Fracking can now take place on more than 700 acres of Wayne National Forest in Ohio, EcoWatch says:
"Despite heavy opposition from public health and environmental groups, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has leased 759 acres of Ohio's only national forest for fracking.
"According to the Associated Press, oil and gas companies from Texas, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Colorado and Oklahoma forked over $1.7 million for the right to explore parts of Wayne National Forest for drilling operations. Lessees still need to obtain a permit before any drilling can start.
"The online auction took place on Dec. 13 with the minimum acceptable bid for as little as $2 per acre. The Columbus Dispatch reported that offers made by the 22 registered bidders ranged from the $2 minimum to a high of $5,806.12 per acre."To read more or comment...
OPEC needs to worry that its production cuts aimed at increasing oil and gas prices will revive the U.S. shale industry, a Bloomberg analysis says:
"After three years of turmoil, there are already signs of a rebirth in America’s shale fields as prices have risen and stabilized at around $50. If they jump by another $10, shale output that’s now at 4.5 million barrels a day could quickly rise by 500,000 barrels, Citigroup’s Morse wrote in a Dec. 22 research note.
"A bigger boost in prices could mean a million-barrel shale surge from the U.S., Macquarie Research analysts Vikas Dwivedi and Walt Chancellor noted in a Dec. 12 report to clients. That would all but obliterate the cuts OPEC agreed to in November."
The full story is here.To read more or comment...
The number of U.S. oil and gas drilling rigs is higher now than it was a year ago, including in Ohio, according to Petro Global News:
" ... the number of oil and gas rigs operating in the United States rose by 16 to 877 compared to 826 rigs a year ago.
"... Ohio’s rig count ticked up by one rig to 19 rigs compared to 15 rigs a year ago."
Read the full story here.To read more or comment...
Don't expect oil prices to go much higher than $60 a barrel next year -- and perhaps fall below $50 a barrel before the year ends, an analysis at Oilprice.com suggests.
One reason: Higher global oil prices will boost the U.S. shale industry:
"Higher oil prices will revive the shale oil industry in the U.S., which will attempt to increase its exports into new markets, thereby threatening to enter markets previously dominated by the middle east nations. As this is a real threat, OPEC members will start pumping frantically so as to not lose their hard-earned market share."
The whole story can be found here.To read more or comment...
The just-announced OPEC production cuts play to the strength of the U.S. shale fracking industry, The American Interest says:
"Don’t look now, but an American shale rebound is already underway. Operators have been steadily putting more oil rigs into operation for months now, and we’ve been seeing signs that the industry has been ready to stop a slide in output and start ramping up total U.S. production for months now.
" ... the collapse in crude prices didn’t destroy America’s shale operators, it instead culled the herd."
Read the full story here.To read more or comment...
The break-even point in some U.S. shale regions is now $15 a barrel; overall production costs to tap shale are about half of what they were just two years ago, according to this Reuters news story:
"In a corner of the prolific Bakken shale play in North Dakota, oil companies can now pump crude at a price almost as low as that enjoyed by OPEC giants Iran and Iraq.
"Until a few years ago it was unprofitable to produce oil from shale in the United States. But the steep slide in costs has U.S. shale operators poised to capitalize on Wednesday's decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to cap output for the first time in eight years.
"In effect, even as OPEC has decided to reduce output to try to boost prices, that may end up being undermined by a potential increase in U.S. production.To read more or comment...
Chesapeake Energy Corp. continues with its financial restructuring, including the sale of significant holdings, Oil and Gas Investor reports:
"Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) is delivering on its divestment plans, saying Dec. 5 it agreed to sell a package of producing Haynesville Shale acreage in northern Louisiana for about $450 million.
"The deal covers 78,000 net acres, with slightly more than half—40,000 net acres—considered core to Chesapeake. The buyer was not disclosed.
"The sale includes 250 wells producing 30 million cubic feet of gas per day (MMcf/d)."To read more or comment...
The number of drilling rigs in the Utica Shale and Point Pleasant Shale areas of Ohio totaled 21 on Nov. 19, up from 19 a week ago, the Ohio Division of Natural Resources reported.
The number of permits for horizontal wells totalled 2,311, up from 2,300 a week ago. The number of horizontal wells drilled in the state totaled 1,851, up from 1,838 on Nov. 12.
One thing to be thankful for now are some of the lowest gasoline prices in years, reports the U.S. Energy Information Administration:
"Heading into the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, U.S. retail regular-grade gasoline averaged $2.16 per gallon, up just six cents per gallon from the same time last year. This is the second-lowest gasoline price since 2008, when the national regular gasoline price averaged $1.89/g on the Monday prior to Thanksgiving.
"The Thanksgiving holiday weekend is one of the heaviest travel times of the year. AAA forecasts 48.7 million people will be traveling 50 miles or more for the holiday this year, over one million more travelers than last year and the most since 2007. Of the 48.7 million total travelers, AAA expects that 43.5 million of them will drive, an increase of 1.5 million over last year"
According to AAA, Akron-area gasoline prices on Wednesday averaged just a smidge under $2 a gallon. That's lower than an average of $2.03 a month ago but higher than the $1.88 a gallon motorists paid a year ago.To read more or comment...
New pipelines in the works will help get natural gas from Ohio's Utica Shale to market, reports the Energy Information Administration:
"A number of pipeline projects that have been approved, or are in various stages of the approval process, would increase capacity to transport natural gas from the Utica production region in Ohio to natural gas markets. Collectively, these projects could add up to 6.8 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of takeaway capacity out of the Utica region by the end of 2018.
"Over the past several years, natural gas production in the Appalachian basin from the Marcellus and Utica shales has grown significantly. Because pipeline projects often have longer lead times than production projects, transport infrastructure for accessing natural gas demand centers and export locations in the Appalachian Basin has not kept pace with production capability. This situation has resulted in a lower price for natural gas from the Appalachian region relative to many other natural gas trading hubs in the United States."
Read the full story, with chart, here.To read more or comment...
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.
The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.
Earthjustice, a national eco-group.
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.
Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.
Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.