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Ohio Utica Shale

New federal report looks at hydraulic fracturing

By Bob Downing Published: April 30, 2012

The Congressional Research Service has issued a new 10-page report looking at hydraulic fracturing or fracking and the federal National Environmental Policy Act.

The 10-page report by attorney Brandon J. Murrill looks at two situations in which agencies argued they did not need to conduct a comprehensive environmental review of fracking under NEPA.

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Columnist: All's not well at Chesapeake

By Bob Downing Published: April 30, 2012

Respected Houston Chronicle business columnist Loren Steffy is  troubled by what's happening at Chesapeake Energy Corp. and its CEO, Aubrey McClendon.

You can read his take on what's happening here.

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New York launching training for drill workers

By Bob Downing Published: April 30, 2012

Broome Community College in Binghampton, N.Y., is launching a new intensive program to train roustabouts or general laborers on drilling rigs.

The class runs three weeks.

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Natural gas pipeline owner buys Sunoco

By Bob Downing Published: April 30, 2012

Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners LP has agreed to buy Sunoco Inc. for $5.3 billion in shares and cash to add oil transportation and distribution assets.

The firm, based in Dallas, is a natural gas pipeline owner and has been seeking to diversify, Bloomberg News reported.

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Youngstown injection well owner wants to do own tests

By Bob Downing Published: April 29, 2012

D&L Energy wants to conduct its own tests of the now-closed injection well in Mahoning County that has been linked to 13 earthquakes in the Youngstown area.

But the company needs state approval to conduct such tests, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has not yet approved such actions.

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Chesapeake directors change direction

By Bob Downing Published: April 29, 2012

The biggest story of the last week has involved Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy Corp.and the personal financial transactions of its CEO, Aubrey McClendon.

You can read an update here  from Joe Carroll of Bloomberg News.

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Mandatory pooling concerns Ohio landowners

By Bob Downing Published: April 29, 2012

The Associated Press reported that some Ohio landowners are arguing that the state's mandatory pooling rules amount to private eminent domain and an unfair taking of their lands and rights.

The state rules allow drillers to drill on an objecting landowner's land if enough neighbors support the drilling. The landowners do get paid for the gas and oil taken.

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Avalon may develop new injection wells

By Bob Downing Published: April 29, 2012

The Youngstown-based Business Journal reports that Avalon Holding Corp may develop two new injection wells for drilling wastes.

Such a move would be a new venture for the Vienna-based company, said CEO Ron Klingle.

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Guar growing on the rise in U.S.

By Bob Downing Published: April 29, 2012

Guar, a little-known legume used in natural gas-oil extraction, is getting record-high prices.

Plantings are expected to triple this year to 50,000 acres, mostly in Texas and Oklahoma.

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Dawood Engineering opens Canton office

By Bob Downing Published: April 29, 2012

Dawood Engineering Inc. is opening a new Canton office.

The development of the Utica shale in eastern OhIo led the company to move into Stark County, officials told the Youngstown Vindicator.

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Halliburton breaks ground on Ohio facility

By Bob Downing Published: April 29, 2012

Halliburton broke ground last week on a new facility in Zanesville to house up to 300 workers in eastern Ohio's Utica shale.

Gov. John Kasich participated in the ceremonies on Tuesday on 178 acres.

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Chesapeake stock drops, after Reuters report on CEO

By Bob Downing Published: April 21, 2012

Chesapeake Energy Corp.'s stock took a mid-week tumble, after a news report that Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Aubrey McClendon used his stakes in company wells as collateral to finance his share of the well costs, Bloombrg News reported.

Chesapeake fell 9 percent on Wednesday.

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More information on earthquakes, injection wells

By Bob Downing Published: April 21, 2012

Numerous stories were filed this week after federal researchers presented a paper on earthhquakes and fracking-waste injection wells at a national conference in San Diego.

Researchers think increased seismic activity in the central United States including Ohio is tied to wastewater injected below ground by the oil and gas industry, said William Ellsworth of the U.S. Geological Survey.

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Debate still swirls around Pennslvania medical rule

By Bob Downing Published: April 21, 2012

Pennsylvania's top health official has assured doctors that a new gas-drilling law will allow them to talk with their patients about proprietary chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process and share that information with public health agencies and regulatory bodies as they see fit, the Associated Press reported this week.

More than two months after the Pennsylvania Medical Society expressed concerns, Health Secretary Dr. Eli Avila clarified a provision of the new law that requires doctors to sign a nondisclosure agreement in return for access to secret information on fracking chemicals.

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Report from Ohio's anti-fracking activists

By Bob Downing Published: April 21, 2012

The Statehouse was the location of a rally in Columbus this week by anti-fracking groups from across Ohio.

They rallied outside the Statehouse and then attended a legislative committee hearing on Senate Bill 315 that would toughen Ohio's drilloing rules but not enough, said those at the rally.

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More on EPA's new rules on air emissions

By Bob Downing Published: April 21, 2012

Pro Publica's Lena Groeger reports on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's first-ever regulations on fracking and how they only deal with air pollution.

She writes that the new rules announced this week  target one large source of air pollution: the burst of gas released during the first few days after a well is first tapped but before production begins.

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New York rail project outlined

By Bob Downing Published: April 21, 2012

Fuel marketer Global Partners LP is more than doubling rail capacity at its Albany, N.Y., terminal to boost shipments of cheap Bakken crude from North Dakota to struggling refiners in the U.S. Northeast, Bloomberg News reports.

The terminal can currently handle 80-car trains.

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WV groups say centralized pits are unneeded

By Bob Downing Published: April 21, 2012

West Virginia is overhauling its regulations on natural gas-oil drillinjg, and a number of groups are pushing to eliminate centralized pits to store liquids and flowback waters.

Such pits "pose an unnecessary risk to human health and the environment, no matter how well designed or constructed," said the West Virginia Environmental Council.

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Shale test wells drilled near Los Angeles

By Bob Downing Published: April 21, 2012

Inside Climate News reports that two test wells were drilled earllier this year outside Los Angeles.

The wells, drilled by Plains Exploration and Production, were aimed at extracting oil from the Monterey shale about 7,500 feet below the ground.

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New York gets record 66,000 comments

By Bob Downing Published: April 21, 2012

New York state got a record 66,000 comments on hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

That is more public comment to the Department of Environmental Conservation than any other issue in its history.

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Seismic lawsuit filed in Columbiana County

By Bob Downing Published: April 21, 2012

A company hired to conduct seismic testing in Columbiana County for Chesapeake Energy Corp. contends five landowners have illegally kept the company off their properties, the Youngstown Vindicator reports.

The suit was filed by TSG NOPEC Geophysical Co.

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Ohio farm group supports drilling moratorium

By Bob Downing Published: April 21, 2012

The Ohio Farmers Union supports a moratorium on new permits for drilling into the Utica shale until the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency releases its initial assessment on the drilling technique and the threat to ground water late this year.

The group is also hosting a program in Windsor in Ashtabula County on Monday, April 23,  on drilling and ground water.

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Farm group wants tougher fracking rules

By Bob Downing Published: April 21, 2012

The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association says that Ohio needs stronger regulations on hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

The group, with 3,000 members, says its supports stronger rules than are found in Senate Bill 315, the plan submitted to the Ohio legislature by Gov. John Kasich.

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Ohio plans to double number of well inspectors

By Bob Downing Published: April 21, 2012

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has 75 inspectors to oversee natural gas and oil drilling in the state, reports Columbus Business First.

Thye magazine says the agency wants to double that number to 150 by the first quarter of 2013.

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Rex Energy drilling first well in Carroll County

By Bob Downing Published: April 21, 2012

Pennsylvania-based Rex Energy is drilling its first horizontal well into the Utica shale in Ohio's Carroll County.

The company said it expects the Brace 1H well to be completed and results available by the second quarter of 2012 conference call in August.

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CONSOL has compled first Ohio Utica well

By Bob Downing Published: April 21, 2012

CONSOL Energy has completed its first Utica well in Oho's Tuscarawas County.

The company is currently evaluating the flow back and results of the well.

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District approves water sale at Clendening Reservoir

By Bob Downing Published: April 20, 2012

The Muskingum Conservancy Watershed District’s governing board today unanimously approved the sale of water from Clendening Reservoir in eastern Ohio to a drilling company for hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

Gulfport Energy Corp., an Oklahoma-based energy firm, can start taking water from the reservoir on Monday under a temporary water agreement.

The firm wants to take up to 11 million gallons of water from the lake for its nearby well in Harrison County.

It will pay $9 per 1,000 gallons or about $99,000, officials said after the meeting in New Philadelphia.

Gulfport said it intends to build a temporary water pipeline to reduce heavy truck traffic that would otherwise be needed.

Clendening Reservoir typically holds about 8.6 billion gallons of water.

The Clendening sale marks one of the first sale of water from Ohio’s public inland lakes to drillers in search of water for fracking.

The water agreement with Gulfport marks the first contract approved by the 18-county district to provide water to a drilling company.

The district has had inquiries from a dozen drilling companies about selling water from six of its reservoirs in eastern Ohio to drillers.

The drillers are most interested Clendening, Atwood Lake in Carroll and Tuscarawas counties, Leesville in Carroll County, Piedmont Lake in Belmont County, Senecaville Lake in Noble and Guernsey counties and Tappan Lake in Harrison County.

The district’s 18-judge panel, known as the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy Court, is expected to deal on June 2 with a selling price for water that could allow additional water deals to advance.

Chesapeake Energy Corp., the No. 1 oil-gas player in eastern Ohio, is buying water from the city of Steubenville. It has also purchased water from other communities and from landowners with wells being drilled. Some drilling companies have legally tapped water from small streams in eastern Ohio.

The Muskingum Conservancy Watershed District’s governing board today unanimously approved the sale of water from Clendening Reservoir in eastern Ohio to a drilling company for hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

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Chesapeake leases 3,700 acres at Leesville Reservoir

By Bob Downing Published: April 20, 2012

The Muskingum Conservancy Watershed District today approved a natural gas lease with Chesapeake Energy Corp. for 3,700 acres at Leesville Reservoir in Carroll County.

The agreement calls for a signing bonus of $5,800 an acre plus royalties on what is produced from the well of 20 percent.

The bonus alone will produce about $21.5 million for the18-county district.

The deal says that the well cannot be located on conservancy property but the drilling can go under district-owned land, said spokesman Darrin Lautenschleger.

It is the second lease signed by the district. Last year, it signed a lease with Gulfport Energy on 6,400 acres at Clendening Reservoir in Harrison County.

The district was paid a signing bonus of $2,800 per acre and will get a 16 percent royalty on any gas or oil produced.

From the signing bonus, the district is using $15.6 million to defray debts and make infrastructure improvements to recreational facilities, officials said.

The new lease at Leesville provides a big chunk of Carroll County land for the Oklahoma-based energy company that is the biggest player in Ohio's Utica shale.

 

The Muskingum Conservancy Watershed District today approved a natural gas lease with Chesapeake Energy Corp. for 3,700 acres at Leesville Reservoir in Carroll County.

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Pennsylvania drought affecting drilling

By Bob Downing Published: April 20, 2012

At least one Pennsylvania natural gas driller has curtailed drilling because of the extended drought.

Talisman Energy told Reuters this week that it had scaled back drilling in northeast Pennsylvania because of little water available for hydraulic fracturing or fracking of new wells.

But the company did not say how much its drilling operations were impacted by the abnormally low streams flows from a dry spring and little winter snow.

"We scaled back operations until the rains start," said company spokeswoman Diane Gross in Pittsburgh. "We do that every year depending on conditions. It’s expected."

Other companies including Chesapeake Energy Corp., XTO Energy and Carrizo Oil & gas said the drought was having only minimal impacts on their drilling.

The low water problem affects 10 drilling companies in five Pennsylvania counties: Bradford, Luzerne, Lycoming, Susquehanna and Tioga.

In a related move, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission reported that water withdrawls have been temporarily suspended because of the low stream flows.

At least one Pennsylvania natural gas driller has curtailed drilling because of the extended drought.

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Anadarko releases Ohio Utica results

By Bob Downing Published: April 20, 2012

Ohio has natural gas production data from a second company, and the data is encouraging.

Anadarko Petroleum Corp. released preliminary data on three wells it has drilled in eastern Ohio, and the results are promising, the Texas-based firm said.

The data was provided to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and released to the media on Thursday.

The newest well, the Brookfield A-3H well in Noble County, delivered 9,500 barrels of crude oil and 12 million cubic feet of natural gas during its first 20 days in production, the company said.

Two wells in Guernsey County — Spencer A-1H and Spencer A-5H — produced a combined 20,000 barrels of crude oil and 37 million cubic feet of natural gas in two months, the company said.

The Houston-based firm also has permits to drill in Muskingum County.

"Though it is very early in our exploration program, the strong initial results are encouraging," Bob Daniels, a senior vice president at Anadarko, said in a company-issued statement.

"We expect to begin flowing back our fourth Utica exploration well in the next few days and are currently drilling our fifth exploration well in the play," he said.

"We plan to continue an active drilling program throughout the year, as we evaluate the liquids-rich potential of our 390,000-acre position in the Utica shale."

All three wells were drilled to a vertical depth of about 6,500 feet and a horizontal length of about 5,000 feet, the company said.

Anadarko operates the Brookfield and Spencer wells with a 100 percent working interest, subject to a participation agreement with Artex Energy Group LLC.

On April 2, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management released the first official production data covering 2011 from nine Utica wells in Ohio.

That data covered nine horizontal wells drilled by Chesapeake Appalachia LLC. There were six wells in Carroll County and one each in Portage, Harrison and Mahoning counties.

Five of those wells were in production in 2011 and generated nearly 2.6 billion cubic feet of natural gas, plus 43,513 barrels of The other four wells were not in production but did produce some oil.

The preliminary production for all the wells for natural gas was very high, state officials said

The reported volumes of oil are lower than estimated, but higher than conventional wells, the state reported.

Until April 2. most production data had been tightly held by drilling companies, although Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy Corp. had provided some data on select wells in 2011.

Ohio has natural gas production data from a second company, and the data is encouraging.

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U.S. EPA approves air rules but delays full implementation

By Bob Downing Published: April 18, 2012

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today approved the first-ever clean-air rules on drilling for natural gas with hydraulic fracturing or fracking, but environmentalists aren’t happy with a 2½-year delay in implementing a key portion of the new rules.

The long-awaited air rules are not expected to have a big impact on the shale drilling boom in Ohio and other states, experts said.

The new safeguards, when fully implemented, will cut emissions of volatile organic compounds from drilling by nearly 25 percent and cut VOC emissions from new and modified fracked wells by almost 95 percent, the EPA said.

The agency said the new limits would reduce VOC emissions from drilling by 190,000 to 290,000 tons a year and cancer-causing benzene levels would be cut by 12,000 to 20,000 tons a year.

It will also reduce escaped methane, the key component of natural gas and a potent global warming gas, by 1 million to 1.7 million tons a year, the agency said.

Such chemicals — seen as a growing problem — produce unhealthy smog, put health-threatening toxics including hexane and formaldehyde into the air and contribute to global warming.

The new rules are a first effort by the federal EPA to regulate fracking.

But the Obama administration, which has strongly backed natural gas drilling, made significant concessions to the oil and gas industry that engaged in heavy last-minute lobbying. That includes a delay in requiring that gases be captured at the well until Jan. 1, 2015.

The original federal plan called for compliance in 60 days, but the industry got more flexibility in the new rules.

The industry had argued that stricter federal rules could cut back on natural gas production by 11 percent, oil production by 37 percent and that fracking would be cut by more than 50 percent.

The new rules are "practical, flexible, achievable and affordable," said EPA spokeswoman Gina McCarthy in a national teleconference.

The delay was necessary to assure the technologies needed to curtail emissions can be built and distributed and that workers can be trained, she said.

The rules cover the production, processing, transmission and storage of oil and natural gas.er, another issue with fracking.

Hydraulic fracturing has spawned a natural gas-drilling boom, but has raised environmental concerns for its toll on water and air. The new rules do not address water concerns.

The new rule won praise from environmentalists, but Ohio activists were unhappy with the delay.

The EPA is "a major step forward," said the Sierra Club and five other eco-groups in a joint statement.

Added Miriam Rotkin-Ellman of the Natural Resources Defense Council: "The rapid expansion of oil and gas drilling without modern air-pollution controls has exposed millions of Americans to a toxic brew of cancer-causing, smog-producing and climate-changing air pollutants. Left to police itself for too long, the oil and gas industry has failed to even adopt pollution controls that pay for themselves."

But Columbus-based Teresa Mills of No Frack Ohio and the Center for Health, Environment and Justice said the 2015 date is "a real letdown."

The delay is likely to result in dirtier air in eastern Ohio with its just-developing Utica shale, and Ohioans wanted the new rules implemented sooner, she said.

That dirty air in Ohio is likely to trigger increased asthma attacks, more school and work missed and major health problems, she said. "It’s very disturbing," she said.

The industry was pleased by the EPA announcement.

"Overall, EPA has made some important adjustment in the rules," said Howard Feldman of the American Petroleum Institute. "Most of the changes were constructive."

The EPA rejected a proposal by Feldman’s group to exempt a number of wells from the new clean-air rules.

Chesapeake Energy Corp, the No. 1 player in Ohio, declined comment on the new rules.

Lobbyists from Devon Energy Corp. and Chesapeake Energy sought to delay and scale back the rule, while refuting eco-group’s claims that fracking causes air pollution, Bloomberg News reported.

The two companies, both based in Oklahoma, are involved in drilling in Ohio’s Utica shale.

Southwestern Energy Co. and Devon Energy say they already use systems to capture methane and other fumes at wells, the key requirement of a rule.

What the EPA did was to update and broaden two federal Clean Air Act standards to control emissions from drilling, pumping and distributing natural gas and oil through pipelines to refineries and other processing facilities.

The EPA said half of fractured wells already deploy technologies in line with the final standards. Colorado and Wyoming have both adopted rules on air emissions from fracking.

The EPA rules include incentives aimed at encouraging drillers to use technology called green completions, which collects methane gas, the main component of natural gas, when a well is first tapped.

The system relies on truck-mounted rigs that capture these gases and put them into the pipelines to be sold at a profit instead of leaked into the air.

Starting in 2015, all wells in the United States must use the green completions technology.

The industry will also be permitted to burn or flare escaping gases until 2015, under the EPA rules.

Methane — it is 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide — and VOCs escape from wells when drilling fluids come to the surface in the three to 10 days after fracking, according to the EPA.

It said that the drilling natural gas wells accounts for 40 percent of in-the-atmosphere methane in the United States.

Captured methane can be sold, netting drillers $30 million a year, according to the EPA.

The new rules will save the industry between $11 million and $19 million a year, the EPA said.

The federal agency said about 13,000 natural gas wells are drilled and fracked or refracked annually in the United States.

The EPA announcement came in order to comply with a court-imposed deadline.

The agency got more than 150,000 comments on the new rules that were first proposed in early 2011. Three public hearings were held in Pittsburgh, Denver and Arlington, Texas.

For more information, go to www.epa.gov/airquality/oilandgas.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today approved the first-ever clean-air rules on drilling for natural gas with hydraulic fracturing or fracking, but environmentalists aren’t happy with a 2½-year delay in implementing a key portion of the new rules.

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Chesapeake Energy, Pa. township at odds

By Bob Downing Published: April 18, 2012

The Associated Press reported today that Chesapeake Energy Corp. is refusing to obey a cease-and-desist order issued by a township in western Pennsylvania.

Darlington Township officials say that the Oklahoma-based energy giant is ignoring a stop work order issued last Friday by the township zoning officer.

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Smith Dairy breaks ground for CNG station

By Bob Downing Published: April 18, 2012

Orrville's Smith Dairy Products Co. today held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new compressed natural gas fueling station.

The CNG station for Smith Dairy Trucking will be the largest privately funded facility of its kind in the state of Ohio.

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LNG facility wins federal approval

By Bob Downing Published: April 18, 2012

Cheniere Energy Inc. has cleared a major hurdle in building a $5 billion liquified natural gas export facility on the Gulf of Mexico on the Texas-Louisiana border.

On Monday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the company's proposal for the first LNG export facility in the lower 48 states.

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Report suggests using mine water in Pa. for fracking

By Bob Downing Published: April 18, 2012

Coal mine water might prove to a viable source of water for hydraulic fracturing or fracking in Pennsylvania, says a study by the RAND Corp.

The report was commissioned by the pro-drilling Marcellus Shale Coalition, after such a possibility was raised in late 2011 at a roundtakle discussion hosted by RAND.

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U.K. report says Cuadrilla should continue fracking

By Bob Downing Published: April 18, 2012

An independent expert has recommended that Cuadrilla Resources Ltd. should be allowed to continue hydraulic fracturing or fracking in the United Kingdom, Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday.

Future gas operations elsewhere in the U.K. should be assessed prior to starting, said the report by the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

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Chesapeake expects natural gas prices to rebound

By Bob Downing Published: April 18, 2012

Bloomberg News today reported that Chesapeake Energy Corp., America's No. 2 producer of natural gas, expects natural prices to rebound as producers reduce drilling and the weather normalizes.

"$2 gas prices are not sustainable," said Mike Stice, chief executive officer of Chesapeake Midstream Partners, in an interview in Amsterdam.

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Medina group included in Earth Day event

By Bob Downing Published: April 18, 2012

A grass-roots anti-fracking group in Medina County is now invited to participate in the county's Earth Day celebration on Saturday.

The Concerned Citizens of Medina County had been rejected as too controversial for Earth Day by a county committee last month.

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10 percent of drilling jobs go to truckers

By Bob Downing Published: April 17, 2012

Ten percent of jobs created by shale drilling will go to truckers, according to a story in the Marion Star newspaper.

Drilling one well with hydraulic fracturing or fracking can require more than 1,000 truckloads of water, sand, chemicals and steel.

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Columbus hosting May 15 shale conference

By Bob Downing Published: April 17, 2012

Chesapeake Energy Corp. CEO  Aubrey McClendon will be the keynote speaker on May 15 at a meeting of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce in Columbus.

The event is being called "The Shale Energy Belt: Making Ohio Great Again."

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Three arrested in Trumbull County

By Bob Downing Published: April 17, 2012

Three protestors were arrested in Trumbull County on Sunday during a lease-signing meeting between landowners and BP.

Arrested were Jonathan Sidney, Annie Lukins and Jeremy Bingham. They are scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.

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Chesapeake Oilfield Services to sell shares

By Bob Downing Published: April 17, 2012

Chesapeake Energy Corp., a leading player in Ohio’s Utica shale, intends to sell shares in its hydraulic-fracturing business to raise $862.5 million, at a time when natural gas prices are low, Bloomberg News reported.

Chesapeake Oilfield Services Inc. plans to use the proceeds from the initial offering to repay debt, make a cash distribution to its parent company and for general corporate purposes, according to a company prospectus filed on Monday.

The shares will list on the New York Stock Exchange as COS.

Goldman Sachs Group and Bank of America Corp. will lead the offering, said Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Oilfield.

The number of shares to be sold or their price range weren’t specified in the filing.

The oil field unit was reorganized into a separate unit last October in preparation for becoming publicly traded.

Last November, Chesapeake Chief Executive Officer Aubrey McClendon estimated the initial value of the business at $5 billion to $7 billion.

The company operates 111 drilling rigs and has 12 more under construction. It operates four hydraulic fracturing fleets with plans to double that number by Dec. 31.

Chesapeake has been selling stakes in natural gas and oil field to raise cash for drilling and to reduce a growing corporate debt. Its debt reached $10.3 billion at the end of 2011.

Last week, Chesapeake announced $2.6 billion in assets and future commodity sales and plans to generate another $14.9 billion in transactions by the end of 2013. Over the years, the company has sold off assets in numerous shale gas plays around the country.

Chesapeake is aggressively pursuing development of its leased holdings in Ohio where ethane, propane and butane deposits plus natural gas make such projects lucrative, even with low natural gas prices.

It is the No. 2 producer of natural gas in the United States.

Chesapeake Energy Corp., a leading player in Ohio’s Utica shale, intends to sell shares in its hydraulic-fracturing business to raise $862.5 million, at a time when natural gas prices are low, Bloomberg News reported.

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Shell looking at gas-to-diesel plant in United States

By Bob Downing Published: April 15, 2012

Royal Dutch Shell PLC is lookinjg into building a $10 billion natural gas-to-diesel plant, perhaps in Louisiana, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The plant would be similar to the Pearl plant in Qatar. That plant converts enough natural gas into diesel to fuel 160,000 cars per day.

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Ohio anti-fracking groups plan April 18 rally

By Bob Downing Published: April 15, 2012

An anti-fracking rally is planned at 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, in Columbus by anti-fracking groups across Ohio.

The 60-minute rally is scheduled to be held on the West Lawn of the Ohio Statehouse.

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More earthquake information

By Bob Downing Published: April 15, 2012

Earthquakes tied to injection wells handling fracking wastes will again be in the spotlight this week.

A team of scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey will present its findings on Wednesday at a national seismologist conference in California.

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ProPublica's four fracking takeways

By Bob Downing Published: April 15, 2012

Last week ,ProPublica hosted a program on The Perils and Promises of Fracking, in cooperation with New York City's Tenement Museum.

ProPublica -- it calls itself journalism in the public interest -- was one of the first groups to write extensively about fracking or hydraulicalic fracturing to reach natural gas.

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Ohio's big Utica well

By Bob Downing Published: April 15, 2012

It's no secret that the Buell well in Harrison County is big.

The Utica well outside Jewett is producing 2 percent of the natural gas produced in Ohio in 2011.

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Tom Ridge urges drilling industry to be self-policing

By Bob Downing Published: April 14, 2012

Drilling for natural gas in the Utica shale of eastern Ohio is an industrial process and there will be problems, said former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge.

The industry needs to deal with environmental problems as they arise and be transparent about them, Ridge told an energy conference on Friday in Cleveland.

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Drilling rigs decline by 29

By Bob Downing Published: April 14, 2012

The number of drilling rigs is use this week drilling for natural gas and oil in the United States dropped by 29.

That number was released on Friday by Texas-based Baker Hughes Inc. that tracks the number.

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Obama administration calls for federal coordination

By Bob Downing Published: April 14, 2012

President Barack Obama on Friday issued an executive order to better coordinate federal oversight of hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

The order establishes an “interagency working group” consisting of members from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Interior Department and the Energy Department. Other federal agencies will also be involved.

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Tighter air rules coming?

By Bob Downing Published: April 13, 2012

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency faces a Tuesday deadline to impose tighter limits on air emissions from natural gas-oil production under a federal court consent decree.

Both sides in the debate are still doing a lot of posturing.

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Congressional study, Part 1

By Bob Downing Published: April 13, 2012

The Congressional Research Service has issued a new 38 report on hydraulic fracturing and the federal Clean Drinking Water Act.

The report looks at the federal law and injection wells that take briny waste from the hydraulic fracturing or fracking process.

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Congressional study, Part 2

By Bob Downing Published: April 13, 2012

The Congressional Research Service has issued a new 21-page report on hydraulic fracturing and chemical disclosure requirements.

The report looks at chemical disclosure laws in states where shale drilling is common.

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Natural gas uses

By Bob Downing Published: April 13, 2012

The Associated Press, citing federal energy data, reported this week that 34 percent of American natural gas is used to generate electricity.

In addition, 30 percent heats industrial boilers and 21 percent is used in-home use including heating.

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Natural gas at lowest price since January 2002

By Bob Downing Published: April 12, 2012

The Associated Press on Wednesday reported that the price of natural gas had fallen to its lowest level in more than a decade, a remarkable decline for a commodity that not long ago was believed to be in short supply.

The country's gas supply is growing so fast that analysts worry that underground storage facilities could be full by fall and lead to further price declines.

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European company eyes U.S. shale gas projects

By Bob Downing Published: April 12, 2012

GDF Suez SA, operator of Europe's biggest natural gas network, said it may consider investing in U.S. shale gas for export to Asia as demand grows, Bloomberg News reported.

American shale production assets would be too expensive, but GDF Suez may study investments in liquefaction and supply contracts, Deputy Head of Gas Jean-Marie Dauger said on Wednesday at a Paris conference.

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Pennsylvania judge delays part of new state law

By Bob Downing Published: April 12, 2012

A Pennsylvania judge on Wednesday delayed for 120 days a new state law shifting control of oil and gas exploration sites, saying localities needed time to adjust to the change.

The measure, signed on Feb. 14 by Gov. Tom Corbett, shifted control of oil and gas exploration to the state from municipalities.The law was to have taken effect on April 14.

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Energy lobbyists changing Ohio politics

By Bob Downing Published: April 10, 2012

Ohio's black gold rush has struck the Statehouse, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The industry has become a lobbying heavyweight as drillers develop natural gas wells into the Utica shale ine astern Ohio and flex their political muscle in Columbus.

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Ohio does not track wet gases

By Bob Downing Published: April 10, 2012

Crain's Cleveland Business reports that Ohio does not directly track volumes of ethanes, butanes and propanes, the so-called wet gases from the Utica shale.

Producers must only provide the Ohio Department of Natural Resources with natural gas and oil production numbers.

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BP meets Trumbull County partners

By Bob Downing Published: April 10, 2012

Drilling operations in Trumbull County could begin in early 2013, a BP spokesman told an audience Monday night in Vienna.

Bruce Abbuhl, Ohio program manager for BP, said the energy giant has little information on how productive its newly leased 84,000 acres in Trumbull County might be, the Youngstown Vindicator reported.

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Sierra Club wants park drilling information

By Bob Downing Published: April 10, 2012

On Monday, the Ohio chapter of the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit asking that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources release information on drillling plans in Ohio's state parks and public lands.

The suit, filed in Columbus, says the state agency has ignored requests for public documents on drilling for natural gas on state lands.

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New-look Phillips 66 emerging

By Bob Downing Published: April 10, 2012

Phillips 66 will debut on May 1 as the world’s largest independent refiner, by market value.

In the future, it may look more a pipeline and chemical business, Bloomberg News reports.

The new Houston-based company is set to begin trading after its spinoff from ConocoPhillips.

It plans to boost profit by emphasizing growth in higher-return businesses and shrink its more volatile fuel processing.

Phillips 66 will debut on May 1 as the world’s largest independent refiner, by market value.

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Chesapeake sells shares in new subsidiary

By Bob Downing Published: April 10, 2012

Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy Corp. on Monday announced a $2.6 billion asset sale that will cut debt and fund drilling after slumping natural gas prices eroded its cash flow.

The energy giant sold shares in a new subsidiary to an investment group led by a Blackstone Goup LP-led affiliate that includes TPG Capital and EIG Global Energy Partners LLC.

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Carroll County begins volunteer training on April 19

By Bob Downing Published: April 10, 2012

Carroll Concerned Citizens will begin volunteer training for water sentinels at 7 p.m. April 19 at the Church of Christ-Christian Disciples in Carrollton.

The church is at 353 Moody Ave.

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Mansfield wants to fight injection wells via charter

By Bob Downing Published: April 9, 2012

Mansfield Law Director John Spon is pushing a revised city charter amendment that would regulate injection wells for drilling wastes within the city limits.

His proposal would allow the city to regulate such injection wells.

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Director of 'FrackNation' coming to Columbus

By Bob Downing Published: April 9, 2012

The Ohio Energy Resource Alliance is presenting filmmaker Ann McElhinney in June in Columbus.

McElhinney is an Irish journalist and documentary filmmaker, who is involved in the pro-fracking film, FrackNation, that tells the truth about hydraulic fracturing or fracking..

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Matt Damon to star in new anti-fracking film

By Bob Downing Published: April 9, 2012

Matt Damon intends to star in The Promised Land, an anti-fracking movie that is set to begin filming later this month in western Pennsylvania.

Damon, will star in the film that he also co-wrote.

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CNX Gas signs office lease in Columbiana County

By Bob Downing Published: April 9, 2012

The Columbiana County Port Authority has signed a lease agreement with CNX Gas Co. LLC, operators of Consol Energy, for office space in Leetonia.

The space in the World Trade Park will initially house about a half dozen staffers.

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Range Resources, 1; U.S. EPA, 0

By Bob Downing Published: April 3, 2012

In a widely reported case, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week dropped legal charges against Range Resources Corp. over allegations that the drilling company had polluted water wells in Texas.

In late 2010, the federal agency charged that Range wells were leaking natural gas into two homes in the Fort Worth suburbs.

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Big energy pushing little energy aside in Kansas

By Bob Downing Published: April 3, 2012

Among all the smiles over the black gold rush in southern Kansas, one group stands grim-faced: existing Kansas oil and gas producers.

Last year’s arrival of large oil companies with their fat wallets and horizontal drilling rigs in Kansas has forced up the cost of exploration for some mom-and-pop operators, cut their profits and sown conflict with landowners.

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Ohio Shale Energy conference set April 11 in Cambridge

By Bob Downing Published: April 3, 2012

Southeast Ohio businesses and the media are invited to the "Ohio Shale Energy 2012: Discovering Supply Chain Opportunities" on April 11 in Cambridge.

The event will begin at 8 a.m. at the Pritchard Laughlin Civic Center.

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Appeals filed in New York on two town drilling bans

By Bob Downing Published: April 3, 2012

A Colrado-based drilling company and a New York dairy farm have filed appeals by decisions by New York state judges that upheld a ban on oil-and-gas drilling imposed by two New York towns.

Anschutz Exploration Corp. last week filed a notice of appeal of state Supreme Court Judge Phillip Rumsey, who on Feb. 21 on upheld gthe drilling ban imposed by the town of Dryden.

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U.S. EPA delays action on air emissions from drilling

By Bob Downing Published: April 3, 2012

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on Monday that it will postpone the release of its first-ever rules for reducing air pollution – particularly methane and smog-forming emissions – related to the hydraulic fracturing process for two weeks.

That will enable the agency to review the more than 150,000 comments that have been submitted regarding the rules, The Wall Street Journal reports.

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Utica shale drilling efforts producing, ODNR says

By admin Published: April 3, 2012

Ohio got its first look on Monday at production numbers from the Utica shale drilling efforts.

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Ohio releases first Utica shale production data from 2011

By Bob Downing Published: April 2, 2012


Ohio got its first look on Monday at production numbers from the Utica shale, and the numbers remain very promising.

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Ohio geologists map estimate of Utica shale yields

By admin Published: April 2, 2012

COLUMBUS: Ohio geologists’ latest effort to map the best areas for Utica shale oil and gas production shows potential for an oil reservoir in central Ohio but now excludes areas near Cleveland and in southeast Ohio.

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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.