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Ohio Utica Shale

Utica shale development similar to Eagle Ford in Texas, feds say

By Jim Mackinnon Published: July 31, 2014

Utica shale development remains in the early stages but is very similar to how the Eagle Ford shale in Texas grew, the federal government reports.

"Production data indicate that natural gas production growth from the Utica is on par with the growth in natural gas production in the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas, when comparing the first 20 months of activity in both those plays," the Energy Information Administration reports.

EIA: "Despite the relatively modest levels of production from Utica, estimates of Utica's production per rig show significantly steeper growth than what occurred in other locations at the beginning of their development.

"There are several reasons for this. Although Utica producers are currently very much in an experimental and exploration phase now, producers are entering the Utica with experience gained in producing from other major shale gas plays.

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Group says EPA must protect drinking water from injection wells

By Bob Downing Published: July 31, 2014

From Clean Water Action today:

WASHINGTON, DC – This week the Government Accountability Office released DRINKING WATER: EPA Program to Protect Underground Sources from Injection of Fluids Associated with Oil and Gas Production Needs Improvement, the results of its two year investigation into the Environmental Protect Agency’s (EPA) Underground Injection Control (UIC) program. Clean Water Action welcomes this much needed investigation into oversight challenges in the UIC program and calls on EPA to implement the recommendations detailed within the report (view the report here - http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-555).

“As oil and gas production has soared in recent years, so has the amount of wastewater created in the process,” said John Noël, Clean Water Action’s National Oil and Gas Campaigns Coordinator. “If we are serious about protecting drinking water resources for generations to come, we need EPA to step up its oversight of injection wells and update the program to reflect the realities of unconventional oil and gas development.”

In the five years between 2007-2011, oil production from shale jumped 5 fold to 217 million barrels, while gas from shale increased over 4 fold to 7.2 trillion cubic feet. As a result, every day over 2 billion gallons of fluids are injected into underground wells which conveniently tuck oil and gas production wastes out of sight. The EPA UIC program is involved in some form of oversight of these wells which total around 172,000 across America. The GAO report outlines a number of risks these wells pose to our vital underground sources of drinking water including overpressurization, earthquakes and toxic chemicals in the injected wastes. The GAO also highlighted concerns about inconsistent EPA oversight, enforcement, and outdated regulations.

The report specifically highlights the threat that diesel fuels used in oil and gas fluids poses to drinking water resources, along with the lack of information the EPA has to track and permit its use. “…while it is the responsibility of the operator to obtain a permit for any injection covered by UIC program laws or regulations, the information officials need to ensure that diesel permits are issued when necessary may not be available, depending on state requirements and practices.” Clean Water Action has long called for EPA to ban the use diesel fuels and believes this report further substantiates that position.

“As shale drilling and the resulting wastewater continue to increase, we are seeing more evidence of overpressurization and earthquakes resulting from injection wells. EPA needs to heed the warning of the GAO investigators and not blindly assume that all is well with the UIC program.” Noel continued, “The fact that EPA lacks the information it needs to protect communities from the use of diesel fuels in oil and gas fluids is stunning.”

A lot has changed in the oil and gas industry since 1974 when the Safe Drinking Water Act first created the UIC program. Clean Water Action agrees it’s time for our underground sources of drinking water to receive the type of modern oversight American’s deserve.


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Pa. judges say Mariner East Pipeline is not a public utility

By Bob Downing Published: July 31, 2014

Sunoco Logistics has suffered a setback to its plans to pump propane and ethane in its 300-mile Mariner East Pipeline across southern Pennsylvania.

Two administrative law judges on Wednesday released a 25-page decision recommending that state utility regulators deny the company’s request to exempt buildings to shelter 18 pump stations and 17 valve control stations from local zoning ordinances in 31 locations.

The judges said the buildings cannot be exempt because Sunoco Logistics’ Mariner East pipeline service does not constitute public utility service.

The parties can submit new arguments by Aug. 19 and replies by Aug. 29. Then the final decision is in the hands of the five-member Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

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Marcellus Shale Coalition releases annual workforce survey

By Bob Downing Published: July 31, 2014

From the Pennsylvania-based Marcellus Shale Coalitione arlier this week:

Pittsburgh, Pa. – Today, the Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) released the results of its annual workforce survey [click here for detailed pdf. overview]. The findings – based on 2013 data – were provided by a large majority of MSC member companies, representing nearly 95% of Pennsylvania’s shale production.

“Shale development represents a generational opportunity for our Commonwealth. Since day one, our industry has focused on fostering the growth of a skilled and well-trained local workforce to ensure that lifelong opportunities are being fully realized,” said MSC president Dave Spigelmyer. “These collaborative and ongoing efforts – industry groups, member companies and other key stakeholders working closely with a host of educational institutions as well as trade schools – continue to deliver strong results in the form of new jobs for our region’s workforce, as reflected again in this survey data.”

Key survey highlights include:

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Kinder Morgan signs anchor shippers for New England pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: July 31, 2014

From Kinder Morgan:

 

HOUSTON --(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jul. 30, 2014-- Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. (NYSE: KMP) today announced it has reached agreement, subject to customary approvals, with key local natural gas distribution companies (LDCs) throughout New England to transport approximately 500,000 dekatherms per day (Dth/d) of long-term firm transportation on the market path component of Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company’s (TGP) Northeast Energy Direct Project . Included in this key group are: The Berkshire Gas Company , Columbia Gas of Massachusetts , Connecticut Natural Gas Corporation , Liberty Utilities ( EnergyNorth Natural Gas ) Corp., National Grid , Southern Connecticut Gas Corporation and three other LDCs. Negotiations with additional customers on both the market path and supply path components of the Northeast Energy Direct Project are continuing and agreements are expected to be announced soon.

“We are extremely pleased to provide a key solution to New England’s long-term energy infrastructure needs,” said Natural Gas Pipelines East Region President Kimberly S. Watson . “Multiple studies continue to suggest there is a need for up to 2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of new pipeline capacity into New England and neighboring markets, and the commitment by the LDCs represents a critical milestone in the development of TGP’s role in solving the need for new energy infrastructure. TGP provides unmatched supply diversity, including access to the prolific Marcellus shale, making the Northeast Energy Direct Project an ideal solution to satisfy rapidly growing natural gas demand that is forecasted in the Northeast and New England in the years ahead.”

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Enterprise signs new contract for Texas ethane export terminal

By Bob Downing Published: July 31, 2014

From Enterprise Products Partners today:

 

HOUSTON --(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jul. 31, 2014-- Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (NYSE: EPD) announced today that it has executed an additional long-term contract to provide ethane storage, transportation, refrigeration and loading services from its new ethane export terminal that is currently under construction on the Houston Ship Channel. With this new agreement, Enterprise now has long-term commitments for approximately 85 percent of the capacity of the ethane terminal.

“This key addition to our customer base brings a significant increase in long-term capacity commitments, further supporting development of the world’s largest ethane export terminal,” said A.J. “Jim” Teague , chief operating officer of Enterprise’s general partner. “As a result of this agreement, we have commenced evaluation of expansion options at the new ethane terminal. The seamless integration of the new terminal with our existing natural gas liquids complex at Mont Belvieu and beyond will help ensure market access for the growing surplus of domestic ethane and facilitate continued development of the nation’s abundant energy reserves.”

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Hess Corp. to form Bakken shale midstream MLP

By Bob Downing Published: July 31, 2014

From the Hess Corp. on Wednesday:

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jul. 30, 2014-- Hess Corporation (NYSE:HES) announced today its intention to pursue the formation and initial public offering of a master limited partnership (MLP). Hess remains focused on value creation and the pursuit of its previously announced intention to monetize its midstream assets in the Bakken oil shale play in North Dakota . Hess intends to use the MLP as the primary midstream vehicle to support its Bakken production growth, and expects initially to contribute interests in the following midstream assets to the MLP:

Hess will own the general partner of the MLP, all of its incentive distribution rights, and a majority of its limited partner interests following completion of the initial public offering.

Hess expects the MLP to file a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the fourth quarter of 2014 and, subject to market conditions, expects to make an initial public offering of common units representing limited partner interests in the MLP in the first quarter of 2015.

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FERC approves Freeport LNG export project in Texas

By Bob Downing Published: July 31, 2014

From the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Wednesday:

 

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today authorized Freeport LNG Development, L.P. to site, construct, and operate facilities to liquefy and export domestic natural gas from its existing liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal located near the city of Freeport, Brazoria County, Texas.

The Freeport Liquefaction Project includes the construction and operation of a liquefaction plant with three trains, each with a capacity of 4.4 million metric tons per annum, for total liquefaction capacity of 1.8 Bcf/d. The project also includes pretreatment plant facilities that will interconnect with several pipelines, as well as facilities to allow bi-directional flow of gas through the existing Freeport Pipeline.

In addition, FERC authorized Freeport LNG’s Phase II Modification Project that would revamp the previously authorized, but unconstructed Phase II Project. The Phase II Modification Project comprises three major components: reorientation of the Phase II dock, modification of the transfer facilities, and modification of access roads at the terminal.

The two projects would be constructed together at Freeport’s existing Quintana Island terminal.

Today’s order adopts FERC environmental staff’s recommendations by requiring the company to adhere to more than 80 conditions to mitigate potential adverse environmental impacts. The U.S. Department of Energy has conditionally approved Freeport LNG’s export of gas to both Free Trade Agreement and non-Free Trade Agreement countries.

This is the third LNG export project authorized by FERC. There are currently 10 LNG export projects that have filed formal applications pending before the Commission, and there are three LNG export projects in the prefiling process.

R-14-30

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EQT to proceed with two of three pipeline projects

By Bob Downing Published: July 31, 2014

Pittsburgh-based EQT is proceeding with two of three pipeline projects.

The company said that the Ohio Valley Connector, a 36-mile pipeline to connect its  Equitrans system in northern West Virginia to pipes in eastern Ohio will go forward.

So will  the 330-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline which will extend their transmission system through West Virginia into Virginia.

The Ohio Express project, which would have connected EQT’s pipelines in Clarington in Ohio's Monroe County to other pipeline systems further west in Ohio is being pushed to a backburner, the company said in an July 24 earnings call with analysts.

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Agency to require environmental studies for California drilling

By Bob Downing Published: July 31, 2014

The federal Bureau of Land Management has reached an agreement with activists that will require that environmental impact statements be prepared for federal land leases in California, reports the Baker Hostetler law firm.

Click   here  to read the full story.

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Lupo faces 3-year prison sentence, fine for Youngstown dumping

By Bob Downing Published: July 30, 2014

From the Associated Press today:

Federal prosecutors in Cleveland are seeking a three-year sentence and a $250,000 fine for the owner of a northeast Ohio oil and gas drilling company accused of dumping large amounts of toxic brine down a storm sewer and into a creek that feeds the Mahoning River.

Sixty-four-year-old Ben Lupo of Poland, Ohio, pleaded guilty in March to one count of unpermitted discharge into U.S. waters. His sentencing is Tuesday in Cleveland.

Prosecutors wrote in a motion that Lupo had employees dump drilling fluids down a storm sewer 33 times between October 2012 and January 2013. The fluids contained chemicals such as benzene, toluene, barium and chlorides.

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Antero shipping Ohio natural gas to Midwest markets

By Bob Downing Published: July 30, 2014

A new pipeline connection is allowing Colorado-based Antero Resources to ship natural gas from Ohio's Utica shale west to higher-priced Midwest markets for the first time.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Drill Capital opens new 80-room hotel in Carroll County

By Bob Downing Published: July 30, 2014

A new 80-room hotel has opened in Carrollton in Ohio's Carroll County in the heart of the Utica shale drilling.

It was developed by New York-based Drill Capital Inc. that has another Ohio hotel in the works.

The Carrollton facility is a Microtel Inn and Suites, part of the Wyndham Hotel Group.

For more details, read the story in Columbus Business First. Click  here.

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Access Midstream offers updates on 2Q 2014

By Bob Downing Published: July 30, 2014

From Access Midstream Partners today:

OKLAHOMA CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jul. 29, 2014-- Access Midstream Partners, L.P. (NYSE:ACMP) today announced financial results for the 2014 second quarter. The Partnership’s adjusted EBITDA for the 2014 second quarter totaled $275.1 million, an increase of $68.5 million, or 33.2%, from 2013 second quarter adjusted EBITDA of $206.6 million. Net income attributable to the Partnership totaled $67.5 million in the 2014 second quarter, a decrease of $1.7 million, or 2.5%, from the 2013 second quarter net income of $69.2 million. Distributable cash flow (DCF) for the 2014 second quarter totaled $200.4 million, an increase of $47.7 million, or 31.2%, from 2013 second quarter DCF of $152.7 million and resulted in a distribution coverage ratio of 1.45. Financial terms are defined on pages two and three of this release.

Throughput for the 2014 second quarter totaled 356.6 billion cubic feet (bcf) of natural gas, or 3.92 bcf per day, an increase of 6.8% from 2013 second quarter throughput of 3.67 bcf per day. Throughput increased in the Partnership’s Marcellus, Utica, Eagle Ford and Niobrara Shale regions. Partnership revenue for the 2014 second quarter totaled $292.9 million, an increase of $45.7 million, or 18.5%, compared to 2013 second quarter revenue of $247.2 million. Revenues in both periods exclude revenues attributable to the Partnership’s equity investments as those revenues are accounted for as part of the Partnership’s investments in unconsolidated affiliates. If the Partnership’s proportional share of revenue from equity investments was included, revenue for the 2014 second quarter would have totaled $378.0 million, an increase of $71.4 million, or 23.3%, compared to the 2013 second quarter.

Capital expenditures during the 2014 second quarter totaled $307.7 million, including maintenance capital expenditures of $32.5 million. These capital expenditures included $113.4 million for the Partnership’s share of capital expenditures in entities accounted for as equity investments.

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Utica shale powers boost in Ohio industrial electric use

By Bob Downing Published: July 30, 2014

Columbus-based American Electric Power is seeing an increase in industrial electric demand in eastern Ohio's Utica shale region.

Click  here  to read reporter Tom Knox's story in Columbus Business First.

 

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Anadarko Petroleum offers 2Q 2014 updates

By Bob Downing Published: July 30, 2014

From Anadarko Petroleum Corp. today:

HOUSTON, TX -- ( Marketwired ) -- 07/29/14 -- Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (NYSE: APC) today announced its financial and operating results for the second quarter of 2014, including net income attributable to common stockholders of $227 million , or $0.45 per share (diluted). These results include certain items typically excluded by the investment community in published estimates, which in the aggregate decreased net income by $442 million or $0.87 per share (diluted).(1) Cash flow from operating activities in the second quarter of 2014 was $2.462 billion , and discretionary cash flow totaled $2.434 billion .(2)

SECOND-QUARTER 2014 HIGHLIGHTS

"Anadarko delivered exceptional operating performance during the second quarter, with an increase of 65,000 barrels of oil per day over the second quarter of 2013 led by our U.S. onshore assets and the El Merk development in Algeria ," said Al Walker , Anadarko Chairman, President and CEO. "We are increasing our full-year sales-volume guidance by 5 million BOE, reflecting our confidence in the portfolio's capability to continue delivering strong results. To further enhance performance, we will continue to be an active portfolio manager and pursue additional opportunities to accelerate value as appropriate."

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Williams Partners to expand Transco Pipeline om East Coast

By Bob Downing Published: July 30, 2014

From Williams Partners today:

 

Williams Partners L.P. (NYSE: WPZ) and its wholly owned subsidiary Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC (Transco) today announced a fully contracted expansion project designed to deliver 180,000 dekatherms a day of additional natural gas capacity for local distribution along the Eastern Seaboard.

The Garden State Expansion Project consists of additional compression to provide 180,000 dekatherms of firm natural gas transportation service and increased reliability to a local gas distribution company along the New Jersey coast that was affected by Hurricane Sandy. The $150 million project would provide firm transportation from Transco's Zone 6 Station 210 Pooling Point in Somerset County, N.J. to a new interconnection on Transco's Trenton Woodbury Lateral in Burlington County, N.J. Williams Partners plans to place the project into service in phases with the first phase in 2016 and the second in 2017, assuming timely receipt of necessary regulatory approvals.

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Higher oil prices drive projected enhanced oil recovery

By Bob Downing Published: July 30, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

Jul 30, 2014

In the 2014 Annual Energy Outlook (AEO2014), EIA projects that the price of oil will largely determine whether to use carbon dioxide (CO2) enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technologies to extract additional crude oil from existing producing fields. The injection of CO2 gas into oil reservoirs at high pressure forces the CO2 to mix with oil. This reduces the oil's viscosity and causes the oil to increase in volume (swell). The result is an increase in the total cumulative volume of oil produced and in the percentage of oil-in-place that is recovered. The decision by a producer whether or not to employ this technique depends on a number of factors, including the geophysical properties of the reservoir, the oil within that reservoir, the cost of applying CO2 EOR, and the revenue received from additional production.

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Gulfport Energy offers pipeline, production updates

By Bob Downing Published: July 30, 2014

From Gulfport Energy:

OKLAHOMA CITY , July 30, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Gulfport Energy Corporation (Nasdaq:GPOR) ("Gulfport") today provides an update on its midstream activities in the Utica Shale of Eastern Ohio , announces second quarter 2014 production and schedules second quarter 2014 financial and operational results conference call.

Dry Gas Gathering Update

To capture development synergies within the area of mutual interest ("AMI") of the previously announced joint development agreement between Gulfport and Rice Energy Inc. (NYSE:RICE) ("Rice"), Gulfport and Rice have entered into a letter of intent and are finalizing definitive agreements whereby Rice will construct and operate gas gathering pipelines associated with Gulfport's Utica Shale interests in Smith Township and portions of Goshen , Wayne and Washington Townships in Belmont County, Ohio . In conjunction with these agreements, Gulfport and MarkWest Energy Partners, LP (NYSE:MWE) ("MarkWest") have executed a letter of intent and are finalizing definitive agreements pursuant to which MarkWest will construct gas gathering facilities to gather Gulfport's dry gas production from portions of Wayne and Washington Townships in Belmont County, Ohio , Sunsbury Township in Monroe County, Ohio and portions of adjacent townships.

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PDC Energy increases Utica acreage to 67,000 acres

By Bob Downing Published: July 30, 2014

From PDC Energy today:

 

 

DENVER, July 30, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PDC Energy, Inc. ("PDC" or the "Company") (Nasdaq:PDCE) today announced that it agreed to sell its fifty percent interest in PDC Mountaineer LLC ("PDCM"), a Marcellus Joint Venture ("JV"), to Mountaineer Keystone Energy, LLC for approximately $250 million subject to certain purchase price adjustments. PDC's net pre-tax proceeds from the sale, after its share of JV debt repayment and other working capital adjustments, is expected to be approximately $190 million comprised of $150 million in cash and a $40 million note. The transaction includes the buyer's assumption of PDC's share of the firm transportation obligations related to the assets owned by PDCM as well as PDC's share of certain PDCM natural gas hedging positions for the years 2014 and 2015.

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North American oil production to reduce OPEC 2014 production

By Bob Downing Published: July 31, 2014

From GlobalData on Wednesday:

 

LONDON, UK (GlobalData), 30 July 2014 - Global oil demand in 2014 is forecast to increase by about 1.2 million barrels per day (mmbd) compared to 2013 levels, while non-Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members’ production will grow by approximately 1.6 mmbd, reducing the call for OPEC production, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData.

The company’s report* states that a significant increase in non-OPEC production is forecast to occur, particularly in North America, where crude oil and condensate production will increase by about 1.3 mmbd.

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GAO report criticizes EPA on injection wells, ProPublica reports

By Bob Downing Published: July 30, 2014

From ProPublica on Tuesday:

Report Criticizes EPA Oversight of Injection Wells

Federal environment officials have failed to adequately oversee hundreds of thousands of wells used to inject toxic oil and gas drilling waste deep underground, according to a new congressional report.

Naveena Sadasivam writes that the report, released Monday by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, is critical of the Environmental Protection Agency's inconsistent handling of safety inspections, poor record keeping, and failure to adjust its guidelines to adapt to new risks brought by the recent boom in domestic drilling, including the understanding that injection wells are causing earthquakes.

Highlights from the article:

See the full story here: http://www.propublica.org/article/report-criticizes-epa-oversight-of-injection-wells;

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Earthworks backs EPA rules on methane, not voluntary steps

By Bob Downing Published: July 30, 2014

From Earhworks on Tuesday:

 

"While we applaud the commitments made by the Department of Energy, labor unions, utility groups and other stakeholders, voluntary measures and new research initiatives don’t adequately protect communities and the climate.

These rules can be a first step down the road to limit dangerous methane pollution and begin to truly shift our energy systems away from an “all of the above” strategy to one that throws the full weight of our resources behind renewable energy."

FOR MORE INFORMATION

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Major energy companies increase debt, sell assets

By Bob Downing Published: July 29, 2014

From the U.S, Energy Information Administartion today:

Jul 29, 2014

Cash from operations for major energy companies has flattened in line with flat crude oil prices, which have had the lowest price volatility in years. Based on data compiled from quarterly reports, for the year ending March 31, 2014, cash from operations for 127 major oil and natural gas companies totaled $568 billion, and major uses of cash totaled $677 billion, a difference of almost $110 billion. This shortfall was filled through a $106 billion net increase in debt and $73 billion from sales of assets, which increased the overall cash balance. The gap between cash from operations and major uses of cash has widened in recent years from a low of $18 billion in 2010 to $100 billion to $120 billion during the past three years.

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Sterne Agee analysts look at CONSOL Energy's 2Q 2014 data

By Bob Downing Published: July 29, 2014

From Sterne Agee analysts today on CONSOL Energy 2Q 2014 report:

CONSOL ENERGY (NYSE: CNX) Flash Note
RATING: BUY
Price: $39.94
Price Target: $56.00

Analysts: Michael S. Dudas, CFA (646) 376-5329 / Satyadeep Jain, CFA (646) 376-5357
Higher Coal Costs Contributed to EPS Shortfall; Gas Costs Impressive. Pittsburgh Seam Reserve Increase By More Than 30%

Our Call
While 2Q EPS missed on higher coal costs and other line items, Consol's gas production costs dropped significantly driven by higher Marcellus contribution. Also, 30% coal reserve increase supports long-term, low-cost profile of Consol's core coal asset. Monetization of midstream assets appears on track. Liquidity remains strong at $1.9 billion. Shares remain our top pick in the mining space and one of Sterne Agee's top 2014 stock picks. Recent sector correction provides attractive entrypoint.

• 2Q'14 Results – Consol reported 2Q'14 adjusted earnings of $0.07/share vs. our $0.25 and street's $0.23 estimate. Adjusted EBITDA of $246M fell slightly short of our $254M and street's $258M estimate. Coal and gas production results were in line with pre-announced figures. Geological issues at Enlow Fork impacted 2Q coal production costs. As a result, thermal total production costs increased sequentially to $46.44/ton from $41.45/ton in 1Q'14. Average gas realization of $4.44/mcfe (thousand cubic feet equivalent) came in below our $4.69/mcfe estimate. However, total gas costs dropped to $3.44/mcfe, below our $3.67/mcfe estimate. Costs decreased primarily due to 120% increase in Marcellus gas sales volumes. As a result, gas margin of $1.00/mcfe came in line with our estimate, and above 2Q13 margins of $0.69/mcfe.

• 2014 Guidance – Consol recently raised the lower end of its 2014 gas production guidance by 10 Bcfe to 225-235 Bcfe and maintained 2015-16 annual production growth targets of 30%. Consol recently lowered Buchanan met coal production guidance from 3.6-4.2 MT to 3.4-3.8 million tons (MT). Management expects to ship 5 MT of met (low and high vol) in 2014. We are pleased to see Consol exercise production discipline at Buchanan given current depressed met coal prices. Management expects to increase its 2015 domestic sales of Buchanan coal by 50%. During the past three months, we estimate Consol did not hedge any significant additional gas volumes for 2014-15. We estimate the company priced nearly 4 MT of additional thermal coal for 2015 at $57/ton, below our expectations.

• Gas Business - In Noble County, Ohio, Consol recently turned on line its 3-well NBL 19 pad with an impressive initial production (IP) rate of 23 MMcfe (million cubic feet equivalent) per day, per lateral. In 2014 Consol expects to turn NBL16 wells on line in August, NBL18 pad in October, and NBL30 pad in September. The company also reported encouraging IP rates from its wells in Central Pennsylvania (7.8 MMcf per day at the 3-well Shaw pad in Westmoreland County) and North Wet Gas area (8-well WFN6 pad) in Marcellus. Consol remains long firm transportation and has structured its capacity contracts to allow for 30% growth targets through 2016. Consol and its joint venture partner recently announced their intention to form an MLP (master limited partnership) for their midstream gathering services. If we they do decide to go ahead, we expect closing in late 2014/early 2015.

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Ohio has 970 drilled Utica wells, 487 Utica wells producing

By Bob Downing Published: July 29, 2014

Ohio has approved 1,421 Utica shale wells, as of July 26.

Of that total, 970 Utica wells have been drilled and 487 Utica wells are in production, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

It says that 49 rigs are working in Ohio.

Twenty new permits were issued: two in Belmont County, six in Guernsey County, three in Harrison County, five in Monroe County, two in Noble County and two in Washington County.

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Rex Energy offers update on Butler County, Pa., operations

By Bob Downing Published: July 29, 2014

From Rex Energy on Monday:

 

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. , July 28, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Rex Energy Corporation (Nasdaq:REXX) provided an update on its Butler Operated Area operations, announced its third quarter 2014 production guidance and increased its previously announced production guidance for 2014.

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Chesapeake: Powder River deal, repurchasing CHK Utica shares

By Bob Downing Published: July 29, 2014

From Chesapeake Energy today:

OKLAHOMA CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jul. 29, 2014-- Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) announced today that it has entered into an agreement with RKI Exploration & Production, LLC (RKI) to exchange nonoperated interests in approximately 440,000 gross acres in the Powder River Basin (PRB) in southeastern Wyoming. Under the agreement Chesapeake will convey to RKI approximately 137,000 net acres and its interest in 67 gross wells, with an average working interest of 22% in the northern portion of the PRB (“Northern Area”), where RKI is currently designated operator. In exchange RKI will convey to Chesapeake approximately 203,000 net acres and its interest in 186 gross wells, with an average working interest of 48% in the southern portion of the PRB (“Southern Area”), where CHK is currently designated operator. In addition to the exchange of acreage, Chesapeake will pay RKI $450 million in cash. The transaction, which is subject to certain closing conditions including the receipt of third-party consents, is expected to close in August 2014.

Upon closing of the acreage exchange, Chesapeake’s PRB acreage will be concentrated in the Southern Area. It will operate nearly 100% of its 388,000 net acres in the PRB, and will hold an approximate 79% average working interest. Chesapeake currently holds approximately 322,000 net acres in the PRB with a 38% average working interest.

Anticipated key benefits of the RKI acreage exchange include the following:

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CONSOL Energy loses money, grows natural gas production

By Bob Downing Published: July 29, 2014

From CONSOL Energy today:

 

PITTSBURGH , July 29, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- CONSOL Energy Inc. (NYSE: CNX) reported a net loss of $25 million for the quarter ended June 30, 2014 , or ($0.11) per diluted share. This is compared to a net loss of $13 million , or ($0.05) per diluted share from the year-earlier quarter. Adjusted EBITDA1 was $246 million for the 2014 second quarter, compared to $181 million in the year-earlier quarter. Cash flow from operations in the just-ended quarter was $221 million , as compared to $125 million in the year-earlier quarter.

The second quarter earnings results included the following pre-tax items related to recent transactions completed by the company:

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GAO report: EPA's drinking water protection needs improvement

By Bob Downing Published: July 29, 2014

From the Natural Resources Defense Council:

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Gas leaks from distribution lines cost $192 million, report says

By Bob Downing Published: July 29, 2014

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is failing to control leaks of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from the nation's natural-gas pipelines, the agency's inspector general said Friday.

A report calls on the EPA to do more to control inadvertent emissions of methane, which has a more intense—though shorter—warming effect on the planet than carbon dioxide, the agency said.

Natural gas consists almost entirely of methane.

About $192 million of natural gas was lost in 2011 because of leaks in pipelines, known as distribution lines, that transport the fuel to end users, the inspector general said. That cost was borne by consumers, according to the report.

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U.K. proceeding with bids for shale development

By Bob Downing Published: July 28, 2014

From Bloomberg News today:

The U.K. began the bidding process for the next set of onshore oil and gas exploration licenses, including shale that is considered a cheaper and more secure energy source.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change set out the details, which include planning guidance for areas of outstanding natural beauty, national parks and world heritage sites. About half the U.K. will be open for bids.

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U.S. oil well completions up 5 percent in 2Q 2014, API says

By Bob Downing Published: July 28, 2014

Fom the American Petroleum Institute on Friday:

WASHINGTON, July 25, 2014 – Estimated U.S. oil well completions increased by 5 percent in the second quarter of 2014 compared to year-ago levels, according to API's 2014 Quarterly Well Completion Report, Second Quarter.

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

Estimated total well drilling increased in the total year-to-date figures for 2014. Estimated natural gas well completions decreased over the same time period, but exploratory gas wells increased by 22 percent in 2014.

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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Company buys mineral rights on 1,700 acres in Ohio, W. Va.

By Bob Downing Published: July 28, 2014

From Magnum Hunter Resources on Friday:

HOUSTON, TX--(Marketwired - Jul 25, 2014) - Magnum Hunter Resources Corporation ( NYSE : MHR ) ( NYSE MKT : MHR.PRC ) ( NYSE MKT : MHR.PRD ) ( NYSE MKT : MHR.PRE ) ("Magnum Hunter" or the "Company") announced today that it closed on the purchase of approximately 1,700 net mineral acres located in Monroe County, Ohio and Wetzel County, West Virginia for approximately $22.7 million from the Ormet Corporation, et al. This acquisition will increase the Company's net revenue interest on its existing 875 acre oil and gas lease located on the related acreage from approximately 86% to nearly 100% in the Marcellus Shale formation only. Under the same agreement, the Company has also acquired an approximate 100% net revenue interest in the balance of the mineral rights to this acreage which will also include the Utica Shale formation. The Company has previously drilled three Marcellus Shale wells on the existing oil and gas lease which have been producing rich natural gas and condensate since May 6, 2014. This mineral interest acquisition adds to the Company's large drilling inventory of potential Marcellus and Utica Shale wells in these two counties of West Virginia and Ohio. The Company is already drilling the vertical section of the first dry gas Utica Shale well on the Ormet 15 Pad. This well is expected to have an approximate lateral length of 4,800 feet with an anticipated 20+ stages of fracture stimulation treatment. The current development plan includes a total of 4 gross (4 net) Utica Shale wells to be drilled, completed, and producing on this property by year-end 2014. The Eureka Hunter gas gathering system is already constructed and available for throughput once these wells are completed.

Magnum Hunter Management Comments

Mr. Rick Farrell, Senior Vice President of Land and Business Development for Triad Hunter, LLC., a wholly owned subsidiary of Magnum Hunter, commented, "We are very pleased to announce this successful acquisition of proved reserves and mineral leases. Our Land Department has worked on this transaction for about one year now due to the complexities of dealing with a bankrupt estate. We have been highly encouraged with our Marcellus production results on this property. With this purchase, we can now drill an additional 5 Marcellus wells (total of 8). By owning the Utica mineral rights acquired, we also have a new opportunity to drill another 7 new wells which appear to be geologically well situated based upon our Stalder Pad production results and the recent data obtained from drilling, logging, and fracture stimulating the Stewart Winland 1300 UH located immediately across the Ohio River in West Virginia. Therefore, this 1,700 net mineral lease acquisition allows for a total of 15 wells, approximately 100% of which will be owned by Magnum Hunter."

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Natural gas injection season may produce record refill

By Bob Downing Published: July 28, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

Jul 28, 2014

Nearly midway through the summer storage injection season, working natural gas in storage is on pace to meet EIA's expectations for a record overall build. The current Short-Term Energy Outlook projects a record build of close to 2,600 billion cubic feet (Bcf) from the beginning of April through the end of October, which would put inventories at 3,431 Bcf at the end of October.

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Enlink Midstream announces quarterly distributions

By Bob Downing Published: July 28, 2014

From Enlink Midstream last week:

DALLAS, JULY 25, 2014 --- The EnLink Midstream companies today announced the declaration of the quarterly distributions for EnLink Midstream Partners, LP (NYSE: ENLK) (the Master Limited Partnership) and EnLink Midstream, LLC (NYSE: ENLC) (the General Partner) from the second quarter of 2014:

 

 

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Hudson concerned about threat from Bakken oil trains

By Bob Downing Published: July 26, 2014

HUDSON: Bill Rich is troubled by the increasing number of tank cars he sees on the Norfolk Southern Corp. rail line in northern Summit County - rail cars that could be carrying highly volatile Bakkan crude oil.

Mile-long trains dominated by hundreds of tank cars are common through downtown Hudson, and some may be carrying more than 3.5 million gallons of the crude, extracted from North Dakota and Montana and headed to East Coast refineries.

As the U.S. rapidly increases its oil and gas production beyond the capacity of existing pipelines, rail shipments of all types of oil have surged, from 9,344 tank cars in 2008 to more than 434,000 in 2013, says the American Association of Railroads. There was a 75 percent increase in the last year alone.

Bakken is the most volatile, and perhaps more than 50 trains loaded with the North Dakota crude pass through northern Ohio weekly. Safety concerns have mounted as 47 people died in a crash-explosion in 2013 in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. Last April, a train carrying 3 million gallons of Bakken shale derailed and exploded in Lynchburg, Va. There were other accidents in North Dakota, Alabama, Pennsylvania, New Brunswick, and Oklahoma.

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Drillers sue Broadview Heights over community bill of rights

By Bob Downing Published: July 26, 2014

It is the lawsuit that everyone in Ohio saw coming.

Fairlawn-based Bass Energy Inc. and Ohio Valley Energy Systems Corp. have filed a suit against the city of Broadview Heights and its community bill of rights that blocks new drilling.

The suit is the first of its kind in Ohio with drillers challenging local charter amendments and votes under home rule that ostensibly give communities the authority to ban drilling and hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

The Broadview Heights charter amendment was approved by voters by a 2-1 margin in November 2012.

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EQT halts Ohio Utica drilling, plans first Pennsylvania Utica well

By Bob Downing Published: July 25, 2014

Supplies of natural gas are growing in the Appalachian Basin, but the lack of  pipeline capacity has hurt drillers in Ohio and surrounding states.

That was the message earlier this week from Pittsburgh-based EQT Corp.

The company has halted its Utica shale drilling in Ohio but intends to drill its first Utica well in Pennsylvania in Greene County..

That will cost about $15 million and is likely the deepest Utica well ever drilled at 13,500 feet deep.

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Odebrecht backing manufacturing clusters with W. Va. cracker

By Bob Downing Published: July 25, 2014

The company with plans to build an ethane cracker near Parkersburg, W. Va., is promoting downstream manufacturing clusters in the Appalachian Region including Ohio and surrounding states.

That assessment came earlier this week from David Peebles of the Odebrecht Group at a U.S. Department of Energy conference at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Click  here  to see his PowerPoint presentation.

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Eco-groups to appeal ruling on Longmont, Colo., fracking ban

By Bob Downing Published: July 25, 2014

From four eco groups:

Denver, CO - In a ruling issued today, a Colorado state court invalidated a local ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, but left the door open for the City of Longmont and environmental groups to file an appeal to overturn a state policy that places the interests of the oil and gas industry over the health and safety of local citizens. In her 17 page ruling granting the industry and the state summary judgment in their challenge to Longmont’s democratically enacted 2012 fracking ban, the judge determined that her hands were tied by a series of decades-old state court rulings, stating that “[w]hether public policy should be changed in that manner is a question for the legislature or a different court.”

“While we respectfully disagree with the Court’s final decision, she was correct that we were asking this Court, in part, to place protection from the health, safety, and environmental risks from fracking over the development of mineral resources,” stated Kaye Fissinger, President of Our Health, Our Future, Our Longmont. “It’s tragic that the judge views the current law in Colorado is one in which fracking is more important than public health; reversing that backwards priority is a long-term battle that we’re determined to continue.”

In its decision the Court determined that Longmont’s ban conflicted with the states interests in oil and gas development, ignoring the fact that the state legislature requires oil and gas development to be done in a way that is protective of public health and the environment. “Despite the Court’s ruling, we continue to believe that a fracking ban is entirely compatible with the state's responsibility to safeguard our communities and our natural resources,” stated Sam Schabacker, Western Region Director with Food & Water Watch. “Fracking is an inherently harmful practice that has no place near our towns, homes and recreational areas.”

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IGS opens second CNG fueling station in Ohio in Girard

By Bob Downing Published: July 25, 2014

IGS CNG Services has opened a public fueling station in the Youngstown area, the Dublin-based company’s second in Ohio and sixth in all, reports Columbus Business First.

IGS in March broke ground for the compressed natural gas station in Girard off Interstate 80.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Benesch offers 2Q 2014 look at Ohio's Utica shale development

By Bob Downing Published: July 25, 2014

Rice Energy's Bigfoot 9H well in Ohio's Belmont County is the No. 1 producing well in the Buckeye state, according to a new report by an law firm with offices in Cleveland and Columbus.

In its quarterly summary of Utica shale drilling in Ohio, the Benesch law firm  noted that the Rice Energy well topped the Antero Resources' Yontz well in Monroe County.

Other items from the 10-page report:

-- Investment in waste-handling-and-processing firms in Ohio is on the increase.

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Tallgrass Energy to acquire interest in Pony Express Pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: July 25, 2014

From Tallgrass Energy:

LEAWOOD, Kan.--()--Tallgrass Energy Partners, LP (NYSE:TEP) (“TEP” or the “Partnership”) announced today that Tallgrass Development, LP has offered TEP the right to purchase a 33.3% interest in Tallgrass Pony Express Pipeline, LLC (“Pony Express”) for total consideration of $600 million. The terms of the offer provide certain cash flow preference rights that will afford TEP with first dollar preference on specified cash distributions from Pony Express through September 30, 2015.

“TEP is excited to have the opportunity to acquire an interest in Pony Express and to further diversify our operations and footprint. If the acquisition is completed we expect it to be accretive to TEP in 2014.”

Pony Express owns and is developing an oil pipeline project. That project consists of two components that include (i) the conversion of an approximately 430-mile natural gas pipeline and the construction of an approximately 260-mile southward pipeline extension that, when complete, will result in an oil pipeline from Guernsey, Wyoming to Cushing, Oklahoma, and (ii) the construction of an approximately 66-mile lateral in Northeast Colorado that will interconnect with the mainline. The project is being completed in stages, with the mainline expected to be placed in service during the third quarter of 2014, while the Northeast Colorado Lateral is expected to be in service sometime during the first half of 2015.

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Noble Energy production up 56 percent in DJ Basin, Marcellus

By Bob Downing Published: July 24, 2014

From Noble Energy today:

HOUSTON , July 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Noble Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NBL) announced today second quarter 2014 net income of $192 million , or $0.52 per diluted share on total revenues of $1.4 billion . Excluding the impact of certain items, which would typically not be considered by analysts in published earnings estimates, second quarter 2014 adjusted income(1) was $318 million , or $0.87 per diluted share. Discretionary cash flow(1) was $887 million and net cash provided by operating activities was $827 million . Capital expenditures for the second quarter of 2014 totaled $1.3 billion .

Key highlights for the second quarter of 2014 include:

Charles D. Davidson , Noble Energy's Chairman and CEO, commented, "We continued to make great progress on numerous fronts during the second quarter and find ourselves well-positioned to accelerate our growth profile in the second half of 2014 and into 2015. Our U.S. onshore horizontal programs have set yet another quarterly volume record and new completion techniques are enhancing well performance in both the DJ Basin and Marcellus programs. Our Gulf of Mexico program has built significant momentum with a commercial oil discovery at Katmai, as well as by adding a significant new lease position with attractive and sizeable prospects. In the meantime, development work is rapidly proceeding on prior Gulf discoveries, which will begin to deliver new production in 2015. In West Africa , both Aseng and Alen reached production milestones in the quarter. Finally in the Eastern Mediterranean, we have announced letters of intent with two new customers for over 1.1 Bcf/d that support the expansion at Tamar and first phase of Leviathan development. I am excited about the progress we are making and our outlook for the coming months and years."

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EQT reports 2Q production sales volume up 17 percent

By Bob Downing Published: July 24, 2014

From EQT Corp. today:

PITTSBURGH--(BUSINESS WIRE)--EQT Corporation (NYSE: EQT) today announced second quarter 2014 net income attributable to EQT of $110.9 million, or $0.73 per diluted share, compared to second quarter 2013 earnings of $86.9 million, or $0.57 per diluted share. Adjusted earnings for the second quarter 2014, excluding the impact of a few items including a $37.7 million gain on the Nora asset exchange, were $88.3 million, or $0.58 per diluted share – which was 3% higher than the $85.5 million, or $0.56 per diluted share last year. Adjusted operating cash flow in the quarter was $317.2 million, compared to $319.1 million; and adjusted cash flow per share was $2.08, compared to $2.11. The Non-GAAP financial measures are reconciled in the Non-GAAP Disclosures section of this news release.

Second Quarter Highlights 2014 vs. 2013:

EQT’s second quarter 2014 operating income was $224.8 million. Adjusted operating income was 16% higher than the prior year, primarily due to increases in production sales volume, contracted transmission capacity, and gathered volume, and partially offset by a 10% lower average realized price. Net operating revenues increased 9% to $474.4 million in the quarter, while net operating expenses increased only 4% to $287.4 million.

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Cabot Oil, gas reports 34 percent increase in 2Q production

By Bob Downing Published: July 24, 2014

From Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. today:

HOUSTON , July 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation (NYSE: COG) today reported its financial and operating results for the second quarter of 2014. Highlights for the quarter include:

Second Quarter 2014 Financial Results

Equivalent production in the second quarter of 2014 was 127.6 Bcfe, consisting of 121.8 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas and 961,000 barrels of liquids. These figures represent increases of 34 percent, 34 percent, and 26 percent, respectively. "Our total liquids volumes increased 40 percent sequentially—with crude oil and condensate volumes increasing 44 percent—due to strong well performance from new Eagle Ford wells that were placed on production during the quarter," commented Dan O. Dinges , Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer.

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U.S. petroleum refineries running at record levels

By Bob Downing Published: July 24, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

July 24, 2014

U.S. refineries have been processing record volumes of oil recently. Refinery inputs hit a record-high 16.8 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in each of the past two weeks, exceeding the previous record from summer 2005. Refineries in the Midwest and Gulf Coast in particular pushed the total U.S. input volume upward, as these refiners' access to lower-cost crude oil, expansions of refining capacity, and increases in both domestic demand and exports contributed to higher refinery runs.

Read More ›

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API sees no greater risk in Bakken shale oil

By Bob Downing Published: July 24, 2014

From the American Petroleum Institute:

WASHINGTON, July 23, 2014 – The American Petroleum Institute today rebutted speculation by the Department of Transportation about the characteristics of crude oil from the Bakken.

“The best science and data do not support recent speculation that crude oil from the Bakken presents greater than normal transportation risks,” said API President and CEO Jack Gerard. “Multiple studies have shown that Bakken crude is similar to other crudes.

“DOT needs to get this right and make sure that its regulations are grounded in facts and sound science, not speculation.”

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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North Dakota oil field supply company hit by major fire

By Bob Downing Published: July 24, 2014

From the Associated Press:

A North Dakota emergency manager says this week’s fire at a Williston oil field supply company likely burned dozens of different chemicals that were stored there.

Williams County Emergency Manager Mike Hallesy says the fire at Red River Supply will need to be fully extinguished before investigators can determine what caused it.

He also said the half-mile voluntary evacuation zone that was cordoned off has been lifted since the fire is mostly out.

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ODNR comes under attack for fire at Monroe County well

By Bob Downing Published: July 23, 2014

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources was strangely absent in the wake of a major natural gas well fire on June 28 in southeast Ohio, critics say.

The agency’s lack of involvement in the well fire in Monroe County was called "quite alarming" by attorney Nathan Johnson of the Ohio Environmental Council in a Wednesday teleconference.

"Where was ODNR’s Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management in this situation?" he asked. "It’s not clear where they were and what they were doing."

An 11-page report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency indicates that the state agency was not actively involved in the fire until July 1, three days after the well pad near Clarington went up in flames, and the agency was involved sporadically after July 1.

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Gastar: Proved reserves are up 43 percent in six months

By Bob Downing Published: July 23, 2014

From Gastar Exploration on Monday:

July 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Gastar Exploration Inc. (NYSE MKT: GST) ("Gastar") today reported that estimated proved reserves of natural gas, oil and condensate and natural gas liquids (NGLs) as of June 30, 2014 totaled 78.0 million barrels of oil equivalent (BOE), a 43% increase over December 31, 2013 proved reserves of 54.6 million BOE, as estimated by our third-party reserve engineers in accordance with SEC regulations. Of the 78.0 million BOE of mid-year reserves, 54% were natural gas, 26% were oil and condensate and 20% were NGLs, compared to 55% natural gas, 27% oil and condensate and 18% NGLs at year-end 2013.

Using SEC pricing, the pre-tax present value discounted at 10% (PV-10) of proved reserves increased to $826.3 million at June 30, 2014 , an increase of 39% versus $592.5 million at year-end 2013. Marcellus reserves in the Appalachian Basin represented 71% of proved reserve volumes and 51% of the PV-10 value, while Hunton Limestone reserves in Oklahoma represented 29% of proved reserve volumes and 49% of the PV-10 value.

Proved undeveloped (PUD) reserves at mid-year 2014 represented approximately 62% of total proved reserves compared to approximately 44% at year-end 2013. The total PUDs had a PV-10 value of $451.3 million and the Appalachian Basin represented 74% and Oklahoma represented 26%. At June 30, 2014 Gastar attributed PUD reserves to 72 gross (34.6 net) Marcellus PUD locations and 96 gross (73.1 net) Hunton PUD locations, as compared to 40 gross (18.8 net) and 73 gross (65.4 net), respectively, at December 31 , 2013.

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Bloomberg reports on Pennsylvania auditor general report

By Bob Downing Published: July 23, 2014

From Bloomberg News:

Pennsylvania regulators were unprepared for the fracking-fueled boom in natural gas production during the past decade, putting drinking water supplies at risk, the state’s watchdog said.

The state’s Department of Environmental Protection failed to order drillers to clean or replace tainted water supplies, or to act quickly on residents’ complaints of contamination, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said today. It also used a 25-year-old inspection policy.

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ProPublica looks at New York state, fracking uncertainty

By Bob Downing Published: July 23, 2014

From ProPublica on Tuesday:

New York State of Fracking: A ProPublica Explainer

New York's stance on fracking has changed drastically since the practice was first introduced in the state in 2008, especially as concerns were raised about the state's pristine water supply, ProPublica's Naveena Sadasivam reports.

She offers a rundown on what you need to know about the current state of fracking in New York, the protections available to the state's major watershed and the implications of the most recent court ruling for local municipalities.

Key takeaways from her Q&A:

More in her full story here - http://www.propublica.org/article/new-york-state-of-fracking-a-propublica-explainer.

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Hagan renews call for improved Ohio chemical disclosure rules

By Bob Downing Published: July 23, 2014

From Ohio State Rep. Robert Hagan, D-Youngstown:

State Rep. Hagan Renews Call for Fracking Chemicals Disclosure

Lawmaker highlights pending legislation to address recent Halliburton chemical spill concerns

 

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Rail group responds to new federal rail safety proposals

By Bob Downing Published: July 23, 2014

From the  Association of American Railroads today:

AAR Responds to U.S. DOT Proposed Rule on Safety of Moving Flammable Liquids by Rail

 

Washington, D.C., July 23, 2014 – The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today responded to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) proposed rulemaking on the safe movement of flammable liquids by rail, including crude oil and ethanol.  While AAR is examining the details of the proposed rulemaking and will provide full comments at a later date, President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger today made the following statement:

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Eco-group responds to federal proposal on oil trains, tank cars

By Bob Downing Published: July 23, 2014

Statement on proposed federal rules on oil train tank cars from ForestEthics that was released today:

Obama Administration Releases New Oil Train Regulations

 

[Bellingham, WA] Today, in response to growing public safety concerns nationwide, the Obama
Administration issued new draft regulations for trains carrying crude oil.

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Oil, gas sales account for 68 percent of Russia's export revenue

By Bob Downing Published: July 23, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administartion today:

Jul 23, 2014

Russia is a major exporter of crude oil, petroleum products, and natural gas. Sales of these fuels accounted for 68% of Russia's total export revenues in 2013, based on data from Russia's Federal Customs Service. Russia received almost four times as much revenue from exports of crude oil and petroleum products as from natural gas. Crude oil exports alone were greater in value than the value of all non-oil and natural gas exports.

Read More ›

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Federal government to phase out older oil tank cars

By Bob Downing Published: July 23, 2014

From the Associated Press today:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Thousands of older rail tank cars that carry crude oil would be phased out within two years under regulations proposed Wednesday in response to a series of fiery train crashes over the past year, including a runaway oil train that exploded in the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic, killing 47 people.

Accident investigators have complained for decades that the cars are too easily punctured or ruptured, spilling their contents, when derailed.

The phase-in period for replacing or retrofitting the DOT-111 tank cars is shorter than the Canadian government’s three-year phased plan. However, regulators left open the question of what kind of tank car will replace the old ones, saying they will choose later from among several proposals.

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Here's the report from Pennsylvania watchdog on DEP, drilling

By Bob Downing Published: July 23, 2014

Here's the 158-page report on Marcellus shale drilling in Pennsylvania filed by the Pennsylvania auditor general.

Click  here  to read the press release and access the report.

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Pennsylvania water supplies damaged by drilling operations

By Jim Mackinnon Published: July 23, 2014

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette looked into whether fracking activities in Pennsylvania damaged water supplies. Here is what the newspaper found:

"Oil and gas operations have damaged Pennsylvania water supplies 209 times since the end of 2007, according to official determinations compiled by the Department of Environmental Protection that the agency is preparing to release for the first time.

"State environmental regulators are planning to post the information on DEP’s website this month, but an early version of the spreadsheet was provided to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in response to an open records request."

Read the full story, including a map, here.

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Pennsylvania watchdog criticizes state efforts to control drilling

By Bob Downing Published: July 23, 2014

Pennsylvania's official watchdog on Tuesday criticized the state's protectors of natural resources for failing to crack down on oil and gas companies and make the public aware of what it's doing to keep the state's water clean.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said the Department of Environmental Protection is plagued by a lack of resources but routinely failed to follow its policies for policing the burgeoning Marcellus shale-gas industry.

“It is almost like firefighters trying to put out a five-alarm fire with a 20-foot garden hose,” DePasquale said in releasing a 158-page audit. “There is no question that DEP needs help, and soon, to protect clean water.”

Click  here  to read more from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

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MarkWest opens new Seneca complex, reopens Houston facility

By Bob Downing Published: July 23, 2014

From Mark West Energy Partners:

DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jul. 22, 2014-- MarkWest Energy Partners, L.P. (NYSE: MWE) (“MarkWest” or “the Partnership”) announced today an operational update regarding the continued development of midstream infrastructure projects in the liquids-rich areas of the Marcellus and Utica Shales.

In the Marcellus Shale , the Partnership has safely resumed operations of Plant III at the Houston processing and fractionation complex (“Houston complex”) in Washington County, PA. The Houston complex consists of three processing plants totaling 355 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) and 98,000 barrels per day (Bbl/d) of ethane and heavier fractionation capacity. Plant III is a 200 MMcf/d cryogenic facility that has been offline since May 28 th, 2014 after the facility’s heat exchanger was damaged.

During the period required to complete all necessary repairs to Houston’s Plant III, MarkWest was able to minimize disruption to its producer customers by utilizing its large, high-pressure, rich-gas header system to route gas to the Majorsville complex in Marshall County, West Virginia for processing.

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API to review new federal rules on crude oil rail shipments

By Bob Downing Published: July 23, 2014

From the American Petroleum Institute:

WASHINGTON, July 23, 2014 – The American Petroleum Institute will review the regulations proposed by the Department of Transportation today for the shipment by rail of crude oil, ethanol and other flammable liquids and plans to submit detailed comments during the public comment period.

“Every decision in the oil and natural gas industry begins with our core value of safety, which we approach with a foundation grounded in science and data,” said API President and CEO Jack Gerard. “Knowing that more can always be done, our focus is and always has been on enhancing safety by addressing accident prevention, mitigation and response in a comprehensive manner.

“The government can and should take steps to ensure greater safety without stalling the energy renaissance that is creating good jobs, growing our economy and improving America’s energy security. As the regulatory process moves forward, we will continue to work collaboratively with the rail industry, regulators and local first responders toward our goal of zero incidents.”

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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Center backs speedier federal review of LNG export projects

By Bob Downing Published: July 22, 2014

From the Center for Liquified Natural gas:

Washington, D.C.: The Center for Liquefied Natural Gas (CLNG) submitted three sets of comments to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on Friday, July 18 on the agency’s proposed changes in procedure for reviewing applications to export LNG. CLNG’s comments also addressed the potential inclusion of the National Energy Technology Laboratory’s (NETL) reports on the environmental impact of LNG exports and unconventional natural gas development as considering factors in applications’ approval.

 

CLNG President Bill Cooper noted in his organization’s comments that DOE’s proposal to only issue final approvals after applicants have completed National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review fails to address concerns about delays in the agency’s review process and the financial impact of regulatory uncertainty. Instead, CLNG encourages DOE to void the current Order of Precedence, withdraw the proposed procedural changes and follow the Natural Gas Act and its existing regulations by issuing a decision promptly after the close of each submitted applications’ required public comment period.

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Chemistry group backs new U.S. offshore drilling plan

By Bob Downing Published: July 22, 2014

From the American Chemistry Council:

 

WASHINGTON (July 21, 2014) – The American Chemistry Council (ACC) issued the following statement after filing comments with the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management regarding its preparation of the 2017-2012 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program.

"Responsible development of America’s oil and natural gas resources is vital to U.S. energy security and economic prosperity. Unfortunately, natural gas production on federal lands has fallen steadily, down 43 percent from FY 2003-2013, largely due to government policies restricting access: Only 13 percent of OCS acreage is open to development. No other developed nation puts comparable constraints on its own energy resources.

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U.S. to spend $4 billion by 2020 to add new refining capacity

By Bob Downing Published: July 22, 2014

From GlobalData:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

LONDON, UK (GlobalData), 22 July 2014 - The US is forecast to spend approximately $4 billion on refining capacity expansion projects between 2014 and 2020, enabling the country to process its increasing volumes of unconventional resource production, says research and consulting firm GlobalData.

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Ohio has 971 drilled Utica wells, 483 Utica wells in production

By Bob Downing Published: July 22, 2014

Ohio has approved 1,410 Utica shale permits, as of July 19.

Of that total, 971 Utica wells have been drilled and 483 are in production, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Ohio has 48 drilling rigs at work.

Fifteen new permits were approved: two in Belmont County, two in Carroll County, one in Guernsey County, seven in Harrison County, one in Jefferson County and two in Monroe County.

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Green Hunter Resources to form master limited partnership

By Bob Downing Published: July 22, 2014

Texas-based Green Hunter Resources says it intends to form a master limited partnership.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Rex Energy announced record-high mid-year proved reserves

By Bob Downing Published: July 22, 2014

From Rex Energy:

 

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. , July 21, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Rex Energy Corporation ("Rex Energy") (Nasdaq:REXX) today announced total estimated proved oil, NGL and natural gas reserves as of June 30, 2014 .

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Washington Co. households get air monitors from health group

By Bob Downing Published: July 21, 2014

More than 100 households in Washington County in southwest Pennsylvania have gotten air monitors from a grass-roots group.

The monitors were provided by the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project.

Washington County is a heavy Marcellus shale drilling area.

Click   here  to read the full story.

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Halliburton adding North American fracking crews this year

By Bob Downing Published: July 21, 2014

From Bloomberg News today:

By David Wethe

Halliburton Co. expects continued improvement in the North American hydraulic fracturing market and is “immediately” adding crews to begin work later this year.

The world’s largest provider of the service that blasts water, sand and chemicals underground to free trapped hydrocarbons, expects third-quarter operating profit margins in the region to be near 20 percent, the company said today in a statement. Second-quarter earnings were 32 percent above the results from the same period last year. Sales climbed 10 percent to $8.1 billion.

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Global economy is mixed, Schlumberger CEO says

By Bob Downing Published: July 21, 2014

From Bloomberg News on Friday:

By David Wethe

Schlumberger Ltd.’s 11th consecutive quarter of beating analysts’ earnings estimates failed to impress investors as the largest oilfield servicer said the world’s economic situation will be slow to change.

“The overall global economic outlook continues to be mixed,” Chief Executive Officer Paal Kibsgaard said in a statement yesterday. Kibsgaard sees “a slightly more cautious”short-term outlook for gross domestic product gains as the U.S. recovers from a harsh winter, Europe experiences “anemic”growth, forecasts for Brazil weaken and China’s economy stabilizes.

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Halliburton promotes Jeff Miller to president, effective Aug. 1

By Bob Downing Published: July 21, 2014

From Halliburton today:

HOUSTON, Texas - Halliburton (NYSE: HAL) today announced the promotion of Jeff Miller, currently the company’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, to president and his appointment to the Halliburton Board of Directors effective August 1, 2014. In this new role, Miller will complement the leadership of Dave Lesar, Halliburton’s chairman and chief executive officer.

Miller has served as Halliburton’s executive vice president and COO since 2012, working with the company’s senior management team in developing and executing operational strategy and ensuring that the company’s short- and long-term focus is aligned with its strategy. He began his career at Halliburton in 1997 and has held various senior management roles in the company’s global operations and business development.

"I have known and worked with Jeff for over 25 years and am absolutely confident he will excel in his new role," said Lesar. "Jeff is a proven leader who will continue to help guide the strategic direction of Halliburton to assure superior service to our customers and robust returns to our shareholders. In my continuing role as chairman and CEO, I look forward to working with Jeff for the next several years."

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Pennsylvania sets hearing on Hilcorp spacing request

By Bob Downing Published: July 21, 2014

From the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection:

Hilcorp Energy Co. is applying for a well spacing order that establishes four gas well drilling units on 3,267 acres to drill into the Utica Shale Formation in Pulaski Township, Lawrence County and Shenango Township, Mercer County.

Under the Oil and Gas Conservation Law of 1961, when a spacing order application is submitted, an administrative hearing must be held prior to entering an order establishing well spacing and drilling units. The hearing sessions were postponed twice previously.

The first hearing session has been rescheduled for September 16 and 17. The hearing session will begin at 10 a.m. and 9 a.m. respectively and be held at the Albert P. Gettings Government Center Annex of the Lawrence County Government Center, Assembly Room, 349 Countyline St., New Castle.

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Improvements in petroleum trade balance help U.S. trade deficit

By Bob Downing Published: July 21, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

Jul 21, 2014

Since the mid-1970s, the United States has run a deficit in merchandise trade, meaning that payments for imports exceeded receipts for exports. This large and growing deficit on the merchandise trade balance reached a maximum of $883 billion in the second quarter of 2008.

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geology.com maps high-density Utica laterals in eastern Ohio

By Bob Downing Published: July 21, 2014

Kudos to www.geology.com.

The site has mapped the horizontal laterals in Ohio's Utica shale.

The result shows laterals extending up to two miles from well pads and coming close to laterals extending from other wells.

The density of wells in eastern Ohio is quite surprising.

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District gets 20 percent of family's Tappan Lake mineral rights

By Bob Downing Published: July 21, 2014

The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District has received a strange Utica shale leasing donation.

Jeff and Kathleen Paravano who own 35 acres at Tappan Lake in Harrison County have offered the district a 20 percent interest in their mineral rights.

The district accepted the offer.

The donation is being made with the expectation that the district will, in good faith, attempt to include the Paravano property in any lease negotiations with drillers for adjacent MWCD property.

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ANR conducts open season for ANR East Project in Utica, Marcellus

By Bob Downing Published: July 21, 2014

From ANR Pipeline Co. on its current open season to sign up for the ANR East Project that would transport natural gas from the Utica and Marcellus shales.

Click  here  to read the notice.

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New fact sheet on new NGL pipeline from Ohio to Texas

By Bob Downing Published: July 21, 2014

A new fact sheet from Kinder Morgan and partners on new pipeline for natural gas liquids to run from Uhrichesville, Ohio, to Mont Belieu, Texas:

Utica Marcellus Texas Pipeline Project
Fact Sheet
Project Overview:
• Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. (Kinder Morgan), and MarkWest Utica EMG, L.L.C. (MarkWest Utica EMG), a joint venture between MarkWest Energy Partners, L.P. (MarkWest) and The Energy and Minerals Group (EMG), have signed a letter of intent to form a midstream joint venture (JV) to pursue a critical new project to support producers in the Utica and Marcellus shales in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
• The proposed UMTP project will enable the transportation of natural gas liquids (NGL) from Uhrichsville, Ohio area to existing facilities near Mont Belvieu, Texas.
NGL Pipeline:
• The project consists of the development of a natural gas liquids (NGL) pipeline from the JV processing complex to Gulf Coast facilities through the conversion of over 1,005 miles of Kinder Morgan’s 24-inch and 26-inch Tennessee Gas Pipeline system currently in natural gas service from Mercer County, Pennsylvania to Natchitoches, La.
• The project also includes the construction of approximately 200 miles of new NGL pipeline from Natchitoches to Mont Belvieu, Texas and/or south La.
• The project also includes the construction of approximately 160 miles of new natural gas and NGL laterals and interconnects in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Mississippi, which will supply alternate sources to the existing pipeline.
• The NGL pipeline would have an initial capacity of 150,000 barrels-per-day, and be expandable to 400,000 bpd with the addition of pump stations.
• Kinder Morgan would own at least 75 percent of the NGL pipeline and MarkWest Utica EMG would have the option to invest up to 25 percent. Kinder Morgan would operate the pipeline.
Projected Timeline:
• Agency and Public Outreach Meetings – Ongoing
• Route Selection and Permit Preparation – Ongoing
• Planned Full In-Service Date – Second Quarter 2017
 

 

_ Thanks to Jim Willis of the Marcellus Drilling News

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Colorado firm plans truck-rail condensate facility in W. Va.

By Bob Downing Published: July 21, 2014

From Colorado-based Concord Energy:

7/11/2014 - DENVER, CO - Concord Energy LLC, a wholly owned affiliate of Concord Energy Holdings LLC, is proud to announce the opening of a new Utica and Marcellus condensate and Natural Gas Liquid (NGL) truck to rail transload site in Parkersburg, WV. Concord Energy LLC is a Denver-based natural gas and crude oil transportation and logistics company that operates in most major gas and oil production basins in the United States. Its new West Virginia facility will allow Concord Energy to transport more than 150,000 bbls of crude oil condensate and natural gas liquids (NGLs) per month and allow Concord’s producer-customers to access premium downstream markets for condensate and NGL’s. This new terminal should reduce freight costs for operators in Southeast Ohio and northwest West Virginia. It will have the capability to load light condensates, stabilized condensate, raw NGL mix, and purity NGL products.

The facility partners Concord Energy with the Little Kanawha Railroad (LKRR). Products loaded at the site are then transferred and shipped long-distance via CSX Railroad. The site also includes warehouse space, additional lay down area, and both highway and river access. Plans are already in development to increase throughput capacity and add storage over the next 12 months.

Through this West Virginia project, Concord continues to leverage its logistical expertise and long history in the oil and gas industry to bring value to operators. Concord entered the Appalachian basin in 2013 by providing services for natural gas producers, including physical flow assurance and market optionality. Concord Energy plans to be an active participant in the condensate and NGL markets and continues to create jobs and contribute to the local economies in which it operates. Concord anticipates the facility to be operational and receiving product by mid-August 2014.

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A look at Ohio's record-setting Utica natural gas production

By Bob Downing Published: July 21, 2014

Baker Hostetler law firm's North American Shale Bog has a recent post of the growth of production in Ohio's Utica shale.

Click  here  to read the June 16post by Andrew Doggett:  http://www.northamericashaleblog.com.

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Company to pay $129,802 in OT to workers at Ohio drill sites

By Bob Downing Published: July 21, 2014

From the U.S. Department of Labor:

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Appalachian Oilfield Services LLC has agreed to pay 25 heavy equipment operators $129,802 in overtime back wages after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found the company was in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. At eastern Ohio drilling locations, the workers provided cleanup services and hauled away muck ejected from wells in the oil fracking process.

“Companies that underpay their employees also undercut employers who obey the law and pay their workers lawfully required wages,” said George Victory, the Wage and Hour Division’s director in Columbus. “Failing to compensate employees properly for all hours worked is unacceptable. The Wage and Hour Division is committed to ensuring workers receive the pay they have rightfully earned.”

An investigation conducted by the division’s Columbus District Office found that equipment operators were paid a flat daily rate for a 12-hour shift. When they worked in excess of 12 hours, they were paid an hourly rate. No overtime compensation was provided for hours worked in excess of 40 hours, in violation of the FLSA.

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LeBron getting assist from Ohio's Utica shale development

By Bob Downing Published: July 19, 2014

LeBron James is returning from Miami to a different Northeast Ohio, says the mighty Wall Street Journal.

The Utica shale has created a better economy and mood in Ohio, and that will aid LeBron on his return, the paper says.

Click  here  to read the account.

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Ashtabula County house explosion under investigation

By Bob Downing Published: July 18, 2014

From the Associated Press and ABJ reports:

ORWELL: Authorities responding to a report of a house explosion in far northeast Ohio say oa 27-year-old woman is dead and her boyfriend seriously injured.

An explosion was reported Wednesday evening in the village of Orwell, roughly 45 miles east of Cleveland in Ashtabula County.

The Ohio State Fire Marshal was directing the investigation.

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Antero Resources releases second quarter updates

By Bob Downing Published: July 18, 2014

From Antero Resources on Thursday:

DENVER , July 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Antero Resources (NYSE: AR) ("Antero" or the "Company") announced today second quarter 2014 operational highlights and an increase in its firm transportation position.

Recent Developments

Mid-Year 2014 Proved and 3P Reserves

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Appeals court clears up four sections of Pa.'s Act 13 rules

By Bob Downing Published: July 18, 2014

A Pennsylvania appeals court on Thursday curbed the state's power over local zoning rules that targets the gas-drilling industry.

But the appeals court upheld parts of Pennsylvania's revamped oil and gas laws involving notification of spills, eminent domain and medical records.

The ruling by the Commonwealth Court clears up the final four disputed sections of Act 13 of 2012, which lawmakers passed in an attempt to standardize rules for drillers and the state Supreme Court trimmed back as overreaching.

Click  here  to read more.

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Chesapeake still facing one charge in Michigan leasing case

By Bob Downing Published: July 18, 2014

A Michigan judge last week dismissed two of the three charges against Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy Corp. over claims that the company conspired with Canadian oil company Encana Corp. to hold down lease prices in Michigan.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Colorado governor lacking support for fracking bill

By Bob Downing Published: July 18, 2014

From Bloomberg News:

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and business leaders vowed to do “whatever it takes” to defeat initiatives proposed for the fall ballot that would restrict oil and gas drilling generating $30 billion a year for the state economy.

“These measures risk thousands and thousands of jobs and billions in investment and hundreds of millions of dollars in state tax revenue,” said the first-term Democrat at a press conference yesterday at the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.

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Federal government approves seismic tests on East Coast

By Bob Downing Published: July 18, 2014

From the NRDC late on Thursday::

 

 

Deafening, Dynamite-like Underwater Acoustic Assaults Would Injure Up to 138,000 Marine Mammals and Reduce Catch Rates of Commercial Fisherman

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McClendon seeking another $2 billion for oil drilling

By Bob Downing Published: July 18, 2014

From Bloomberg News on Thursday:

Aubrey McClendon, the shale wildcatter who’s raised $1 million an hour since getting fired from  Chesapeake Energy Corp. last year, is seeking another $2 billion for oil drilling.

Energy 11 LP plans to offer 95 million common units for $20 each and 5.26 million units for $19, according to a prospectus the Fort Worth, Texas-based partnership filed today. The units will not trade on any public exchange. A subsidiary of McClendon’s American Energy Partners LP will manage all aspects of Energy 11’s business, the filing said.

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Ohio's injection well industry is booming with Utica growth

By Bob Downing Published: July 18, 2014

Midwest Energy News has a good-read artixcle on Ohio0's injection wells for drilling waste.

Click  here  to read the story by Kathiann Kowalski.

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U.S. EPA extends comment on fracking chemical disclosure

By Bob Downing Published: July 18, 2014

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has extended the public comment period on disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

The period has been extended to Sept. 18 from Aug. 18.

Click   here  to read the Federal Register notice.

 

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U.S. petroleum demand, deliveries both on increase

By Bob Downing Published: July 18, 2014

From the American Petroleum Institute today:

WASHINGTON, July 17, 2014 ─ Total U.S. petroleum deliveries (a measure of demand) rose 1.5 percent from June 2013 to average just above 19.0 million barrels per day last month. For the second quarter, petroleum demand increased 1.5 percent compared to the same period last year.

“A wide range of measures show continued strength in petroleum demand and domestic supply last month, with imports around 20-year lows,” said API Chief Economist John Felmy. “Increased U.S. production in recent years has provided an almost barrel-for-barrel counterweight to various disruptions in global supply from overseas.”

Demand for gasoline gained 4.0 percent from June 2013 to average 9.3 million barrels per day while distillate deliveries increased by 3.0 percent to approximately 3.8 million barrels per day. Jet fuel demand increased by 8.4 percent over the same period, while demand fell for “other oils” by 5.5 percent and residual fuel by 10.9 percent. Residual fuel deliveries marked the lowest June level on record.

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California shuts down 11 injection wells, looking at 95 others

By Bob Downing Published: July 18, 2014

From ProPublica today:

CA Halts Injection of Fracking Waste, Warning It May Be Contaminating Aquifers

California officials have ordered an emergency shutdown of 11 oil and gas waste injection sites and a review of 95 others in the state's drought-wracked Central Valley out of fear that companies may have been pumping fracking fluids and other toxic waste into drinking water aquifers there, ProPublica's Abrahm Lustgarten reports.

The action comes as California's agriculture industry copes with a drought crisis that has emptied reservoirs and cost the state $2.2 billion this year alone. The lack of water has forced farmers to supplement their water supply from underground aquifers.
 

 

Key takeaways from Lustgarten's report:

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BP America gets ODNR approval to plug Trumbull County well

By Bob Downing Published: July 17, 2014

BP America has won approval from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to plug one of its producing wells in Trumbull County.

The company won approval on July 10 to plug its Jewett IH well in Johnston Township, said ODNR spokesman Mark Bruce.

Last April, the company said it was abandoning its efforts in the Utica shale and putting its 105,000 leased acres up for sale.

That was due to poor results in its Trumbull County wells in the northern section of the Utica shale.

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Firm buys Pa. manufactured homes to house drilling workers

By Bob Downing Published: July 17, 2014

New Jersey-based real estate investment Trust UMH Properties Inc. announced it has bought four manufactured home communities in the Pittsburgh area to house Marcellus shale workers as rental properties, the Pittsburgh Business Times reported.

It said the company paid $12.2 million for the four communities in the region that include 336 developed homes on 239 acres but didn't provide details on the specific properties it bought.

Click  here  to read the full story

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Pennsylvania health secretary: No quick way to answer questions

By Bob Downing Published: July 17, 2014

From the Associated Press:

By KEVIN BEGOS

Associated Press

The head of Pennsylvania’s Department of Health said Wednesday that its experts are responding to health complaints related to natural gas drilling, but there is no quick and easy way to answer questions about the issue.

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American Energy-Permian Basin announces pricing of notes

By Bob Downing Published: July 17, 2014

From American Energy Partners and its American Energy-Permian Basin LLC on Wednesday:

 

OKLAHOMA CITY, JULY 16, 2014: American Energy – Permian Basin, LLC (AEPB), an affiliate of American Energy Partners, LP (AELP), announced today the pricing of its offering of $350 million of floating rate senior unsecured notes due 2019 ("2019 Notes"), $650 million of 7.125% senior unsecured notes due 2020 ("2020 Notes") and $600 million of 7.375% senior unsecured notes due 2021 ("2021 Notes"). The 2019 Notes will be sold to investors at 99% of their principal amount, while the 2020 Notes and 2021 Notes will be sold to investors at 100% of their principal amount. Subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions, the offering of the Notes is expected to close on July 31, 2014.

The net proceeds from the offering of each series of Notes will be used as part of the financing for the proposed acquisition by AEPB of the Permian Basin business and assets of Enduring Resources II, LLC ("Acquisition") and for general corporate purposes. The offering of the Notes is scheduled to close prior to the completion of the Acquisition and, therefore, AEPB expects to deposit the gross proceeds received from the offering of each series of Notes and certain additional amounts in an escrow account pending the satisfaction of certain conditions, including the completion of the Acquisition.

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Kinder Morgan Energy Partners provides quarterly update

By Bob Downing Published: July 17, 2014

From Kinder Morgan on Wednesday:

HOUSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jul. 16, 2014-- Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. (NYSE: KMP) today increased its quarterly cash distribution per common unit to $1.39 ( $5.56 annualized) payable on Aug. 14, 2014 , to unitholders of record as of July 31, 2014 . This represents a 5 percent increase over the second quarter 2013 cash distribution per unit of $1.32 ( $5.28 annualized) and is up from $1.38 per unit ( $5.52 annualized) for the first quarter of 2014.

Chairman and CEO Richard D. Kinder said, “KMP had a strong second quarter and increased the distribution for the 52nd time since current management took over in February of 1997. Our five business segments produced $1.478 billion in segment earnings before DD&A and certain items, an 11 percent increase over the second quarter of 2013. Growth was led by outstanding results at Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP), contributions from the Copano Energy acquisition, increased oil production at SACROC, and strong results from both our Products Pipelines and Terminals businesses. In our Natural Gas Pipelines segment, since Dec. 1, 2013 , KMP has entered into new long-term, firm transport capacity commitments totaling 3.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d). Further, we have another approximately 1.7 Bcf/d of pending transactions, the majority of which are related to third-party LNG facilities, all of which are credible LNG export projects. These LNG commitments, combined with an additional approximately 300 million cubic feet per day (Mmcf/d) of other pending contracts, would bring the total long-term firm transport capacity signed up across KMP’s gas pipelines to approximately 4.8 Bcf/d since the beginning of December (approximately 6.5 percent of the current daily natural gas demand in the United States ). We continue to see exceptional growth opportunities across all of our business segments. Since our April earnings release, we have increased our project backlog of expansion and joint venture investments at KMP to $15 .4 billion from $14.9 billion . These are projects that have a high certainty of completion and will drive future growth at the company. The approximately $500 million net increase in the backlog includes $1.2 billion of new projects and approximately $700 million of projects that were placed in service and removed from the backlog.”

KMP reported second quarter distributable cash flow before certain items of $561 million, up 11 percent from $505 million for the comparable period in 2013. Distributable cash flow per unit before certain items was $1.23 compared to $1.22 for the second quarter last year. Second quarter net income before certain items was $698 million compared to $627 million for the same period in 2013. Net income was $669 million compared to $1 .01 billion for the second quarter last year, reflecting a large gain from certain items in the second quarter last year primarily related to re-measurement of KMP’s original 50 percent interest in the Eagle Ford Gathering joint venture to fair market value as a result of the Copano acquisition. Certain items for the second quarter totaled a net loss of $29 million versus a net gain of $383 million for the same period last year.

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Oil, gas resource categories reflect differing certainty

By Bob Downing Published: July 17, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

Jul 17, 2014

Crude oil and natural gas resources are the estimated oil and natural gas volumes that might be produced at some time in the future. The volumes of oil and natural gas that ultimately will be produced cannot be known ahead of time. Resource estimates change as extraction technologies improve, as markets evolve, and as oil and natural gas are produced. Consequently, the oil and gas industry, researchers, and government agencies spend considerable time and effort defining and quantifying oil and natural gas resources.

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Magnum Hunter buys Ormet Corp. mineral rights in two states

By Bob Downing Published: July 17, 2014

Texas-based Magnum Hunter Resources Corp. has agreed to purchase the remaining mineral rights of bankrupt aluminum producer Ormet Corp. in Ohio's Monroe County and West Virginia's Wetzel County  for $22.3 million, NGI's Shale Daily reports.

Magnum Hunter had already drilled three wells on Ormet's property and with the approval of a bankruptcy court in Delaware, the new acquisition would allow it access to the oil and gas rights underneath the plant that was recently sold to Niagara Worldwide LLC, Shale Daily said.

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U.S. Senate confirms LaFleur to second term on FERC

By Bob Downing Published: July 17, 2014

From the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission:

Senate Votes to Confirm Cheryl LaFleur to Second Term at FERC

The United States Senate has confirmed Cheryl LaFleur to a second term on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). LaFleur, who has been Acting Chairman of the Commission since November 2013, will now serve a term that expires in 2019.

“I want to thank President Obama and the Senate for giving me the opportunity to serve another term,” Acting Chairman LaFleur said. “I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to maintain a reliable and secure grid and help ensure our energy markets and infrastructure adapt to the nation’s changing resource mix.”

Since she joined the Commission in 2010, Acting Chairman LaFleur’s priorities have included reliability and grid security, promoting efficient and effective markets, and supporting a clean and diverse power supply. She serves as the FERC liaison to the Department of Energy’s Electricity Advisory Committee. She is also a member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ (NARUC) Committees on Electricity and Critical Infrastructure and was co-chair of the FERC/NARUC Forum on Reliability and the Environment.

Acting Chairman LaFleur has more than 20 years’ experience as a leader in the electric and natural gas industry, serving as executive vice president and acting CEO of National Grid USA, responsible for the delivery of electricity to 3.4 million customers in the Northeast. In various positions at National Grid USA and its predecessor New England Electric System, she led major efforts to improve reliability and employee safety, and was responsible for leading award-winning conservation and demand response programs for customers. Acting Chairman LaFleur practiced law at Ropes & Gray in Boston earlier in her career.

A native of Massachusetts, Acting Chairman LaFleur is married to William A. Kuncik, a retired attorney, and they are the parents of two grown children.

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Oklahoma drilling, injection wells causing earthquakes

By Bob Downing Published: July 17, 2014

Oklahoma is now No. 1 for earthquakes in the United States.

It had 240-plus earthquakes of 3.0 or greater magnitude from January through June.

That total is growing. The state had seven earthquakes last weekend, three of which were greater than 3.0.

Hydraulic fracturing or fracking and injection wells for drilling wastes are the likely causes, the experts say.

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Global polyethylene market to see growing demand to 2018

By Bob Downing Published: July 17, 2014

From GlobalData on Wednesday:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

LONDON, UK (GlobalData), 16 July 2014 - Global polyethylene demand is forecast to rise by approximately 3.7% per annum between 2013 and 2018, at a slightly higher level than its growth during the 2003 to 2013 period, says a new report from research and consulting firm GlobalData.

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Ohio has 953 drilled Utica wells, 476 producing Utica wells

By Bob Downing Published: July 16, 2014

Ohio has approved 1,397 Utiuca shale permits, as of July 12.

The state has 953 drilled Utica wells, of which 476 are producing, says the Ohio Department of Natrual resources and its Division of Oil & Gas Resources Management.

There are 45 rigs working in Ohio.

The state has approved 13 new permits: three in Belmont County, four in Guernsey County, three in Harrison County, one in Jefferson County, one in Monroe County and one in Trumbull Counjty.

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EDR maps natural gas leaks in three American cities

By Bob Downing Published: July 16, 2014

The Environmental Defense Fund has put the cars that Google Street View deploys to map routes, houses and commercial buildings to a new use: mapping natural gas leaks.

It has mapped such leaks in Boston, Indianapolis and New York City's Staten island.

Click  here  to read the full story from the Washington Post.

 

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Voters in Denton to decide fate of first Texas fracking ban

By Bob Downing Published: July 16, 2014

From the Associated Press:

The Denton (Texas)  City Council voted down a petition 5-2 to ban new hydraulic fracturing after eight hours of testimony, sending the proposal to a public ballot in November.

The North Texas city would be the first in the state to ban fracking.

Fracking involves blasting a mix of water, sand and chemicals deep into underground rock formations to release trapped oil and gas.

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Antero Resources reports on mid-year reserves

By Bob Downing Published: July 16, 2014

From Antero Resources:

 

DENVER , July 15, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

 

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Investigators studying ozone in Colorado's Front Range

By Bob Downing Published: July 16, 2014

A press release on Tuesday from the National Center for Atmospheric Reserach:

BOULDER

– Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and partner organizations from across the country are launching a major field project on the northern Front Range of Colorado this month to track the origins of summertime ozone, an invisible but harmful pollutant.

The researchers will use specially equipped aircraft, networks of ground-based instruments, and sophisticated computer simulations. Results from the month-long study will provide needed information to officials seeking to ensure that air in the region is healthy to breathe.

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Crude distillation capacity additions growing at refineries

By Bob Downing Published: July 16, 2014

From GlobalData on Tuesday:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Global Crude Distillation Capacity Additions to Reach Almost 12 Million Barrels per Day by 2020, Increasing Pressure on Refining Margins, says GlobalData

LONDON, UK (GlobalData), 15 July 2014 - An additional 11.7 million barrels per day (mmbd) of Crude Distillation Capacity (CDU) will come online globally between 2014 and 2020, with an annual average of 1.6 mmbd, says research and consulting firm GlobalData.

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Fire reported at CONSOL Energy well in Greene County

By Bob Downing Published: July 15, 2014

There was a small fire on Monday afternoon at a CONSOL Energy well pad in Pennsyvania's Greene County.

No injuries were reported at the fire west onf Waynesburg in Center Township.

Click  here to read more from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

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Marcellus natural gas production up 28 percent from 2013

By Bob Downing Published: July 15, 2014

From Bloomberg News today:

 

Record natural gas production from the Marcellus shale deposit in the Northeast is helping send U.S. output to an all-time high, as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling unlocked underground supplies.

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McClendon wildcats for junk funding, Bloomberg reports

By Bob Downing Published: July 15, 2014

From Bloomberg News:

Aubrey McClendon is returning to his wildcatter roots as the ousted co-founder of Chesapeake Energy Corp. prepares to tap the junk-bond market to help finance what will be the most highly leveraged energy exploration company.

A unit of McClendon’s American Energy Partners LP is seeking $1.4 billion, according to a statement from Moody’s Investors Service, which assigned the debt a Caa1 rating. That grade, denoting securities of “very high risk” and “poor credit standing,” reflects undeveloped reserves and“prospective” acreage in Permian Basin drilling rights being purchased from closely held Enduring Resources.

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Wildlife professionals urge BLM to conserve intact public lands

By Bob Downing Published: July 15, 2014

From the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership:

 

 


 

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CONSOL Energy offers Utica, Marcellus updates

By Bob Downing Published: July 15, 2014

From CONSOL Energy today:

 

  PITTSBURGH , July 15, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- CONSOL Energy Inc. (NYSE: CNX) is providing an operations update for the quarter ended June 30, 2014 .

CONSOL's much anticipated 3-well NBL19 pad in northern Noble County, OH , had initial production rates exceeding 23 MMcfe per day, per lateral, with controlled pressure drawdown. The three wells were turned into production last week and are located adjacent to CONSOL's NBL16 pad, which contains two wells: the NBL16A and NBL16B. The NBL16A had a lateral length of approximately 4,900 feet and tested at 12.0 MMcf per day plus 768 barrels oil per day. The NBL 16B had a lateral length of approximately 3,400 feet and is currently undergoing completion activity. Both NBL16 wells are expected to be turned into production in August, 2014. Adjacent to the NBL16 pad is the 5-well NBL18 pad with average lateral lengths of approximately 5,400 feet. The five wells at NBL18 are currently undergoing fracture stimulation and are expected to be turned into production in October, 2014. Also, in the immediate vicinity is the 3-well NBL30 pad with average lateral lengths of approximately 4,800 feet. The NBL30 pad is currently undergoing completion activity and is expected to be turned into production in September, 2014.

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24 Cove Point LNG export protestors arrested in D.C.

By Bob Downing Published: July 15, 2014

A total of 24 protestors were arrested on Monday in Washington, D.C., at the headquarters of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Those arrested were protesting the Cove Point, Md., liquified natural gas export facility.

Click  here  to read more from NPR's StateImpact Pennsylvania.

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Court decisions to allow New York fracking review to continue

By Bob Downing Published: July 14, 2014

From Office of New York Attorney General today:

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today issued the following statement on two decisions by New York State Supreme Court Justice Roger McDonough dismissing two lawsuits seeking to force the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to terminate its ongoing review of the environmental impacts related to high-volume hydrofracking:

“The court’s decision to allow the state review of hydrofracking risks to continue is an important victory in our effort to ensure all New Yorkers have safe water to drink and a clean, healthy environment. New Yorkers are rightly concerned about studies showing the environmental risks associated with hydrofracking. We should not allow hydrofracking to begin in New York until the Department of Health completes its analysis of its impact on public health. Given the risks of contamination to wells and the aquifer that supplies drinking water to many New Yorkers, we need to make sure we can safeguard our water before we move forward.”

Last year, the trustee of the bankrupt gas development company Norse Energy and the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York brought suit in New York State Supreme Court in Albany County against the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the New York State Department of Health (DOH), and Governor Cuomo. Both suits asked the Court to compel the DEC to terminate its environmental review of hydrofracking.

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Chesapeake is benefitting from increased NGL production

By Bob Downing Published: July 14, 2014

From Seeking Alpha blog:

Chesapeake Energy (CHK) raised its 2014 total production growth outlook to 9%-12%, up from the previous estimate of 8%-10%, driven by better natural gas liquids volumes. In addition, since the company has shifted its focus on the liquid-rich plays, its liquid production is expected to increase by approximately 29%-33% in 2014. The company also expects capital expenditure in the range of $5.0 billion-$5.4 billion, as it is planning to drill more than 260 wells over the next two years.

Moreover, the company has recently taken certain steps that will result in reduced leverage. It is desirable to discuss the deals that will allow the company to offload debt from its balance sheet. I will also analyze whether or not the company will be able to meet its production targets.

Chesapeake delivered a 55% increase in the production of natural gas liquids (NGLs), bringing the total production to 7.6 million barrels. The growth is primarily driven by strong production in the Marcellus and Utica regions. The NGL operation expanded at a faster pace than the company's oil or gas production. Given the higher production from its Mid-Continent, Eagle Ford and Utica shales, the company expects NGL to account for 13% of the company's total output.

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Exterran buys 162 compressors from Chesapeake subsidiary

By Bob Downing Published: July 14, 2014

Texas-based Exterran Partners LP and Exterran Holdings Inc. have purchased natural gas compression facilities in Arkansas' Fayetteville shale.

The 162 compressor units were purchased from Midcon Compression LLC, a Chesapeake Energy subsidiary, for $135 million.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Ohio group seeks U.S. EPA action on radioactive drilling wastes

By Bob Downing Published: July 14, 2014

From the FreshWater Accountability Project today:

The attached press release (copied below) for your information and dissemination. This press release, the USEPA demand letter, and results of records requests to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources regarding the toxic and radioactive frack waste processing facilities can be found at: http://fwap.org/federal-intervention-into-ohios-failure-to-comply-with-regulation-demanded/.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DATE: July 14, 2014

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Whiting purchase of Kodiak to create big Bakken oil producer

By Bob Downing Published: July 14, 2014

From Bloomberg News today:

Whiting Petroleum Corp's $3.8 billion purchase of Kodiak Oil & Gas Corp. will create the dominant crude-oil producer in the richest U.S. shale region as energy explorers seek access to future drilling opportunities.

Kodiak stockholders will receive 0.177 of a Whiting share for each Kodiak share they own, which is the equivalent of $13.90 based on the acquirer’s July 11 price, the Denver-based companies said in a statement yesterday. Including $2.2 billion in debt, the total transaction is valued at about $6 billion.

The agreement will vault Whiting ahead of Oklahoma billionaire Harold Hamm’s Continental Resources Inc. as the premier oil supplier in the Bakken shale formation in the northern Great Plains. Whiting is buying a company that more than doubled production last year while Whiting’s own output growth slowed as costs to bring new wells online surged.

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Magnum Hunter Resources reports on mid-year proved reserves

By Bob Downing Published: July 14, 2014

From Magnum Hunter Resources today:

 

HOUSTON, TX--(Marketwired - Jul 14, 2014) - Magnum Hunter Resources Corporation ( NYSE : MHR ) ( NYSE MKT : MHR.PRC ) ( NYSE MKT : MHR.PRD ) ( NYSE MKT : MHR.PRE ) ("Magnum Hunter" or the "Company") announced today an increase of 7.7 MMBoe or a 10.7% improvement in the quantity of the Company's estimated total proved oil and natural gas reserves at June 30, 2014, compared with total proved reserves just six months ago at December 31, 2013 (adjusted for divestitures, as described below). The present value of estimated future net cash flows, before income taxes, of the Company's estimated total proved reserves as of mid-year 2014, discounted at 10% ("PV-10"), increased 10.2% or $84.9 million to $916.3 million, compared with the PV-10 of such reserves at year-end 2013 (information herein regarding the Company's proved reserves and associated PV-10 at year-end 2013 has been adjusted for previously reported divestitures of properties in Canada and Atascosa County, Texas that occurred in early 2014) (see "Non-GAAP Financial Measures and Reconciliations" below).

Magnum Hunter's estimated total proved reserves increased by 7.7 MMBoe to 79.8 MMBoe (38% crude oil and NGLs; 47% proved developed producing) at June 30, 2014, compared with 72.1 MMBoe (43% crude oil and NGLs; 52% proved developed producing) at December 31, 2013. Proved undeveloped reserves at mid-year 2014 increased 12% to 29.2 MMBoe, compared with those at year-end 2013. This was primarily due to the execution and continued delineation of the Company's existing leasehold acreage position in the Marcellus and Utica Shales in West Virginia and Ohio. The Company's reserve life (R/P ratio) of its proved reserves at mid-year 2014 based on current production is approximately 12 years.

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Gulfport Energy names Gaydosik chief financial officer

By Bob Downing Published: July 11, 2014

From Gulfport Energy:

OKLAHOMA CITY, July 10, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Gulfport Energy Corporation (Nasdaq:GPOR) ("Gulfport") today announced that Aaron Gaydosik has been appointed by the Company's Board of Directors to serve as Chief Financial Officer. Most recently, Mr. Gaydosik served as Vice President of Finance at Kodiak Oil & Gas Corp., an independent energy company with operations focused primarily in the Williston Basin of North Dakota. Prior to joining Kodiak, Mr. Gaydosik served as a Director in the Oil and Gas Group at Credit Suisse, where he spent six years focused on capital markets and advisory transactions primarily for exploration and production companies. His prior investment banking experience also includes two years in the energy group at Wachovia Securities. Mr. Gaydosik holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from Southern Methodist University and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

David L. Houston, Chairman of the Board of Directors, commented, "We are excited to welcome Aaron to Gulfport's senior management team. Aaron brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding of the energy capital markets from his tenure in investment banking. Additionally, his recent position with an exploration and production company adds valuable industry experience to the Gulfport team. We are confident that Aaron will play an integral role at Gulfport as we continue to develop our world class assets and execute on our program in 2014 and beyond."

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Louisiana Offshore wants to reverse flow due to shale oil

By Bob Downing Published: July 11, 2014

Fron Bloomberg News:

By Dan Murtaugh
Bloomberg News

For more than 30 years, the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port LLC has been a symbol of U.S. dependence on foreign oil, pumping Nigerian and Saudi Arabian crude from the world’s biggest supertankers into underground storage caverns beneath the marshes of southern Louisiana.

For more than 30 years, the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port LLC has been a symbol of U.S. dependence on foreign oil, pumping Nigerian and Saudi Arabian crude from the world’s biggest supertankers into underground storage caverns beneath the marshes of southern Louisiana.

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N.Y. health group releases compilation report on fracking issues

By Bob Downing Published: July 11, 2014

From the Concerned Health Professionals of New York Thursday:

July 10, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 

Health Professionals Release Major Scientific Document on Fracking and Request Meeting with Acting Health Commissioner Zucker

After Court of Appeals Decision, New Scientific Compendium Demonstrates Imperative of Statewide Moratorium

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Eco-groups support Longmont, Colo., fracking ban in court

By Bob Downing Published: July 11, 2014

From the Sierra Club and partners on Thursday:

Groups Defend Longmont Fracking Ban, Stand with Voters

 

BOULDER, CO- Yesterday, presided over by Judge D.D. Mallard, the Boulder County Court held its first hearing in the case filed by the industry and the State of Colorado against the 2012 fracking ban passed by the citizens of Longmont.  Legal representation for the State of Colorado, Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA), and TOP Operating Company asked the judge for a summary judgment in their favor, avoiding a full trial and overriding the will of the voters who enacted a fracking ban in November 2012 through a citizen initiative that received about 60 percent of the vote. The city of Longmont and a coalition of citizen organizations represented by the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and made up of Our Longmont, the Sierra Club, Earthworks, and Food and Water Watch, are working to defend the right of Longmont residents to protect their home from unacceptable impacts on public health, environmental, and quality of life caused by fracking operations.

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API issues 'good neighbor' standards for oil, gas drillers

By Bob Downing Published: July 10, 2014

From the American Petroleum Institute on Wednesday:

WASHINGTON, July 9, 2014 ─ API has published a first-of-its-kind industry standard for community engagement in areas of the country where horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have opened new energy development opportunities.

“America’s energy revolution is creating millions of jobs and reenergizing communities from coast to coast,” said API Director of Standards David Miller. “The energy revolution is now occurring in areas of the country where oil and natural gas exploration doesn’t have the same history as Texas or Oklahoma. API’s community engagement guidelines will serve as a gold standard for good neighbor policies that address community concerns, enhance the long-term benefits of local development, and ensure a two-way conversation regarding mutual goals for community growth.”

Dubbed ANSI/API Bulletin 100-3, the standard provides a detailed list of steps that oil and natural companies can take to help local leaders and residents prepare for energy exploration, minimize interruption to the community, and manage resources. It includes recommendations for how to conduct public meetings on safety, work with local educational institutions to discuss training for new job opportunities, develop relationships with mineral owners, and ensure that oil and gas production is done in way that complements community goals.

“Like all our guidelines on hydraulic fracturing, the new standard will be available for free on our website and shared with regulators at every level of government,” said Miller. “Our standard will provide a roadmap for oil and natural gas operators seeking to build lasting, successful relationships with local residents wherever energy development takes place. It incorporates best practices and proven models that have been developed by industry participants over more than 65 years of safe, responsible hydraulic fracturing.”

API first began publishing standards in 1924 and currently has over 650 standards and technical publications. Over 100 of them have been incorporated into U.S. regulations, and they are the most widely-cited industry standards by international regulators. The program is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the same body that accredits programs at several national laboratories.

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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Activists troubled by Ohio River barge plan in Meigs County

By Bob Downing Published: July 10, 2014

From the Athens County Fracking Action Network today:

GreenHunter seeks dock to greatly expand frackwaste dumping,

pushes liquid frackwaste barging on the Ohio:

Commissioners and citizens call for

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Michigan animation shows danger of Great Lakes oil spill

By Bob Downing Published: July 10, 2014

From the National Wildlife Federation today:

New University of Michigan Animation Illustrates Danger of Oil Spill to Great Lakes

 

Straits of Mackinac ‘worst possible place’ for oil spill, says lead researcher.

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The People's Legal Team offers oil, gas legal help

By Bob Downing Published: July 10, 2014

From the People's OPil & Gas Collaboration on Wednesday:

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FracTracker look at water usage, injection wells in Ohio, W. Va.

By Bob Downing Published: July 10, 2014

The FracTracker Alliance offers a new look at water usage in Ohio and West Virginia and injection wells.

Click  here  to access the report by Ted Auch.

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Mexican oil monopoly may make new access difficult

By Bob Downing Published: July 9, 2014

From GlobalData today:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Pemex Monopoly Could Deter New Competitors from Entering Mexico’s Downstream Oil Sector, says GlobalData Analyst

LONDON, UK (GlobalData), 9 July 2014 - Despite the imminent phased introduction to a fully deregulated market, new companies wishing to enter Mexico’s downstream oil space will have a difficult time overcoming the existing monopoly held by state-owned Pemex, according to an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData.

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ODNR settles Athens County suit over access to public records

By Bob Downing Published: July 9, 2014

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has settled a lawsuit by anti-fracking actrivists over access to public records involving two injection wells in Athens County.

Click  here  to read the full story from the Athens News.

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Bloomberg News takes look at Magnum Hunter Resources

By Bob Downing Published: July 9, 2014

A recent but interesting article from Bloomberg News:

By Isaac Arnsdorf

Even in a business whose lifeblood is borrowing, Magnum Hunter Resources Corp. (MHR) stands out.

The Houston-based shale driller owes $891 million -- about 70 times more than its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or Ebitda, in the past year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The industry average is 4.3.

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Pennsylvania considering new anti-quake drilling rules

By Bob Downing Published: July 9, 2014

Pennsylvania is considering new drilling rules to guard against earthquakes like those that were recorded last spring at a drilling site in Ohio's Mahoning County.

Pennsylvania is looking at new rules on drilling in what is being called "seismic hazard areas" where hydraulic fracturing or frackiing could trigger quakes like happened in Ohio.

Click  here  to read Tuesday's story by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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Oklahoma fears quakes tied to 1 billion barrels of injected waste

By Bob Downing Published: July 9, 2014

From Bloomberg News on Monday:

By Zain Shauk

Squinting into a laptop perched on the back of his pickup, Austin Holland searches for a signal from a coffee-can-sized sensor buried under the grassy prairie.

Holland, Oklahoma’s seismology chief, is determined to find the cause of an unprecedented earthquake epidemic in the state. And he suspects pumping wastewater from oil and gas drilling back into the Earth has a lot to do with it.

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Six formations responsible for Permian Basin crude oil surge

By Bob Downing Published: July 9, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

 

The Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico is the nation's most prolific oil producing area. Six formations within the basin have provided the bulk of Permian's 60% increase in oil output since 2007. Crude oil production in the Permian Basin has increased from a low point of 850,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2007 to 1,350,000 bbl/d in 2013.

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American Energy affiliate to offer $1.4 billion of senior notes

By Bob Downing Published: July 9, 2014

From American Energy Partners on Tuesday:

 

AMERICAN ENERGY – PERMIAN BASIN, LLC ANNOUNCES OFFERING OF $1.4 BILLION OF SENIOR NOTES

OKLAHOMA CITY, JULY 8, 2014: American Energy – Permian Basin, LLC (AEPB), an affiliate of American Energy Partners, LP (AELP), announced today that it intends to offer $1.4 billion of senior unsecured notes (Notes), in three series due in 2019, 2020, and 2021, in an unregistered offering to institutional investors.

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Refinery construction to grow by $300 billion by 2020, study says

By Bob Downing Published: July 8, 2014

From GlobalDate today:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Planned Refinery Construction and Expansion Projects to Fuel Global Refining Capital Expenditures to Over $300 Billion by 2020, says GlobalData

LONDON, UK (GlobalData), 8 July 2014 - The global refining capital expenditure (CAPEX) is forecast to reach approximately $333 billion between 2014 and 2020, representing an annual average of almost $48 billion and 1.6 thousand barrels per day (mbd), says a new report from research and consulting firm GlobalData.

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Faith communities back restoring Ohio renewable standards

By Bob Downing Published: July 8, 2014

From Faith Communities Together for Frack Awareness today:

Ohio Faith Communities urge Governor Kasich and the Ohio General Assembly to restore Ohio’s Energy Standards that were frozen recently by SB 310

 

AKRON, OH. FaCT [Faith Communities Together for Frack Awareness] unanimously adopts letter in opposition to recently-enacted SB 310.

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July 13 rally against Cove Point, LNG exports planned in D.C.

By Bob Downing Published: July 8, 2014

From Public Citizen today:

Thousands to Join First-Ever Washington, D.C., March Against Fracked Gas Exports as Obama Administration Weighs Cove Point Permit

Colorful march will bring giant ‘Stop Cove Point’ pipeline prop to the front door of Obama’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Anti-fracking and climate justice leaders Sandra Steingraber, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Tim DeChristopher and Cherri Foytlin (Gulf Coast) to speak

July 8, 2014

Contact: Kelly Trout, (240) 396-2022, (717) 439-0346, kelly@chesapeakeclimate.org
Angela Bradbery, (202) 588-7741, abradbery@citizen.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Sunday afternoon, activists from across the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond will join the first-ever Washington, D.C., rally against the gas industry’s controversial push to export fracked and liquefied natural gas (LNG) from U.S. coastlines. As a key decision nears on the Cove Point export terminal proposed in Lusby, Md., just 50 miles south of the White House, protesters will call on President Barack Obama and his Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to halt approval of all LNG export projects and protect communities from the surge of new fracking wells, pipelines and planet-warming pollution they would trigger.

The July 13 “Stop Fracked Gas Exports” mobilization is uniting communities on the front lines of the gas industry’s proposed fracking-pipeline-export build-out. The Cove Point terminal would be the first on the East Coast and could incentivize a dramatic expansion of fracking activities across the Marcellus shale region. FERC, which could decide on whether to approve the Cove Point terminal as early as this August, is currently reviewing fourteen export terminals proposed throughout the U.S.

Featured speakers will include a sixth-generation Pennsylvania landowner, a Maryland mother whose home is only a few hundred feet from the proposed Cove Point plant, and Cherri Foytlin, a Gulf Coast mother of six and climate justice advocate in South Louisiana.

After rallying west of the U.S Capitol reflecting pool on the National Mall, participants will march on FERC headquarters with giant props, including a 100-foot-long “Stop Cove Point” pipeline, a fracking well, and mock wind turbines and suns representing true clean energy solutions.

WHAT: Rally and march to stop fracked gas exports at Cove Point, Md., and beyond.

WHEN: Sunday, July 13. 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Schedule: 12:15 p.m. - Press availability begins by the stage; 12:45 p.m. - Music and “The People’s Puppets;” 1 p.m. - Rally speakers begin; 2:15 p.m. - March to FERC begins.

WHERE: West of the Capitol reflecting pool on the National Mall. The stage will be located near the intersections of 3rd Street SW and Jefferson Drive SW. The march will go north on 3rd Street NW; turn right on Constitution Avenue NW; turn left on Louisiana Avenue NW, proceed to North Capitol Street and conclude at FERC’s headquarters at 888 First St. NE.

SPEAKERS:

More than 40 national, state and community-based groups have endorsed the July 13 rally. View the list and find more information at www.StopGasExports.org.

###
 

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EIA releases July 2014 Short-Term Energy Outlook report

By Bob Downing Published: July 8, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

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

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

 

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Ohio has 942 drilled Utica wells, 472 Utica wells producing

By Bob Downing Published: July 8, 2014

Ohio has approved 1,386 Utica shale permits, as of July 5, says the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Of that total, 942 wells have been drilled and 472 are in production.

Forty-four rigs are working in Ohio.

There was one new permit last week in Belmont County.

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Warren Resources acquires Marcellus assets from Citrus Energy

By Bob Downing Published: July 8, 2014

From New York-based Warren Resources on Monday:

 

NEW YORK , July 7, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Warren Resources, Inc. ("Warren" or the "Company") (Nasdaq:WRES) today announced that it has executed a purchase and sale agreement to acquire essentially all of the Marcellus assets of Citrus Energy Corporation ("Citrus") and two additional working interest owners for $352.5 million . As part of the total consideration, Warren will issue $40 million in Warren common stock priced at $6.00 per share, with the remainder to be funded through fully committed debt financing. This acquisition provides Warren with a substantial new basin platform in the prolific Marcellus Shale and adds a new core area to Warren's existing California oil and Wyoming natural gas assets.

The assets are currently producing approximately 82 million net cubic feet per day of natural gas, as of June 2014 . Estimated net proved reserves, as of the July 1, 2014 economic effective date, totaled approximately 208.3 billion cubic feet, 55% proved developed, as estimated by Netherland, Sewell & Associates, Inc. , Warren's independent petroleum engineering firm.

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Calfrac Well Services expanding fracturing fleets

By Bob Downing Published: July 8, 2014

From Canada-based Calfrac Well Services Ltd. last week:

CALGARY, July 3, 2014 /CNW/ - Calfrac Well Services Ltd. ("Calfrac") (TSX-CFW) is pleased to provide an update on its 2014 capital program. In response to significantly improved customer demand in the United States, Canada and Argentina, Calfrac's 2014 capital program was increased by $210 million to $360 million, including carryover capital. A portion of the increased capital spending is expected to occur in 2015. The incremental capital spending will be funded by Calfrac's existing credit facilities and cash flow. At June 30, 2014, Calfrac had approximately $247 million available under its existing credit facilities.

The majority of the capital program increase is related to the construction of two fracturing fleets totaling 80,000 horsepower for Calfrac's United States operations, a 35,000 horsepower fracturing fleet for Canada and a 40,000 horsepower fracturing fleet that will operate in the Vaca Muerta shale play in Argentina. In addition, two new twin cementing units will be constructed for Calfrac's Argentina operations. Delivery of this equipment is expected to begin in early 2015. The increase in capital also includes approximately $38 million of additional support and maintenance capital to optimize fleet utilization in North America and Latin America.

Calfrac's common shares are publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the trading symbol "CFW". Calfrac provides specialized oilfield services to exploration and production companies designed to increase the production of hydrocarbons from wells drilled throughout western Canada, the United States, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Russia.

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Wyoming, Gulf of Mexico dominate production on federal lands

By Bob Downing Published: July 8, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administartion today:

 

Sales volumes of fossil fuels from production on federal and Indian lands in fiscal year (FY) 2013 varied widely across states, according to data from the Department of the Interior compiled and summarized in a recent EIA report. This is the first time this annual EIA report provides detailed information by state.

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Fossil fuel production on federal, Indian lands fell in 2013

By Bob Downing Published: July 7, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

 

Sales volumes of fossil fuels from production on federal and Indian lands in fiscal year (FY) 2013 dropped 7% from FY 2012, according to EIA's recently released annual report. Crude oil production on federal lands increased slightly in FY 2013, but that increase was more than offset by decreases in coal, natural gas, and natural gas plant liquids (NGPL) production. Sales of fossil fuels from federal and Indian lands accounted for about 26% of total fossil fuel sales volumes in the United States in 2013.

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Rex Energy offers Appalachian Basin update, 2Q production

By Bob Downing Published: July 7, 2014

From Rex Energy today:

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. , July 7, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Rex Energy Corporation (Nasdaq:REXX) today provided an update on both its Appalachian Basin operations as well as its second quarter 2014 production.

Butler Operated Area - Midstream

In June, the company placed five additional wells into sales once the necessary gathering infrastructure was in place. In total, the company has now placed 10 of the 11 wells previously completed and awaiting processing capacity into sales and expects to place the one remaining well into sales early in the third quarter of 2014. In addition, the company commenced ethane sales on June 11, 2014 , which was a slight delay from the company's expected first ethane sales date. Since commencing ethane sales, the company has averaged approximately 1,000 bbls/d of ethane sales for the remainder of June. The company expects to sell between 2,000 and 3,000 bbls/d of ethane through mid-July until additional ethane recovery begins. Once the additional ethane recovery begins, the company expects its ethane sales to reach its ethane volume commitment of 5,000 bbls/d for the remainder of 2014.

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A closer look at ODNR's 1Q 2014 production numbers

By Bob Downing Published: July 7, 2014

Friend Jim Willis of the New York-based Marcellus Drilling News crunched the numbers on Ohio's Utica shale production in the first quarter 2014.

That information was released last week by the Ohio Department of Natureal Resources.

The top two natural gas-producing wells were the Eclipse Resources' Tippens well in Monroe County with 1,117,754,000 cubic feet and Antero Resources' Gary well in Monroe County with 1,115,8012,000 cubic feet in 1Q 2014..

The next eight wells for natural gas were all Gulfport Energy wells in Belmont County.

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1Q 2014 Ohio production data from Portage, Stark counties

By Bob Downing Published: July 7, 2014

Eastern Ohio gets the spotlight in Utica shale development,but there is drilling in three local counties: Portage, Stark and Wayne.

According to Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Portage County has four horizontal Utica wells producing or capable of producing. Stark County has two wells.

Those Portage wells produced 488 barrels of oil and 32,982,000 cubic feet of natural gas in 1Q 2014.

CNX Gas Co, has its Archer well in Rootstown Township. It produced all of Portage County's production in the quarter.

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Utica shale tidbits from Ohio's State of the Play

By Bob Downing Published: July 7, 2014

Utica shale tidbits from last week's State of the Play presentation by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources:

1. Utica shale well count by year:

2010: 2.

2011: 96.

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Group releases new guide to unconventional fossil fuels

By Bob Downing Published: July 7, 2014

From Corporate Watch:

London-based Corporate Watch has released a new 88-page cutting-edge report: 'To the Ends
of the Earth: a Guide to Unconventional Fossil Fuels."

The endless pursuit of economic growth, coupled with the decline in
conventional energy sources, is driving ever more extreme forms of
energy extraction around the world, with ecologically and socially
disastrous consequences.

From the dangers of fracking to the devastating effects of tar sands
extraction, this guide brings together everything you need to know
about unconventional fossil fuels in one place for the first time. It
gives an in-depth yet accessible analysis of their social and
environmental effects, and includes information on where they are
found, the companies trying to profit from them and the growing
resistance movements against them. The report also contains a unique
'carbon budget' climate change assessment of unconventional fossil
fuel production, and stand-alone factsheets on each of the types of
unconventional fossil fuel.

We want to spread the research far and wide, to get it used by as many
people as possible.

Order a copy or download for free here: www.corporatewatch.org/publications/2014/ends-earth-guide-unconventional-fossil-fuels
 

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Company seeks federal O.K. for barge facility on Ohio River

By Bob Downing Published: July 7, 2014

GreenHunter Water LLC is seeking approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build barge-unloading facilities on the Ohio River in at Portland in Meigs County in southern Ohio.

The proposed docks are part of the company's plans to ship liquid drilling wastes via barges on the Ohio River.

The Corps of Engineers is accepting public comment, but local activist groups are trying to get the public-comment period extended.

Below is the request filed with the Corps of Engineers:

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GreenHunter Resources to add new hydrocarbon division

By Bob Downing Published: July 7, 2014

Texas-based GreenHunter Resources has established a new hydrocarbons division, GreenHunter Hydrocarbons, LLC , a wholly-owned subsidiary of GreenHunter Resources .

GreenHunter Hydrocarbons will focus on the transportation, storage, processing, and marketing of hydrocarbons (oil, condensate, and NGLs) in the Appalachian region.

Click  here  to read the full story from the company.

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Company to build Pennsylvania, West Virginia pipelines

By Bob Downing Published: July 7, 2014

Texas-based GreenHunter Resources unveiled plans for new pipeline projects in West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

The porposed projects could handle up to 270,000 barrels per day.

Click  here  to read the full story.

 

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Rice Energy buys 22,000 acres in Marcellus from Chesapeake

By Bob Downing Published: July 7, 2014

From Rice Energy today:

CANONSBURG, Pa., July 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Rice Energy Inc. (NYSE: RICE) today announced that it has signed a definitive purchase and sale agreement to acquire approximately 22,000 net acres and 12 developed Marcellus wells in western Greene County, Pennsylvania, from Chesapeake Appalachia, LLC and its partners for approximately $336 million. We expect to close the transaction in August 2014, subject to customary closing conditions, with an effective date of February 1, 2014.

Acquisition Highlights

Toby Rice, President and Chief Operating Officer, commented, "This transaction is consistent with our strategy of acquiring high-quality shale assets. We are adding a significant number of drilling locations within an area we have been successfully developing since 2009. The acquired assets provide us with a foothold to pursue additional leasehold opportunities and further grow our inventory of low-risk, high-return projects."

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Ohio's Top 10 natural gas-producing wells in 2013

By Bob Downing Published: July 4, 2014

Ohio's Top 10 natural gas-producing well in 2013, based on recently released data from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources:

1.Gulfport Energy

Belmont County

Warren Township

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Ohio's Top 10 oil-producing wells in 2013

By Bob Downing Published: July 4, 2014

Here are the top oil-producing wells in Ohio in calendar year 2013, accoding to recently released data from the Ohio Department of Natural resources:

1. Gulfport Energy

Harrison County

Nottingham Township

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Ohio's Top 10 companies for natural gas production in 2013

By Bob Downing Published: July 4, 2014

Here are Ohio's Top 10 companies for natural gas production in 2013from data by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources:

1. Chesapeake Energy/Chesapeake Exploration, 57,7 billion cubic feet.

2. Gulfport Energy, 19.3 billion cubic feet.

3. Antero Resources, 10.0 billion cubic feet.

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Ohio's Top 10 oil-producing companies in 2013

By Bob Downing Published: July 4, 2014

Here are Ohio's Top 10 companies for oil production in 2013, based on data from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources:

1. Chesapeake Energy/Chesapeake Exploration, 2,078,570 barrels.

2. Gulfport Energy, 675,097 barrels.

3. Antero Resources, 215,627 barrels.

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Ohio's Top 10 natural gas-producing counties for 2013

By Bob Downing Published: July 4, 2014

Here are Ohio's Top 10 gas-producing counties in calendar year 2013, based on data from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources:

1. Carroll, 50.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

2. Harrison, 12.7 billion.

3. Belmont, 12.4 billion.

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Ohio's Top 10 oil-producing counties in 2013

By Bob Downing Published: July 4, 2014

Here are Ohio's Top 10 oil-producing counties in calendar year 2013, from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources:

1. Carroll County, 1.8 million 42-gallon barels.

2. Harrison, 1.1 million barrels.

3. Guernsey, 323,184 barrels.

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New study links injection wells to Oklahoma earthquakes

By Bob Downing Published: July 3, 2014

A new study released today in Science says injection wells in Oklahoma are responsible for the growing number of earthquakes in that state.

Some of the quakes may be up to 18 miles away from the injection wells.

Click  here  to read more from Scientific American.

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Chesapeake moves 150-200 workers into new Louisville offices

By Bob Downing Published: July 3, 2014

Chesapeake Energy Corp. has quietly moved into its new offices in Stark County, but the move involved fewer workers than had been projected earlier.

Between 150 and 200 workers are housed in the top two floors of the new five-story office building in Louisville, said Louisville city manager E. Thomas Ault.

The Chesapeake staffers moved in in early June.

But it appears that Chesapeake has revised and scaled back its Louisville plans, he said.

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United Kingdom became net petroleum importer in 2013

By Bob Downing Published: July 3, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

 

Fossil fuels (petroleum and other liquids, natural gas, and coal) account for most of the United Kingdom's (UK) energy consumption. Although renewable energy use is growing, particularly in the electric power sector, fossil fuels accounted for 86% of total primary energy consumption in 2012.

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Natural gas injections to storage picking up in recent weeks

By Bob Downing Published: July 3, 2014

From SNL Energy today:

SNL ENERGY: WEAK POWER DEMAND EXTENDS COAL PRICE FADE INTO 2ND MONTH

Coal markets traded mostly flat to lower in June as weather remained mild and demand was slack. While utility inventories are low by historical standards, generators are awaiting stronger demand signals before building stockpiles up further. The NYMEX CAPP prompt-month benchmark nudged up 12 cents/ton while NYMEX PRB lost $1.10/ton, or 8%. Northern Appalachian markers lost 25 cents/ton to 35 cents/ton, while remaining physical markers traded flat for the month.

Natural gas injections to storage picked up during June, but too slowly to fill storage to normal levels by summer's end. To reach normal storage levels, incremental supply of 6 Bcf/d is needed, leading many analysts to expect a deficit to end the injection season. The ongoing need for additional storage injections combined with expected seasonal demand kept Henry Hub natural gas spot prices above $4.50/MMBtu during June. Even with injections beginning to pick up over the last two weeks, SNL Energy expects Henry Hub to remain above $4.25/MMBtu for the summer and may remain at current levels if power generation demand is sufficient. Many shale gas hubs, it should be noted, are pricing from $4.00/MMBtu to $4.25/MMBtu.

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OSU Extension helps drilling communities avoid boom-bust

By Bob Downing Published: July 3, 2014

From Ohio State University on Wednesday:

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Boom, then bust. It’s a scenario often played out in local economies heavily reliant on one type of industry, especially in the energy sector. And it’s an underlying concern for Ohio communities currently experiencing a boom in shale oil and gas development.

But the cycle isn’t inescapable, say community development specialists with Ohio State University Extension. They have received funding to help eastern Ohio communities examine how shale development, also known as fracking, is affecting their economies, environmental conditions and social structures and to create plans for long-term viability.

With $200,000 in funding for a three-year project from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, OSU Extension has joined forces with four regional EDA districts representing 25 eastern Ohio counties.

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Spectra Energy to expand New England natural gas pipelines

By Bob Downing Published: July 3, 2014

From Spectra Energy on Tuesday:

HOUSTON – Spectra Energy (NYSE: SE) and Spectra Energy Partners (NYSE:SEP) today announced plans to expand natural gas pipeline capacity into the New England Market to meet critical demand for reliable electric power generation. These plans for expansion of the Algonquin and Maritimes pipeline systems are in response to the New England governors’ recent initiative on new energy infrastructure and in anticipation of a Request for Proposal to be initiated by The New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE). This expansion, as outlined in a June 27 letter to NESCOE, would create up to 1 Bcf/day in capacity, and is in addition to Spectra Energy’s previously announced Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) and Atlantic Bridge projects. The project in-service date is dependent upon the timing of NESCOE’s process.

“Spectra Energy stands ready with a unique solution to New England’s need for reliable electricity supply. Our pipelines are in the right place at the right time to supply the region’s electric plants with affordable, clean, domestic natural gas,” said Bill Yardley, Spectra Energy’s president of U. S. Transmission and Storage. "To enhance the reliability of approximately 60% of these generators, we can expand our mainline and lateral facilities along our existing pipeline footprint while minimizing the effect on communities and the environment."

Spectra Energy’s expansion project will deliver gas directly to these natural gas-fired electric generators on a firm basis, providing increased electric reliability and leading to more competitive energy prices for the region. Specifically, the Spectra Energy solution for New England will:

Spectra Energy’s Algonquin Incremental Market expansion project will begin to de-bottleneck the pipeline system by winter of 2016, helping to enhance reliability and soften natural gas prices in New England. AIM is underpinned by commitments from gas utility companies across southern New England that entered into long-term capacity contracts. Atlantic Bridge’s proposed in-service is November 2017, and it will be similarly supported by gas utilities. Electric power generators will typically only have access to gas from these projects when it becomes available on the unpredictable secondary market. The plans announced today will provide needed additional firm supplies, delivered directly to the power generators, to address the electric reliability issue.

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EQT offers $50,000 to neighbors to release firm from any liability

By Bob Downing Published: July 3, 2014

From ProPublica on Wednesday:

Aggressive Tactic on the Fracking Front

When EQT Corporation, one of the largest producers of natural gas in Pennsylvania, started getting complaints from residents living near one of its fracking sites, the company tried a rare and aggressive tactic: It offered to pay every household $50,000 in cash if they would agree to release the company from any legal liability, for current operations as well as those to be carried out in the future.

ProPublica's Naveena Sadasivam reports that the agreement is incredibly broad, covering health problems and property damage, and giving the company blanket protection from any kind of claim over noise, dust, light, smoke, odors, fumes, vibrations and more.

Key takeaways from her piece:


You can read the full story here - http://www.propublica.org/article/aggressive-tactic-on-the-fracking-front. It's free to link to or reprint under our Creative Commons license.

 

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MarkWest tops EnergyPoint survey of customer satisfaction

By Bob Downing Published: July 3, 2014

From EnergyPoint Research on Wednesday:

:

ENERGYPOINT RESEARCH ANNOUNCES 2014 OIL & GAS MIDSTREAM SERVICES CUSTOMER SATISFACTION SURVEY RESULTS

 

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Protecting Portage County subject of July 8 Kent talk

By Bob Downing Published: July 2, 2014

Protecting Portage County from injection wells and drilling wastes will be the topic on July 8 when Gwen Fischer speaks at 6:30 p.m.  at the Kent Free Library, 312 W. Main St.

Fischer, an emeritus professor of psychology at Hiram College, is involved in the Concerned Citizens Ohio and the Ohio Community Rights Network.

Her talk is entitled: "Who Gets to Decide? Protecting Portage County from Toxic Trespass."

Portage County with 18 injection wells was No. 2 for wastes getting injected below ground in 2013, according to state records.

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U.S. EPA targeting methane leaking from landfills

By Bob Downing Published: July 2, 2014

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

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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MSC pleased by Pennsylvania's no-severance budget bills

By Bob Downing Published: July 2, 2014

From the Pittsburgh-based Marcellus Shale Coalition after the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed budget bills with no severance tax on drilling:

Marcellus Shale Coalition president Dave Spigelmyer issued the following statement on Pennsylvania’s recently passed budget agreement:

“While the budget-making process can be challenging at times, with competing interests at odds far too often, our industry is very pleased that the General Assembly once again made Pennsylvania’s economic growth and private-sector job creation tied to shale development a key priority. New and even higher energy taxes, rammed through without meaningful analysis, could undercut this positive and shared economic progress.

“We look forward to continue working closely with our elected leaders to make certain that we have common sense policies in place that enable Pennsylvania to remain a top energy-producing state and an even better place to invest and grow jobs.”

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Fracking is safe, says new brochure from ACSH

By Bob Downing Published: July 2, 2014

The American Council on Science and Health has published a new brochure on fracking.

The non-profit group based in New York City calls fracking "a safe and efficent path to energy independence."

"Fracking doesn't pollute water or the air," said ACHS president Dr. Elizabeth Whelan.

The brochure is entitled: What's the Story? Fracking -- Facts Vs. Fiction.

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Chesapeake, Access Midstream sued in federal court in Pa.

By Bob Downing Published: July 2, 2014

Chesapeake Energy Corp. and Access Midstream Partners cheated Pennsylvania landowners of more than $5 billion in gas and oil royalties through inflated and unreasonable fees, a RICO class action claims in federal court in Harrisburg, Pa.

Lead plaintiff, the Suessenbach Family Limited Partnership, seeks damages for racketeering, unjust enrichment, mail fraud, wire fraud, honest services fraud, conversion and civil conspiracy.

Click  here  to read the story from the Courthouse News Service.

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Food & Water Watch disputes redaction claim of EID-Ohio

By Bob Downing Published: July 3, 2014

Food & Water Watch has posted a blog item explaining its recent skirmish with Energy in Depth-Ohio over redacting or not redacting information.

Click  here  to read the Food & Water Watch response to EID-Ohio's Shawn Bennett's earlier blog post.

 

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Ergon Inc. planning new condensate facilities in Marietta

By Bob Downing Published: July 2, 2014

From Ergon Inc. on Tuesday:

Jackson, Miss. – Ergon, Inc., today announced plans to enhance its subsidiaries’ facilities in the Appalachian Basin. The Appalachian Basin comprises the prolific Marcellus Shale and Utica Shale Plays. Several Ergon subsidiaries, including Ergon - West Virginia, Inc., its refinery, acquired from Quaker State in 1997, Ergon Oil Purchasing, Inc., Ergon Terminaling, Inc., Ergon Trucking, Inc., and Magnolia Marine Transport Company, have operated in the region for more than 17 years.

The regional area of operation for these companies spans all of Ohio, West Virginia, western Pennsylvania, and parts of Kentucky and New York. These subsidiaries’ assets and capabilities in the Appalachian Basin include a paraffinic refinery, a crude oil and condensate pipeline, six crude oil terminals, a fleet of more than 100 trucks, and eight boats and barges. The subsidiaries have spent over $75 million expanding tankage and enhancing crude and condensate gathering capabilities in support of crude oil and condensate producers in the Appalachian Basin over the last two years.

Ergon plans to start up 10,000 barrels per day of condensate stabilization capacity at its Marietta, Ohio, river terminal. Startup of this capacity is anticipated for the fourth quarter of 2014 and will result in lower vapor pressure condensate for ultimate marketing. Additionally, Ergon plans to add 10,000 barrels per day of condensate stabilization in Newell, West Virginia, in 2015. Furthermore, Ergon plans to install new capacity at its 23,000 barrels per day specialty refinery in 2016.

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Ohio natural gas, oil production from Utica growing in big way

By Bob Downing Published: July 2, 2014

Production numbers from the Utica shale are soaring, and that’s good news for Ohio.

Oil production from shale grew by 470 percent from 2012 to 2013 and natural gas production from shale climbed by 680 percent in that time, state officials said on Wednesday at a State of the Play presentation at Stark State College in Jackson Township outside of Canton.

"History is being made as we speak," said Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director James Zehringer.

In the first quarter 2014, Ohio had 418 Utica wells that produced 67 billion cubic feet of natural gas and 1.9 million barrels of oil.

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Gas flaring in North Dakota's Bakken shale under fire

By Bob Downing Published: July 3, 2014

From Bloomberg News on Tuesday:

By Joe Carroll

North Dakota, the second-largest U.S. oil-producing state amid booming output from shale, plans to punish crude explorers that fail to curtail the burning of natural gas as waste.

Energy companies that don’t curb so-called gas flaring will face limits on the amount of oil they can pump from the Bakken shale formation, the North Dakota Industrial Commission said in a statement today.

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Ohio to unveil 2013 Utica shale data at State of the Play

By Bob Downing Published: July 1, 2014

Representatives of the Ohio Department of Natrual Resources, the Ohio Environmental Proptection Agency, the Ohio Department of Commerce and JobsOhio will present the State of the Play, a look at Utica shale drilling data from 2013, at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 2.

The presentation will be streamed live online at www.oilandgas.ohiodnr.gov.

For more information, go to: http://oilandgas.ohiodnr.gov/oil-gas-home/post/state-of-the-play

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Williams moves toward acquiring Access Midstream Partners

By Bob Downing Published: July 1, 2014

From Williams on Monday:

 

Williams (NYSE:WMB) announced that it received early termination of the required waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (HSR) with respect to the Company's previously announced acquisition from Global Infrastructure Partners II ("GIP") of its 50 percent general partner interest and 55.1 million limited partner units in Access Midstream Partners L.P. (NYSE:ACMP).

Williams expects to complete the transaction in early July at which time it will own 100 percent of the general partner and approximately 50 percent of the limited partner units in Access Midstream.

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Groups set July 10 meeting on legal rights in Carroll County

By Bob Downing Published: July 1, 2014

From the Ohio Organizing Collaborative and Communityies United for Responsible Energy:

 

 

Groups hold meeting in Carrollton informing residents of their rights during the shale-drilling boom

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Ohio has 926 drilled Utica wells and 470 producing Utica wells

By Bob Downing Published: July 1, 2014

Ohio has approved 1,386 Utica shale permits as of June 28, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

That includes 926 Utica wells that have been drilled and 470 that are producing.

The state says 41 rigs are working in Ohio.

A total of 24 new shale permits were approved: four in Belmont County, six in Carroll County, nine in Guernsey County, one in Monroe County and four in Noble County.

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North Dakota, Texas nearly half of U.S. crude oil production

By Bob Downing Published: July 1, 2014

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

U.S. crude production in April 2014 was 8.4 million barrels per day (bbl/d), with two states, Texas and North Dakota, accounting for nearly half of this total. Texas production topped 3.0 million bbl/d for the first time since the late 1970s, more than doubling production in the past three years, and North Dakota production broke 1.0 million bbl/d for the first time in history, nearly tripling its production over the same period, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration's Petroleum Supply Monthly report.

Read More ›

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N.Y. Petroleum Council laments court decision on local bans

By Bob Downing Published: July 1, 2014

From the American Petroleum Institute on Monday:

ALBANY, N.Y., June 30, 2014 – New York State Petroleum Council Executive Director Karen Moreau issued the following statement today in response to the New York Court of Appeals decision to uphold local bans on hydraulic fracturing.

“The New York Court of Appeals has effectively threatened the property rights of thousands of landowners who wish to lease their land for natural gas development.

“There are real losses here, and it’s a real tragedy for thousands of farmers and people in rural communities that would have realized the economic benefits that oil and gas development can deliver. Municipal boards change hands every two years and a constantly shifting landscape of regulatory uncertainty virtually guarantees that major long-term investments in the state’s economy cannot occur.

“Hundreds of towns in the heart of the New York Marcellus Shale, known as the Southern Tier, have repeatedly supported safe and responsible natural gas development and job creation. Our companies look forward to partnering with these communities, to ensure that uncertainty created by the Court does not stand in the way of efforts to promote investment in New York.”

The NYSPC is a division of API, which 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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New gas wells leak more than older, traditional wells, study says

By Bob Downing Published: July 1, 2014

From the Associated Press:

By Seth Borenstein


In Pennsylvania’s gas drilling boom, newer and unconventional wells leak far more often than older and traditional ones, according to a study of state inspection reports for 41,000 wells.

The results suggest that leaks of methane could be a problem for drilling across the nation, said study lead author Cornell University engineering professor Anthony Ingraffea, who heads an environmental activist group that helped pay for the study.

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U.S. LNG export terminals could handle 41 billion cubic feet/day

By Bob Downing Published: July 1, 2014

From SNL Energy:

Currently there is over 41 Bcf/d of U.S. LNG export terminals in development. Although the bulk of these projects are in announced and early development phases, some notable projects have progressed through significant regulatory hurdles in 2014.

SNL ENERGY: MORE THAN 41 BCF/D OF LNG EXPORT CAPACITY CURRENTLY UNDER DEVELOPMENT

The year 2014 has proven to be an exciting year for U.S. LNG development, as multiple projects progress through regulatory bottlenecks, regulators shift approval prioritization, and geopolitical implications muddy the waters.

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Chesapeake completes spinoff of oilfield services business

By Bob Downing Published: July 1, 2014

From Chesapeake Energy today:

OKLAHOMA CITY, JULY 1, 2014 – Chesapeake Energy Corporation (“Chesapeake”) (NYSE: CHK) announced today it has completed the spin-off of its oilfield services business, previously conducted through Chesapeake Oilfield Operating, L.L.C., into a stand-alone, publicly traded company called Seventy Seven Energy Inc. (“SSE”) (NYSE: SSE).


Following the close of business on June 30, 2014, Chesapeake distributed to its shareholders one share of common stock of SSE for every 14 shares of Chesapeake common stock outstanding as of 5:00 pm EDT on June 19, 2014, the record date for the distribution. No fractional shares of SSE common stock were issued; however, shareholders entitled to receive a fractional share of SSE common stock in the distribution instead received the cash value of that fractional share.


SSE common stock will begin “regular-way” trading under the symbol “SSE” on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) on July 1, 2014, when markets open. Chesapeake common stock will continue to trade on the NYSE under the ticker symbol “CHK.”

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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.