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Ohio Utica Shale

Pittsburgh center expands shale wastewater standards

By Bob Downing Published: February 27, 2015

apress release received today:

PITTSBURGH, Pa., February 27, 2015 – The Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD), a collaboration of environmental organizations and energy companies to encourage prudent and responsible development of shale gas resources in the Appalachian region, announced today that it has expanded its wastewater Performance Standard 1 to address the treatment of shale wastewater at permitted facilities. The expanded standard represents the culmination of a year-long effort by a working group of stakeholders from industry and NGO participating organizations to address conditions necessary for safe surface discharge of treated shale wastewater.

 

The original performance standard identified recycling and underground injection as acceptable methods of managing produced water and recognized that there was also a need to address methods of wastewater treatment and discharge. For this reason, it contained a commitment that the group would address wastewater treatment by the Fall of 2014. In evaluating water management options, the working group took into account risks associated with long distance trucking, and the fact that outlets for recycling grow more limited as operations mature and begin to produce more water than they can recycle. After examining current federal and state regulatory frameworks, EPA guidance, and available technologies, CSSD’s working group determined that discharge through regulated Centralized Waste Treatment (CWT) facilities would be the most appropriate expansion of wastewater disposal options.

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Pennsylvania activist faces fine, jail for contempt of court

By Bob Downing Published: February 27, 2015

Pennsylvania anti-drilling activist Vera Scroggins faces a fine and a jail sentence for contempt of court.

A Susquehanna County judge has found Scroggins has violated court orders keeping her from Cabot Oil and Gas sites in northern Pennsylvania.

Scroggins' case gained national and international attention in 2013 when she was barred from about half of the county.

Those restrictions were altered last spring to keep her at least 100 feet from drilling pads and access roads.

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Carrizo offers year-end 2014 results with record crude production

By Bob Downing Published: February 27, 2015

From Czarrizo Oil and Gas earlier this week:

CARRIZO OIL & GAS, INC. ANNOUNCES STRONG FOURTH QUARTER AND YEAR-END RESULTS, INCLUDING

RECORD CRUDE OIL PRODUCTION FOR THE QUARTER AND RECORD CRUDE OIL RESERVES

HOUSTON, February 24, 2015 - Carrizo Oil & Gas, Inc. (Nasdaq: CRZO) today announced the Company’s financial results for the fourth quarter of 2014 and provided an operational update, which included the following highlights:

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Some New York towns are looking at seceding and joining Pa.

By Bob Downing Published: February 27, 2015

Some southern New York towns, unhappy with the state's fracking ban. are looking at seceding from New York and joining Pennsylvania where shale drilling is allowed.

Click   here  to read the latest story.

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U.S. drillers looking at refracking 50,000 existing wells

By Bob Downing Published: February 27, 2015

Beset by falling prices, the oil industry is looking at about 50,000 existing wells in the U.S. that may be candidates for a second wave of fracking, using techniques that didn’t exist when they were first drilled, Bloomberg reports.

New wells can cost as much as $8 million, while re-fracking costs about $2 million, significant savings when the price of crude is hovering close to $50 a barrel, according to Halliburton Co., the world’s biggest provider of hydraulic fracturing services.

Click here   to read the full story.

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Antero's proven reserves increase by 66 percent to 12.7 Tcfe

By Bob Downing Published: February 27, 2015

From Antero Resources earlier this week:

DENVER , Jan. 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --

 

 

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Southwestern Energy offers look at 2014 highlights

By Bob Downing Published: February 27, 2015

From Southwestern Energy this week:

 

Houston, Texas – February 26, 2015...Southwestern Energy Company (NYSE: SWN) today announced its financial and operating results for the fourth quarter and the year ended December 31, 2014. Calendar year 2014 highlights include:

 Record adjusted net income (a non-GAAP measure reconciled below) of $801 million, or $2.27 per diluted share, up 14% compared to 2013 levels when excluding gains on derivative contracts, net of settlements, discrete income tax adjustments and certain transaction costs associated with the West Virginia and southwest Pennsylvania acquisition closed in the fourth quarter of 2014;

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Sixteen U.S. senators question large-volume LNG exports

By Bob Downing Published: February 27, 2015

From the Inudtstrial Ebergy Consumers of America earlier this week:

SIXTEEN SENATORS CONCLUDE THAT LARGE VOLUMES OF LNG EXPORTS ARE “NOT” CONSISTENT WITH THE PUBLIC INTEREST

 

The Industrial Energy Consumers of America (IECA) genuinely thanks the sixteen U.S. Senators who championed a letter to the Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Ernest Moniz urging him to consider the impact of large-scale LNG exports on American consumers and businesses. Referring to the DOE sponsored NERA Economic Consulting study, the Senators state that, “we are concerned with the conclusions you draw from these analyses, which we believe demonstrate that large volumes of LNG exports are not consistent with the public interest.”

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API urges caution on suggestions from Colorado task force

By Bob Downing Published: February 27, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute earlier this week:

DENVER, February 24, 2015 ─ API urged lawmakers to carefully review the recommendations put forth today by Governor John Hickenlooper’s task force on oil and natural gas development.

“The task force has engaged in a thoughtful dialogue about Colorado’s future as an energy leader,” said API Director of Upstream and Industry Operations Erik Milito. “But there is more to do. State policymakers must avoid creating unnecessary or unintentional roadblocks to the responsible energy production that is driving Colorado’s economic growth. Our industry has a long history of working collaboratively with state and local officials in Colorado to protect the environment and create jobs, and we’ll continue to work with policymakers to ensure the state remains at the forefront of America’s energy renaissance.

“Maintaining a balance is critical. Colorado has comprehensive and robust regulations covering oil and gas operations that still allow industry to support 200,000 jobs in the state. With the right energy policies, we can create thousands of additional jobs, generate more revenue to help support local schools, develop infrastructure, and preserve Colorado’s leading role in America’s energy revolution.”

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 625 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 25 million Americans.

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Stone Energy has 102 Marcellus, Utica wells at year-end 2014

By Bob Downing Published: February 27, 2015

From Stone Energy Corp. earlier this week:

 

LAFAYETTE, La., Feb. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Stone Energy Corporation (NYSE: SGY) today announced financial and operational results for the fourth quarter and year-end of 2014. Some of the highlights include:

Financial Results

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Antero Resources scales back on 2015 spending by 36 percent

By Bob Downing Published: February 26, 2015

Colorado-based Antero Resources Corp. told financial analysts and the media Thursday that is expects to cut back on its Utica Shale drilling by 36 percent in 2015.

The company, a major player in Ohio’s Utica region, intends to spend $1.6 billion for drilling and completions in 2015.

A year ago, the firm earmarked $2.5 billion for such drilling.

Production is expected to grow by 40 percent in 2015, despite the cutbacks, the company said.

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Gulfport Energy to curtail Utica Shale drilling in 2015

By Bob Downing Published: February 26, 2015

Gulfport Energy Corp. intends to slightly curtail Utica Shale drilling in 2015, although it expects production to grow by 80 to 100 percent in 2015.

The Oklahoma-based company intends to keep three or four rigs at work in eastern Ohio, where it previously had eight rigs working. One rig will be retired by the end of the first quarter.

The company also is cutting its 2015 capital budget by 40 percent due to continued low commodity prices for natural gas, oil and natural gas liquids. That budget will be from $545 million to $595 million with 96 percent allocated to the Utica Shale.

Making such cuts is prudent, given the low prices being paid for oil and natural gas, company officials said.

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Ohio oil production up by 18.1 percent, natural gas up 25.6 percent

By Bob Downing Published: February 26, 2015

During the fourth quarter 2014, Ohio’s horizontal shale wells produced more than 3,558,836 barrels of oil and nearly 165 billion cubic feet of natural gas, according to figures released on Wednesday by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Oil production from 779 horizontal Utica wells increased by more than 545,000 barrels, a 18.1 percent increase, and natural gas jumped by more than 33 billion cubic feet or a 25.6 percent increase compared to the third quarter 2014.

Comparing the last two years in Ohio, there has been a 200 percent increase in oil production and a 350 percent increase in gas production, the state said.

By comparison, 352 horizontal shale wells in the fourth quarter 2013 produced 1,439,209 barrels of oil and 43 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

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Ohio has 1,370 drilled Utica wells, 816 producing Utica wells

By Bob Downing Published: February 25, 2015

Ohio has approved 1,824 Utica shale permits, as of Feb. 21.

Of that total, 1,370 Utica wells have been drilled and 816 Utica wells are producing, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources reported.

A total of 37 rigs are at work in Ohio.

Sixteen new permits were approved: one in Belmont County, one on Guernsey County, five in Monroe County and nine in Noble County.

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Harrison County condensate stabilization facility opens today

By Bob Downing Published: February 25, 2015

From MarkWest Energy Partners today:

 

DENVER --(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 25, 2015-- MarkWest Energy Partners, L.P. (NYSE: MWE) (“the Partnership”) today reported quarterly cash available for distribution to common unitholders, or distributable cash flow (DCF), of $201.0 million for the three months ended December 31, 2014 , and $706.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2014 . DCF for the three months and year ended December 31, 2014 represents distribution coverage of 120 percent and 112 percent respectively. The fourth quarter distribution of $168.1 million , or $0.90 per common unit, was paid to unitholders on February 13, 2015 . The fourth quarter 2014 distribution represents an increase of $0.01 per common unit or 1.1 percent over the third quarter 2014 distribution and an increase of $0.04 per common unit or 4.7 percent compared to the fourth quarter 2013 distribution. As a Master Limited Partnership , cash distributions to common unitholders are largely determined based on DCF. A reconciliation of DCF to net income, the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure, is provided within the financial tables of this press release.

The Partnership reported Adjusted EBITDA for the three months ended December 31, 2014 , of $243.0 million and $874.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2014 , as compared to $155.5 million and $606.0 million for the three months and year ended December 31, 2013 . The Partnership believes the presentation of Adjusted EBITDA provides useful information because it is commonly used by investors in Master Limited Partnerships to assess financial performance and operating results of ongoing business operations. A reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA to net income, the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure, is provided within the financial tables of this press release.

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New study reaffirms Scotland's position as oil, gas hub

By Bob Downing Published: February 25, 2015

From Scottish Development International on Tuesday:

SCOTLAND’S POSITION AS A GLOBAL OIL AND GAS HUB

REAFFIRMED BY STUDY

 

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Kasich severance tax won't make fracking safe,eco-group says

By Bob Downing Published: February 25, 2015

From Food & Water Watch on Wednesday night:

Kasich’s State of the State: “Frack tax” won’t make fracking safe says Food & Water Watch

Statement of Food & Water Watch Ohio Organizer Alison Auciello

 

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Report says chemical exports from shale could double by 2030

By Bob Downing Published: February 25, 2015

From U.S. Chemistry Council today:

U.S. CHEMISTRY EXPORTS LINKED TO SHALE GAS COULD DOUBLE BY 2030, NEW REPORT SHOWS

Historic New Trade Agreements Could Secure Even Brighter Outlook for U.S. Manufacturers

WASHINGTON (February 25, 2015)

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Cheseapeake cutting back 26 percent on capital budget, drilling

By Bob Downing Published: February 25, 2015

Chesapeake Energy Corp. is cutting its 2015 capital expenditure budget by 26 percent as it expects to have the lowest number of drilling rigs operating since 2004.

Citing lower oil and natural gas prices, the Oklahoma-based energy giant said it plans to operate between 35 and 45 rigs in 2015 including three to five rigs in the Utica Shale in eastern Ohio.

That rig count represents a drop of 38 percent from an average rig count of 64 last year.

The most rigs, 12 to 14, would be operated in the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas.

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New England natural gas prices higher, despite increased supply

By Bob Downing Published: February 24, 2015

From SNL Energy today:

In spite of a year-over-year increase in supply that surpassed an increase in demand along the Algonquin Gas Transmission LLC system, pipeline constraints still led to higher year-over-year prices the week ended Feb. 19.

A shot of Arctic air sent temperatures plummeting across the region served by the pipeline, with temperatures at Boston's Logan International Airport reaching as low as -3 degrees on Feb. 16, according to data from Weather Underground. During the week, low temperatures averaged 6 degrees and high temperatures averaged nearly 18 degrees.

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Four companies planning new Panola NGL pipeline in Texas

By Bob Downing Published: February 24, 2015

Four companies today announced a joint venture to develop a new natural gas liquids pipeline in Texas.

Click  here   to read the full story.

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Virginia proposes $361,000 fine against CSX for 2014 derailment

By Bob Downing Published: February 24, 2015

From the Associated Press on Monday:

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia environmental officials proposed a $361,000 fine Monday against CSX Transportation for an April 2014 train derailment in Lynchburg that dumped nearly 30,000 gallons of Bakken crude oil into the James River.

The April 30 derailment saw 17 tankers derail, with three going into the James. The state Department of Environmental Quality said one tanker breached, with 98 percent of the oil consumed by fire.

Water quality checks of the James from Lynchburg to Richmond several days after the derailment found no environmental problems, the DEQ said.

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Sierra Club to introduce water alert network in Carroll County

By Bob Downing Published: February 23, 2015

From Carroll Concerned Citizens:

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

FEBRUARY 22, 2014

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Study predicts 10 oil train accidents a year with hundreds of deaths

By Bob Downing Published: February 23, 2015

F4rom the Associated Press:

AP Exclusive: Fuel-hauling trains could derail at 10 a year

By Matthew Brown and Josh Funk, Feb. 22, 2015 12:00 PM ET

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) – The federal government predicts that trains hauling crude oil or ethanol will derail an average of 10 times a year over the next two decades, causing more than $4 billion in damage and possibly killing hundreds of people if an accident happens in a densely populated part of the U.S.

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Ohio Supreme Court limited its ruling in Munroe Falls drilling case

By Bob Downing Published: February 23, 2015

From the People's Oil and Gas Collaboration:

In a nutshell: The Supreme Court bent over backward to limit its ruling.

The 3-judge plurality said:

The issue before us is not whether the law should generally allow municipalities to have concurrent regulatory authority, but whether R.C. 1509.02 and the Home Rule Amendment do allow for the kind of double licensing at issue here. They do not. We make no judgment as to whether other ordinances could coexist with the General Assembly’s comprehensive regulatory scheme. Rather, our holding is limited to the five municipal ordinances at issue in this case.

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What happens next in Munroe Falls drilling case is unclear

By Bob Downing Published: February 23, 2015

Last week, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in the Munroe Falls case that local communities cannot control drlling within their boundaries.

What that means going forwardin Ohio is the subject of a report by WKSU's Karen Kasler.

Click  here  to read her report.

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PDC Energy writes off Utica assets, to focus on Colorado drilling

By Bob Downing Published: February 23, 2015

Colorado-based PDC Energy intends to focus almost entirely on its Wattenberg Field acreage in Colorado after writing down its Utica Shale assets in Ohio in the fourth quarter and selling off its last dry gas assets in the Marcellus Shale in 2014.

The company took a $163.5 million writedown on its Utica assets. It will complete just four wells there in 2015.

Click  here  to read more about the company's plans.

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Sand use in drilling continues to increase in Utica, Marcellus shales

By Bob Downing Published: February 23, 2015

More sand is being used in Marcellus-Utica wells in Ohio, West Virghinia and western Pennsylvania.

Boosting sand use has proven to beneficial, drillers report.

It also means more sand will be coming back out of the wells for disposal.

Click  here  to read the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story.

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Magnum Hunter Resources reports on new West Virginia wells

By Bob Downing Published: February 23, 2015

From Magum Hunter Resources last week:

HOUSTON, TX--(Marketwired - Feb 20, 2015) - 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 the Company's four new 100% owned WVDNR Pad wells (#1410, #1411, #1412 and #1413) located in Wetzel County, West Virginia have all been recently placed on production after several weeks of testing. Currently, all seven of the Company's 100% owned Marcellus Shale wells, which included three previously shut-in wells, on the WVDNR Pad are flowing to sales. The WVDNR Pad is currently producing approximately 35 MMcfe per day.

The WVDNR #1410 well was drilled and cased to a true vertical depth of 7,500 feet with a 4,350 foot horizontal lateral, and successfully fraced with 23 stages. The well tested at a peak rate of 12,966 MMcfe (17% NGLs and 3% condensate) per day with an energy content of 1,175 BTU on an adjustable choke with 2,250 PSI flowing casing pressure.

The WVDNR #1411 well was drilled and cased to a true vertical depth of 7,500 feet with a 4,048 foot horizontal lateral, and successfully fraced with 21 stages. The well tested at a peak rate of 10,761 MMcfe (18% NGLs and 1% condensate) per day with an energy content of 1,175 BTU on an adjustable choke with 1,493 PSI flowing casing pressure.

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Pennsylvania tops 4 trillion cubic feet of Marcellus gas in 2014

By Bob Downing Published: February 23, 2015

In 2014, Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale produced 4 trllion cubic feet of natural gas, the state reported last week.

That total is a 30 percent increase from 2013's total of 3.1 trillion cubic feet.

The total was 1.6 trillion cubic feet in 2012 and 1 trillion cubic feet in 2011.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Rex Energy reports that production jumps by 66 percent in 2014

By Bob Downing Published: February 23, 2015

Pennsylvania-based Rex Energy Corp. last week reported that its reserves had increased by 39 percent and its production increased by 66 percent in 2014.

It also added 50 new Utica and Marcellus shales wells in 2014.

Click  here   to read the company's statement.

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Magnum Hunter Resources cuts 2015 capital spending by 75 percent

By Bob Downing Published: February 23, 2015

From Magnum Hunter Resources:

HOUSTON, TX--(Marketwired - Feb 17, 2015) - 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 its Board of Directors has approved a $100 million upstream capital expenditure budget for fiscal year 2015. Of this amount, the Company has allocated approximately $70 million to its Utica Shale and Marcellus Shale exploration and development drilling program in Ohio and West Virginia, approximately $10 million to its properties in the Williston Basin in North Dakota (substantially all of which are non-operated properties) and approximately $20 million for leasehold acreage acquisitions in the Utica and Marcellus Shale plays. The Company expects this Appalachian focused upstream capital expenditure program to further drive its production volumes and enable it to maintain its projected 2015 average daily production volumes of approximately 29,000 - 33,000 BOE per day.

At the midstream operations, the Company's pro rata portion of the capital expenditure budget is expected to be funded by Eureka Hunter's existing senior credit facility and by Eureka Hunter's other principal owner pursuant to pre-existing funding arrangements between the Company and the other principal owner established last year.

The Company's total 2015 capital expenditure budget of $100 million is expected to be funded from a combination of internally-generated cash flow, borrowings under the Company's existing senior revolving credit facility, proceeds from asset sales, possible capital markets transactions and certain anticipated strategic initiatives in progress.

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Rice Energy cutting 2015 drilling, completion budget by 40 percent

By Bob Downing Published: February 23, 2015

Pennsylvania-based Rice Energy is cutting its 2015 drilling and completion budget on Utica-Marcellus wells by 40 percent, company officials reported last week.

Overall, the company's capital budget will drop from $1.1 billion to $890 million in 2015.

Click  here  to read the company's full statement.

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Eclipse Resources reports 353 percent boost in reserves

By Bob Downing Published: February 23, 2015

Last week, Pennsylvania-based Eclipse Resources Copr. reported a 353 percent increase in its reserves at year-end 2014 from year-end 2013.

The company reported reserves of 355 billion cubic feet of equivalents.

Click  here  to read the company's press release.

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17-ton Brine Boxes are subject of continuing court custody battles

By Bob Downing Published: February 20, 2015

An unusual custody battle between Pittsburgh-based North Shore Energy Services and Texas-based Jordan Manufacturing Consulting revolves around two 17-ton boxes that each party has accused the other of kidnapping at various points during their rocky relationship.

That conflict culminated with North Shore’s bankruptcy earlier this month, after Jordan asked a federal court to assign possession of the so-called Brine Boxes to the manufacturer that built them, in the hope that it would be more successful at marketing the products to shale gas producers than North Shore has been over the past year.

Click  here  to read the twisting story by Anya Litvak of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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Is Carroll County really Ohio's drilling hot spot?

By Bob Downing Published: February 20, 2015

Ted Auch, the Great Lakes program coordinator for the FracTracker Alliance, is taking a look at whether Carroll County is really the No. 1 drilling spot in Ohio.

He does a lot of comparsions looking at Carroll County vs. the rest of the Buckeye state.

It is an interesting read with lots of data.

Click  here  to access the report.

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Science paper: Coping with earthquakes induced by fluid injection

By Bob Downing Published: February 20, 2015

From the U.S. Geological Survey:

 

Coping with Earthquakes Induced by Fluid Injection

Posted: 19 Feb 2015 10:15 AM PST

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Ohio has 1,356 drilled Utica wells, 762 producing Utica wells

By Bob Downing Published: February 20, 2015

Ohio has approved 1,814 Utica shale oermits, as of Feb. 14.

Of that total, 1,356 Utica wells have been driled and 762 Utica wells are producing, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said.

Ohio has 39 drilling rigs at work.

Eighteen new permits were approvgfed: two in Belmont County, five in Carroll County, one in Columbiana County, five in Harrison County and five in Monroe County.

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Natural gas inventory exceeds five-year average, a first since late 2013

By Bob Downing Published: February 20, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Infromation Administration today:

 

Working natural gas in storage has surpassed five-year average levels for the first time in more than a year. At 2,157 billion cubic feet (Bcf) as of February 13, stocks are 58 Bcf greater than the five-year average. Recent extremely cold weather may result in high stock withdrawals for the week ending February 20, which could again push stocks below their five-year average. However, natural gas production in February and March that is forecast to average 5 Bcf/day above the year-ago level is likely to contribute to healthy inventories and moderate prices as the nation moves from winter into spring.

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National Grid is co-developer of new pipeline for New England

By Bob Downing Published: February 20, 2015

From Spectra Energy earlier this week:

February 18, 2015

BOSTON, WALTHAM, Mass, HARTFORD, Conn and HOUSTON – Eversource Energy (NYSE: NU), National Grid (NYSE: NGG), Spectra Energy (NYSE: SE), and Spectra Energy Partners (NYSE: SEP) today announced that National Grid is joining Access Northeast, the innovative energy solution for New England, as a co-developer.

Lack of sufficient natural gas pipeline infrastructure in New England is driving electricity prices higher, limiting economic competitiveness and growth, and straining systems to the point where serious reliability issues threaten public safety and security. Access Northeast is designed to directly meet these challenges while providing environmental and economic benefits. The project will upgrade existing pipeline facilities and market area storage assets in New England to deliver, on peak days, up to 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas for electric generation markets. The solution will minimize environmental and community impacts by maximizing use of existing pipeline and utility corridors and existing natural gas infrastructure.

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West Virginia oil train accident could happen in Philadelphia, too

By Bob Downing Published: February 20, 2015

From five Philadelphia-based eco groups earlier this week:

Catastrophic Oil Train Derailment in West Virginia is an Accident Waiting to Happen in Philadelphia

Organizations call on City Council and regulators to step up to protect Philadelphia residents NOW

 

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January 2015 gas flows jump 30 percent from year ago, report says

By Bob Downing Published: February 20, 2015

From SNL Energy earlier this week:

SNL ENERGY: JANUARY 2015 GAS FLOWS TO GENERATORS UP 30% YEAR OVER YEAR; ALGONQUIN LEADS THE CHARGE

Natural gas deliveries from interstate pipelines to select power plants in the northeast in January rebounded to 2013 levels, after a sharp fall in January 2014, according to an SNL Energy analysis.

Reaching 46.5 million Dth this year, January scheduled intraday 2 natural gas interstate pipeline delivery capacity to power plants points determined by SNL Energy in the Northeast far exceeded the 35.9 million Dth of deliveries in 2014.

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EnLink Midstream Partners acquires 25 percent equity interest

By Bob Downing Published: February 18, 2015

From EnLink Midstream on Tuesday:

ENLINK MIDSTREAM, LLC DROPS DOWN

25 PERCENT INTEREST IN ENLINK MIDSTREAM HOLDINGS

 

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Waterkeeper Alliance responds to West Virginia oil train fire, spill

By Bob Downing Published: February 18, 2015

From the Waterkeeper Alliance:

Waterkeeper Alliance Calls for Immediate Action to Protect Communities from Dangers of Crude Transport by Rail in Aftermath of West Virginia CSX Train Derailment

West Virginia Headwaters Waterkeeper urges protection of communities through full public disclosure, as required in many states

 

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Grass-roots group unhappy with Munroe Falls drilling decision

By Bob Downing Published: February 18, 2015

From the Ohio Community Rights Network on the Munroe Falls decision by the Ohio Supreme Court:

Rejecting the Munroe Falls Decision

 

Today, the Ohio Supreme Court issued its opinion in the Munroe Falls v. Beck Energy Corporation. Munroe Falls asserted its authority to regulate drilling activities within the city, while Beck Energy claimed that regulating oil and gas extraction falls under the jurisdiction of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

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EnLink Midstream offers 4Q results, 1Q 2015 guidance

By Bob Downing Published: February 18, 2015

From EnLink Midstream companies today:

DALLAS,February 18, 2015 — The EnLink Midstream companies, EnLink Midstream Partners, LP (NYSE:ENLK) (the Partnership or ENLK) and EnLink Midstream, LLC (NYSE:ENLC) (the General Partner or ENLC) (collectively EnLink Midstream), today reported results for the fourth quarter of 2014 and provided 2015 guidance.

 

Fourth Quarter 2014 — EnLink Midstream Partners, LP Financial Results

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ANGA's new ad campaign features LNG-powered containships

By Bob Downing Published: February 18, 2015

From XXXXXX:

TOTE, Saltchuk Featured in ANGA’s New Ad Campaign

New Think About It ad will highlight TOTE’s LNG-powered containerships

 

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OOGA hails decision by Ohio Supreme Court in Munroe Falls case

By Bob Downing Published: February 17, 2015

From the Ohio Oil and Gas Association today:

 

From Shawn Bennett, executive vice president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association:

 

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Fiery oil train accidents are cause for big concern, eco-group says

By Bob Downing Published: February 17, 2015

From the Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity on Monday:

For Immediate Release, February 16, 2015

Contact: Mollie Matteson, (802) 318-1487, or mmatteson@biologicaldiversity.org

West Virginia Oil Train Derailment Highlights Need for Significant Safety Reforms

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Rice Energy to drill 20 Utica, 43 Marcellus wells in 2015

By Bob Downing Published: February 17, 2015

From Rice Energy:

CANONSBURG, Pa., Feb. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Rice Energy Inc. (NYSE: RICE) ("Rice Energy") today announced its 2015 capital budget and guidance. Estimated capital investments and financial guidance include:

Commenting on the 2015 capital budget and guidance, Daniel J. Rice IV, Chief Executive Officer, said, "Our 2015 capital budget reflects both our disciplined approach to managing our business and our prudent investment strategy. This allows us to focus our efforts on driving shareholder value through continued successful development of our low-cost, high-returning Marcellus and Utica shale assets. We have reduced our drilling and completion budget by approximately 40% from our previous preliminary capital spend plans, while lowering our production forecast by only 8%, decreasing exposure to unhedged local prices. During 2015, the majority of our production is contracted for delivery to premium markets outside of Appalachia, and approximately 84% of our expected production is hedged to protect our revenues and cash flows. Finally, we're entering 2015 with sufficient liquidity to fund our entire 2015 development program."

 

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Eco-group troubled by threat of Bakken oil shipments by rail

By Bob Downing Published: February 17, 2015

From ForestEthics today:

[Bellingham, WA] Yesterday an oil train carrying explosive Bakken crude derailed and caught fire in Fayette County, West Virginia. Forty-eight hours earlier, on Saturday, an oil train carrying toxic Alberta tar sands derailed and spilled in Ontario, Canada.

Todd Paglia, ForestEthics executive director, released the following statement:

“Oil trains are simply too dangerous for the rails. Whether it is explosive Bakken crude or toxic Alberta tar sands this extreme oil cannot be transported safely by train. Twenty-five million Americans live in the blast zone and nearly everyone else lives downstream of an oil train route.

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Magnum Hunter to spend $90 million in Ohio, West Virginia in 2015

By Bob Downing Published: February 17, 2015

From Magnum Hunter Resources today:

 

Flexible 2015 Upstream Budget of $100 Million

HOUSTON, TX--(Marketwired - Feb 17, 2015) - 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 its Board of Directors has approved a $100 million upstream capital expenditure budget for fiscal year 2015. Of this amount, the Company has allocated approximately $70 million to its Utica Shale and Marcellus Shale exploration and development drilling program in Ohio and West Virginia, approximately $10 million to its properties in the Williston Basin in North Dakota (substantially all of which are non-operated properties) and approximately $20 million for leasehold acreage acquisitions in the Utica and Marcellus Shale plays. The Company expects this Appalachian focused upstream capital expenditure program to further drive its production volumes and enable it to maintain its projected 2015 average daily production volumes of approximately 29,000 - 33,000 BOE per day.

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Chesapeake Energy is suing former CEO Aubrey McClendon

By Bob Downing Published: February 17, 2015

From the Associated Press today:

Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy Corp. is suing its founder and former CEO Aubrey McClendon and his new company that is active in eastern Ohio for allegedly taking sensitive trade secrets when he resigned from Chesapeake two years ago.

McClendon and his new company — American Energy Partners — call the allegation meritless and say McClendon left Chesapeake with an agreement that he would receive "extensive" information on land, wells and other matters.

The lawsuit alleges McClendon took "confidential information and trade secrets from Chesapeake."

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State drilling rules supercede local zoning, divided Ohio court says

By Bob Downing Published: February 17, 2015

From the Associated Press today:

By Julie Carr Smyth

COLUMBUS, Ohio: A fiercely divided Ohio Supreme Court has upheld the power of state-level oil and gas drilling regulations to supersede local zoning laws.

In a 4-3 decision Tuesday with three written dissents, the court decided the home rule clause of Ohio’s constitution doesn’t allow a municipality to unfairly impede or obstruct drilling activities otherwise permitted by the state.

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Ohio Supreme Court upholds state control over drilling

By Bob Downing Published: February 17, 2015

The Ohio Supreme Court, in a decision released today, ruled against the city of Munroe Falls and for Beck Energy in a much-watched case on local control of drilling.

The court upheld that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources as the lead agency in overseeing drilling, not local communities.

More details to come.

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Striking video of West Virginia fireball from oil train accident

By Bob Downing Published: February 17, 2015

Click  here  to see CNN video of the CSX train derailment and fire in Fayette County, West Virginia.

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Train with Bakken oil derails, burns in Fayette County, W. Va.

By Bob Downing Published: February 17, 2015

From the Associated Press:

MOUNT CARBON, W.Va.: Fires burned for nearly nine hours after a train carrying more than 100 tankers of crude oil derailed in a snowstorm in West Virginia, plunging at least one tanker into a river while sending a fireball into the sky, authorities and residents say.

Officials evacuated hundreds of families and shut down two water treatment plants threatened by oil seeping into the river following the Monday afternoon derailment. A state public safety division spokesman, Lawrence Messina, said fire crews decided to let the tanks burn themselves out.

Federal railroad and hazardous materials officials are probing the accident, in which part of the train formation hit a house. The office of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, which has issued a state of emergency, said the tanker cars were loaded with Bakken crude from North Dakota and headed to Yorktown, Virginia.

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OOGEEP accepting scholarship applications through March 31

By Bob Downing Published: February 17, 2015

From the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program on Monday:

 

The Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP) and the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Foundation (foundation) are now accepting scholarship applications from students pursuing careers or training in the crude oil and natural gas industry.

Applications will be accepted until March 31, 2015.

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Portage Lakes group opposes Nexus Pipeline across Ohio

By Bob Downing Published: February 17, 2015

From the Portage Lakes Advisory Council on Sunday:

Portage Lakes Advisory Council opposes Nexus pathway

Asks that pipeline be rerouted to less populated areas

 

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184,000 Californians ask Gov. Jerry Brown to ban fracking

By Bob Downing Published: February 17, 2015

From California eco-groups recently:

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA -- On Monday, February 9, concerned citizens from across California will deliver a petition to Governor Jerry Brown’s Sacramento office, signed by more than 184,000 people calling on California to follow New York’s lead and ban fracking completely. At the end of last year, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo became the first Governor to officially institute a statewide ban on fracking, and Monday’s action in Sacramento aims to pressure Governor Brown to show similar leadership on climate change and environmental health.

WHO/WHAT: Activists from the California-based Courage Campaign with activists of Daily Kos, 350.org, Food and Water Watch, CREDO, Environmental Action, Presente, Forecast the Facts, RH Reality Check, and other concerned Californians will deliver a petition signed by more than 184,000 people calling on Gov. Brown to institute a state-wide ban on fracking.
WHEN: Monday, February 9th. 4:00pm PT
WHERE: Office of Governor Jerry Brown, State Capitol, Suite 1173
VIEW THE PETITION HERE: http://signforgood.com/endfrackinginca

The petition delivery to Governor Brown’s offices comes on the heels of the Saturday, February 7 March for Real Climate Leadership in Oakland, the largest anti-fracking march in U.S. history. Thousands of people from across the state marched in Gov. Brown’s town to urge him to align his climate vision with his actions by ending fracking, standing up to Big Oil and moving California beyond fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy.

“In 2013, after months of negotiations with major environmental groups and public health advocates, Gov. Brown caved to Big Oil lobbyists and signed a watered-down, corporate-friendly fracking bill that left activists outraged,” explained Eddie Kurtz, executive director of the California-based Courage Campaign. “And since then, Gov. Brown has yet to acknowledge the real threat that fracking has to the health and safety of our communities.”

“Gov. Brown has painted a bold vision to make California a global leader on climate change, but he has made zero mention of the extreme dangers of fracking or made any substantial attempt to address it. What the governor fails to realize is that you cannot be a ‘leader’ on environmental issues when you refuse to acknowledge that fracking is poisoning our land and communities,” added Kurtz.

"Our message is exactly the same as it was this weekend: Governor Brown can't claim to be a climate leader with one hand, and then allow fracking in our backyards with the other," said Linda Capato of 350.org. "The facts are clear: fracking worsens climate change, exacerbates a historic drought, and harms public health. These petition signatures are joining the 10,000 marchers from this weekend to say that if the Governor's serious about his reputation as a climate leader, it's time to end fracking in California, and invest in truly renewable energies across our state."

“Thousands of Californians will march in Oakland on Saturday to call on Governor Brown to ban fracking,” says Tia Lebherz, California Organizer at Food & Water Watch. “150,000 more have sent the same message by signing this petition. If Governor Brown truly wants to be a climate leader, if we wants California to be at the forefront of the fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, he must heed the voices of Californians: ban fracking and stand up to Big Oil for once and for all."

A recent report found that fracking is used in as many as 175 of California’s new oil wells a month -- accounting for more than 50 percent of oil wells started each month.

VIEW THE REPORT HERE: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article6497937.html
 

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EID: Ohio leading way on injection well regulations

By Bob Downing Published: February 16, 2015

From Energy in Depth-Ohio recently:

10:10 a.m. Feb. 9 

By Jackie Stewart

jackie@energyindepth.orgCanfield, Ohio

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Virginia aftershocks identify previously unknown fault zone

By Bob Downing Published: February 16, 2015

From the U.S. Geological Survey recently:

 

 

Posted: 10 Feb 2015 05:25 AM PST

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ATEX Pipeline resumes operations after West Virginia rupture, fire

By Bob Downing Published: February 16, 2015

The Appalachia-to-Texas Express Pipeline is back in service.

The operations resumed on Friday, after a Jan. 26 rupture and fire in Brooke County, W. Va.

About 24,000 barrels of ethane burned.

The pipeline stretches from southwest Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio to Texas.

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DOJ seeks more information from Halliburton, Baker Hughes

By Bob Downing Published: February 16, 2015

From Halliburton Co. last week:

Halliburton and Baker Hughes Receive Expected Requests for Additional Information From DOJ

 

HOUSTON February 10, 2015 – Halliburton Company (NYSE: HAL) and Baker Hughes Incorporated (NYSE: BHI) today announced that, as expected, the companies have each received a request for additional information (“second requests”) from the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) in connection with Halliburton’s pending acquisition of Baker Hughes. The second requests were issued under the notification requirements of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended (“HSR Act”).

The second requests are a standard part of the regulatory review process by the DOJ and were expected by Halliburton and Baker Hughes. The effect of the second requests is to extend the waiting period imposed by the HSR Act until 30 days after Halliburton and Baker Hughes have substantially complied with the requests, unless that period is extended voluntarily by both parties or terminated sooner by the DOJ. Halliburton and Baker Hughes are working cooperatively with the DOJ as it conducts its review of the transaction, which remains subject to shareholder and other approvals, as well as customary closing conditions.

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Study: Atlantic Coast Pipeline to save consumers $377 million a year

By Bob Downing Published: February 16, 2015

From Dominion last week:

Feb 11, 2015

RICHMOND, Va., Feb. 11, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumers and businesses in Virginia and North Carolina could save an estimated $377 million annually in lower energy costs thanks to the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, according to an analysis by Virginia-based consulting firm ICF International.

"Virginia and North Carolina electricity consumers benefit from (the Atlantic Coast Pipeline) because the lower cost of natural gas to fuel power generation will, in turn, result in lower electricity bills for consumers," ICF International said in its report.

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Commercial shale drilling found in U.S., three other countries

By Bob Downing Published: February 16, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administartion on Friday:

 

Republished February 13, 2015, 10:30 a.m. to clarify China and Argentina's production of shale gas and tight oil, respectively.

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Louisiana olefins plant at Geismar begins production

By Bob Downing Published: February 16, 2015

Oklahoma-based Williams Partners LP announced last week that its expanded olefins plant in Geismar, La., has begun full production.

Click  here  to read the company's statement.

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Report says Southern Co. hints at boosting pipeline investment

By Bob Downing Published: February 16, 2015

From SNL Energy recently:

"We could see ourselves getting involved in gas pipelines," Southern Chairman President and CEO Thomas Fanning said during the company's recent earnings conference call. "We've been able to evaluate a lot of opportunities. We're seeking those out aggressively."

SNL ENERGY: WITH GREATER GAS BURN, SOUTHERN HINTS AT PIPELINE INVESTMENT

As Southern Co. continues to increase its share of gas-fired power and reduces coal burn, the company could be moving closer to unveiling a new gas infrastructure project, if recent comments by management are any indication. On Southern's recent fourth-quarter 2014 earnings call, Chairman President and CEO Thomas Fanning strongly suggested an announcement regarding a gas pipeline investment or development could be forthcoming, to meet gas needs at its utilities.

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Eco-groups continue fighting natural gas pipelines across Ohio

By Bob Downing Published: February 16, 2015

From Ohio's FreshWater Accountability Project last week:

Planned large pipeline installations for Northwest Ohio are causing concern for many people, especially those who are targeted to have them installed near their residence. An additional concern that many are not aware of is the specific geology throughout the area that could cause problems, both upon installation and in the future.

 

Much of Northwest Ohio is in Karst Terrain, which means the geology is made up of layers of carbonate rocks. Carbonate rocks are known to be dissolved by water, especially acidic water. Because sinkholes can be found throughout the area, and some go undetected when they are formed underground, there is a real concern that a pipeline could unknowingly be built over underground terrain containing what is called “incipient” sinkholes. The fact that there are earthquake fault zones in the area compounds the likelihood of sinkholes due to the channeling of water along underground faults and fissures.

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Reports cites continued volatility in U.S. energy industry

By Bob Downing Published: February 16, 2015

From S&P Capital IQ last week:

A “drop of superlative proportions”. That’s how S&P Capital IQ describes the recent plight of oil prices. How steep was the drop? It lasted 145 days, starting back on June 19, 2014 to its low point on January 13, 2015. And it continues to cause “pervasive” underperformance in energy stocks, compared to S&P Broad Market Index in each country.

 

S&P Capital IQ’s new Sector IQ: Energyreport is brimming with stats on the recent volatility in the energy sector. The report explores the implications of the dramatic drop in oil prices and its impact on the energy sector across equities, fixed income, credit and new deal issuance.

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25,000 signatures filed against Oregon LNG terminal

By Bob Downing Published: February 16, 2015

From a West Coast coalition on Friday:

National Coalition Plus Tens of Thousands Submit Comments Opposing

West Coast Fracked Gas Export Plan

Portland, Oregon - February 13, 2015 -- On behalf of a diverse national coalition, including conservation, commercial fishing and private property owners, the Western Environmental Law Center (WELC) and Sierra Club submitted comments today to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) opposing what would become the first gas export terminal on the West Coast. In addition, more than 25,000 citizens, including businesses, ranchers, youth, climate activists, property rights advocates, anglers, and a Native American tribe sent comments critical of FERC’s analysis of the project.

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Montana landowners sue to protect land from drilling

By Bob Downing Published: February 16, 2015

From Earthjustice on Friday:

Red Lodge, MT—Today, seven landowners filed a legal challenge in state district court to the Carbon County Commission’s rejection of their petition for land use regulations to protect their private properties from the harmful effects of oil and gas drilling.

 

The landowners collectively seek to establish the “Silvertip Zoning District” to cover nearly 3,000 acres of agricultural land north of Belfry, Montana. Creation of the district is the first step to establish solid protections for land, air and water quality, giving landowners an essential voice in the development of oil and gas on their properties.

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Pennsylvania API says new severance tax will hurt state economy

By Bob Downing Published: February 16, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute of Pennsylvania last week:

Harrisburg, Pa., February 11, 2015 ─ The governor’s proposal for a new severance tax on natural gas development in Pennsylvania will harm job growth and weaken the state’s economy, said Stephanie Catarino Wissman, executive director of Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania (API-PA).

“The governor’s proposed tax hike could threaten the future of our state’s best job creators,” said Wissman. “The current local impact tax, which is collected from every shale drilling site in the state, has distributed more than $630 million to communities since 2012 -- including more than $224 million in just 2014. That’s on top of over $2.1 billion in state and local taxes generated by the energy industry. Driving development away from Pennsylvania will ultimately cost jobs and lead to less revenue for education, transportation, healthcare, and other state programs. The governor needs to look for better budget solutions that will keep the Commonwealth competitive, protect long-term economic growth, and preserve the engine of Pennsylvania job creation.”

API-PA is a division of API, which represents all segments of America’s oil and natural gas industry. Its more than 625 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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Ohio has 1,348 drilled Utica wells, 740 producing Utica wells

By Bob Downing Published: February 16, 2015

Ohio has approved 1,799 Utica shale permits, as of Feb. 7.

That total includes 1,348 Utica wells that have been drilled and 740 producing Utica wells, says the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Ohio has 38 rigs at work.

A total of 12 new permits were approved: three in Belmont County, one on Columbiana County and eight in Monroe County.

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Mark Houser to retire as EV Energy Partners president, CEO

By Bob Downing Published: February 16, 2015

From EV Energyu Partners last week:

HOUSTON , Feb. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- EV Energy Partners, L.P., (Nasdaq: EVEP) and EnerVest announced today that Mark A. Houser , current President and Chief Executive Officer of EV Energy Partners , intends to resign his position at the end of February 2015 . Mr. Houser plans to remain actively involved with the Company by remaining on the Board of the Partnership.

Following Houser's resignation, the Board of Directors intends to appoint Michael E. Mercer , currently EVEP's Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, as the new President and Chief Executive Officer. In addition, Nicholas P. Bobrowski , currently EVEP's Director of Finance, is expected to be named Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Both positions are expected to be effective March 1, 2015 . Mr. Mercer , along with Ken Mariani , President of EnerVest, Ltd. , also will be named to the Board of Directors of the Partnership.

Upon his departure, Mr. Houser will become Chief Executive Officer of the University Lands Office. The Office oversees activities on 2.1 million acres of Permanent University Fund (PUF) lands that serve as a resource for the University of Texas and Texas A&M system institutions. Currently, the PUF manages more than $6 billion generated from the exploration and exploitation of the University lands. Investment income from the PUF is being used to upgrade the educational and academic excellence of both universities' programs.

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Can technology save fracking?

By Jim Mackinnon Published: February 13, 2015

Will technology save fracking? Colin Chilcoat tackles that question in this Oilprice.com post at RealClearEnergy.

Chilcoat: "The most likely solution to fracking’s woes is more fracking. Re-fracking, as it’s known, is essentially more of the same with some newly available technological twists. The trick is isolating areas missed, or not fully fractured, on the first go-round. Both Halliburton and Schlumberger are perfecting identification techniques and well-bound gadgets to achieve such ends. At approximately $2 million per well, re-fracking is the type of conservative, though novel, experimentation that pays. With nearly 50,000 existing candidate wells, the industry expects shale growth to continue to lead US production toward the end of the decade."

Read the full story here.

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Oil price collapse likely won't deter Bakken shale output

By Jim Mackinnon Published: February 11, 2015

The collapse in oil prices shouldn't hurt tapping the Bakken shale too badly, writes Robert Stowe England at Institituional Investor.

Institutional Investor: "Is the Bakken oil boom over? Absolutely not, according to economist Philip Verleger, owner and president of PKVerleger, an energy markets consultancy firm in Carbondale, Colorado.

“'The Bakken’s vast boom is going to slow down, but it’s not going stop,' he says.

"In the Bakken’s favor is an economically sound combination of fracking’s disruptive technology and the highly favorable geology of the formation itself. Continuous improvements in fracking technology — rivaling, as Verleger points out, the personal computer’s 40 percent average annual gain in productivity from technological developments during its existence — are on track to expand the recoverable oil reserves and to lower costs."

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Shale now rivals Saudi Arabia, OPEC, as a swing producer

By Jim Mackinnon Published: February 11, 2015

The flexibility of shale production means OPEC (primarily Saudi Arabia) no longer is the sole swing producer for oil, argues this Oilprice.com article by Nick Cunningham on the RealClearEnergy web site.

RealClearEnergy: " ... while individual shale companies will certainly burn out and fold up shop, collectively they may act as a second major spare capacity player. The International Energy Agency (IEA) released a report that suggests shale production will bounce back when oil prices rise. The IEA expects U.S. shale production to contract towards the end of this year, but could rebound in subsequent years as prices rise, particularly beginning in 2017. U.S. shale will then rise to 5.2 million barrels per day by 2020, up from just 3.6 million barrels per day in 2014.

"In contrast, a Citigroup report predicts that oil prices will crash again soon – perhaps as low as $20 per barrel – in large part because shale producers will resume drilling when prices come back up. That complicates the narrative that oil prices are in full rebound mode, and Citigroup predicts it will be more of a seesaw effect – bouncing up and down over the next several months and even years."

Read the full story here.

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Shale will continue to propel U.S. oil production, IEA says

By Jim Mackinnon Published: February 10, 2015

There ain't gonna be a slowdown in U.S. oil production for a number of years, the International Energy Agency says

DNAIndia.com has the story: "The United States will remain the world's top source of oil supply growth up to 2020, even after the recent collapse in prices, the International Energy Agency said, defying expectations of a more dramatic slowdown in shale growth."

Read the full story here.

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Oil could drop to $20 a barrel, industry analysts say

By Jim Mackinnon Published: February 10, 2015

Will oil prices fall as low as $20 a barrel this year? Citgroup says that is a possibility in this story at MarketWatch..

MarketWatch: " ... analysts at Citigroup raised the possibility that West Texas Intermediate oil prices may fall to as low as the $20 range.

"But the recent rally looks more like a 'head-fake than a sustainable turning point,' said Citi analysts, lead by Edward Morse.

"The oil market should bottom sometime between the end of the first quarter and beginning of the second quarter, with oversupply being a key factor, Citi analysts said.

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U.S. shale production has a lot of inefficiencies

By Jim Mackinnon Published: February 10, 2015

Arthur Berman at Oilprice.com takes a look at inefficiencies in U.S. shale production,using the Eagle Ford shale as an example.

Berman: “'Never confuse production with reserves' is one of Halloran’s Immutable Principles of Energy. Wells may produce at relatively high rates but never reach commercial reserve levels because of cost or declining well performance over time despite high initial rates. Published analysis of shale plays too often stresses success based on production volumes but not reserves, production rates but not the cost, the benefits of technology but not its price, and claims of profit that exclude important expenses."

Read the whole thing here.

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Who will Saudis target after crushing U.S. shale, column asks

By Jim Mackinnon Published: February 9, 2015

Saudi Arabia is determined to crush the U.S. shale industry, this column from ZeroHedge in OilPrice.com argues. Then what, the column asks -- and answers.

OilPrice.com: " ... the Saudis will not relent from pumping more oil into the market than there is (declining) demand for, until its biggest threat and competitor - the US shale patch - which recently had become the marginal oil producer, as well as its investors - mostly junk bond holders gambling with other people's money - are crushed, driven before the Saudi royal family, and the lamentation of their women is heard across the globe."

Read the whole thing here.

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Coshocton, Athens counties tops for injection volumes in Ohio

By Bob Downing Published: February 6, 2015

The drilling wastes handled by Ohio’s injection wells grew by nearly 35 percent in 2014.

The total volume was 22 million barrels of liquid wastes, up from 16.3 million gallons in 2013, based on data compiled from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

The volume of in-state waste grew from 8.1 million barrels in 2013 to 10.7 million barrels in 2014. That’s a 32 percent hike.

The out-of-state wastes, mostly from Pennsylvania and West Virginia, grew from 8.2 million barrels to 11.2 million barrels in 2014. That’s a 37 percent jump.

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EQT says proved 2014 reserves increased by 29 percent

By Bob Downing Published: February 6, 2015

Pittsburgh-based EQT Corp. reported on Thursday that its year-end 2014 proved erserves had jumped 29 percent to 10.7 trillion cubic feet of equivalents.

That is up 2.4 trillion cubic feet of equivalents from 2013, the company said.\

Click  here  to read its full press release.

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Pennsylvania DEP investigating Washington County drill fire

By Bob Downing Published: February 6, 2015

A broken hydraulic line was blamed for a Wednesday night drill site fire in Washington County in southwest Pennsylvania.

No injuries were reported.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is investigating the fire at the Range Resources rig near North Strabane.

Click  here  to read the latest story.

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Ohio's Energy Future Tour in Columbus forum on Feb. 10

By Bob Downing Published: February 6, 2015

From Ohio's Energy Fture Tour today:

OHIO’S ENERGY FUTURE TOUR TO HOLD COLUMBUS FORUM

Moderator Eric Thumma with Iberdrola Renewables, Inc. to lead business and community panelists

in public dialogue on developing a new energy vision for Ohio

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Energy company seeks to block eco-group's pipeline intervention

By Bob Downing Published: February 6, 2015

From the Ohio-based FreshWater Accountability Project today:

(Grand Rapids, OH) When FreshWater Accountability Project (FWAP) petitioned to intervene in the reversal of the Rockies Express Pipeline (REX) in Southeast Ohio to carry fracked gas South and West to markets rather than its original route to the East, REX made a surprising move to block FWAP’s participation in the process. FWAP was alerted about the original REX proposal by Allegheny Defense Project (ADP) and decided it would be in the best interests of its constituents in Southeast Ohio to intervene. FWAP petitioned the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in a filing last week, which was immediately opposed by REX.

 

Ryan Talbott of ADP, which also intervened in the project to protect Pennsylvanian’s environmental interests, found this to be an unusual move by an energy company. "FERC often allows interventions in its proceedings before it makes a final decision," Talbott said. "Here, even though FERC has not made a final decision on this project, REX is aggressively opposing FWAP's right to participate on behalf of the people and environment of Ohio. I think it demonstrates that the gas industry is uncomfortable with having their plans closely scrutinized by the public."

The participation of the grassroots organizations in the FERC process is largely due to the fact that many such pipeline projects will have a detrimental long-term impact by inducing more fracking in the Marcellus and Utica shalefields. Permitting pipeline companies’ plans through rubber stamping by regulatory agencies without meaningful consideration of the public’s concerns encourages the deployment of unconventional shale drilling, which threatens freshwater supplies, contaminates the air and exacerbates the serious problem of global climate change.

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EQT writes off Utica Shale holdings in Ohio's Guernsey County

By Bob Downing Published: February 6, 2015

Pittsburgh-based EQT Corp. has thrown in the towel on its Ohio Utica Shale holdings, writing off the value of its undeveloped acreage there.

The acreage is predominately in Guernsey County, which sits toward the western side of the Utica.

As a result of the decision, the company on Thursday said it was incurring a $162 million impairment, the Pittsburgh Business Times reported.

Click  here  to read the latest story.

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Midwest propane supplies more balanced than in 2014

By Bob Downing Published: February 6, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

 

Higher inventories, milder weather, and falling crude oil and natural gas prices have resulted in a Midwest propane market that so far this winter has not experienced the challenges faced last winter, when the combination of depleted inventories and high winter demand pushed propane prices to record highs. This winter, lower demand as a result of a less-severe winter (Midwest heating degree days so far this winter are 8.5% below the comparable year-ago period) has kept Midwest propane markets well-supplied. Inventories in the region are 11.8 million barrels above the same time last year and 6.3 million barrels more than the five-year average as of January 30.

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Company needs Coast Guard approval to ship fracking wastes

By Bob Downing Published: February 6, 2015

A Texas-based company has permission from the U.S. Coast Guard to haul certain drilling wastes via barge on the Ohio River, but GreenHunter Resources does not yet have federal approval to transport fracking wastewater from horizontal wells.

The company that is developing a disposal complex at Portland in Meigs County in southern Ohio can only haul brine or produced water from vertical-only oil wells via barge.

A Beacon Journal story on Tuesday contained incorrect information based on a company-issued press release and a 40-minute teleconference with financial analysts and the media. The company said it had all federal approvals to begin full barge shipments.

GreenHunter Resources is still awaiting Coast Guard action on its request to transport fracking liquids from horizontal shale wells and shale drillers, federal officials after the company’s announcement.

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Coast Guard statement on GreenHunter Resources, barge shipping

By Bob Downing Published: February 5, 2015

From Coast Guard on Thursday on GreenHunter Resources and barge shipments on the Ohio River:

"The Coast Guard has not taken final agency action on GreenHunter's 2012 request to transport shale gas extraction waste water and has not classified this cargo for shipment. We are committed to ensuring proper research with regards to shale gas extraction waste water maritime transportation before approving any request to transport shale gas extraction waste water."

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EQT Corp. to cut Marcellus Shale drilling by one third in 2015

By Bob Downing Published: February 5, 2015

Pittsburgh-based EQT Corp. will cut the number of Marcellus Shale wells it drills in 2015 by one third because of low commodity prices.

The company announced it is cutting its 2015 capital budget from $2.5 billion to $2.05 billion.

Its new forecast calls for drilling 122 wells in the Marcellus, concentrating in southwestern Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia, and five wells in the Permian Basin in Texas.

No new wells will be drilled in the Huron Shale this year, an area in Eastern Kentucky.

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WPX sells NE Pennsylvania operations to Southwestern Energy

By Bob Downing Published: February 5, 2015

From WPX earlier this week:

Oklahoma-based WPX Energy announced today that it completed the sale of its operations in northeast Pennsylvania , including the release of certain firm transportation capacity, to Southwestern Energy Company.

WPX has received nearly $600 million in cash this year through completing two sales – this one involving Marcellus Shale operations and the exit of its international interests in Argentina and Colombia .

The sale to Southwestern Energy Company includes physical operations covering approximately 46,700 net acres in the Marcellus Shale , roughly 50 million cubic feet per day of net natural gas production and 63 operated horizontal wells. The assets are primarily located in Susquehanna County, Pa.

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Spectra companies release 2015-2017 financial plans

By Bob Downing Published: February 5, 2015

From Spectra Energy and Spectra Energy Partners today:

HOUSTON – Spectra Energy Corp (NYSE: SE) and Spectra Energy Partners (NYSE: SEP) today announced their business outlook and 2015-2017 financial plan.

Key highlights include:

“Spectra Energy continues to provide solid, reliable cash flows supported by high-performing fee-based assets – with negligible commodity or volume exposure across our portfolio. We improved our annual dividend growth to 14 cents per share, up from the 12 cents per share we committed to investors last year, while also increasing our 2015 DCF forecast above the 2015 DCF expectation presented in last year’s plan,” said Greg Ebel, president and chief executive officer, Spectra Energy. “This three-year outlook speaks to the strength of our base business and ability to deliver in various economic and commodity cycles.”

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Warren Resources announces 2014 production, 2015 plans

By Bob Downing Published: February 5, 2015

From Warren Resources recently:

 

NEW YORK , Jan. 26, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Warren Resources, Inc. (Nasdaq:WRES) today announced expected total production volumes for the full year 2014 and updated its capital budget and production guidance for the full year 2015.

While year-end audited financials are not yet complete, Warren estimates production for the full year 2014 grew 77% year-over-year to approximately 22.8 billion cubic feet of equivalent ("Bcfe"), approximately 70% of which is natural gas. This production growth is primarily attributable to increased volumes resulting from the acquisition of the Marcellus assets in the third quarter of 2014.

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Defense Department energy use falls to lowest level since 1975

By Bob Downing Published: February 5, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

 

Energy used by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) fell to 0.75 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in fiscal year (FY) 2013, the lowest recorded level since at least FY 1975, the earliest available data from the U.S. Department of Energy's Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP). DoD accounts for most of the energy consumed by the federal government. The share of federal government energy use attributed to DoD fell from 87% in FY 1975 to 78% in FY 2013—the lowest share on record.

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U.S. energy imports drop while exports grow from 2013 to 2014

By Bob Downing Published: February 5, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute today:

WASHINGTON, February 5, 2015 ─ The final U.S. trade report for 2014 demonstrates the power of U.S. oil and natural gas production to drive economic gains, a trend that could accelerate under free trade policies, said API Chief Economist John Felmy. From 2013 to 2014, imports fell by $35.6 billion while exports rose by $8.1 billion among petroleum and petroleum products.”

“The U.S. energy revolution has transformed our trade balance, both in terms of driving down imports and driving up exports,” said Felmy. “We’re importing less oil than at any time in nearly 30 years, consumers are saving billions on energy, and tens of thousands of U.S. workers have jobs producing petroleum and petroleum products for export. Growth in the U.S. oil and natural gas industry served as the central pillar of U.S. strength in the international market last year, helping to offset categories of trade where U.S. businesses lost ground.

“Unfortunately, there’s a limit to how much we can grow as an energy superpower if U.S. oil and natural gas producers aren’t able to access the global market. We have every reason to protect and accelerate America’s growth by lifting outdated export restrictions.

“Our competitors overseas recognize that energy exports are a source of economic strength, and they are working to protect their market share. For the U.S. to grow as an energy leader, policymakers must embrace free trade, accelerate permits to export liquefied natural gas (LNG), and lift 1970s restrictions on crude oil.

Study after study shows that free trade in crude oil will mean more jobs, downward pressure on fuel costs, and could reduce the power that foreign suppliers have over our allies overseas. If we act now, these benefits could be just the beginning.”

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 625 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 25 million Americans.

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Shale development income impacting counties in eastern Ohio

By Bob Downing Published: February 5, 2015

From Jackie Stewart of Energy in Depth-Ohio:

9:09am EST February 4, 2015

by Jackie Stewartjackie@energyindepth.org, Canfield, Ohio

Tax revenues, thanks to Utica shale development, are flooding county and city coffers and quite literally saving rural Ohio from massive budget deficits. That’s what county auditors are saying in areas where oil and gas development is occurring in Ohio. EID conducted research and spoke with several auditors and elected officials on their recent analysis of their tax collections from 2014. Here’s what we found:

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Coast Guard denies statements by GreenHunter Resources

By Bob Downing Published: February 5, 2015

The U.S. Coast Guard has denied statements by GreenHunter Resources that it has given the Texas-based water management company clearance to ship wastewater from shale drillers by barge along the Ohio River.

The Coast Guard said Wednesday that it had not taken final action on a 2012 request by GreenHunter Resources “to transport shale gas extraction wastewater and has not classified this cargo for shipment.”

GreenHunter Resources, based in Grapevine, Texas, said in a statement to investors on its website that it received approval from the Coast Guard late last year.

Click  here  to read the latest story from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

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Commonwealth Court rejects appeal on drilling in state forests

By Bob Downing Published: February 4, 2015

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court rejected an appeal by the Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation on Tuesday regarding drilling in state forests.

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

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CONSOL Energy boosts reserves, drills 21 Utica wells in 2014

By Bob Downing Published: February 4, 2015

From CONSOL Energy on Tuesday:

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 3, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- During 2014, CONSOL Energy Inc. (NYSE: CNX) added 1.1 Tcfe (net to CONSOL) of proved reserves through extensions and discoveries. As of December 31, 2014, total proved reserves were a record 6.8 Tcfe, which represents a 19% increase from the 5.7 Tcfe at year-end 2013. Within the total proved reserves are 510 Bcfe, or 7.5%, of oil, condensate, and liquids. Marcellus Shale reserves account for 454 Bcfe, or 89%, of these heavier hydrocarbons.

CONSOL Energy replaced 466% of its 2014 production, when considering increases from extensions and discoveries of 1.1 Tcfe. Production in 2014 was 236 Bcfe (net to CONSOL).

Much of the increase in extensions and discoveries was due to the company's highly successful Marcellus Shale program. As of December 31, 2014, the Marcellus Shale consisted of 4,235 Bcfe of proved reserves, or a 26% increase from the 3,373 Bcfe when compared to year-end 2013. Marcellus Shale proved developed reserves were 1,367 Bcfe, or an increase of 89% from 725 Bcfe, over the same period.

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Pipeline expansions help Spectra Energy grow its profits

By Bob Downing Published: February 4, 2015

Texas-based Spectra Energy said its profit rose in the final quarter of 2014 as the pipeline and processing master limited partnership brought online several expansions to its midstream network.

Spectra Energy is one of the companies behind the Nexus Pipeline that will cross northern Ohio, if approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Click  here  to read the story from the Houston Chronicle's FuelFix blog.

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Lepore-Hagan disappointed by coming Vallourec Star layoffs

By Bob Downing Published: February 4, 2015

From Ohio State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan, D-Youngstown, today on Vallourec Star announcement:

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio— State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) released the following statement today in response to the news that Vallourec Star will temporarily shut down its Youngstown plant for three weeks due to declining oil prices:

 “I am deeply concerned for the families and workers that will be hurt by the mill’s idling. I reached out to Vallourec Star management several weeks ago, as it became apparent that steel workers in Ohio could bear the brunt of declining oil and gas prices. Although I am disappointed with this set back, I respect the proactive approach Vallourec used to minimize effects on employees.

 “Ultimately, Vallourec Star’s initial decision to invest in Youngstown was informed in large part by our worker’s expertise in manufacturing and the robust work ethic found in Northeast Ohio— nothing about that has changed. I remain hopeful that changes in the oil and gas market will not negatively affect our area in the long-term. The sooner our folks can get back to work, the better.”

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API knocks EPA for latest report on Keystone XL pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: February 4, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday:

WASHINGTON, February 3, 2015 – API Executive Vice President Louis Finkel said the Environmental Protection Agency’s is inventing new excuses to further delay the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.

“Suggesting that the drop in oil prices requires a re-evaluation of the environmental impact of the project is just another attempt to prolong the KXL review,” said Finkel. “Keystone XL was put forward when oil was less than $40 a barrel so price has little impact on the project. American refiners want it; American producers want to get their oil to those Gulf Coast refineries and we believe Americans would rather get a large portion of the eight to nine million barrels they import each and every day from Canada rather than Venezuela or the Middle East.

“The science behind building the Keystone XL pipeline has been settled five times over. The State Department has concluded the pipeline is safe to build, and it will not have a significant impact on the environment. After initially approving its own environmental review, EPA’s latest change of heart can only be described as politics as usual here in Washington.

“After more than six years the time for review is over. We continue to urge President Obama to reconsider his veto threat. All he has to do is look at his own State Department analysis on KXL to see that the project is in our national interest. It’s time to put good public policy ahead of politics.”

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 625 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 25 million Americans.

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Eldar Saetre named new Statoil president and CEO

By Bob Downing Published: February 4, 2015

From Statoil today:

Sætre has been acting as president and CEO since October, and assumes the role with immediate effect. He has 35 years of experience from Statoil and the oil and gas industry.

Eldar Sætre, new Statoil president and CEO. (Photo: Harald Pettersen)

"Eldar Sætre was our first choice. The industry and company are facing demanding challenges. Eldar stands out with his long experience and ability to create change. Those are qualities we need in times like these. I am extra pleased that we were able to recruit the next CEO from within Statoil," says Statoil board chair Svein Rennemo.

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Youngstown mill to shut down for three weeks in mid-February

By Bob Downing Published: February 4, 2015

A Youngstown mill that produces steel piping for oil and natural gas will be shuttting down for three weeks starting in mid-February because of low prices being paid for natural gas and oil and resultiung industry cutbacks.

The announcement came Wednesday from Vallourec Star that employs 700 at its Youngstown tubing mill.

Click  here  to read the full story from the Youngstown-based Business Journal.

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Pennsylvania mill to produce pipe for Atlantic Coast Pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: February 4, 2015

From Dominion today:

Feb 4, 2015

Pending approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) would run from Harrison County, W.Va., southeast through Virginia with a lateral extension to Chesapeake, Va., and then south through eastern North Carolina to Robeson County. If approved, construction is scheduled to start in late 2016.

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Federal energy consumption at lowest level since 1975

By Bob Downing Published: February 4, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

 

The U.S. federal government, with thousands of facilities and vehicles in locations across the United States and abroad, is one of the largest energy consumers in the world, but that consumption is declining. The U.S. Department of Energy's Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) shows total delivered-to-site energy use by the federal government fell to 0.96 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in fiscal year (FY) 2013, the lowest recorded since 1975, the earliest year for which data are available.

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Ohio has 1,341 drilled Utica wells, 929 producing Utica wells

By Bob Downing Published: February 3, 2015

Ohio has approved 1,791 Utica Shale permits, as of Jan. 31.

That total includes 1,341 Utica wells that have been drilled and 729 Utica wells that are producing, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said.

Ohio has 40 drilling rigs at work.

Fourteen new permits were approved: six in Belmont County, one in Guernsey County, one in Monroe County, four in Noble County, one in Tuscarawas County and one in Wayne County.

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Group unhappy with federal approval of Ohio River barge shipments

By Bob Downing Published: February 3, 2015

From Food & Water Watch today:

Plan to Barge Fracking Waste on the Ohio River Leaves Ohio in the Red

Statement of Food & Water Watch Ohio Organizer Alison Auciello

 

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Utica, Marcellus called 'best of the best' by company executive

By Bob Downing Published: February 3, 2015

Barry Davis, the chief executive officer of EnLink Midstream Partners, made some very positive comments about the Utica and Marcellus shales at a conference in Pittsburgh last week.

He said the drilling industry will contract some due to low commodity prices.

But he added: "The good news is when we look at the Marcellus-Utica, we believe it is the best of the best."

Click  here  to read more from the Pittsburgh Busines Times.

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Hike in gasoline prices ends 17-week streak of lower prices

By Bob Downing Published: February 3, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administartion today:

 

EIA conducts a survey of gasoline prices each Monday, and yesterday's survey showed the U.S. average regular retail gasoline price increasing for the first time in 18 weeks. The steady decline in prices over the previous 17 weeks was the longest consecutive decrease in EIA's weekly survey since prices fell 14 cents per gallon over a 24-week period in 1995. The decline is the largest percentage decline since a 58% drop in gasoline prices over 15 weeks in late 2008. With oil prices at around $45 per barrel (bbl), petroleum refinery outages in the Midwest and Gulf Coast regions in January pushed wholesale spot gasoline prices, and ultimately retail gasoline prices, up at the end of January. Those increases were large enough to raise the national average gasoline price in yesterday's EIA survey.

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Williams Partners offers update on Louisiana ethylene plant

By Bob Downing Published: February 3, 2015

From Williams Partners today:

Williams Partners today announced its expanded Geismar plant in Louisiana  is expected to begin manufacturing ethylene for sale in February after experiencing an unexpected delay in the final stages of commissioning.

The plant was taken down from its final ramp-up procedure after it was determined that a brazed aluminum heat exchanger became plugged requiring cleaning and maintenance. This additional and unanticipated work is complete, and the plant will be turned back over to operations today to resume start-up.

Click  here  to read the company's press release..

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Williams, Williams Partners, Access Midstream close merger

By Bob Downing Published: February 3, 2015

From Williams, Williams Partners and Access Midstream on Monday:

Williams, Williams Partners LP and Access Midstream Partners LP today announced the closing of the merger between Williams Partners and Access Midstream Partners. As part of the completion of the merger, Access Midstream Partners changed its name to Williams Partners LP and its units will trade under the symbol “WPZ” beginning on Feb. 3.

Click  here  to read the press release.

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API knocks Obama's proposed higher taxes on drilling industry

By Bob Downing Published: February 3, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute on Monday:

WASHINGTON, February 2, 2015 – President Obama called for higher taxes on the oil and natural gas industry today for the sixth year in a row. His $95 billion energy tax hike would thwart the very goals expressed in his State of the Union address, said API President and CEO Jack Gerard.

“Historically, raising taxes on energy raises costs for consumers,” said Gerard. “America’s oil and natural gas renaissance has done everything on the president’s State of the Union wish list for the middle class. We create well-paying jobs, build infrastructure with private dollars, generate billions of dollars in government revenue, support retirees, and help businesses grow with affordable and reliable energy. This industry is the poster child for middle class economics.

“Opposition to President Obama’s proposals is strong and bipartisan. The president’s annual call to raise taxes on U.S. oil and natural gas development would hurt job creation, infrastructure investment, the federal deficit, seniors on fixed incomes and domestic manufacturing.

“The United States is now the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world. Tax increases would jeopardize America’s competitiveness as it would discourage future investment. We need policies that will encourage investment, and higher taxes are not the answer.”

Raising taxes on oil and natural gas would discourage investment in domestic energy development, resulting in decreased revenue for the government and fewer jobs, according to a study by Wood Mackenzie. The same study found that allowing more oil and natural gas development on federal lands and waters could create more than 1 million new jobs and raise $127 billion in government revenue in under a decade.

API represents all segments of America’s oil and natural gas industry. Its more than 625 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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OOGA has 'serious concerns' about Kasich's proposed budget

By Bob Downing Published: February 3, 2015

Statement issued on Monday by Shawn Bennett of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association on Ohio's proposed two-year budget that calls for hikes in the state's severance tax on drilling:


From Shawn Bennett, executive vice president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association:

Today, the administration previewed broad tax proposals as part of the biennial state budget. While we plan to thoroughly review these proposals as they move through the legislative process, we have serious concerns about how these tax policies could impact Ohio workers and businesses.

With a 60 percent decline in oil and natural gas prices over the last year due to global and external factors, we simply cannot afford a tax policy that would discourage operators from investing in our state and instead move their capital to more profitable shale plays.

Many companies involved in the Utica have already reduced their budgets, announced layoffs and curtailed development plans due to commodity prices. Without this industry continuing to grow in eastern Ohio, many small businesses will also be forced to cut back and lay off local workers.

We hope Ohio will adopt tax policies that encourage business investment and growth, including oil and gas development, which has been a key driver of Ohio’s economic success.

About the Ohio Oil and Gas Association
The Ohio Oil and Gas Association is a trade association with more than 3,100 members involved in the exploration, production and development of crude oil and natural gas resources within the state of Ohio. For more information,
visit www.ooga.org.

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Ohio's proposed budget includes hike in severance tax on gas, oil

By Bob Downing Published: February 3, 2015

From the Associated Press on Monday:

By The Associated Press

A look at some key policy proposals contained in the $72.3 billion, two-year state operating budget released by Gov. John Kasich on Monday:

———

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ET Rover Pipeline changes its route through Michigan

By Bob Downing Published: February 3, 2015

From the Associated Press:

HOWELL, Mich. (AP) — Plans for a natural gas pipeline are being modified to pass through fewer Michigan counties.

The Detroit Free Press and MLive.com report officials announced Monday a deal with an existing pipeline operator means the ET Rover pipeline will no longer be built in Genesee, Lapeer, Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair and Shiawassee counties.

The pipeline requires federal approval. It would carry more than 3 billion cubic feet of gas per day from production areas of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio to Midwest markets including Michigan and beyond through a hub near Sarnia, Ontario.

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Gastar to complete five Marcellus wells, halt Appalachian drilling

By Bob Downing Published: February 3, 2015

Texas-based Gastar Exploration Inc. intends to complete five Marcellus Shale wells in 2015 and then cease its Marcellus-Utica drilling until prices paid for oil and natural gas rise.

The company has earmarked only $20 million for its Appalachian operations.

Click  here  to read more from the company's press release.

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Analysts look at CONSOL Energy and its shift to natural gas

By Bob Downing Published: February 3, 2015

From New York-based analysts Michael Dudas and Satyadeep Jain today on CONSOL Energy:

CONSOL ENERGY (NYSE: CNX) RATING: BUY
Price: $28.95
Price Target: $48.00

Capital Efficiency to Drive Continued Gas Growth While Coal Spin Potential Supportive - Reaffirm Buy

Our Call
Consol's strong relative cash flow generation, overcapitalized balance sheet, and expected continued execution within its unconventional gas assets should allow for valuation support and expansion. Lowered capital budget allocation should still drive targeted 30% gas volume growth through improved well performance and Consol's stacked pay dynamics. We believe Consol remains on track to deliver asset value while continuing to selectively monetize non-core assets. We would add or introduce positions.

• 4Q’14 Earnings – Consol reported 4Q'14 adjusted earnings of $0.25/share vs. our $0.11 and Street's $0.20 estimate. Total all-in unit costs for coal dropped sequentially to $42.61/ton. Buchanan all-in costs dropped to an impressive $54/ton. Gas costs came in at $3.19/mcfe, below our $3.56/mcfe estimate. Marcellus production came in at 111.7 Bcfe, up 93% over 2013. All in Marcellus costs dropped to $2.83/mcfe and all-in Utica costs to $2.24/mcfe.

• Gas Production Growth - Consol maintained 2015-16 annual production growth targets of 30%. Marcellus Shale would be the growth engine for Consol gas over next 3-4 years with 60% CAGR through 2016. The company expects almost 270% CAGR for Utica through 2016. Stacked pay potential presents opportunities for growth for dry Utica production. Management remains confident of achieving 5-10% reduction in total operating cost per Mcfe annually over next three years. Consol remains long firm transportation and has structured its capacity contracts to allow for 30% growth targets through 2016.

• Balance Sheet and Liquidity – Consol ended 4Q14 with total liquidity of $2.0B. We believe Consol controls many liquidity levers to fund its gas growth that others in the basin do not profile. For 2014, Consol received $459M in cash proceeds from asset sales, with current pace ahead of its $1.0B asset sale target by 2019. Consol continues to expect thermal coal MLP in mid-2015 and met coal IPO in 4Q15. We expect cash flow shortfall regarding spending plans to be funded by thermal coal MLP, met coal spin-off and other asset sales.

• Investment Summary - We have maintained our 2015-16 earnings estimates. We support our $48 target using asset valuations for its coal and gas businesses. We believe that as natural gas prices improve, metallurgical coal market prices bottom and normalize, Consol's Marcellus profile achieves targeted growth and management continues to successfully monetize additional non-core assets, the valuation gap would narrow during the next 12-18 months. Major risks to our thesis include productivity issues, pullback in natural gas prices, higher costs

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EnLink Midstream acquires Permian Basin midstream company

By Bob Downing Published: February 3, 2015

From EnLink Midstream on Monday:

DALLAS,February 2, 2015 — The EnLink Midstream companies, EnLink Midstream Partners, LP (NYSE:ENLK) (the Partnership) and EnLink Midstream, LLC (NYSE:ENLC) (the General Partner) (together “EnLink”), today announced that the Partnership signed a definitive agreement to acquire Coronado Midstream Holdings LLC (“Coronado”), which owns natural gas gathering and processing facilities in the Permian Basin, for approximately $600 million, subject to certain adjustments.

 

Coronado operates three cryogenic gas processing plants and a gas gathering system in the North Midland Basin including approximately 270 miles of gathering pipelines, 175 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of processing capacity and 35,000 horsepower of compression. Construction of an additional 100 MMcf/d of processing capacity and gathering system expansions of the Coronado system are currently underway. Coronado's key assets have been constructed within the past five years and the system has current inlet volumes of approximately 100 MMcf/d. EnLink plans to connect the Coronado system with its Bearkat system to create a multi-county rich gas gathering and processing system to create optimization opportunities for its customers and its product marketing services.

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Company intends to sell off Utica East Ohio midstream in 2015

By Bob Downing Published: February 2, 2015

From EV Energy Partners today:

HOUSTON , Feb. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- EV Energy Partners, L.P. (Nasdaq: EVEP) today announced a cash distribution attributable to the fourth quarter of 2014, announced full year 2015 guidance and updated fourth quarter 2014 production guidance. A conference call is scheduled for today, February 2, 2015 at 9 a.m. Eastern ( 8 a.m. Central) to discuss today's announcements.

Quarterly Distribution

EVEP declared a cash distribution attributable to the fourth quarter of 2014 of $0.50 per unit, or $2.00 on an annualized basis, for all of its outstanding units. The distribution will be payable on February 13, 2015 , to unit holders of record at the close of business on February 9, 2015 . This distribution represents a $0.274 per unit reduction over the prior quarterly distribution. Using recent forward strip prices ( $2.85 per mmbtu for natural gas and $52.50 per barrel for crude oil) and the midpoint of 2015 guidance estimates, EVEP estimates a distribution coverage ratio of over 1.15x for 2015. Guidance for 2015 does not include the effects of a potential sale of EVEP's Utica East Ohio (UEO) midstream investment or additional sales of Utica Shale or Eagle Ford formation rights, and subsequent reinvestment of proceeds in long-life producing oil and gas assets, which EVEP believes would have a positive effect on future results.

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Southwestern Energy closes on two Marcellus land deals

By Bob Downing Published: February 2, 2015

From Southwestern Energy today:

 

Houston, Texas – February 2, 2015... Southwestern Energy Company (NYSE: SWN) today announced the closing of previously announced transactions with subsidiaries of Statoil (NYSE: STO) and WPX Energy, Inc. (NYSE: WPX). In the Statoil transaction, Southwestern acquired approximately 30,000 net acres in West Virginia and southwest Pennsylvania for $365 million, after environmental and title adjustments, and subject to customary post-closing adjustments. In the WPX transaction, Southwestern acquired approximately 46,700 net acres in northeast Pennsylvania and firm transportation capacity of 260 million cubic feet per day on the Millennium pipeline for an adjusted purchase price of $288 million, subject to customary post-closing adjustments. Both of these transactions were funded using the company’s revolving credit facility.

 

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Dominion Resources acquires Carolina-Georgia pipelines

By Bob Downing Published: February 2, 2015

From Dominion Resources today:

RICHMOND, Va., Feb. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Dominion Resources, Inc. (NYSE: D), today announced that it has closed the transaction to acquire Carolina Gas Transmission (CGT) from SCANA Corporation (NYSE: SCG) for approximately $492.9 million, excluding working capital adjustments. CGT owns and operates nearly 1,500 miles of FERC-regulated interstate natural gas pipeline in South Carolina and southeastern Georgia.

The transaction includes no assumption of debt and is expected to be immediately accretive to Dominion's operating earnings per share.

Subject to board approvals by Dominion and Dominion Midstream GP, LLC, the general partner of Dominion Midstream Partners, LP (NYSE: DM), Dominion expects to contribute CGT into Dominion Midstream by mid-year 2015 for a combination of debt and units.

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GreenHunter's Ohio River barge plan wins Coast Guard approval

By Bob Downing Published: February 2, 2015

A $3 million plan by a Texas-based company to ship liquid drilling wastes via barges on the Ohio River is gaining steam.

GreenHunter Resources Inc. said its proposal was quietly approved in the fourth quarter 2014 by the U.S. Coast Guard.

No announcement was made at the time of the federal approval.

A new barge terminal at Portland in Meigs County in southern Ohio will be completed in the next six to nine months to handle the new barge shipments, company officials said.

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Pennsylvania changes rules on fracking sludges with radiation

By Bob Downing Published: February 2, 2015

Pennsylvania has changed its rules of fracking wastes with low-level radiation, and some fear that the rule chnage could trigger additional shipments to Ohio and other states.

Effective Jan. 1, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection adopted monthly radioactivity caps for landfills that take fracking sludges.

The state said the radiation was not being diluted with other wastes as had been expected.

Click  here  to read the full story from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Jan. 28.

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Poor Utica results hinder possible Halcon sale, Reuters says

By Bob Downing Published: February 2, 2015

The CEO of Texas-based Halcon Resources Corp. would like to sell his company, but that is proving difficult, Reuters reports.

CEO Floyd Wilson has one attractive asset: aboout 131,000 acres in the Bakken shale in North Dakota.

The company's debt has climbed to $3.5 billion with poor results in Ohio's Utica Shale and Louisiana's Tuscaloosa Marine Shale.

Halcon suspended its Utica drilling in early 2014.

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$30 billion in infrastructure still needed in Ohio, W. Va. and Pa.

By Bob Downing Published: February 2, 2015

In excess of $30 billion in additional infrastructre is needed in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, according to a top official of Blue Racer Midstream.

Speaking last week at a Pittsburgh conference, Scott Williams, executive vice president and chief commercial officer, said more pipelines and processing plants are needed in the Utica and Marcellus shales.

Click here  to read more from reporter Casey Junkins of Wheeling.

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Pew survey says scientists opposed to additional fracking

By Bob Downing Published: February 2, 2015

A new survey indicates that 31 percent of scientists favor increased fracking, while 66 percent are opposed.

The survey of members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science was conducted by the Pew Research Center.

The center also surveyed the general public. It found that 39 percent favored more fracking with 51 percent opposed.

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

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Drillers taking a new look at eastern Kentucky's Rogersville Shale

By Bob Downing Published: February 2, 2015

Drilling companies are taking a fresh look at eastern Kentucky, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The drillers are interested in the Rogersville Shale, especially in Lawrence, Johnson and Magoffin counties.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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U.S. rig count drops 242 in last year, Baker Hughes reports

By Bob Downing Published: February 2, 2015

The number of drilling rigs in the United States has dropped to 1,543 in the last year, says well servixce company Baker Hughes that tracks the rigs in a Jan. 30 update.

That is a decline of 242 rigs in the U.S. from a year ago.

Canada has 394 rigs, a drop of 214 from 2014, Baker Hughes says.

The number of rigs had dropped by 90 in the U.S. and by 38 in Canada in the last week, ass drilers reel from low prices for oil and natural gas..

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Pennsylvania Senate approves two drilling royalty bills

By Bob Downing Published: February 2, 2015

The Pennsylvania state Senate unanimously approved two bills last week that aim to give more protections to people who earn royalty money from oil and gas drilling.

The two bills must be approved by the House.

Both bills were approved by the Senate last year but died in the House.

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

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Shale boom triggering major expansions in chemical industry

By Bob Downing Published: February 2, 2015

Yale Environment 360 has a story by writer Rachel Cernansky on how the U.S/ shale boom is impacting people who live near chemical manufacturers who are expanding to produce more plastics, fertilizers and liquid fuels.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Sunoco Logistics completes signups for new western pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: February 2, 2015

A recent release from Sunoco Logistics Partners:

SUNOCO LOGISTICS PARTNERS L.P. ANNOUNCES SUCCESSFUL BINDING OPEN SEASON FOR PROJECT DELAWARE BASIN EXTENSION

PHILADELPHIA, January 21, 2015 – Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. (NYSE: SXL) today announced that Sunoco Pipeline L.P. has successfully closed a binding Open Season for its Delaware Basin Extension project.

The project will provide shippers with new takeaway capacity from the rapidly growing Delaware Basin area in New Mexico and West Texas to Midland, Texas.

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Enterprise Products Partners reports record year in 2014

By Bob Downing Published: February 2, 2015

Houston-based Enterprise Products Partners L.P. last week announced its financial results for the three months and year ended December 31, 2014 .

“Enterprise reported another record year in 2014,” stated Michael A. Creel, chief executive officer of Enterprise’s general partner. “Our results were driven by volume growth in our fee-based businesses. Enterprise reported record volumes of 5.3 million barrels per day for its NGL, crude oil, refined products and petrochemical pipelines, 824 thousand barrels per day for its NGL fractionators and 4.8 billion cubic feet per day of fee-based natural gas processing volumes for 2014.”

It is the company behind the Appalachia-to-Texas Express Pipeline to carry Utica and Marcellus shale ethane to the Gulf Coast.

Click  here  to read the company's full press release.

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Oakland, Calif., to host big anti-fracking march on Feb. 7

By Bob Downing Published: February 2, 2015

From a press release last week from California anti-frackers:

Ten Thousand Californians to Gather in Oakland on February 7 for the March for Real Climate Leadership

The Message to Governor Jerry Brown:
Stop Fracking, Stand Up to Big Oil and Move Beyond Fossil Fuels to 100% Renewable Energy

Oakland, CA – Thousands of Californians concerned about the future of their communities will gather in Governor Jerry Brown’s town, Oakland, on February 7th for the March for Real Climate Leadership, where people from all walks of life will unite to call on the Governor to stop fracking and other extreme energy extraction in the state, stand up to big oil and move California beyond fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy. Organizers expect the event to be the largest march against fracking in U.S. history.

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Chevron abandoning shale drilling plans in Poland

By Bob Downing Published: February 2, 2015

Chevron said Friday that it would abandon efforts to produce natural gas from shale rock in Poland, in perhaps the biggest setback to efforts to start a European shale oil and gas industry, according to media reports.

Chevron said it was abandoning the Polish project the same day the company reported that its earnings for the fourth quarter of 2014 fell by nearly 30 percent compared with a year earlier. The company blamed lower oil prices.

Among the international oil companies, Chevron had made the largest commitment to shale efforts in Europe. It had drilled several exploratory wells in Poland and Romania, while also signing agreements in Ukraine and Lithuania.

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Well production varies greatly in West Virginia's Northern Panhandle

By Bob Downing Published: February 2, 2015

Production variesw greatly in the macrellus and Utica shale wells in northern est Virginia, according to Wheeling reporter Casey Junkins.

He looked at production data from 2013 from 10 of the region's wells.

Click  here  to read the full story from Jan. 29.

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Company reports on oil production from Quebec's first horizontal well

By Bob Downing Published: February 2, 2015

From Junex Inc. last week on its first horizontal well into the Forillon Formation limestone near Gaspe in eastern Quebec:

JANUARY 27, 2015 - QUEBEC CITY, QUEBEC - Junex Inc. (TSX VENTURE:JNX) ("Junex" or the "Company") is very pleased to announce that it recorded a steady production rate of 161 barrels of oil per day (“BOPD”) during the final six days of its 14 day production test in its Galt No. 4 Horizontal well. This production rate of 161 BOPD was limited by the configuration of the surface oilfield pumping equipment at the well.

A total volume of 2,017 barrels of light, sweet crude oil was produced during this production test in the first horizontal oil exploration well ever drilled by industry in Quebec.

“To the best of our knowledge, this production rate of 161 barrels of oil per day is the highest oil production rate seen so far in Quebec and, based on our calculations, translates into a commercial oil production rate even at today’s oil price. Because this production rate is currently constrained by surface equipment configuration limitations, we recognize that our well is likely capable of being produced at a higher production rate though it is premature to affirm what this rate could be. The completion of the next phase of well shut-in with measurement of the pressure build-up and possible future production testing should clarify this.” stated Mr. Peter Dorrins, Junex's President & Chief Executive Officer.

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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.