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Ohio Utica Shale

Ohio has 1,645 drilled Utica wells, 1,118 producing Utica wells

By Bob Downing Published: November 24, 2015

Ohio has approved 2,085 Utica Shale permits, as of Nov. 21.

That total includes 1,645 drilled Utica wells and 1,118 producing Utica wells, said the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

There are 19 rigs working in Ohio's Utica Shale.

Six new Utica permits were approved: five in Belmont County and one in Carroll County.

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33 U.S. energy firms have filed for bankruptcy in 2015

By Bob Downing Published: November 24, 2015

It started on Jan. 3, 2015, with WBH Energy Partners and continued through Nov. 5, 2015, with Escalara Resources Co.

Through Nov. 18, there have been 36 U.S. energy companies that have filed for bankruptcy protection in 2015, due to low commodity prices and heavy debt, according to a new report from the Dallas-based Haynes & Boone law firm.

The total debt of those firms, it said, was about $13 billion.

A total of 16 of those firms filed for bankruptcy in Texas, plus six in Canada, four in Delaware and four in Colorado, it said.

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Dominion donates $1 million to 119 groups in 12 states

By Bob Downing Published: November 24, 2015

From a pres release on Monday:

Nov 23, 2015

RICHMOND, Va., Nov. 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Dominion Resources announced today that it is providing $1 million in grants through its charitable foundation to help feed, shelter and care for people in need across 12 states this holiday season. Donations will be shared by 119 non-profit organizations that are providing essential community services in areas of housing, food security, medicine and medical services. The Critical Community Needs grants will be awarded by the Dominion Foundation. 

"The grants will support proven programs that provide the basic necessities we all need to survive and thrive, such as safe shelter, nutritious meals and medical care," said Thomas F. Farrell II, chairman, president and CEO. "These essential programs strengthen the fabric of our communities by improving lives and providing hope for people in need."

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Energy-related carbon dioxide drop in nearly every state

By Bob Downing Published: November 24, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Monday:

The United States has a diverse energy landscape that is reflected in differences in state-level emissions profiles. Since 2005, energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions fell in 48 states (including the District of Columbia) and rose in 3 states. EIA's latest analysis of state-level energy-related CO2 emissions includes data in both absolute and per capita terms, including details by fuel and by sector.

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Tags: CO2 (carbon dioxide) , emissions , states

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Earthworks films Ohio drilling emissions with infrared camera

By Bob Downing Published: November 23, 2015

BARNESVILLE: Peter Dronkers of Earthworks makes invisible air pollution from shale drilling visible to everyone.
The viewfinder of Dronkers’ special infrared gas-recording camera shows billowing clouds or wispy leaks.
What appears in the videos as wind-blown plumes of smoke are really pollutants that are invisible to the naked eye.
Earthworks, a national environmental group based in Washington, D.C., quietly came into Ohio during the summer with its camera to determine if shale drilling, natural gas processing and transportation are fouling the air and sickening Ohio residents.
The $100,000 optical gas imaging thermographer camera can detect up to 20 different gases that environmentalists say could pose a health threat to those living in Ohio’s Utica Shale, the region in eastern Ohio with natural gas and liquids.
Earthworks initially posted eight Ohio videos to YouTube. It returned recently to film seven additional Ohio sites that will be posted soon.
The group has been recording emissions from shale sites in Ohio and six other states.
Such emissions increase the likelihood that air pollution problems will be found, said Nadia Steinzor of Earthworks’ Citizens Empowerment Project.
Her group and the Ohio Environmental Council are pushing a new grass-roots effort to determine how big a threat shale drilling and related emissions are to neighbors in Ohio.
The Ohio videos show “lots of intense emissions that are, in some cases, continuing unabated,” Steinzor said. “The emissions we’re seeing in Ohio are significant.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to impose new rules to cut air emissions from new drilling facilities by 40 percent, starting next year. The cuts could reduce methane releases by 400,000 tons and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by 180,000 tons a year.
The industry is opposed, saying such action is unneeded. The agency is accepting public comment through Dec. 4. The proposed cuts would not affect existing facilities.
Energy in Depth, a pro-drilling trade group that spoke on behalf of the companies whose sites were examined, also isn’t impressed by what Earthworks is doing.
“It sounds like a solution in search of a problem,” said Jackie Stewart, a spokeswoman for Energy in Depth-Ohio. “It sounds like a lot of smoke and mirrors … and very unscientific and of very limited use.”
Residents worried
Landowners Jeff and Kerri Bond said they are troubled by the emissions spewing from the wells on their 176-acre property near Seneca Lake in Noble County. They’re convinced those emissions — captured on video during visits by the Earthworks crew in July and October — triggered headaches, nausea, dizziness and other medical problems and killed a dozen trees in the yard this year because of chemical-laced morning mists.
There are 15 well pads and a compressor station within two miles of their house, said Kerri Bond.
“There is a chemical smell in the air, an acidy smell,” said 60-year-old Jeff Bond, who lives in Seneca Township.
The couple keep their windows closed to keep the smells out.
“We want out,” he said.
In all, Earthworks has posted about 150 infrared videos from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, California and New York.
The videos from Noble, Carroll, Columbiana and Belmont counties provide “a snapshot of what’s being released,” said Alan Septoff of Earthworks.
It is part of an initiative by Earthworks to prove that such air pollution is a real problem and to help drilling communities with such problems to fight back, Steinzor said.
Such emissions can sicken neighbors and those living downwind of the wells, processing plants, compression stations or pipelines, Septoff said.
The Ohio emissions include VOCs that can affect human health and contribute to unhealthful smoggy air, said Paul Feezel, president of Carroll Concerned Citizens, a grass-roots group in Carroll County southeast of Canton.
Ohio activist John Morgan, 69, of Beallsville said the videos are “a visual way to show people that something is going on, that we have a problem here.”
Finding emissions
The Earthworks program in Ohio is being slowly expanded to include collecting air samples for analysis, but that is costly, Steinzor said.
During a recent tour of Ohio’s Belmont County, Colorado-based Dronkers found significant air emissions from a compressor station outside Barnesville and at nearby wells where drillers are getting natural gas, oil and other liquids.
A MarkWest Energy Partners’ compressor station produced what Dronkers described as a fairly thick plume that was visible through his camera up to 800 feet away from the plant’s six stacks.
He estimated the emissions compared to the diesel exhaust of more than 50 idling semis.
Steinzor said the plant is an issue because it released emissions when it was filmed in July and was still releasing emissions on a subsequent visit several months later.
From a ridge outside Barnesville, the camera — using its infrared imaging — showed a hot spot on a flare that was burning natural gas at a Utica Shale well drilled by Hess, a New York-based energy company.
A small leak was detected from a valve at a nearby Blue Racer Midstream gas-gathering facility outside Barnesville. Dronkers stood just outside the fence and recorded the thermal images. “There’s not anything unusual here, but there are emissions,” he said.
There was no sign of leaks at another injection well for drilling wastes off state Route 800 outside Barnesville. “Nothing,” Dronkers said. “It’s as clean as a whistle.”
The biggest problem for Earthworks is getting close enough to the facilities while on public roads without trespassing, Steinzor said.
“We’re making the pollution visible to regulators,” Steinzor said. “It cannot be ignored. We force them to be more responsive. … Such citizen monitoring is becoming more and more important as state regulatory agencies face budget cuts.”


The infrared gas-finding camera used by Earthworks can detect certain volatile organic compounds that can affect human health, plus methane, the main ingredient in natural gas and a key global-warming gas.
It is tuned to the infrared wavelengths absorbed by gases, including methane and carcinogenic benzene.
The camera can detect about 20 VOCs if the emissions exceed the minimum detection leak rates. That includes such chemicals as toluene, xylene, propane, hexane, ethane and butane.
They can cause respiratory problems, nosebleeds, headaches, nausea and other health problems.
The camera cannot determine the exact makeup of the emissions, the concentrations or the volume of the air pollution, said Nadia Steinzor of Earthworks, a national eco-group.
The infrared camera is also used by the energy industry and some federal-state regulators.
In some cases, Earthworks has taken its videos to regulatory agencies seeking corrective actions.
— Bob Downing


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Here is Nexus Pipeline statement on beginning federal review

By Bob Downing Published: November 23, 2015

Here is the press release on Friday from Nexus Gas Transmission:

November 20, 2015

The NEXUS Gas Transmission project reached a significant milestone today as it formally applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to construct and operate an approximately 255-mile interstate natural gas pipeline. The NEXUS project provides critically needed Appalachian Basin natural gas to growing markets in Ohio, Michigan and the Dawn Hub in Ontario, Canada.

“The NEXUS project relieves pipeline capacity constraints in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays and will deliver clean-burning, affordable natural gas to customers in Ohio, Michigan, and Ontario, Canada. We have agreements with local gas distribution companies as well as producers that plan to use the pipeline to provide their customers with this vital energy resource, so important to the local economy,” said Bill Yardley, president of U.S. Transmission and Storage for Spectra Energy. “NEXUS has also recently signed a number of interconnect agreements with industrial facilities and power generators, as businesses need natural gas to grow and to keep jobs in the region. These agreements demonstrate support not only for the project, but the route as well.”

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Proposed Ohio ethane cracker plant to use INEOS process

By Bob Downing Published: November 23, 2015

From a recent press release from INEOS, the Swiss-based chemical giant:

INEOS Technologies is pleased to announce that it has licensed its Innovene S Process for the manufacture of medium density and high density polyethylene to PTTGC America LLC, an affiliate of PTT, Thailand’s largest petrochemical and refining company, at its new cracker complex to be located near Dilles Bottom, Ohio, USA.

The Innovene S HDPE plant will consist of two lines having a total capacity of 700 KTA, producing a wide range of polyethylene grades to serve the growing demand for high performance products in the US and export markets.

Peter Williams, CEO of INEOS Technologies, said: “INEOS is delighted to have been selected by PTTGC as its licensing partner for the HDPE plant in Ohio . We look forward to working with the PTTGC team to deliver an asset that will meet fully both the current and future requirements of PTTGC’s customers.”

Panod Awaiwanond, General Manager of PTTGC America stated that: "PTTGC is very excited by this project based on the US Shale Gas economics. We have chosen a very dynamic location for the plant at Dilles Bottom, Ohio with a highly skilled work force and support of the local and state governments. The INEOS Innovene S technology fits with our economic and market needs to ensure a successful project for all of our new stakeholders"


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Ohio's mineral resources valued at $2.1 billion in 2014

By Bob Downing Published: November 23, 2015

From a Friday press release:

COLUMBUS, OH – A just released mineral industries report from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) shows the development of Ohio’s mineral resources in 2014 produced more than $2.1 billion worth of geologic commodities, including increases in the mined amount of limestone, salt, sand and gravel.

The 2014 Report on Ohio Mineral Industries: An Annual Summary of the State’s Economic Geology contains information regarding the production, value and employment totals of Ohio’s various mineral industries. Some highlights include:

ODNR, through a dedicated staff of inspectors, geologists and support staff, regulates the responsible extraction of Ohio’s natural resources, including coal, natural gas, limestone, sand and gravel, salt and more. Part of ODNR’s regulatory responsibility is to annually catalog Ohio’s extractive industries.

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Company files application for Northeast Energy Direct pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: November 23, 2015

Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., a Kinder Morgan company, filed a certificate application Friday with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for its proposed Northeast Energy Direct project.

The $5 billion natural gas pipeline, which has met with stiff opposition from environmentalists and property owners, would transport natural gas from the Marcellus region of Pennsylvania to markets in the Northeast.

"As natural gas has become the baseload fuel for electricity generation in New England, the interstate pipeline system in New England has not significantly expanded to supply this load," said Kimberly Watson, east region natural gas pipelines president for Kinder Morgan.

Click  here  to read more.

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Guernsey County commissioners oppose EnerGreen 360 project

By Bob Downing Published: November 23, 2015

The Guernsey County commissioners are opposed to a proposed drilling waste water treatment facility in the east-central Ohio county.

EnerGreen 360, with offices in Columbus, wants to build the plant in the Desmond Hall Industrial Park south of Cambridge.

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See the most recent drilling report and an injection wells map From
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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.