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Ohio Utica Shale

Huge 20 billion barrels/oil, 16 trillion cubic feet/gas field discovered in Texas

By Jim Mackinnon Published: November 16, 2016

Just wow. The U.S. Geological Survey says it has found the largest estimated "oil accumulation" in its history in a shale-rich part of Texas that is already being drilled. The estimated amount of oil alone would supply all U.S. needs for about three years.

From the USGS press release:

"The Wolfcamp shale in the Midland Basin portion of Texas’ Permian Basin province contains an estimated mean of 20 billion barrels of oil, 16 trillion cubic feet of associated natural gas, and 1.6 billion barrels of natural gas liquids, according to an assessment by the U.S. Geological Survey. This estimate is for continuous (unconventional) oil, and consists of undiscovered, technically recoverable resources.

"The estimate of continuous oil in the Midland Basin Wolfcamp shale assessment is nearly three times larger than that of the 2013 USGS Bakken-Three Forks resource assessment, making this the largest estimated continuous oil accumulation that USGS has assessed in the United States to date.

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Utica Shale drilling rigs total 19; drilled wells in Ohio at 1,838

By Jim Mackinnon Published: November 15, 2016

The number of drilling rigs in the Utica Shale and Point Pleasant Shale areas of Ohio totaled 19 as of Nov. 12, the Ohio Division of Natural Resources reported Tuesday.
The number of permits for horizontal wells totalled 2,300. The number of horizontal wells drilled in the state totaled 1,838.

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Shale drilling increasingly focused on Texas, New Mexico

By Jim Mackinnon Published: November 15, 2016

The Permian Basin in Texas and in New Mexico is getting more attention from shale drillers, reports the U.S. Energy Information Administration:

"The Permian now holds nearly as many active oil rigs as the rest of the United States combined, including both onshore and offshore rigs, and it is the only region in EIA’s Drilling Productivity Report where crude oil production is expected to increase for the third consecutive month."

Read the full story, with chart, here.

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New federal Utica Shale productivity report released

By Jim Mackinnon Published: November 15, 2016

The November Utica Shale drilling productivity report is now on the U.S. Energy Information Administration website.

The new report can be found here.

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OPEC now expects oil won't top $60/barrel until after 2020

By Jim Mackinnon Published: November 14, 2016

The world may have low oil prices through the end of the decade, according to a new OPEC report, says

"OPEC warned in newly released report that oil prices might not rise above $60 per barrel until the end of the decade, in an acknowledgement that an array of bearish forces will conspire to keep a lid on any price rally.

"OPEC’s new World Oil Outlook (WOO) offers medium and long-term predictions for the oil market. OPEC’s Reference Basket (ORB) price will average $40 per barrel this year, and the group projects that the price will rise by $5 per barrel each year through the rest of the decade. That only takes ORB prices up to $60 per barrel in 2020.

"That is a remarkable prediction from a group of oil-exporting countries, often known for a much more bullish outlook for oil."

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U.S. shale industry feeling more optimistic

By Jim Mackinnon Published: November 14, 2016

The U.S. shale industry appears to be on the rebound, according to this story at

"U.S. shale producers are redeploying cash, rigs and workers, cautiously confident the energy sector has turned a corner after Donald Trump's election victory and OPEC's recent signal that it plans to curb production.

"The downturn produced a leaner, more efficient U.S. shale industry that was forced to develop and quickly adapt new technology to compete with conventional oil supplies during a two-year period of depressed prices.

"'You're starting to see a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel,' Ryan Lance, chief executive of ConocoPhillips , the largest independent U.S. oil producer, said in an interview last week. 'We're beginning to put capital back to work, but we're being cautious.'"

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U.S. energy drilling rigs fall by one

By Jim Mackinnon Published: November 11, 2016

The number of drilling rigs working in the U.S. as of Nov. 11 dropped by one from a week ago to 568, according to the latest Baker Hughes report. The number of rigs is down 199 from the same period in 2015.
To read the full report, go here.

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Fracking wastewater is mostly natural brine, university study says

By Jim Mackinnon Published: November 2, 2016

Wastewater from fracking sites is mostly natural brine, according to a recent university study in a story at

"Naturally occurring brines, not man-made fracking fluids, account for most of the wastewater coming from hydraulically fractured unconventional oil and gas wells, a new Duke University study finds.

"'Much of the public fear about fracking has centered on the chemical-laden fracking fluids—which are injected into wells at the start of production—and the potential harm they could cause if they spill or are disposed of improperly into the environment,' said Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment.

"'Our new analysis, however, shows that these fluids only account for between 4 and 8 percent of wastewater being generated over the productive lifetime of fracked wells in the major U.S. unconventional oil and gas basins,' Vengosh said. 'Most of the fracking fluids injected into these wells do not return to the surface; they are retained in the shale deep underground.'

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Fuel prices may fall because of 'stunning' increase in oil stockpile

By Jim Mackinnon Published: November 2, 2016

An unexpectly large increase in the U.S. oil stockpile that has led to drop in crude oil prices may mean related fuel prices also are poised to drop, a story in says:

"U.S. crude prices have fallen to $45 a barrel in the wake of a stunning report showing the nation’s commercial stockpile of oil grew the most in 34 years.

"Some oil-market observers trace the 14.4 million-barrel inventory build in the week of Oct. 28 developments that began in the third week of September, when an unusually large fleet of oil tankers departed from several OPEC countries.

"The Energy Information Administration’s report gives market participants another reason to believe fuel prices may lose support ..."

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Shale industry may get boost from OPEC's Algiers deal

By Jim Mackinnon Published: November 1, 2016

OPEC's Algiers deal may turn into just the boost the U.S. shale industry is looking for, writes Justin Jacobs in Petroleum Economist:

" ... While low prices led to deep cuts across the sector, they also added impetus to new thinking on how companies could squeeze more out of every rock drilled and dollar spent. Companies are dropping more wells from a single drilling site. Those wells are also being drilled longer-nearly 3km in some cases-and being pumped with more frack sand and proppant, helping to get more out of each well. At the same time, producers have pressured their suppliers for ever-lower rates, helping push drilling costs down by around 30% over the past two years.

"All of it has helped push breakeven prices across the shale patch to around $45 a barrel. This comes with the caveats that as the industry returns to growth, companies will see some of those productivity gains slip away as they drill more marginal wells and will see costs rise as service companies claw back discounts extended during the downturn. Opec's ministers seem to have underestimated how low breakevens could go.

"Opec also underestimated how difficult it would be to cut off funding from capital markets, the lifeblood of the shale industry."

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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.