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Ohio Utica Shale

Innovation dramatically lowering drilling costs

By Jim Mackinnon Published: May 19, 2015

A new wave of innovation that significantly reduces drilling costs is helping struggling oil companies deal with low oil prices, reports Michael McDonald at ""A variety of different improvements in production are starting to show up at all levels across the industry from small firms to oil majors. Statoil for example recently noted that it is experimenting with different types of sand and chemicals to improve production.

"And a number of companies have noted that they are moving from drilling wells one at a time, on an ad hoc basis, to drilling multiple wells at once.

"The end result of these actions is that per-barrel costs of oil have fallen to around $60 today versus $75 a year ago according to Citi analysts. And executives from oil companies are now forecasting that per barrel prices could fall to $50 or less before long. America has not yet lost the price war."

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GreenHunter Resources working to streamline operations

By Bob Downing Published: May 18, 2015

From GreenHunter Resources on Friday:

GRAPEVINE, Texas, May 15, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- GreenHunter Resources, Inc. (NYSE:GRH) (NYSE:GRH.PRC), a diversified water resource, waste management, environmental services, and hydrocarbon marketing company specializing in the unconventional oil and natural gas shale resource plays within the Appalachian Basin, announced today financial and operating results for the three months ended March 31, 2015.

First Quarter Financial and Operational Highlights


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Two oil organizations seek injunction against new BLM rules

By Bob Downing Published: May 18, 2015

From BakerHostetler law firm last week:

DENVER, May 15, 2015 BakerHostetler today filed a request for preliminary injunction against the final rule the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued to regulate hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands. The motion was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming on behalf of the Independent Petroleum Association of America and Western Energy Alliance. The motion details the flaws in BLM’s final rule and requests that the federal district court halt implementation until the legal challenge is resolved. BakerHostetler filed the first legal challenge to the final rule on March 20, 2015, the same day BLM announced the final rule.

While the final rule is not scheduled to take effect until June 24, 2015, independent producers are already incurring substantial compliance costs. Producers are adjusting drilling schedules, moving equipment, contracting for operational services, and training personnel. Producers anticipate that these additional costs will exceed several hundreds of millions of dollars each year. “BLM has underestimated the cost of the final rule at every phase of development,” said Mark Barron, one of the Denver-based BakerHostetler attorneys heading the litigation. “Given the magnitude of expected costs and the legal flaws of the final rule, injunctive relief is necessary to protect independent producers until the court reaches resolution.”

The motion emphasizes BLM’s failure to consider relevant evidence during the rulemaking process and to justify its action with objective and technically sound support. “BLM argues that some states with hydraulic fracturing activity lack the regulations necessary to protect federal and Indian lands, but BLM is yet to identify a single harm that the agency’s rule will prevent that state regulation isn’t preventing already,” noted Barron.

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U.S. Department of Labor adds drilling to enforcement program

By Bob Downing Published: May 18, 2015

From the Baker Hostetler law firm:

On February 11, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) announced revisions to its Severe Violator Enforcement Program (“SVEP”).

Under SVEP, employers in designated industries can be subject to unlimited return or unannounced inspections for a period of at least three years.

Employers in the upstream oil and gas drilling industry were previously exempt from this program, which is otherwise dominated by construction and manufacturing firms.

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API challenging new federal rules on crude rail shipments

By Bob Downing Published: May 18, 2015

Last week, the oil industry took the first legal step to challenge new federal rules on shipping crude oil by rail.

The American Petroleum Institute, the industry’s main trade group, petitioned the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to block key provisions of the rules, which were unveiled this month by Anthony Foxx, the transportation secretary. The petition was filed on May 11.

The trade group has long argued that forcing oil producers and shippers to use newer tank cars and replace older models would impose high costs on the industry and lead to a shortfall in tank car capacity.

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Texas governor to sign bill blocking community fracking bans

By Bob Downing Published: May 18, 2015

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said today that he intends to sign legislation that would reassert state control over drilling and block local communities like Denton from banning fracking.

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Atlantic Coast Pipeline looking at alternate route segments

By Bob Downing Published: May 18, 2015

From Dominion today:

RICHMOND, Va., May 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC is announcing today that it has identified several alternate route segments as potentially having the least impact to environmental, historic and cultural resources and they are being incorporated into the proposed route of its approximately 550-mile interstate natural gas transmission pipeline across three states.

"ACP has been listening to landowners, federal and state agencies and surveying to find the route with the least impact. While we have not surveyed them yet, we have determined there are several alternate segments that may have less of an impact than the initially proposed route," said Leslie Hartz, vice president-Pipeline Construction for Dominion Transmission Inc., which is responsible for engineering and overseeing the pipeline's construction. "Surveying is necessary to determine the final route."

The ACP LLC, a corporation formed by Dominion (NYSE: D), Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), Piedmont Natural Gas (NYSE: PNY) and AGL Resources (NYSE: GAS), is proposing to build the $4.5 billion to $5 billion pipeline to serve multiple public utilities and their urgent energy needs in Virginia and North Carolina. The natural gas transported safely by this project will be used to generate electricity as well as to heat homes and run local businesses. By providing access to low-cost natural gas supplies from a diverse set of producing regions, the ACP will increase the reliability and security of natural gas supplies in Virginia and North Carolina.

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Portage County group kicks off community rights charter plan

By Bob Downing Published: May 14, 2015

A grass-roots group in Portage County announced that it is collecting signatures to place a community rights charter proposal on the November ballot.
The new initiative was kicked off on Thursday  by the Portage County Community Rights Group.
Just over 4,000 signatures are needed to get the issue on the ballot.
Similar campaigns are under way in Medina, Athens, Meigs and Fulton counties because of pipeline projects or injection wells.
Several Ohio communities have adopted community bills of rights in the wake of Utica Shale drilling in eastern Ohio.
A judge in Cuyahoga County has ruled that the bill of rights in Broadview Heights conflicts with state law and is not valid. Citizens in unchartered jurisdictions are limited by state law from fully exercising democratic control of their local governments, said activist Gwen Fischer, a retired Hiram College professor.
The proposed charter puts human rights above corporate privileges and asserts the right of residents to expect their government will protect their health and safety, she said.
Under the plan, Portage County government would remain intact, but the county officials’ authority to protect residents from corporate harms is recognized and the people’s right to initiative  and referendum is codified.
The Portage charter specifically safeguards local water for the use of local businesses and residents, while preventing outsiders’ use to make a profit.
Supporters of the charter say 160,000 local residents, farming and manufacturing rely on clean water.
“Our charter is designed to safeguard this resource against the kind of contamination other communities have suffered,” the group said in a press release. “Once our soil or drinking water is contaminated, no amount of water will replace it or repair it.”
The greatest threat comes from the 14 injection wells in Portage County that handle drilling wastes, the Portage County Community Rights Group said.
“Injection wells and the waste disposed of them have local impact, and the proposed charter enables all Portage citizens to exercise direct democratic action including participation in democratic decision-making by initiative,” the group said.
It will hold four public meetings to discuss the proposal:
•May 26, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Reed Memorial Library, 167 E. Main St., Ravenna.
•May 29, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Kent’s Unitarian Universalist Church, 228 Gougler Ave.
•June 2, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Hiram Christian Church, 6868 Wakefield Road.
A fourth meeting is planned in Aurora but the time and place have not yet been set.
For more information, go to or email to The sites will be operating soon.

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Carrizo announced farm-out agreement in Delaware Basin

By Bob Downing Published: May 14, 2015

From Carrizo Oil and Gas earlier this week:

HOUSTON, May 12, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Carrizo Oil & Gas, Inc. (Nasdaq:CRZO) today announced a farm-out agreement in the Delaware Basin and plans to begin an operated drilling program later this year.

Delaware Basin Update

Carrizo recently signed a farm-out agreement with a larger operator providing it the right to earn approximately 2,800 net acres in eastern Culberson County. This brings the Company's acreage position in the play to more than 20,000 net acres. The new acreage offsets Carrizo's existing position in eastern Culberson County, allowing the Company to build a contiguous nine-section unit where it has the potential to drill approximately 30 long-lateral wells on 1,000 ft. spacing in the Upper Wolfcamp zone.

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Williams to acquire Williams Partners for $13.8 billion in stock

By Bob Downing Published: May 14, 2015

Williams Cos. agreed to buy the 40 percent of Williams Partners LP it doesn’t already own for $13.8 billion, simplifying its corporate structure in a bid to reduce taxes, increase payouts and accumulate cash for expansion.

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

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.