors.

The previously announced changes became effective today at the company's Annual Meeting of Shareholders.

"Nick is well-prepared to lead CONSOL Energy into a very exciting chapter in our 150-year history, having already served as a critical member of the management team that skillfully steered the company through a transformative and important period of time," commented J. Brett Harvey . "Nick's vision, values and commitment to CONSOL Energy will be a strong asset to our shareholders, employees, customers and community partners moving forward."

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Here is today's U.S. EPA statement on chemical disclosure

By Bob Downing Published: May 9, 2014

From the U.S. EPA today:

 



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 9, 2014


EPA Seeking Public Comment on Enhancing Transparency for Chemicals and Mixtures Used in Hydraulic Fracturing

WASHINGTON -- EPA announced today that it will seek public comment on what information could be reported and disclosed for hydraulic fracturing chemicals and mixtures and the approaches for obtaining this information, including non-regulatory approaches. EPA is also soliciting input on incentives and recognition programs that could support the development and use of safer chemicals in hydraulic fracturing. A public process through an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) will help inform EPA’s efforts to promote the transparency and safety of unconventional oil and gas activities while strengthening protection of our air, water, land and communities.

“Today’s announcement represents an important step in increasing the public’s access to information on chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing activities,” said James Jones, EPA’s assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “EPA looks forward to hearing from the public and stakeholders about public disclosure of chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing, and we will continue working with our federal, state, local, and tribal partners to ensure that we complement but not duplicate existing reporting requirements.”

EPA’s ANPR includes a list of questions for stakeholders and the public to consider as they develop their comments. Following the 90-day comment period, the agency will evaluate the submitted comments as it considers appropriate next steps. Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemakings are intended to engage the public and solicit comments and/or information from the public for EPA’s consideration in addressing a particular issue, including information that EPA could consider in developing non-regulatory approaches or a proposed rule .

Read EPA’s ANPR: http://www.epa.gov/oppt/chemtest/pubs/prepub_hf_anpr_14t-0069_2014-05-09.pdf

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U.S. EPA moving to new federal fracking disclosure process

By Bob Downing Published: May 9, 2014

From Bloomberg News today:

May 9 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took the first formal step toward requiring oil and gas drillers to disclose the chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

The agency today announced the start of a process that could result in companies being forced to report to the government, and possibly the public, the chemicals they add to sand and water to break apart shale rock and release oil and gas trapped deep underground. The government also said it is considering ways to encourage the development and use of safer chemicals in fracking.

"Today’s announcement represents an important step in increasing the public’s access to information on chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing," James Jones, the EPA’s assistant administrator for chemical safety, said in a statement. Rules worked out with state and local agencies will "complement but not duplicate existing reporting requirements," he said.

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EnerVest, FourPoint acquire Anadarko Basin properties

By Bob Downing Published: May 9, 2014

From wire report earlier this week:

HOUSTON, May 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- EnerVest, Ltd., and its institutional partnerships along with its joint venture partner, FourPoint Energy, LLC, today announced the acquisition of $275 million in producing properties in the Western Anadarko Basin from an undisclosed seller. The acquisition is expected to close on or before June 30, 2014, and is subject to customary closing conditions and purchase price adjustments.

The deal includes acreage and producing wells in the Granite Wash formation in Hansford, Hemphill, Ochiltree, Roberts and Wheeler counties in Texas and Beckham, Custer, Dewey, Ellis, Roger Mills and Washita counties in Oklahoma.

The properties and production include:

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Magnum Hunter Resources releases quarterly report

By Bob Downing Published: May 9, 2014

From Magnum Hunter Resources today:

 

HOUSTON, TX--(Marketwired - May 9, 2014) - Magnum Hunter Resources Corporation ( NYSE : MHR ) ( NYSE MKT : MHR.PRC ) ( NYSE MKT : MHR.PRD ) ( NYSE MKT : MHR.PRE ) (the "Company" or "Magnum Hunter") announced today financial and operating results for the three months ended March 31, 2014. The Company plans to file its Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2014 with the Securities and Exchange Commission later today. First quarter highlights of the Company's financial and operating results include the following:

(a) See Non-GAAP Financial Measures and Reconciliations below

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Analysts offer look at changes imposed by Gulfport Energy

By Bob Downing Published: May 9, 2014

From New York-based Sterne Agee analysts on Gulfport Energy:

GULFPORT ENERGY CORP. (NASDAQ: GPOR) Flash Note
RATING: BUY
Price: $73.04
Price Target: $87.00

Analysts: Tim Rezvan, CFA (212) 338-4736 / Truman Hobbs (212) 338-4767
New CEO Guts '14 Guidance. Infrastructure Delays, Widespread Use of Managed Choke Program Cited. We Would Buy the Dip.

Our Call
With 1Q earnings, Gulfport sharply lowered '14 production growth guidance. Updated guidance (37-42 mboe/d, ~250% y/y growth) is well below prior guidance (55 mboe/d, 385% y/y growth). Drivers of the revision are: 1) delays on gas processing and gas gathering build-out, 2) use of a restricted choke flowback program across all Utica wells, and 3) a pause to build a well backlog to optimize service provider usage. We expect a sharp sell-off and would buy a dip that is unrelated to asset quality.

• 1Q Earnings Was a Non-Event After Prior Pre-Announcement. After pre-announcing 1Q production in April, Gulfport reported 1Q adjusted EPS of $0.20, in-line with our estimate and consensus. Adjusted EBITDA of $87.3 million was in-line with our estimate of $87.7 million, but below consensus of $91 million. Variance to our estimate was driven by higher cash and non-cash unit expense, offset by stronger commodity price realizations than expected. 1Q production averaged 27.1 mboe/d, in line with expectations after the April pre-announcement.

• CEO's First Act as Leader: Lower the Bar Dramatically. CEO Mike Moore reshaped the near-term growth trajectory, ratcheting down 2014 growth expectations to 250% y/y growth from 385% y/y growth. With 1Q production of 27 mboe/d, full-year production of 37-42 mboe/d sounds reasonable, given seven rigs running.

• Reasons for Guidance Cut. In cutting guidance, the company cited delays in the build-out of gas gathering lines from Markwest (MWE, $62.37, NR), impacting dry gas production growth, and stated that it was no longer certain that the Cadiz II cryogenic gas processing plant would be on-line on schedule in 3Q14. The company is also adopting a restricted choke program on all producing wells in the Utica, after initial success in the condensate window. Lastly, the company is trying to build an inventory of wells waiting on completion so it can optimize deployment of its services providers. We believe there is some credibility with all of these drivers, but note that the jarring form of delivery is sub-optimal. At a time when production growth from Ohio is starting its hyperbolic increase and the company appears on the cusp of demonstrating operational competency, a massive revision to growth expectations will sting investors.

• Prepare for a Bumpy Ride - We Would Be Greedy When Others Are Fearful. We will review our modeling work after Thursday's earnings call, but the sharp haircut to production clearly lowers the near-term earnings trajectory and will result in a reset to growth/earnings expectations across the Street. The question now posed to investors, one that will be answered by tracking GPOR's price action on Thursday, is this: Is the new CEO finally giving much-needed influence to corporate strategy and setting attainable hurdles? We argue the answer to this is yes. The pain from tomorrow's sell-off will be muted by execution toward this lower growth rate throughout 2014. The new management team is acutely aware that its mandate is to avoid the sins of the previous regime of overpromising and underdelivering growth. Tonight's release is a large, albeit painful way for management to wipe the slate clean and put its own imprint on a successful development strategy

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Pennsylvania DEP releases 2013 oil, gas annual report

By Bob Downing Published: May 9, 2014

From Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection on Wednesday:

HARRISBURG -- The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced it has released the 2013 Oil and Gas Annual Report, along with a video highlighting the important work and professionalism of the dedicated members of DEP’s Oil and Gas Program staff.

“Today I am proud to continue the department’s commitment to open, transparent and accountable government with the release of the first-ever Oil and Gas Annual Report,” Secretary E. Christopher Abruzzo said. “This report illustrates the great progress we have made in protecting our environment through increased inspections, tougher regulations and improved oversight of this industry.”

The 2013 Oil and Gas Annual Report was created to provide information and insight into how DEP’s Oil and Gas Program is fulfilling the department’s mission to protect Pennsylvania’s air, land and water from pollution and to provide for the health and safety of Pennsylvania citizens. Highlighted in the report is information on program structure and processes, permitting, inspections, compliance and enforcement, regulatory and policy developments, and program innovations.

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Devon Energy acquires 50,000 acres in Cana-Woodord shale

By Bob Downing Published: May 9, 2014

From Devon Energy earlier this week:

OKLAHOMA CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 6, 2014-- Devon Energy Corporation (NYSE:DVN) announced today it has agreed to acquire 50,000 net acres and associated production primarily in the Cana-Woodford Shale for $249 million in cash. The acquired properties represent half of the interests Cimarex Energy (NYSE:XEC) is agreeing to acquire in a cash transaction announced today. Devon’s portion of the agreed acquisition includes current production of approximately 5,800 barrels of oil equivalent per day (37 percent liquids) and proved reserves of approximately 23 million barrels of oil equivalent as of January 1, 2014 .

“Consistent with our philosophy to add scale and scope to our operations, this acquisition significantly bolsters our position in one of our liquids-rich core development areas,” said Dave Hager , Devon’s chief operating officer. “These assets directly overlap our existing core Cana position and expand our exposure to other western Oklahoma oil and gas plays.”

Devon plans to discuss the transaction in more detail on its upcoming conference call following the release of first-quarter earnings on May 7, 2014 . The transaction is expected to close by the end of the second quarter, subject to customary purchase price adjustments, terms and conditions.

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Wyoming gas-processing plant returns to service after fire

By Bob Downing Published: May 9, 2014

From Williams Partners earlier this week:

 

Williams Partners' (NYSE:WPZ) Opal Gas-Processing Plant has returned to service processing capacity of approximately 1.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, following a full shutdown April 23 due to a fire. Four cryogenic processing trains are now operating and a fifth unit, where the fire occurred, remains out of service.

The total capacity of the four operating trains is sufficient to meet customer needs. The two units most recently placed back in service, TXP-4 and TXP-5, have a combined design processing capacity of 700 million cubic feet of gas per day. TXP-4 was idle at the time of the incident, serving as excess capacity for the facility. TXP-1 and TXP-2 were placed back in service last week and have a combined design processing capacity of 395 million cubic feet of gas per day.

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Geologist sees big shale potential in Rocky Mountains

By Bob Downing Published: May 9, 2014

From Bloomberg News on Thursday:

By Isaac Arnsdorf

May 8 (Bloomberg) -- Where others see purple mountain majesties, Kent Bowker sees buried treasure.

The 58-year-old geologist was part of a team that first extracted significant amounts of gas from a dense rock formation near Fort Worth, Texas, in the late 1990s. Now Bowker says he’s identified a sweet spot in the Rocky Mountains that, along with untapped shale in California, will add to output from Pennsylvania to Texas that’s already propelled the U.S. to No. 1 in the world for combined oil and gas production.

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CONSOL Energy CEO is highest-paid coal executive

By Bob Downing Published: May 9, 2014

From SNL Energy:

In 2013, CONSOL Energy Inc. Chairman and CEO J. Brett Harvey remained the highest-paid coal company executive, receiving much of his compensation in the form of restricted stock awards. Peabody Energy Corp. Chairman and CEO Gregory Boyce was the second-highest-compensated coal executive, receiving nearly $10.8 million in 2013, up 13.7% from the $9.5 million he was paid in 2012.

SNL ENERGY: MOST MAJOR COAL COMPANY CEOS RECEIVED SIZABLE COMPENSATION INCREASES IN 2013

Average compensation for CEOs of the major public coal companies increased to $4.3 million in 2013, according to an SNL Energy analysis of proxy and annual report data filed by 11 coal producers and coal-landholding companies, up from less than $4.2 million among the same companies in 2012.

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Gulfport Energy lowers its 2014 production outlook

By Bob Downing Published: May 8, 2014

Gulfport Energy Corp., the No. 2 player in Ohio’s Utica shale, took a major stock hit on Thursday, after company officials lowered its 2014 production outlook and reported weaker earnings for the quarter.

The Oklahoma-based energy company reduced growth projections from 385 percent to 250 percent year over year under new CEO Mike Moore.

Gulfport’s confidence in the Utica shale remains "very strong," he said.

Reasons for the guidance cuts include a new restricted choke policy by the company on wells to make them produce longer, continued problems in getting collection pipelines and processing facilities built in eastern Ohio and the company delaying well completions so that it can initiate a new and more-efficient well-completion program, Gulfport officials said during a teleconference/earnings call with analysts.

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Antero Resources has completed 27 wells in Utica shale

By Bob Downing Published: May 8, 2014

Antero Resources Corp. has completed 27 horizontal wells in the Utica shale. including some of the most-productive wells in Ohio.

Those wells produced 79 million cubic feet of gas equivalents per day in the first quarter 2014, the company said on Thursday in an earnings call with analysts.

That production total included 5,200 barrels per day of oil and other liquids, the Colorado-based firm said.

It completed 12 Utica wells in the quarter and has another 20 Utica wells in the works.

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High prices for NGLs drive drillers to target wet areas

By Bob Downing Published: May 8, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administartion today:

 

In recent years, high levels of natural gas production have pushed prices down. The Henry Hub spot price averaged $3.73 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2013. In 2012, the average annual Henry Hub price was $2.75/MMBtu, which reduced profit margins for many natural gas producers. The relatively high value of natural gas liquids (NGL) has led producers to target wet gas. NGL prices have traditionally been linked to crude oil, resulting in a significant price premium over pipeline-quality dry natural gas. More recently, the natural gas plant liquids composite spot price (which approximates a value of NGL produced at natural gas processing plants) has hovered roughly halfway between West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil and natural gas spot prices.

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Antero Resources releases first quarter 2014 report

By Bob Downing Published: May 8, 2014

From Antero Resources:

DENVER, May 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

 

Antero Resources Corporation (NYSE: AR) ("Antero" or the "Company") today released its

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MarkWest Energy releases first quarter 2014 results

By Bob Downing Published: May 8, 2014

From MarkWest Energy:

 

 

Placed into service three major infrastructure projects, including a 200 MMcf/d processing plant in the Granite Wash, a 200 MMcf/d processing plant in the Utica Shale, and a 60,000 Bbl/d fractionator with associated NGL logistics facilities at the Hopedale complex in Ohio

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Gulfport Energy reworks 2014 guidances, loves Utica shale

By Bob Downing Published: May 8, 2014

From Gulfport Energy:

 

OKLAHOMA CITY , May 7, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Gulfport Energy Corporation (Nasdaq:GPOR) today reported financial and operational results for the first quarter of 2014 and provided an update on its 2014 activities.

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SEC completes two-year investigation into McClendon

By Bob Downing Published: May 8, 2014

Seeking Alpha reports today that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has ended its investigation of former Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon.

It does not recommend enforcement action, according to Chesapeake's latest 10-Q filing.

The two-year probe concerned a perk that allowed McClendon to invest in oil and gas wells CHK drilled; McClendon pledged his stakes in the wells as collateral to borrow more than $1B, much of it from financial firms that also invested in CHK.

McClendon left Chespeake in April 2013 in the face of a stockholder revolt.

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Institute says no need for additional federal rules on fracturing

By Bob Downing Published: May 8, 2014

From R Street Institute today:

 

WASHINGTON (May 8, 2014) -- Current research on the environmental and public health effects of fugitive emissions do not support more extensive regulation on hydraulic fracturing operations than those imposed by the EPA in 2012, a new paper from the R Street Institute concludes.

“The consensus is now clear that the GHG footprint of shale gas used for electricity generation is about half of the GHG footprint of coal-based power,” said Farren. He went on to note that the new estimates take into account the EPA regulations of 2012, which have significantly lowered fugitive emissions from fracking.

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Cleanup continues at PDC Energy well in Morgan County

By Bob Downing Published: May 8, 2014

From the Associated Press:

MCCONNELSVILLE, Ohio (AP) — State and federal teams are still cleaning up after a Utica shale well being drilled for fracking in southeast Ohio began leaking and the oily fluid ran into a nearby creek.

The leak from the well in Morgan County was discovered Sunday when the lubrication fluid, commonly called mud, began spilling over from the drill site. Officials said it was contained Wednesday.

Seven residents were evacuated because of the danger that escaping natural gas might lead to an explosion.

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ODNR says Hess has 67 permits in Ohio's Utica shale

By Bob Downing Published: May 8, 2014

Hess Co. has permits for 26 Utica shale wells in eastern Ohio.

It has 20 wells that are producing, plus 15 wells that are drilled but not yet producing, says the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

It has another six wells that are being drilled.

That is a total of 67 Utica wells for Hess and its partner CONSOL Energy.

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EIA seeks comment on expanding federal drilling survey

By Bob Downing Published: May 8, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administartion:

 

U.S. Energy Information Administration seeks public comment on proposed expansion of natural gas and crude oil production survey

As a result of the rapid growth and shifting location of U.S. natural gas and crude oil production, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is proposing expanding the geographic coverage of its current monthly natural gas production survey and adding collection of state-level data on crude oil and lease condensate production.

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German-based company eying U.S. shale gas for new plant

By Bob Downing Published: May 8, 2014

From Bloomberg News last week:

By Sheenagh Matthews

BASF SE may undertake its single biggest plant investment to date, spending more than 1 billion euros ($1.4 billion) to target cheaper U.S. shale gas with a facility to convert methane to propylene used in coatings.

Plans for the new facility are being evaluated, the Ludwigshafen, Germany-based company today said in a statement. Until now, the largest single-factory investment is BASF’s 1 billion-euro plant in Ludwigshafen for toluene diisocyanate, or TDI, a component used in seating cushions and mattresses.

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Magnum Hunter boosts borrowing base by $92.5 million

By Bob Downing Published: May 8, 2014

From Texas-based Magnum Hunter Resources on Wednesday:

 

HOUSTON, TX--(Marketwired - May 7, 2014) - Magnum Hunter Resources Corporation ( NYSE : MHR ) ( NYSE MKT : MHR.PRC ) ( NYSE MKT : MHR.PRD ) ( NYSE MKT : MHR.PRE ) (the "Company" or "Magnum Hunter") announced today that the lenders under its Senior Revolving Credit Facility ("Credit Facility") completed their regular semi-annual redetermination of the Company's borrowing base under the Credit Facility, resulting in an increase to the borrowing base from $232.5 million to $325.0 million, or an increase of $92.5 million. The Credit Facility is governed by a semi-annual borrowing base redetermination derived from the Company's proved crude oil and natural gas reserves. The Company was successful at increasing the borrowing base notwithstanding several previously reported non-core asset divestitures made by the Company in late 2013 and earlier this year. In addition, the lenders have increased the Company's letter of credit sublimit under the Credit Facility from $10 million to $50 million, and made certain other modifications to the terms of the Credit Facility, including modifications to the financial ratio requirements under the Credit Facility that will provide the Company greater financial flexibility regarding its ongoing operations.

The next redetermination of the borrowing base is scheduled for November 1, 2014. Based on such redeterminations, the borrowing base may be decreased or increased up to a maximum commitment level of $750 million. The terms of the Credit Facility also include provisions that automatically reduce the borrowing base by certain specified amounts from additional non-core divestitures anticipated by the Company as well as for the proceeds of certain issuances of equity.

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Dominion Resources has plans for two natural gas pipelines

By Bob Downing Published: May 8, 2014

Dominion Resources has unveiled plans for a Midwest and Southeast pipelines from the Utica shale in Ohio and the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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No Utica shale news in earnings call by Anadarko Petroleum

By Bob Downing Published: May 8, 2014

There was no Utica shale news during Tuesday's first quarter 2014 earnings call by Anadarko Petroleum Corp.

It was not mentioned in the 15-page transcript.

The company has seven producing wells in eastern Ohio: in Coshocton, Guernsey, Muskingum and Noble counties.

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Chesapeake Energy to explore its natural gas-only areas

By Bob Downing Published: May 7, 2014

Chesapeake Energy Corp. will soon begin exploring its natural gas-only areas in eastern Ohio.

The company is "excited about some of the tests that we’ve seen" on the dry-gas areas, spokesman Chris Doyle said on Wednesday in a teleconference/earnings call with analysts on first quarter 2014 results.

"So we’re out there," he said. "We’ll be out there testing the dry gas window and excited about the hundreds of thousands of acreage we’ve gotten in it."

Utica net production is averaging 50,000 barrels of oil equivalents per day, but that volume is expected to go significantly higher, Chesapeake said.

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State board approves Carroll County gas-fired power plant

By Bob Downing Published: May 7, 2014

From the Ohio Power Siting Board:

The Ohio Power Siting Board has authorized Carroll County Energy LLC to construct a 742 megawatt natural gas fired combined cycle generation facility near Carrollton, Ohio.

The Carroll County Energy Generation facility will be located in Washington Township, Carroll County, approximately 2.5 miles north of the village of Carrollton, Ohio. The proposed facility will be located on a 77-acre parcel of agricultural land and will have a permanent footprint of 17 acres.

Carroll County Energy filed an application for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need on November 11, 2013. A local public hearing was held on March 6, 2014 at Carrollton High School, where local residents testified about the proposed project. Carroll County Energy and the Board’s Staff filed a joint stipulation and recommendation to the Board on March 10, 2014.

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API implementing certification program for drilling providers

By Bob Downing Published: May 7, 2014

From the American Petroleum Institute:

WASHINGTON, May 6, 2014 – The world’s most advanced industry certification standard for oil and natural gas service providers, API Specification Q2, is being fully implemented, and API has already received more than 50 applications for certification from facilities around the globe.

“Any drilling service provider who is in compliance with the requirements can now receive API Spec Q2 certification,” said John Modine, API’s vice president of Global Industry Services. “The trial period of beta audits is complete, the auditors are ready to go, and many facilities are already getting certified.”

API Spec Q2 is the first ever quality management system (QMS) certification for service supply organizations in the oil and natural gas industry. Its approach to industry improvement is similar to that of API Spec Q1, which certifies oil and gas equipment manufacturers for the safety, consistency and interchangeability of their products.

Development of Spec Q2 began in early 2010 to reduce risk and improve service quality by identifying and standardizing the expectations for execution of upstream services like well construction, intervention, production and abandonment. API accelerated its work following the Macondo incident, and the standard was officially unveiled in December 2011.

After a two year beta testing and compliance achievement period, API began offering Q2 certification to facilities in late 2013. To receive certification, applicants must have robust procedures in place to ensure personnel competency, risk assessment, contingency planning, and dozens of other key QMS elements.

At the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston today, API will recognize Halliburton for its strong support of Spec Q2 by helping develop the standard, participating in beta-audits, and being the first to apply for certification of multiple facilities worldwide. Halliburton Chief Operating Officer Jeff Miller will attend to accept the honor.

The greatest number of applications for Q2 certification has so far been received from facilities in the U.S., Southeast Asia and the Middle East, with more expected from Russia, Australia and Brazil later this summer.

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

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Carrizo pleased with condensate well in Guernsey County

By Bob Downing Published: May 7, 2014

From Carrizo Oil & Gas on Tuesday:

HOUSTON, May 6, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Carrizo Oil & Gas, Inc. (Nasdaq:CRZO) today announced the Company's financial results for the first quarter of 2014 and provided an operational update, which included the following highlights:

Carrizo reported first quarter of 2014 income from continuing operations of $6.6 million, or $0.15 and $0.14 per basic and diluted share, respectively, as compared to income from continuing operations of $2.5 million, or $0.06 per basic and diluted share in the first quarter of 2013. The income from continuing operations for the first quarter of 2014 includes certain items typically excluded from published estimates by the investment community. Adjusted net income, which excludes the impact of these items as described in the statements of income included below, for the first quarter of 2014 was $23.4 million, or $0.52 and $0.51 per basic and diluted share, respectively, compared to $20.6 million, or $0.52 and $0.51 per basic and diluted share, respectively, in the first quarter of 2013.

For the first quarter of 2014, adjusted earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation, and depletion and amortization, as described in the statements of income included below ("Adjusted EBITDA"), was $114.3 million, an increase of 23% from the prior year quarter.

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MarkWest to expand West Virginia gas-processing plants

By Bob Downing Published: May 7, 2014

From MarkWest Energy Partners on Tuesday:

DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 6, 2014-- MarkWest Energy Partners, L.P. (NYSE: MWE) (“MarkWest and “the Partnership”) today announced an expansion of rich-gas processing capacity in the Marcellus Shale . The Partnership will continue developing its leading presence in America’s most productive natural gas resource play with the addition of two new cryogenic processing plants at its Sherwood complex in Doddridge County, West Virginia and its Mobley Complex in Wetzel County, West Virginia .

At the Sherwood complex, MarkWest will construct an additional 200 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) processing plant at the request of Antero Resources Corporation (NYSE: AR) (Antero). The new plant is anchored by a long-term, fee-based contract and will expand total capacity at the Sherwood complex to 1.2 billion cubic feet (Bcf/d) by the second quarter of 2015. Antero continues to develop its prolific rich-gas acreage position in northern West Virginia and is the anchor producer supporting the Sherwood complex.

At the Mobley complex, MarkWest will increase total processing capacity to 920 MMcf/d with the construction of an additional 200 million cubic feet per day processing plant at the request of EQT Corporation (NYSE: EQT). The new plant is anchored by a long-term, fee-based contract and is expected to be in service by the second quarter of 2015. The Mobley complex currently consists of three plants with 520 MMcf/d of total processing capacity and during the fourth quarter of this year, MarkWest will begin operations of a fourth plant at the complex, increasing capacity to 720 MMcf/d. The Mobley complex supports growing Marcellus rich-gas production from EQT, Magnum Hunter Resources Corporation (NYSE: MHR), Stone Energy Corporation (NYSE: SGY), CONSOL Energy Inc. (NYSE: CNX), and Noble Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NBL).

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Devon Energy releases first quarter 2014 results

By Bob Downing Published: May 7, 2014

From Devon Energy today:

 

OKLAHOMA CITY --(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 7, 2014-- Devon Energy Corporation (NYSE:DVN) today reported net earnings of $324 million or $0.80 per common share ( $0.79 per diluted share) for the quarter ended March 31, 2014 . This compares with a first-quarter 2013 net loss of $1.3 billion or $3.34 per common share ( $3.34 per diluted share).

Adjusting for items securities analysts typically exclude from their published estimates, the company earned $547 million or $1.34 per diluted share in the first quarter. This represents a 103 percent increase in adjusted earnings compared to the first quarter of 2013.

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EIA releases complete Energy Outlook 2014 report

By Bob Downing Published: May 7, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

 

The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release today the full content of the Annual Energy Outlook 2014 (AEO2014). The complete report includes a Legislation and Regulations section that discusses evolving policies incorporated in the projections, a Market Trends section that highlights projections for energy demand, supply, and prices, a comparison of the AEO2014 Reference case with projections from other organizations, and descriptions of the 29 alternative cases completed as part of AEO2014. The Reference, or base, case by itself was released on December 16.

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Ohio has 847 drilled Utica wells, 396 wells in production

By Bob Downing Published: May 7, 2014

Ohio has approved 1,248 Utica shale permits, as of May 3.

Of that total, 847 wells have been drilled and 396 wells are in production, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management says.

Ohio has 35 drilling rigs at work.

A total of 18 new permits were approved: one in Belmont County, nine in Harrison County and eight in Monroe County.

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About 2,500 rally in Harrisburg in support of shale drilling

By Bob Downing Published: May 7, 2014

About 2,500 people rallied on Tuesdsay in Harrisburg, Pa., in support of Marcellus shale drilling.

Click   here  to read the report from NPR's StateImpact Pennsylvania. Scroll down.

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EOG says Rocky Mountains are next oil drilling opportunity

By Bob Downing Published: May 7, 2014

From Bloomberg News on Tuesday:

By Bradley Olson

May 6 (Bloomberg) -- EOG Resources Inc., the shale driller that helped discover the prolific Eagle Ford formation in South Texas, has identified the Rocky Mountains as the next great opportunity in North American oil.

Known for quietly building up positions in areas before their potential is widely recognized, the Houston-based company said in a statement yesterday that its land in Colorado and Wyoming may hold the equivalent of 400 million barrels of oil. EOG rose 3.2 percent to $102.46 at 1:14 p.m. in New York, leading the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. Anadarko Petroleum Corp., another major producer in the region, added 2.8 percent.

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Chesapeake Energy reports on first quarter 2014 results

By Bob Downing Published: May 7, 2014

From Chesapeake Energy Corp.:

OKLAHOMA CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 7, 2014-- Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) today reported financial and operational results for the 2014 first quarter. Key information related to the first quarter and the company's full-year 2014 Outlook is as follows:

Doug Lawler, Chesapeake’s Chief Executive Officer, commented, "This was an important and defining quarter for Chesapeake, as our competitive capital allocation, cost leadership and capital efficiency initiatives are driving tangible improvements in the company's growth profile and financial performance. We are raising our 2014 total production growth outlook on an adjusted basis to 9 – 12% to reflect higher-than-expected natural gas liquids volumes. Additionally, we are raising the midpoint of our 2014 operating cash flow outlook by $700 million, or 13%, due primarily to our increased production outlook, better-than-expected first quarter cash flow and an increase in our benchmark commodity price assumptions for the full year."

For the 2014 first quarter, Chesapeake reported net income available to common stockholders of $374 million, or $0.54 per fully diluted share. Items typically excluded by securities analysts in their earnings estimates reduced net income available to common stockholders for the 2014 first quarter by approximately $31 million on an after-tax basis. Adjusting for these items, 2014 first quarter net income available to common stockholders was $405 million, or $0.59 per fully diluted share, which compares to adjusted net income available to common stockholders of $183 million, or $0.30 per fully diluted share, in the 2013 first quarter. This increase is primarily the result of substantially higher year-over-year realized natural gas prices, higher oil and natural gas liquids (NGL) production and lower per unit production and general and administrative (G&A) expenses, partially offset by higher interest expense during the quarter.

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Texas grass-roots group is seeking fracking ban vote in Denton

By Bob Downing Published: May 7, 2014

A press release received from two Texas groups today:

Fracking ban ballot initiative submitted to Denton City Council

Ban garners almost as many signatures as voted in last election

EagleRidge response to evidence of their pollution exemplifies need for a ban

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SEC complaint filed over investor risk at Maryland LNG terminal

By Bob Downing Published: May 7, 2014

A press release from Earthjustice on Tuesday:

 

Shareholder and advocates file SEC complaint outlining inadequate disclosure of financial and environmental risks on the eve of Dominion’s annual shareholder meeting


Washington – In an effort to shed light on possible investment risks associated with a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal on the Chesapeake Bay, a shareholder and environmental advocates submitted an official complaint to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) this morning. The filing details how Dominion Midstream, a new gas export subsidiary of the larger Dominion Resources, has potentially omitted or inadequately disclosed significant financial and environmental risks of its proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal. These advocates argue that potential investors and the greater public have a right to know about any risks as the company seeks permission to raise project funds through stock sales.

“As the proposed Cove Point liquefied natural gas export terminal on the Chesapeake Bay continues to face intensifying community backlash and regulatory delays, Dominion is failing to disclose the full risks to potential investors,” said Diana Dascalu-Joffe, Senior General Counsel at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN), who filed the complaint on behalf of the organization and an existing shareholder of Dominion. “To sound the alarm, a current Dominion shareholder and advocacy groups are alerting SEC officials with this complaint.”

In late March, Dominion filed an application with the SEC to raise approximately $400 million for the export facility through an initial offering of public stock. The complaint accuses Dominion Midstream of failing to disclose various risks within its application.

These include: 1) The potential for project delays due to additional permitting hurdles or litigation (especially given Dominion omitted mention of a six month delay already triggered); 2) risks to the facility’s physical structure and operation due to environmental and climate change impacts, including sea level rise, land subsidence and severe weather; and 3) financial risks due to potential cost overruns and construction delays related to the project’s unique and significant safety and environmental hazards. The complaint notes that delays and cost overruns could impact Dominion’s end-user contracts with Japan and India for the exported gas.

According to the complaint, Dominion Midstream’s financial statements, including all registration statements, should include “a discussion of the most significant factors that make the offering speculative or risky” and “how the risk affects the issuer or the securities being offered.”

“The fact is, Dominion still has significant regulatory hurdles it needs to clear before it can even start construction,” said Deborah Goldberg, Managing Attorney at the environmental law firm Earthjustice. “Dominion may hope it can rush the regulatory process. But rushing the process and overlooking important unanswered environmental and safety questions could create significant risk for the nearby community – and even for investors. An incomplete review of impacts could also invite successful legal challenges – challenges that Earthjustice is fully prepared to bring.”

Over the past year, Dominion’s $3.8 billion plan to pipe fracked gas from the Marcellus shale to the Cove Point facility, liquefy it, and export it to be burned in Japan and India has ballooned into a regional controversy. On February 20, more than 700 people joined a rally outside the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) headquarters in Baltimore, urging the agency to reject controversial air and water pollution permits for the Cove Point project. In April, a coalition of national, regional and community-based groups opposed to the project delivered over 40,000 public comments to the PSC. As the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission prepares to weigh in this summer, anti-fracking and climate activists are planning to rally by the thousands outside the agency’s headquarters in Washington, DC on July 13.

“As the impacts of climate change accelerate, CEO Tom Farrell is exposing Dominion to significant long-term risks by investing in massive new fossil fuel projects instead of the clean energy technologies that will drive a stable economy well into the future,” said Matt Patsky, CEO and Managing Partner at Trillium Asset Management. “If the Cove Point export terminal goes forward, investors will be latching themselves to a socially and morally controversial project, with the fallout potentially tarnishing their own reputation."

The SEC complaint comes just one day before Dominion’s executives, board and CEO Thomas Farrell convene in Cleveland for the company’s annual shareholder meeting. In Cleveland, Dominion will consider four shareholder resolutions challenging the company to address its vulnerability and contribution to climate change. Cleveland-area activists plan to protest outside, highlighting further concerns about the role Cove Point’s development would play in incentivizing expanded fracking for gas across the region.

The complaint filed with the SEC today is available at: http://chesapeakeclimate.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Dominion-Midstream-SEC-Registration-Statement-Complaint.pdf

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EnLink Midstream reports on first quarter 2014 results

By Bob Downing Published: May 7, 2014

From EnLink Midstream on Tuesday:

ENLINK MIDSTREAM REPORTS FIRST QUARTER 2014 RESULTS

 

DALLAS,May 6, 2014 — The EnLink Midstream companies, EnLink Midstream Partners, LP (NYSE:ENLK) (the Partnership) and EnLink Midstream, LLC (NYSE:ENLC) (the General Partner), today reported results for the first quarter of 2014. EnLink Midstream was formed through the transaction (the Transaction) that combined substantially all of Devon Energy Corporation’s (Devon) U.S. midstream assets with the assets of the former Crosstex Energy, Inc. and Crosstex Energy, L.P. (collectively, Crosstex), which closed on March 7, 2014. For accounting purposes, EnLink Midstream Holdings, LP (Midstream Holdings) is the acquirer in the Transaction because its parent company, Devon, obtained control of EnLink Midstream in the Transaction. As a result of this accounting treatment, the financial results reported herein include contributions from the legacy Devon midstream assets for the entire first quarter and contributions from the legacy Crosstex assets beginning on March 7, 2014. The financial results reported herein may not be comparable to financial results of prior periods or future periods due to, among other things, the following reasons: (i) Devon only contributed certain of its U.S. midstream assets in the Transaction; (ii) the first quarter financial results include contributions from the legacy Crosstex assets for the final 25 days of the first quarter; and (iii) Midstream Holdings entered into new agreements with Devon effective March 1, 2014 that are fee-based rather than the previous percent-of-proceeds contracts.

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Youngstown voters again reject Community Bill of Rights

By Bob Downing Published: May 7, 2014

For the third time, Youngstown voters rejected a proposed Community Bill of Rights that would have barred drilling.

The vote total was 3,674 against and 3,100 in favor.

That's a 54.24 percent against and 45.76 percent in favor.

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Encana settles Michigan case, Chesapeake case unresolved

By Bob Downing Published: May 7, 2014

Encana Corp. on Monday reached a settlement with Michigan prosecutors who had charged the Canadian natural gas producer of colluding with Chesapeake Energy Corp. to keep prices down in a 2010 land auction.

Chesapeake, meanwhile, vowed to continue fighting the charges.

Chesapeake and Encana were charged March 4 with two misdemeanor counts of antitrust violations. The more serious charge carries up to a $1 million fine for corporations.

Prosecutors claim executives from the two companies conspired in a series of emails to divide up oil and gas leases in Michigan, according to the charges.

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EnLink Midstream announces Iles promotion

By Bob Downing Published: May 6, 2014

From EnLink Midstream on Monday:

DALLAS, May 5, 2014 --- EnLink Midstream, LLC (NYSE: ENLC) (the General Partner) and EnLink Midstream Partners, LP (NYSE: ENLK) (the Master Limited Partnership) today announced that Brad B. Iles has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Business Development, effective immediately. In his new role, Iles will partner with EnLink Midstream’s Gas and Liquids Business Unit leadership teams to identify and execute development projects that support EnLink Midstream’s overall growth strategy.

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Stone Energy to spud first Utica shale well in West Virginia

By Bob Downing Published: May 6, 2014

From Louisiana-based Stone Energy on Monday:

LAFAYETTE, La. , May 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Stone Energy Corporation (NYSE: SGY) today announced financial and operational results for the first quarter of 2014. Some of the highlights include:

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Paglia to retire from Youngstown-Warren chamber

By Bob Downing Published: May 6, 2014

From the Regional Chamber of Commerce in Youngstown-Warren:

Regional Chamber’s Tony Paglia to retire

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PDC Energy says average daily Utica production up 30 percent

By Bob Downing Published: May 6, 2014

From PDC Energy today:

 

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U.S. EIA releases May 2014 Short-Term Energy Outlook

By Bob Downing Published: May 6, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration on May 2014 Short-Term Energy Outlook released today:

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

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Earthquake rate in Oklahoma grows by 50 percent

By Bob Downing Published: May 6, 2014

From the U.S. Geological Survey today:

The rate of earthquakes in Oklahoma has increased by about 50 percent since October 2013, significantly increasing the chance for a damaging quake in central Oklahoma.

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U.S. purity ethane shipped to Canada, a first in 25 years

By Bob Downing Published: May 6, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

 

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Coshocton eco-group holding May 17 drilling program

By Bob Downing Published: May 5, 2014

A press release received today from the Coshocton Environmental and Community Awareness Inc.:


Coshocton Environmental and Community Awareness Inc.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 5, 2014

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Hess Corp. expects to ramp up Utica drilling in 2015

By Bob Downing Published: May 5, 2014

Hess Corp. says it is pleased with initial results from the Utica shale in eastern Ohio.

It is continuing to test wells this year and expects to ramp up production in 2015, said Groegory P. Hill, president and CEO of exploration and production, in a recent first quarter 2014 report.

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McClendon returns to Ohio with American Energy Partners LP

By Bob Downing Published: May 5, 2014

Aubrey McClendon is back in Ohio.

The colorful McClendon is the founder and one-time Chesapeake Energy CEO who is largely responsible for Ohio’s Utica shale development.

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University of Cincinnati team wants to expand water sampling

By Bob Downing Published: May 5, 2014

From the University of Cincinnati:

 

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Groups saying ODNR is approving toxic drilling waste sites

By Bob Downing Published: May 5, 2014

From the Buckeye Forest Council and the Fresh Water Accountability Project:

 

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Core jobs grow by 70 percent since 2011 in Utica shale area

By Bob Downing Published: May 5, 2014

Core jobs in the Utica shale area have grown by 79 percent since 2011, the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services reported.

Click  here  to read the full story from Columbus Business First.

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Utica mergers, acquisitions top $924 million in 1Q 2014

By Bob Downing Published: May 5, 2014

The U.S. oil and gas industry saw a record high volume of first quarter mergers and acquisitions — the highest its been in more than a decade, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

It said the M&A deals were driven by more activity in the drilling sector and interest in oil and gas assets by foreign players, according to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers US.

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Injection quakes may get stronger, occur farther away from wells

By Bob Downing Published: May 5, 2014

Earthquakes triggered by the underground injection of drilling wastes could become stronger and more dangerous from wastes accumulating underground and could occur farther away from well sites, according to scientists at the Seismological Society of America.

Click  here  to learn more from NPR's StateImpact Oklahoma.

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ECM Energy Services files paperwork for IPO with SEC

By Bob Downing Published: May 5, 2014

From Arizona-based ECM Energy Services last week:

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., April 28, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- ECM Energy Services, Inc. filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission relating to a proposed initial public offering of shares of its common stock.

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Bloomberg, Krupp say energy companies should drill safely

By Bob Downing Published: May 5, 2014

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, teamed up to write an op-ed column in the New York Times on how energy companies might safely drill for oil and natural gas.

Click  here  to read the column.

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Ohio utility gets $560 million boost from Utica shale

By Bob Downing Published: May 3, 2014

Columbus-based American Electric Power saw a 30 percent growth in its industrial useage in the first quarter 2014, reports Columbus Business First.

That amounted to a $560 million boost from Utica shale drilling and processing in eastern Ohio.

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Richard Muncrief named new president, CEO by WPX Energy

By Bob Downing Published: May 3, 2014

From WPX Energy on Thursday:

TULSA, Okla. – The WPX Energy (NYSE:WPX) Board of Directors has named Richard E. (Rick) Muncrief as the company’s next president and chief executive officer. The appointment is effective May 15, 2014. He also will join the WPX board following the company’s annual meeting of shareholders on May 22.

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U.S. prosecutors clear Chesapeake, Encana in Michigan probe

By Bob Downing Published: May 3, 2014

From Bloomberg News on Thursday:

By Joe Carroll

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Chesapeake must pay $121 million to three Texas lease holders

By Bob Downing Published: May 3, 2014

From Bloomberg News on Thursday:

By Laurel Brubaker Calkins and Margaret Cronin Fisk

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Pennsylvania holding natural gas rally on May 6

By Bob Downing Published: May 2, 2014

From the Associated Press:

By Kevin Begos
Associated Press

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API supports draft federal rail safety proposal

By Bob Downing Published: May 2, 2014

From the American Petroleum Institute:

WASHINGTON, May 1, 2014 – API released the following statement on the Department of Transportation’s draft rail safety regulations sent today to the White House Office of Management and Budget.

“We are pleased to hear that the Department of Transportation has sent the White House a draft of its rail safety rule,” said API President and CEO Jack Gerard. “It is critical that the rule encompasses accident prevention, mitigation and response in a comprehensive manner and that new regulations be supported by hard data that will help improve the 99.997 percent safety record for transporting crude oil by rail.

“The oil and natural gas industry is committed to the highest degree of safety and continues to work closely with the railroad industry and the regulators. We hope the White House will swiftly assess this proposal so the Department of Transportation can make it available for public review and comment. In the meantime, we will continue to collaborate with all stakeholders to ensure a rigorous scientific and holistic approach to safety improvements is maintained.”

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

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Lynchburg derailment raises concerns among fire chiefs

By Bob Downing Published: May 2, 2014

From the Associted Press:

By Alan Suderman and Larry O’Dell
Associated Press

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ODNR names forestry chief to be new deputy director

By Bob Downing Published: May 1, 2014

From the Ohio Department of Natural Resources on Wednesday:

 

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Debate on severance tax continues in Ohio, Pennsylvania

By Bob Downing Published: May 1, 2014

The law firm BakerHostetler is taking a look at the continuing severance tax debate in Ohio and Pennsylvania on its energy blog.

Click  here  to read the story.

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EQT is re-establishing priorities for its Appalachian assets

By Bob Downing Published: May 1, 2014

Pittsburgh-based EQT CEO David Porges this week told the media that the company is establishing new priorities for its drilling.

It has stopped drilling in the Utica shale in Ohio's Guernsey County, but the company is keeping an eye on results from nearby drillers.

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Shale revolution has companies spending more than they make

By Bob Downing Published: May 1, 2014

From Bloomberg News:

By Asjylyn Loder

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Update on Wyoming gas-processing plant explosion

By Bob Downing Published: May 1, 2014

From Williams Partners today:

 

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EQT has deal for Jupiter pipeline, asset exchange with Range

By Bob Downing Published: May 1, 2014

From EQT on Wednesday:

PITTSBURGH--(BUSINESS WIRE)--EQT Corporation (NYSE: EQT) today announced that EQT Midstream Partners, LP (NYSE: EQM) (Partnership) has agreed to acquire EQT’s Jupiter natural gas gathering system (Jupiter) for $1.18 billion. EQT will receive $1.12 billion of cash and $59 million of common and general partner units. In addition, the Partnership will fund $182 million of expansion projects related to Jupiter. Two additional announcements include the execution of an agreement to exchange assets with Range Resources Corporation (NYSE: RRC) (Range); and EQT share repurchase authorization.

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Texas, Rockies gas mitigates disruption at Wyoming plant

By Bob Downing Published: May 1, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

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API hails committee vote on fast-tracking LNG exports

By Bob Downing Published: May 1, 2014

From the American Petroleum Institute:

WASHINGTON, April 30, 2014 ─ API President and CEO Jack Gerard welcomed today’s vote on legislation to fast-track U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG). The measure, H.R. 6, was approved by the Energy and Commerce Committee.

“The case for natural gas exports is clear, and Congress is ready to see those benefits flow to U.S. workers,” said Gerard. “America is now the world’s top producer of natural gas, and opening the doors to trade will allow us to harness that power on the international stage while bringing home thousands of jobs and growing our economy. We welcome the committee’s work to make LNG exports a priority, and we are optimistic that members will come together on bipartisan efforts to lock-in America’s trade advantage and strengthen our position as an energy superpower.”

Introduced by Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), the Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act would expedite approval of over 20 export permits at the Department of Energy and accelerate future permits. Earlier this week, API issued a letter of support to committee leaders encouraging passage of the bill. Related LNG proposals have received support from Senators Mark Udall (D-Colo.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Ala.), Mark Begich (D-Ala.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), and Mary Landrieu (D-La.), among others.

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

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Access Midstream offers updates in 1Q 2014 report

By Bob Downing Published: May 1, 2014

From Access Midstream earlier this week:

OKLAHOMA CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Apr. 29, 2014-- Access Midstream Partners, L.P. (NYSE:ACMP) today announced financial results for the 2014 first quarter. The Partnership’s adjusted EBITDA for the 2014 first quarter totaled $250.2 million, an increase of $65.8 million, or 35.7%, from 2013 first quarter adjusted EBITDA of $184.4 million. Net income attributable to the Partnership for the 2014 first quarter totaled $61.1 million, an increase of $1.6 million, or 2.7%, from 2013 first quarter net income of $59.5 million. Distributable cash flow (DCF) for the 2014 first quarter totaled $179.3 million, an increase of $48.7 million, or 37.3%, from 2013 first quarter DCF of $130.6 million and resulted in a distribution coverage ratio of 1.38. Financial terms are defined on pages two through four of this release.

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Utica and Marcellus shale web sites

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

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

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

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

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

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

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

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

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

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

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

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

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

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

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

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

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

Penn State Marcellus Center.

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

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.