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Ohio Utica Shale

U.S. oil-gas rigs at 875, lowest total since early 2003

By Bob Downing Published: May 30, 2015

The number of U.S. oil rigs dropped again.

It was the 25th straight week of declines, says well service company Baker Hughes that tracks rig counts.

The U.S. lost 13 oil rigs, leaving 646 oil rigs at work. That is the lowest total since August 2010.

The number of natural gas and oil rigs dropped by 10, Baker Hughes said. There are now 875. That is the lowest total since January 2003.

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GTI researchers get awards for aiding gas industry

By Bob Downing Published: May 29, 2015

From a  press release received today:

Des Plaines, IL – May 29, 2015

A number of GTI researchers were honored at the AGA Operations Conference & Biennial Exhibition May 19-22 in Grapevine, TX, receiving recognition for their roles in developing valuable new technologies for the gas industry.

Alicia Farag, former GTI employee and Vice President, Operations, of GTI subsidiary LocusView Solutions, was honored with the prestigious Distribution Achievement Award. The award recognizes the individual who in the past five years has made a significant contribution to the science and art of gas distribution. Farag has led the development of technology that enables traceability of distribution assets utilizing barcode scanning and GPS technology to create electronic maps and records of assets installed in the field.

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Shale 2.0 tech will dramatically lower U.S. extraction costs, paper says

By Jim Mackinnon Published: May 29, 2015

The technology behind the so-called Shale 2.0 boom promises to dramatically lower the per-barrel cost to extract oil and gas in the U.S. via fracking says a paper by Mark Mills at the Manhattan Institute.

Mills: " In recent years, the technology deployed in America’s shale fields has advanced more rapidly than in any other segment of the energy industry. Shale 2.0 promises
to ultimately yield break-even costs of $5–$20 per barrel—in the same range as Saudi Arabia’s vaunted low-cost fields."

Read the whole thing here.

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Rex Energy, Stonehenge to work together in Butler Co., Pa.

By Bob Downing Published: May 29, 2015

From an announcement last week:

STATE COLLEGE, Pa., May 19, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Rex Energy Corporation (Nasdaq:REXX) and Stonehenge Energy Resources II, L.P. announced that their respective affiliates, R.E. Gas Development, LLC (“Rex”) and Stonehenge Appalachia, LLC (“Stonehenge”) have entered into an agreement for Stonehenge to construct a natural gas gathering and compression system to transport natural gas production from the Moraine East Area in Butler County, Pennsylvania.

Stonehenge will build the system in 2015 to gather Rex’s production in the Moraine East Area, where drilling commenced during the first quarter of 2015.The initial part of the system will consist of a 20-mile trunkline, various gathering lines and a compressor station, which will fully support the early production from the area.

The system’s initial capacity of 400 MMcf/d could also be expanded to facilitate future development and growth in the Moraine East Area. The Stonehenge system will deliver gas to the Bluestone processing plant owned and operated by a subsidiary of MarkWest Energy Partners, L.P. (MarkWest) (NYSE:MWE).

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Hardrock Exacavating fined $100,000 for Youngstown dumping

By Bob Downing Published: May 29, 2015

From the U.S. Attorney's Office on Thursday:

A Youngstown-based company was fined $75,000 and ordered to make $25,000 in payments to the community for violating the Clean Water Act by dumping fracking waste into a tributary of the Mahoning River.

Hardrock Excavating LLC pleaded guilty to one count of making an unpermitted discharge.

The company’s owner, Benedict W. Lupo, was previously sentenced to 28 months in prison for ordering the illegal discharges, which took place more than 30 times between Nov. 1, 2012 and Jan. 31, 2013, according to court documents.

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Youngstown company fined for illegal wastewater dumping

By Bob Downing Published: May 29, 2015

From the Associated Press on Thursday:

CLEVELAND (AP) — A northeast Ohio company has pleaded guilty to a federal charge related to the illegal dumping of wastewater from gas and oil drilling into a storm sewer 33 times between October 2012 and January 2013.
A judge on Thursday fined the company $75,000 and ordered it to pay $25,000 to be split between Friends of the Mahoning River and Midwest Environmental Enforcement Association.
Company owner Ben Lupo of Poland, Ohio, pleaded guilty in March 2014 to a federal dumping charge and was sentenced to 28 months in prison in August.
Lupo was accused of ordering workers to pour toxic sludge and brine containing diesel oil, benzene, toluene, barium and chlorides into a storm sewer that reached a Mahoning River tributary.
A company attorney did not return telephone messages Thursday.

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Pennsylvania sets meeting on Indiana County injection well

By Bob Downing Published: May 29, 2015

From the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection:

The hearing will be held beginning at 6 pm on June 1, 2015 at the East Run Sportsman Association, located at 1668 Sebring Road in Marion Center, PA.

PGE originally submitted an application to convert the well on April 22, 2014. The permit application was withdrawn after DEP discovered deficiencies in the company’s Erosion and Sediment Plan (E&S) and its Control and Disposal Plan (C&D). PGE later resubmitted the application and was granted a permit on October 22, 2014. On March 12, 2015 DEP revoked the permit to further consider requirements under the state’s Clean Streams Law. The company resubmitted the application on March 31, 2105.

The Yanity well is a gas well first permitted by DEP in 1997. PGE has proposed to use the well to inject waste water from the oil and gas industry. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a permit approving the plan to inject that waste water into the well. PGE is asking DEP to approve the use of the well hole to inject the water.

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Chevron pays $5 million to settle Pa. wrongful death lawsuit

By Bob Downing Published: May 29, 2015

From the Associated Press on Thursday:

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Chevron agreed to pay $5 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of a contract worker killed last year when fire engulfed a shale gas well.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports (http://bit.ly/1eAfvu6 ) an Allegheny County judge this month approved the settlement of the lawsuit brought by the family of 27-year-old Ian McKee. The majority of the money will go into a trust for McKee's son, who was born after the Warren resident died in February 2014.

The fire killed McKee, a field service technician for Houston-based Cameron International Corp., as he and another worker ran to the wellhead in response to a hissing sound.

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Chemical feedstock key part of increasing U.S. energy demand

By Bob Downing Published: May 29, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

Industrial sector energy consumption is expected to grow faster than all other sectors, according to EIA's Annual Energy Outlook 2015. A large portion of both consumption and anticipated growth is in the bulk chemicals industry, which is able to take advantage of increased domestic supply of natural gas, hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGL), and petrochemical feedstocks. While some energy is used in the bulk chemical manufacturing process for heat and power, most energy in that industry is used as feedstocks, or raw materials used in the manufacture of chemicals.

Read More ›

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Eight U.S. states among Top 30 energy-producinhjg countries

By Bob Downing Published: May 29, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute today:

WASHINGTON, May 28, 2015 ─ Many individual states now rival the world’s major energy producing countries, according to a ranking published today by API.

“This is what energy security looks like,” said API Vice President for Regulatory and Economic Policy Kyle Isakower, “Thanks to innovations in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, states like Texas and Pennsylvania now outpace many OPEC countries in oil or natural gas production. Rising domestic production has helped to reshape global markets and revitalize job creation here in the United States.”

Each with a natural gas output above 3 billion cubic feet per day, eight U.S. states would rank among the world’s top 30 gas producing countries, exceeding nations like Venezuela and Oman in 2012, the most recent year for which consistent international data is available. The rapid growth in shale production, unlocked by hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, has helped the United States to take the top spot among global producers.

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Saudi attempt to kill U.S. shale has backfired, professor says

By Jim Mackinnon Published: May 28, 2015

Saudi Arabia's attempt to kill U.S. shale production has backfired, writes Mark Perry, economics professor, at Investors.com. A new revolution, "Shale 2.0" is just starting, he says.

Perry: " ... rather than kill the U.S. shale revolution, the Saudis have only made it more resilient, sped up its rate of technological innovation and capped oil prices for at least a half-decade or more.

"U.S. shale producers will survive and grow. American consumers, paying less for gasoline and heating oil, will be the big winners. The Saudis and their friends in OPEC, so dependent on oil-export revenue, will be the clear losers.

"The U.S. shale industry is by necessity becoming more efficient than ever. Low oil prices have become an opportunity. The Saudis have lit a fire under producers to trim the fat, deploy new productivity-boosting technologies and zero in on the most productive geology."

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Refracking shale wells offers tremendous potential for companies, investors

By Jim Mackinnon Published: May 28, 2015

There is enormous potential in refracking shale well sites, says an investment-oriented column at Investopedia.

Matt DiLallo at Investopedia: "Refracking is much like it sounds: returning to frack horizontal wells that were fracked in the past. The reason companies are exploring its potential is that horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have rapidly evolved over the past few years. That evolution has vastly improved well performance and the amount of oil and gas that can be recovered from each well. It's leading companies to want to transfer these advances to earlier wells to improve their performance.

Chesapeake Energy said 68 percent of its wells could be refracked, according to the article.

Read the whole thing here.

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DOE gives approval to Alaska LNG export facility

By Bob Downing Published: May 28, 2015

From the U.S. Department of Energy today:

Energy Department Authorizes Alaska LNG Project, LLC to Export Liquefied Natural Gas

WASHINGTON – The Energy Department announced today that it has issued a conditional authorization for the Alaska LNG Project, LLC (Alaska LNG) to export domestically produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) to countries that do not have a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States. Subject to environmental review and final regulatory approval, Alaska LNG, in the Nikiski Area of the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska is authorized to export LNG up to the equivalent of 2.55 billion standard cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas for a period of 30 years.

Federal law generally requires approval of natural gas exports to countries that have an FTA with the United States. For countries that do not have an FTA with the United States, the Natural Gas Act directs the Department of Energy to grant export authorizations unless the Department finds that the proposed exports “will not be consistent with the public interest.”

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Federal agencies to boost greater sage-grouse protection

By Bob Downing Published: May 28, 2015

From two federal agencies today:

BLM, USFS Plans for Western Public Lands Provide for Greater Sage-Grouse Protection, Balanced Development  
Vital tools in the historic, collaborative effort to conserve America’s sagebrush habitat balance demands of growing West

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) today released final environmental reviews for proposed land use plans that will help conserve greater sage-grouse habitat and support sustainable economic development on portions of public lands in 10 states across the West. The land management plans, developed during the past three years in partnership with the states and with input from local partners, will benefit wildlife, outdoor recreation, ranching and other traditional land uses that rely on a healthy sagebrush landscape.

The updated plans are an essential element of an unprecedented and proactive strategy to respond to the deteriorating health of the American West’s sagebrush landscapes and declining population of the greater sage-grouse, a ground-dwelling bird under consideration by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

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Group says new grouse protection plans need improvement

By Bob Downing Published: May 28, 2015

From the American Bird Conservancy today:

Plans to Protect Sage-Grouse Advance Conservation But Need Improvement

Not All Grouse Habitat Identified as Priority by Scientists to be Fully Protected

 

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USGS releases new report on fracking sand, its mining

By Bob Downing Published: May 28, 2015

From the U.S. Geological Survey today:

Newly released research from the U.S. Geological Survey describes U.S. hydraulic fracturing (frac) sand deposits and their locations, and provides estimates of frac sand production, consumption, and reserves. A companion map of producing and potential frac sand and resin-coated sand source units in the conterminous U.S. is also included. 

The United States is the largest producer and consumer of frac sand in the world with nearly 70 percent of 2014 domestic production coming from the Great Lakes Region, primarily Wisconsin and Minnesota. The specialized silica sand, which consists of natural sand grains with strict mineralogical and textural properties, acts as a proppant (a granular substance that props open fractures) when added to fracking fluids that are injected into unconventional oil and gas wells during hydraulic fracturing. 

“These new USGS compilations will provide comprehensive information about frac sand to mining companies, the petroleum industry, and land managers,” said USGS scientist Mary Ellen Benson, principal author of “Frac Sand Sources in the United States”. 

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JobsOhio offers incentives to get cracker plant in Ohio

By Bob Downing Published: May 28, 2015

The Thai company behind a proposed $5.7 billion cracker plant in Belmont County has been promised an "aggressive incentive package" by JobsOhio.

That includes job-creation tax credits, work-force training grants, local tax credits and infrastructure impovement grants, says PTT Global Chemical Public Co. Ltd.

JobsOhio said the incentives will be detailed once the deal is final.

Click  here  to read more from Columbus Business First.

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Hedge fund manager acquires interest in Rex Energy Corp.

By Bob Downing Published: May 28, 2015

A Texas-based hedge fund manager has acquired a 9 percent interest in the Rex Energy Corp, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Zac Hirzil and his Hirzil Capital Management say that interest in Rex Energy that is drilling in Ohio and Pennsylvania will be passive.

Click  here  to read more.

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New chemical plants to boost natural gas use, EIA says

By Bob Downing Published: May 28, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administartion:

New chemical plants expected to boost industrial natural gas use by 4% in 2015

Several new energy-intensive industrial facilities started service in 2015, and there are additional projects scheduled to come online in the next year. Industrial natural gas consumption has grown steadily since 2009, as relatively low natural gas prices have been attractive to customers who use natural gas as a feedstock for chemical production. Methanol plants and ammonia- or urea-based fertilizer plants are among the most natural gas-intensive industrial end users, with many using 100 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) or more. In the Short Term Energy Outlook, EIA forecasts that these new projects will help drive growth in industrial natural gas demand through the forecast period, which runs through the end of 2016. EIA forecasts consumption will average 21.8 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2015 and 22.4 Bcf/d in 2016. That industrial consumption in 2016 is expected to be 5.5 Bcf/d, or 33%, greater than in 2009.

Industrial demand for natural gas has been relatively high in the Gulf Coast, and several of the new projects are located there. Two methanol plants began service this year – a small facility in Pampa, Texas, and one in Geismar, Louisiana, and a larger methanol facility is planned to come online later this year in Clear Lake, Texas. Additionally, a handful of fertilizer plants have also begun service, and an expansion is planned at a plant near Beaumont, Texas, later this year.

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Warren Resources arranges $250 million refinancing

By Bob Downing Published: May 28, 2015

From Warren Resources on Wedbesday:

NEW YORK, May 26, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Warren Resources, Inc. (Nasdaq:WRES) today announced the closing of a $250 million strategic refinancing with funds sponsored by Franklin Square Capital Partners and sub-advised by GSO Capital Partners LP, the credit division of Blackstone, providing Warren with both liquidity and a platform to continue its growth initiatives.

The first lien term loan provides Warren with $202.5 million of new money, including $172.5 million borrowed at closing for working capital and to repay Warren's existing revolving credit facility, a $30 million delayed draw first lien commitment, and $47.2 million of additional first lien term loans through the exchange of $69.6 million of unsecured notes at an exchange price of 65% of par. The new first lien loan has a term of five years, and a coupon rate of LIBOR plus 8.5%, with a LIBOR floor of 1%. The transaction also allows Warren to exchange additional unsecured debt at a discount into second lien debt, subject to incurrence tests. As of May 26, 2015, Warren has $14.7 million of cash on hand.

"Today we are extremely pleased to announce a new strategic refinancing that not only enhances the financial health of the company, but also provides Warren with the ability to pursue acquisitions and continue our strategy of transformational growth. GSO is a highly respected institution that can provide significant resources as we acquire and develop oil and natural gas assets," said Lance Peterson, interim Chief Executive Officer of Warren.

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Pennsylvania governor is forming pipeline task force

By Bob Downing Published: May 28, 2015

From the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection on Wednesday:

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Medina County group to seek signatures at York Twp. park

By Bob Downing Published: May 28, 2015

The Medina County grass-roots group pushing a county charter with a bill of rights that could restrict shale drilling, pipelines and injection wells will be gathering signatures this weekend in a York Township park.
Sustainable Medina County will be gathering signatures to put the issue on the November ballot from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday,  noon to 5 p.m. Saturday,  and 5 to 8 p.m. Monday  and Tuesday  at York Community Park at state routes 18 and 252.
Similar efforts are under way in Portage, Fulton, Athens and Meigs counties.
For more information, go to www.sustainablemedinacounty.org.

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Forbes offers a fresh look at AEP's Aubrey McClendon

By Bob Downing Published: May 28, 2015

Aubrey McClendon's newly formed oil and gas company said last year it would buy the Ohio acreage belonging to Houston's Paloma Resources as part of a 130,000-acre, multi-company purchase. But the deal never happened.

Paloma President Christopher O'Sullivan told Forbes that McClendon did not have the money. A spokesman for McClendon told the magazine that American Energy Partners LP didn't finish the transaction "for a variety of good reasons," but wouldn't elaborate.

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49 Ohio firefighters complete OOGEEP oilfield training

By Bob Downing Published: May 28, 2015

Local Firefighters Learn How to Safely Respond to Oilfield Incidents

 

Granville, OH – Firefighters from across Ohio recently completed the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program’s (OOGEEP) oilfield emergency response training program. The training educates first responders how to effectively manage and address potential and rare oilfield incidents.

 

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Company acquires equity in Enlink Midstream Holdings

By Bob Downing Published: May 28, 2015

From a press release last night::

DALLAS,May 27, 2015 — EnLink Midstream Partners, LP (NYSE: ENLK) (the Partnership) today announced that it has acquired the remaining 25 percent equity interest in EnLink Midstream Holdings, LP (EMH) from EnLink Midstream, LLC (NYSE: ENLC) (the General Partner) (collectively, EnLink Midstream) for approximately $900 million of newly issued Partnership common units. The Partnership now holds 100 percent of EMH, which owns the assets that Devon Energy Corp. (Devon) contributed to EnLink Midstream in March 2014. These assets include gathering and processing systems in North Texas and Oklahoma, which are supported by long-term, fixed-fee contracts with minimum volume commitments, as well as an economic interest in Gulf Coast Fractionators located in Mont Belvieu, Texas.

The acquisition is immediately accretive to distributable cash flow per common unit of the Partnership, with the transaction value representing an approximate nine times multiple of estimated adjusted EBITDA of EMH for 2015.

“The completion of this dropdown marks an important milestone in EnLink Midstream’s strategic growth plan,” said Barry E. Davis, EnLink Midstream President and Chief Executive Officer. “As the final dropdown of Devon’s legacy assets from the General Partner to the Partnership, this transaction enables us to achieve our stated goal of creating a pure-play general partner. The transaction also consolidates Devon’s legacy assets under the ownership of the Partnership, which supports long-term growth in Partnership distributions and further reduces the leverage of the Partnership.”

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Oklahoma expected to prohibit local community fracking bans

By Bob Downing Published: May 28, 2015

Oklahoma is following Texas in adopting rules that will block local communities from banning fracking.

Oklahoma has passed Senate Bill 809 and it is headed to Gov. Mary Fallin, who is expected to sign it.

Click  here  to read more from the BakerHostetler law firm.

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Pennsylvania firm works to quiet natural gas compressor stations

By Bob Downing Published: May 28, 2015

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that a company in Washington, Pa., is working to quiet noisy natural gas compressor stations on pipelines.

The company, Steel Nation Inc., is finding increasing business in eastern Ohio's Utica Shale.

Click  here  to read the full story.

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WPX continues to divest itself of Marcellus Shale assets

By Bob Downing Published: May 28, 2015

Oklahoma-based WPX Energy has completed its third divestiture of the year, closing the sale of a package of Marcellus Shale marketing contracts in Pennsylvania and the release of certain related firm transportation capacity to an undisclosed buyer for $200 million.

Click  here  to read more.

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Wadsworth industrial park to get natural gas from Nexus Pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: May 27, 2015

A new Medina County industrial park has signed a binding agreement to get natural gas from a proposed pipeline that will cross northern Ohio.
PJS Properties will supply natural gas from the Nexus Pipeline to the Brickyard Industrial Park that is planned  off state Route 94 on Wadsworth’s south side and will be developed by construction contractor Beacon Marshall based in Bath Township.
“The Nexus Pipeline will afford the Brickyard Industrial Park with critically needed access to a reliable supply of clean-burning natural gas for manufacturers and businesses to meet their energy demands,” said Phil Stone, president of PJS Properties, in a statement.
“A few years ago, I purchased a large piece of property with the intent to create an industrial park that would attarct new businesses to our area, drive economic growth and create good-paying jobs. This dream will now become a reality thanks to the Nexus natural gas pipeline,” he said. “Nexus is a very important job-creating project for Medina County.”
The terms of the agreement with the Texas-based Nexus Gas Transmission LLC were not disclosed.
 “We are very pleased to have the support of PJS Properties and Beacon Marshall,” said Nexus spokesman Arthur Diestel. “The Nexus Gas Tranmission project will serve as a foundation for future economic growth and will support Ohio’s growing demand for clean and affordable natural gas from industrial parks such as the Brickyard,” he said.
The agreement is the first along the pipeline route to be announced by Nexus officials.
A large supply of natural gas “will allow industrial developments in Medina County to attract new manfacturers and businesses,” said Charles Marshall, CEO of Beacon Marshall.
Medina County has been overlooked in the past for new manufacturing opportunities because of a lack of a natural gas supply to the industrial park, officials said.
“The lack of a sufficient supply of natural gas has prevented the county from competing for several large manufacturing projects in the past,” said Bethany Dentler, executive director of the Medina County Economic Development Corp..
The new pipeline “represents the kind of job-creation opportunities that we want to support and is desparately needed energy infrastructure that enables companies to locate and grow in Medina County,” she said.
The Brickyard complex is planned on nearly 300 acres that were annexed to Wadsworth from Wadsworth Township in 2014.
The land lies between Mt. Eaton, Seville and Walls roads and the Akron-Barberton Railway.
The new pipeline would run south and west of Wadsworth and a connecting pipeline would be needed to get the natural gas from the Utica Shale in eastern Ohio to the industrial park.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is studying the Nexus proposal. Federal approval is required before the $2 billion project can proceed.
The 250-mile pipeline would run from Columbiana Ciounty to Defiance in northwest Ohio. It would then head north into Michigan and connect with existing pieplines
The pipeline 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 city of Green and the grass-roots Coalition to Reroute Nexus are pushing to get the federal agency to reroute the pipeline to a less-populated and more rural area to the south.
The pipeline 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.  Construction would take about one year and the pipeline could begin service in late 2017.
The pipeline is proposed by Houston-based Nexus Gas Transmission in collaboration with Detroit-based DTE Energy Co. and Texas-based Spectra Energy Partners.

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IPAA: Water ruling hurts all landowners including energy producers

By Bob Downing Published: May 27, 2015

From the Independent Petroleum Association of America today:

IPAA: Waters of the U.S. Rule Hurts All American Landowners,
Including U.S. Energy Producers

 

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) Executive Vice President Lee Fuller released the following statement on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) final rulemaking to revise the definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS):

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Saudi Arabia may unleash vast oil, gas reserves via fracking

By Jim Mackinnon Published: May 27, 2015

The Middle East, in particular Saudi Arabia, soon could have its own fracking boom to unleash vast reserves of oil and gas trapped in carbonite formations, writes Andrew Zaleski at CNBC.com.

CNBC.com: "The key to an energy boom is simple: Build a technology to get at the oil and gas that geologists already know is trapped in various subterranean, or subsea, formations.

"The fracking boom in the U.S. is the obvious example. Extracting seabed methane hydrate is another huge bet—energy-starved Japan has made that.

"Saudi Arabia could be next to use new technology to get at currently trapped gigantic reserves of oil and gas. A small pilot project about to get under way is the energy market equivalent of a moonshot, but it could allow a Saudi fracking boom to move one step closer to reality.

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Ohio has 1,494 drilled Utica wells, 897 producing Utica wells

By Bob Downing Published: May 27, 2015

Ohio has approved 1,917 Utica Shale permits, as of May 23.

That total includes 1,494 drilled Utica wells and 897 producing Utica wells, says the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Ohio has 26 rigs at work.

Sixteen new permits were approved: one in Belmont County, six in Guernsey County, five in Harrison County and four in Monroe County.

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Community rights group schedules June 2 meeting in Aurora

By Bob Downing Published: May 27, 2015

The Portage Community Rights Group is holding a public meeting on June 2 at Aurora High School, 109 W. Pioneer Trail, Aurora.
The meeting will be at 7 p.m.
It is one of four community meetings being organized by the grass-roots group that is seeking signatures on petitions to force a November vote on a new county charter that would be more restrictive on injection wells and pipelines related to shale drilling.
For more information, go to www.portagecommunityrights group or info@portagecommunityrightsgroup.org.

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Ohio's Bennett lauds formation of Congressional Propane Caucus

By Bob Downing Published: May 27, 2015

Here's an announcement about the formation of the Congressional Propane Caucus and the reaction of Shawn Bennett of the Ohio Oil & Gas Association:

 

"Shale plays across the United States continue to shape our nation's energy supply structure. In Ohio, the Utica shale play is a perfect example of the associated benefits of this supply shift - revitalizing eastern Ohio through the production of natural gas and natural gas liquids. Propane has been an integral part of this change. It continues to be a great fuel source for Ohio's citizens, especially farmers and consumers in areas without access to natural gas pipelines to heat their homes. We applaud the leadership that Congressman Robert E. Latta (R-OH) has shown in announcing the foundation of the Congressional Propane Caucus.  Natural gas and the products derived from it are integral parts to Ohio's economy, including the success of Ohio's Utica shale play, and the everyday lives of its citizens."

-Shawn Bennett, Executive Vice President, Ohio Oil & Gas Association

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Increased energy supply aids U.S. manufacturing

By Bob Downing Published: May 27, 2015

From the American Chemistry Council last week:

INCREASED ENERGY SUPPLIES KEY TO U.S. MANUFACTURING GROWTH

Senate Hearing Highlights Benefits of Robust, Diverse Sources

WASHINGTON (May 19, 2015) – The American Chemistry Council (ACC) issued the following statement prior to today’s hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee examining energy supply legislation.

“We look forward to today’s hearing on energy supply legislation. Responsible development of diverse energy sources is vital to our energy security and prosperity, and the broad range of bills to be covered this morning will help boost supplies of American-made energy, from natural gas and renewables to geothermal and hydropower.

“As the nation’s largest industrial consumer of natural gas, we welcome efforts to increase access to this remarkable resource, which our industry will use to continue its unprecedented investment and growth in the United States. We commend the sponsors of revenue-sharing legislation, which will let coastal states share in the benefits of offshore energy development while encouraging new supplies that can strengthen manufacturing and create jobs.

“ACC supports a comprehensive energy strategy that maximizes all energy resources, including oil and natural gas, coal, nuclear power, alternatives and renewables; prioritizes greater energy efficiency in homes, buildings and industrial facilities; and encourages adoption of innovative energy sources such as energy recovery.”

# # #

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U.S. settles with Marathon Petroleum to cut air emissions

By Bob Downing Published: May 27, 2015

From the U.S. EPA last week:

U.S. Settles with Marathon Petroleum Corporation to Cut Harmful Air Emissions at Facilities in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio

WASHINGTON
– The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a settlement with Marathon Petroleum Corporation today that resolves various alleged Clean Air Act violations at 10 Marathon facilities and requires Marathon to take steps to reduce harmful air pollution emissions at facilities in three states. EPA and DOJ allege that Marathon failed to comply with certain Clean Air Act fuel quality emissions standards and recordkeeping, sampling and testing requirements. These violations may have resulted in excess emissions of air pollutants from motor vehicles, which can pose threats to public health and the environment. Marathon self-reported many of these issues to EPA.

Under a consent decree lodged in United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Marathon will spend over $2.8 million on pollution controls to reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds on 14 fuel storage tanks at its distribution terminals in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.

Marathon will also pay a $2.9 million civil penalty and retire 5.5 billion sulfur credits, which have a current market value of $200,000. Sulfur credits are generated when a refiner produces gasoline that contains less sulfur than the federal sulfur standard. These credits can be sold to other refiners that may be unable to meet the standard.

“Fuel standards established under the Clean Air Act play a major role in controlling harmful air pollution from vehicles and engines,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “If unchecked, these pollutants can seriously impair the air we breathe, especially during summer months when they can reach higher levels. This settlement incorporates innovative pollution control solutions to reduce air pollution in overburdened communities.”

“The changes required by this settlement will positively impact air quality in communities across the Midwest,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “All Americans deserve to enjoy the benefits of clean air, land, and water.  These benefits spring from our nation’s bedrock environmental laws and we will use them vigorously in the pursuit of environmental justice.”

“This agreement will help reduce air pollution emissions in Ohio and elsewhere,” said U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio Steven M. Dettelbach. “We’re pleased this settlement will protect the air we breathe while promoting the use of next-generation technology.”

In their complaint, EPA and DOJ allege that Marathon:

> Produced about 356 million gallons of reformulated gasoline at its Texas City, Texas refinery during 2007 that did not meet Clean Air Act standards for reducing volatile organic compounds. Volatile organic compounds are one of the primary constituents of smog and react in sunlight to form ground-level ozone. Breathing ozone can trigger a variety of health problems including chest pain, coughing, throat irritation and congestion, and can worsen bronchitis, emphysema and asthma. Children, the elderly and people who have lung diseases such as asthma are particularly prone to these problems.

> Produced more than 40 million gallons of gasoline at the Texas City, Texas refinery in 2009 that exceeded standards for sulfur levels. The goal of the Clean Air Act program that regulates sulfur in gasoline is to minimize emissions from vehicles and to ensure emissions control systems function effectively.

> Sold about 12 million gallons of gasoline that contained elevated levels of ethanol. Excess ethanol in gasoline can harm emission control components on some vehicles and engines.

> Sold about 1 million gallons of gasoline at its Tampa, Fl. terminal in 2013 that exceeded standards for volatility, known as the Reid Vapor Pressure, that help control ground level ozone during summer months. Gasoline with higher volatility results in increased emissions of volatile organic compounds, which contribute to the formation of ground level ozone.

> Failed to comply with numerous sampling, testing, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements for fuel production. EPA discovered these violations during inspections of Marathon refineries and laboratories in 2008 and 2009. The sampling, testing, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements of the fuels program provide the foundation for EPA’s compliance program.

Marathon will also install geodesic domes, fixed roofs, or secondary rim seals and deck fittings on 14 fuel storage tanks at several of its fuel distribution terminals in order to reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds. Marathon is also required to use innovative pollutant detection technology during the implementation of the environmental mitigation projects. Marathon will use an infrared gas-imaging camera to inspect the fuel storage tanks in order to identify potential defects that may cause excessive emissions. If defects are found, Marathon will conduct up-close inspections and perform repairs where necessary.

EPA’s Next Generation Compliance Strategy promotes advanced emissions and pollutant detection technology so that regulated entities, the government, and the public can more easily see pollutant discharges, environmental conditions, and noncompliance. Many of the facilities where the pollution controls will be installed are located in areas that may present environmental justice concerns.

More information about EPA’s Next Generation Compliance Strategy is available at:
http://www2.epa.gov/compliance/next-generation-compliance.

The proposed consent decree is subject to a 30 day public comment period and is available on EPA’s website at http://www2.epa.gov/enforcement/marathon-petroleum-corporation-clean-air-settlement.

R120

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Diesel group urges caution in switching vehicles to natural gas

By Bob Downing Published: May 27, 2015

From the Diesel Technology Forum last week:

New Environmental Study Urges “Caution” for Policymakers

Considering Replacing Clean Diesel Trucks With Natural Gas Vehicles

 

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Author sees second bigger shale revolution in the U.S.

By Bob Downing Published: May 27, 2015

From the Manhattan Institute last week:

New Report Predicts A Second Shale Revolution in the U.S.
Author Mark Mills argues the shale boom isn’t over; “skeptics’ forecasts are likely to be as flawed as their history.” 

New York, NY(May 20, 2015)- Many analysts and pundits have declared that falling petroleum prices mark the end of America’s shale oil boom. However, a new report by Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Mark Mills argues that America’s shale industry is about to experience a second, longer boom, which he dubs “Shale 2.0.”

While the first shale boom caused the oil-price collapse, such enormous growth in the U.S. shale industry was a result of technological innovation—not high prices. Mills argues that the shale industry’s spectacular growth has generated massive amounts of untapped data that can drive another period of rapid growth.

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Columbia Pipeline Group hailed for 2014 safety record

By Bob Downing Published: May 27, 2015

From Columbia Pipeline Group last week:

COLUMBIA PIPELINE GROUP RECOGNIZED AS SAFETY LEADER FOR SECOND CONSECUTIVE YEAR BY AMERICAN GAS ASSOCIATION

Grapevine, Texas (May 21, 2015) – For the second consecutive year, Columbia Pipeline Group (CPG) has earned the American Gas Association’s (AGA) Safety Achievement Award for outstanding employee safety performance in 2014. The award was presented during the AGA Operations Conference & Biennial Exhibition on May 20, 2015 at the Gaylord Texan Hotel & Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas. 

The Safety Achievement Awards are significant as they recognize AGA member companies for having the lowest injury rate for companies of their type. According to the AGA, the natural gas industry spends more than $6 billion annually to ensure the safety of employees and nearby communities.

“We are honored to once again have the opportunity to accept this award – it is a testament of the accountability and focus our team has in regards to building a premier interdependent safety culture,” said Farrah Lowe, vice president of safety, training, and natural resource management, CPG. “I could not be more proud of the entire team for their commitment to ensuring all of our employees and contractors remain safe and healthy each and every day.” 

Columbia’s 1,506 employees finished 2014 with seven recordable Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) incidents. That translates to a .49 OSHA rate, which put CPG in the AGA top decile category. The company only recorded one Days Away, Restrictions and Transfers (DART) incident in 2014 (.09 DART rate), which also put it in the AGA top decile category. 

“This is a great achievement that recognizes our company’s commitment to safety,” said Shawn Patterson, president, Operations & Project Delivery, CPG. “Our challenge in 2015 is going to be to maintain this status by remaining focused on being present in the moment and never losing sight of the task at hand. A sincere thank you to everyone at CPG for making the conscious effort to keep safety at the forefront of everything we do day in and day out.”

The AGA, founded in 1918, represents more than 200 local energy companies that deliver clean natural gas throughout the United States. There are more than 71 million residential, commercial and industrial natural gas customers in the U.S., of which 92 percent — more than 68 million customers — receive their gas from AGA members. 

About Columbia Pipeline Group:                                                                                                                
Columbia Pipeline Group companies own and operate more than 15,000 miles of strategically located natural gas pipelines, integrated with one of the largest underground storage systems in North America. From the Gulf Coast to the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, their systems connect premium natural gas supplies with some of the nation’s strongest energy markets, serving customers in more than 16 states. Approximately 1.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas flows through CPG pipeline and storage systems each year, providing competitively priced, clean energy for millions of homes, businesses and industries. For more information, visit www.columbiapipelinegroup.com.

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Food & Water Watch supports Maryland fracking moratorium

By Bob Downing Published: May 26, 2015

From a  press release today:

Washington, D.C. - The following is a statement from Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter in response to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan's decision to enable a multi-year moratorium on fracking in the state, as reported by the Baltimore Sun on Friday:

 

"Given all that we now know about fracking, including inevitable air and water pollution, human health risks, and even earthquakes, Governor Hogan's decision to enable a multi-year moratorium on the extreme drilling process is certainly prudent. Governor Hogan has shown that skepticism of fracking is not a partisan issue, and he draws stark contrast with a number of Democrats throughout the nation, most notably President Obama, that continue to ignore the compelling scientific case against this dangerous practice. Almost every week, new data continues to emerge pointing to fracking's unacceptable hazards to our health and environment. As a result, we're certain to see more local and state leaders hitting the pause button on fracking - or banning it outright, as Governor Cuomo smartly did."

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Natural gas, renewables to grow under federal Clean Power Plan

By Bob Downing Published: May 26, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administartion today:

EIA's recently released analysis of the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed Clean Power Plan rule shows it would result in major changes in the fuel mix used to generate electricity in the United States.

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Tags: CO2 (carbon dioxide) , electricity , emissions , EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) , forecast , generation

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Company selling acreage in Tyler County, W. Va., for $40.8 million

By Bob Downing Published: May 26, 2015

From a company press release today:

IRVING, TX--(Marketwired - May 26, 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 today that Triad Hunter, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, has entered into a definitive agreement to sell certain non-core undeveloped and unproven leasehold acreage located in Tyler County, West Virginia (the "Properties") to an independent exploration and production company. The total sales price is based on a specified dollar amount per net leasehold acre, subject to adjustments to take into consideration the remaining primary terms of the underlying leases and payments required to extend the underlying leases to their maximum available primary terms and customary adjustments for any title defects. The Company anticipates that the net proceeds it will receive from the sale of the Properties will be approximately $40.8 million after taking into account the adjustments related to the primary terms of the underlying leases and lease extension costs, but exclusive of adjustments for any title defects. Pursuant to the definitive agreement, the Company has the right, following the closing, to cure any title defects. The sale is scheduled to close on May 28, 2015 and is subject to customary closing conditions. The Properties to be sold consist of ownership interests in approximately 5,210 net leasehold acres.

Management Comments

Mr. Gary C. Evans, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Magnum Hunter, commented, "The undeveloped properties to be sold pursuant to the agreement announced today are deemed non-core to Magnum Hunter and were not in our long-term drilling plan for this immediate area. Additionally, with lease expirations on the horizon on a large portion of this acreage position, it made sense to sell these properties now to an industry competitor that already owns adjacent leases. This sale represents less than 2 1/2% of our approximate 210,000 net leasehold acreage position in the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays."

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Stephen Arata to head Caiman Energy II, Blue Racer Midstream

By Bob Downing Published: May 26, 2015

From Blu Racer Midstream last week:

DALLAS – May 20, 2015 – Caiman Energy II, LLC and Blue Racer Midstream, LLC announced today that Jack Lafield has stepped down as chief executive officer of both companies. Mr. Lafield will continue to serve as chairman of Caiman Energy II and remains a member of Blue Racer’s board of directors. Stephen Arata has been named CEO of both Caiman Energy II and Blue Racer Midstream.

“Jack led the formation of our predecessor company, Caiman Energy, LLC. He oversaw Caiman’s remarkable growth in the Marcellus Shale and the $2.5 billion sale of the company in 2012. He has since made countless contributions to the success of Caiman Energy II and Blue Racer Midstream,” said Stephen Arata, CEO of Caiman Energy II and Blue Racer Midstream. “We look forward to collaborating with Jack in the board room where his unique vision, insights and inspiration will continue to guide both companies."

Prior to his appointment as CEO, Mr. Arata served as chief financial officer of Caiman Energy II and Blue Racer Midstream. Mr. Arata joined Caiman Energy, LLC as CFO in October 2010. He co-founded Caiman Energy II, LLC in mid-2012 and was a lead negotiator in the December 2012 formation of Blue Racer Midstream. Blue Racer is a joint venture between Caiman Energy II and Dominion (NYSE: D) to provide midstream services to producers in the Utica and Marcellus shale plays.

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PDC Energy may resume suspended Utica Shale drilling

By Bob Downing Published: May 26, 2015

Colorado-based PDC Energy Inc. may be resuming its driiling in Ohio's Utica Shale.

The company had suspended its Ohio drilling last December.

But company officials said the firm is pleased with the results from the company's drilling in southeast Guernsey County.

The firm plans to complete a four-well pad in Guernsey County this year.

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New study looks at risks from hiking Ohio severance tax on drilling

By Bob Downing Published: May 26, 2015

From the Ohio Oil & Gas Association last week:

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Core Bakken Shale remains economical, GlobalData analyst says

By Bob Downing Published: May 26, 2015

From GlobalData lkast week:

 

Core Bakken Assets Remain Economical despite Low Oil Prices, says GlobalData Analyst

LONDON, UK (GlobalData), 21 May 2015 - While the 12 counties with Bakken production between North Dakota and Montana have lost the majority of their horizontal rigs over the last eight months, core areas of the shale play remain attractive, especially as oil prices creep towards $70 per barrel, says an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData.

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Shell loses appeal of oil train project in Washington state

By Bob Downing Published: May 26, 2015

From a press release last week:

Shell loses appeal of oil train project in Skagit County

Skagit County Superior Court agrees that environmental and public health risks of dangerous oil rail project should be assessed

Mount Vernon, WA --Skagit County Superior Court has dismissed Shell Oil Refinery’s appeal of a decision that required an environmental impact statement for their proposed oil-by-rail expansion. This decision follows the Skagit County Hearing Examiner’s February 2015 ruling that Shell’s proposed project posed a significant risk of harm to people, water and wildlife.

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Colorado leads the way in drilling transparency, EDF blogger says

By Bob Downing Published: May 26, 2015

From the Environmental Defense Fund last week:

Please see the latest Environmental Defense Fund Energy Exchange blog post:

 

 

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U.S. net imports of natural gas fall to lowest level since 1987

By Bob Downing Published: May 26, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration last week:

U.S. net imports of natural gas decreased 9% in 2014, continuing an eight-year decline. As U.S. dry natural gas production has reached record highs, lower domestic prices have helped to displace natural gas imports. Net natural gas imports (imports minus exports) totaled 1,171 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in 2014, the lowest level since 1987.

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Tags: Canada , exports , imports , international , LNG (liquefied natural gas) , Mexico , natural gas , pipelines

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Low crude prices, bigger gasoline demand lead to high margins

By Bob Downing Published: May 26, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration last week:

Gasoline crack spreads in the United States, especially on the U.S. East Coast, have reached several-year highs in recent months. Crack spreads, which reflect the difference between wholesale product prices and crude oil prices, are a good indicator of refiner profitability.

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Tags: crack spread , crude oil , gasoline , liquid fuels

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Is the oil price rally over?

By Jim Mackinnon Published: May 22, 2015

Yes it is, writes Martin Tillier at Oilprice.com.

For a number of reasons, it is likely prices will fall below $50 a barrel in the near future, Tillier writes.

Tillier: "The increased domestic supply of oil as fracking wells really came online, along with fears of slowing global growth and falling demand for fossil fuels, were major factors in oil’s collapse. Nothing much has changed there either. On the demand side there has been no global meltdown but China is still weaker than expected and recent U.S. GDP numbers have been disappointing. The developed world continues to become more energy efficient."

To read the full story, go here.

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American shale remains oil market's swing producer

By Jim Mackinnon Published: May 21, 2015

Shale firms are the oil market's new swing producers, writes The Economist.

Even as the Saudis and others pump oil to maintain market share, American shale-oil producers are proving to be more productive and resilient than OPEC expected, the magazine says.

The Economist: "Prices have staged only a partial recovery: West Texas Intermediate (WTI), one of the main benchmark prices for crude, was just above $100 a year ago and hit a low of around $44 in March; it had recovered to just $60 by the middle of this week.

"If the glut persists, the price is likely to slip back.

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Oil price rally may be premature celebration, new report says

By Jim Mackinnon Published: May 20, 2015

Oil prices may fall into the mid $40 range later this year, a story in Oilprice.com says

Oilprice.com: "Not so fast, says Goldman Sachs. The investment bank argues in a new report that not only is the oil rally a bit premature, but that the rally itself will be 'self-defeating.' The rally could bring drillers back, but that would merely contribute to a reversal in price gains. More drilling and more production worsen the glut that has not yet been resolved, and prices could be in for a double dip (or triple dip if you count the price declines from February to March 2015).

"The Goldman Sachs report says that the problem is not just from a surplus of crude, but also a surplus of capital. Access to cheap finance has allowed production companies to stay in the game and continue to drill new wells. Even companies that have seen their cash flows dry up or have run into liquidity problems have still been able to find investors willing to pony up fresh capital."

The full story is here.

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Big Shale is reloading under lower oil prices

By Jim Mackinnon Published: May 20, 2015

Big Shale is reloading even as much of the energy industry is reeling from dramatically lower oil prices, reports Saqib Rahim at E&E Publishing.

E&E: "If OPEC wanted to slow down U.S. shale, it's working: The top seven U.S. shales are on track to produce less oil in June than in May, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

"But the predicted wave of bankruptcies and buyouts hasn't yet come to pass, raising the question of how quickly shale can bounce back.

"'I think what happens as a result of this downturn, and this is probably true for the entire industry, we get better at what we do,' Timothy Dove, Pioneer's president and chief operating officer, told analysts last week. 'We basically reduce our break-even cost, and we emerge better in terms of our cost structure as a result of it. And that's what we're going to be. We're going to be better because of the downturn.'"

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Here's why the Saudis want to crush fracking

By Jim Mackinnon Published: May 19, 2015

The Daily Caller says two charts showing the boom in U.S. energy production caused by fracking explains why oil prices have dropped so much.

The Daily Caller: "There’s an oil price war going on, and OPEC thinks it can win by not cutting production and pricing out companies producing oil from U.S. shale formations.

"And now, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) has some charts that show why Saudi Arabia and other OPEC nations are afraid of America’s energy potential."

Take a look at the charts here.

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Innovation dramatically lowering drilling costs

By Jim Mackinnon Published: May 19, 2015

A new wave of innovation that significantly reduces drilling costs is helping struggling oil companies deal with low oil prices, reports Michael McDonald at Oilprice.com.

Oilprice.com: ""A variety of different improvements in production are starting to show up at all levels across the industry from small firms to oil majors. Statoil for example recently noted that it is experimenting with different types of sand and chemicals to improve production.

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

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

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GreenHunter Resources working to streamline operations

By Bob Downing Published: May 18, 2015

From GreenHunter Resources on Friday:

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

First Quarter Financial and Operational Highlights

OPERATIONAL RESULTS FOR THE THREE MONTHS ENDED MARCH 31, 2015

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Two oil organizations seek injunction against new BLM rules

By Bob Downing Published: May 18, 2015

From BakerHostetler law firm last week:

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

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

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

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

By Bob Downing Published: May 18, 2015

From the Baker Hostetler law firm:

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

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

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

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API challenging new federal rules on crude rail shipments

By Bob Downing Published: May 18, 2015

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

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

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

Click  here  to read more.

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Texas governor to sign bill blocking community fracking bans

By Bob Downing Published: May 18, 2015

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

Click  here  to read more.

 

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Atlantic Coast Pipeline looking at alternate route segments

By Bob Downing Published: May 18, 2015

From Dominion today:

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

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

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

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Portage County group kicks off community rights charter plan

By Bob Downing Published: May 14, 2015

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

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Carrizo announced farm-out agreement in Delaware Basin

By Bob Downing Published: May 14, 2015

From Carrizo Oil and Gas earlier this week:

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

Delaware Basin Update

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

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Williams to acquire Williams Partners for $13.8 billion in stock

By Bob Downing Published: May 14, 2015

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

To read more, click  here.

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Power from natural gas, coal to converge this spring, EIA says

By Bob Downing Published: May 14, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

EIA's most recent Short-Term Energy Outlook forecasts that the amount of electricity generation fueled by natural gas in April and May will total just 3.5% less than the projected amount of coal-fired generation. This convergence has occurred only once before, in April 2012, when natural gas fueled just 1.5% less generation than coal. Power generation from the two fuels is expected to rise at similar rates over the next couple months, and then diverge again later in the summer as demand rises and coal unit capacity utilization continues to rise.

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API supports Senate bill to lift crude oil export restrictions

By Bob Downing Published: May 14, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute on Wednesday:

WASHINGTON, May 13, 2015 ─ New legislation to lift 70s-era restrictions on U.S. exports of crude oil is critical to America’s future as an energy superpower, said API. The bipartisan bill, S. 1312, was introduced by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.).
   
“There are few policy changes that would bring more value to our domestic economy,” said API Executive Vice President Louis Finkel. “Supplying energy to our allies will cement America’s future as a global energy superpower, allowing us to produce more energy, create more jobs, cut the trade deficit, grow the economy, and put downward pressure on fuel costs.
    
Study after study has confirmed that trade policies from the 1970s are only putting U.S. workers and consumers at a disadvantage. This bill will unlock America’s energy potential and help U.S. energy production to stay competitive in a difficult market. The benefits are clear, and members of Congress in both the House and Senate have shown they are ready to act in a bipartisan way to support free trade. We urge the Senate to take up this legislation quickly and send a signal to our allies around the world that America is ready to be a global energy leader.”  

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Waterkeeper Alliance unhappy with new federal rail rules for crude

By Bob Downing Published: May 14, 2015

From the Waterkeeper Alliance and Spokane Riverkeeper today:

May 14, 2015, New York, NY --  Waterkeeper Alliance and Spokane Riverkeeper today joined other environmental groups in challenging the U.S Department of Transportation’s inappropriately weak safety standards for oil trains. As the transportation of oil by rail has vastly increased in recent years, so have the risks to communities and waterways from spills, fires, and explosions that occur when oil trains derail. The shipment of oil by train has grown from fewer than 10,000 carloads in 2008 to over 400,000 carloads in 2013, an increase of more than 4,000 percent.

Waterkeeper Alliance is particularly concerned about the inadequacy of the newly proposed explosive tank car rules because oil trains present a significant risk to waterways. They run next to and over waterways while carrying millions of gallons of oil in a single train. Just a single punctured rail tank car can release around 30,000 gallons of oil.  Even a relatively small oil spill into a waterbody can devastate the aquatic ecosystem, make it unsafe to swim in the water, and contaminate drinking water. This, along with other factors, including dangerously flimsy tank cars, unsafe train length and speed, and deteriorating rail infrastructure, has lead to an increasing number of derailments involving oil spills, explosions, fires, and water contamination.

In fact, more oil spilled on the rails in 2013 than in the previous 37 years combined. The most tragic of these incidents took place in in Lac Mégantic, Quebec, when sixty-three tank cars carrying Bakken crude exploded and spilled oil, killing 47 people, destroying the downtown, and contaminating two rivers and Mégantic Lake. In the past two years, fiery train derailments occurred on the James River in Virginia, the Kanawha River in West Virginia, and in a swamp connected to the Tombigbee River in Alabama. There have already been five major train derailments in North America in 2015.

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Enbridge Energy pays $75 million for 2010 Michigan oil spill

By Bob Downing Published: May 14, 2015

From the National Wildlife Federation on Wednesday:

Today the State of Michigan announced a settlement with Enbridge Energy on the company’s 2010 oil spill in the Kalamazoo River—the largest inland oil disaster in U.S. history.  Below is an on-the-record statement that  you can attribute to Mike Shriberg, regional executive director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes office in Ann Arbor, Mich.

 

“The jury is still out on whether the $75 million settlement announced today will be enough to fulfill Enbridge Energy’s responsibility to clean up after the worst inland oil disaster in U.S. history—one that dumped more than 800,000 gallons into Michigan waterways, sickening people, killing fish and wildlife, and harming Michigan’s economy. 

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NiSource, Columbia Pipeline offer post-separation plans

By Bob Downing Published: May 14, 2015

From NiSource and Columbia Pipeline Group:

NiSource, Columbia Pipeline Group outline post-separation performance outlooks

MERRILLVILLE, Ind. – NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI) and Columbia Pipeline Group (CPG) executives today outlined their respective post-separation business strategies and growth outlooks while confirming additional details of the planned separation.
 NiSource outlined 2016 financial guidance and confirmed a projected average annual 4-6 percent earnings per share and dividend growth rate
 CPG outlined 2015 financial guidance and defined a projected average annual growth rate through 2020 of ~20 percent EBITDA growth and ~15 percent dividend growth
 CPG investment grade credit ratings secured
 Debt recapitalization and refinancing in progress; separation on track for July 1, 2015
NiSource post-separation performance outlook
Following the separation, NiSource will remain one of the largest natural gas utility companies in the United States, serving more than 3.4 million customers in seven states under the Columbia Gas and NIPSCO brands. The company also will continue to provide electric distribution, generation and transmission services for approximately 450,000 NIPSCO electric customers in northern Indiana. NiSource will continue to be headquartered in Merrillville, Indiana, and plans to maintain current levels of community involvement, charitable giving and economic development support following the separation.
NiSource reiterated its commitment to investment grade credit ratings and that it expects to grow earnings and the dividend each by 4-6 percent annually. In 2016, NiSource expects to deliver non-GAAP earnings per share of $1.00-$1.10 with planned infrastructure enhancement opportunities reaching approximately $1.4 billion. Approximately 75 percent of these investments are expected to be focused on revenue-generating investments. The initial annualized dividend is expected to be $0.62 per share, and in aggregate with the expected CPG dividend outlined below, is 7.7 percent higher than the current NiSource dividend.
“As one of the only fully-regulated utilities of our size, supported by approximately $30 billion of expected long-term infrastructure enhancements, NiSource offers a compelling growth investment proposition with significant scale,” NiSource’s post-separation President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Joseph Hamrock said. “As our team executes on this well-established, stakeholder-supported and revenue-generating infrastructure strategy, we will continue to enhance safety, reliability and customer service.”
2
Columbia Pipeline Group post-separation performance outlook
After the separation, CPG will include Columbia Gas Transmission, Columbia Gulf Transmission,
Columbia Midstream Group, its ownership in Columbia Pipeline Partners (NYSE: CPPL) (“CPPL”), and
other current NiSource natural gas pipeline, storage and midstream holdings. In total, at separation the
new public company will operate more than 15,000 miles of natural gas transmission pipelines, nearly
300 billion cubic feet of underground natural gas storage working capacity, and a growing portfolio of
midstream and related facilities. CPG will be based in Houston and is expected to trade on the New York
Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “CPGX.”
Expected net investment in pipeline, storage and midstream assets is expected to grow from
approximately $4.6 billion at the beginning of 2015 to approximately $13.5 billion at year-end 2020. Total
capital expenditures from 2016 to 2020 are expected to reach approximately $8.4 billion, of which
approximately $4 billion is planned to be funded by the issuance of CPPL equity. Total capital
expenditures include maintenance capital of approximately $135 million a year.
The committed project inventory is expected to deliver CPG EBITDA (non-GAAP) of
approximately $680 million, excluding separation costs, in 2015, with an average annual growth
rate of approximately 20 percent through 2020. As previously announced, the initial annualized
dividend is expected to be $0.50 per share, with a targeted average growth rate of approximately 15
percent per year from 2016 to 2020. CPG’s initial coverage from distributable cash flow is expected to be
approximately 2.0x, but over time reach a level in line with other high-growth general partner peers.
“With our strategically located assets, a track record of execution, solid investment grade credit ratings
and strong liquidity, CPG is positioned for transformational growth,” said Robert C. Skaggs Jr., who will
become Chairman and CEO of CPG upon separation. “As we execute on our deep inventory of
modernization and growth projects, which are underpinned by long-term, fee-based contracts, we expect
to triple our net investment by 2020.”
Debt recapitalization, liquidity and separation update
Earlier this month, Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings confirmed CPG’s investment grade
credit ratings of Baa2, BBB- and BBB-, respectively. NiSource’s investment grade credit ratings are
expected to be addressed at, or just prior to, the separation.
As part of the debt recapitalization and refinancing process, on May 5, NiSource initiated a tender offer of
$750 million dollars in long-term debt, which is scheduled to close in early June. CPG is expected to
issue $2.75 billion in long-term debt before the separation, which will be used to fund, in large part, a
one-time cash distribution to NiSource and to pay down existing intercompany debt.
“With investment-grade credit ratings secured at CPG, the debt recapitalization process initiated, and
solid liquidity platforms in place, we’re on track to complete the separation on July 1,” current NiSource
President and CEO Skaggs said. “In early June, the Form 10 is expected to be declared effective by the
SEC, and at that time, we’ll also announce and confirm the when-issued trading period, the record date
and the distribution date for CPG shares.”
At the separation, NiSource shareholders will retain their current shares of NiSource stock and receive a
pro-rata dividend of shares of CPG stock, expected to be at a 1-to-1 ratio. The actual number of CPG
shares to be distributed to NiSource shareholders will be determined prior to closing.
The transaction is expected to be tax-free to NiSource and its shareholders, and is subject to various
conditions, including final approval by the NiSource board of directors and the U.S. Securities &
Exchange Commission (SEC) declaring CPG’s Form 10 Registration Statement effective.

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New York releases lengthy, technical review of fracking

By Bob Downing Published: May 14, 2015

From Earthjustice on Wednesday:

ALBANY, NY— Following the historic announcement in December that New York State would ban fracking, the Department of Environmental Conservation today released of a lengthy technical document analyzing the health and environmental impacts of the controversial practice.

The document, called a Final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (FSGEIS) provides the basis for concluding that high-volume hydraulic fracturing, in which gas drillers blast millions of gallons of water mixed with toxic chemicals into the ground to extract gas from hard-to-reach deposits deep in the earth, is too dangerous to proceed in New York.

The following is a statement from Earthjustice Managing Attorney Deborah Goldberg, who represented the Town of Dryden, N.Y., in a precedent-setting case in which the state’s highest court allowed municipalities throughout New York to ban fracking.

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Petroleum association supports lifting U.S. crude export ban

By Bob Downing Published: May 13, 2015

From the Independent Petroleum Association of America today:

WASHINGTON, D.C.– The Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) and a coalition of energy trade associations sent a letter to Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) in support of their bipartisan legislation S. 1312, the “Energy Supply and Distribution Act of 2015,” which was introduced in the Senate today. The legislation seeks to lift the 1970’s ban on U.S. exports of crude oil, which is critical for U.S. energy security, economic growth, increased investment in free trade, and new American jobs.

 

“As representatives of the Nation’s oil industry, we want to express our strong support for your newly-introduced ‘Energy Supply and Distribution Act of 2015.’ Growing U.S. production of shale formation oil and natural gas creates economic opportunities that have not existed for over five decades. Artificial limits on market options could restrict U.S. benefits. Exports have a key role in keeping the development of U.S. production on course,” the coalition wrote in the letter. “Much like the export of gasoline and diesel fuels from American refineries now helps keep refining jobs in America, oil exports will enable the U.S. to invest in more American shale crude development and keep those good jobs here.”

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Shale gas to create 462,000 new jobs in plastic manufacturing

By Bob Downing Published: May 13, 2015

From the American Chemistry Council:

Industry Comeback Expected to Create 462,000 New Jobs, Triple Net Exports

WASHINGTON (May 13, 2015)—Due largely to plentiful and affordable natural gas and natural gas liquids from shale formations, U.S. jobs related to plastics manufacturing are expected to grow by 462,000 over the next decade—more than 20 percent—reaching more than 2.7 million, according to a new report.

The Rising Competitive Advantage of U.S. Plastics,” published by economists at the American Chemistry Council (ACC), found that the shale gas production surge has reversed the fortunes of the plastics industry, shifting the competitive advantage to the U.S., where producers mostly use raw materials derived from natural gas. In other regions, plastics makers mainly use an oil-based feedstock.

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U.S. needs new energy infrastructure, ACC tells Congress

By Bob Downing Published: May 13, 2015

From the American Chemistry Council today:

U.S. NEEDS NEW INFRASTRUCTURE TO GET ENERGY TO MANUFACTURERS

House and Senate Hearings to Address Changing Energy Markets

WASHINGTON (May 13, 2015) – The American Chemistry Council (ACC) issued the following statement prior to hearings in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the House Energy and Power Subcommittee to examine energy infrastructure legislation.  

“We welcome this week’s hearings examining America’s energy infrastructure needs. The nation is changing how it makes and uses energy, and our delivery systems must keep pace. New natural gas pipelines, along with new sources of power generation and transmission and a flexible, resilient grid, will help keep energy and electricity reliable and affordable for manufacturers. We urge lawmakers to update policies to support infrastructure investment and timely permitting.

“Chemical companies have begun or announced plans to invest more than $140 billion in the U.S. in the form of new plants, expansions and factory re-starts, adding hundreds of thousands of jobs to our economy by 2023. Pipelines will be vital to transport natural gas from production sites to facilities around the country.”

# # #

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DOE approves Corpus Christi liquefaction project for LNG export

By Bob Downing Published: May 13, 2015

From the U.S. Department of Energt on Tuesday:

Energy Department Authorizes Corpus Christi Liquefaction Project to Export Liquefied Natural Gas

WASHINGTON – The Energy Department announced today that it has issued a final authorization for the Corpus Christi Liquefaction Project (Corpus Christi) to export domestically produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) to countries that do not have a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States. The Corpus Christi Liquefaction Project in Corpus Christi, Texas is authorized to export LNG up to the equivalent of 2.1 billion standard cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas for a period of 20 years.

The development of U.S. natural gas resources is having a transformative impact on the U.S. energy landscape, helping to improve our energy security while spurring economic development and job creation around the country.  This increase in domestic natural gas production is expected to continue, with the Energy Information Administration forecasting a record average production rate of 72.4 Bcf/d in 2015.

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Sierra Club disappointed in approval for Shell's Arctic drilling

By Bob Downing Published: May 12, 2015

A press release on Monday from the Sierra Club:

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

“We are deeply disappointed that just days after the United States took over chairmanship of the Arctic Council, an international body dedicated to protecting the Arctic environment, the Obama Administration decided to allow Shell to move forward with its dirty and dangerous plan to drill in our Arctic waters. This is exactly the wrong message to send to the world.

“Shell’s poor track record in the Arctic does not inspire confidence in its ability to drill safely in the unique and harsh environment of  America’s Arctic Ocean. In fact, an analysis by the Obama administration itself  predicts a 75% chance of a major oil spill if Shell is allowed to drill in America’s Arctic Ocean.

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XTO wants to enlarge gas processing plant in Butler County

By Bob Downing Published: May 12, 2015

XTO Energy wants to enlarge its natural gas processing plant in Butler County in western Pennsylvania.

The company wants to enlarge the plant from 125 million cubic feet per day to 250 million cubic feet per day.

Click  here  to read more.

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Ohio has 1,479 drilled Utica wells, 868 producing Utica wells

By Bob Downing Published: May 12, 2015

Ohio has approved 1,896 Utica shale permits, as of May 9.

According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, that total includes 1,479 drilled Utica wells  and 868 producing Utica wells.

Ohio has 26 drilling rigs at work.

Eight new permits were approved, all from Monroe County.

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Oklahoma coalition seeks moratorium on injection wells

By Bob Downing Published: May 12, 2015

From the Associated Press today:

OKLAHOMA CITY — A coalition of environmental and activist groups called Monday for a moratorium on the use of wastewater disposal wells by the oil and natural gas industry in some areas after an Oklahoma agency said it is “very likely” a swarm of recent earthquakes was triggered by such operations.

Coalition members delivered 1,500 signatures to Gov. Mary Fallin’s office seeking a moratorium on the use of high-volume, high pressure disposals wells in 16 counties that the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which regulates the oil and gas industry, has identified as “areas of interest” because of earthquake activity.

“Oklahoma is now the earthquake capital of America. How did this happen?” said Barbara Van Hanken, co-founder of Clean Energy Future Oklahoma and chair of the Oklahoma Sierra Club. Other members of the coalition include Stop Fracking Payne County, the NAACP and the Peace House Oklahoma City.

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Jobs coalition urges Ohio Senate to reject severance tax hike

By Bob Downing Published: May 12, 2015

A press release today from the Protect Ohio Jobs Coalition:

protectohiojobscoalition@gmail.com

Rapidly Growing Protect Ohio Jobs Coalition Urges Ohio Senate to Reject
Severance Tax Increase

 

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Utica Shale oil, gas production to keep growing through June

By Bob Downing Published: May 11, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration and its new Drilling Productivity Report  today.

Utica Shale is No. 2 on federal list for natural gas production. No. 1 is the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania.

:

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.

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Chevron trying to sell of 11,700 acres in Pa.'s Marcellus Shale

By Bob Downing Published: May 11, 2015

The Pittsburgh Business Times reports that Chevron is listing for sale 11,700 leased acres in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale.

The land is in Clearfield and northern Cambria counties.

The company had earlier listed for sale 15,600 acres in Cambria, Blair and Bedford counties.

Click  here  to read more.

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Kinder Morgan responds to petition on Trans Mountain Pipeline

By Bob Downing Published: May 11, 2015

Texas-based Kinder Morgan Inc., in response to a petition filed at its annual stockholders' meeting, said on Friday that it intends to engage aboriginal communities and encouraged the Tsleil-Waututh Nation to negotiate on the proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline in western Canada.

Click  here  to read more.

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Magnum Hunter wants to sell off $450 million of Ohio leases

By Bob Downing Published: May 11, 2015

Texas-based Magnum Hunter Resources is interested in selling $450 million of its leased Ohio lands to form a joint drilling venture, reports Columbus Business First.

Click  here  to read the story by reporter Tom Knox.

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Noble Energy acquires Rosetta Resources for $2.1 billion

By Bob Downing Published: May 11, 2015

From Noble Energy today:

HOUSTON, May 11, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Noble Energy, Inc. (Noble Energy) (NYSE: NBL) and Rosetta Resources Inc. (Rosetta) (NASDAQ: ROSE) today announced a definitive merger agreement whereby Noble Energy will acquire all of the common stock of Rosetta in an all-stock transaction valued at $2.1 billion, plus the assumption of Rosetta's net debt of $1.8 billion as of March 31, 2015. 

Dave Stover, Noble Energy's Chairman, CEO, and President stated, "I am excited to announce this strategic transaction which adds two exceptional and material areas to our global portfolio.  The Eagle Ford and the Permian are premier unconventional resource plays, two of the most economic in the U.S., which will expand our resource base and development inventory and further diversify our portfolio.  The transaction will be immediately accretive to our per share production, reserves, earnings, and cash flow.  Rosetta's team has a strong culture and track record of safe and efficient operations, and we look forward to adding their talents and capabilities to our company.  The strengths of the combined assets and people will drive significant value creation for our existing and new shareholders."

Jim Craddock, Rosetta's Chairman, CEO and President, stated, "The combination with Noble Energy brings together two complementary companies with a deep and diverse portfolio of assets in key unconventional resource basins.  The deal will accelerate value delivery from our strong asset base, and the all-stock nature of the transaction will allow our shareholders to continue to reap that value growth across commodity price cycles.  I have long respected Noble Energy and its management team, which has a strong track record of delivering substantial value to shareholders, both from the U.S. onshore business as well as global offshore exploration and development.  I am confident the combined team, strong balance sheet, and premier asset base is poised for further success and shareholder value creation."

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Magnum Hunter reports production up 60 percent, profits decline

By Bob Downing Published: May 11, 2015

From Magnum Hunter Resources today:

Proved Reserves Increased 73% in the First Quarter to 869.2 Bcfe (75% Natural Gas)

DALLAS, TX--(Marketwired - May 11, 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 today financial and operating results for the three months ended March 31, 2015. The Company plans to file its Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2015 with the Securities and Exchange Commission later today, Monday, May 11, 2015. Highlights of the Company's financial and operating results include the following:

(a) See Non-GAAP Financial Measures and Reconciliations below

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EV Energy Partners release first quarter 2015 reports

By Bob Downing Published: May 11, 2015

From EV Energy Partners today:

HOUSTON, May 11, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- EV Energy Partners, L.P. (NASDAQ: EVEP) today announced results for the first quarter of 2015 and the filing of its Form 10-Q with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

First Quarter 2015 Results

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UGSG looks at microbiology, chemistry of Pa. fracked wells

By Bob Downing Published: May 11, 2015

From the U.S. Geological Survey today:

In a study of 13 hydraulically fractured shale gas wells in north-central Pennsylvania, USGS researchers found that the microbiology and organic chemistry of the produced waters varied widely from well to well.

The variations in these aspects of the wells followed no discernible spatial or geological pattern but may be linked to the time a well was in production. Further, the study highlighted the presence of some organic compounds (e.g. benzene) in produced waters that could present potential risks to human health, if the waters are not properly managed.

Produced water is the term specialists use to describe the water brought to the land surface during oil, gas, and coalbed methane production. This water is a mixture of naturally occurring water and fluid injected into the formation deep underground to enhance production. A USGS Fact Sheet on produced water provides more background information and terminology definitions.

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EV Energy Partners still trying to tap Utica Shale oil window

By Bob Downing Published: May 11, 2015

Texas-based EV Energy Partners may form a joint venture with other partners to develop the crude oil window in Ohio’s Utica Shale.
That option is being looked at, the company said today in a first quarter 2015 earnings call with analysts and the media.
The company said it is convinced that Ohio’s oil window or drilling area area has the potential to yield 30 million barrels of oil, but drillers are having difficulty tapping that oil.
The oil window covers all or parts of Summit, Portage, Stark, Medina, Wayne, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, Holmes, Coshocton, Guernsey, Muskingum, Perry, Morgan, Athens, Vinton and Hocking counties.
EV Energy Partners, a publicly traded company that is part of privately held EnerVest Ltd., and eight industry partners have spent $22 million to drill and hydraulically fracture or frack the Nettle 3H well near Uhrichsville in Tuscarawas County.
A typical Utica Shale horizontal well costs $6.5 million to $8 million.
The initial results from the experimental Nettle well that was completed last December  compared favorably to oil production from Chesapeake Energy Corp.’s Parker well, also in Tuscarawas County. That was encouraging, the firm said.
But after 90 days, the Nettle production had fallen to half that of the Parker well, and that was disappointing, said executive chairman John B. Walker.
The two wells were fracked diffently. The Parker well in Perry Township was fracked with water. The Nettle well in Clay Township was fracked with 75 percent liquid butane and 25 percent mineral oil.
EV Energy Partners did not offer well production data from the Nettle well.  The Parker well produced 5,816 barrels of crude oil in fourth quarter 2014, according to state data.
EV Energy Partners feels that fracking with water in the Utica Shale’s oil window may damage the underground oil reservoir and hurt production, Walker said.
Chesapeake plans to drill six additional wells in southern Tuscarawas County and, EV Energy Partners will invest in some of them and share in what information is gained, he said.
Additional research is needed to unlock the oil window’s secrets in Ohio, he said.

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Number of U.S. drilling rigs drops by 11 to 894, Baker Hughes says

By Bob Downing Published: May 8, 2015

From the Associated Press today:

HOUSTON (AP) — Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. declined by 11 this week to 894.
Houston-based Baker Hughes said Friday that 668 rigs were seeking oil and 221 explored for natural gas. Five were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago, with oil prices nearly double the current price, 1,855 rigs were active.
Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Oklahoma lost six rigs, Louisiana was down three, New Mexico declined by two and Arkansas, California, Kansas, Ohio, Texas, Utah and West Virginia were off one each.
Colorado gained two rigs and North Dakota increased by one. Alaska, Pennsylvania and Wyoming were unchanged.
The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 and bottomed at 488 in 1999.

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FracFocus entering Big Data era, EDF blogger writes

By Bob Downing Published: May 8, 2015

FracFocus has changed on Thursday.

It has entered the era of Big Data, according to Adam Peltz of the Environmental Defense Fund.

Number crunchers are now able to look at FracFocus' data and major trends will emerge, he writes.

Previously, it handled data from individual wells and only in a PDF format.

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Carrizo plans no new Utica, Marcellus shale drilling in 2015

By Bob Downing Published: May 8, 2015

From Texas-based Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc. on Wednesday:

HOUSTON, May 6, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Carrizo Oil & Gas, Inc. (Nasdaq:CRZO) today announced the Company's financial results for the first quarter of 2015 and provided an operational update, which included the following highlights:

Carrizo reported a first quarter of 2015 loss from continuing operations of $21.5 million, or ($0.46) per basic and diluted share compared to income from continuing operations of $6.6 million, or $0.15 and $0.14 per basic and diluted share, respectively, in the first quarter of 2014. The loss from continuing operations for the first quarter of 2015 includes certain items typically excluded from published estimates by the investment community. Adjusted net income, which excludes the impact of these items as described in the statements of operations included below, for the first quarter of 2015 was $6.4 million, or $0.14 per basic and diluted share compared to $23.4 million, or $0.52 and $0.51 per basic and diluted share, respectively, in the first quarter of 2014.

For the first quarter of 2015, adjusted earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation, depletion, and amortization, as described in the statements of operations included below ("Adjusted EBITDA"), was $101.8 million, a decrease of 11% from the prior year quarter as the impact of lower commodity prices more than offset the impact of higher production volumes.

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Dominion names Robert Blue to vice president's post

By Bob Downing Published: May 8, 2015

From Virginia-based Dominion on Thursday:

RICHMOND, Va., May 7, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Dominion (NYSE: D) today announced that Robert M. Blue has been named senior vice president-Regulation, Law, Energy Solutions and Policy. He started in his new position on May 6, reporting to Thomas F. Farrell II, chairman, president and chief executive officer.

Since January 2014, Blue had been serving as president of the company's Dominion Virginia Power operating segment, which operates electric transmission and distribution systems serving 2.5 million customer accounts in Virginia and northeast North Carolina.

Paul D. Koonce, executive vice president of Dominion and chief executive officer of Dominion's Energy Infrastructure Group – which includes Dominion Virginia Power and the Dominion Energy operating segment housing the company's natural gas businesses – adds the role of president-Dominion Virginia Power to his responsibilities. 

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GAO: Flaring of natural gas is costing taxpayers millions of dollars

By Bob Downing Published: May 8, 2015

From the Associated Press on Wednesday:

Significant amounts of natural gas on federal lands are being wasted, costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars each year and adding to harmful greenhouse gas emissions, a congressional investigation has found.

The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office also said the Bureau of Land Management failed to conduct production inspections for hundreds of high-priority oil and gas wells - roughly 1 out of 5 - to ensure full payment of royalties to the U.S.

The report, obtained by The Associated Press before its public release, is the latest to highlight substantial gaps in oversight. An AP review of government records last May found the agency, which manages oil and gas development on federal and Indian lands, had been overwhelmed by a boom in a new drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

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API lauds final export permit for Cove Point LNG facility

By Bob Downing Published: May 8, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute on Thursday:

WASHINGTON, May 7, 2015 ─ API welcomed final approval by the Department of Energy (DOE) for exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Cove Point terminal in Calvert County, Maryland.
    
“America is now the world’s largest natural gas producer, and this facility will help to harness that strength to create jobs across Maryland and the broader economy,” said API Director of Upstream and Industry Operations Erik Milito. “This is a major milestone for a multi-billion dollar project that has waited years for federal approval. This facility, and others like it, will allow America to be a net natural gas exporter by 2017, according to EIA. U.S. exports will help to bring energy security to our allies, while supporting jobs and economic growth in American manufacturing, construction, energy development, engineering, and other areas.
 
“Unfortunately, dozens of other facilities still require permits. With faster approval, we could bring those jobs online even sooner and add billions in economic activity to communities around the country.  We applaud the DOE for allowing Cove Point past the finish line, and we urge the administration to continue working with leaders in Congress who are ready to streamline this process and open the doors to free trade.”
   
According to a study by ICF International, Maryland could see up to $1.6 billion in state income growth by 2035 from exporting LNG. State employment gains could reach 9,500 jobs by 2035. 
   
API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry, which supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy. API’s more than 625 members include large integrated companies, as well as exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms. They provide most of the nation’s energy and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 25 million Americans.

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Washington Gas spending $126 million on Marcellus gas reserves

By Bob Downing Published: May 8, 2015

Washington Gas, a subsidiary of WGL Holdings, Inc., has signed a conditional purchase and sale agreement with Energy Corporation of America (ECA) to acquire natural gas reserves through working interests in producing natural gas wells in Pennsylvania’s Appalachian Basin.

That announcement was made on Wednesday.

The investment of approximately $126 million in physical natural gas reserves enables Washington Gas to secure a long-term supply of natural gas that is expected to generate substantial savings for Virginia customers over the 20-year investment period.

Click  here  to read the rest of the story.

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PAHs from drilling could pose health threat in Carroll County

By Bob Downing Published: May 8, 2015

CARROLLTON: Drilling in Ohio’s Utica Shale is contributing to air pollution in Carroll County and could raise the health threat and cancer risk to residents, according to researchers involved in a new study.
But the number of air samples collected by researchers from the University of Cincinnati and Oregon State University is too small to determine the risk from the hydrocarbon-based compounds, and additional testing is recommended.
There is just not enough evidence to determine if the air pollutants are an issue of big concern or a health threat, they said.
Drilling “may be contributing significantly to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the air, at levels that are relevant to human health,” the researchers said in their report.
The study, funded by $150,000 in federal grants, marks the first time researchers have gathered data on air pollution near Ohio drilling, said environmental health professor Erin Haynes of the University of Cincinnati.
The results were released on Thursday  by Haynes and toxicologist Diana Rohlman of Oregon State at a public meeting. The information has been published in Environmental Science and Technology.
Carroll County southeast of Canton was selected because of concerns raised by local residents. It is the No. 1 drilling county in Ohio. It has 354 horizontal wells that are in production, more than any other county, according to state records.
The airborne levels of PAHs found in Carroll County were significantly higher than what was found by other researchers in downtown Chicago; South Haven, Mich.; a Belgian oil refinery; an Egyptian city; or the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
“The levels look pretty bad,” Haynes said. The Carroll numbers are  “higher, much, much higher” than the other sites, she said.
That analysis looked at only 14 PAHs that were found at all those sites, Haynes and Rohlman said.
Samplers were placed on 23 private properties in Carroll County for three weeks in February 2014. A total of 32 measurable PAHs were detected. The team looked for 62 PAHs. It did not analyze other pollutants.
Additional air samples were collected in May 2014 including having 25  local volunteers wear wrist bands that collected air samples. That information is awaiting analysis.
The concentrations of the PAHs were highest closest to drilling sites and decreased as one moved away from the drilling, the researchers said.
Analysis also proved that PAH leaks from drilling contributed most heavily to the samples at sites closest to wells, not man-made PAHs, they said.
The cancer risk may increase slightly for those closest to the drilling, but those mathematical models are based on too few samples to be significant, Haynes and Rohlman said. It could increase by 2 to 3 cancer cases per 10,000 people, depending on proximity, they said.
The levels suggested would exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s acceptable cancer risk level.
Those models relied on assumptions including people never moving from the exposure over 25 years that are totally impractical, they admitted.
Such findings in rural Carroll County are disturbing, said Paul Feezel, a spokesman for Carroll Concerned Citizens, a grass-roots group that aided in the research.
It is especially surprising to learn that Carroll County’s PAH levels are so much higher than the other locations cited by the researchers, he said.
His group said it will push for additional air testing.
Local resident Elizabeth Neider said she wants to know what chemicals are in the chemical cloud over her property during drilling and hydraulic fracturing or fracking.
Mike Chadsey of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association was not impressed by the report.
The sample size is far too small, the results are not statistically significant, a lot of unrealistic assumptions were made in the modeling, no laws were broken by drillers and researchers went next to drilling sites and detected hydrocarbons as would be expected, he said.

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Alberta elects left-of-center provincial government

By Bob Downing Published: May 7, 2015

From the Associated Press

A meeting of Canada’s federal Conservative party was described as  being like a “morgue” on Wednesday, a day after Alberta, Canada’s most conservative province, elected a left-of-center provincial government, ending.
Voters in Canada’s western oil-rich province of Alberta chose a New Democratic Party government Tuesday, ending a 44-year-old conservative party dynasty. The stunning result had the federal Conservatives worried ahead of October’s federal election.
Incoming Alberta New Democrat Premier Rachel Notley, in her first full day on the job, sought to reassure business leaders, saying she would call them and would work with them to build the province. Notley has vowed to raise corporate tax rates and conduct a review of the province’s royalty structure to ensure that Albertans are getting a fair return for their oil and gas resources. Alberta has the world’s third largest oil reserves, with 170 billion barrels of proven reserves.
Energy stocks led Canada’s main stock exchange to a triple-digit drop Wednesday as investors weighed the potential impacts of the election of a NDP government in Alberta.

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Rex Energy to sell Utica Shale, Illinois Basin assets

By Bob Downing Published: May 7, 2015

Rex Energy, in a Wednesday earnings call, announced that it intends to sell much of its Ohio Utica Shale assets and also its Illinois Basin asdsets in Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky.

The Pennsylvania-based fiorm intends to focus its drilling in two counties in western Pennsylvania.

The firm intends to sells its Ohio dry-gas acreage in Noble, Belmont and Guernsey counties. That land will be sold soon, company officials said.

That would leave Rex Energy with its Warrior North drilling area in Ohio's Carroll County.

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Gastar to sell non-core Oklahoma acreage for $46.2 million

By Bob Downing Published: May 7, 2015

From GastarExoloration on Wednesday:

HOUSTON, May 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Gastar Exploration Inc. (NYSE MKT: GST) ("Gastar") announced today that it has entered into a purchase and sale agreement to sell certain non-core assets in Oklahoma to an undisclosed private third party for approximately $46.2 million, subject to certain adjustments and customary closing conditions.  The transaction is expected to close on or before June 22, 2015, with a property sale effective date of April 1, 2015.

"We are pleased to announce another sale of non-core acreage in Oklahoma at an attractive valuation," said J. Russell Porter, Gastar's President and CEO. "The sale of these assets will allow us to continue focusing on our Hunton Limestone exploration and development programs in our core Oklahoma acreage within and around our West Edmond Hunton Lime Unit ("WEHLU") and AMI joint venture area while retaining a substantial acreage position with Stack Play potential.  Following the completion of this transaction, in our Mid-Continent area we will have approximately 103,600 net acres with Hunton Limestone Oil Play reserves or potential, approximately 41,500 net acres with Meramec Shale/Mississippi Lime potential and 44,200 net acres with Woodford Shale potential."

"We currently believe we will have ample liquidity to support our capital expenditure plans for the remainder of 2015, and the proceeds from this sale will further enhance our liquidity and our financial flexibility regarding future capital activities."

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Sunoco Logistics Partners enters into North Dakota/Bakken deal

By Bob Downing Published: May 7, 2015

From Sunoco Logistics on Wednesday:

PHILADELPHIA, May 6, 2015 – Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P. (NYSE: SXL) (the "Partnership") today announced
results for the first quarter 2015. Adjusted EBITDA for the three months ended March 31, 2015 was $221 million, a $13 million
increase compared to the first quarter 2014. Net income attributable to partners for the first quarter 2015 was $36 million ($0.10
loss per limited partner unit diluted), which included a $41 million inventory write down resulting from the decline in commodity
prices. This non-cash charge was excluded from the Partnership's determination of Adjusted EBITDA and Distributable Cash Flow.
Net income attributable to partners was $107 million ($0.33 per limited partner unit diluted) for the first quarter 2014. Recent
highlights include:
• Distributable Cash Flow of $160 million for the first quarter 2015
• Twenty-one percent distribution increase to $1.68 (annualized) compared to the first quarter 2014
• Ended the quarter with a Debt-to-Adjusted EBITDA ratio of 3.4x calculated in accordance with our credit agreement
• Issued $771 million of equity financing to date in 2015 in support of our expansion capital program
• Commenced initial start up operations on the Allegheny Access refined products pipeline project
• Increased our existing credit facility to $2.50 billion with maturity in March 2020 in order to continue supporting our
expansion capital program
"We are pleased to announce our first quarter earnings where, most importantly, our ratable (blue bar) earnings increased
over 30 percent compared to the first quarter of 2014," said Michael Hennigan, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Growing
our blue bar cash flow is core to our strategy and we are very pleased that our team continues to execute on our extensive program
of organic expansion projects. As we anticipated, with the lower price commodity market, our market-related earnings have declined
from prior years’ levels. In addition, due to inventory timing, earnings in our Terminals Facilities segment are materially lower than
recent results, but we expect a reversal of this temporary occurrence, leading to a positive earnings benefit in the second quarter."
The Partnership also announced that it has reached agreement with ETP to participate in the Bakken Pipeline project, which
is jointly owned by ETP and Phillips 66. The project consists of existing and newly constructed pipelines that are expected to
provide aggregate takeaway capacity of approximately 470,000 barrels per day of crude oil from the Bakken/Three Forks production
area in North Dakota to key refinery and terminalling hubs in the Midwest and Gulf Coast including the Partnership’s Nederland
terminal. The ultimate takeaway capacity target for the project is 570,000 barrels per day. The pipeline system is supported by
long-term fee based contracts and is expected to begin commercial operations in the fourth quarter of 2016. The Partnership will
fund its proportionate share of the construction costs and is expected to have a 30 percent interest in project. The Partnership also
anticipates reaching agreement with ETP to become the operator of the pipeline system.
On the Bakken pipeline project, Hennigan said, "We are pleased to announce that SXL will have a 30 percent interest in
the Bakken Pipeline and anticipates reaching agreement with ETP to become the operator of the pipeline system. This is another
example of the synergistic benefits that occur within the Energy Transfer family of partnerships. We are very happy to not only be
an owner, but also able to bring our crude oil operating expertise to this pipeline system."
On Sunoco Logistics growth, Hennigan added, "Our targeted emphasis on shale production areas continues to anchor our
growth plans. We currently project to have approximately $2.5 billion of organic capital in 2015. Despite the current commodity
price environment, and decrease in our market-related earnings, our strategy has not changed, our distribution philosophy and
expectations have not changed, our capital program has not changed, and we are confident that we will continue to execute our long
term plan."

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PDC drills 34 wells, begins production on 20 wells in 1Q 2015

By Bob Downing Published: May 7, 2015

From PDC Energy today:

DENVER, May 7, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PDC Energy, Inc. ("PDC", the "Company," "we" or "us") (Nasdaq:PDCE) today reported its 2015 first quarter financial and operating results.

2015 First Quarter Highlights

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U.S. domestic crude production impacts refining industry

By Bob Downing Published: May 7, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

In response to multiple requests over the past years, EIA is developing a series of analyses that address the implications of current limitations on crude oil exports for prices, including both world and domestic crude oil and petroleum product prices, and for the level of domestic crude oil production and refining activity.

Read More ›

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Crude oil shipment in North Dakota had been treated, Hess says

By Bob Downing Published: May 7, 2015

From the Associated Press:

A shipment of oil involved in an explosive train derailment in North Dakota had been treated to reduce its volatility, a company official said Thursday.

Hess Corp. spokesman John Roper said the company’s oil complied with a state law that requires propane, butane and other volatile gases to be stripped out of crude before it can be transported. That conditioning process lowers the vapor pressure of the oil to reduce the chance of an ignition during a crash.

The state volatility standard, which went into effect last month, came in response to a string of fiery train accidents, including a 2013 derailment in Lac-Megantic, Quebec that killed 47 people.

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Severance tax would hurt Pennsylvania economy, API says

By Bob Downing Published: May 7, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute today:

Harrisburg, Pa., May 7, 2015 —Taxing a highly productive industry that supports thousands of jobs and generates billions in economic output and millions in tax revenues has negative economic consequences for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, according to a Natural Resource Economics, Inc., study released today by the Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania (API-PA).

“Higher energy taxes could put a damper on energy activity, and the Commonwealth could be worse off with a new severance tax," said API-PA Executive Director Stephanie Wissman. "Natural gas development supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania, contributes $34.7 billion annually to the state economy and has boosted profits in more than 1,300 businesses of all sizes up and down the energy supply chain.”

The report, “The Economic Impacts of the Proposed Natural Gas Severance Tax in Pennsylvania,” analyzed the impact of Gov. Wolf’s proposal to implement an additional natural gas severance tax. Proposals include adding 5 percent on the gross market value of production plus a fixed fee of 4.7 cents per thousand cubic feet produced and establishing an artificial floor of $2.97 per thousand cubic feet regardless of the actual price of natural gas.

"If a new tax is created, in 2016 alone, the commonwealth could lose six thousand jobs, not just in the oil and gas sector but also across a range of industries that are part of the gas industry supply chain and from service industries that depend on spending by workers employed in these industries," Wissman said. “Safe, responsible natural gas development has been good for the state economy, good for local economies and good for Pennsylvanians. We want to keep it that way.”

The U.S. oil and natural gas industry delivers hundreds of millions of dollars to the Commonwealth. The current local impact tax, which is collected from every shale drilling site in the state, has distributed more than $630 million to communities since 2012 – including more than $224 million in just 2014. That’s on top of over $2.1 billion in state and local taxes already generated by our industry.

Under Pennsylvania law, the passage of a new severance tax would repeal the existing natural gas impact fee. Investment and production losses resulting from a new tax could lead to cumulative losses of over $20 billion in value added or gross state product to the Pennsylvania economy from 2016 to 2025, according to the study. By 2025, supported employment in the state could drop by nearly 18,000 relative to projected levels without the tax. The relatively high paying construction and oil and gas sectors would be hardest hit.

“State lawmakers should reject the severance tax so that the benefits of Pennsylvania’s energy development continue to flow,” said Wissman.

The API-PA is a division of API, which represents all segments of America’s oil and natural gas industry. Its more than 625 members produce, process, and distribute most of the nation’s energy. The industry also supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and is backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 25 million Americans

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Rice Energy seees 1Q 2015 production double from a year ago

By Bob Downing Published: May 7, 2015

Pennsylvania-based Rice Energy saw its production double from a year ago, despite low commodity prices.

It is an active player in Ohio's Utica Shale.

Click  here  to read more about the company's 1Q 2015 report.

 

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Dominion's Cove Point LNG facility wins federal approval

By Bob Downing Published: May 7, 2015

From the U.S. Department of Energy today:

Energy Department Authorizes Dominion Cove Point LNG to Export Liquefied Natural Gas

WASHINGTON – The Energy Department announced today that it has issued a final authorization for Dominion Cove Point LNG, LP to export domestically produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) to countries that do not have a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States. The Cove Point LNG Terminal in Calvert County, Maryland is authorized to export LNG up to the equivalent of 0.77 billion standard cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas for a period of 20 years.

The development of U.S. natural gas resources is having a transformative impact on the U.S. energy landscape, helping to improve our energy security while spurring economic development and job creation around the country.  This increase in domestic natural gas production is expected to continue, with the Energy Information Administration forecasting a record average production rate of 72.4 Bcf/d in 2015.

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Eco-groups sue over FERC approval of Cove Point LNG facility

By Bob Downing Published: May 7, 2015

A press release today from Earthjustice and the Chesapeake Climtae Network:

Keith Rushing (202) 797-5236, Earthjustice; Kelly Trout, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, (240) 396-2022

Washington, D.C — Environmental groups sued the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today over its decision to approve a massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal along the Chesapeake Bay in southern Maryland without conducting a rigorous environmental review.

The lawsuit, filed in the federal appeals court for the D.C. Circuit, charges that FERC circumvented the law by failing to consider how Dominion Resources’ $3.8 billion Cove Point project would trigger expanded fracking for natural gas in the Marcellus shale region, leading to significant new amounts of air, water and climate-disrupting pollution. Additionally, the groups contend that FERC failed to adequately consider the impact of foreign ships dumping dirty wastewater into the Chesapeake Bay. Earthjustice filed the suit today on behalf of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Patuxent Riverkeeper, and Sierra Club.

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Gulfport Energy: Production growing in Ohio's Utica Shale

By Bob Downing Published: May 6, 2015

Gulfport Energy reported Wednesday  that production was up 161 percent from a year earlier, but profits were down 69 percent in that same period.
The Oklahoma-based company is one of the biggest players in the Utica Shale in eastern Ohio.
Gulfport’s net daily production for the first quarter of 2015 averaged approximately 424.4 million cubic feet of equivalents per day. That represents an 11 percent increase over fourth quarter 2014 production.
For the first quarter 2015, Gulfport’s net daily production mix was comprised of 68 percent natural gas, 12 percent oil and 20 percent natural gas liquids.
The company drilled 16 wells and started production from eight wells in Ohio in the first quarter 2015.
During the first quarter, net production from Gulfport’s Utica acreage increased by 213 percent over first quarter 2014. That was a 12 percent increase from fourth quarter 2014.
Gulfport has three horizontal rigs drilling in Ohio. It has leased about 212,000 acres in Ohio.

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Crude oil train derails, explodes near Heimdal, N.D.

By Bob Downing Published: May 6, 2015

A press release today, in the wake of a crude oil train derailing and exploding in North Dakota:

For Immediate Release

 

Statement: Oil Train Derails, Explodes in North Dakota

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Tsleil-Waututh tribe opposing TransMountain Pipeline expansion

By Bob Downing Published: May 6, 2015

From a press release today:

THURSDAY:  At Kinder Morgan Shareholder Meeting in Houston, Tsleil-Waututh Nation Leader Opposes TransMountain Pipeline Expansion

Thousands Sign Corporate Watchdog’s Petition Urging Kinder Morgan to Respect Indigenous Rights and Abandon Pipeline Expansion Plan

HOUSTON, TEXAS -- On Thursday, May 7th, representatives of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation in the Pacific Northwest will attend Kinder Morgan’s (KMI) Annual General Shareholder Meeting in Houston to oppose the corporation’s planned expansion of the TransMountain oil pipeline across Canada.  The pipeline, which would cut through Tsleil-Waututh Traditional Territory, would pump more than 890,000 barrels of crude oil a day from Canadian tar sands to export ships on the Pacific coast.

Last week, representatives of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation met with institutional investors based in New York City to urge them to support two proposals --

Rueben George, Sundance Chief and member of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation in the Pacific Northwest, will be joined by Lisa Lindsley, Senior Shareholder Advocacy Manager for SumOfUs.org and Eugene Kung of West Coast Environmental Law to discuss the evolving legal and financial opposition to the expansion of the TransMountain pipeline.  Lindsley will also deliver more than 48,000 signatures from SumOfUs members asking Kinder Morgan executives to “respect Indigenous rights and stop your plans to build the Trans Mountain pipeline now."

VIEW THE PETITION HERE: http://sumofus.org/kinder-morgan

# # # # #

The Tsleil-Waututh Nation (TWN),the “People of the Inlet” are Coast Salish peoples who originate in the Pacific Northwest, particularly around the Salish Sea, which includes Puget Sound near Seattle, the Juan de Fuca Straight near Victoria, and the Georgia Straight near Vancouver, BC.   In 2012, the TWN community voted unanimously to oppose the proposed TMX because of the grave threat it presents to their land of origin, spiritual identity and survival. www.sacredtrust.ca

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Production up, profits down, Rex Energy reports for 1Q 2015

By Bob Downing Published: May 6, 2015

From Rex Energy:

STATE COLLEGE, Pa., May 5, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Rex Energy Corporation (Nasdaq:REXX) announced its first quarter 2015 operational and financial results.

"Through sharp focus on the technical side, the Rex Energy team continues to improve operational performance while maintaining financial discipline," said Tom Stabley, Chief Executive Officer of Rex Energy. "We've enhanced completion designs, increased sand concentration, and realized drilling and service efficiencies to improve well performance, and increase IP rates and EURs. With these enhancements and our current CAPEX budget, we expect to grow 2015 production by approximately 25%. 

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Chesapeake Energy to scale back its Utica Shale drilling

By Bob Downing Published: May 6, 2015

Low prices for natural gas and liquids are forcing Chesapeake Energy Corp. to cut back on its Ohio operations.
The Oklahoma-based energy giant said on Wednesday  that its intends to scale back its drilling in the Utica Shale in the coming months, as profits drop and production continues to climb.
It will cut the number of drilling rigs in Ohio from five to two by the middle of the third quarter and will reduce the number of Ohio crews that hydraulically fracture or frack the rock from four to 2.5 for the rest of 2015, Chesapeake said in an earnings call with analysts and the media.
It is making similar cuts elsewhere with some of the biggest reductions coming in the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas.
The company needs to maintain two drilling rigs in order to hold onto its leased acreage in eastern Ohio.
Chesapeake, the No. 1 player in the Utica Shale, is also very pleased with recent natural gas results in Columbiana County.
Three recently completed wells are significantly better than nine earlier-drilled wells in Columbiana and that is very promising, said spokesman Chris Doyle.
It is seeing a 50 percent improvement in production with the new wells, and the company could be expanding its core area beyond neighboring Carroll County into Columbiana County, he said.
Chesapeake is continuing to expand its laterals in Ohio in order to get better results, officials said.
The company in 2012 averaged 4,900 feet per lateral. That grew to 5,150 feet in 2013 and to 6,200 feet in 2014.
The laterals will likely average about 7,900 feet with 41 frack stages in 2015, about 27 percent longer than the previous year, officials said.
Longer laterals with additional fracking pay out far more than shorter laterals, the company said.
Extending Ohio laterals will cost Chesapeake more.
It is anticipating spending $8.2 million per well in 2015. That’s up from $6.7 million in 2013 and $7.2 million in 2014, the company said.
Chesapeake began production on 38 new Utica wells in the first quarter. The average peak production of those wells was 1,272 barrels of oil equivalents per day.
Net production in the Utica Shale in the first quarter averaged about 110 thousand barrels of oil equivalents per day, an increase of 10 percent from the previous quarter, the company said.
Chief executive officer Doug Lawler reported that despite low prices, Chesapeake’s overall production grew by 14 percent in the first quarter, compared to the first quarter 2014.
It is the No. 2 producer of natural gas in the United States.

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EnLink Midstream releases reports on first quarter 2015

By Bob Downing Published: May 6, 2015

A press release from Enlink Midstream today:

ENLINK MIDSTREAM REPORTS FIRST QUARTER 2015 RESULTS

 

DALLAS, May 6, 2015— The EnLink Midstream companies, EnLink Midstream Partners, LP (NYSE: ENLK) (the Partnership) and EnLink Midstream, LLC (NYSE: ENLC) (the General Partner), today reported results for the first quarter of 2015.

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Pennsylvania drillers getting very interested in Utica Shale

By Bob Downing Published: May 5, 2015

Pennsylvania shale drillers have a growing interest in the little-known Utica Shale.

It is deeper and less-understood than the prominent Marcellus Shale.

There are about 100 Utica wells in Pennsylvania.

But some Utica wells in Pennsylvania are putting up big, big numbers of dry natural gas.

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New research finds link between 2010 drilling, water contamination

By Bob Downing Published: May 5, 2015

New research published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows evidence of a connection between gas drilling and water contamination that occurred in Pennsylvania's Bradford County in 2010.

The researchers at Penn State University used a new method of testing for contaminants that can detect much smaller amounts of chemicals than the instruments typically used in commercial laboratories.

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

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Ohio has 1,466 drilled Utica wells, 861 producing Utica wells

By Bob Downing Published: May 5, 2015

Ohio has approved 1,889 Utica Shale permits, as of May 2.

That total includes 1,466 drilled Utica wells and 861 producing Utica wells, says the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Ohio has 29 drilling rigs at work.

Eight new permits were approved: six in Belmont County and two in Monroe County.

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Stone Energy to postpone new Utica, Marcellus shale wells

By Bob Downing Published: May 5, 2015

From Louisiana-based Stone Energy Corp. on Monday:

LAFAYETTE, La., May 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Stone Energy Corporation (NYSE: SGY) today announced financial and operational results for the first quarter of 2015. Some of the highlights include:

Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer David Welch stated, "We delivered increased production in the first quarter, driven by our successful Cardona project and incremental Appalachian volumes, and will have additional deep water development projects in progress during the year. Given the current commodity price environment, we have made significant reductions across our capital budget and in our lease operating expenses.  The suspension of our Appalachian drilling has allowed our team to focus on the most efficient and effective ways to develop our acreage position for both the Marcellus and Utica shales.  Additionally, we have an exciting portfolio of exploration prospects that provides us with significant resource potential. We remain committed to maintaining a liquid and flexible balance sheet with an undrawn bank facility and over $160 million in cash." 

Financial Results

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Investment in Ohio's Utica Shale reaches $28 billion, report says

By Bob Downing Published: May 5, 2015

Ohio’s Utica Shale boom continues to grow, despite low commodity prices, according to a new report by a Columbus-based law firm.
The investment in shale projects in eastern Ohio now tops $28 billion, a 26 percent increase in total investments since last fall,   says Monday’s report from Bricker & Eckler LLP that lists 148 projects. That includes 15 new projects since last fall,
One of the local beneficiaries is Blair Rubber Co. in Medina County.
It added a 50,000-square-foot expansion at its Seville plant, partially due to the increased use of rail by the fracking industry. The $5 million expansion doubled the facility’s size.
The company makes rubber linings for storage vats and rail cars.
“Despite recent fluctuations in oil prices, the number of shale projects in Ohio continues to grow,” said Matt Warnock, partner and co-chair of the law firm’s oil and gas industry group.
“Further — and somewhat surprising — we haven’t seen any significant slowdown in the number of high-dollar projects. All of this bodes well for Ohio, particularly the southeastern region of the state,” he said on the company’s fourth Utica Shale economic report.
Added attorney Aaron Bruggeman, “The activity we have witnessed in the last six months has diverted from a focus on exploration and production to downstream infrastructure. We continue to see an increase in the number of pipeline projects, particularly interstate lines, gathering facilities, compressor stations and related investment.
The Utica Shale investment has grown from $12.2 billion in October 2013, to $16.8 billion in spring 2014 to $22.3 billion in fall 2014.
The report does not include projects with unknown values or one of the biggest potential projects, an ethane cracker plant in Belmont County with a multi-billion price tag.
That project, announced on April 22 by Gov. John Kasich, is under study by Thai-based PTT Global Chemical and Japanese-based Marubema Corp. They plan to spend about $150 million for engineering and permit work to determine if the project will move forward.
If that happens, the facility would create several hundred permanent jobs, several thousand construction jobs and a total investment of several billion dollars, the Bricker &Eckler report says.
It might be built at Shadyside at a FirstEnergy Corp. power plant that is largely shuttered.
The new plant would be used to convert liquid ethane from shale drilling into polyethylene, a key ingredient to make plastics.
Three other ethane cracker plants have been proposed in Ohio, West Virginia and western Pennsylvania.
Projects that have been killed or delayed include a $70 million gas-processing plant by Blue Racer Midstream LLC in Mahoning County (shelved last January) and a $100 million U.S. Steel/Republic Steel and Lorain Tubular project to make steel casings for shale development (plant idled last January).
The decline in drilling also triggered layoffs at the Timken Steel's three mills in Stark County. The company had planned $245 million in mill improvements that were shelved.
Also dead is a $1.5 billion Bluegrass Pipeline that was to move Utica and Marcellus natural gas liquids to the Gulf Coast. Not enough interest from drillers, officials said.

Click  here  to read the list.

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Crude by rail accounts for 52 percent of East Coast refinery supply

By Bob Downing Published: May 5, 2015

Note: Such shipments pass through Ohio and other states from North Dakota to the East Coast.

From the U.S. Energy Information Administration today:

Monthly rail receipts of crude oil accounted for more than half (52%) of the crude oil supply to East Coast refineries in February. As U.S. and Canadian production of crude oil has increased, crude supply by rail to East Coast (PADD 1) refineries has grown, displacing waterborne imports of crude oil from countries other than Canada, such as Nigeria. While refinery utilization in Petroleum Administration for Defense District (PADD) 1 in early 2015 has been below typical levels, this still marks the first time in EIA's dataset that crude deliveries by rail have accounted for such a high percentage of East Coast refinery supply.

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Letter to Ohio Gov. John Kasich from Belmont County residents

By Bob Downing Published: May 4, 2015

Here's copy of letter to Gov. John Kasich from Belmont Counyt residents:

Concerned Barnesville Area Residents

P.O. Box 332, Barnesville, OH 43713

740-312-4692 • 740-238-1256 • 740-926-1481

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Belmont County residents worried about fracking near reservoir

By Bob Downing Published: May 4, 2015

From a press release today:

Citizens Send Mayday Message to State Officials Regarding Fracking Threat to Water Supply

Petition to Protect Slope Creek Reservoir Presented to Governor and Environmental Agency Directors

COLUMBUS, OH – More than 2,300 citizens served by Slope Creek Reservoir in Belmont County and supporters signed their names to a petition to protect the water supply from risks associated with shale gas development (AKA fracking), and stop Gulfport Energy Corporation’s plans to place multiple well pads as close as 500 feet from the reservoir.

 

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WPX Energy continues to monetize its Marcellus Shale assets

By Bob Downing Published: May 4, 2015

Oklahoma-based WPX Energy announced today it signed an agreement to sell a package of Marcellus Shale marketing contracts and release certain related firm transportation capacity to an undisclosed buyer for in excess of $200 million cash.

The sale includes various long-term natural gas purchase and sales agreements, along with 135 million Btu per day of firm transportation capacity on Transco’s Northeast Supply Link project.

This is WPX’s second transaction monetizing its holdings in the Marcellus Shale. Earlier this year, WPX completed a $300 million sale of its Northeast Pennsylvania assets.

Click  here  to read more.

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Chesapeake Energy names new vice president of exploration

By Bob Downing Published: May 4, 2015

Chesapeake Energy Corporation announced today that Frank Patterson will join the company as Executive Vice President – Exploration, Land and Subsurface Technology.

Patterson replaces John Kapchinske, who recently retired from the company.

He will report to Chesapeake’s Chief Executive Officer Doug Lawler.

Lawler commented, “Frank is a world-class explorer with more than 30 years of experience developing and executing exploration programs. His leadership will propel our exploration resources and capabilities to new levels of performance while helping drive the greatest value from our outstanding portfolio.”

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API wants answers on shrinking federal role in crude drilling

By Bob Downing Published: May 4, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute last weeK:

WASHINGTON, April 30, 2015 – Senators reviewing new Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rules on hydraulic fracturing at a hearing today should demand answers on the shrinking role of federal lands in America’s energy revolution, said API.
  
“The revolution in U.S. oil and gas production powered our economy through a recession, but federal policies have kept that growth isolated to state and private lands,” said API Director of Upstream and Industry Operations Erik Milito. “The federal share of total U.S. crude oil production fell from 36 to 21 percent between 2010 and 2014, while the federal share of natural gas production declined from 23 to 13 percent, according to a new report from the non-partisan Congressional Research Service.
 
“States with large areas controlled by the BLM are especially hard hit by duplicative federal regulations, slow permitting, and limited access to public lands. New BLM rules could impose more costs and delays on energy development without improving on existing state and federal regulations, stunting growth and pushing away jobs in places like New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming.
 
“Under the strong environmental stewardship of state regulators, natural gas unlocked by horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing has helped cut U.S. carbon emissions to a nearly 20-year low. The BLM should be working with the states – not against them – to encourage investment on federal lands, create jobs, and promote America’s energy security.”
    
API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry, which supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy. API’s more than 625 members include large integrated companies, as well as exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms. They provide most of the nation’s energy and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 25 million Americans.

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API says new federal crude rail rules should be examined closely

By Bob Downing Published: May 4, 2015

From the American Petroleum Institute on Friday:

WASHINGTON, May 1, 2015 – New regulations released today by the U.S. and Canada for the shipment of flammable liquids by rail should be carefully examined to ensure each element adds to the overall safety of the North American freight rail network.

“As we review these rules, the key question is whether science and data show each change will make a meaningful improvement to safety,” said API President and CEO Jack Gerard. “A thoughtful, comprehensive and data-driven safety approach is critical to improving on the 99.997 percent safety record of freight rail to reach our goal of zero accidents.

“Tank cars and the industry’s work to educate first responders are two elements of the bigger picture. Accident investigations consistently show that more must also be done to prevent derailments by enhancing the inspection and maintenance of train tracks, axles and other railroad equipment.

The inclusion of a requirement for electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brakes will add to the artificial constraints created by a timeline for retrofitting the existing tank car fleet that does not fully account for limited shop capacity available to complete the work.

“The safety impact of ECP brakes is marginal at best,” said Gerard. “It is concerning that regulators did not select one of several alternative braking technologies that have much clearer benefits for safety.”

“We support upgrades to the tank car fleet and want them completed as quickly as realistically possible. The railcar manufacturing industry’s own calculations show it does not have the shop capacity to meet the retrofit timeline announced today, which will lead to shortages that impact consumers and the broader economy.”

API also noted the importance of harmony between the U.S. and Canadian regulations. Because the two countries’ rail networks are closely integrated, any areas of disagreement could disrupt the flow of every commodity and good shipped by rail in North America.

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. econom

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Natural gas, renewables to produce larger electric shares

By Bob Downing Published: May 4, 2015

From the U.S. Energy Information Administartion today:

EIA's Annual Energy Outlook 2015 (AEO2015) Reference case projects that electricity consumption will increase at an average annual rate of 0.8% from 2013 to 2040, nearly in line with expected population growth. Continuing a recent trend toward lower levels of carbon-intensive generation, natural gas and renewable generation meet almost all of the increase.

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Natural gas wells in Ohio, other states impacting downwind places

By Bob Downing Published: May 4, 2015

Emissions linked to hydraulic fracturing, the method of drilling for natural gas commonly known as “fracking,” can be detected hundreds of miles away in states that that forbid or strictly control the practice, according to a new paper published in the journal Atmospheric Environment. The study, conducted at the University of Maryland (UMD), is among the latest data presented in the ongoing debate over fracking’s long-term effects on the environment.

The team used years’ worth of hourly measurements from photochemical assessment monitoring stations (PAMS) in the Baltimore, Md., and Washington, D.C., areas to identify the sources of organic carbons in the region’s air. Starting in 2010, the data didn’t seem to make sense.

“While there’s been an overall decline in non-methane organic carbons and improvement in air quality since 1996, the atmospheric concentration of ethane, one of the components of natural gas, rose 30 percent between 2010 and 2013,” says Sheryl Ehrman, professor and chair of UMD’s Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and the paper’s corresponding author.

Methane accounts for 80-95 percent of the makeup of natural gas, and it is thought to have a global warming potential roughly 30 times greater than that of carbon dioxide. However, until recently, monitoring it has not been a priority. Ehrman and her team could not acquire enough long-term methane data for the study, so they instead tracked other “tracer” species (molecules) such as ethane, the second most abundant compound in natural gas, and indicative of emissions associated with natural gas drilling, production, and transport.

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Canton to host May 13 program on profound impacts of price of oil

By Bob Downing Published: May 4, 2015

A press release fromt he Stark County Oil & Gas Partnership and Energy Nation:

THE PROFOUND IMPACT OF THE PRICE OF OIL ON THE REGION
WILL HEADLINE MAY 13 CONFERENCE AT PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME
Conference registration includes reception and evening admission to the Hall

CANTON, Ohio (April 28, 2015) – Representatives from energy and realty organizations will discuss the profound impact that the price of oil will have on Stark County and the surrounding region at the Supply, Demand and Price Expo, Wednesday, May 13 at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.
The expo, sponsored by the Stark County Oil & Gas Partnership and Energy Nation, will include speakers from 3 to 5 p.m. and a networking reception until 8 p.m. Scheduled presenters include:
 John Felmy, chief economist for the American Petroleum Institute, offering a national perspective on the oil and gas industry, the impact of lower oil prices, and what that means for shale plays across the country;
 Jackie Stewart of Energy In Depth, discussing the state of the Utica Shale and how Ohio compares to other basins;
 Bryce Custer of NAI Spring Commercial Realty in Canton, discussing the impact of oil and gas on commercial real estate; and
 Rebecca Heimlich of the American Petroleum Institute, explaining how API’s Energy Nation program is improving understanding of critical issues facing the industry.
Energy Nation, a prime sponsor of the event, is offering a $25 discount on registration to the expo, which includes admission to the networking reception and to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. For registration information, including details on the Energy Nation discount, go to www.choosestark.com.
The Stark County Oil and Gas Partnership is an alliance between local governments, chamber of commerce, labor groups, educational institutions, development groups and employment organizations. The partnership promotes understanding of the oil and gas industry, the implementation of oil and gas extraction efforts that are environmentally responsible, and the use of Stark County labor in the development, extraction and processing of oil and natural gas. More information is available online at www.choosestark.com.
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Increasing Oklahoma earthquakes are linked to drilling

By Bob Downing Published: May 4, 2015

Yale University's Environment 360 carried an interview with Oklahoma geologist Todd Halihan on the growing number of drilling-induced earthquakes in that state.

Click  here  to read the story.

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U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown's bill to protect from crude spills from rail

By Bob Downing Published: May 4, 2015

Two press releases:

From Thursday afternoon:

WITH HIGH VOLUMES OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS BEING TRANSPORTED BY RAIL THROUGH OHIO EACH DAY, BROWN INTRODUCES BILL TO PROTECT OHIO COMMUNITIES FROM OIL TRAIN ACCIDENTS

 

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Eco-groups are critical of Obama's new rules on crude oil trains

By Bob Downing Published: May 4, 2015

A press release from EarthJustice on Friday:

Obama Administration Leaves Explosive Oil Trains on the Rails for Years

 

Long phase-out of hazardous cars, inadequate speed limits, deficient tanker shells leave communities at risk of catastrophe

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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.