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New federal fracking rules are insufficient, Slocum says

By Bob Downing Published: April 30, 2015

A press release today from Public Citizen:

April 30, 2015



WASHINGTON, D.C. – A new federal rule doesn’t go far enough to protect the environment from the dangers of fracking, Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program, said today.

On March 20, U.S. Department of Interior officials announced a new rule governing hydraulic fracturing – commonly known as “fracking” – on public and tribal lands. Today, the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining will hold a hearing on the rule.

The rule requires companies to disclose most of the chemicals used in the fracking injection process to a website controlled by industry, and requires most fracking waste fluids to be stored in covered metal containers instead of open pits. This rule applies only to fracking on federal lands, which represents just 11 percent of all fracking in the United States.

“The new standards could hardly be more accommodating to the fracking industry, yet the industry is hyperventilating over a handful of woefully inadequate and incomplete disclosure requirements,” said Slocum. “The new rule barely begins to address the dangers of fracking.”

Here’s what the rule should say, according to Public Citizen:

“The proposed regulations fail to address the documented water resource, air quality and pollution concerns as well as other environmental problems associated with fracking,” said Slocum. “The fact that the oil and gas industry is aggressively attacking these benign rules shows just how out of touch with reality the industry’s lobbyists have become.”

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Enterprise-Occidental to build matural gas plant in Delaware Basin

By Bob Downing Published: April 30, 2015

Houston-based Enterprise Products Partners LP and an affiliate of Houston-based Occidental Petroleum Corp. will build a new natural gas processing plant in the Delaware Basin.

That's in west Texas and southern New Mexico.

Click  here  to read more.

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Range Resources hits big Marcellus well in Washington County

By Bob Downing Published: April 30, 2015

Texas-based Range Resources reported higher production, lower profits and a monster well in Pennsylvania's Washington County.

The well produced 31.3 million cubic feet per day in a 24-hour period.

That makes it  the highest-ever initially producing Marcellus Shale well.

Range has a Utica Shale well in Washington County that last December wAs tested at 59 million cubic feet of natural gas per day in initial production.

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New vice president/chief accounting officer selected at Anadarko

By Bob Downing Published: April 30, 2015

A press release on Thursday from Anadarko:

HOUSTON, April 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (NYSE: APC) today announced its Board of Directors has named Christopher O. Champion as Vice President, Chief Accounting Officer and Controller, effective June 1, 2015, succeeding M. Cathy Douglas, who is retiring following more than 35 years with the company.

"We are thrilled to have someone of Chris's caliber join the Anadarko team," said Anadarko Executive Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer Bob Gwin. "His extensive audit experience in the energy industry, as well as his leadership roles within the KPMG organization, make him particularly well-positioned to continue Anadarko's demonstrated commitment to transparency in financial reporting."

"We have been blessed to have Cathy as part of the Anadarko organization for her entire career," said Anadarko Chairman, President and CEO Al Walker. "We are very grateful for her numerous contributions to the company's success, her stewardship of our financial statements, and her positive influences on our culture and our employees."

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Anadarko names new executive vice president, U.S. onshore

By Bob Downing Published: April 30, 2015

A press release on Thursday from Anadarko:

HOUSTON, April 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (NYSE: APC) today announced its Board of Directors has named Darrell E. Hollek as Executive Vice President, U.S. Onshore Exploration and Production, effective immediately. Charles A. Meloy, the Company's current Executive Vice President, U.S. Onshore Exploration and Production, will remain as an Executive Vice President until his retirement in early June.

"Darrell is widely recognized as a respected leader both within Anadarko and throughout the industry," said Anadarko Chairman, President and CEO Al Walker. "Darrell's extensive industry knowledge and leadership skills will be of great benefit to the Executive Committee as we continue to move our industry-leading U.S. onshore program forward."

Hollek joins Bob Daniels, Executive Vice President, International and Deepwater Exploration; Jim Kleckner, Executive Vice President, International and Deepwater Operations; Bob Gwin, Executive Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer; Bobby Reeves, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer; and Chuck Meloy, Executive Vice President, on Anadarko's Executive Committee, reporting to Walker.

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CONSOL Energy to focus on two Utica and three Marcellus counties

By Bob Downing Published: April 30, 2015

Pennsylvania-based CONSOL Energy is changing its 2015 drilling plan in the Utica and Marcellus shales in light of low commodity prices and cutbacks.

The company intends to drill the Marcellus shale in three Pennsylvania counties: Greene, Allegheny and Washington.

It will drill two Ohio counties: in the Utica wet-gas window in Noble County and in the Utica dry-gas window in Monroe County.

Previously, it had drilled the Utica Shale in Westmoreland County in Pennsylvania and Marshall County in West Virginia.

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Energy resource permanent funds vary by purpose and state

By Bob Downing Published: April 30, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

Taxation of coal, crude oil, and natural gas production presents opportunities for states to collect revenue as nonrenewable resources are produced. Natural resource permanent funds are revenues earned from taxing the extraction of energy resources and are set aside by national, state, and local governments for strategic or long-term use. Similar to an endowment, states typically only spend the earnings and investment gains from these funds, as expenditure of principal is usually prohibited unless authorized by legislative approval or constitutional amendments.

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Constitution Pipeline re-submits water permit to New York state

By Bob Downing Published: April 30, 2015

From the Associated Press:

Constitution Pipeline Co. re-submitted its application for a critical water quality permit to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.

The permit is one of the last remaining hurdles for the 124-mile pipeline that will carry natural gas from Pennsylvania's Marcellus shale fields to New York City and New England. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved it.

Pipeline spokesman Christopher Stockton said Wednesday the re-submission was requested by DEC to allow the agency more time to complete its review of the project's potential impacts on wetlands and water quality. The agency had faced a May 8 deadline.

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Activists ask federal watchdog to investigate Ohio injection program

By Bob Downing Published: April 30, 2015

From the Associated Press on Wednesday:

By JULIE CARR SMYTH
Associated Press
A coalition of environmental and community groups asked a federal watchdog office on Wednesday to investigate alleged legal violations by the state’s injection well approval program.
In a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Justice, the coalition, coordinated by the Citizens for Health, Environment & Justice, alleges that Ohio’s injection well program disproportionately impacts the state’s low-income Appalachian areas and has failed to meet a federal directive assuring those communities specific safeguards. The groups also charge that affected areas receive “comically inadequate” opportunities for public participation.
Injection wells pump wastewater from oil and gas drilling deep inside the earth. Some such wells in Ohio have been linked to earthquakes.
According to research by the groups, 75 percent of the 237 active injection wells in Ohio are concentrated in the state’s 32 counties officially recognized as part of Appalachia due to their low-income status. Only 17.4 percent of Ohioans live in those counties.
The groups told the office that a 1994 executive order signed by President Bill Clinton required that low-income communities impacted by environmental issues be provided with effective public input and reliable enforcement programs.
“With ODNR, it’s everything for the oil and gas industry and nothing for the public. They act just as biased toward the industry as their own secret communications plan revealed them to be,” Teresa Mills, of Citizens for Health, Environmental & Justice, said in a news release. “They treat Appalachian Ohio as the fracking industry’s dumping ground whose people are too poor to resist taking the lion’s share of Ohio’s waste and that from surrounding states.”
Injection wells disposed of over 1.46 billion gallons of waste from the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, drilling procedure in 2014 in the deep underground wells, the groups say.
The coalition also repeats allegations some participating groups have made before that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources is a “captive regulator” controlled by drilling interests.
The department spokeswoman had no immediate comment.
Ohio’s top oil and gas regulator, Oil and Gas Resources Division chief Rick Simmers, testified before a U.S. House committee in 2013, touting Ohio’s strong regulations and positive track record of state-level enforcement of fracking and deep injection of wastewater.
In the wake of similar allegations from environmentalists at the time and calls for a federal takeover of Ohio’s program, Simmers said the state imposes more stringent regulations than its sister program at the U.S. EPA.

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Range, CONSOL report increased gas production but lower profits

By Bob Downing Published: April 30, 2015

Range Resources and CONSOL Energy both reported on Wednesday increased natural gas production in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale but lower profits because lower commodity prices.

Click  here  to read more from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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Aubrey McClendon forms 'blank check' company to buy assets

By Bob Downing Published: April 30, 2015

Okalhoma-based American Energy Partners LP founder Aubrey McClendon hopes to raise about $200 million from investors for a new “blank check” company he is launching to purchase oil and gas assets and companies.

Avondale Acquisition Corp., will be a special investment vehicle that could trade on the Nasdaq exchange, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company hopes to sell 20 million units to the public for $10 apiece to finance the acquisition of undervalued oil and gas companies and assets, Avondale said in the  filing.

McClendon is a former CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corp.

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Tennessee Gas Pipeline to abandon two natural gas lines

By Bob Downing Published: April 30, 2015

The Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co, LLC is planning to abandon two natural gas pipelines that run from Louisiana to Columbiana County in eastern Ohio.

The two lines will be transferred to Utica Marcellus Texas Pipeline LLC and will be switched to natural gas liquids from the Utica and Marcellus shales.

The project calls for abandonment of 964 miles of pipelines.

The company operates six parallel pipelines that transport natural gas from the Gulf of Mexico to Northeast markets.

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Pennsylvania hires expert to look at crude oil rail shipments

By Bob Downing Published: April 30, 2015

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has hired a railroad expert to look into the threat of moving Bakken crude oil from North Dakota to the East Coast.

Such shipments pass through Pennsylvania, Ohio and other states.

Wolf has directed University of Delaware professor Allan Zarembski to look into the issue in the next three months.

Pennsylvania has seen four train derailments and spills since January 2014.

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Federal, state agencies conduct searches at Ohio injection wells

By Bob Downing Published: April 29, 2015

Earlier this week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio EPA conducted searches for criminal wrongdoing at injection wells operated by Kleese Development Associates in Ohio's Trumbull County.

A spill was reported recently at one of the wells in Vienna Township.

Officials were saying little about the searches.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Equistar wins API award for safety, environmental performance

By Bob Downing Published: April 29, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute:

WASHINGTON, April 28, 2015 – Today API awarded its 2014 Distinguished Safety and Environmental Award to Equistar Chemicals, LP – Equistar Pipelines. This is API’s highest safety and environmental performance award for pipeline operators and was presented to the company at API’s 66th annual pipeline conference in Savannah, Georgia.

“This award is a testament to Equistar’s distinguished commitment to exceptional safety and environmental performance,” said API Pipeline Director Peter Lidiak. “Equistar sets a strong example among small operators and this level of performance is where every company would like to be.”

Equistar won the Distinguished Award in the small operator category. The award reflects the company’s consistent record of safe and environmentally sound operations.

Equistar Chemicals, LP – Equistar Pipelines is a subsidiary of LyondellBasell Industries and operates approximately 1,400 miles of pipeline in Texas and Louisiana and two storage facilities in Texas.

BP Pipelines (North America) Inc. won the Occupational Safety Performance Award for large operators. In the small operator category, four companies shared that honor, including CITGO Pipeline Company, Equistar Chemicals, LP – Equistar Pipelines, Portland Pipe Line Corporation, and Wolverine Pipe Line Company, all reporting no OSHA recordable incidents for employees and contractors.

The Environmental Performance Award in the small operator category, with each recipient reporting no releases, went to CITGO Pipeline Company, Equistar Chemicals, LP – Equistar Pipelines and Portland Pipe Line Corporation. Alyeska Pipeline Service Company won the award in the large operator category, also reporting no releases.

For more information on the awards, please click here.

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State pension funds benefit from gas, oil drilling investments

By Bob Downing Published: April 29, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday:

WASHINGTON, April 28, 2015 — Returns on state pension funds from investments in oil and natural gas companies continue to provide strong earnings for public pension retirees, including America’s teachers, firefighters and police officers, according to a Sonecon study released Tuesday by API. On average, $1 invested in oil and natural gas stocks in 2005 was worth $2.30 in 2013. By contrast, $1 invested in all other assets over the same period was worth $1.68.

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Hess Corp. profits hurt by lower crude oil prices

By Bob Downing Published: April 29, 2015

New York-based Hess Corp. beat estimates in the first quarter 2015 as the company's increased oil production trumped lower commodity prices.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Pipeline companies to work on aerial-based leak-detection systems

By Bob Downing Published: April 29, 2015

Three North American pipeline industry leaders – Enbridge Pipelines Inc., TransCanada Corporation, and Kinder Morgan Canada – have signed a Joint Industry Partnership (JIP) agreement to conduct research into aerial-based leak detection technologies, in the interest of enhancing across-the-board pipeline safety.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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U.S. energy demand slows except for industrial, commercial

By Bob Downing Published: April 29, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

U.S. energy consumption has slowed recently and is not anticipated to return to growth levels seen in the second half of the 20th century. EIA's Reference case projections in the Annual Energy Outlook 2015 (AEO2015) show that domestic consumption is expected to grow at a modest 0.3% per year through 2040, less than half the rate of population growth. Energy used in homes is essentially flat, and transportation consumption will decline slightly, meaning that energy consumption growth will be concentrated in U.S. businesses and industries.

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Tags: commercial , consumption , demand , forecast , industrial , residential , transportation

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Meetings on Nexus Pipeline scheduled in Wadsworth, Louisville

By Bob Downing Published: April 28, 2015

A federal agency will hold public meetings in Medina and Stark counties this week on the proposed Nexus Pipeline that transport natural gas across northern Ohio.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is holding what are called “scoping meetings” on Wednesday  in Wadsworth and on Thursday  in Louisville.
They are the main forums for the public to comment to the federal agency on the pipeline project.
The agency must approve the project because it is an interstate pipeline.
The meetings begin at 6 p.m.
The Wadsworth meeting will be at Wadsworth High School, 625 Broad St. The Louisville meeting will be at Louisville High School, 1201 S. Nickelplate Ave.
The pipeline is slated to cross northern Stark and southern Summit counties. It would run through Chippewa Township in Wayne County and then cross Medina County It would run 93.4 miles through the Akron-Canton area.
It has encountered strong grass-roots opposition in Summit, Medina and Stark counties.
Opponents including the grass-roots group, the Coalition to Reroute Nexus (CORN), are pushing to get the federal agency to reroute the pipeline to a less-populated and more-rural area to the south.
The pipeline is proposed by Houston-based Nexus Gas Transmission LLC in collaboration with Detroit-based DTE Energy Co. and Texas-based Spectra Energy Partners.
The companies had held their own public meetings on the pipeline last January  in Wadsworth and Jackson Township.
The pipeline is planned to run roughly 250 miles from the Utica Shale in Columbiana County in eastern Ohio to Defiance in northwest Ohio, then head north into Michigan and connect with other existing pipelines to carry gas into Canada.
It would be up to 36 inches in diameter and capable of transporting up to 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. That’s enough to heat 6 million houses. It would be buried about 3 feet deep.
The project could be approved in December 2016. Final pipeline application will be filed in November.
Construction would take about one year and the pipeline could begin service in late 2017.

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Coalition pushing to reroute Nexus Pipeline away from Akron area

By Bob Downing Published: April 28, 2015

A press release today from Coalition to Reroute Nexus (CORN):

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Court approves stay in lawsuit against EPA on drilling emissions

By Bob Downing Published: April 28, 2015

From the Environmental Integrity Project today:

Washington, D.C.  April 28, 2015 – A federal court has entered a stay in a lawsuit that environmental organizations filed against Environmental Protection Agency over the agency’s failure to require the oil and gas industry to report its toxic emissions to a public pollution database.

The stay in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia was based on a joint request by the environmental groups and EPA.  In January, the Environmental Integrity Project and nine allied organizations sued EPA over the agency’s long-running failure to respond to the groups’ petition to require oil and gas extraction companies to disclose their pollution to the federal Toxics Release Inventory, a federal database to which most other industries must report.

Because EPA confirmed that it would respond to the groups’ petition by October 30, 2015, the groups agreed to put their lawsuit on hold in the meantime and await the agency’s decision. 

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EIA projections show continued Utica growth for oil, natural gas

By Bob Downing Published: April 28, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration:

Release Date:  April 13, 2015  |  Next Release: May 11, 2015  |  full report

The Drilling Productivity Report uses recent data on the total number of drilling rigs in operation along with estimates of drilling productivity and estimated changes in production from existing oil and natural gas wells to provide estimated changes in oil and natural gas production for seven key regions. EIA's approach does not distinguish between oil-directed rigs and gas-directed rigs because once a well is completed it may produce both oil and gas; more than half of the wells produce both.

While shale resources and production are found in many U.S. regions, at this time EIA is focusing on the seven most prolific areas, which are located in the Lower 48 states. These seven regions accounted for 95% of domestic oil production growth and all domestic natural gas production growth during 2011-13.

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CONSOL Energy says gas production grew by 75 percent in year

By Bob Downing Published: April 28, 2015

Pennsylvania-based CONSOL Energy reported today that its natural gas production in the first quarter 2015 in the Marcellus and Utica shales grew by 75 percent from a year earlier, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Florida House bans fracking bans by local communities

By Bob Downing Published: April 28, 2015

From the Associated Press on Monday:

Local governments wouldn't be able to ban fracking under a bill the Florida House passed.

The House voted 82-34 for the bill Monday. It calls for a study of hydraulic fracturing and regulation of the drilling practice.

Democrats opposed the bill, saying fracking should be banned in Florida because of the potential to contaminate groundwater.

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Projections show U.S. becoming net exporter of natural gas

By Bob Downing Published: April 28, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

In its recently released Annual Energy Outlook 2015 (AEO2015), EIA expects the United States to be a net natural gas exporter by 2017. After 2017, natural gas trade is driven largely by the availability of natural gas resources and by world energy prices. Increased availability of domestic gas or higher world energy prices each increase the gap between the cost of U.S. natural gas and world prices that encourages exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG), and, to a lesser extent, greater exports by pipeline to Mexico.

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Ohio has 1,463 drilled Utica wells, 854 producing Utica wells

By Bob Downing Published: April 28, 2015

Ohio has approved 1,883 Utica shale permits, as of April 25.

That includes 1,463 drilled Utica wells and 854 producing Utica wells, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources says.

Ohio has 22 drilling rigs at work.

Ten new permits were approved: two in Belmont County, four in Carroll County and four in Monroe County.

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Anti-fracking rally scheduled today in Columbus

By Bob Downing Published: April 28, 2015

A press release from Ohio groups:

Anti-fracking rally scheduled to stop state lands fracking bill

 

Participants calling for the Senate defeat of proposed legislation

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Marty Miller elected to chair OOGEEP's board of directors

By Bob Downing Published: April 28, 2015

From the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program last week:

 

GRANVILLE, OH - The Board of Directors of the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP) recently elected Marty Miller as Chairman following the retirement of Eric Smith.

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Chesapeake to pay $25 million to settle Michigan antitrust claims

By Bob Downing Published: April 28, 2015

From the Associated Press last week:

 

Chesapeake Energy pleaded no contest Friday to attempted antitrust violations and agreed to pay $25 million to settle claims that it conspired to keep prices down during an auction for oil and gas leases, state officials announced.

"This is a victory for Michigan taxpayers and a victory for all the Michigan land owners who took deep hits to their pocketbooks following the October 2010 private land auction," Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a written statement. "This settlement will achieve recovery for every one of the more than 700 affected victims who come forward and make a valid claim."

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Low natural gas prices drive down quarterly Southwestern profits

By Bob Downing Published: April 27, 2015

Texas-based Southwestern Energy had record-high production in 1Q 2015, but profits were down 78 percent because of low natural gas prices.

Southwestern Energy is a key player in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania.

It completed 22 new wells in the Marcellus Shale in the first quarter.

Click  here  to read more.

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U.S. gas, oil completions drop 8 percent in 1Q 2015, API says

By Bob Downing Published: April 27, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute last week:

WASHINGTON, April 22, 2015 – Estimated total U.S. oil and natural gas well completions decreased by 8 percent in the first quarter of 2015 compared to year-ago levels, according to API's 2015 Quarterly Well Completion Report, First Quarter.

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U.S. Forest Service approves West Virginia pipeline survey

By Bob Downing Published: April 27, 2015

From the Associated Press:

The U.S. Forest Service has approved a permit to survey part of the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia for a proposed natural gas pipeline.

The temporary permit for the survey involves 17 miles of forest through Randolph and Pocahontas counties.

The Charleston Gazette reports the yearlong survey will include studies of plants and animals, wetlands, water, soil and cultural resources.

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Floating LNG regasification is used in smaller markets

By Bob Downing Published: April 27, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

Floating regasification is a flexible, cost-effective way to receive and process shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Floating regasification is increasingly being used to meet natural gas demand in smaller markets, or as a temporary solution until onshore regasification facilities are built. Of four countries planning to begin importing LNG in 2015, three of them—Pakistan, Jordan, and Egypt—have chosen to do so using floating regasification rather than building full-scale onshore regasification facilities.

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USGS finds little change in Monongahela waters from drilling

By Bob Downing Published: April 27, 2015

From the U.S. Geological Survey:

Monongahela River Basin, W. Va. – A recent study comparing historic water quality from the Monongahela River Basin in West Virginia found little change in the groundwater and few changes in the surface water samples, according to a new study led by the U.S. Geological Survey.

A current survey of groundwater from this area, which has seen shale gas exploration for about the past eight years, showed no significant difference from historical water samples.  Surface water samples show increases in pH levels and significantly higher concentrations of chloride and strontium when compared to historic samples, constituents most often associated with the treatment of coal-mine drainage, and the presence of highly concentrated salt water. 

The differences in pH, higher in the recent USGS survey, are likely attributable to acid mine drainage from coal mines now being treated, resulting in an overall improvement in this measure of water quality.    Elevated chloride in particular can inhibit plant growth, impair reproduction, and reduce the diversity of organisms in streams. Strontium is an element commonly found in the waters of the region and is typically found in high concentrations in deeper aquifers of the study area.

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Backers of West Virginia cracker plant are reconsidering plans

By Bob Downing Published: April 27, 2015

Brazilian companies Odebrecht and Braskem are re-evaluating their plans and finances to build an ethane cracker plant near Parkersburg, W. Va., according to Plastic News last week.

The $3 billion plant would turn ethane from shale drilling into polyethylene, a key plastic.

It is one of four cracker plants proposed in Ohio, West Virginia and western Pennsylvania.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Cabot looking at Rogersville Shale in West Virginia, Kentucky

By Bob Downing Published: April 27, 2015

Cabot Oil & Gas has drilled a test well into the Rogersville Shale in southwest West Virginia, reports the Charleston Gazette-Mail on April 12.

Two wells have been drilled into that formation  in northeast Kentucky, in addition to Cabot's vertical test well that was dilled in 2014.

The Cabot well is near Hometown in Putnam County.

The formation is 9,000 to 14,000 feet and is little explored.

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EQT expects to begin fracking first Utica Shale well in June

By Bob Downing Published: April 27, 2015

Pittsburgh-based EQT says it intends to begin fracking its first Utica Shale well in southwestern Pennsylvania in June.

That well is in Greene County. It has a 3,300-foot lateral.

The company has plans to drill its second Utica well later this year in West Virginia's Wetzel County.

It could drill as many as four Utica wells this year, but 2015 will largely be a testing year, company officials said in a recent earnings call with analysts and the media.

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Pennsylvania anti-fracking activist fined $1,000 by judge

By Bob Downing Published: April 27, 2015

Pennsylvania anti-fracking activist Vera Scroggins was fined $1,000 by a judge after she violated court orders and went too close to natural gas drilling site earlier this year.

The fine was imposed by a Susquehanna County judge in a long-running legal battle between Scroggins and Cabot Oil and Gas.

The company says Scroggins has repeatedly trespassed on its sites.

The judge saysScrogginsd has 45 days to pay the fine or she will be jailed. She said she will appeal.

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Trans Energy to pay $600,000 fine for W. Va. water violations

By Bob Downing Published: April 27, 2015

West Virginia-based driller Trans Energy has agreed to pay a $600,000 fine and be on probation for two years for violating the federal Clean Water Act.

It was charged with criminally violating the CWA by impacting three streams in West Virginia's Marshall County during the Marcellus Shale drilling boom.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Company says oilfield wastes will be shipped by barge in 2015

By Bob Downing Published: April 27, 2015

Texas-based GreenHunter Resources says it intends to begin shipping "oilfield wastes" from sites along the Ohio River by the end of the year, but it won't be loading those liquids in Wheeling, W. Va., at least not immediately.

The company is still blocked by the U.S. Coast Guard from shipping fracking wastes because of the low-level radiation in that waste. The federal agecny is still looking into the matter.

Click  here  to read more.

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Benedum Foundation backs Pittsburgh sustainable shale center

By Bob Downing Published: April 27, 2015

From a press release last week:

PITTSBURGH, April 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD), a collaborative of environmental organizations and energy companies that encourages responsible practices in the development of shale gas resources in the Appalachian region, announced today that the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation renewed its support for the Center with a 2015 grant.  The Foundation first awarded a grant to the Center in December 2013.

"The Benedum Foundation's continued support strengthens our commitment to achieve the highest level of environmental responsibility in shale development in the Appalachian Basin," said Susan LeGros, President and Executive Director at CSSD. "In particular, this grant will support our outreach to increase community awareness of the benefits of leading performance standards and voluntary certification."

The Benedum Foundation focuses its investments in West Virginia and Southwestern Pennsylvania.  The foundation encourages projects that cross state lines and supports initiatives that benefit the multi-state economy centered in Pittsburgh.

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Pipeline company sues West Virginia landowners for access

By Bob Downing Published: April 27, 2015

The companies behind the Mountain Valley Pipeline have sued landowners in West Virginia to allow survey access.

The suit was filed in federal court in West Virginia against an unspecified number of landowners opposed to the pipeline.

The 42-inch-in-diameter pipeline would run from Wetzel County, West Vireginia, into Virginia.

The companies behind the project are EQT Corp. and NextEra U.S. Gas Assets.

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Uncompleted U.S. shale wells keep more oil from market

By Bob Downing Published: April 27, 2015

U.S. well drillers have left nearly 5,000 wells uncompleted as prices have dropped, Bloomberg reports.

That includes 424 uncompleted wells in Ohio's Utica Shale and 401 uncompleted wells in Pennsylvania.

Those totals are from January 2013 to February 2015.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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North Dakota, Colorado to intervene with Wyoming in lawsuit

By Bob Downing Published: April 27, 2015

From the Associated Press on Friday:

A federal court has allowed North Dakota and Colorado to intervene with Wyoming in a lawsuit challenging new rules for oil and gas drilling on federal land.

The Obama administration announced in March that it will require companies that drill on federal lands to disclose the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing. The rule takes effect in June.

The three states assert the move is unlawful in part because it interferes with their own regulations that address the process.

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Cabot Oil & Gas reports on 1Q 2015 financial and operating results

By Bob Downing Published: April 24, 2015

From Texas-based Cabot Oil and Gas Corp., a major player in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale, today:

HOUSTON, April 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation (NYSE: COG) today reported its financial and operating results for the first quarter of 2015. Highlights for the quarter when compared to the first quarter of 2014 include:

First Quarter 2015 Financial Results

Equivalent production in the first quarter of 2015 was 171.4 Bcfe, consisting of 161.8 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas and 1.6 Mmbbls of liquids. These figures represent increases of 43 percent, 40 percent, and 132 percent, respectively, compared to the first quarter of 2014. "Cabot delivered an impressive operational performance in the first quarter, highlighted by the 15 percent sequential growth in daily production volumes over the fourth quarter of last year," commented Dan O. Dinges, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer. "Our robust production levels were predicated on higher base-load volumes in the Marcellus during the quarter driven by increased seasonal demand and favorable natural gas sales contracts for the winter heating season; however, as we have communicated in the past, our plan is to reduce production levels beginning in the second quarter in response to the current environment throughout Appalachia."

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EIA reports highlights of top 100 U.S. oil, natural gas fields

By Bob Downing Published: April 24, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

The top 100 oil fields in the United States accounted for 20.6 billion barrels of crude oil and lease condensate proved reserves, or 56% of the U.S. total in 2013. The top 100 natural gas fields accounted for 239.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas proved reserves, 68% of the U.S. total. Proved reserves are defined as estimated quantities of oil and natural gas that analysis of geologic and engineering data demonstrates with reasonable certainty are recoverable under existing economic and operating conditions.

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Tags: crude oil , liquid fuels , natural gas , oil/petroleum , reserves , states

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USGS issues new report on induced earthquakes in drilling areas

By Bob Downing Published: April 23, 2015

From the U,S. Geological Survey today:

Significant strides in science have been made to better understand potential ground shaking from induced earthquakes, which are earthquakes triggered by man-made practices.

Earthquake activity has sharply increased since 2009 in the central and eastern United States. The increase has been linked to industrial operations that dispose of wastewater by injecting it into deep wells.

The U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) released a report today that outlines a preliminary set of models to forecast how hazardous ground shaking could be in the areas where sharp increases in seismicity have been recorded. The models ultimately aim to calculate how often earthquakes are expected to occur in the next year and how hard the ground will likely shake as a result. This report looked at the central and eastern United States; future research will incorporate data from the western states as well.

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Oklahoma quakes 'very likely' caused by injecting drilling wastes

By Bob Downing Published: April 23, 2015

From the Associated Press:

The Oklahoma Geological Survey said Tuesday it is “very likely” that most of the state’s recent earthquakes were triggered by the subsurface injection of wastewater from oil and natural gas drilling operations.

Geologists have been studying the cause of hundreds of earthquakes that have shaken the homes and the nerves of residents in central and north-central Oklahoma, where the pace of oil and gas drilling has accelerated in recent years.

A statement released by state geologist Richard D. Andrews and Dr. Austen Holland, state seismologist, said the rate of earthquakes and geographical trends around major oil and gas drilling operations that produce large amounts of wastewater indicate the earthquakes “are very unlikely to represent a naturally occurring process.”

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BlackRock Inc. to pay SEC fine of $12 million for conflict of interest

By Bob Downing Published: April 23, 2015

BlackRock Inc, one of the world's largest asset managers, agreed to pay $12 million to resolve civil charges that one of its units failed to disclose a conflict of interest created by one of its top portfolio managers.

That former manager is the key figure behind Pennsylvania-based Rice Energy, an active player in Ohio's Utica Shale.

Clicl  here  to read more from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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EQT Corp. hurt by dropping natural prices in latest report

By Bob Downing Published: April 23, 2015

Pittsburgh-based EQT Corp. reported today that the low prices for natural gas offset its 37 percent increase in sales volume from a year ago.

Click  here  to read more from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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Exxon Mobile firms face $5 million fines for 2013 Arkansas spill

By Bob Downing Published: April 23, 2015

From the Associated Press on WEednesday:

Two subsidiaries of Exxon Mobil must pay almost $5 million in penalties for state and federal violations involving the 2013 Mayflower oil spill in central Arkansas, according to a consent decree filed in federal court Wednesday.

The decree brokered between the U.S. Department of Justice, the Arkansas attorney general’s office and the subsidiaries — Exxon Mobil Pipeline Company and Mobil Pipe Line Company — will not become final until after 30 days of public comment.

Assistant Attorney General John Cruden said the company did not admit liability as part of the agreement.

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Noble Energy faces fines up to $73.5 million for air violations

By Bob Downing Published: April 23, 2015

From the Associated Press:

DENVER — Oil and gas driller Noble Energy has agreed to a settlement over alleged air-pollution violations north of Denver, a deal federal officials say could cost the company up to $73.5 million.

The proposed deal, filed in federal court Wednesday, comes after regulators found the Houston-based company’s oil storage tanks were emitting thousands of tons of volatile organic chemicals a year because of undersized vapor control systems, contributing to the region’s ozone pollution problem.

Noble, a major oil and gas producer in Colorado, has agreed to evaluate, make upgrades and perform inspections of its 3,400 clusters — or batteries — of tanks in the Denver-Julesburg Basin, which stretches from Denver to the Wyoming border. The Justice Department estimated that work, which is already underway, would cost $60 million. Noble said it doesn’t have a figure but doesn’t expect it to be material for its operations in the basin.

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Ohio's Belmont County picked for 'world-scale' ethane cracker

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 22, 2015

The state of Ohio announced that Belmont County is where a "world-scale" petrochemical complex will be built to take advantage of the Utica and Marcellus shale. Here's the press release:

COLUMBUS — Today Governor John R. Kasich announced that PTT Global Chemical(PTTGC), Thailand's largest integrated petrochemical and refining company, and its project partner, Marubeni Corporation, a Japan-based company, have selected a site in Belmont County, Ohio for the possible construction of a world-scale petrochemical complex, also known in the industry as an ethane cracker. With a site now selected, PTTGC and Marubeni will take the next 12-to-16 months to complete the detailed engineering design and permitting at the Ohio site.

For nearly two years, PTTGC and Marubeni have considered project sites across the Utica and Marcellus shale region. JobsOhio, the private, non-profit corporation designed to drive job creation and capital investment in Ohio, has worked with the companies throughout this time and led the effort to move this project forward in Ohio.

"Ohio is at the center of America's new energy industry, and the smart companies want to come here to be part of the great things that are happening. We are one step closer to landing a new, multi-billion dollar investment in eastern Ohio, and that's exciting news for our state, the region and Belmont County," said Kasich. "There is more work ahead before final decisions on this project are made, but I know our Ohio team will do everything we can to bring it fruition. We are excited about the possibility of working with companies of the caliber of PTTGC Global and Marubeni. A project of this size can help lift the region forever."

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Jacoby to direct APEG's shale-related economic development

By Bob Downing Published: April 21, 2015

From Ohio's Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth today:

Jacoby to Manage APEG’s

                                                  Shale-related Economic Development

Mike Jacoby recently joined the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth to direct economic development related to Ohio’s shale play.  The new position was funded by JobsOhio in recognition of the current and future opportunities for attracting new industries and jobs related to the state’s Marcellus and Utica shale resources.

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Athens County launches second community rights charter campaign

By Bob Downing Published: April 21, 2015

From a press release today:

Second Community Rights County Charter Campaign Launched

Athens County joins movement to assert right to local self-government to protect communities from fracking industry

 

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Baker Hughes layoffs climb to 10,500 or 17 percent of work force

By Bob Downing Published: April 21, 2015

Houston-based Baker Hughes says it intends to lay off 10,500 workers or 17 percent of its work force.

Earlier, the well service giant had said it intended to lay off 7,000 workers.

It said it will consolidate or close 140 facilities due to the drop in commodity prices.

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Pennsylvania's air emissions grew in 2013 due to increased drilling

By Bob Downing Published: April 21, 2015

From Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection on Monday:

The inventory represents 2013 emissions from Marcellus Shale natural gas production and processing operations as well as compressor stations that receive gas from coal gas and conventional oil and gas well sites.

“The increases were not unexpected,” Acting DEP Secretary John Quigley said. “The industry is growing, and each year we are expanding the types and number of facilities from which we collect data so that we have a more comprehensive understanding of air quality issues.”

In 2013, the number of well sites included in the emissions inventory increased by 18.3 percent. The number of midstream facilities that submitted data increased by 8.2 percent.

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Increased domestic production reduces net petroleum imports

By Bob Downing Published: April 21, 2015

From U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

 

In its recently released Annual Energy Outlook 2015 (AEO2015) Reference case, EIA expects U.S. crude oil production to rise through 2020 as oil prices recover from their steep decline, reducing net petroleum (crude oil and petroleum products) imports. AEO 2015 explores the effects of domestic crude oil production under various assumptions about world oil prices and domestic resource availability.

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American Energy Partners LP adds to management team

By Bob Downing Published: April 21, 2015

A press release from American Energy Partnesr LP today:

OKLAHOMA CITY, APRIL 21, 2015: As part of its ongoing strategy to broaden and deepen its management team, American Energy Partners, LP (AELP) today announced that it has hired Scott D. Sachs as Senior Geoscience Executive Advisor, James C. Johnson as Senior Marketing and Midstream Executive and Traci D. Cook as Chief Accounting Officer.

Sachs, 54, previously worked for Chesapeake Energy Corporation as Vice President – Geoscience, leading exploration and development programs in the Mid-Continent, Gulf Coast, Permian and Rockies from 2005 through 2014. During those years, his teams ran as many as 85 rigs and helped build one of the most dynamic exploration and production programs onshore in the U.S. Prior to Chesapeake, Sachs spent 18 years at Marathon Oil Company in numerous technical and leadership roles throughout their international and onshore U.S. portfolio. Sachs earned his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Geology from Bowling Green State University and the University of Texas - Arlington, respectively, and completed Rice University’s Executive Leadership program.  He also has served on the Advisory Board for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and serves on the Board of Directors of Drilling Info, Inc.

Johnson, 57, previously worked for Chesapeake Energy Corporation for 18 years as Senior Vice President – Marketing and as President of Chesapeake Energy Marketing, Inc. (CEMI) since 2000.  During his tenure at CEMI, he helped its business grow to become a top 10 natural gas marketer in the U.S., marketing up to 5.6 BCF per day of natural gas, 350,000 barrels per day of crude oil and 150,000 barrels per day of NGLs.  At CEMI, Johnson was also responsible for securing gathering, processing, fractionation and transportation arrangements necessary to facilitate the build out of infrastructure in a variety of prolific shale basins in the U.S.  Prior to joining Chesapeake, he worked for 15 years in multiple land and commercial roles at Enogex, Inc., Delhi Gas Pipeline Corporation, TXO Production Corp. and Gulf Oil Corporation. Johnson graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1980 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Petroleum Land Management.

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Survey finds no interet in divesting from oil, gas, IPAA says

By Bob Downing Published: April 21, 2015

From the Independent Petroleum Association of America today:

Major Investor Survey Finds No Interest in Divesting from Oil and Gas

 

First-of-its-kind independent survey commissioned by IPAA finds activist-led divestment efforts having “virtually no impact” on decisions of investment professionals

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Statoil awards carbon dioxide contract in North Dakota drilling

By Bob Downing Published: April 21, 2015

A press release today:

Statoil Awards Ferus LP Major CO2 Service Contract in North Dakota

Use of CO2 in Statoil’s Bakken hydraulic fracturing operations expected to increase oil recovery while significantly reducing amount of water used.

HOUSTON, April 21, 2015 – Statoil, an innovative international energy company, has demonstrated environmental and economic leadership by awarding a major carbon dioxide (CO2) supply and service agreement to Denver-based Ferus LP (Ferus), the premier provider of energized fluids (liquid CO2 and liquid nitrogen (N2)) to the North American oil and gas industry.

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EPA says flares release more VOCs at refineries, chemical plants

By Bob Downing Published: April 21, 2015

A press release today from the Environmental Integrity Project:

EPA CONCLUDES FLARES AT REFINERIES AND CHEMICAL PLANTS RELEASE FOUR TIMES MORE VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS THAN REPORTED

Lawsuit Prompts EPA to Revise Emissions Estimates for Flares Upward for volatile organic compounds

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 21, 2015

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Ohio has 1,456 drilled Utica wells, 847 producing Utica wells

By Bob Downing Published: April 21, 2015

Ohio has approved 1,877 Utica Shale permits, as of April 18.

That total includes 1,456 drilled Utica wells and 847 producing Utica wells, says the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Ohio has 24 drilling rigs at work.

Five new permits were approved last week: four in Harrison County and one in Washington County.

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Thai firm looking at Belmont County for Ohio cracker plant

By Bob Downing Published: April 21, 2015

A Thai energy company is looking at developing a cracker plant in Belmont County in eastern Ohio, according to Columbus Business First.

It reported on Monday that PTT Public Co. Ltd., a state-owned energy company, is looking at the Ohio site.

Such cracker plants turn liquid ethane from drilling into polyethylene, a key plastic.

Three other cracker plants are under study in the Ohio Valley: big ones in Pennsylvania and West Virginia and a smaller one in Ohio's Monroe County.

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Small earthquakes at Azle, Texas, linked to drilling, injection wells

By Bob Downing Published: April 21, 2015

From the Associated Press today:

WASHINGTON — With real-time monitors, scientists have linked a swarm of small earthquakes west of Fort Worth, Texas, to nearby natural gas wells and wastewater injection.

In 84 days from November 2013 to January 2014, the area around Azle, Texas, shook with 27 magnitude 2 or greater earthquakes, while scientists at Southern Methodist University and the U.S. Geological Survey monitored the shaking. It's an area that had no recorded quakes for 150 years on faults that “have been inactive for hundreds of millions of years,” said SMU geophysicist Matthew Hornbach.

When the volume of injections decreased significantly, so did the shaking.

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First LNG-powered containership launched in San Diego

By Bob Downing Published: April 20, 2015

A press release from Saturday:

TOTE Launches World’s First LNG Powered Containership

Isla Bella will Serve Puerto Rico Once in Service

 

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Eco-group marks fifth anniversary of BP Deepwater Horizon spill

By Bob Downing Published: April 20, 2015

From the Sierra Club today:

Sierra Club Marks 5 Years Since BP Oil Disaster

WASHINGTON, DC-- Today marks five years since the Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent oil spill that killed 11 workers and spewed 4 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.  It was the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, leaving a lasting legacy of destruction from which coastal communities have still not recovered.

In response Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune issued the following statement.

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U.S. drilling rigs drop by 34 in last week, drop by 877 in last year

By Bob Downing Published: April 20, 2015

The number of U.S. drilling rigs dropped  by 34 from April 10 to April 17, says Texas-based Baker Hughes, a well service company that tracks rig counts.

The number of U.S . drilling rigs has dropped by 877 in the last year, the company said.

The current count is 954 rigs, Baker Hughes said.

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Statoil intends to end gas flaring at oil production sites by 2030

By Bob Downing Published: April 20, 2015

From Statoil on Friday:

“In our operations in Norway we do not carry out any routine flaring. This leading performance was made possible by a government determined to avoid waste and maximise value from its natural resources,” Sætre continued.  

In 1971 Norway banned routine flaring. Coupled with a price on carbon equivalent of USD 65/ton CO2 today, these measures provided the necessary incentives for both the government and the industry to invest in production and export of gas.

But globally every year, around 140 billion cubic metres of associated natural gas is wastefully burned or “flared” at thousands of oil fields.

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Federal agency issues emergency order to slow crude rail runs

By Bob Downing Published: April 20, 2015

From the Associated Press on Friday:

WASHINGTON — An emergency order requiring trains hauling crude oil and other flammable liquids to slow down as they pass through urban areas and a series of other steps to improve the safety were announced Friday by the Department of Transportation.

The Obama administration has been under intense pressure from members of Congress as well as state and local officials to ensure the safety of oil trains that traverse the country after leaving the Bakken region of North Dakota. To get to refineries on the East and West coasts and the Gulf of Mexico, oil shipments travel through more than 400 counties, including major metropolitan areas such as Philadelphia, Seattle, Chicago, Newark and dozens of other cities.

There have been a series of fiery oil train explosions in the U.S. and Canada in recent years, including one just across the border in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, that killed 47 people.

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Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions increase in last two years

By Bob Downing Published: April 20, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

For the second year in a row, energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the United States have increased. However, unlike 2013, when emissions and gross domestic product (GDP) grew at similar rates (2.5% and 2.2%, respectively), 2014's CO2 emissions growth rate of 0.7% was much smaller than the 2014 GDP growth rate of 2.4%.

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Tags: CO2 (carbon dioxide) , emissions

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Rex Energy details 1Q 2015 production, update on asset strategy

By Bob Downing Published: April 20, 2015

From Pennsylvania-based Rex Energy today:

STATE COLLEGE, Pa., April 20, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Rex Energy Corporation (Nasdaq:REXX) announced first quarter 2015 production and provided an update on its asset strategy.

First Quarter 2015 Production Results

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District approves Clendening water sale with American Energy-Utica

By Bob Downing Published: April 17, 2015

The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District today approved a short-term water sale from Clendening Reservoir in Harrison County.
Oklahoma-based American Energy-Utica LLC will pay the district $6 per 1,000 gallons of water, said district spokeswoman Barbara H. Bennett.
The contract covers May 1 through July 31.
The maximum volume of water that can be withdrawn is 2.5 million gallons per day or 6 million gallons over three days, she said.
A 6-million-gallon withdrawl would lower Clendening about a quarter inch, she said.
The district that stretches from Akron to the Ohio River sold about 111 million gallons of water in 2013 and 136 million gallons in 2014 to drillers.
The district’s governing board also approved an easement on small parcel of district-owned land near Mohicanville in Ashland County for the ET Rover Pipeline. The easement covers 0.16 acres of agricultural land.

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Independent producers oppose higher royalty rates on federal lands

By Bob Downing Published: April 17, 2015

From a press release today:

America’s Independent Producers: Raising Fees Will Cause Our
Small Businesses to Suffer

 

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Political Affairs Dan Naatz criticized the Obama Administration’s proposal to raise royalty rates on federal lands.

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EIA offers update on U.S. LNG export facilities

By Bob Downing Published: April 17, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administartion today:

“Cheniere Energy's Corpus Christi, Texas, liquefaction export facility, approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) this past December, is moving toward construction with an anticipated start-date during the second quarter of 2015. If it occurs as planned, there will be five liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities in varying stages of construction in the Lower 48 states.”---EIA

The information is in EIA’s new “Natural Gas Weekly Update” posted on the agency’s website at:

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FERC adopts final rule to improve gas-electric coordination

By Bob Downing Published: April 17, 2015

From the Federal Energy Regulatory Commision on Thursday:

FERC Approves Final Rule to Improve Gas-Electric Coordination

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today took further steps to improve coordination of wholesale natural gas and electricity market scheduling as the nation increasingly relies on gas for electric generation. The Final Rule, together with prior Commission actions, will help ensure the reliable and efficient operation of both the interstate natural gas pipeline and electricity systems. This Final Rule represents the culmination of more than three years of Commission efforts to evaluate whether changes are needed to the scheduling practices of the natural gas and electric industry in order to better ensure the reliable and efficient operations of our interstate natural gas pipelines and our electricity systems.

The Final Rule adopts two proposals submitted by the North American Energy Standards Board (NAESB) to revise the interstate natural gas nomination timeline and make conforming changes to their standards. In the March 2014 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR), the Commission proposed changes to the nomination timeline for natural gas pipelines, but provided the gas and electric industries with time to consider revisions to those proposals. Today, the Commission is adopting the proposal to move the Timely Nomination Cycle deadline for scheduling gas transportation from 11:30 a.m. Central Clock Time (CCT) to 1 p.m. CCT and the proposal to add a third intraday nomination cycle during the gas operating day to help shippers adjust their scheduling to reflect changes in demand.

The Final Rule declines to adopt the NOPR proposal to move the 9 a.m. CCT start of the gas day to 4 a.m. CCT. The Commission concluded that, while certain efficiencies could be achieved through a better alignment of the natural gas and electric operating days, the record in this proceeding does not justify changing the start time for the nationwide natural gas day. The Final Rule recognizes that several regional efforts continue to address the misalignment between the gas day and the regional electric days.

The Final Rule takes effect 75 days after publication in the Federal Register.

R-15-30

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FERC adopts new policy for cost recovery on gas modernization

By Bob Downing Published: April 17, 2015

From the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday:

FERC Implements New Policy on Cost Recovery for Natural Gas Facilities Modernization

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today approved a new Policy Statement allowing interstate natural gas pipelines to seek to recover through a surcharge mechanism certain capital expenditures made to modernize pipeline system infrastructure in a manner that enhances system reliability, safety and regulatory compliance.

Today's Policy Statement establishes guidance and a framework as to how the Commission will evaluate pipelines' proposals for recovering costs associated with replacing old and inefficient compressors or leak-prone pipelines and for performing other infrastructure improvements and upgrades to enhance the efficient and safe operations of their pipeline systems.

The Policy Statement adopts the standards proposed in the Commission's November 2014 Proposed Policy Statement. FERC will evaluate on a case-specific basis any proposal for a modernization cost surcharge subject to five guiding standards intended to ensure that the resulting rates are just and reasonable and protect natural gas consumers from excessive costs.

These five criteria are based on principles outlined in a January 2013 FERC order that allowed Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC to implement a similar tracker:
 

The Commission intends these standards to be flexible so as not to require any specific form of compliance but to allow pipelines and their customers to reach reasonable accommodations based on the specific circumstances of their systems.

The Policy Statement is implemented as a result of regulatory reforms by the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration that likely will require interstate natural gas pipelines to make significant capital cost expenditures to enhance the safety and reliability of their systems. In addition, recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency initiatives may increase pipelines' environmental monitoring and compliance costs, and require them to replace or repair existing compressors and other facilities.

The Policy Statement takes effect October 1, 2015.

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Schlumberger cuts another 11,000 jobs due to drilling cutbacks

By Bob Downing Published: April 17, 2015

Oil field services giant Schlumberger is cutting another 11,000 jobs due to drilling cutbacks caused by low commodity prices.

That's in addition to 9,000 jobs cut by the firm last January.

The 20,000 jobs cut accounts for 15 percent of the company's work force.

The company is based in Houston, Paris and the Hague. It operates in 85 countruies.

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U.S. petroleum deliveries grew in March and first quarter, API says

By Bob Downing Published: April 17, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute on Thursday:

File Type: pdf | File Size: 117829

File Type: pdf | File Size: 88700

File Type: pdf | File Size: 19390

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New EIA maps highlight characteristics of U.S. shale plays

By Bob Downing Published: April 17, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

 

EIA is currently in the process of updating maps of major tight oil and shale gas plays, including the Eagle Ford and Marcellus plays, which will help to better characterize the geology of key areas of production in the United States. EIA's most recent maps focus on shale and tight oil plays, and characterize plays based on geologic characteristics, including rock type and age. Understanding geologic history and processes helps exploration and production companies reduce the risk of drilling dry, nonproducing wells and better understand hydrocarbon resource potentials.

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What's up with Ohio's proposed severance tax hike on drilling

By Bob Downing Published: April 16, 2015

From the Associated Press:

By ANN SANNER
Associated Press
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Republican leaders in the Ohio House pulled many of Gov. John Kasich’s tax plans from his state budget proposal, while announcing more money for schools, a smaller state income tax cut and changes to his poverty and health care initiatives.
The revisions to the Republican governor’s $72.3 billion, two-year spending blueprint come after Kasich’s sweeping tax package drew widespread opposition from business groups and state representatives. They disliked the proposed increases on business taxes, oil-and-gas severance taxes and cigarette taxes along with his sales tax increase and expansion.
The House budget plan removes the governor’s major tax changes and creates a commission to review the proposed increases.
Kasich had wanted to use part of the money from the tax increases to cut the state income-tax rate by 23 percent over the next two years, to a top rate of 4.1 percent by 2017.
The plan from the GOP-dominated House, which would fund state operations for the two years beginning July 1, would provide for a 6.3 percent income tax cut beginning in tax year 2015. That would lower the top rate to just below 5 percent. Representatives also want to make permanent a small business tax reduction passed last year.
House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger said he believed in the governor’s long-term vision, but he wanted businesses to have some predictability in their taxes and have time to know what’s coming.
“Ohio’s doing well,” Rosenberger said. “I don’t think there’s a problem to take this opportunity right now to time out a little bit and let everybody catch up.”
House Finance Chairman Ryan Smith said the revisions trim Kasich’s budget by roughly $775 million, but he didn’t specify where the bulk of the difference occurred. “We went through multiple areas and multiple items.”
The House Finance Committee accepted the changes Tuesday afternoon and was scheduled to take testimony on the revisions the rest of this week.
Responding to the House proposal, Kasich spokesman Rob Nichol said in a statement, “The budget is a long process and we will continue to work with lawmakers to move Ohio forward.”
The Ohio Chamber of Commerce signaled its early support for the direction the House tax changes were taking, as did the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association.
State Rep. Denise Driehaus, the House finance panel’s top Democrat, said some of revisions were positive, but noted her side had little time to review them.
House Republicans also revisited Kasich’s education formula and added $179 million to the governor’s proposed school foundation funding.
His proposal gave less money to more than half of public school districts due to changes intended to better reflect a district’s capacity to raise revenue.
House GOP leaders said their plan would ensure that no district would receive less foundation funding over the next two budget years than it did in the current fiscal year.
Representatives will take a closer look at the governor’s efforts to help tackle poverty.
The House wants to spin out into a separate bill Kasich’s proposal to create a more comprehensive approach to address the needs of people receiving public assistance such as food stamps, childcare support, housing aid or cash assistance.
While House Republicans did not attempt to change the governor’s expansion of Medicaid, their plan would strip the ability of state’s Medicaid director to determine eligibility for the program in the future.
“I would think you’d want some input from the General Assembly on the Medicaid eligibility levels,” said state Robert Sprague, who leads a subcommittee that reviewed Medicaid issues. “Otherwise, we have very little control over the program.”
The GOP majority also want the state’s Medicaid agency to seek approval from federal officials to allow for health savings accounts.
———
Associated Press writer Julie Carr Smyth contributed to this report.

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Any increase in Ohio's severance tax on drillers is dead for now

By Bob Downing Published: April 16, 2015

Any increase in Ohio's severance tax on drillers is dead for now, Ohio lawmakers said.

The proposal ran into strong opposition from Republicans in the Ohio House of Representatives.

It had been strongly pushed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich, also a Republican.

Click  here  to read the latest.

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Gulfport to acquire Paloma Partners, 24,000 acres in eastern Ohio

By Bob Downing Published: April 16, 2015

Gulfport Energy announced that it is spending $300 million to acquire Paloma Partners III LLC and its 24,000 acres in the dry gas window in Ohio's Belmont and Jefferson counties.

The announcement came on Wednesday.

Here's what the company said:

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GreenHunter Resources releases year-end 2014 reports

By Bob Downing Published: April 16, 2015

From Greenunter Resources on Wednesday:

GRAPEVINE, Texas, April 15, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- GreenHunter Resources, Inc. (NYSE MKT:GRH and GRH.PC), a diversified water resource, waste management, environmental services, and hydrocarbon marketing company specializing in the unconventional oil and natural gas shale resource plays within the Appalachian Basin, announced today financial and operating results for the twelve months ended December 31, 2014.

Financial and Operational Highlights

OPERATIONAL RESULTS FOR THE TWELVE MONTHS ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2014

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Pennsylvania DEP to hold three public hearings on new drillng rules

By Bob Downing Published: April 16, 2015

From the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection on Wednesday:

DEP originally planned a 30-day public comment period for Chapter 78 and 78a, which began on April 4, 2015. On April 6, DEP announced that the public comment period would be extended by an additional 15 days and end on May 19. Three public hearings were also added. The extended public comment period and added hearings will allow more time for citizens to submit written or verbal comments on the changes made to the draft final versions of Chapter 78 and 78a.

Each hearing will begin at 6 p.m. and end at 9 p.m. The dates and locations are as follows:

• April 29 – Washington and Jefferson College, Rossin Campus Center – Allen Ballroom,60 S. Lincoln St., Washington, PA 15301
• April 30 – Warren County Courthouse, 204 4th Ave., Warren, PA 16365
• May 4 – Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Klump Academic Center, 1 College Ave., Williamsport, PA 17701

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Antero releases 1Q 2015 production report, scaling back on drilling

By Bob Downing Published: April 16, 2015

From Antero Resources:

DENVER, April 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Antero Resources (NYSE: AR) ("Antero" or the "Company") today announced first quarter 2015 operational highlights:

 

Operating Update

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EPA report shows continued decline in methane from drilling

By Bob Downing Published: April 16, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute on Wednesday:

WASHINGTON, April 15, 2015 – A new EPA report shows continued decline in methane emissions from natural gas production, as operators capture and deliver more natural gas to consumers, said API.
   
“The latest inventory shows that U.S. producers continue to make dramatic improvements, with net methane emissions from natural gas production falling 38 percent since 2005,” said Howard J. Feldman, API senior director of regulatory and scientific affairs. “These voluntary efforts will continue, as operators work to capture more gas and deliver it to consumers. Another layer of burdensome regulations will only interfere with that progress.”
   
The EPA also reported that methane emissions from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells are down 79 percent since 2005. Total methane emissions from natural gas systems are down 11 percent since 2005.
  
“Responsible production and use of natural gas is a major reason why U.S. carbon emissions are near a 20-year low,” said Feldman. “We should harness this opportunity to build on that momentum and even export natural gas to our allies, creating more jobs and energy security here at home.”
     
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 20 million Am

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Erie County commissioners say Nexus Pipeline will boost economy

By Bob Downing Published: April 16, 2015

The Erie County commissioners have endorsed the Nexus pipeline across northern Ohio.

In an April 2 letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the three commissioners said the pipeline would help boost economic development in Erie County, especially around the NASA's Plum Brook Research Station in Milan Township.

The letter was signed by William Monaghan, Thomas Ferrell Jr. and Patrick Shenigo.

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Upstream mergers, acquisitions remain in slump, analyst says

By Bob Downing Published: April 16, 2015

From GlobalData on Wednesday:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Upstream Merger and Acquisition Activity Remains in Slump with $2 Billion Drop in March 2015, says GlobalData

LONDON, UK (GlobalData), 15 April 2015 - Merger and Acquisition (M&A) values in the upstream oil and gas sector decreased significantly to $829.8 million in March 2015, compared with $2.9 billion in the previous month, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData. 

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Guernsey County to host A Shale-abration on June 20

By Bob Downing Published: April 16, 2015

From the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce:

The Cambridge Area Chamber is pleased to announce the 2nd Annual Friends and Family Fest - A Shale-abration!  Saturday, June 20th, 2015 at the Guernsey County Fairgrounds in Old Washington, Ohio.                                  

It will be a Shale-abration of our Natural Resources and Homegrown Energy Production in the Heart of the Utica Shale. Community and Education are the driving forces behind the festival. Our hope is that every attendee will come away with a better understanding of the industry and energy production, distribution and usage.  It is also a chance for the industry to meet and greet each other and network!

 

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Estimates wildly optimistic for London airport drilling, analyst says

By Bob Downing Published: April 16, 2015

From GlobalData on Tuesday:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Gatwick Oil Discovery Estimates Wildly Optimistic, says GlobalData Analyst

LONDON, UK (GlobalData), 14 April 2015 - The recent announcement by exploration firm UK Oil & Gas Investments (UKOG) that there could be up to 100 billion barrels of oil onshore beneath the South of England, following its discovery at a well near Gatwick airport, is wildly optimistic, says an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData.

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Mexico's first bidding round tries to remain attractive, analyst says

By Bob Downing Published: April 16, 2015

From GlobalDEata on Wednesday:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Mexico’s First Bidding Round Struggling to Remain Attractive, says GlobalData Analyst

LONDON, UK (GlobalData), 15 April 2015 - While the latest revisions to the terms for shallow water areas in Mexico’s first licensing round have increased the attractiveness of the Production Sharing Agreement terms by improving the contractor’s upside potential, the benefits remain significantly limited at higher prices compared to other fiscal regimes in the Americas, says an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData.

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CLNG: EIA report supports case for U.S. LNG exports

By Bob Downing Published: April 16, 2015

From the Center for Liquified Natural Gas earlier this week:

EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook Supports Case for U.S. LNG Exports

 

Washington, D.C.: In response to the publication of the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook 2015, Center for Liquefied Natural Gas spokesman Casey O’Shea issued the following statement

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Coalition hails Ohio House for killing proposed severance tax hike

By Bob Downing Published: April 15, 2015

A press release today from the Protect Ohio Jobs Coalition after the Ohio House of Representatives killed Gov. John Kasich's proposed severance tax hike on the drilling industry:

Protect Ohio Jobs Coalition Applauds House for

Removal of Severance Tax Increase

The Protect Ohio Jobs Coalition today applauded Ohio House legislative leaders for the removal of the oil and gas severance increase from the state budget. The group issued the following statement:

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Old FERC chair looks back, review of natural gas projects evolving

By Bob Downing Published: April 15, 2015

From SNL Energy:

With Commissioner Norman Bay set to take over the reins of FERC on April 15, current Chairman Cheryl LaFleur sat down with SNL Energy to talk about her accomplishments and challenges in leading the agency and the reasoning behind several recent high-profile decisions, including on transmission ROEs.

--------------------------

SNL ENERGY: WITH IMPENDING FERC CHAIR SWAP, LAFLEUR REFLECTS ON SUCCESSES, WORK LEFT TO BE DONE

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More on Medina County's community rights charter campaign

By Bob Downing Published: April 15, 2015

Community Rights County Charter Campaign Launched

First County in Ohio to assert their right to local self-government through direct initiative

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

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West Virginia says 5,500 gallons of condensate fouled stream

By Bob Downing Published: April 15, 2015

West Virginia regulators intend to find Williams Energy for a ruptured pipeline in Marshall County that dumped 5,500 gallons of condensate into a creek.

The ruptured 4-inch line fouled about six miles of Little Grave Creek that flows into the Ohio River, state officials said.

Click  here  to read Wheeling reporter Casey Junkins' update.

.

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Energy imports, exports to balance for first time since 1950s

By Bob Downing Published: April 15, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

Projections in EIA's Annual Energy Outlook 2015 (AEO2015), released April 14, show the potential to eliminate net U.S. energy imports sometime between 2020 and 2030. This reflects changes in both supply and demand, as continued growth in oil and natural gas production and the use of renewables combine with demand-side efficiencies to moderate demand growth. The United States has been a net importer of energy since the 1950s.

Read More ›

Tags: energy , exports , forecast , imports

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API says EIA report shows oil, gas production will keep growing

By Bob Downing Published: April 15, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute:

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Texas House set to vote on blocking local fracking bans

By Bob Downing Published: April 15, 2015

From the Associated Press on Tuesday:

The Texas Legislature is poised to take a major step toward wiping out a highly publicized local ban on hydraulic fracturing approved by a college city near Dallas — and ensuring that other communities don’t follow suit.

San Angelo Republican Rep. Drew Darby’s bill is poised for House debate and approval Tuesday.

His is one of 11 proposals seeking to limit local restrictions on oil and gas exploration after Denton voters in November banned fracking in their city’s territory.

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Magnum Hunter Resources releases 1Q 2015 production results

By Bob Downing Published: April 15, 2015

From Magnum Hunter Resources today:

Production of ~14.7 Bcfe (~2.5 MMBoe); ~66% Increase Over First Quarter 2014

HOUSTON, TX--(Marketwired - Apr 15, 2015) - Magnum Hunter Resources Corporation (NYSE: MHR) (NYSE MKT: MHR.PRC) (NYSE MKT: MHR.PRD) (NYSE MKT: MHR.PRE) (the "Company" or "Magnum Hunter") announced that the Company's oil and gas production increased ~66% for the three months ended March 31, 2015 to ~14.7 Bcfe (~2.5 million Boe) or an average of ~163.6 MMcfe (~27,261 Boe) per day (74% natural gas, 13% oil and 13% NGLs), compared with production of ~8.9 Bcfe (~1.5 million Boe) or an average of ~98.6 MMcfe (~16,433 Boe) per day (56% natural gas, 29% oil and 15% NGLs) for the three months ended March 31, 2014. The increase in production was attributable primarily to the Company's expanded 2014 drilling program in its core areas of operations and production results from the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays.

During the first quarter of 2015, Eureka Hunter Pipeline, LLC ("Eureka Hunter") completed four new pipeline interconnects. This brings the total active interconnects on the Eureka Hunter system to nine. Eureka Hunter realized significant increases in the throughput volumes on its gathering system in the first quarter of 2015.

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Patterson-UTI sees its rig drop from 165 to 134 in U.S.

By Bob Downing Published: April 15, 2015

Colorado-based Patterson-UTI Energy Inc. is one of the major drilling rig suppliers in the United States and Canada.

Its rig count in the U.S. has dropped from 165 to 134 from Jan. 1 through April 11. That includes 30 rigs still working in Appalachia (Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania).

For more information, click  here.

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USGS offers reports on Appalachian coal, natural gas, oil

By Bob Downing Published: April 15, 2015

From the U.S. Geological Survey:

Fossil fuels from the Appalachian basin region have been major contributors to the Nation’s energy supplies over much of the last three centuries. Appalachian coal and petroleum resources are still available in sufficient quantities to contribute significantly to fulfilling the Nation’s energy needs. Although both conventional oil and gas continue to be produced in the Appalachian basin, most new wells in the region are drilled in shale reservoirs to produce natural gas.

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Professional Paper 1708 is a modern, indepth collection of reports, cross sections, and maps that describe the geology of the Appalachian basin and its fossil fuel resources. This publication supplements and updates older USGS regional studies of Appalachian basin coal and petroleum resources. Some chapters are new, and several have been published in outside journals or as other USGS publications. Although this volume is not a comprehensive regional treatment of all notable geologic and fossil fuel localities in the Appalachian basin, the selected study areas and topics presented in the chapters pertain to large segments of the basin and a wide range of stratigraphic intervals. This volume discusses the locations of coal and petroleum accumulations, the stratigraphic and structural framework, and the geochemical characteristics of the coal beds and petroleum in the basin, as well as the results of recent USGS assessments of coal, oil, and gas resources in the basin.

Many of the maps and accompanying data supporting the reports in this volume are available from chapter I.1 as downloadable geographic information system (GIS) data files about the characteristics of selected coal beds and oil and gas fields, locations of oil and gas wells, coal production, coal chemistry, total petroleum system (TPS) boundaries, and bedrock geology. Log ASCII Standard (LAS) files for geophysical (gamma ray) wireline well logs are included in other chapters.

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Drillers are deferring on wells because of dip in commodity prices

By Bob Downing Published: April 15, 2015

From Texas-based Genscape last week:

April 9, 2015, Houston, TX - The crude oil contango market in the U.S. has created a massive incentive to store oil and, while traditional storage hubs reach record high levels, Genscape analysts have identified a trend for operators look to their own wells as an avenue to store until commodity market conditions improve (March 30, 2015, Wall Street Journal). Already, over 800 wells are being deferred by Cabot, Chesapeake, EOG, SM Energy, Apache, and Anadarko alone, accounting for about 373 Mb/d of oil and 528 MMcfd of gas according to Genscape analysis.

Genscape economic models indicate the oil price decline to $45 WTI has priced out the majority of the Eagle Ford and Bakken oil plays, except for the very cores of the plays.

Besides completion deferrals, rig counts are expected to decline further based on the forward curve, and this expectation is supported by Genscape’s economic findings reported in Oil and Gas Production Forecasts.

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Syracuse study says methane in Pa. wells not tied to fracking

By Bob Downing Published: April 15, 2015

Fracking doesn’t appear to be allowing methane to seriously contaminate drinking water in Pennsylvania, a new study finds—contrary to some earlier, much publicized research that suggested a stronger link.

But the lead authors of the two bodies of research are sparring over the validity of the new results.

The new study of 11,309 drinking water wells in northeastern Pennsylvania by Syracuse University hydrogeologist Donald Siegel concludes that background levels of methane in the water are unrelated to the location of hundreds of oil and gas wells that tap hydraulically fractured, or fracked, rock formations.

That is different from two studies released earlier by researchers at Duke University in North Carolina.

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U.S. getting another 4,600 miles of interstate natural gas pipelines

By Bob Downing Published: April 15, 2015

Two interesting numbers from the U.S. Enrgy Information Administration:

We have 6,800 miles of existing interstate natural gas pipelines and another 4,600 miles of pipelines are being planned or under construction.

The boom is due to shale drilling, of  course.

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Shale drilling has big impacts, says new Brookings Institution report

By Bob Downing Published: April 15, 2015

The Brooking Institution, a think tank based in Washington, D.C., is high on shale drilling.

It says in a new report that the typical American household has saved $200 a year in heating bills due to shale drilling.

The drilling has pumped $13 billion in added disposalable income into the American economy, says the report by authors Catherine Hausman and Ryan Kellogg.

Shale drilling has added a staggering $74 billion to the American economy, the report says.

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Athens County group files appeal on new injection well

By Bob Downing Published: April 14, 2015

From the Athens County Fracking Action Network today:

ACFAN appeals K&H#3 Injection Well Permit

 

Athens, OH, April 14, 2015 –– Athens County Fracking Action Network has appealed the recent permitting of another injection well in Torch, Ohio, owned by Jeff Harper of West Virginia. The latest Athens County frack waste injection well, the K&H #3, was permitted last month by Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

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New technologies impact Annual Energy Outlook 2015, EIA says

By Bob Downing Published: April 14, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

 

WASHINGTON, DC - The Annual Energy Outlook 2015 (AEO2015) released today by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) presents updated projections for U.S. energy markets through 2040 based on six cases (Reference, Low and High Economic Growth, Low and High Oil Price, and High Oil and Gas Resource) that reflect updated scenarios for future crude oil prices.

“EIA’s AEO2015 shows that the advanced technologies are reshaping the U.S. energy economy,” said EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski.  “With continued growth in oil and natural gas production, growth in the use of renewables, and the application of demand-side efficiencies, the projections show the potential to eliminate net U.S. energy imports in the 2020 to 2030 timeframe.  The United States has been a net importer of energy since the 1950s.  In cases with the highest supply and lowest demand outlooks, the United States becomes a significant net exporter of energy,” said Mr. Sieminski.

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ET Rover Pipeline files 17 Michigan lawsuits for survey access

By Bob Downing Published: April 14, 2015

From the Associated Press:

A company behind a proposed natural gas pipeline that could run through parts of Michigan has sued several landowners to gain access to their property for surveys.

John DeVries, a lawyer for Rover Pipeline LLC, told the Ann Arbor News that 17 lawsuits have been filed in Washtenaw, Lenawee and Livingston counties. Eleven of the lawsuits were filed in Washtenaw County Trial Court.

ET Rover said the lawsuits are a reluctant action taken by the company so crews can conduct civil and environmental surveys. The filings cite Michigan law allowing surveyors and those supervised by surveyors to enter onto property for the purpose of a survey.

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Ohio has 1,442 drilled Utica wells, 845 producing Utica wells

By Bob Downing Published: April 14, 2015

Ohio has approved 1,872 Utica Shale permits, as of April 11.

\The Ohio Department of Natural Resources says Ohio has 1,442 drilled Utica wells and 845 producing Utica wells.

A total of 25 rigs are working in Ohio, the state says.

Four new drilling permits were approved last week: all in Harrison County by American Energy Utica LLC.

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Partial settlement reached with no McClendon input, companies say

By Bob Downing Published: April 14, 2015

A Utica Shale company started by Aubrey McClendon will pay $25 million and give 6,000 acres of Ohio land to Chesapeake Energy Corp., McClendon’s former company, in a partial out-of-court settlement announced on Tuesday.
American Energy-Utica LLC, a subsidiary of Oklahoma-based American Energy Partners LP, announced the settlement, along with a Houston-based investment firm, the Energy & Minerals Group, the major funder of American Energy Partners.
They announced that American Energy-Utica and 20 unnamed investors are no longer part of Chesapeake’s lawsuit.
McClendon didn’t approve of the deal, although his major financial backers did.
He is no longer a director of the subsidiary, although remains a director of the parent company.
He stepped down as chief executive officer of American Energy-Utica last December,  although he remains a director of the parent company and CEO of five other drilling companies.
American Energy-Utica will give Chesapeake 6,000 acres in northern Harrison County, one of the prime drilling areas in eastern Ohio.
The Energy & Minerals Group said it did not inform McClendon of the decision.
The two companies denied any wrongdoing.
“Although Mr. McClendon is a director and the single largest non-institutional shareholder in AEU, he did not approve the settlement and neither he nor American Energy Partners were advised of the negotiated terms of this settlement,” American Energy Partners said in a statement.
The parent company said it plans to fight the remaining charges. It has set up a website to state its case: www.AELPvCHKLitigation.com.
Last February,  Chesapeake Energy filed suit in an Oklahoma court against McClendon and his new company for allegedly taking sensitive trade secrets when he resigned from Chesapeake two years ago.
The lawsuit alleged McClendon took “confidential information and trade secrets from Chesapeake.” He said in a statement that he was being wrongly accused.
McClendon and American Energy Partners called the suit meritless and say McClendon left Chesapeake with an agreement that he would receive “extensive” information on land, wells and other matters.
McClendon left Chesapeake in 2013 and later started his new company that has acquired about 250,000 acres in eastern Ohio.

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Chesapeake gets $25 million, 6,000 acres in out-of-court settlement

By Bob Downing Published: April 14, 2015

American Energy Utica LLC and the Energy & Minerals Group reported today that an out-of-court settlement has been reached with Chesapeake Energy Corp.

Chesapeake will receive $25 million and 6,000 acres in Ohio's Harrison County.

Here's one announcement (there is another below):

From American Energy Partners LP today:

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Eclipse Resources decides against a proposed joint venture

By Bob Downing Published: April 14, 2015

Pennsylvania-based Eclipse Resources Corp. said today that it has decided not to pursue a proposed joint venture.

The would-be partners were not identified in the company's statement.

It is a growing player in Ohio's Utica Shale in eastern Ohio

The company also offered production updates.

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Federal proposals include more well control and blowout preventors

By Bob Downing Published: April 14, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute on Monday:

WASHINGTON, April 13, 2015 – Proposed federal regulations released today for well control and blowout preventers (BOPs) follow upon wide-ranging work by industry to improve offshore safety, said American Petroleum Institute Upstream Group Director Erik Milito.

“We are reviewing the proposed rules and hope they will complement industry’s own efforts to enhance safety,” said Milito. “Improved standards for blowout preventers are one of the many ways industry has led the charge to make offshore operations even safer.”

API updated and strengthened its industry standard for BOPs in 2012 to prioritize consistent procedures, preventive maintenance, inspections and testing. Known as Standard 53, it is one of 224 API standards that address offshore oil and natural gas operations.

“A great deal of effort has been put into strengthening spill containment and response, but our first goal is always to prevent accidents from happening at all,” said Milito. “Our industry is committed to meeting the nation’s energy needs while maintaining safe and environmentally responsible operations.”

API created or revised more than 100 industry standards in the last five years to improve safety during exploration and production. Other steps taken by the oil and natural gas industry to enhance offshore safety include the creation of new systems for rapid spill response and the Center for Offshore Safety, founded in 2011 to foster a strong safety culture and share best practices.

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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Chesapeake Energy is No. 1 Pennsylvania driller with 718 wells

By Bob Downing Published: April 14, 2015

Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy Corp. is the No. 1 natural gas producer in Pennsylvania.

The company has718 active Marcellus Shale wells in eight counties and produced 783,859,993,000 cubic feet in 2014, according to a review of state records by the Pittsburgh Business Times on April 3.

No. 2 is Cabot Oil and Gas with 416 wells in two counties.

Third is Range Resources with 791 wells in 10 counties.

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Follansbee, W. Va., is new home of planned gas-fired power plant

By Bob Downing Published: April 14, 2015

A New York-based company still wants to build a new gas-fired power plant in Brooke County, W. Va.

But the plant proposed by Energy Solutions Consortium LLC will be in Follansbee, not Beech Bottom.

Click  here  to read the latest from Wheeling reporter Casey Junkins.

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Pennsylvania eco-group barred from radioactivity data, judge says

By Bob Downing Published: April 14, 2015

An environmental group can't have access to raw data collected during a state probe into potential exposure to radioactivity from Marcellus Shale gas and oil drilling operations, a Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court panel ruled on Friday.

Click  here  to read more from PennLive.com.

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TH Exploration acquires West Virginia holdings from Trans Energy

By Bob Downing Published: April 14, 2015

Friend Jim Willis of the Marcellus Drilling News reported on Friday that Trans Energy sold its holdings in West Virginia's Wetzel County to Texas-based TH Exploration LLC.

The $71.3 million deal includes 5,129 acres and 12 wells.

TH Exploration is part of Tug Hill Operating LLC that is active in West Virginia and Pennsylvania drilling.

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CONSOL, Noble Energy reportedly laying off drilling employees

By Bob Downing Published: April 14, 2015

There were media reports on Friday that Pennsylvania-based CONSOL Energy was laying off up to 170 workers in Pennsylvania and West Virginia because of continued low commodity prices.

That would be about 5 percent of the company's drilling work force.

There were also reports that Texas-based Noble Energy with operations in the Marcellus Shale was laying off 200 workers.

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SemGroup Corp. to build new Maurepas Pipelines in Louisiana

By Bob Downing Published: April 14, 2015

From Oklahoma-based SemGroup recently.:

 SemGroup® Corporation (NYSE:SEMG) announced plans to construct, own and operate three new pipelines in the U.S. Gulf Coast region of Louisiana, collectively named the Maurepas Pipelines. The Maurepas Pipelines will support Motiva Enterprises LLC's efforts to interconnect and optimize its refinery operations.

"We are pleased to announce our first asset development project in the Gulf Coast region, an important growth area for SemGroup. We are excited to work with Motiva, a Gulf Coast refining leader, to advance its Louisiana refinery integration project," said Carlin Conner, SemGroup chief executive officer. "This $500 million investment will expand SemGroup's scale and customer base, creating a more diversified midstream company while adding to our inventory of assets to drop down to our MLP, Rose Rock Midstream, in the future. We remain focused on expansion projects that create value for our customers, are executed at mid-to-high single digit EBITDA multiples and generate attractive returns for our shareholders."

Project Details:

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Creel retiring as CEO of Enterprise Products Partners

By Bob Downing Published: April 14, 2015

From Enterprise Products Partners recently:

Texas-based Enterprise Products Partners L.P.  reported that Michael A. Creel, chief executive officer of Enterprise’s general partner, has announced his intention to retire as of December 31, 2015.

A.J. “Jim” Teague, Enterprise’s chief operating officer, has been elected to succeed  Creel as chief executive officer upon Creel’s retirement at the end of 2015.

Click  here  for the full story.

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Medina County group pushing community rights charter vote

By Bob Downing Published: April 13, 2015

A Medina County grass-roots group is launching a drive to adopt a new county charter with a community rights that might be used to block a planned natural gas pipeline.

The plan, if adopted, would be a first in Ohio.

The new group, Sustainable Medina County, intends to circulate petitions in order to get the charter on the November ballot. About 4,900 signatures will be needed.

Those petitions are being finalized. The deadline to submit them is in June.

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Rains caused pipeline breaks in West Virginia's Marshall County

By Bob Downing Published: April 13, 2015

Heavy rains were blamed for two pipeline breaks late Thursday in West Virginia's Marshall County.

Shifting soils caused a 12-inch natural gas gathering line and a 4-inch condensate line to break, according to media reports.

The condensate flowed into Little Grave Creek.

Both pipelines are owned by Williams, the pipeline giant.

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Household spending on gasoline, transit varies by region, income

By Bob Downing Published: April 13, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administartion today:

Households in different regions of the United States have similar average combined spending on gasoline and public transit, but the composition of that spending varies significantly across regions. In 2013, the most recent year of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Expenditure Survey (CES), the average household spent $3,148 annually on gasoline and public transit, with only about a $200 difference between geographic regions with the highest and lowest travel expenditures. Differences across income levels are much greater, as households in the highest-income brackets spent almost four times as much on recurring travel expenditures as those in the lowest-income bracket.

Read More ›

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'Non-commercial nuisance oil' scuttles Belmont County lease

By Bob Downing Published: April 13, 2015

A landowner in Ohio's Belmont County refuses to sign a lease with XTO Energy for his 26 acres near Bellaire.

The deal would make Curtis Wallner a rich man, but the contarct language says he will get paid royalties on what's produced from the well except for "non-commercial nuisance oil."

No one seems to know what XTO means or what that is, although it could be the condensate produced by Utica Shale wells, Wallner said. He refuses to sign and wants answers.

XTO refused comment.

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Ohio could get its second shale-based charter school

By Bob Downing Published: April 13, 2015

A new shale-based charter school is planned in eastern Ohio.

The proposed Ohio Valley Technology Academy would be based in Dillonvale in Jefferson County.

The Buckeye Local School District is directing the discussions.

Ohio has one already-opearting shale-based charter school: the Utica Shale Academy in the Southern Local School District in Salineville in Columbiana County.

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Fracking wastes stir controversy in Ohio's Athens County

By Bob Downing Published: April 13, 2015

Injection wells for drilling wastes have become a hot issue in Ohio's Athens County.

The Columbus Dispatch on April 5 took a look at the issue.

Click  here  to read reporter Laura Arenschield's story.

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U.S. oil imports from OPEC hit a 28-year low, EIA says

By Bob Downing Published: April 13, 2015

The United States is the biggest user of petroleum.

Its OPEC imports are dropping because of U.S. shale development.

In fact, U.S. imports from OPEC fell to a 28-year low, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

That goes back to April 1987.

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California used 70 million gallons of water for fracking in 2014

By Bob Downing Published: April 13, 2015

Drought-stricken California used 70 million gallons of water to hydraulic fracture or frack wells in 2014, Reuters reports.

That's equal to 214 acre-feet of water. But is less water than had been projected for 2014 drilling.

Click  here  to read the full story that came out earlier this month.

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North Carolina becoming the 34th shale-drilling state

By Bob Downing Published: April 13, 2015

Last month, North Carolina became the 34th state to embrace hydraulic fracturing or fracking in shale drilling.

A 120 rules were adopted by North Carolina's state legislature.

The drilling is likely to be in four areas of North Carolina.

The Triassic Basin, also called the Deep River Basin, stretches through seven counties: Lee, Moore, Chatham, Orange, Durham, Granville and Wake. It is the biggest lure for drillers.

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Tennessee Gas Pipeline has 119 reported problems since 2004

By Bob Downing Published: April 13, 2015

The Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal took a look at the safety record of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline that traverses 16 states including Ohio.

Federal data shows that the natural gas pipeline had 119 incidents causing $200 million in damage since 2004.

That included six problems in Kentucky with a total price tag of $2.4 million.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Kansas curtails injections in two counties to reduce earthquakes

By Bob Downing Published: April 11, 2015

Earlier this month, a Kansas state agency ordered a reduction in drilling wastes going into injection wells in two counties due to the growing number of earthquakes.

The order by the Kansas Corpration Commission affects Harper and Sumner counties south of Wichita on the Kansas-Oklahoma state line.

Click  here  to read the order.

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No neighboring wells contaminated by injection spill in Vienna Twp.

By Bob Downing Published: April 10, 2015

From the Trumbull County General Health District on Thursday in connection with spills from an injection well in Vienna Township operated by Kleese Development. The pad with five injection wells has been shut down byt he Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Here is the health agency's press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 9, 2015
VIENNA TWP. - Please be advised that the Ohio Environmental Protection
Agency, along with their Division of Environmental Services Laboratory in
Columbus, Ohio, completed sampling of wells used as private water systems
for a select group of residents residing near the KDA injection well site in
Vienna Township, Ohio. Raw (untreated) water samples were collected on
April 6, 2015, and analyzed for inorganic compounds, volatile organic
compounds (VOCs) and semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs). The
samples were obtained and analyses completed by the end of the day on April
8, 2015. Please note that the results of the VOC and SVOC samplings did
NOT indicate any impact to the nearby private water systems as a result of
the recent spill at the KDA facility

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Marcellus Shale Coalition looks at radon from fracking

By Bob Downing Published: April 10, 2015

From Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale Coalition on Thursday:

It’s unfortunate, yet not unexpected, that some anti-shale activists continue to make claims based purely on hypothetic and perhaps pre-determined narrative-driven ‘cause and effect’ conclusions. Thankfully, however, unbiased data and independent scientific findings are readily available.

INDEPENDENT PA DEP STUDY: “LITTLE POTENTIAL” OF RADON RISK FROM SHALE. On January 15, 2015, the Pa. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced results of its TENORM study, which analyzed naturally occurring levels of radioactivity associated with oil and natural gas development in Pennsylvania. It concluded there is little potential for harm to workers or the public from radiation exposure due to oil and gas development.

SUGGESTIONS NOT BASED ON ACTUAL GEOLOGICAL, HISTORICAL FACTORS. As StateImpact/NPR reports, Kevin Stewart, director of environmental health at the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic, “questioned the study’s assertion that higher radon levels could be traced to the start of the fracking boom.” Mr. Stewart holds a chemical engineering with high honors from Princeton University. This from NPR’s story:

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Maryland fracking moratorium on way to governor's desk

By Bob Downing Published: April 10, 2015

A press release today from Food & Water Watch:

Maryland Fracking Moratorium Headed to Governor Hogan's Desk

Statement of Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director, Food & Water Watch

Annapolis, Md. – Today, the Maryland House of Delegates passed legislation, voting 102 - 34, that would prohibit fracking permits in the in the state until October 2017. In response, Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, issued the following statement:

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Trans Energy to sell off Marcellus assets in W. Va.'s Wetzel County

By Bob Downing Published: April 10, 2015

From Trans Energy Inc. on Thursday:

Company Retains Its Core Acreage Positions in Marshall and Marion Counties, West Virginia

ST. MARYS, WV--(Marketwired - Apr 9, 2015) -  Trans Energy, Inc. (OTCQB: TENG) today announced the signing of an agreement to sell Marcellus assets in Wetzel County, West Virginia, for approximately $71.3 million in net proceeds, subject to adjustments to be determined at closing. 

The divestiture consists of 5,159 net acres and twelve producing Marcellus wells. The acreage represents approximately one-third of Trans Energy's total net acreage position targeting the Marcellus Shale. The transaction is expected to close approximately ninety days following the signing of the agreement, pending satisfactory title and environmental diligence by the buyer and subject to the satisfaction of certain closing conditions specified in the agreement. The company expects to receive approximately $47.0 million at closing, net of funds used to repurchase assets that are to be included in the sale, with any incremental funds expected to be received upon the successful resolution of certain quiet title actions that are currently ongoing and the release of funds that will be held in escrow for a time following the closing.

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U.S. households to spend $1,817 on gasoline in 2015, EIA says

By Bob Downing Published: April 10, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

The average U.S. household expenditure on motor gasoline in 2015 is expected to be about $1,817, the lowest level in more than a decade. This level is about $700 less than average household gasoline expenditures in 2014. Actual spending can vary based on driving-related factors (number of vehicles, annual distance driven), some of which depend on demographic considerations (location, income, size of household). As one might expect, households with more people tend to spend more on gasoline in a year.

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Offshore drilling is safer than ever before, says API's Gerard

By Bob Downing Published: April 10, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute on Thursday:

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Baker Hughes suspending quarterly U.S. onshore well count

By Bob Downing Published: April 10, 2015

From Baker Hughes on Thursday:

HOUSTON, April 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Baker Hughes Incorporated (NYSE:BHI) announced today that effective immediately it has suspended the quarterly publication of the U.S. onshore well count. In response to the recent market downturn and internal initiatives to reduce costs, the company has prioritized its resources to support the ongoing publication of the weekly North America and monthly International rig counts, which continue to provide a timely and relevant snapshot of evolving market conditions.

About the Baker Hughes Rig Counts
The Baker Hughes Rotary Rig Counts are counts of the number of drilling rigs actively exploring for or developing oil or natural gas in the United States, Canada and international markets. Baker Hughes has issued the rotary rig counts as a service to the petroleum industry since 1944, when Hughes Tool Company began weekly counts of US and Canadian drilling activity. Baker Hughes initiated the monthly international rig count in 1975.

North American rig count data is scheduled to be released at noon central time on the last working day of each week. The international rig count is scheduled to be released on the 5th working day of the month at 6:00 a.m. ET. Additional detailed information on the Baker Hughes rig counts is available from our website.

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Marcellus/Utica shale is 35 percent of U.S. reserves, study says

By Bob Downing Published: April 9, 2015

The United States had natural gas reserves of 2,515 trillion cubic feet at year-end 2014, according to the Potential Gas Committee at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden.

It said the Marcellus/Utica natural gas grew from 33 percent of the national total in 2012 to 35 percent in 2014.

Click  here  for the six-page press release.

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U.S. EPA wants to ban fracking liquids from public sewage plants

By Bob Downing Published: April 9, 2015

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants to ban fracking liquids from going to public sewage treatment plants for disposal.

That was a widely used method in Pennsylvania, although that changed a few years ago.

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

 

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Sabine Pass LNG facility wins expansion approval from FERC

By Bob Downing Published: April 9, 2015

Federal regulators have approved the expansion of the Sabine Pass liquidfied natural gas export terminal in Louisiana, but financing for the facility may still be an issue.

The expansion with Trains No. 5 and 6 was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The first trains are under construction by Cheniere Energy.

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

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ConocoPhillips to spend 50 percent more on shale drilling

By Bob Downing Published: April 9, 2015

Texas-based ConocoPhillips is making a massive wager on the future of shale drilling, pledging to spend 50 percent more over the next three years primarily in the U.S. and Canada after crude prices fell by more than half, Bloomberg reports.

The third-largest U.S. oil producer plans expenditures of about $11.5 billion a year, according to a company presentation Wednesday. It will steer more funds to wells from Texas to North Dakota as spending winds down on major projects in locations such as Australia.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Halliburton to sell its drilling operations, linked to Baker Hughes deal

By Bob Downing Published: April 9, 2015

From Halliburton Co. earlier this week:

Halliburton to Separately Market for Sale its Drill Bits, Directional Drilling and LWD/MWD Businesses in Connection with Pending Baker Hughes Acquisition
 

HOUSTON April 7, 2015 – Halliburton Company (NYSE: HAL) today announced it will separately market for sale the company’s Fixed Cutter and Roller Cone Drill Bits, Directional Drilling and Logging-While-Drilling (LWD)/Measurement-While-Drilling (MWD) businesses. The final sale of these businesses will not be completed until we have reached acceptable terms and conditions negotiated by Halliburton, the approval of Halliburton’s Board of Directors and final approvals of the Baker Hughes acquisition by competition authorities.

“Thanks to employees’ hard work, these businesses represent strong products and services in the oilfield services industry, and we believe the value inherent in these businesses will be recognized by prospective buyers,” said Dave Lesar, chairman and chief executive officer of Halliburton. “Although we would prefer to retain these assets, we will be required to divest some of our overlapping businesses to obtain competition authorities’ approvals as anticipated when we announced the Halliburton-Baker Hughes transaction. We are excited about the many benefits of our pending acquisition of Baker Hughes, which was recently approved by the stockholders of both companies, and look forward to creating a bellwether global oilfield services company for the benefit of our stockholders, customers, employees and other stakeholders.”

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Columbia Gas Transmission pays $150,000 for pipeline violations

By Bob Downing Published: April 9, 2015

From the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection earlier this week:

During 30 inspections from both the DEP’s Waterways and Wetlands Program and the Pike County Conservation District (PCCD), a total of 125 violations were observed at the construction site. Those violations included failure to implement, maintain and provide temporary stabilization of disturbed areas, and potential pollution and sediment discharges into waterways of the Commonwealth, some of which are protected as High Quality or Exceptional Value Waters.

“This penalty serves as a reminder of how serious the Department takes our responsibility to protect the health of area residents,” said Mike Bedrin, director of DEP’S Northeast Regional Office in Wilkes-Barre. “The Department’s regulations require the proper implementation of best management practices through permit conditions in order to protect the quality of our wetlands and streams.”

The PCCD has been delegated authority by the DEP to enforce environmental laws and regulations and issue civil penalties associated with earth-moving activities.

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$147.7 billion invested in drilling 45,000 U.S. oil, gas wells in 2013

By Bob Downing Published: April 9, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute on Wednesday:

WASHINGTON, April 8, 2015 ─ An estimated $147.7 billion was invested in drilling approximately 45,000 U.S. oil and natural gas wells in 2013, according to API’s 2013 Joint Association Survey on Drilling Costs. The number of wells declined slightly from 2012 and costs remained flat, but the average depth and total distance drilled increased, indicating a rise in efficiency. 
     
“Even before the recent decline in oil prices, developers focused on maximizing each well, reducing the costs and surface footprint of energy production,” said API Statistics Director Hazem Arafa. “The well count didn’t rise, but the wells are getting deeper and more efficient. As a result, the U.S. is improving its ability to remain a competitive energy superpower, creating jobs and fueling economic growth.”
  
From 2012 to 2013, the number of new wells declined from an estimated 46,548 to 45,039, according to the survey. Expenditures held at an estimated $147.7 billion compared to $148.9 billion in 2012. In contrast, the average well depth increased from approximately 7,981 feet to 8,491 feet and the total well footage (horizontal and vertical distance drilled) grew from an estimated 365.9 million feet to 368.1 million feet. Total footage among shale wells, about 30 percent of wells surveyed, increased to an estimated 190.9 million feet from 188.8 million feet. In addition, demand for oil outpaced demand for gas, with oil wells accounting for 65.1 percent of expenditures in 2013.
   
Over the same period, U.S. crude oil production increased from an average of 6.5 million barrels per day (MMbbl/d) in 2012 to an average of 7.5 MMbbl/d in 2013, while marketed natural gas production rose from 25.3 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) to 25.7 Tcf, according to the Energy Information Administration.
    
“The cost per foot among shale wells has declined over 43 percent since 2009, and that drive toward efficiency is helping U.S. energy production to stay competitive in a difficult market,” said Arafa. “Strong domestic production means savings for consumers, greater energy security, and more economic opportunities for workers here in the U.S.” 
  
API’s 2013 Joint Association Survey on Drilling Costs is available through API’s primary distributor, IHS. If you would like to purchase this report, please contact IHS at 1-800-854-7179, or visit their website at www.global.ihs.com.
    
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 20 million Americans.

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Increased radon in Pennsylvania homes corresponds to fracking onset

By Bob Downing Published: April 9, 2015

A press release from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore for release today:

INCREASED LEVELS OF RADON IN PENNSYLVANIA HOMES CORRESPOND TO ONSET OF FRACKING

--Levels of radon, a known carcinogen, rising since 2004, around the time that drilling for a new type of natural gas well began

 

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Motorists to pay low gasoline prices into 2016, API expert says

By Bob Downing Published: April 9, 2015

U.S. motorists should see low gasoline prices throughout 2015, and the price is expected to rise by only 35 cents a gallon in the next year, a spokeswoman for the American Petroleum Institute said Wednesday.
Low gasoline prices are “fantastic news” for consumers but are “a worry for lots of drillers,” according to Rayola Dougher, a senior economic adviser for the powerful trade group based in Washington, D.C.
She was among the speakers in a daylong Utica Shale conference at Walsh University in North Canton.
Gasoline prices have dropped about $1.36 a gallon in the past year, she said in a pre-conference interview. She attributed the decline to the major boom in oil and natural gas production in the United States, including shale development in Ohio and other states.
Ohio’s Utica Shale continues to show great promise, Dougher said. Its oil production has tripled in one year, yet the formation remains in its infancy compared to other shale-drilling areas in the U.S.
Low commodity prices for oil and natural gas are creating worries for drillers in the Utica Shale and other regions, she said.
Yet, she said, the U.S. Energy Information Administration is predicting that production will increase in 2015. Drillers are adding new technologies and cutting costs to make that happen.
Dougher said that a bigger severance tax, as suggested by Gov. John Kasich, would affect Ohio drillers negatively and could hurt a growing industry.
She estimated that drilling in Ohio has generated 190,000 jobs and directly affects 13,600 Ohio companies.
“The timing couldn’t be worse,” she said of the possible severance tax. “We hope common sense prevails.”

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LNG projects to be scrapped due to lower oil prices, Moody's says

By Bob Downing Published: April 8, 2015

A press release from Moody's on Tuesday:

New York, April 07, 2015 -- Liquefied natural gas (LNG) suppliers are curtailing their capital budgets, amid low oil prices and a coming glut of new LNG supply from Australia and the US, Moody's Investors Service says in a new report, "Lower Oil Prices Cause Suppliers of Liquefied Natural Gas to Nix Projects."

Moody's says low LNG prices will result in the cancellation of the vast majority of the nearly 30 liquefaction projects currently proposed in the US, 18 in western Canada, and four in eastern Canada.

"The drop in international oil prices relative to US natural gas prices has wiped out the price advantage US LNG projects, reversing the wide differentials of the past four years that led Asian buyers to demand more Henry Hub-linked contracts for their LNG portfolios," says Moody's Senior Vice President Mihoko Manabe.

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Summer gasoline prices to be $1 less than 2014, EIA says

By Bob Downing Published: April 8, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

U.S. drivers are projected to pay an average of $2.45/gallon (gal) for regular grade gasoline this summer (April through September), according to EIA's Short-Term Energy and Summer Fuels Outlook released yesterday. This year's projected average summer price is down from a $3.59/gal average during summer 2014.

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Completed merger creates Aspire Energy of Ohio LLC

By Bob Downing Published: April 8, 2015

From Chesapeake Utilities Corp. on April 1:

Dover, Delaware – Chesapeake Utilities Corporation (NYSE: CPK) (“Chesapeake Utilities” or “Company”) today announced completion of the merger of Gatherco, Inc. (“Gatherco”) into Aspire Energy of Ohio, LLC (“Aspire Energy”), Chesapeake Utilities’ newest wholly-owned subsidiary. The transaction had an aggregate value of approximately $59.2 million.

Gatherco, located in Orrville, Ohio, was established in 1997 when it acquired Columbia Gas Transmission’s natural gas gathering assets in Ohio. Gatherco has operations in 40 counties throughout the state. Gatherco’s assets include 16 gathering systems and over 2,000 miles of pipelines and right-of-way in central and eastern Ohio.

With the merger now completed, Aspire Energy will use these assets to provide natural gas midstream services, processing and transportation services to over 300 producers, and wholesale natural gas supply to over 30,000 end users in Ohio. Aspire Energy will report to Elaine B. Bittner, Chesapeake Utilities Senior Vice President of Strategic Development. “This transaction is a direct result of investments that we began making in 2013 to implement our Company’s strategic growth plan. In addition, this is our first significant non-regulated natural gas value chain initiative executed by a cross-section of our employees to actualize strategic objectives in that growth plan,” Ms. Bittner said.

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Royal Dutch Shell to buy British gas producer for $70 billion

By Bob Downing Published: April 8, 2015

From the Associated Press today:

Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to buy British gas producer BG Group for 47 billion pounds ($69.7 billion) in cash and stock, the companies announced Wednesday. The move gives oil giant Shell a greater stake in natural gas markets in the wake of tumbling oil prices.

Consolidations through takeovers and mergers are among the ways energy companies are seeking to reduce costs and become more efficient as oil prices have slumped.

A joint statement said the boards of both companies are recommending that shareholders approve the deal that will create a more competitive, stronger company for both sets of shareholders in today's volatile oil price world.

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Zero Utica Shale permits in Ohio unlikely to occur often, Bennett says

By Bob Downing Published: April 7, 2015

Last week, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources approved zero Utica shale permits, something that has not happened very often in recent years

Here's what Shawn Bennett of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a statewide trade group, had to say about that development:

"The slowdown in Utica Shale permitting has been apparent over the past several months due to depressed commodity prices for natural gas, natural gas liquids and crude oil.  However, the unusual occurrence experienced last week by ODNR, which reported no new permit applications, is indicative of the slowdown but unlikely to be a frequent event as there is still optimism about the Utica’s potential in certain areas of the play even with the current depressed commodity prices and tightened capital budgets."
.

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Financing arranged for Ohio's $899 million gas-fired power plant

By Bob Downing Published: April 7, 2015

A Swiss-based company, Advanced Power AG, announced today  that financing has been arranged for an $899 million gas-fired power plant in Carroll County.
The 700-megawatt plant, to be built north of Carrollton, would be powered by natural gas from eastern Ohio’s Utica Shale. That’s enough electricity to power 750,000 houses.
Carroll County has about 29,000 residents.
Partners TIAA-CREF, Chubu Electric Power Co., Ullico and Prudential Capital Group are providing $411 million in equity commitments. BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole and eight other commercial banks are providing $488 million in senior secured credit for the new Carroll County Energy plant.
The state-of-the-art plant is scheduled to begin operations in late 2017, said Advanced Power, a privately held company.
It will create 700 construction jobs and 20 to 30 permanent jobs.
Bechtel is building the plant. EthosEnergy will operate the facility and Advance Power will remain as the construction and asset manager.
Advanced Power has offices in London and Boston and is headquartered in Switzerland.
The plant will be built on a 77-acre site that is a half mile east of state Route 9 and 2.5 miles north of Carrollton. The plant’s footprint is 17 acres.
The plans had been announced in July 2013.
“(Tuesday’s) financial closing is a major milestone for Carroll County Energy,” said project manager Jonathan Winslow. “We are pleased for the Carroll County community at large and Carrollton schools as we move forward with this project and begin to contribute to the local economy, employment and energy picture.”
He said site work is already under way.
The new plant will be close to Kinder Morgan’s Tennessee Gas Pipeline plus American Electric Power electric transmission lines, officials said.
Organizers said the new plant will generate electricity in a region where numerous polluting, coal-fired power plants are being retired as federal clean-air rules are tightening.
The plant will capture waste heat to generate additional electricity. It will produce 50 percent of the carbon dioxide and less than 10 percent of the sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide that would have been produced by a coal-fired plant, the company said.

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Shifts in electric generation spur job growth but coal jobs decline

By Bob Downing Published: April 7, 2015

From Duke University today:

SHIFTS IN ELECTRICITY GENERATION SPUR NET JOB GROWTH, BUT COAL JOBS DECLINE

DURHAM, N.C. -- In the four years following the 2008 recession, the coal industry lost more than 49,000 jobs, while the natural gas, solar and wind industries together created nearly four times that amount, according to a new Duke University study.  

A county-by-county geographical analysis of the losses and gains shows that few new jobs were added in regions hardest hit by coal’s decline, particularly counties in southern West Virginia and eastern Kentucky.

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ODNR orders five injection wells near Warren closed after spill

By Bob Downing Published: April 7, 2015

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has ordered five injection wells in Trumbull County to cease operations, due to a spill that fouled a pond and a wetland.

The order was issued April 3 to Kleese Development  Associates of Warren.

It operates five injection wells at a site off Warren-Sharon Road in Vienna Township.

Click here  to read more.

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Ohio has 1,420 drilled Utica wells, 839 producing Utica wells

By Bob Downing Published: April 7, 2015

Ohio has approved 1,868 Utica Shale wells, as of April 4.

That total includes 1,420 drilled Utica wells and 839 producing Utica wells, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said.

Ohio has 24 drilling rigs at work.

Ohio last week had zero new Utica Shale permits. Hard to tell if that is just a fluke or if it is tied to lower commodity prices.

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Pennsylvania drillers have used 11 billion gallons of water, EPA says

By Bob Downing Published: April 7, 2015

Drillers in Pennsylvania used about 11 billion gallons of water to tap shale formations in the Marcellus Shale between 2011 and 2013, according to an analysis by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA examined more than 39,000 disclosures submitted from across the country between January 2011 and February 2013 to the website FracFocus, an industry-backed registry of the components used to frack shale formations.

Nationally, nearly 92 billion gallons of water were used for fracking between January 2011 and February 2013, according to the EPA’s analysis.

Pennsylvania’s water usage for shale development came in second only to Texas drillers, which used 45 billion gallons during that period.

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Pennsylvania DEP extends comment period on new drilling rules

By Bob Downing Published: April 7, 2015

From the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection:

This public comment period opened April 4, and is now extended from 30 days to 45 days, and will close on May 19. In addition, DEP will hold three public hearings, including two in the northern tier, and one in the southwest. Exact times and locations for these hearings will be announced as they are confirmed.

The purpose of this rulemaking is to modify and update existing requirements related to surface activities associated with the development of conventional and unconventional oil and gas wells, and implement Act 13 of 2012.

“This oil and gas rulemaking will have a lasting impact on Pennsylvania’s people, environment, and energy economy,” Acting DEP Secretary John Quigley said. “It is imperative that DEP goes the extra mile, takes that extra step, and puts in this additional work to modernize and strengthen these regulations. We are committed to protecting public health and the environment, while promoting responsible drilling.”

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Federal agency issues recommendations on crude rail shipments

By Bob Downing Published: April 7, 2015

From the Associated Press:

Fuel-hauling tank cars need retrofits to prevent more explosive train wrecks — and the public can’t wait another decade for the improvements as has been suggested by industry, U.S. safety officials said.

The National Transportation Safety Board issued a series of recommendations Monday after a spate of fiery accidents revealed shortcomings in voluntary industry standards for cars hauling oil, ethanol and other flammable liquids.

The NTSB said the cars should be replaced or retrofitted with protective systems better able to withstand fire than the bare steel construction now widely in use. That could include ceramic “thermal blankets” that surround the tank and shield it from intense heat should a nearby car catch fire, the NTSB said.

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U.S. was world's biggest petroleum, natural gas producer in 2014

By Bob Downing Published: April 7, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administartion today:

The United States remained the world's top producer of petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons in 2014, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates. U.S. hydrocarbon production continues to exceed that of both Russia and Saudi Arabia, the second- and third-largest producers, respectively. For the United States and Russia, total petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbon production, in energy content terms, is almost evenly split between petroleum and natural gas. Saudi Arabia's production, on the other hand, heavily favors petroleum.

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Tags: crude oil , international , liquid fuels , natural gas , oil/petroleum , Russia , Saudi Arabia

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Rover Pipeline updates route maps, launches new website

By Bob Downing Published: April 7, 2015

From Rover Pipeline LLC today:

PROPOSED ROVER ROUTE MAPS UPDATED AND DISTRIBUTED TO LIBRARIES AND GOVERNMENT OFFICES

Rover Launches New Website with Project Details

Project Continues to Move through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Permit Application Process

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Pittsburgh-based center gives full certification to CONSOL Energy

By Bob Downing Published: April 7, 2015

From the Pittsburgh-based Center for Sustainable Shale Development today:

Center for Sustainable Shale Development Certifies CONSOL Energy Appalachian Operations for Completion of Air & Water Evaluation and Verification Process

 

Company Earns Full Certification against All 15 CSSD Performance Standards

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Half of U.S. oil, gas production now comes from fracking

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 6, 2015

Fracking accounts for half of the natural gas and oil production in the United States.

So says a report from the Wall Street Journal, the web site RealClearEnergy writes.

"Fracking has climbed from near zero in gas since 2007 and in oil since 2010,"  RealClearEnergy says.

For the full RealClearEnergy post, go here.

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Bakken Shale is alive and, sort of, kicking, analysts say

By Bob Downing Published: April 6, 2015

From SterneAgee analysts Tim Rezvan and Truman Hobbs after Denver shale conference:


The Williston Basin: Alive and (Sort of) Kicking. Takeaways from Denver's DUG Bakken & Niobrara Conference.

Our Call
We presented at Hart Energy's DUG Bakken and Niobrara conference last week and summarize key takeaways from the conference. We also met with several operators and spoke with field-level services providers and midstream companies. Operators remain bullish about downspacing initiatives on core acreage, and generally agreed with our work suggesting break-even costs for core areas are in the high $40s per barrel level. We also found ourselves unexpectedly more bearish on natural gas, given conversations with midstream companies and consultants. Permitting delays across the Gulf Coast may delay the build-out for petrochemicals facilities, slowing natural gas demand growth. Please see your salesperson for a copy of our presentation.

• Hess Comments on Downspacing Positive Read-Through for QEP. Hess Corp. (HES, $69.20, Not Rated) provided an update on 2015 downspacing initiatives. It will conduct five pilots on a 9 middle Bakken/8 Three Forks wells per unit configuration, including tests near QEP Resources' prolific South Antelope property in eastern McKenzie County. While QEP's long-awaited downspacing results of its own may beat Hess' news (and validate an incremental 250-400 gross wells in South Antelope alone), Hess' work remains important for QEP, which has yet to formally quantify the potential inventory uplift from tighter well spacing.

• Mid $50s Basin-wide Break-Even Price for Williston/DJ Basins Gets Little Pushback from Management Teams in Attendance... We spoke with four management teams drilling in both basins at the conference and discussed our full-cycle work, which calculated full cycle costs of $44-$53/boe for operators focused in these two plays in 2014. Our work (highlighted in more detail on page 2), reflects actual results, where operators drilled across broader swaths of their acreage. Our work suggests break-even prices of $49-$59/boe for operators in these plays, which reflects 10% higher than full-cycle cost, based on the cost of capital. This takeaway received little push-back from operators.

• ...But We See 10%-20% Reduction in Break-Evens in '15, as Operators "Core Up" Where Best Rock and Infrastructure Is. The narrow focus of operators in 2015 means operators will drill in defined horizons on their most productive acreage. Most of these properties have existing gas/oil pipeline takeaway in place, as well as water handling infrastructure. This drilling focus, combined with steep well cost reductions already in place, means operators should report stronger year-end 2015 F&D costs, which will be a big component to lowering full-cycle costs (and in turn, break-even costs). We believe improving F&D costs could drive 2015 full-cycle costs down by $2-$5/boe. And by drilling within existing water handling infrastructure, we believe companies could lower lease operating expense by $2-$3/boe in 2015.

• Gulf Coast Permitting Delays Arise at Inopportune Time, May Weigh on Oil and Gas Prices. We met with representatives from midstream companies with exposure to the Gulf Coast and learned that permitting issues have become a major construction impediment. Permitting delays are dragging on construction times for petrochemical facilities, which may impact natural gas demand growth in 2016. And Gulf Coast crude storage facilities are now taking eighteen months to complete, with nine months needed for permitting. This compares to a three-week permitting period in North Dakota.

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Broadview Heights residents plan rally, urge city to join lawsuit

By Bob Downing Published: April 6, 2015

A press release from Broadview Heights' Mothers Against drilling in Our Neighborhoods:

Resident Protest Planned Prior to Broadview Hts. Council Meeting: People Reject Court Decision that Drilling Companies have More Rights

 

MEDIA RELEASE

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EIA looks at processing additional U.S. light oil production

By Bob Downing Published: April 6, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

With the growth in U.S. production of light tight oil (LTO) in recent years, petroleum refiners in the United States have been processing greater volumes of LTO. To date, increased volumes of domestic LTO have mainly been accommodated with no- and low-cost options such as reducing light crude oil imports, increasing refinery utilization rates, making incremental efficiency improvements (crude unit debottlenecking), and displacing medium crude oil imports. A new EIA report reviews a range of additional options that U.S. refiners may consider to expand LTO processing capacity. The costs of these generic options vary according to each facility size, complexity, location, and a number of other factors:

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Tags: production , tight oil

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More on EV Energy Partners midstream deal in eastern Ohio

By Bob Downing Published: April 6, 2015

A Texas-based energy company is selling its interest in a major natural gas-and-liquids processing operation in eastern Ohio.
EV Energy Partners LP announced on Monday  that it is selling its entire 21 percent interest in Utica East Ohio Midstream LLC for $575 million.
The buyer is Utica Gas Services LLC, a subsidiary of Oklahoma-based Williams Partners LP., a major pipeline and processing company that  already owns 49 percent of the Ohio operation.
The deal is expected to close in July, said Houston-based EV Energy Partners.
The company has been trying to sell its 21 percent plus other non-core Utica Shale holdings in eastern Ohio for the last year.
It said it has invested $294 million in the Utica East Ohio Midstream. It includes gas-processing plants in Columbiana and Carroll counties plus a liquids-processing plant at Scio in northern Harrison County plus related pipelines.
The company intends to use the proceeds to reduce its debt and to fund future activities.
Last fall,  the company had sold its 9 percent interest in the Cardinal Gas Services that operated pipelines in eastern Ohio. It got $162 million from two South Korean companies.
“This transaction, along with the previous sale of our interest in Cardinal Gas Services, reflects the completion of our divestiture of midstream investments in the Utica Shale,” said president and CEO Michael Mercer in a statement.
The company is pleased with its financial returns on the deals, he said.
EV Energy Partners, a publicly traded company that is part of privately held EnerVest Ltd., has said for ywo years that it intends to sell Utica assets to monetize holdings for its institutional investors. The company has been marketing about 335,000 acres in eastern Ohio. Those sales have been postponed due to low commodity prices.

Once complete, Williams Partners will own a 70 percent equity interest in UEO, a substantial natural gas midstream business in the Utica Shale in eastern Ohio. The gathering, processing, fractionation and storage assets are anchored by long-term, fee-based contracted commitments.

“Acquiring these cash-generating assets supports our strategy to grow our natural gas midstream position in key basins,” said Alan Armstrong, chief executive officer of the general partner of Williams Partners. “This fixed-fee business will be accretive to Williams Partners beginning in 2015 and the partnership has attractive growth opportunities as the Utica continues to develop.”

The other member of UEO, M3 Midstream, has the right to acquire a portion of EV Energy Partners’ interests in UEO for the same price. If the other member exercises this right, Williams Partners would acquire an approximate 13 percent interest and the other member would acquire an approximate 8 percent interest.

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Public program on Portage County injection wells on April 8

By Bob Downing Published: April 6, 2015

Mary Greer of Concerned Citizens Ohio will speak on injection wells in Portage County in a public program on Wednesday, April 8.  
Her talk, “Injection Wells in Portage County: What, Where, Why and Why Not,” will be at 6:30 p.m. at the Charlestown Town Hall,  6375 Rock Spring Road.
Portage County injection wells get about 2 million barrels per year of liquid drilling wastes. from Ohio and other states
Greer was invited to speak by the township trustees.
For more information, contact concernedcitizensohio@gmail.com.

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EV Energy Partners sells interest in Utica East Ohio Midstream

By Bob Downing Published: April 6, 2015

From EV Energy Partners today:

HOUSTON, April 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- EV Energy Partners, L.P. (NASDAQ: EVEP) today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to divest its entire 21 percent interest in Utica East Ohio Midstream LLC (UEO), to Utica Gas Services, L.L.C., a subsidiary of Williams Partners L.P. (NYSE: WPZ), for total cash consideration of $575 million.  EVEP's net capital contribution to UEO has been approximately $294 million.  The agreement is subject to customary purchase price adjustments and closing conditions, including termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act. 

EVEP expects the transaction to close by the middle of July 2015.  Upon closing, EVEP intends to initially use the net proceeds of the disposition to repay all amounts outstanding under its revolving credit facility and to hold the remainder available for future activities.  Availability under the revolving credit facility may be used to fund future activities, including acquisitions of oil and natural gas properties.

"This transaction, along with the previous sale of our interest in Cardinal Gas Services, reflects the completion of our divestiture of midstream investments in the Utica Shale.  We are pleased with the returns we achieved and look forward to participating in what we expect to be an attractive upstream A&D market in the second half of the year," said Michael Mercer, President and CEO.

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North Dakota drillers must cut production as penalty for gas flaring

By Bob Downing Published: April 3, 2015

From the Associated Press on Thursday:

The North Dakota Oil and Gas Division has ordered five oil companies to reduce their production in the state as a penalty for flaring more gas than allowed.

Division spokeswoman Alison Ritter tells the Bismarck Tribune that this is the largest number of companies and wells the state has sanctioned since new restrictions took effect on Jan. 1.

The new rules require companies to capture at least 77 percent of natural gas produced during oil production.

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Kinder Morgan planning two liquids' pipelines in northern Ohio

By Bob Downing Published: April 3, 2015

There is a new element to a liquids’ pipeline planned across northern Ohio: a second pipeline to move natural gas liquids to markets.
Texas-based pipeline giant Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP intends to add a 12-inch pipeline, the Utica to Ontario Pipeline Access (Utopia) West, to its earlier announced 12-inch liquids pipeline known as UTOPIA East.
The lines would run 240 miles from Harrison County passing through southern Stark and Wayne counties en route to Fulton County in northwest Ohio.
The two pipelines would be side by side along the same route and the two lines would be built at the same time, officials said.
They are being built by two Kinder Morgan subsidiaries: Kinder Morgan Cochin LLC and Kinder Morgan Cochin ULC.
The UTOPIA West Pipeline would carry natural gasoline. From Fulton County, the gasoline would be transported to the southwest in existing pipelines to Kankakee, Ill., where it would connect with the Cochin Pipeline.
Additional details about the liquids' line in Ohio were unavailable.

That 12-inch pipeline runs 1,900 miles to Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta. It has a capacity of 95,000 barrels per day of light condensates. That line previously carried Canadian propane to the United States.
The UTOPIA East Pipeline would run to Fulton County in northwest Ohio where it would connect with existing Kinder Morgan pipelines in Michigan.
The liquids, including ethane and propane from Ohio’s Utica Shales, will be shipped to Ontario to the NOVA Chemicals Corp. The liquids will become feedstock for producing plastics at its plant in Corunna, Ont.
The pipeline would have an initial capacity of 50,000 barrels per day with two pump stations. That could be expanded to 75,000 barrels per day with the addition of more pump stations.
That $500 million project was announced in December 2013.
The two pipelines do not require approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission because the entire new sections of pipeline are totally within Ohio. That means the pipeline is not an interstate pipeline that would require FERC approval.
Approval will be required from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and several Ohio state agencies.
Construction could begin in November 2016 and the pipelines could begin service in January 2018, according to a company fact sheet.
The two pipelines will create five full-time jobs plus hundreds of temporary union construction jobs.

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U.S. rig count drops by 20 in week, down 790 from a year ago

By Bob Downing Published: April 3, 2015

The United States has 802 oil rigs and 222 natural gas rigs at work, as of April 2.

That total comes from Baker Hughes, a Texas-based well service company that tracks the number of rigs.

The total of 1,024 working rigs is down 20 from last week and down 790 from a year ago.

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Restrictions on LNG, crude exports hurt U.S. economy, API says

By Bob Downing Published: April 3, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute on Thursday:

WASHINGTON, April 2, 2015 ─ A new federal report on barriers to “made-in-America exports” fails to consider restrictions on liquefied natural gas (LNG) and 1970s-era limits on U.S. crude oil, said API.
 
“The White House is focused on trade barriers overseas, but some of the worst limits on U.S. exports are imposed by our own outdated policies,” said API Executive Vice President Louis Finkel. “We can’t call for our allies to open their doors to trade while closing our own. Study after study shows that free trade in crude oil would promote the creation of U.S. jobs, put downward pressure on fuel costs, and strengthen America’s diplomatic influence overseas. At the same time, dozens of LNG export terminals could wait years for permits.
 
“The U.S. Trade Representative says that exports are central to the president’s economic agenda, but some policymakers seem to have a blind spot when it comes to energy.
 
“Our growth as a global energy superpower has been a game-changer for U.S. energy security. We can’t expect that growth to continue if our own trade polices stand in the way. Free trade will allow U.S. producers to compete effectively for a share of the global market while helping diminish the influence of nations that use energy as a tool against our allies.”
     
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 30 million Americans.

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New technology to cut air pollution from Pittsburgh airport drilling

By Bob Downing Published: April 3, 2015

From CONSOL Energy on Wednesday:

PITTSBURGH, April 1, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- CONSOL Energy (NYSE: CNX) and Halliburton (NYSE: HAL) announced today the planned deployment of the first hydraulic fracturing spread that is fully compliant with the Environmental Protection Agency's 2015 Tier 4F emissions standard for non-road, high-horsepower engines.  Tier 4F equipment will be used to complete fracturing jobs on all six pads on Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) property. 

Completions on Pad 2 at PIT commence today with an expected 36% overall reduction in emissions as a result of this new equipment. 

Tim Dugan, CONSOL Energy Chief Operating Officer – Exploration and Production commented, "Given the importance of this project to the entire Pittsburgh region, we are firmly committed to conducting our operations in accordance with the highest safety and environmental standards.  So, we issued a challenge to deliver the lowest-emitting fracturing fleet possible, using the latest technology and Halliburton stepped up to the plate."  Dugan continued, "We are pleased to team with Halliburton to introduce this industry-first on the PIT project, which is a prime example of the innovation that continues to occur across the Marcellus play, as well as CONSOL's commitment to going above and beyond the regulatory baseline that governs our operations."

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API advisor to speak at Canton's Utica Upstream on April 8

By Bob Downing Published: April 3, 2015

From the Canton Chamber of Commerce:

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Oil industry pressuring scientists on links to Oklahoma earthquakes

By Bob Downing Published: April 3, 2015

Bloomberg has been investigating what has been described as a steady stream of drilling industry pressure on scientists with the Oklahoma Geological Survey.

The agency has been investigating the rash of earthquakes that have hit Oklahoma. It had 585 quakes of 3.0 or greater in magnitude in 2014. That's more than any other state.

The quakes have been blamed on drilling wastes being injected into underground rock formations.

That pressure included a meeting in late 2013 between one Oklahoma-based scientist, the president of the University of Oklahoma and the CEO of one of the state's largest energy companies.

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EID: Data errors undermine NRDC's latest attack on fracking

By Bob Downing Published: April 2, 2015

From Energy in Depth today:

 

The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the FracTracker Alliance (FTA) are out with a new report with the eye-catching headline of Fracking’s Most Wanted: Lifting the Veil on Oil and Gas Company Spills and Violations. But a review of their research shows NRDC and FTA taking a page out of the anti-fracking playbook, namely by suggesting, erroneously, that if information can’t be found through a simple google search it’s somehow not publicly available, and by elevating clerical or paperwork errors to major environmental incidents.

The group zeroed in on the three states they found that had online databases. From there, their review of data on violations taking place between 2009 and 2013 in Colorado, Pennsylvania and West Virginia is riddled with basic errors and is short on much-needed context.  To be clear, the NRDC and FTA have faulted a select group of operators for violations of less than one-half of a percent of all wells drilled during a four year period.  The story could end there, but let’s lift the veil further.

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EIA: OPEC earned $730 billion in oil revenues in 2014

By Bob Downing Published: April 2, 2015

In 2014, OPEC earned an estimated $730 billion in net oil export revenues, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

That's is an 11 percent decline from 2013's $824 billion, the federal agency said.

Click  here  to read its report.

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New method developed to locate elevated groundwater methane

By Bob Downing Published: April 2, 2015

From the U.S. Geological Survey today:

New Stream Monitoring Method Locates Elevated Groundwater Methane in Shale-Gas Development Area

 

New Cumberland, PA – Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Utah have used a new stream-based methane monitoring method to identify and quantify groundwater methane discharging to a stream in an area of shale-gas development.   

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Earthquakes lawsuits are growing threat to energy companies

By Bob Downing Published: April 2, 2015

In 2011, Sandra Ladra of Prague, Okla., was injured after an earthquake hit her community.

She sued two energy companies, saying the quakes were triggered by drilling companies injecting liquid wastes into underground rock formations.

In 2014, Oklahoma had 585 quakes that were 3.0 or greater in magnituder. That's big enough to be felt. It is No. 1 in the United States for quakes.

Ladra's suit is now before the Oklahoma Supreme Court and it represents a growing threat to energy companies. Can they be held liable for damages stemming from such quakes?

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West Virginia story looks at little-known well communication

By Bob Downing Published: April 2, 2015

West Virginia Public Broadcasting looked at well communication between existing wells and newly drilled wells.

New wells may impact old wells and vice versa,

It may be a good thing or it may be a bad thing, the story says.

Click  here  to read the story.

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Two Texas drilling companies turn to crowdfunding to raise money

By Bob Downing Published: April 2, 2015

Two Texas energy companies have turned to "crowdfunding" to raise money for drilling projects.

The companies are Energy Funders and CrudeFunders, according to a Reuters story,

Such fund raising is more common in technology, fashion and film, not drilling.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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Pennsylvania begins monthly collection of drilling production reports

By Bob Downing Published: April 2, 2015

From the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection on Wednesday:

HARRISBURG, PA -- In an effort to increase efficiency and consistency, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) now collects natural gas production data from operators of unconventional natural gas wells on a monthly basis. Production data was previously reported on a semi-annual basis every February and August.

"This increase in production reporting will advance our efforts to promote responsible drilling in Pennsylvania," Acting DEP Secretary John Quigley said. "By requiring drillers to report their production on a more frequent basis, we will increase efficiency and consistency in reporting this vital data set."

The Unconventional Well Report Act, passed by the General Assembly on October 22, 2014, requires operators of unconventional wells to supply monthly gas production data to DEP. This requirement took effect in the beginning of this year, with January's production data due by midnight on March 31. All subsequent months' production data will be due 45 days after the end of the month of production. The February 2015 monthly production report is due no later than April 14.

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IPAA unhappy with federal decision on northern long-eared bat

By Bob Downing Published: April 2, 2015

From the Independent Petroleum Association of America on Wednesday

:

IPAA: Northern Long-Eared Bat Listing Wrong Decision for U.S. Industries in 37 States

 

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EnLink Midstream acquires pipeline, assets from Devon Energy

By Bob Downing Published: April 2, 2015

From Enlink Midstream on Wednesday:

DALLAS,APRIL 1, 2015 — EnLink Midstream Partners, LP (NYSE: ENLK) (“EnLink” or the “Partnership”) today announced that it has completed the previously announced acquisition of the Victoria Express Pipeline and related truck terminal and storage assets (“VEX”) from Devon Energy Corporation (NYSE: DVN).  The transaction is expected to beimmediately accretive to the Partnership.

 

The VEX pipeline is a 56-mile multi-grade crude oil pipeline with a current capacity of approximately 50,000 barrels per day (bpd) and, following completion of currently-underway expansion projects, will have capacity of approximately 90,000 bpd. Other VEX assets at the destination of the pipeline include an eight-bay truck unloading terminal, 200,000 barrels of above-ground storage, of which 50,000 barrels are under construction, and rights to barge loading docks. Also included in the transaction are facilities near the origin of the pipeline that are currently under construction, including an eight-bay truck unloading terminal and 160,000 barrels of above-ground storage.

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Industry pleased with voluntary reductions in methane emissions

By Bob Downing Published: April 2, 2015

From America's Natural Gas Alliance:

Background: Following is a statement by ANGA President and CEO Marty Durbin on the latest study by Washington State University with support by EDF showing reduced methane emissions in natural gas distribution.

"This latest study sponsored by EDF shows once again that the natural gas industry has been reducing emissions substantially and that innovation and cooperative efforts have led to much greater reductions at a faster pace than any regulation would. Just as the production sector has cut methane emissions since the shale revolution began in 2005, the distribution sector also has taken steps to upgrade systems and reduce emissions. We hope that the administration will take note of the broad industry reductions as shown in this and previous EDF studies and in the Environmental Protection Agency's own data and will continue with cooperative steps that can lead to further substantial emissions reductions."

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Report identifies Top 10 oil, gas companies for spills, violations

By Bob Downing Published: April 2, 2015

From the Natural Resources Defense Council and Frac Tracker Alliance today:

 

WASHINGTON (April 2, 2015) – Only three out the 36 states with active oil and gas operations make information about companies’ spills and legal violations easily available to the public, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council and FracTracker Alliance.

“People deserve to know what’s happening in their own backyards, but too often homeowners aren’t even informed if there’s a threat to their health,” said Amy Mall, report co-author and senior policy analyst at NRDC. “Our representatives have a responsibility to protect the people who elect them, not help keep a dangerous industry shrouded in secrecy. States are falling down on their responsibility to be a watchdog for the people who live there.”

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Financial hedging helps producers mitigate falling oil prices

By Bob Downing Published: April 2, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

The decline in crude oil prices since last summer has had a direct impact on oil producers' sales revenue, but hedging strategies have lessened the effects of lower prices on some producers' total revenue. Oil producers who adopt hedging strategies can reduce their price risk and generate smoother financial outcomes in unstable markets. A common hedging practice is to sell futures and swaps to lock in desired prices for future production, a practice that can shield producers' revenue from decreasing prices.

Read More ›

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Pipeline developer sues 100 West Virginia property owners

By Bob Downing Published: April 2, 2015

From the Associated Press:

BECKLEY, W.Va. — More than 100 property owners in West Virginia are being sued by the developer of a proposed natural gas pipeline.

Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC’s lawsuit seeks access to the properties to conduct a survey for a possible pipeline route.

The lawsuit says the property owners have rejected the company’s request to enter their properties. The lawsuit names 103 individuals and three corporations in 10 counties as defendants.

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North Dakota to join lawsuit against new federal fracking rules

By Bob Downing Published: April 2, 2015

From the Associated Press on Tuesday:

North Dakota plans to join Wyoming in a lawsuit challenging a new federal hydraulic fracturing rule for U.S. government lands.

The North Dakota Industrial Commission headed by Gov. Jack Dalrymple voted Tuesday to intervene in the lawsuit that Wyoming filed last week in federal court.

The Obama administration is requiring companies that drill on federal lands to disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing.

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Study shows methane leaks from gas distribution systems dropping

By Bob Downing Published: April 2, 2015

From Washington State University earlier this week:

 

 

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Maryland Senate committee approves 2-year fracking moratorium

By Bob Downing Published: April 1, 2015

From Food & Water Watch today:

Today, the Maryland Senate Committee on Education, Health and Environmental Affairs passed a 2-year fracking moratorium bill, which could now go to the full Senate for a vote. A similar bill passed in the Maryland House last week with overwhelming, bipartisan support.

Senator Karen Montgomery is the lead sponsor on the Senate bill. Delegate David-Fraser Hidalgo introduced the similar House bill.

Here is a statement from Food & Water Watch Executive Director, Wenonah Hauter: "We are very encouraged that the legislature is beginning to acknowledge the will of Marylanders to keep fracking out of the state. The moratorium bill now before the State Senate would indeed guarantee that no fracking happens for at least two years. In that time, as more and more science pointing to the inherent human heath and environmental hazards of fracking continues to emerge, we will continue educating and organizing to make sure that no fracking ever comes to Maryland."

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Ohio has 1,414 drilled Utica wells, 834 producing Utica wells

By Bob Downing Published: April 1, 2015

Ohio has approved 1,867 Utica Shale permits, as of March 28.

Of that total, 1,414 Utica wells have been drilled and 834 Utica wells are producing, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Ohio has 27 drilling rigs at work.

Four new permits were approved: three in Jefferson County and one in Monroe County.

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U.S. to give 'threatened' designation to northern long-eared bats

By Bob Downing Published: April 1, 2015

A federal agency on Wednesday declared the northern long-eared bat to be a threatened species due to a fungal disease that has devastated bat populations in Ohio and other states.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it is likely that the bat — once one of the most numerous in Ohio — will become an endangered species in the foreseeable future and perhaps extinct due to white-nose syndrome.
There is little that can be done to prevent that from happening because there are no cures for the disease, federal officials said.
But the bat is not on the brink of extinction, and the federal listing as a threatened species is justified and needed, agency spokesman Tony Sullins said in a teleconference.
“Bats are a critical component of our nation’s ecology and economy, maintaining a fragile insect predator-prey balance; we lose them at our peril,” agency Director Dan Ashe said in a statement.
The northern long-eared bat is a medium-sized bat about 3 to 3.7 inches long with a wingspan of 9 to 10 inches. Its fur color can be medium to dark brown on the back and tawny to pale brown on the underside. It has big ears and feeds on insects.
The federal designation, under study since October 2013, and interim protective rules that limit some summer tree cutting will go into effect May 4. Final rules should be completed by Dec. 31.
The protective measures improve the bats’ breeding opportunities by restricting some logging and tree removal from forests where the bats spend the warmer months. The rules will be in effect in June and July, when newborn bats live in nests before learning to fly.
The issue of whether the northern long-eared bat would become an endangered or threatened species had concerned mining operators, oil-and-natural gas drillers, electric utilities, residential and business developers and those involved in road and bridge projects because of the federal rules that could be imposed under the federal Endangered Species Act.
The Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a statewide trade group, said it was pleased that the bats were not listed as endangered, said spokesman Mike Chadsey.
“The northern long-eared bat is found in 39 states… and has a very healthy population in Ohio. An endangered listing would not have addressed the true threat to the bat which is a disease known as white-nose syndrome, not activities caused by industry activities, including oil and gas development, commercial development, residential development and wind power generation,” he said.
The federal action “will enable Fish and Wildlife to set up funds for additional research to find a cure for this disease while allowing certain industry activities to continue,” he said.
It is expected that the Fish and Wildlife will be modifying the interim rules based on comments submitted by hundreds of stakeholders, including the OOGA, Chadsey said.
The federal protection is “probably appropriate,” said Mike Johnson, chief of resource management for Summit Metro Parks. “But I’m not pleased. It’s just sad that such action is necessary.”
Park district surveys in 2013 and 2014 turned up no northern long-eared bats in Summit County, although it was the third most numerous bat in the past locally, he said.
 “And we’ve been looking hard for it,” he said. “We used to find it all the time. We used to catch it all the time. It used to be very common.”
The number of bats that winter in caves and crevasses in Liberty Park in northern Summit County has dropped sharply due to the disease.
It was found in Ohio in 2011 and confirmed at Liberty Park in early 2012. There is no cure. People cannot contract the fungus. The disease was discovered in New York in 2006 and it has killed six million bats in Ohio and other states. It has been confirmed in 25 of the 37 states where the northern long-eared bat lives.
Liberty Park probably housed “tens of thousands of bats, perhaps as many as 100,000 bats in the past, but that total is now in the hundreds,” Johnson said.
The park district is working to win federal approval for a bat conservation project based in and around Liberty Park in Twinsburg, Twinsburg Township and Reminderville.

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North Dakota imposes new rules on crude rail shipments

By Bob Downing Published: April 1, 2015

From the Associated Press today:

North Dakota is requiring oil companies to reduce the volatility of crude before it's loaded onto rail cars.

The new rules went into effect today and will require companies to remove certain liquids and gasses from oil train shipments. It's a process some say will make such transport safer.

Crude from North Dakota's oil patch has been linked to several fiery oil train crashes in the past two years.

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Former CONSOL executive gets prison sentence for royalty thefts

By Bob Downing Published: April 1, 2015

From the Associated Press:

A former Consol Energy executive has been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in federal prison for stealing $440,000 in gas royalties from the company by forging deed transfers so he could funnel the money into a fake company he ran out of a post office box.

Thirty-eight-year-old Scott Hamilton, of Baden, was sentenced by a federal judge in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. He pleaded guilty to mail fraud in November.

Hamilton was Consol’s land records general manager when he used two fake identities to forge deed transfers from Consol to his fake company, PRH. That enabled him to funnel drilling rights royalties from a 1,100-acre parcel in West Virginia and a 95-acre parcel in Illinois to the bogus company.

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API says federal offshore drilling plans are too restrictive

By Bob Downing Published: April 1, 2015

From the American Petroleum Industry:

WASHINGTON, March 30, 2015 – The federal government’s proposal for future offshore oil and natural gas leasing is already too restrictive and should not be reduced any further, according to comments API submitted to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) today.

“America’s energy security depends on our ability to produce oil and natural gas here in the U.S.,” said API Director of Upstream Erik Milito. “The administration should not make the map or the list of lease sales any smaller. Too many promising areas are already excluded, taking off the table hundreds of thousands of potential jobs and tens of billions of dollars in government revenue.”

API also encouraged BOEM to hold the currently proposed Atlantic lease sale a year or two earlier and to add a second Atlantic sale to the program.

“Safe and responsible energy development in the Atlantic will strengthen local economies with new job opportunities and private investment,” said Milito. “The Obama administration should carefully consider America’s long-term energy needs because these decisions will impact the country for a long time.”

API’s comments were co-signed by the National Ocean Industries Association, the Independent Petroleum Association of America, the U.S. Oil and Gas Association, the American Exploration & Production Council, the International Association of Geophysical Contractors, the Petroleum Equipment and Services Association, and the Alaska Oil and Gas Association.

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Keyera, Kinder Morgan to build crude storage terminal in Alberta

By Bob Downing Published: April 1, 2015

From Keyera Corp. on Tuesday:

CALGARY, March 31, 2015 /CNW/ - Keyera Corp. (TSX:KEY) ("Keyera") today announced a 50-50 joint venture with Kinder Morgan, Inc. (NYSE:KMI) ("Kinder Morgan") to build the Base Line Terminal (the "Terminal"), an above ground crude oil storage terminal near Edmonton, Alberta. The project is underpinned by several take-or-pay agreements ranging up to 10 years in length with creditworthy customers. Based on current capital estimates, Keyera's share of costs to construct the Terminal is estimated to be approximately CDN$330 million, excluding capitalized interest. The Terminal is expected to be commissioned in phases, with the first tanks scheduled to be commissioned in the second half of 2017, based on the most recent construction schedule.

The Terminal will be built on undeveloped land at Keyera's Alberta EnviroFuels site. Initially, 12 tanks will be constructed to provide customers with 4.8 million barrels of storage capacity. Sufficient land remains to add up to 1.8 million barrels of incremental storage capacity subject to future demand. The Terminal will be connected via pipeline to Kinder Morgan's existing Edmonton storage terminals and will provide customers with access to all crude oil streams handled by Kinder Morgan. From the Terminal, customers will be able to deliver products to end markets using multiple delivery options, including but not limited to major pipelines and nearby rail terminals operated by Keyera and Kinder Morgan. Kinder Morgan will oversee construction of the project and operate the Terminal once it is in service.

"This project is another example of Keyera and Kinder Morgan combining complementary assets and expertise to meet our customers' needs," said David Smith, Keyera's President and Chief Executive Officer. "While Keyera is contributing valuable undeveloped land, Kinder Morgan provides unparalleled connectivity to sources of crude oil in the Edmonton area."

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Pennsylvania schedules May 5 air hearing on Shell cracker plant

By Bob Downing Published: April 1, 2015

From the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection:

DEP to Hold Question-and-Answer Session and Public Hearing on the First Environmental Permit for Proposed Shell Cracker Plant

This is the first permit application from Shell to be considered by DEP for the proposed construction of a petrochemicals complex that will, when complete, crack ethane and manufacture polyethylene pellets for use in the plastics industry. The proposed Shell complex  would be located on the site formerly occupied by Horsehead Corporation’s Monaca Zinc Smelter in Potter Township, Beaver County.

The Plan Approval application was submitted to DEP on May 1, 2014, and has undergone a thorough technical review by DEP’s Bureau of Air Quality.

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Dominion Midstream acquires Dominion Carolina Gas Transmission

By Bob Downing Published: April 1, 2015

From Dominion today:

RICHMOND, Va., April 1, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Dominion Midstream Partners, LP (NYSE: DM), today announced that it has acquired Dominion Carolina Gas Transmission, LLC, from Dominion Resources, Inc. (NYSE: D), for approximately $495 million. Dominion Midstream is issuing approximately $200 million of limited partnership units to Dominion and has entered into a two-year note with Dominion for the remaining $295 million in transaction consideration.

Thomas F. Farrell II, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Dominion and Dominion Midstream GP, LLC, said:

"Today's asset contribution demonstrates Dominion's and Dominion Midstream's ability to execute complementary acquisitions to augment our dropdown strategy to achieve targeted best-in-class distribution growth at Dominion Midstream." 

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More Marcellus detail available in updated geologic maps

By Bob Downing Published: April 1, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

Natural gas production from the Marcellus shale formation in the Appalachian basin increased to 14.4 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in January 2015, accounting for more than 36% of shale gas production and more than 18% of total dry natural gas production in the United States, according to EIA's Natural Gas Weekly Update. Recent updates to EIA's maps and geologic information for the Marcellus shale play help to characterize the formation's structure, thickness, and extent.

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Communities find potential costs associated with fighting drilling

By Bob Downing Published: April 1, 2015

Communities in Ohio and Pennsylvania are finding out there is a cost associated with trying to push a community bill of rights to block oil-natural gas drilling.

Click  here  to read the full story from NPR's StateImpact Pennsylvania.

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Transco files with FERC for Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline approval

By Bob Downing Published: April 1, 2015

Williams announced that Transco has filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission seeking authorization for its Atlantic Sunrise expansion project, which would transport about 1.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from Pennsylvania and West Virginia to markets in the Mid-Atlantic and southeastern United States.

Click  here  to read the company's full statement.

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Rex Energy announces joint venture, cuts capital budget by 30%

By Bob Downing Published: April 1, 2015

From Rex Energy on Tuesday:

STATE COLLEGE, Pa., March 31, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Rex Energy Corporation (Nasdaq:REXX) ("the company") announced a new joint venture agreement in the Butler Operated Area, re-determined borrowing base and amended financial covenants to the senior secured credit facility.

Joint Venture Agreement

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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.